Archive - March 2010

Karen Starr

Our Story - Part 3

Posted March 31, 2010

About the time October rolled around last year, I was inching ever so much closer to figuring out some key elements I had been on the quest for. Mainly, there were two things that plagued me still:

My company name and my industry focus.

Oh, is that all? Just your company name and what you do? THAT’S not necessary for starting a business at ALL!

Some of you remember that when I started the business last year, I did so under the name 8/21 Design, my husband’s and my business that had been established years ago for me to sell my stained glass work. A couple of years later, 8/21 Design also became the name Jon took when he started his framing business (about the name: the date 8/21 is important in my life, our lives, and at the time it was created, it seemed to be the perfect name…just vague enough to allow it to morph to fit what would come down the road, and with special significance/a great story behind it if anyone asked.)

Problem was, I now wanted people to know precisely what it is that I did, and I knew that 8/21 Design wasn’t a name that was communicating what I needed it to in order to get the word out. And as far as the industry focus, I also knew that a traditional type of interior design was not my thing. It just didn’t speak to me the same way what I do now does. Nope, the perfect mix of all the key understandings and elements still had not settled into my bones. And it was October! Five months now of figuring out and fretting and I still wasn’t feelin’ it! It was about that time that I had started to take on clients, confident in my abilities and with enough homework done at that point to do so. Yet, I was still waffling over the name and my niche.

In hindsight, of course, I knew exactly what I wanted and needed to do all along, but it was buried pretty deep under all the layers of doubt and fear. I was at the point where I was soooo close!!! I could feel that train a comin’ and I knew that it was time to jump on board. What I needed was some tough love, a jolt to kick-start this ride. And so I did what I always do when I realize I truly need some outside assistance: I hired a professional.

Enter one fabulous force of nature…Danielle LaPorte. When I happened upon her website late last summer, I ate it up. All of it. I read every single word from every single link on every single page on this woman’s website. She was speaking the same language I was speaking to my dreamy, imaginative, creative self deep down but that I just couldn’t bring myself to verbalize to others yet.

So I scheduled a Fire Starter Session with her. She asked all the right questions, listened hard to how I answered them, asked me more and more, listened to my truths, dissected the rhetoric, and then set me off on a simple and focused course. All in an hour over the phone, and followed up with an audio recording to replay. Awesome. Simply awesome.

Here’s my summary of what came out of all of that:

Karen Starr ReDesign (looky there…my name and what I do)

Pluck out the useless crap of not feeling worthy of this. You have created this and you are a natural designer. Who doesn’t want to work with someone who has built their career on their natural talents?

Don’t try to be everything to everyone, just focus on your strengths (simply put: a strength is something you do that makes you feel strong, a weakness is something you do that makes you feel weak.)

Do not let where you were in the past keep you from where you’re going in the future.

We have everything we need.

These nuggets of wisdom, that session with Danielle, it was all game changing for me….self-realization at it’s finest. And ever since that day in late October, thoughts and then things just started forming and clicking and becoming clearer. Opportunities just kept presenting themselves.

Oh, it was go-time, baby!

Tomorrow: Part 4 – wherein I start dancing the tango with Serendipity…


Karen Starr

Our Story - Part 2

Posted March 30, 2010

Good morning, friends! It’s 11:11, time for another installment!

Thought I might have a soundtrack for today’s post to help set the mood of the times it will cover (kinda like the Jefferson’s theme song from yesterday’s post…man, I love that theme song. So happy!) So, to hear today’s song, click this link to open it in another window to hear it, then minimize the new window (minus sign, top right corner of new window.)

In today’s installment, I think I’ll dip down into the murky, scary times for a brief moment, then quickly return to your regularly scheduled programming of Shiny-Happy-Karen. Sound good? If so, read along.

So this song…I can not express enough love for this song, it completely spoke to me for most of the past year. Just something about it is so precious and fragile and haunting to me, such an understanding of darkness in it, all the while making me feel at peace with dash of hope for the future. (Thanks, KT.) I listened to it many o’ time…and it helped a lot when I was thinking lovely thoughts such as:

“I am so worried and scared that I’m not good enough (read worthy enough) or experienced enough to build my own business.” or

“Am I taking too much time building this business slowly but surely? Was that the right approach to let it happen organically versus jumping right in and trying to keep some momentum from the studio I worked at?” or

“Eeegads! Will anyone ever hire me when I finally do hang up my shingle?”

Blekh. That five months sucked. Bad! Just ask my husband. But…turns out, all of those questions that plagued my brain were simply fear and temporary obstacles in the end.

Plain old fear of failing. Or was it fear of succeeding? The latter is probably closer to truth if I’m being honest with myself. The point with all of this and the reason I am telling you these stories is: I truly believe that it is necessary for all of us to trust our own instincts and process. Whatever form that takes. Because when you are true to you and it all stems from love, then people and circumstances support that, and the happiness follows. I have had so many conversations about this last notion over the past year especially, with friends and strangers alike. And I did want to talk about it because I know that almost all of those people feel or have felt the same fear that I did and still do at times. We all do. And I want to say to them: just keep on keeping on. It will all be OK if you just love yourself and follow your gut (and work really hard, too….I mean, c’mon! This isn’t a magic potion.)

As Dagaz once told me: “A lot of hard work can be involved in a time of transformation. Undertake to do it joyfully.”

Aaaaand, scene.

I get by with a little help from my friends

OK, so enough about that, on to giving props to the folks who helped me get through the segment of time in this here Part 2.

You may wonder why I’m so damned optimistic. Lots do. Well, I’ll tell you: I have an incredibly huge network of people who love me and support me. And I love them (you!)

Over the period I spoke of above, I collected hundreds of little gems of encourgement along the way and they are truly what kept me chugging along. Things like what you’ll see a sampling of below were either written in my notebooks by others, said by others and I jotted them down, and written on my attic studio walls. Here are just a few of their words that meant so much to me at the time they were spoken…

“The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory”- Ron about writing stuff down.

“Seems like one part energizes the other part” – Peg about me worrying that I’m not able to handle juggling both work and family.

“If you sit still long enough, the world will come to you” –JB, when I was fretting AGAIN over my then-current focus…while I was still in the niche-figuring-out phase.

“Don’t over-analyze, you know what to do.” – Jon, early on in the fretting stage.

“Look how long it took you to find an American-made pair of shoes” – Eric, on not worrying about taking the time to figure out what shade of “green” my business would become.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson via Paul’s awesome collection of quotes he sent me on a bad day

”You have such a knack with people. You’ll do fine, just trust yourself. ” -Mom and Dad

Thanks to all the peeps who provided the words I needed to hear during the times I needed to hear them. Only a few are quoted here, but to all you others too: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I’ll see you tomorrow for Part 3: Wherein I pay money to a woman in Canada to give me a much-needed virtual smack upside the head. Worth every penny…

Ciao!