From Writer to Designer and Photographer: How One Female Founder Built a Creative 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 business owners, and so much more!
Today, we’re sitting down with our student Polly Arnold, Founder of Wild Sand Studios! Originally from England, Polly 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 Owner and Creative Director of Wild Sand Studios, a modern creative studio that specialises in branding, web design, and photography. We officially launched in January 2020 under a former name and we rebranded to Wild Sand Studios in October 2020. My team currently consists of four amazing and talented women!
“We help conscious entrepreneurs build timeless brands that are effortlessly cool and create a positive social and environmental impact!”
Q: How did you discover the Bucketlist Bombshells?
I discovered the Bucketlist Bombshells through Facebook ads. I watched their free online workshop and masterclass. Then, one day, I was in the right frame of mind and just thought, “Screw it!” I purchased the Design Skills Course and the Work Online and Travel the World Course and never looked back!
Q: What inspired you to enroll in the Bucketlist Bombshells courses?
I was inspired to enroll in the Bucketlist Bombshells courses because of Cassie and Shay! I loved their energy and how attainable they made the idea of working for yourself.
Q: How have the courses helped you to become an online business owner?
The Work Online and Travel the World Course taught me the day-to-day runnings in business.
The Design Skills Course taught me the foundational work in graphic design. My absolute favourite part was the amazing portfolio I had once I completed the course. It helped me land some of my first clients and build from there!
These courses gave me the head start I needed! Without a doubt, I use all of the knowledge I soaked up from the courses every day in my business!
Q: What type of job were you working in prior to running your own online business?
Prior to running Wild Sand Studios, I was working as a copywriter in a social media agency. I love writing, however, this job was writing short copy for businesses I wasn’t passionate about.
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?
In the thick of it, I would get up at 6:30am and take client calls. Then, I would head to my 9-5, come home, eat, and then work on client projects until about 11pm. Rinse and repeat.
It wasn’t healthy but it was necessary to build my business to the point that I felt comfortable leaving my 9-5 job.
“It took me about eight months of building up my business to finally take the plunge and ditch my 9-5.”
Q: What was the final push in your story to get you to ditch that 9-5 job?
I started to get sick all the time. My body was tired and yelling ‘no more.’ So one day, I picked up the phone and told my boss I was handing in my notice. I had a good feeling that my business had legs and would work. So, I took the plunge!
Q: How long was it until you landed your first client online?
My first two clients came from within the Bucketlist Bombshells student community. One girl bought my design for the Sahara Co portfolio project! I was amazed that she wanted to buy my design.
The second was a girl who needed help with her branding. We have worked on multiple projects together since!
“I landed my first big client in March 2020 and the rest is history!”
Q: What is your process for finding and landing clients online?
Over the last year, I have focused on building my Instagram presence. This has been my largest generator of clients!
Heading into 2021, I hired a Pinterest Manager and am hoping to generate clients from there. I am also starting to build up a good referral system and am getting a steady stream of clients from that avenue!
Q: What has been your biggest setback, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest setback was a client pulling out after the second round of concepts was presented. I was gutted. I thought it was all my fault and it made my imposter syndrome come out in full force.
After that, I thought I wasn’t cut out for this and considered quitting. Who was I kidding?
I picked myself up and looked at it objectively. I gained a great lesson from it about how clients should be really secure with what they want before rebranding. Otherwise, as a designer, you can’t really help.
Q: What’s the most challenging part about running your online business?
The most challenging part has been sticking to a schedule. I have spent the last few months really drilling into a daily routine and trying to set myself up for success. However, it can be distracting being at home all day.
“Going to cafes a few times a week really helps me stay focused!”
Q: Looking back on your online business journey, what is something that you’re most proud of?
I’m so proud of how I have pushed through the hard times and come out on the other side. There have been a few times when I wanted to throw in the towel, but something keeps bringing me back and telling me to keep going.
“I look at my business now and think, ‘Wow, I created that!’”
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 rush it. Good things take time and your business is no exception. You will find it hard at first but when you get into the groove, there’s no feeling quite like it!
“You’ve got this and I believe in you!”
Q: How do you stay inspired and motivated to run your online business?
I read a lot of personal development books, especially around emotional intelligence and philosophy. It is a big passion of mine to try and become the best version of myself. So, when I’m having a rough day, I usually read one of my books and it helps me get motivated again!
Another thing that helps me stay inspired and motivated is having a great support system around me. My boyfriend is so encouraging and always knows the right thing to say. I have built a network of friends locally who all have their own businesses so it’s a great way to stay inspired and lift each other up.
Q: Tell us what a “day in the life” looks like for you now that you’re running your own online business!
I wake up around 7am and take a big glass of water with lemon. Then, I do something to move my body such as pilates, running on the beach, or surfing. After that, I have a shower and head down to the beach or outside with my notebook. I usually write out my to-do list and any ideas I have.
From about 9am-12pm, I do some work either at home or cycle to a local cafe. Then I have a long lunch break and try to go for a walk or see some friends. From 2 or 3pm until 5pm, I do some more work.
In the evenings, I either go to a fitness class or cook a healthy meal with friends and relax. I love to read a good book and have a long stretch before bed around 10:30pm.
Q: What’s the best part about being your own boss?
It’s been hard to unlearn the 9-5 mentality but once I did, it’s so liberating! I love that during the week, I have the flexibility to see friends, work out when I want, and work with so many amazing people!
“The best part about being my own boss is getting to design my life!”
Q: What do you love most about the work you do and the clients you work with?
I absolutely love bringing brands to life! We work with a lot of conscious entrepreneurs that have a really purpose-driven business. I love getting to hear their story and help build a brand that’s going to have a positive social and environmental impact.
I love that I won’t ever stop learning. There are always new trends to look out for and techniques to master. It’s so much fun!
Q: What is your favorite destination to work remotely from?
I love working from a local cafe called Gather. It’s a short cycle away from my house and is so nicely decorated. It brings me a lot of inspiration and I love it as a weekly treat to get out of my home office and mix it up! Plus, their cocoa macadamia slice is out of this world!
Q: What’re your favorite business tools that you’d recommend to other girl bosses? Why do you love them?
There are a few business tools that I absolutely love and can’t live without:
- Asana for all of my project management
- Slack to communicate with my team
- Dubsado to automate my workflows
- Stripe and Transferwise to make payments overseas
- Later to schedule my Instagram and Facebook posts
- Toggl for time tracking
- Splice to edit videos and Reels
Q: What is one of your favorite business books that you would recommend to another girl boss and why do you love it?
I have recently been reading How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s all about how making connections with strangers can lead to some amazing opportunities. I think it’s such a great message and can be a great tool to grow your business!
Q: What’s your go-to favorite podcast that you’d recommend to other girl bosses?
I love listening to The Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher. It’s fun, interactive, and has so many great actionable tips!
Q: What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring Bucketlist Bombshells?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something! At first, people may not understand, but once they see you killing it and living your best life, they’ll come around!
“You are in charge of your own destiny and you know what’s best for you. Take the leap, you owe it to yourself.”
I’m so thankful that I stumbled across the Bucketlist Bombshells. If it wasn’t for these courses, I wouldn’t have found my passion and wouldn’t be where I am now.
“Take the gamble and get the courses! You never know where it might lead 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!
Today, we’re sitting down with BB student Marion, Founder of Modali Branding! Join us as she...
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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