Tag: entrepreneur

Boss Lady Moves – Interview #2: Constance Ivana – Painting Her Way to the Top

Boss Lady Move – making a major change in your life in order to pursue your dreams, your passions, your goals and become your own boss

 

Moving is never fun nor easy. Moving away from family and friends and the life you know is even harder. Asking your children to trust you as you make such a big change to their lives can be the hardest.

However not pursuing your dreams, living a life of missed opportunities, wondering what your life could have been like if you had just made the move, tried something new, stepped out on faith, has to be even worse.

This is what motivated Constance “Connie” Ivana to make a major move this past year, this and the fact that she wanted to be an example to her two beautiful daughters. Dreaming was no longer an option for her; she was ready to make a change.  As women and mothers, we are often led to believe that it’s okay to put ourselves on the back burner for our children’s hopes and dreams, waiting until they get older before we pursue those things that are important to us. But I ask, what do we think is more motivating for our children: seeing a tired, worn out mother who doesn’t spend time on herself and only lives to serve her children, or a mother who not only encourages her children’s dreams but also shows them, through her own example, just how to go after those dreams, consistently, persistently, never giving up? (I’m pretty sure I know which one you chose.)

Connie’s Daughters

Since meeting Connie, I’ve grown to admire her more and more each day. She and I are both teachers at our school, we’re both new to the school, and, I believe, God placed us on the same team for a reason. Just like He inspired my move from my old school, He orchestrated this union to push me beyond my comfort zone and to show me what it really looks like to make Boss Lady Moves.

Seeing Connie in action is downright fascinating. Not only did she move from Virginia down to South Florida to pursue her dream of being an artist, by the time I met her she already had an office space downtown, a studio space in a new art district, and had made many connections in the art world. By day she is a teacher on our team, by night she is a force to be reckoned with: a passionate artist, entrepreneur, creative spirit working on new projects as they come to her and endlessly pursuing new endeavors including running painting parties and developing a new t-shirt line. (Check out her work here.) She also has a great nonprofit organization called Soulful Innovations which works with women and children who have dealt with domestic violence situations. Here’s the mission statement: We focus on providing group and individual artistic opportunities for women and children to start difficult conversations and begin the healing process. (Check out the Facebook page here.)

And she does all of this while making sure to help her daughters pursue their own interests and dreams whether it be joining the Girl Scouts, entering talent shows, competing in spelling bees, or participating in debate tournaments.

Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

So for this interview I wanted to find out more, wanted to understand even more, how she made this big change in her life. Here’s what what had to say.

Tell me your story. What inspired you to make your Big Boss Lady Move? The plan for the move from Virginia was not to teach anymore. I was leaving the classroom. Really, I just needed a change. I don’t know when the revelation started. Before, all I did was work, come home, sit on the couch. I was living more for my daughters than me, and I was so detached from everyone. It was just too much after all that I had been through for me to try to go out because I would need to get a babysitter, do my hair, get dressed. It was just too much.

However, social media saved me and pulled me out of that rut. It was my connection to people through social media, seeing what others were doing, that triggered that spark in me. I started by working out at the gym, venturing out the house, and meeting new people. I started feeling better about myself. Eventually, I got into my art for myself because it was kind of like therapy for me. It was time to rebuild myself.

The move from Virginia was the final part. It was about what I needed for me regardless of what others wanted for me. It was about my proving to myself that I could do it, and it would offer a change of scenery for my girls. I also did it for the climate because Virginia was too cold for my Lupus. It was debilitating.

The crazy thing is people were worried that I made the wrong move, that I would regret it. But at the end of the day nothing is final. You can’t be afraid because things could turn out to be either positive or negative. You’ll never know unless you try. Seeing other people who were going through hard times and getting out on the other side inspired me. That’s how I am trying to inspire others: by sharing my story. That’s where I got my words that I go by: Positive Vibes Only. That’s how I’m trying to live.

