From Receptionist to Designer: How One Woman Launched a Branding and Web Design Studio
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 entrepreneurs, and so much more!
Today, we’re sitting down with our student Cathy Zhang, Founder of Like a Star Co.! Originally from Sydney, Australia, Cathy 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 Like a Star Co., where I offer services in branding and Squarespace website design. I create authentic, unique, strategic, and beautiful brands and websites for small business owners that convert. Through my designs, my clients are able to attract their dream clients and stand out from the crowd!
“I officially launched in September of 2020!”
Q: How did you discover the Bucketlist Bombshells?
I discovered the Bucketlist Bombshells through Facebook and Instagram ads!
Q: What inspired you to enroll in the Bucketlist Bombshells courses?
In 2019, I graduated University and had a casual job. During the pandemic, I was laid off, leaving me muddled about my future as my original plan of travelling and teaching English overseas had flopped.
A 9-5 job had always been unappealing to me. However, it felt like it was the only way to make a living because that’s what everyone around me did.
“I was applying for jobs with zero enthusiasm – It felt like a draining and endless cycle.”
One day, I stumbled across a Facebook ad for the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy. I had no idea it was possible to work from anywhere in the world… but I scrolled past it because it felt so unrealistic to me. The ad continued to pop up literally every time I went on social media and it felt like a sign from God!
After a week of seeing the ads about 50 times, I ended up checking the Bucketlist Bombshells out, watching their free masterclass, and investing in the Tech Skills Course with the mindset of learning new skills and being more hireable.
Q: How have the courses helped you to become an online business owner?
The Bucketlist Bombshells Academy has helped me immensely in becoming an online business owner. I have always loved being online and love using social media. As a teen, I even ran a successful blog with over 10k followers/subscribers. However, I never knew being present online could enable me to be a business owner. The Tech Skills Course helped me hone in on my existing skills!
The biggest surprise was falling in love with design through the Design Skills Course. I fell head over heels in love with the branding process, from crafting an inspirational mood board to putting all the design elements together!
The Work Online and Travel the World Course equipped me with the skills to be a business owner in all aspects, from starting off with the right mindset to setting everything up!
“The Bucketlist Bombshells Academy made me realise that it was possible for me to launch my own business and it gave me the courage to do so!”
Q: What type of job were you working in prior to running your own online business?
Prior to launching Like a Star Co., I was working as a medical receptionist about 10 hours per week. I felt okay about my job, but I was very unmotivated to seek out other jobs. After taking leave, I was eventually laid off!
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?
After over a month of being laid off and moping around, I knew I had to change! So, once I enrolled, I committed most of my time to completing the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy.
Q: What was the final push in your story to get you to ditch that 9-5 job?
Ever since I was a University student, the 9-5 lifestyle never appealed to me. I lived far from the University, so I would have to take the bus or train to get there. By 7:30am, it was always packed with full-time workers looking tired and grumpy. I’m not a morning person and couldn’t imagine myself having to live like that five days a week, every year, for the next 40 or so years.
“I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t work a 9-5! However, since that was the norm and I didn’t know the online business world existed, I had no idea how to go about finding a job!”
I had many doubts, but my final “aha” moment was when a fellow Bucketlist Bombshells student (now my biz bestie!) reached out to me on Facebook Messenger. She said that the website I designed was really nice and asked me how I did it. This helped boost my confidence and showed me that I was capable and had the talent for it!
Q: How long was it until you landed your first client online?
My first client project was designing a website for my family’s business. While I was completing the Design Skills Course and the Work Online and Travel the World Course, I landed my first real client for website design!
Q: What is your process for finding and landing clients online?
I find and land clients through Facebook groups and Instagram.
“It’s so important to engage with others and offer value!”
Q: What has been your biggest setback, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest setback was self-doubt and caring what other people thought of me. Growing up, I always struggled with self-esteem and doubted my skills. The whole idea of starting my own online business felt crazy and insane to me. In fact, I never even considered purchasing the Work Online and Travel the World Course because it felt so irrelevant and unrealistic to me!
I overcame this by spending a lot of time reading about other people who had similar experiences and feelings as me as well as having a lot of mindset shifts.
