I’m learning that my focus and my business is very two-fold :: as a designer and as a teacher/encourager. Growing in each of those areas requires me to define my brand by finding my voice (teacher/ encourager/ blogger) and refining my signature style (designer).
Both of these take a lot of time and a lot of practice, but eventually your voice emerges and begins to solidify. I spent the later part of 2008 and all of 2009 really defining my “style” as an artist. In the beginning, I created all types of invitations and stationery – from the very ornate to the bare minimal. Somewhere along the way (perhaps as I narrowed down the 49 suites I designed for my 16 suite collection) I discovered what I find to be most beautiful :: minimal, traditional, quality, fresh Southern style. My style will always shift, change and grow as a designer, but finding that “sweet spot” felt so good after sleepless nights and hours upon HOURS staring at Illustrator.
Now, I’m discovering my voice as a blogger. The more I stay true to my core (to what FIRES me up) the more comfortable I find myself producing/conceptualizing good content (and good designs, for that matter). I find that my network grows, comments on the blog increases and ELP gets more and more inquiries from brides and other wedding professionals looking to partner with a good designer or ask questions of someone else making this journey. All this to say that when I am faced with a decision (HUGE or teeny), I have made myself a promise to measure it against one thing :: does it serve my “mission” as “Emily Ley”? Sure, you typically hear “mission” associated with a business or a non-profit-organization, but as a professional, you should define your very own mission as well. My mission/goal/promise (whatever you’d like to call it) consists of a couple of things:
1. To be as real and authentic as possible, even when its uncomfortable.
2. To stay true to my Southern heritage as a designer :: less is more; “classy” never goes out of style.
3. To push myself constantly, always, forever. The. End.
4. To stay focused on what FIRES ME UP :: my love and PASSION to BUILD a family, a home, a business, a brand and MOST importantly – other people UP.
If I measure each opportunity, partnership, relationship, idea, design and post against those four things, I have a pretty good feeling it’ll keep me on my path towards my big dreams, help me stay sane (always a plus), and help fill my days with joy and adventure.