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 girl bosses, and so much more!
Today, we’re sitting down with our student Sarah Holmes, Founder of Mist Design Co.! Originally from Newcastle, UK, Sarah 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 the Founder of Mist Design Co. where I offer branding and web design for female entrepreneurs. I create unique branding and custom websites for service-based businesses to help women stand out from the crowd and show off their magic!
I provide the visual tools they need to confidently show up in their business, create content that gets noticed, and keep their identity consistent so they can build recognition with their audience.
Mist Design Co. officially launched August of 2020, although I had worked on a couple of client projects prior to this!
Q: How did you discover the Bucketlist Bombshells?
I discovered the Bucketlist Bombshells through a Facebook ad. I was researching how to start my own business so their ads were definitely targeting me!
Q: What inspired you to enroll in the Bucketlist Bombshells courses?
I had been living in Spain for six years and was happy with my life but was never satisfied with my job. I had resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to be a career-focused type of person. However, deep down, that wasn’t my reality. As a teenager, I would always say I wanted to be the CEO of a multinational company!
“From a young age, I had dreams of having a great job, but the older I got and the more I didn’t find it, I just gave up trying.”
Q: How have the courses helped you to become an online business owner?
The Bucketlist Bombshells Academy opened the door to an idea I’d never even considered – design!
I was guilty of saying I wasn’t “a creative person.” Even when I purchased the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy, I was convinced the options from the Tech Skills Course were going to be the route I’d take as they were similar to my past jobs.
When I started the Design Skills Course, I was thinking I would just get the Adobe free trial and then cancel it ASAP because I didn’t want to spend money on something I wasn’t interested in or good at. However, Illustrator quickly became my best friend!
Q: What type of job were you working in prior to running your own online business?
Prior to running Mist Design Co., I had been working as an ESL teacher for five years here in Spain. I didn’t mind it too much since it was very sociable and had flexible hours.
Then, I worked in a multinational sports brand for a year in customer service and sales which was my first taste of office life. Although I loved the people, I quickly became unhappy in the job role.
“Working 9-6 in the same place every day was not for me.”
Q: How long did it take you to ditch your 9-6, and how much time did you dedicate in order to make it happen?
I had been saving for a couple of months so I could quit my 9-6.
“When the pandemic suddenly hit, I ended up without a job earlier than expected.”
At that point, I’d only just finished the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy and had enrolled in a group coaching program. I didn’t have a business yet — no website, no social media, no connections, no name or branding… so things were pretty scary.
Q: What was the final push in your story to get you to ditch that 9-6 job?
Being unemployed gave me two options: I could either spend my days filling out job applications and desperately searching for interviews. Or, I could throw that energy into making my business a reality!
The Universe gives you opportunities and points you in the right direction… and for me, that was a sign!
Q: How long was it until you landed your first client online?
I was in a 12-week program with a business coach and other amazing women. Each week, we’d have calls together and keep in touch almost daily so we became really good friends. Two of them trusted me to create their branding and became my first clients!
“I’m very grateful for those first women who believed in my abilities!”
Q: What is your process for finding and landing clients online?
My main focus for landing clients has been through my Instagram account and being very consistent on social media. I started showing my face on stories almost daily. At first, it was so uncomfortable. However, after a couple of months of showing up, a lot of people have been replying, sharing how my content and stories resonate with them!
“Being honest and showing my true self is how I bagged my first discovery calls soon after launching!”
Q: What has been your biggest setback, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest setback was my mindset around being a designer when I had no experience or academic qualifications. At first, I felt like I shouldn’t share educational content because I thought, “What do I know?”
I didn’t want to introduce myself as a branding designer since it felt fake, but that’s all changing now that I am working on my mindset. I journal, read books, work with coaches, and look at life with this perspective:
“You can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it and believe it!”
Q: What’s the most challenging part about running your online business?
I was under the illusion I’d be able to have more free time since I was my own boss but that’s not the case! I care about my business so much and as I’m in the early stages still, I think about it all day every day (even when I’m taking the weekend off).
In the future when things are more established, I’m sure I will have more free time. However, right now, I’m in the stage of creating new products and services, as well as building my brand and reputation in the online world. So, I can’t and don’t want to slow down!
Q: Looking back on your online business journey, what is something that you’re most proud of?
I’m proud of the action I take even when I’m terrified. I’m quite a determined person when I get my mind set on something and I have learned how to push past discomfort and just get stuff done. If it works the first time, great! If it doesn’t, then I suck it up and change the plan quickly.
“As an entrepreneur, you have to be ready to adapt every single day!”
Q: If you could speak to your past self, what piece of advice would you give her?
I would tell my past self not to feel embarrassed or worried about what other people will think of you starting your own business. My friends and family think it’s really cool and I get so many positive comments when I share it with others!
“Do it now… You’ll never feel 100% ready!”
Q: How do you stay inspired and motivated to run your online business?
Remembering how much I don’t want to be in an office 9-6 every day is what keeps me inspired!
During the pandemic, Spain had a strict lockdown and I began to feel unmotivated in my house. When this happened, I would walk or ride my bike to a nice cafe in the city. The old Barcelona streets would remind me how grateful I am to not only live here but also that I’m able to choose my workspace each day!
Q: Tell us what a “day in the life” looks like for you now that you’re running your own online business!
I like to get up quite early around 7am and ride my bike to a gym class. I ride directly past the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona so I usually have a moment where I’m like, “Wow I’m so fortunate to be here!”
Then, I decide if I feel like working from a cafe or home that day. Every day is different. Sometimes, I’m focused on planning for my own business, and other times I’m working on my client’s work. Some days, I’m on social media quite a lot speaking to other women, building connections, and sharing stories about what I’ve got going on at work that week.
“The online community of female entrepreneurs is amazing!”
Q: What’s the best part about being your own boss?
Deciding when and where I want to work is great, but for me, the biggest thing is that I get to decide all the processes and organisation of my business!
The biggest issue in my full-time job was that I hated following protocols that didn’t work well and I had no power to adapt them. I love that now I can be flexible and change things when necessary!
Q: What do you love most about the work you do and the clients you work with?
I love how much inspiration my clients give me! I get to hear about their businesses, their stories, their goals, and their vision for their brand. It makes me want to work on my own too!
“I feel like I’m making friends as well as clients!”
Q: What’s your favorite business tool that you’d recommend to other girl bosses? Why do you love it?
I haven’t set it up fully yet, but I know Dubsado is going to become my best friend! It lets you automate your workflows, send invoices, emails, proposals, questionnaires, and so much more. It’s all automatic so it doesn’t take up your precious time!
Q: What is one of your favorite business books that you would recommend to another girl boss and why do you love it?
Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller is a great resource to learn how to position your brand to relate to your target audience. He compares your brand messaging to how movie scripts are written and it makes so much sense! It gave me a whole new perspective!
Q: What’s your go-to favorite podcast that you’d recommend to other girl bosses?
Currently, I’m listening to the Dream Smarter podcast by Alex Krahling. The episodes are straight to the point, honest, and full of valuable information and inspiration!
Q: What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring Bucketlist Bombshells?
Push past self-doubt and discomfort and celebrate every win you have, however big or small. If you do this and continue taking action, you’ll be able to look back and see how many huge leaps forward you’ve made to build your business and improve your life!