Bold Broads highlights women founders and creative [read: BADASS] small business owners about how they really deal with the ups and downs of running a BOLD business. These women share honest wisdom and tough lessons to support you in collectively making good shit happen in your own women-led startup or small business. Meet Monique Malcolm of Keep Chasing The Stars, an intuitive problem solver for creative entrepreneurs.
Let's meet her, shall we?
1. STARTING A BUSINESS IS HARD AND SOMETIMES LONELY. WHAT THE F*CK MOTIVATED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I discovered pretty quickly after getting my first post-college job that a corporate career wasn't going to be a longterm option for me. I wanted more creative freedom in my work and less micromanagement from an overbearing supervisor.
I worked exactly two jobs (insurance adjuster and science teacher) before I discovered blogging and Etsy. That was the first time that I realized there were ways to use my creativity to make money and completely forgo the path that my parents mapped out for me.
2. HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED TO KEEP THRIVING IN A CREATIVE SPACE WHERE EVERYONE SEEMS TO ONE-UP EACH OTHER?
Staying out of the comparison trap is harder than ever thanks to social media. I understand that having a curated feed and a stellar social media strategy is a part of the game but that doesn't mean that I have to allow it to work it's clever magic on me.
I try to zoom out of what everyone else is doing and zoom in to my own work. Sometimes this means unfollowing people that I really like on social media, muting them on twitter or even unsubscribing from their email lists. It seems harsh but I have to do the best I can to stay focused on my own shit and stay in my lane.
When I'm doing a good job of keeping my eyes on my own paper I find it easier to move forward with my ideas. I quickly brainstorm ideas on paper and figure out the quickest way to make this idea a tangible thing. Then, I only research things that I need to know to make the idea happen. I don't waste time reading tons of content other people created on the topic because I don't want to get caught up in that analysis paralysis death spiral.
You owe it to yourself to protect your creative energy the best way that you know how.
3. SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES ARE OFTEN QUIETLY SUPPORTED BY A COLLECTIVE OF WOMEN MENTORS, FRIENDS AND BUSINESS OWNERS. WHAT COMMUNITIES AND RESOURCES HAVE BEEN MOST PIVOTAL TO YOUR OWN BUSINESS SUCCESS?
The single best thing that I've done for my business was start attending conferences and in person events. Before that I was so lonely and miserable because there was nobody in my immediate circle that could relate to the type of business I was running or things I was experiencing.
Once I started meeting other creative women I realized that my feelings of loneliness were not exclusive to me. I started exchanging phone numbers with women that I really connected with.
This eventually lead to me putting together an accountability group. It has been instrumental to my growth. I have 3 accountability partners and we check-in weekly to update each other on our progress. Sometimes this is via text, Skype or even a walkie talkie app called Voxer. It's great to have people that are home during the day time and normally going through similar struggles.
4. NO BULLSH*T; WHAT'S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS? AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT; HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO OVERCOME THIS?
This is a little embarrassing for me to share but my biggest challenge is being more vocal about my work. I'm very much a person that wants my work to stand on it's own and speak for its self. I definitely drank the Kool-aid when it comes to the idea of creating good work and people will take notice. They will notice but it's at a much slower rate than if I just spoke up about what I have to offer.
I set an intention this year to "Show up and flourish". I've combined that with a goal to increase my visibility. Every month I research 5-10 places, people and events that I can share my work with and I pitch the places that feel are a good fit.
I've also made these intentions clear to the women in my circle. I ask them to make introductions or recommend me for opportunities that they come across.
One thing that I can say is that as the world gets more connected it's hard to rise above the noise if you're afraid to speak up for yourself.
5. SHARE THE MOST HELPFUL PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN.
This isn't advice that I've been given, it's the advice that I always give. Learn to be resourceful. I don't have any special advantages. I don't come from money. I wasn't well connected. I didn't have advance knowledge of anything that I do today. All I had was an idea and the desire to make it work.
I'm a completely self-taught product designer that has used Google and YouTube to learn graphic design, t-shirt screen printing, podcasting and manufacturing overseas.
I designed the entire first version of the Visionary Journal is Adobe Illustrator because that was the only design program that I knew at the time. I learned Adobe Indesign once I was ready for mass production. I used what I had at the time and made it work.
My resourcefulness is why I've been able to start a business. It's the reason that I've been able to do things efficiently and in a fairly lean manner.
Everything is Google-able. You just have to look beyond the first two pages of results.
I UNAPOLOGETICALLY OWN MY BOLD BROAD BADASSERY BECAUSE...
I'm committed to living my best life and showing other women that it's possible for them to.
I wrote this manifesto after my brother died unexpectedly:
"The worst thing that can happen is I do something and die. The reality is that I'm going to die anyway. It’s a guarantee. So why should I be afraid of living the life I want to live. Take a few risks. The bills will come, but so will the money. Even if it doesn’t I’ll still find a way to make it work."
It's sad that we need a death to change the trajectory of our lives and spur us into action. I want to do something about that. I want to empower as many people as possible to take the next small step in pursuing their ideas because the next world changing idea is sitting in someone's head right now. If I can challenge that person to move forward, then I feel like I've fulfilled my purpose.
I'm a badass because I care.
BOLD BROAD BONUS***FAVE APP OR WEBSITE?
I'm a huge fan of Microsoft OneNote (available on your phone and computer). It's a note taking app that allows you to create organized notebooks with different tab sections. I use it for brainstorming, blog writing, business planning, and podcasting. I've started digitizing all of my notes with it because it syncs all of your notebooks.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Monique Malcolm is an intuitive problem solver who develops tools, resources, and strategies for creative entrepreneurs who are in search of less confusion and more clarity in their businesses.
Through her brand Keep Chasing the Stars and her podcast Pimp Your Brilliance, Monique curates an outlet for dreamers who are obsessed with the idea of pursuing greatness. Her most notable creation is the Visionary Journal, a goal setting system designed to give ambitious creatives an action plan to push the limits on what’s possible for their lives.
An eager optimist and natural encourager, Monique Malcolm is a woman on a mission to push everyone she meets a little closer to the stars in the galaxy of their dreams. When she’s not running her blossoming empire, you can find her soaking up the Florida sun on a sandy beach with her husband and son.