What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten? It came from a friend at work. She told me to stop trying to live in a way that you can’t right now.  Live like you can live now. Don’t overdo it. But if you can, then do it. Recognize where you are and do things in a way that works for you. Don’t put unrealistic pressure on yourself.  What’s the worst thing that can happen if you can’t? If you can’t pay that bill right now, you can’t. The world won’t come to an end.

What was one of your biggest mistakes and how did you overcome it? Starting my business without completing all of the proper paperwork and not having a plan to account for earnings and losses. I am playing big time catch up right now.

What tips would you give to a woman wanting to make a Big Boss Lady Move?  First, never put yourself inside of a box. You can push yourself beyond the limits you’ve placed on yourself. Kind of like being an athlete; do a little bit more and a little bit more and after while what seemed impossible is easy. Second, don’t take advice from people who have no experience in what you’re trying to do.

How do you go about making business connections? For example, how did you get into the art community here in South Florida. As you know, I’m a talker, so I went to every event and venue that I heard about. I talked to people and handed out business cards. Following up with folks was key.

Describe your typical “work” day. It never looks the same from day to day. It starts when my eyes open and stops when I close my eyes. I spend my day marketing myself, networking, responding to people’s messages; I can have 20 open tabs on my laptop at one time.  I’m constantly creating opportunities for myself beyond my full-time job; therefore, my phone is my lifeline to my business. I have no set hours nor work days. While I do make time for my children and my personal life, I do what I need to do. I’m trying to get to the point of where I want to be.

What are your future business plans? Open my own gallery to have space to do what I want to do; space to do all that I need to do. I want to do this within the next five years. I also want to be able to give back on a regular basis. The goal is being truly independent and doing things my way so I am not limited on how I can help others.

What do you do to “get away” from it all? Creating my art is getting away; It’s my peace of mind. When I create, I am in total control.

What is a piece of one-word advice you want to leave for the ladies, one word that needs no explanation but can serve to motivate or encourage other women?     BREATHE

 

(This is the second interview in this series. See the first one here about Sanctuary Girl’s founder, Sabrina Hayes.)

Hustlin’ Ain’t Easy: 5 Ways to Support Your Friends’ Dreams

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

Growing up, I learned (as I’m sure many others did) that once you’ve chosen or found a job or a career you basically stick with it until it is time to retire. As long as your job paid the bills and you were saving up for retirement, you were good to go especially if you were working for a “good” company that offered “good” benefits and had a “good” pension. Life was as it should be and that’s all that you needed. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with finding a solid job/career (especially if it makes you happy) and retiring from it. It’s just that I wasn’t aware that there was a different way, that there was anything else out there. Don’t ask me how I thought these good companies had gotten started. It never occurred to me that someone had to create that business from an idea or passion that they had. I just knew that you worked for a company and they paid you.

When I went to college, I wholeheartedly majored in English Education, absolutely certain that I wanted to be a teacher for the rest of my life (don’t get me started on that). When I landed my first teaching job, I was elated, ready to take on the world, educating our youth and setting them on a path to success. All was right with the world. Fast forward to a few years later. I was frustrated with my chosen career, the pay I was receiving, and how teachers were being treated. I was ready to try something new. Unfortunately, I felt trapped. It was a stable job, my degree in English Education didn’t really give me very many career options, and the schedule was perfect for a mom. I didn’t know what to do.

But then one day my friend who was also an English Education major (it’s how we met), quit her teaching job (right after winning Teacher of the Year in her school district) in order to pursue her dream of dancing professionally. It was like my eyes were finally opened to all of the possibilities that had been right in front of me the whole time. You could create your own job and income doing something fulfilling. You didn’t have to clock in to a 9 to 5 every day and work for someone else (or you could do that but still have your side hustle like I do now). Since that realization, I have started my own photography company (Natural Soul Photography), tried my hand at being a direct sales consultant with Thirty-One Gifts, as well as become a wellness coach with Herbalife (a hustle I’m still working on making a success). Oh, yeah. I now have this blog, too (and yes, this can be considered a business as well). (more…)