A few weeks ago, we went to our Day Designer community and asked if anyone would be open to participating in our #welldesignedlife series on the blog. We were blown away by the response, but even more so by the incredible women that told us their stories and are making a difference in the lives that they touch.
Today we are thrilled to introduce you to Kimberly Haydn, a business and branding strategist who is passionate about helping other women improve their businesses.
Let’s start off with an introduction! Tell us about yourself. Roles you play and what you do.
I’m so excited to be doing this interview! First and foremost, I’m the mom to an energetic 9 year old girl and the fiancee to a patient, encouraging man. They’re at the center of everything I do. I started a photography business about four years ago, and quickly realized my passion was in running a business, not in photography. My background had been in sales, and I started my business so I could be a more active presence in my daughter’s life. I was so tired of working my butt off to make someone else’s dreams come true, so I decided to start chasing my own dreams! Running my business was lonely, and was largely a game of trial and error.
While I was successful, I was always running on empty, and my work became my entire life. Eventually, I figured out that my passion for volunteering and helping people, and my passion for business could form the perfect marriage, which brings me to where I am now! I’m a business and branding strategist; I help female entrepreneurs close the gap between where they are, and where they want to be. I’m determined to help women design successful, profitable businesses, without the stress that usually comes with that!
What accomplishment are you most proud of in life so far?
Hands down, my daughter, Dakota, is my greatest achievement. Cliche? Probably. But it’s SO true! She never ceases to amaze me with her generosity, and knowing I have her watching my every move inspires me to not only make my dreams a reality, but do it in a way that allows our family to be at the center! It is so important to me that I raise her to be a confidant woman that embraces who she is and believes she can do anything. The pure excitement that she gets when she finally figures out to use the can opener by herself, or when she sees a cloud in the shape of a horse, remind me to enjoy the small things. I’m really proud to be in a place of balance, where most days feel more relaxed than frantic.
Tell us about your big dreams. Where do you want to go, what do you want to do, and why?
My goal is to run a business that encourages women to chase their dreams, and live authentic, well designed lives. I’m big on connecting women with other female entrepreneurs so that they have a network of cheerleaders in their corners. I want to push women to always strive for more, and face adversity head on. If only one woman came to me and said “I was so close to throwing my dreams out the window, but because of you I did not give up”, and I became known for creating meaningful connections while providing killer programs that help women thrive, I would feel a great sense of accomplishment.
What are some struggles you’ve faced in achieving your dreams so far? Have you learned anything from them that you want to share?
I had my daughter when I was 20, and I went through an extremely nasty divorce only a few months after she was born, so my adult years began with the cards stacked against me! I was determined to make it on my own, which I did (with a little help from my wonderful Grandparents along the way), but it was quite difficult, in so many ways. I was a single mom living on my own by 21, and there were a few years that I spent just trying to make it by. No extras, no real direction. I just wanted to support myself and my daughter, and maybe buy her a few cute outfits once in a while. I worked an array of sales jobs, and soaked up tons of business books. I may have put the owners of Barnes and Noble’s children through college. I taught myself so much, but didn’t really think I could be successful as I did not have a college degree. After I reconnected with my now fiancé (he was my junior high boyfriend!), he encouraged me to leave my super stressful sales job and start my own business. He stuck it out at a job he didn’t love, so that we could afford for me to have a few months without income while I built my business and got into the swing of things. He could have laughed in my face and told me to keep my day job with the stable income, but he didn’t, and I am so grateful for that. Seriously, don’t ever think you can’t turn an undesirable situation into a success story. Surround yourself with people that encourage you, and don’t ever settle for a watered down version of your dream. Ten years ago, I would have never believed I would be where I am today, and I know there are even bigger things on the horizon!
What three daily things can you not live without?
My Clarisonic. I’m a little obsessed with keeping my skin clear and wrinkle free, and this thing is a life saver. If I skip one day of washing my face with it, I can seriously tell a difference! I always feel better about myself when my skin is clear and glowing.
The Day Designer. I am really strategic with my schedule, and using the Day Designer allows me to always be mindful of how much I’m packing into each day. I literally write down that every Tuesday morning I go buy fresh flowers. By scheduling in the little things, they always get done, and the little things are just as important as the big things! If you’re not having fun and enjoying yourself, what’s the point?! PS- I know pens are a hot topic among Day Designer fans. I love the Bic Atlantis Exact! Nothing fancy, but doesn’t show through the pages and writes like a dream!
Starbucks. Sometimes working from home is difficult. I have ADHD, so staying focused and on task can be rough! I’m always most productive when I start my morning with a Butterbeer latte (it’s on the secret menu, and it’s FABULOUS!) and sit down at the computer the second I get back from taking my daughter to the bus stop and visiting my favorite Starbucks crew.
How do you create balance in your life?
I’m really passionate about living a balanced life, and encouraging other women to do the same. My biggest tip? Learn to say no, and be VERY stingy with your time. If you have a girlfriend that you don’t think is a genuinely wonderful friend, stop dumping time into the relationship. Stop saying yes to things because you feel guilty. Understanding that it’s ok to say “no” was the most freeing realization I’ve ever had. Being busy is not a badge of honor, it’s a way to wind up feeling frazzled, and you can’t give anyone your best when you’re frazzled!
Practice saying “that sounds great, let me check my schedule and get back to you!” whenever someone asks you to do something. Go back and check your schedule, and really think about how you will feel if you add another thing to your plate. If you feel even the slightest ping of overwhelm when you imagine squeezing dinner with a friend in, or taking Aunt Susie’s pet frog to the vet, get back to the person and tell them that you can’t this time, but that you’d be happy to help next time if your schedule isn’t so crazy, or suggest another day to go out and drink wine with your BFF.
What checklist(s) do you live by?
Oh boy, have you been spying on me? I’m a huge list maker. I’m totally old fashioned (I’m all about snail mail), so I use a pen and paper for all my lists. Every evening, I write out what I would like to get done the next day, and then I star the things that are absolutely necessary, like appointments with my clients, writing blog posts, or taking my daughter to the park. I used to be a stickler for my to do lists, and would obsess about the things that I still needed to do. This trick helps me be ok with things that don’t get done. If I don’t make it to the stationary store to pick up new adorable Kate Spade stationary, it isn’t going to kill anyone!
What do you wish you had less of in life?
Skunks, prejudice, and (let’s be real) ex-husbands!
Do you have a life motto?
Always be authentic, be mindful of others, and never apologize for how you choose to spend your time.
If you could share one thing with our readers, what would it be?
“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” This quote from A.A. Milne is my favorite, particularly because it reminds me very much of what my Grandpa used to tell me (he was my biggest cheerleader, and the most important man in my life!). Plus, it is so very true. Every single second, you have the opportunity to change the path you’re on. A chance to improve the life of someone else, the ability to say “this is not the way my life is going to go”. Your passion can take you so much further than you know, and the world is longing for you share your talents!