Ever wondered what it takes to ditch the cubicle and become a full-time girl boss? Our Student Spotlight Series interviews our students who have made the transition from 9-5 to remote CEOs!
From what inspired them to start their own business, their favorite podcasts, go-to morning routine, advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs, and so much more!
Today, we’re sitting down with our Bucketlist Bombshells Academy almuni and former 90 Day Biz Accelerator 1:1 Coaching Program member, Founder of Siren By Design, Kat Di Mauro! From Toronto Canada, Kat gives us a glimpse into her online business journey…
Q: What type of online business do you own and what services do you offer?
I’m a Showit web and graphic designer and I help creative entrepreneurs and service-based businesses level up their online game with kick-ass websites and branding. I’m all about creating websites that are not only pretty to look at, but also embody the vibe and personality of my clients’ brands.
Using every tool in my toolbox I help clients create an online presence that’s fierce and impossible to ignore. With my strategic design skills, I’m able to help them reach their business goals and make waves in their industry. And trust me, I am all about the details – I obsess over every single element of their website and branding to make sure it’s not only unforgettable, but totally unique and stands out from the crowd.
All in all, I’m a total Showit web and graphic design junkie, and I love nothing more than helping my clients crush it online with their amazing new branding and websites.
Q: What inspired you to enroll in the Bucketlist Bombshells Courses and then join the Bucketlist Bombshells Collective?
I first learned about BB Academy through a close friend who couldn’t stop raving about Cassie & Shay. I decided to take a peek at the courses and was absolutely blown away by their commitment to empowering women to pursue their dreams of establishing a location-independent business and living life on their own terms. As someone who had been feeling unfulfilled and craving more creative freedom in my job, I knew I had to dive deeper into what they had to offer.
I was inspired by the stories of women who had taken the leap and started their own successful businesses, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of that world. So, I decided to take the plunge and enroll in one of their courses. From the very beginning, I was impressed by the quality of the content and the level of support and guidance that was provided. The lessons were engaging and informative, and the assignments pushed me to think outside the box and really hone in on what I wanted to achieve.
The Design & Tech Skills courses were a game-changer for me! I got to learn all the juicy details about the design process. I finally got to flex my creative muscles and use various design principles and techniques to create jaw-dropping designs that truly capture my clients’ personalities. Plus, I learned how to create websites that drive traffic and leads.
And the Work The World course was the cherry on top! It gave me all the skills I needed to run my own business.
Through the Collective, I’ve connected with a network of like-minded women working towards the same goal – creating a life of freedom and purpose. The Collective has been an invaluable source of support and inspiration, and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without that guidance and mentorship.
Q: What was the final push in your story to get you to ditch that 9-5 job? What was the tipping point or “aha” moment for you?
I had been flirting with the idea of starting my own business for the longest time, but my day job kept getting in the way. Then the pandemic hit, and everything went haywire. Instead of sulking in despair, I saw it as a golden opportunity to shake things up and build something amazing.
When I stumbled upon the course sale, I felt like it was destiny calling. Without a second thought, I quit my job and jumped headfirst into the courses as if they were my full-time gig.
Q: How long was it until you landed your first client online?
Launching Siren By Design was a big step for me, and it was exciting to see my hard work pay off. I was nervous about starting my own business and wasn’t sure how quickly I would be able to attract clients. But a few weeks after my launch, I got my first client – and it was all thanks to my sister’s friend. He was impressed by my portfolio, so he decided to take a chance and hire me.
It was a small job, but it gave me the confidence boost I needed to keep pushing forward. I knew I had a lot of work to do to build my business and attract more clients, so I started searching for opportunities on Upwork as well.
It wasn’t easy, as there was a lot of competition, but I managed to land a couple of jobs that allowed me to showcase my skills and build my portfolio. Looking back on that time, I can see that those first few clients were crucial to my success – they helped me to gain confidence, build my reputation, and learn valuable lessons.
Q: What is your process for finding and landing clients online?
When I first launched, I knew that I needed to find a way to get my name out there and connect with potential clients. So, I came up with a plan – join as many Facebook groups as humanly possible! And trust me, there are groups for everything under the sun. I spent hours scrolling through them every day, looking for anyone who might need my services.
