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 Corine Pettit, Founder of Heart and Hustle Design Studio! Originally from the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Corine gives us a glimpse into her girl boss journey…
Q: What type of online business do you own and what services do you offer?
I am the Founder of Heart and Hustle Design Studio! I help heart-hustlin’, passion-fueled, creative women grow their online business with beautiful, one-of-a-kind websites and branded marketing goodies that will connect with their audience, convert curious readers into clients, and showcase their awesomeness to the world!
Q: What inspired you to enroll in the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy?
With a huge love for travel, the idea of having only ten vacation days per year was really hard for me to stomach. I wanted a job so I could pay for my travels, but then I had all of this money and no vacation time to use it. What was the point?
“Once I realized that digital nomading was a real thing that real people were doing, I was hooked.”
Essentially, being a digital nomad is a lifestyle where someone has the ability to work remotely while traveling frequently! I needed to figure out how I could set myself up for this type of flexibility. Since the Bucketlist Bombshells were making it happen, who better to learn from than two millennial women who built their business from the ground up?
Q: How did the course help you become an online business owner?
Before stumbling across Bucketlist Bombshells, I didn’t know that running an online business was a thing! After seeing their success and learning all of the nerdy, tech-side of the business, I knew this was something I could totally do.
I’m a nerd by trade so the techy, detail-oriented stuff was my bread and butter. I was able to use the foundations from The Tech Skills Course to get my business started. The Bucketlist Bombshells Community is a constant source of inspiration for me!
Q: What type of job were you working in prior to running your own online business?
Before leaping into my business full-time, I was a Development Engineer at a multi-million dollar ceramics company. I worked in the Research and Development Department developing new products for my company to sell.
“It was the exact dream job I would’ve envisioned for myself while I was still in college, but shortly into actually starting the job, I quickly began to realize it wasn’t all that I wanted for my life.”
Q: How long did it take you to ditch your 9-5, and how much time did you dedicate in order to make it happen?
I took The Tech Skills Course in June of 2017 and completed it within a month. I was working 40 hours a week and was only putting in a few hours a week after work or on the weekends.
Once I started seeing more consistent clients, I was working two to four hours per night after I got home from my 9-5.
“I side-hustled for a long time, and it wasn’t until 17 months later in November of 2018, that I quit my job as an engineer to pursue my business full-time.”
Q: How long was it until you landed your first client online?
I landed my first paying client six months after taking The Tech Skills Course. In the six months leading up to that, I was building a portfolio of website and brand projects by offering my services for free to a couple of friends.
Q: What has been your biggest setback, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest setback was my first paid website project. My client wanted her website revamped, so I built out the entire website knowing that she was going to love it because she told me exactly what she wanted. When I sent her the link to preview the website, she very politely said she hated it and wanted it to go back to the way it was before. I was totally panicked!
Reading through her feedback, I realized it didn’t make sense. She was saying parts were missing or wrong, but I was looking at them and they weren’t. Turns out, she was previewing the website with a different template installed than the one I had used for her website. Thankfully, I figured it out and had her switch to the right template and she loved it. Bless her heart for being so polite because my newbie self had no clue what I was doing. When I snuck a peek at the site through the wrong template like she did, it was horrible. I would’ve panicked, too!
Q: What was the final push in your story to get you to ditch that 9-5 job?
I had been pretty unhappy with my job at the engineering company for quite some time. One night, I finally had a meltdown. It was ugly, I was hysterical, and it felt like the world was crumbling around me.
“I’d been acting tough for too long, and something finally cracked.”
I called in sick the next day and put in my two weeks’ notice the following Monday. I got to the point where I knew I had to leave that job, even if it was scary. My mental health and happiness are more important, but it took a long time and overcoming a lot of denial to finally accept I needed to quit!
Q: Tell us what a “day in the life” looks like for you now that you’re running your own online business!
I chill in my cozy log cabin in the mountains of New York with my two dogs. I typically wake up around 7:30 or 8 a.m., have breakfast, crank out some work, take a break to go outside with the dogs, and then get a bit more work done in the early afternoon. I’ll head to a local coffee shop for a change of scenery and to be around other humans, but most days I work from home.
My dream would be to live and work in Bali for two to three months and meet fellow digital nomads. However, being a new homeowner means expenses will be tight for a bit, so the Bali dream will have to wait until my paychecks catch up!
Q: What’s the most challenging part about running your online business?
The hardest part is doing things for my own business. I often put all of my clients’ needs first and put the wants and wishes of Heart and Hustle on the back-burner. I have a lot of exciting projects in mind for my business that will generate passive income, but I have a tendency to always put my stuff off to the side because I want to make sure my clients are taken care of.
Q: How do you stay inspired and motivated to run your online business?
I find huge inspiration from watching other women chase their dreams. It motivates me like crazy to see the potential this lifestyle has!
Q: What is your process for finding and landing clients online?
My business runs almost 100% on referrals. I’m a huge people-pleaser. My clients are usually so happy with the final outcome that they don’t hesitate to recommend me to someone else.
“If you’re working with people you love, they’re likely going to be friends with others just like them!”
Q: What do you love most about the work you do and the clients you work with?
My favorite thing about my clients is that it’s not uncommon for them to become real-life friends after a project. Many of my clients are female entrepreneurs who are also trying to build a life of freedom.
“I love having other female entrepreneurs to chat with about business, dreams, and strategies!”
Q: What’s the best part about being your own boss?
The best part is not having to ask for time off. I love being able to take a long weekend without tallying up my remaining vacation days.
“I can even take a long term vacation and make money at the same time!”
Q: What is one travel item you can’t live without when you’re working and traveling?
I can’t live without my backpack. It keeps everything I need in one spot so I know I’m never forgetting something. My laptop, mouse, chargers, headphones, glasses, and a good smelling lotion are must-haves!
Q: What’s your go-to favorite podcast that you’d recommend to other girl bosses?
Q: What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring Bucketlist Bombshells?
You can’t fail if you never quit. Just keep going, envision your dream life, and don’t give up!