Dawn Chitwood – Upper Limits Digital
What is your company?
Tell us why you do what you do in 1 sentence.
I LOVE being an entrepreneur because I get to create the life I want to live- the only limits are the ones I impose.
You’ve owned several different kinds of businesses. Which one has been your favorite and why?
Wow. Interesting question. Prior to the three ventures I’m involved in now, I had two back in the Outer Banks. I don’t know that I can pick faves. Each business has been a stepping stone in my journey and have been such an integral component of who I am as a business woman and a human being. What I do love about my marketing business is that it affords me the freedom of working virtually. This past summer, I was able to take my kids on a cross country trip for a month and still maintained work. THAT’S pretty awesome.
What 3 valuable lessons about business would you hope to pass onto young women considering becoming an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. It’s all a trade-off right?! While I consider the freedom entrepreneurship affords me as the driving force of being an entrepreneur, I’ve also been at the bottom of the well trying to claw my way to the top. Here’s what got me through:
- Mindset- I’m nothing if not tenacious. I believe tenacity trumps all else when it comes to success. It’s what helped me overcome fear and self-doubt and disappointment and failure. Be kind to yourself, fake it until you make it and JUST KEEP SWIMMING.
- Get support- finding a support network was key for me. Find your tribe- the ones that have the same core values and are going in the same direction. Maybe they’re even a little ahead of you which can help to pull you along a little faster. Support can also come in the form of paid support. And, the sooner you can take that leap and delegate things off your plate, the saner you can be. Entrepreneurs are big picture, idea people. It can be a drag to get caught up in all of the day-to-day, not your genius work. To stay in the genius zone, you gotta get delegate the things that you don’t need/want to be doing.
- Protect your time like your life depends on it. Because it does! Entrepreneurs can fall into a trap of always being on and work-life balance is like the unicorn of owning your own biz. Time blocking was life changing for me. I schedule blocks for everything- client work, meetings, working ON my business not just in it. My kids laugh when I get my lunchtime reminder on my phone. “What you’ll forget about lunch?” Yes! I will. Everything gets a block whether it’s self care, work, family or fun. And, I budget my hours for the different areas of my business. I only have so many pieces of the pie so I make sure I budget hours for networking, admin, accounting, client work etc. Your time is money and typically we know how much money we budget for groceries so why not know how much time is budgeted for x,y,z. Time management continues to be one of my greatest challenges!
How do you stay relevant in a constantly changing industry?
As mentioned above, I budget time for this! Continuing ed. is a part of my calendar. Webinars, conferences, workshops, to name a few, are all ways I stay up-to-date on trends. I’ve also got boots on the ground so my day-to-day experience helps me stay current in the ever-changing landscape of my industry.
How do you involve your children in the businesses?
Love this question. I am passionate about sharing entrepreneurship with kids. When my daughter was in 3rd grade, I showed up for Career Day as an entrepreneur. Not one kid including my own daughter could tell me what an entrepreneur is. It was invigorating to teach the concept to these kids and to my own kids. Actually, my daughter has already launched her 1st business putting inspirational sayings and designs on greeting cards and magnets. She grossed close to $1,000 her first month in business and continues to look for opportunities to sell her wares. As a matter of fact, she just sold a magnet on the bus today to one of her classmates!
Both kids have worked days in the restaurant and on the food truck. They know the least about my marketing business, but I suspect they’ll be teaching me soon. For her own business, she created a (rudimentary) business plan and I helped her create an income/expense spreadsheet so she has a pretty good grasp on production costs and profits. She was also required to take a percentage out of the profits for taxes/charitable giving.
Emily transforms communities through entrepreneurship and innovation. She is a Branding Specialist and Growth Strategist who specializes in building the framework, platforms, and partnerships needed to be impactful in today’s challenging economy. Currently serving as the Executive Director of the Hatch AVL Foundation, a non-profit foundation supporting high-growth startups of WNC through incubation, regional programming, and events.