When I found someone who seemed like a good match. It was scary at first, but most people were excited to hear from me and learn more about what I had to offer. This approach helped me connect with many people, build my network, and find amazing clients who I still work with today. So, if you’re starting out as a freelancer, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things – who knows where it might lead you!
Q: Why do you recommend business owners join the Bucketlist Bombshells Collective to propel their business growth forward?
Q: What has been your biggest setback and how did you overcome it?
As a freelancer, I’ve definitely had my fair share of imposter syndrome moments, and to be honest, it’s something I still grapple with from time to time.
When I began working on projects and putting my work out there for the world to see. I found myself in a sea of other talented designers, and couldn’t help but compare myself to them. Marketing my services specifically on social media was a challenge. The fear of being exposed as someone with insufficient skills held me back. I was often scared to reach out to potential clients and put myself out there, afraid that they would see right through me.
Joining the Collective has been a game-changer for me. Not only have I found a group of people who understand what I’m going through, but I’ve also found a space where I can grow and develop my skills without fear of judgment or criticism. I’ve learned that imposter syndrome is a common struggle and the best way to combat it is to focus on positive feedback, remind myself of my skills, and keep supportive people around me.
I’ve found ways to turn feelings of imposter syndrome into opportunities for personal growth and self-reflection. It’s motivated me to identify my strengths and weaknesses and to actively work on improving my skills. I’m becoming better at managing it and striving towards my full potential.
Q: What’s the most challenging part about running your online biz?
Currently, the toughest part for me is being a one-woman army. While I’m making progress with my time management, burnout is a real risk. So I’ve come up with a plan to keep myself on track. I call it the “Double Batch Fridays” strategy.
On one Friday, I’ll batch two whole weeks’ worth of social media content. And then, the next Friday, I write two to three blog articles. I’m hoping this new strategy will help keep me ahead of the curve so I can focus on growing my business.
Q: Looking back on your online business journey, what is something that you’re most proud of?
If there’s one thing that can make a girl feel like a rockstar, it’s getting an invitation from none other than the Queen of the Bucketlist Bombshells herself, Shay Brown! So you can imagine how ecstatic I was when the idea of the Circle Chats was born & I was invited to be a panellist.
For those who don’t know, the Circle Chats is a web series for female entrepreneurs hosted by Collective members within the Bucketlist Bombshell Community Facebook group. We whip out our laptops hop on Zoom and dish about everything from branding to work-life balance.
I feel it also has helped me bring my A-game to the table, by sharing my own tips and experiences. But you know what the best part was? It’s the sense of community and connection. These women are so supportive and encouraging, and after each chat, I feel like I could conquer the world.
Q: If you could speak to your past self, what piece of advice would you give her?
Hey, past me, it’s your girl Kat! Listen up, and stop stressing about what everyone else is up to. It’s time to zero in on your own journey and tap into those incredible skills and unique talents. With your focus honed on those bad boys, you can create a business and a life that will be nothing short of amazing. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about! So let’s do this, past self. You got this!
Q: How do you stay inspired and motivated to run your online biz?
Being a part of the Collective has been my secret weapon for me in terms of keeping my entrepreneurial spark alive. I’ve seriously grown so much within the past year. It’s like having a whole team of cheerleaders, coaches, and BFFs all in one place, and whenever I feel stuck or discouraged, I know they’ve got my back.
Q: Tell us what a “day in the life” looks like for you now that you’re running your own online biz!
So, here’s the deal – I’m still trying to figure out what the perfect day looks like for me. But for now, it involves waking up around 7:00, enjoying a light breakfast, and then getting my sweat on. But let’s be real, the absolute highlight of my morning routine is the after-workout shower, followed by sipping on some coffee as I do my hair and makeup while binge-watching some Netflix. #multitaskinggoals
Once I’m feeling energized and ready to tackle the day, I jump into work mode around 9:30-10ish. I start by checking emails and going through my to-do list. I prefer to smash client meetings out of the way in the am so I can focus on design work for the rest of the day.
Lunchtime usually rolls around 12ish, but to be honest, I tend to eat whenever my stomach starts growling. In the afternoon, my creativity is usually at its peak high, so I try to make sure I’m taking little 10-minute breaks here and there to keep the creative juices flowing. By 4:30 at the very latest, I’m ready to clock out and enjoy the rest of my day.
Q: What’s the best part about being your own boss?
