Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cat Medeiros, owner and creative director of Sallua Creative, located in Golden, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sallua Creative is a graphic design agency that integrates intuition with logic and specializes in rebranding and digital work. These days, audiences want more than just data or logic. We help our clients get thereby digging deep, getting into alignment with their mission and passion, and visually expressing what makes them tick in their businesses. This allows them to not only stand out in the market but, most importantly, genuinely connect with their people.
We love supporting the health and wellness industry, but really we're less interested in a specific industry and more invested in the uniqueness or good our clients are up to. All our clients are pioneers by their own right. They've invented a new niche, a new process, are working with ingredients in a new way, or are performing as leaders (by doing it differently) in their sector. This means they've usually seen or tried things the traditional way, they're ready for something different and more meaningful or, they want something that specifically suits and expresses their business without bending to trends. We find them inspiring in their own right, which helps spark our creativity when working for them.
Tell us about yourself
Like a true creative, I'm often bursting with ideas and inspiration. I've always felt like the black sheep in the room with the upside-down-backward perspective that no one else seems to get. But, hell, it certainly benefits me in my work. I'm motivated by the need to make and meeting so many inspiring individuals who are not afraid to be or do it their way. I love that and the good they put out there in the world!
Sallua came to me after being away on a four-day retreat where I realized I needed to be more authentic in my business. I had worked as a contract designer for about one year at that point and had proved I could support myself in this way; that I was disciplined to be my own boss–hello laptop on a beach!! Haha, jk–that's actually so impractical as a designer. Imagine the sand getting everywhere!
The retreat resulted in two things: 1. I had to be honest about my intuitive process and interests, and 2. I needed to be more vulnerable and expressive in the brand itself. So I ditched my boring, legal name as my business name. Inspired by my parent's birthplace, I combined two Portuguese words: Sal, meaning salt, and Lua, meaning moon.
I wanted to do work that, just like salt, brought out all the flavours and juiciness in others businesses. And like the moon, which is seen as the feminine, mysterious and cyclical with its own rhythms, my creative process matched AND was something I could repeat with each new client while delivering unique results. My business name has become a kind of North Star in what it is I do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building a network of talented individuals with who I can collaborate with in support of my clients while staying small and nimble for them too. This has taken me several years to form, the first two of which were really just me breaking down this idea that I had to do it all alone. I’ve had to learn how to lead with a team and let them do their thing. But I am so grateful and proud of the designers, web developers, writers, and project managers in our community and to our epic Video Team, who is turning into a major creative partner.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Balance. When you're starting out, it can sometimes feel like you're just seeing if it's even viable, and so it feels fun, scary, but exciting. Eventually, you realize, "Hot-Damn! This is viable," and you need to take it to the next level. It's a balancing act.
There's working IN your business (with clients), working ON the business (marketing, hiring, accounting, new services, learning new skills, etc.), and then rest and play. Routines, rituals, schedules work for some, while others need more flexibility and fluidness. You just have to dive in and try things for yourself, don't be afraid to pivot when something doesn't work, and to develop boundaries.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Starting a business, as much as it is about your clients and your team, is really about your self-growth at the end of the day. So be kind to yourself and notice the big and small wins.
- Fear is going to come up often. Try to look it in its face, ask yourself why this fear? What am I missing out on by not facing it? What could be the benefit if I do face it?
- Don’t judge anyone and talk to almost everyone. People are hidden gems, and you really never know who you’re going to meet who is going to be a team member, an advisor, a client, or an amazing connector.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
It’s normal to have highs and lows. It’s normal to feel unconfident but remember that’s temporary. If you keep putting one foot in front of the other–funny thing–you’ll figure it out, and you’ll get there. Don’t pay too much attention to how everyone else is doing it. The more you do it the way that resonates for you, the more success and ease you’ll feel. You can build a house with wood, brick, or cement, and in each case, you end up with a home right? You got this!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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