I have a super inspirational lady today for you on today's Miss Independent!
Meet Lara Casey of Making Things Happen. She inspires small business owners to turn their dreams into a reality. She speaks around the country at conferences and is a natural at motivating others to crush their fears and focus on the big picture. I first discovered Lara through her Tumblr which is full of inspirational quotes. After a little more research, I saw how much more Lara does and I was so excited she was able to participate today!
1. What made you decide to start your own business?
My mother is a French chef, so I caught the entertaining/wedding bug from her. My grandmother was also a florist, so it runs in the family. I started an event planning company about 8 years ago and, long story short, the magazine was born out of that. I always wanted a place to showcase what fired me up. This all started when we launched the Southern Weddings daily blog in 2007. It was a place for me to share what I loved in weddings, what was inspiring me and to show Southern brides that there was more to telling their unique love story than tulle and stuffed chicken. The blog caught on like wildfire, and people got so excited about a modern look at weddings in the South. The print magazine was born out of the incredible feedback from the blog. I am so grateful for the work we do because our job is to tell these authentic love stories. I love my “work.” We’re not corporate or owned by some big publishing house. We do the layout, write the editorial, organize the advertising – and everything else – ourselves. We have a few other great people who help us, but it’s really just the three of us in the office every day. We are self-published, which is a rarity nowadays. We’re really, really small. We never want to grow to the point where we can’t give personal attention to what matters most. We are really grateful for that. Out of my work with Southern Weddings, I started Making Things Happen and Lara Casey Reps, which is where I spend the majority of my time now. I love working with wedding professionals to build authentic profitable businesses.
2. What was your biggest risk or fear about starting a business?
Everything! I didn't go to school for this, so I literally had no idea what I was doing. I have asked a lot of dumb questions and learned the hard way in most everything. Thank God, though! It has taught me to be more resourceful and resilient.
3. How did you know what you wanted to do?
I didn't. Weird answer, I know. It has taken me a decade in business to realize that I am exactly where God wants me to be. There will always be road blocks and challenges on every career path and sometimes those things can make us question whether we're on the right path or not. I'm grateful for all of my "failures" that lead me here. But, it has taken me all this time to really see how purposeful my path really was and continues to be.
4. What support system do you have for your business to help you stay motivated?
Yes, so many people! First of all, God. The Bible is my only business book. My husband keeps me on the right path, too. He really does shepherd my heart to do the right thing and is the best sounding board for Godly advice. I'm so grateful for that! And my best friends – Emily Ley and Gina Zeidler. They make me focus on what truly matters. I feel really blessed to be in a position to interact with people in all facets of weddings and creativity. I LOVE waking up and spending my days with Emily, Nicole, Marissa and our whole crew. I couldn’t ask for a better team to learn and grow with. They challenge me to rise to the occasion and be my best self.
5. What is your biggest challenge about running your own business?
Right now, I'm really working on my pride. It's a delicate balance to market yourself and always glorify God in the process. Working hard to be humble filters into everything I do - leading my team in the right way, being a good sounding board to my clients, etc.
6. What is the best advice you have for someone wanting to start a business?
Walk into your fears and do the things that scare you. Life is too short to wait. When you know what you want, it’s a gut-reaction… an I-have-to-have-it kind of feeling. Don’t ignore that feeling. Do your research, get educated, get expert advice, weigh your options… but ultimately, just dive in! I created the Making Things Happen Intensive Tour (www.makingthingshappen.com) for this very purpose. You have to release fear, which many times is not easy and often doesn’t feel good. But, once you let yourself feel the fear – even for a split second – it dissipates. When you identify your fears, you can destroy them. Once you’ve done that work, you’re rewarded with the ultimate gift: freedom. Freedom to go after what you want with courage and abandon. Everything “great” I ever accomplished started with a great period of fear and then, finally, a big leap of faith. A little Nike wisdom: Just Do It.
Well I think we are all ready to head out and conquer the world with that kind of attitude, right? Have an amazing Thursday everyone!