Dream Smarter Podcast Ep1 - How To Start - High Moon Studio


Dream Smarter Podcast Ep1 – How To Start

Below are the show notes/summary for this episode. Please listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for the full show! Xo, Alex


This first episode explains how I got started in entrepreneurship + tips and tricks on how to start your own business or idea.


I want to start by sharing my background and my history, so you understand where I’m coming from.


I grew up in New Richmond, Wisconsin, and I ended up going to the University of Minnesota, where I got a communications degree. After I graduated, I was working as a marketing director, which actually makes it sound like more of an important job that it actually was. The company sold pool equipment, and I was the only girl in the office other than the wife of the owner. The owner was very traditional, and so I was doing a lot of things like print and sending out postcards constantly. I knew how to design all these things because I grew up with a computer that had photoshop. I got into it in middle school and taught myself.


So at this marketing job, I was working four days a week and 10 hour days. I would usually finish everything early, so I would make quotes for my desk in Illustrator to pass the time. I quickly realized this design thing is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was then introduced to Miami ad school, where they give out art/portfolio degrees. However, they did have a program in conjunction with Florida International University, where you can get your grad degree global strategic communications while also getting an art direction degree. My mom encouraged me just to get a job and let them pay for grad school five years down the road. However, I knew there was no way I was going to wait five years for this. 


I moved to Miami and got my degree and then started interning at different ad agencies and had some great experiences.


After I graduated, I spoke to some great ad agencies about jobs, but nothing was sticking. My boyfriend and I decided van life was the way to go and so we converted the back of a van into a home and traveled around, working from our computers. He was a videographer, and I was a designer, so it made sense to start a business together. We named it Creatives In a Van and worked with clients while traveling around the US. 


Starting that business made me realize how badly I wanted to work for myself.


I’m just a natural leader, and I enjoy calling the shots and couldn’t dream of going back to work for someone else. 


However, my boyfriend and I ended up separating, and it felt like I lost my entire life. My father was diagnosed with cancer and was about to undergo major surgery. I separated from my boyfriend, lost my home, lost my business, and my dog. Basically, my whole world came crashing down on me. I went through a phase where I didn’t want to go out or see anybody. I just wanted to stay home with my family, which people I trusted. 


I knew that I need to start another business.


My friend Tess helped me come up with the name High Moon Studio. The story behind the name is that I have a moon tattoo on my arm, and I like pairing my business with my tattoos because it’s very genuine and personal. My friend suggested High Moon because of the similarity to the phrase “high noon,” where you have a lot behind you and a lot in front of you. It has to do with where the sun is in the middle of the day. 


I set up my LLC and designed my website in the hospital. I was excited for this next part of my life even though my life had just recently fallen apart. 


Tip # 1: Take Action Immediately


I wanted to share my story with you because it leads into my first tip on how to get started. That tip is to take action immediately. Take the actual leap and get started, and don’t hesitate. To some, this will be the hardest part. You’re going to have internal and external forces telling you not to do it and to stay inside your comfort zone. You’re going g to have to shift your mindset to make the leap. 


Start journaling; Start meditating; Read books and listen to podcasts; Start taking 10 minutes a day to sit and think about going into entrepreneurship. Failing is not an option. No one starts out as the best entrepreneur. Everyone starts out average because they’re just learning. But you have to be dedicated to growing and learning. 


Tip # 2: Focus on Your Target Market


  1. Who are your dream clients?
  2. What are their problems?
  3. How are you going to provide a solution for that?


In the beginning, you might have to work for free, and you might have to take on projects and work with clients that you don’t want to. The key is to keep working on making your solutions specific to those dream clients, and eventually, you’ll start getting those leads. 


Tip # 3: Be Proactive About Doing Things Yourself


Be proactive about your education. It’s so important to teach yourself how to learn and figure things out yourself. When you first start, it might be tempting to message someone you look up to or someone who’s further along in their business and ask them to share all their secrets. It’s natural to feel a little lost in the beginning, and there’s nothing wrong with asking questions. However, don’t expect someone else to give you all the answers without you doing some of the work yourself.


If you have a question, Google it. Do some research and see what you can find. There are so many tutorials out there that can help you! You can also pay for mini coaching calls with successful entrepreneurs where you can get on a call to get those questions answered. 


Tip #4: Don’t Take Failure Personally


This will be hard in the beginning because early on, you attach a lot of emotion to your work. Whatever it is, all those little things you’re failing at will end up making you better. If something you try doesn’t work, don’t take it personally. 


Tip # 5: Learn How to Pivot Until You Succeed


All those “failures” will teach you something. They will show you what works and what doesn’t. So, use that knowledge to pivot and grow until you find something that does work. 


Ask yourself: how can I better serve my audience with this idea? What can I do that’s different? What were the pain points? How can I fix those pain points?


Click here to listen to the full show on Apple Podcasts