Creatively Inspired Series: Whitney English
The Creatively Inspired Interview Series features some incredibly inspiring creative entrepreneurs that are sharing with you a little about themselves and their business. I deeply admire each of these women and how they run their businesses as well as live their lives. They have uniquely found a way to find success with their own business while finding joy in their personal life at the same time. I hope this series inspires you to find joy and inspiration in your own life, business, or career. Whether you are a business owner, stay at home mom, or someone finding their way in the world, my hope is that the stories of these creative entrepreneurs touch you for where you are at in your own life.
Today we are getting to know Whitney English. Meet Whitney:
How did you get started in this business?
I got started in the planner business, techinically, in 2010. We didn't debut Day Designer until July 2012, but my first draft happened in my in-laws house, over the course of a Thanksgiving day, when I was too stressed to eat turkey and needed to get some work done. My first planner draft was a two-spread, week-at-a-glance. Since then, I've fallen in love with the idea of graphing schedules and lifestyles and helping women find balance and feel productive.
Why are you in business?
Oh, good question. I had one of those ugly-cry-days yesterday. You probably know the kind I am talking about: a day when everything goes so possibly wrong that you start to wonder WHY you are doing this? To answer that question, I have to go back to my mission. I genuinely want to help women create beautiful lives--and by beautiful, I mean focused, balance, and fulfilling. It's not about more stuff, or prettier stuff--it's about the stuff that matters. Figure out what that is, and you have the secret ingredient to balance. I like to take it a step further and really sit knee-to-knee with women and help them think about actionable steps they can take to living out that beautiful life.
Who inspires you?
Oprah. And, a mentor I have who is just like her. Generous. Big-thinking. Sincere. Genuine. Genuine is big for me. We're all flawed: it's just the cool ones who admit it. :)
What inspires you?
Hmm, great question. My home. I see it as a canvas. Each room is an opportunity for organization and order and beauty. I love organizing the furniture, the colors, the finished. (My friend Holly Mathis is my go-to for decorating advice.) I'm also incredibly inspired by the author community. Writers tend to be pretty open folks, I've discovered, and I love their ideas and discussions.
What is one thing you have learned through making a mistake?
I think one of the main things I've learned about making mistakes is that you have to own them to grow from them. You can't let them label you; you have to label them. Each one is a lesson and an opportunity to grow.
What is one thing you have learned from someone you admire in the creative industry?
I really admire creatives who are brave enough to be original. It's easy to copy someone. It's hard to put yourself out there, with a product no one has seen before, and wonder what will happen. The Day Designer planner was like that for us. When we debuted it, the format had never been seen before. It was truly an original concept, and it took a lot of sweat and tears, quite literally, to bring it to life. I felt so fulfilled and blessed when it took off. Here's the lesson: keep throwing stuff against a wall until it sticks. Pull inspiration from your core. Don't copy. I think I heard Jasmine Star say something like "People will always beat a path to the door of an original," one time. Also, support other people who are being brave and doing the same.
What is your biggest regret in your business?
Ugh. You have to ask this? It's probably taken me ten minutes to figure out what to say here. I try not to regret, because if you ask me again in ten years, I'll probably tell you that the stuff I regret now is actually the best stuff that ever happened to me. It's all about how you look at it.
What is your proudest moment in your business?
After we debuted the Day Designer planner, a few people bought it. Then a handful more. Slowly, it started to snowball. I think my proudest moment to date was the day someone emailed me and said, literally: you changed my life. It was the most fulfilling moment I can think of. My mission is to help women realize that change is possible through choice. I put a check mark beside that to-do on my list that day.
What are three things that keep you motivated?
The morning motivates me. I love that first burst of energy. Post-caffeine and pre-email. Check boxes motivate me, in a big way. It's actually been proven that when you check something off of a list (with a pen, it can't be digital), that you release a shot of dopamine in your brain--dopamine is a chemical in your brain that helps you feel satisfied. Looking for momentum? Make a list of super easy things and check them off (brush teeth, drink a glass of water, tidy for ten minutes). That's three shots of dopamine. You're on a roll after that. Focus motivates me. Confession time: I never realized how badly I played the comparison game until I literally stopped looking one day. I quit logging into Facebook and I unfollowed everyone on Instagram and Twitter. When I started looking again, I was shocked at how discouraged I felt. If you're feeling discouraged, my best advice for you is to put your blinders on. Stop looking at what other people are doing and just live your life! A fourth, just for good measure: I find I'm super productive and happy when I actually walk away from my phone for at least two consecutive hours a day. It's a magical place. I highly recommend joining me there. :)
What is on your desk right now?
Four Day Designer samples, a necklace that says "Let your little light shine", a note pad, a vase of hot pink flowers, and lots of gold: staples, stapler, paper clips, lamp.
What is your favorite quote or bible verse?
Oh, I have soooo many. "Start where you are, use what you've got, do what you can." Romans 8:28 - all things work together for good Romans 12:2 - be renewed by the transforming of your mind James 1:2 - count it all joy "Ability gets you to the top. Character keeps you there."
What is your favorite color?
Right now, neutrals. The overarching color theme of my life, however, is pink.
What is your favorite pattern?
That changes all the time as well--I loooove patterns. Right now I'm crazy about Spotty Dots--we have it on a Day Designer cover for 2015.
What is one thing that always makes you laugh?
My husband. He's a funny, funny, funny guy.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring creative entrepreneurs?
You'll be tempted to look at others as greater than yourself, and you'll be tempted to think less of yourself. Don't fall into either trap. Look at yourself as God sees you: a unique, worthy, beautiful creation, with amazing gifts and abilities that it's your job to exercise. Look at others as they really are: ordinary, flawed folks, just like you, kinda scared, kinda hurting, and just doing their best to make it through the day. When you can find that level perspective, your confidence increases, and then, you're free to love others, let them know they matter, and make a difference in your world.