I was also worried that the people around me would judge me. So, I didn’t talk to anyone about it apart from my family, people in the Bucketlist Bombshells community, and one friend.
Then, one day while lurking on Instagram, I came across a post and it said something along the lines of, “If they don’t like what you’re doing, they’re just jealous you’re in a better place than them.”
This post really hit me and made me realise that I am living for myself and not to please other people! When I shared about my business with some friends, a couple of them also said something similar which really encouraged me.
“I know that there are people who don’t like what I’m doing, but I’ve now truly realized that I don’t need anyone’s approval to pursue my dreams and passions!”
Q: What’s the most challenging part about running your online business?
The most challenging part about running my own online business is finding the perfect balance between work and personal life. Because I’m on social media a lot, it’s so easy to endlessly scroll and check my phone for work-related things first thing when I wake up or right before bed.
“I now schedule social media breaks which has been really helpful!”
Q: Looking back on your online business journey, what is something that you’re most proud of?
I’m most proud of myself for taking the leap to start my own online business! Even to this day, it feels so surreal when I tell people that I run my own online business. My overall well-being and mental health have improved so much during my journey.
“I’m proud of myself for persevering and becoming confident in my ability to serve my clients!”
Q: If you could speak to your past self, what piece of advice would you give her?
I was very anxious that I wouldn’t be good enough and that I couldn’t make my business work, so I kept putting it off. But in the end, it’s all about taking a leap of faith and trying different things to see what works for you!
“I would tell my past self to stop hesitating and that there is no such thing as perfect timing!”
Q: How do you stay inspired and motivated to run your online business?
I stay inspired by remembering that I don’t ever want a 9-5 and that I’m striving for financial and time freedom. The online business world has so much growth potential and there are so many things I can learn and explore!
Q: Tell us what a “day in the life” looks like for you now that you’re running your own online business!
I’m not a morning person, so I wake up around 9am, eat a healthy breakfast, and go for a walk! Then, I write down my to-do’s in my daily planner and get to work by 10:30am. I work for a few hours and eat a delicious lunch. Depending on what my workload is, I’ll work a couple of hours in the afternoon and sometimes a few hours at night too.
Q: What’s the best part about being your own boss?
The best part about being my own boss is how flexible my time is! Now, I get to wake up whenever I want, pop out to lunch with a friend, or go shopping with my family in the middle of the day. I can even sneak in an afternoon nap and still be able to get my work done!
“I love that I look forward to each workday because every day is so unique!”
Q: What do you love most about the work you do and the clients you work with?
I love that through my work, I’m able to support other fellow small businesses in bringing their brands and websites to life! It’s so encouraging when they love my work and see results from it.
I also love interacting with my clients and learning about their businesses and their lives. It feels SO rewarding knowing that I can make a difference in their business because of my skills and knowledge!
I used to dread Mondays! Now, I’ve come to love them because it’s usually the start date for most of my new projects. I look forward to seeing the final project at the end of the week!
Q: What is your favorite destination to work remotely from?
I haven’t had the chance to work anywhere except for home, but I really love it. It’s super comfortable as I just work in my PJ’s and slippers!
“Being able to work from home and spend time with my family whenever I want is so great!”
Q: What’re your favorite business tools that you’d recommend to other girl bosses? Why do you love them?
Google Calendar is fantastic for setting up my workflow calendar for booking clients! It’s so clear, simple to use, and you can see everything at a glimpse!
I love Wave for accounting purposes. It’s straightforward, helps you keep track of expenses, and you can create quick invoices too!
“My favourite business tools are Google Calendar and Wave!”
Q: What’s your go-to favorite podcast that you’d recommend to other girl bosses?
I’ve recently started listening to the Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher. I love that she covers so many topics and always makes the podcast interesting!
Q: What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring Bucketlist Bombshells?
The two mottos that have helped me overcome my hesitations are:
“If you don’t try, you’ll regret it for a lifetime.”
“Nothing changes if nothing changes.”
If you don’t want to be where you are now in a couple of years, the only way is to take action! If I can do it, so can you!
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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