Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elizabeth Todd, Founder of A Peace of Werk by Eliza Todd, located in Milwaukee, WI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Art and design have been the main emphasis of my business since I began almost eight years ago. What started out as a hobby and search for a new direction turned into a business where I have partnered with small and large companies to license my artwork for their products and publications. Since early 2020 however, my business has shifted slightly, and quite a bit of my design and messaging focuses more on mindfulness, well-being, and mental health. I have both retail and wholesale clients for my products, and I partner with larger manufacturers for my licensing work.
Tell us about yourself
My early career was heavily embedded in the tech industry, but after I had my second son, it became important for me to stay home to rear my children full-time. Once both of my boys were at a self-sufficient age, I started to apply to join the workforce again. After almost 12 years away, however, it was difficult to find a path back in. So while I did my job search, I also pursued a lifelong passion for doing art. I had studied it in college and spent many years unable to find time to create, so this seemed like a great opportunity. I started reacquainting myself with painting, drawing, and learning new technologies like Photoshop to help me along the way. I started by making one-of-a-kind pieces that were sold at local shops. Soon after starting this, I was approached by a local manufacturer to start licensing my art on their products. At the time, I didn't even know this was the thing I could pursue. However, it turned out to be an amazing opportunity that opened many doors for me over the years, including acquiring a wonderful agent. In early 2020, I felt the need to share more of my personal journey on social media. For many years, I have had ups and downs with mental health. During my return to art, however, I discovered that creating art was very powerful in helping me find balance, peace, and well-being-very powerful! It was at this time I felt a calling to become more vulnerable and share it with my community. As someone who is immensely private, this was very scary at first, but I soon learned I was not alone. Lo and behold, many of the thoughts and feelings I had, many others were having too. This step towards vulnerability gave birth to A Peace of Werk, a brand that focuses on Mindful Making by normalizing mental health struggles, creating awareness around coping strategies (primarily relating to using creativity to cope), and supporting others to find a creative endeavor that will support their own journey.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to be a full-time artist and develop really wonderful relationships with large manufacturers, but if I were to pick one thing, it would be building the A Peace of Werk community. Through social media, I have had the opportunity to cross paths with truly amazing, wise, and encouraging individuals. I poured a lot of myself into this, but what I have received in return is hard to put into words.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
For me, it is boundaries-I really struggle to put my work down. Being primarily a solopreneur means there is always more to be done. I work a lot, and I know this isn't sustainable forever, but I do love what I do, so there is tension there. So I am focusing on establishing systems and hiring some help so that I can achieve a better work/life balance.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Building a business is a long game (usually). There are many ups and downs along the way, but hold on to your vision and just keep stepping forward.
- Support- Always be building your support system, whether that comes from a partner, family member, or other entrepreneurs. This support is crucial during hard moments. Your support system will help you remember and point you toward your true north. When something happens to shake your confidence, the support system in your life can help you recenter and get back on track.
- Get clear on your 'why." Why are you doing this? Why are you working so hard? Why are you stretching yourself day in and day out? If you are clear, then you will be less distractible, and then it will be easier to find the fastest or best path between those two points of where you are and where you want to be.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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