From Realtor to Brand Designer: How One Mom Built a Virtual Boutique
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 Mabel Serulle, Founder of Mia Alexander Design Co.! Originally from Chestnutridge, New York, Mabel 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 Mia Alexander Design Co., a virtual branding boutique where I offer branding services for second career entrepreneurs. I’m also the Founder of Mia’s Papier, a custom wrapping paper boutique.
I launched my online boutique in January of 2020. Many of my clients are veterans and teachers who have so much more to give to the world after retirement and want the freedom of entrepreneurship: freedom they never had in their former careers. I make it easy for them to share and establish their new businesses with ready-to-buy mini-brands or 1-on-1 custom branding.
Overall, I help busy people who wear all the hats – like the mom who’s also the breadwinner and a community volunteer – to create lives and businesses where they’re more connected to what they love and have the freedom to enjoy it.
My clients benefit from my personalized service whether it’s creating unique wrapping paper for their child’s birthday or creating an impactful, modern brand that helps their business stand out from the crowd!
Q: How did you discover the Bucketlist Bombshells and what inspired you to enroll in the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy?
I discovered the Bucketlist Bombshells when I googled work from home jobs.
“I’ve always longed to find a creative and fulfilling career, one that would help me gain the income necessary to provide for my family but not take me away from them.”
Q: How have the courses helped you to become an online business owner?
The Bucketlist Bombshells Academy completely transformed my life. I now see the world in a different way.
“I went from having zero Adobe Illustrator experience to becoming an experienced graphic designer who is currently working on getting certified via Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop!”
Since completing the courses and launching Mia Alexander Design Co., I realized that I can make my own path and don’t have to solely become a web designer or social media manager. Although I do offer those services, they are not my bread and butter. Since completing the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy, I have found a love and passion for pattern design.
“Before I discovered the Bucketlist Bombshells, I used to think that the only way for me to provide for my family was to leave my home and work a standard 9-5.”
Prior to launching my own business, traveling was always a scheduled event based on someone else’s time… if I was even allowed to go and not stuck working the skeleton crew. Unfortunately, my children and I have spent so many holidays alone.
Q: What type of job were you working in prior to running your own online business?
Prior to running Mia Alexander Design Co., I was a Property Manager and licensed Realtor.
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?
It took me a long time to complete the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy. A year into purchasing the courses, I still wasn’t close to finishing. So, I made a choice to dedicate three to four hours a day if I was able to and would wake up at 5am to study for two hours. I worked on the courses in the morning, during my “lunch break,” and late at night. I was able to complete all of the courses in December of 2019.
Q: What was the final push in your story to get you to ditch that 9-5 job?
Just a few short years ago, I had all the outside markers of success: a title, a good income, and even an MVP award from one of the top property management firms in the south. On top of that, I’d developed a reputation as a creative, outside-the-box thinker and the go-to person for marketing, branding, sales, and customer service. But on the inside, I was miserable.⠀
At the last property I managed, I worked up to 60 hours a week with an over two-hour commute one-way. My regional director gave me no training or tools for the job, not even a laptop. ⠀
Hustling had become second nature, driven by a fear of losing everything I’d worked for over the years because the boss could always decide that I wasn’t “good enough.”⠀
The final straw was this: my hours escalated so drastically in an attempt to keep the terrible job that “seemed” like success and stability, that I spent 72 hours without seeing my sons. It made me physically sick.
I was working so hard in the name of creating stability and a great lifestyle for my kids, but in the process, their mom – their most important anchor – had completely disappeared from their lives. ⠀
“So, I gave my notice and decided I’d find a new way to make a living and have a life while doing it.”
I already knew running my own business was the solution to creating a schedule that revolved around what I loved most in life. But soon, I also felt the call to put the skills I loved at the business’ heart.
I knew I could help so many new business owners make their own transitions a success by creating their standout brands. These brands would set them apart for their ideal clients and help them make an income (and a difference) that would replace their old careers. Just like I’d replaced mine!
Q: How long was it until you landed your first client online?
I landed my first client within a month!
Q: What is your process for finding and landing clients online?
Currently, I’m using Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to find and land clients. I have also joined multiple Facebook groups, however, most of my clients now come from word-of-mouth.
Q: What has been your biggest setback and how did you overcome it?
I suffered from imposter syndrome and second-guessed myself so many times. I’ve overcome the imposter syndrome by continuing to push forward, educating myself, and when I felt I needed a break, I took one.
Q: What’s the most challenging part about running your online business?
The most challenging part about running Mia Alexander Design Co. has been managing my time accordingly. Running a business and homeschooling is not as easy as one would think, but it has all come together!
Q: Looking back on your online business journey, what is something that you’re most proud of?
I am most proud of the journey itself. I have learned and grown so much and there’s still so much more to come!
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 jump into creating a website, but to instead take the time to find your niche.
Q: Tell us what a “day in the life” looks like for you now that you’re running your own online business!
My mornings are interesting to say the least!
- 7am: I make breakfast for my kids
- 8:10am: Both of my kids are at their computers ready for school
- 8:30am: I check both emails and calendars
- 9am-12pm: I begin working on my to-do list and am the class mom for my five-year-old’s classroom
- 12-1:25pm: We have lunch
- 1:25-6pm: Class begins for my kiddos until 2:25pm. They then work on homework while I continue to work on my to-do list until I end my workday
Q: What’s the best part about being your own boss?
There are so many positive things about being my own boss! I love that being my own boss and having a virtual business allows me the flexibility to go down south for a while to visit my daughter and granddaughter!
“Now, I get to work from home, set my own hours, and have unlimited income potential!”
Q: What do you love most about the work you do and the clients you work with?
I love that I get to help my clients create the life they’ve longed for. They’re all really nice and working with them is so fun!
“Creating brands or custom wrapping paper doesn’t even feel like work!”
Q: What’s your favorite business tool that you’d recommend to other girl bosses? Why do you love it?
I love using Canva. It offers a multitude of templates to help your business succeed!
Q: What is one of your favorite business books that you would recommend to another girl boss and why do you love it?
I highly recommend Brand Brilliance: Elevate your Brand, Enchant your Audience by Fiona Humberstone! It’s a great read and provides a great breakdown on how to discover your own unique brand.
Q: What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring Bucketlist Bombshells?
It’s never too late to create the life you dream of!
3 Steps To Building A Wildly Successfull Service-Based Online Business
3 Steps To Building A Wildly Successfull Service-Based Online Business
Meet The Bucketlist Bombshells
Hey! We're Cassie & Shay - we're obsessed with helping women build an online service-based business giving them the freedom to travel the world!
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We’re Cassie & Shay
– we’re obsessed with helping women build an online service-based business giving them the freedom to travel the world!
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