New DD Header

When we receive emails from people nominating coworkers for the #welldesignedlifeseries, we take notice. What says “I think you’re doing a great job at life” better than singing their praises to others? (hint: we can’t think of much else!) We knew this interview with Kim would rock and we can’t wait to share it with you! 

Let’s start off with an introduction! Tell us about yourself. Roles you play and what you do. 

My name is Kim Cruickshanks, I’m the creative director and founder of a small boutique branding agency, Fuze Branding. We craft custom visual identity, web design, copywriting, and photography specifically for small businesses.

kimheadshot

What accomplishment are you most proud of in life so far? 

I have to say, starting my own business has been one of the most challenging and most rewarding experience of my life so far. I’ve grown more as an individual in the last 2 years and I’m super proud of that. But above that, I feel like creating the life I wanted, a life that I enjoy – is my biggest accomplishment of my life so far. There are so many things telling us we can’t, but we CAN.

Tell us about your big dreams. Where do you want to go, what do you want to do, and why? 

Three years ago I wouldn’t have thought that I could work in another country, but now my boyfriend and I work abroad for a few months each year. It’s been such an amazing experience. The change of environment helps clear your brain for inspired ideas, and it’s helped me live a more balanced life.

One day, I’d like to host a co-working retreat for other business owners. My dream is to be somewhere tropical – shaded cabanas, wifi, cold blended drinks, collaboration of ideas and a masseuse named Javier… Doesn’t that sound like a great work day?

What are some struggles you’ve faced in achieving your dreams so far? Have you learned anything from them that you want to share? 

Don’t take anything personally. I used to take everything to heart, but I learned business is business. Don’t let it invade your personal life and get you down in the dumps.

Do your dreams look different now than they used to?  If so, what changed about them?

Oh man, my dreams totally flipped! My boyfriend likes to quote me saying, “I never want to have my own business,” and now I can’t imagine the opposite.  I thought I was going work for a company forever, and at the time, I really loved it.  But then the management shifted, and I felt so miserable going to work everyday. I started freelancing as a way to build my portfolio.

BUT I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world. It taught me two very important things: 1) Always value, motivate, and show gratitude to your people. They are everything.  2) You can always take control of your life, and find your path. It might take awhile — there’ll probably be a lot of weekends chained to your computer — but you CAN do it.

If you could go back and visit yourself at any age, what would you tell your younger self? What kind of encouragement or wisdom do you wish you had at that time?

I thought about this for awhile, but I don’t think I would tell my younger self anything. If I had the answers upfront, I wouldn’t learn a powerful lesson. I think everything happens for a reason, and all that stuff ( the good AND the bad ) make me who I am. I wouldn’t want to change that.

What three daily things can you not live without? 

Wifi, Music, Laptop   (the graphic designer essentials)

What is something you strive to be intentional about?  How do you design it into your life? 

I try to be intentional about initiating plans with friends. That’s what I love about the Day Designer. Most agendas are all about business, and I’m totally guilty of getting sucked into the daily work grind. I love that there are little reminders that life is not all about work. We’ve got plenty to be grateful for and great friends to share it with.

KimQuote

How do you create balance in your life? 

I try to take my personal commitments as seriously as any work commitment. Deadlines and meetings are important, but what’s the point if you’re not happy or living a fulfilled life?

What does your daily routine look like? Is there anything that helps you feel most successful at the end of the day?

  1. Wake Up
  2. Flip through instagram (usually still half asleep)
  3. Answer emails
  4. COFFEE (espresso + condensed milk … yumm)
  5. plug in my earphones to some country music
  6. get in the design zone
  7. lip sync (like, hardcore)
  8. Sink deeper into design zone
  9. Check inbox later in the afternoon
  10. Happy hour beers ; )

What helps me feel most successful is when I’ve set out to accomplish a list of things, and all of them are crossed off in my planner. There is something about putting the pen to paper and marking it off, thats like “Boo-yah!”

What checklist(s) do you live by? 

The ones I create in my Day Designer, of course.. : )

What do you wish you had more of in life? What about it makes it so special?

besides BACON?!  lol  I wish I had more time outside and not cooped indoors next to the nearest outlet. One day I’m going to have an outside office. Something about the fresh air and green makes me feel more inspired and productive.

What do you wish you had less of in life? 

Less stress, which is more on how I choose to react to circumstances.

Are you willing to share a story with us about a time in your life when things felt out of control? How did you get back on course? 

Yes, I felt the most out of control when I felt stuck working in an environment that was impossible to win. I saved my money for months, built my portfolio, and quit that job 9 months later. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but at least I was in control of my own destiny.

 Do you have a life motto?

My favorite is, “You’re only confined by the walls you build yourself”

If you could share one thing with our readers, what would it be? 

You can do anything. And I don’t say that lightly. We live in such an amazing world where we can meet people over instagram, be inspired by a story across the world, or learn how to do something over a YouTube tutorial. Believe that you can, and you will. : )

P.S. Keep up with Kim and the rest of Fuze branding on Facebook and Instagram