BY ANASTASIA CASEY
I WAS FIRED.
That’s how my journey to business owner began.
After receiving an exciting job offer, my boss of three years fired me for being disloyal and considering the position. Then, that position was no longer on the table. In less than 24 hours, everything I had known, worked for, and built in my career was gone. The thought of going back to a corporate role put a pit in my stomach.
My palms started to sweat and my heart sped up.
I knew deep in my soul it was time to start my own business.
I’d freelanced on the side and knew I had a skillset I could offer. No longer were my endless hours of hard work and dedication going to be put toward someone else’s dream. They were going to be put toward my own.
That first month starting my business was the honeymoon phase. The freedom to make my own schedule, to work the hours I work best, to be in control of my own income.
It was intoxicating. I was addicted.
But after just 3 months, the weight of entrepreneurship slowed me down.
The journey of a small business owner can be a lonely one.
I felt completely isolated. I wasn’t learning as quickly as I wanted to be because there was no one there pushing me to do better. I was checking Instagram more times a day than I like to admit, desperately looking for some sort of human connection. Then fate stepped in and my business was forever changed.
I was invited to join an Instagram pod (remember those?) by Kaitlin Fontenot of LoveKait. Kaitlin originally posted the concept in a Facebook group, inviting girls to join her Instagram Engagement Pod. She founded the group with Tierra M. Wilson who each invited fellow creatives they thought would be a good fit. It was a handpicked group of women in similar fields: designers, developers, and social media managers.
"We knew that we each had something incredible to offer one another, but we didn’t know exactly how strong our bond would grow,” Kaitlin told me about forming the group.
We agreed to simple ground rules and promised to like and comment on each other’s photos to help boost engagement on our own accounts. What began as an Instagram marketing tool quickly became a way of life. By actively engaging on each other’s accounts, we began supporting each other whole-heartedly and authentically. We left quality, thoughtful comments on one another’s posts, which prompted others in our audience to leave comments and engage.
The 10 of us slowly began using the Instagram pod to keep up with each other; ask client-related questions, cheer each other on, and make silly jokes. We were fast friends and my feeling of loneliness quickly began melting away. The pod served its purpose well, each of our Instagram accounts grew steadily, but more importantly...
I had people to confide in who understood my struggles and my victories.
Read more about Anastasia's story in ISSUE 10.
Anastasia Casey is the founder and creative director at The Identité Collective. She specializes in branding, web design and content creation for interior designers and lifestyle brands. Born and raised in San Francisco, Anastasia now lives in Austin. Follow #creativeclique to keep up with her and the full Creative Clique.
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