A little while back, 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 shared their stories and are making a difference in the lives that they touch.
We are so excited to introduce you to Stephanie Hellwig today as our next interview in the #welldesignedlife series!
Hi there! I’m Stephanie. I am married to the husband of my youth, mom to five beautiful daughters and a freelance graphic designer & web designer/developer at www.ebizelephant.com. I love to help small business owners define their brand and harness the power of the world wide web to increase their reach, grow their market and utilize functionality to make their lives easier while improving their clients’ experience. I was born into a family of Real Estate professionals, surrounded by a great appreciation of a good salesman and then married a true entrepreneur. I was a licensed Realtor at 20 years old and stayed up all night to build my first website while my family was sleeping 10 years ago. When I meet someone, I can’t keep my mind from immediately spinning through all kinds of ways they could improve their business online, it’s just the way I’m wired.
I am so excited to launch a new site that will provide website coaching for the DIY Woman. Where the focus is, “The help you need to begin & maintain the online business you’ve always wanted!” I have been working night and day to really provide useful and “to the point” information to not just get you online, but so that you also LOVE your home on the web. StephanieHellwig.com is all about offering you videos and tutorials to help you learn WordPress and set up a beautiful theme complete with custom graphics. Visit me over at stephaniehellwig.com to join my newsletter so I can share a freebie and let you know when it’s live!
What accomplishment are you most proud of in life so far?
I am most proud of what I have put into my family, and as someone once pointed out to me, “the days are long but the years go fast”. There have been many days that I felt like I missed the mark, and as most Moms feel, I was running from one thing to the next like a crazy person just trying to keep my head above water. I am glad for the moments I just took a deep breath and realigned myself with what matters most. Like Whitney often helps us to realize, our family is important and we need to leave our phones at home sometimes to intentionally be present with our children. I love to be creative, I love old fashioned values and I am grateful I have been able to push through the difficult entrepreneurial experiences so that I could be home with my girls teaching them these things too. I light up when I see my children being polite and diplomatic in social situations and loving each other when no one is watching.
Tell us about your big dreams. Where do you want to go, what do you want to do, and why?
I have learned that my goals and dreams change . . . I used to want to buy a home so bad I could taste it. It was all I thought about. I would start a business and work so hard I hadn’t slept a night through in months in hopes to create something that would get us “settled” in a home to raise our family. Then, one day I realized what I thought I wanted so bad was actually robbing me of what my core dream was, what I thought the big house and routine could do for me – I was sacrificing. I really just needed to embrace the moment, love my kiddos and enjoy the everyday experiences while they are here with us. So, now I focus on helping people solve problems utilizing design and functionality online while never sacrificing the moments I treasure with my littles. While I do have goals to grow my business and increase the amount of people I can reach and help, I realize, I will do this, it just may take me a lot longer than someone who does not have a family.
What are some struggles you’ve faced in achieving your dreams so far? Have you learned anything from them that you want to share?
Looking back, I realize having set unrealistic ideals in my head was sometimes the greatest struggle. I think a lot of us Moms try to do so much and we put too much pressure on ourselves. I would get a great business idea and see the end in view. I could visualize it being successful and before I could work my plan, life would happen. I remember a time this happened, in just moments my entire being, everything in my heart and mind was brought to a screeching halt. I went from my wheels turning in my thoughts constantly developing a business plan as I cooked meals and changed diapers to being in children’s hospital with a sick toddler and just letting go of all future thoughts as I dwelt in the moment to moment of whether or not my beautiful baby would come home with us. Funny how quickly our goals change. I let all my trust and faith settle in knowing God is in control. I do my very best with what is in my control and let the rest go.
Do your dreams look different now than they used to? (5 years ago? 1 year ago? Yesterday?) If so, what changed about them?
As our family dynamic continues to change my business goals change as well. I will always be developing and growing my professional knowledge. I have never been one to read for pleasure, if I am reading a book it is to learn something. So, the one goal I consistently continue to keep is to continue to learn and apply it to my business so what I learn can benefit my customers. I love to help others learn and I apply this in my business as much as possible. I keep a personal blog where I create tutorials of projects I have done that could be a help to someone else as well. My most popular tutorial so far was how to sew a baby wrap with just 3 yards of fabric.
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?
Don’t let your fears limit your success. Go do those things you wanted to do when you were 20, you really can do them! Limitations are only within. I had a friend help change my thinking. . . I was complaining that my vacuum had broke and our carpets needed to be vacuumed, she patiently listened as I droned on about the perils of not have the conveniences I was used to. When I finished, she simple said, “The problem is not that the vacuum is broke. The problem is that your carpets need cleaned.” She stopped me in my tracks! I have never been the same. Life will always throw us a curve ball, it’s up to us to find a better way. We need to identify the real problem and find a way. Think outside the box and never give up! Now, I apply this thinking to many facets of my life, at home and in my business. The problem is not that the vacuum is broke, the problem is that the carpets need cleaned! I will get down on my hands and knees and pick up the problem rather than give up!
What three daily things can you not live without?
Quiet time in the morning, my family and a good cup of coffee!
What is something you strive to be intentional about? How do you design it into your life?
I am intentional about planning my time around my family and writing goals for my business down in my day designer.
How do you create balance in your life?
Balance doesn’t come easy it is a constant give and take. Sometimes I just shut my computer, walk away and leave my phone at home. I never work on Sunday. Sunday is a family day and we spend time together all of us realigning our goal with what really matters most.
What does your daily routine look like? Is there anything that helps you feel most successful at the end of the day?
I rise early, have my quiet time and drink my coffee. I then get my youngest school goer up and showered and wake the others. Once the kids who are in public school are out the door, I work with my homeschooled children to get them on the right track and then I work. I usually accomplish the most in the office in the morning before noon. I love the Pomodoro idea of blocking your time and I try to follow this to some degree. I work strong for awhile and then take a break and then I can get back in there and be effective again. Once the kids come home from school I try to really be present with them. I gained help in this area from Cathy Olson’s Design Life Project course. I work from home so it is hard to walk away completely, I have a tendency to check my email every 10 minutes. I am not truly effective when I do this, so I try to apply the lessons I learned from Cathy and set a designated space for work and office hours.
What checklist(s) do you live by?
A daily dump! I think Whitney refers to this as the “download”. I sometimes feel anxious and I just need to get it out and get it on paper! From that I transfer items to my to do list. If I feel something nagging, I just go deal with it!
What do you wish you had more of in life? What about it makes it so special?
I sometimes wish I had more of an ability to just relax. I have never been one to sleep in much. If the sun is up, I am up! If I sit for a few minutes I begin to think of all the things I could be doing! I sometimes would like to just slow a wee bit and relax. Just lay on a beach somewhere and listen to the waves crash and the birds sing.
What do you wish you had less of in life?
I can usually find the joy in most experiences. There is nothing really that is so bad I wish I had less.
Do you have a life motto?
Kindness is always appropriate
If you could share one thing with our readers, what would it be?
Do your very best with what is in your control and let the rest go.