The Best Way to Earn a Living

I am mom to three boys – middle school, high school and college. I live and work on a beautiful mountain just outside of Chattanooga, TN. In my free time, when I’m not with my family, I spend as much time as I can kayaking with friends and hiking in the woods with my dogs.

I love what I do for a living. I love the freedom that comes from being my own boss. There are days (and nights) when I work long hours – that comes with the territory – but there are days when I take time off for what really matters.

And just as importantly, I love helping clients realize how much power they have in creating their own lifestyles. I believe that the right branding & marketing can open a whole new world for a business owner.

In 1987, I was privileged to be part of a group of college students who worked with Adobe on the beta testing for Pagemaker, the precursor to InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. It was the best introduction to computer graphic design that anyone could have asked for, built on ‘old-school’ graphic design and advertising practices.

Starting in the advertising industry before computer software became a thing gave me an edge: computers and design software are great tools, but at the end of the day, too many people forget that tools are just a means to an end. Effective marketing and branding take thought, planning, and a hefty dose of creativity. Experience doesn’t hurt, either.

In the early part of my career, I managed marketing and advertising for several mid-sized companies and organizations. Then, about 18 years ago, my boss told me I needed to find a daycare that stayed open later.

I had left work the night before and flown across town to get to my son’s daycare before they closed, stressed out that Joseph (then three) would be the last one there, again. It had been three weeks since his dad had graduated from college and taken a job out of town, and he was no longer able to pick up our son in the evenings.

Since I could no longer stay late at the office, I took work home, and I never missed a deadline. I still put in the time, just not at the office. But this was years before working from home became normal, and my boss (and his bosses) wanted to see me at my desk.

I had long dreamed of starting my own company. Months before, I had even put together a business plan. But I was absolutely terrified of going out on my own; I was still the main breadwinner in our family and didn’t want to risk our security.

That Tuesday, my boss’s ultimatum changed that.

It took me three days to borrow money to cover our bills for three months and startup costs. That Friday I turned in my two-week notice.

Fortunately, in those two weeks, I booked enough business to hit the ground running, and I’ve never looked back.

I live my life on my terms. It’s the best way to earn a living – and to create a lifestyle that you love.

Leslie Smith

Want to work with me? Let’s set up a time to talk. Whether you need a new marketing strategy, a website, a new logo & look or all of the above, you already know that doing it yourself is not a good use of your time. You need a trusted professional to take care of the technical and creative details, so that you can focus on what you do best. Reach out today.