The most awesome thing about this gig is that I get to call the shots and work at my own rhythm. No more dragging myself out of bed or dealing with rush hour traffic. I get to start my day sipping on some hot brew and tackle my tasks at my own pace. It’s like I’ve discovered the secret to happiness and contentment. Being my own boss makes me feel like a rockstar who’s living life on my own terms, instead of being a worker bee in someone else’s hive.
Q: What do you love most about the work you do and the clients you work with?
Designing is truly one of my favourite things to do – it’s such a blast! It’s like solving a huge, real-life puzzle where I get to play around with different elements and create something incredible. Out of all the design work I do, my absolute favourite is working on websites.
I get a rush out of using Showit to design websites that not only leave my clients in awe but also capture the essence of their brand. One of the things that make my job even more rewarding is the fact that I get to work with such amazing clients. Most of the people I work with are creative entrepreneurs or service-based business owners – just like me! It’s so fulfilling to be able to collaborate with people who share the same passion for their work.
Q: What is your favorite destination to work remotely from?
Alright, I know it may sound basic, but hear me out before you judge – Starbucks, as a self-proclaimed coffee fanatic, I just can’t resist their honey oat latte, it’s seriously to die for.
But that’s not even the best part. Whenever I’m at a Starbucks, I feel incredibly productive. The aroma of fresh coffee in the air just gets me going, and being surrounded by other people who are also working on their laptops and doing their thing is so motivating. The whole atmosphere just puts me in the perfect work mode, and I absolutely love it!
Q: What’s your favorite business tool that you’d recommend to other aspiring or current business owners? Why do you love it?
Oh, let me tell you, my favourite tool hands down #1 is Showit! This platform is seriously the best out there for creating beautiful and professional websites for my clients without having to learn how to code. Showit’s drag-and-drop interface is so intuitive and user-friendly, you can create stunning web designs in no time. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with WordPress for blogging, giving you the best of both worlds. The customer support is top-notch too, and they have a fantastic community of users who are always willing to help and share their knowledge. I could go on and on, but seriously, if you haven’t checked out Showit yet, you’re missing out!
My go-to business tool for managing clients is Dubsado – it’s an absolute powerhouse that helps me manage my clients and streamline my business like a boss. And let me tell you, I am NOT a fan of administrative tasks, so having Dubsado in my corner is so key. With Dubsado, I’m able to do pretty much everything I need to when it comes to managing clients. I can track my time, send and sign contracts, invoice clients, add timelines to projects, keep track of all client communications, and so much more. In fact, I even have pre-written project-related emails saved in there, so when I need to send out emails for similar projects, all I have to do is tweak a sentence or two and hit send. It’s seriously a lifesaver!
Plann is my favourite when it comes to scheduling my social media posts. Not only does it have an auto-scheduling feature, but it also provides awesome suggestions on what to post, with a super handy strategy tool to keep me aligned with my content pillars. Plus, it’s super visual and shows you exactly how your posts will look on your phone, allowing you to drag and drop them if you want to change up the order.
Q: What is one of your favorite business books that you would recommend to another business owner and why do you love it?
This book is so good and it’s such a blast to read. We read this book in the Collective book club and I could not put it down. The way she explains and communicates how she was able to get the heck out of the bad situation she was in, is so inspiring and eye-opening. Her message is clear – anyone is capable of achieving what they want in life, all they need to do is believe in themselves and aim for the stars. While reading this book I started to apply the practices she teaches in my own life and things truly started to change.
Q: WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO FAVORITE PODCAST THAT YOU’D RECOMMEND TO OTHER BUSINESS OWNERS?
I have quite a few actually… I got really into podcasts early last year and these were my go-to’s that helped me to focus on my business and learn new strategies.
The Freedom Filled Life Podcast, is seriously where it’s at! Cassie and Shay drop so many knowledge bombs on how to rock your solopreneur game. They give you all the insider secrets you need to know to run a successful business and live your best life.
The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher. This podcast is so much fun Jenna is absolutely hilarious alongside some pretty inspiring entrepreneurs. The tips and tricks I’ve picked up from listening have helped with various business strategies.
Last but not least The Heart & Hustle Podcast with Evie McLeod & Lindsey Roman. This podcast is an absolute must if you want to level up your social media.
Q: What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring Bucketlist Bombshells?
My #1 piece of advice would be to go for it & really give it your all! When you want something it’s important to pay attention to signs the the universivere is going to throw your way.