I have never seen Sarah Bohl not smiling. While I have been assured that she is, in fact, human, her energy and joy are incredible (and contagious!). In recent years she has discovered a way to bring that joy to others by helping them add beauty to their most important occasions. What started as a hobby has transformed in to a successful and rewarding business and a loyal following of customers and admirers. To read about her journey - and see examples of her incredible creations, read on...
How did you know it was time to make a change?
I started doing calligraphy about 6 years ago. At the time, I had a baby and was looking for something to do at home that would be a creative outlet for me. I was also doing interior design as well--just basically looking for a hobby that would stick. At the time we were living in Missouri and our life looked a lot different!
Two years later we moved to the DC area with a three and one year old. I was away from the customer base I had built and felt trapped as a stay at home mom with no outlet. Making matters worse, I felt like a failure for feeling that way (the mommy guilt circle!). I knew I didn't want to go back into interior design and recognized I needed to be able to work with a client and show them exactly what they were getting---calligraphy.
I started practicing more and more and introduced myself to shop owners in the DC Metro area. I started getting busier and busier....and realized that I absolutely loved being a part of weddings and special occasions. I connected to the clients who wanted to give their guests personalized artwork in the form of an envelope, place card, or menu card.
But I still viewed it as a hobby. I still felt guilty that I was spending time away from my kids or that being a stay at home mom wasn't "enough" for me personally because I wanted so badly to succeed at that. I was afraid of being a "creative entrepreneur" because I felt like I would fail.
Two years ago (four years after I started), I decided to start taking myself seriously as a business owner. I actually started identifying myself as an artist. I let go of the feelings of mommy guilt and realized that this was what I was meant to do, and that I was a much better wife and mother when I was working. I got over my fear of failure. I hired a financial coach, a brand coach, and went about launching myself fully into the wedding industry. I made myself an office in our home.
Almost right away, I was blessed with enough work to make this a full time career. There are incredibly tough days, but there are a lot more joyful rewarding days. I believe I am a better mom because I can enjoy my children more. I don't know what took me so long to change my attitude and outlook, but I'm so glad I did!
What gave you the confidence you needed to move forward?
Honestly, it was a "fake-it-til-you-make-it" kind of thing. I felt my self-confidence had gotten to the point where I needed to make a change. I would set small quarterly goals for myself, and when I accomplished them, I would get more confidence. It was a snowball effect! I still have to work at it.
Who/what inspires you today?
My husband inspires me because he is so self-motivated and we often share business strategies. Lara Casey, the editor of Southern Weddings magazine, hosts a conference called Making Things Happen--which was a weekend full of inspiration and motivation. Music inspires me, as well as the ocean and the mountains (so cliche but true!) I love Instagram because it is often full of beautiful images that inspire me (But not Pinterest--too perfect!).
What are you dreaming about now?
I would love to start a community get together for other creative entrepreneurs, where we could come together and bounce ideas or strategies off each other, support each other, and lift each other up. I'm also dreaming of ways to make more passive income.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
"Done is better than perfect." I struggle a lot with perfection, and this quote (which I heard from Lara Casey, not sure where it originated) is my work motto.
What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you started?
That a lot of successful people have a concern that they do not deserve the level of achievement that they have reached. It's a very natural feeling, no matter what level you are on.
What encouragement can you offer someone who wants to make a change but is apprehensive?
Just jump in with both feet! Have confidence in yourself to make the leap because you deserve it.
What book(s) have provided guidance or inspiration for your New Beginning?
Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Make it Happen by Lara Casey
Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Do Over by Jon Acuff