My Journey to Self-Acceptance
I was born uncomfortable, I think. Or maybe I became that way as the result of my upbringing. But for some reason, from about puberty until my early 30s, I just couldn’t accept myself for who I was. And I ran from myself for a very long time.
I went to art school. There, I learned to embrace my uniqueness. But still, my individuality only came out in my art. It was like a beast I had to tame in my everyday life—but one that I allowed to come out when I painted. Art was a blessing for me at that time.
Following graduation, I realized I didn’t want to do art as an occupation. It was a bit of a disappointment. I felt very lost and directionless. At the time, I was living in New Jersey. My parents had always urged me to study web design at art school. But it never seemed realistic to me. I didn’t think I was tech-savvy enough.
I went from one job to another for around ten years. At some point I started to feel very strongly that I was meant to be a business owner. It was a dream I had that was always on my mind. I truly felt that it was my truth, yet I had no skills to start a business.
I was working retail jobs, just going from job to job. It was a very low point in my life. Although I loved being around people and the customers, I wasn’t making any money and I felt I was supposed to be doing something else with my life.
I thought I had found a good opportunity as a manager for a luxury boutique. I was recruited because I was looking to leave the department stores. I wanted a career. The job ended up being a huge disappointment.
I immediately knew the job wasn’t a fit. It was a moment in which I was finally honest with myself. I knew I would never work in retail again with the idea that it was anything more than a just a job. Retail just wasn’t meant to be a career for me, and it was hard to finally come to terms with that.
Eventually, I was laid off. It was at this time that I realized I had always lived by other people’s expectations of me and what I should be doing with my life. I felt like I didn’t have any idea of what I really wanted.
The manager I worked for said some things that resonated with me when she let me go. She said, “Liz, you belong in a department store. You’re not meant to manage a luxury boutique.” I’m very thankful that this woman said that. She truly changed my life. I already knew I wasn’t meant to be in a department store. I had done that on and off for ten years. So there was an incredible freedom in realizing I had always been right in feeling retail wasn’t a fit.
During the time I was unemployed, I fell into digital marketing. I posted a few ads on Craigslist and got a ton of responses. Slowly I began doing freelance work for businesses all over the United States. Eventually, I was able to turn it into a full-time career. It’s been an unbelievable journey. I started my company in October 2017 and the rest is history.
What I would say to anyone who might be in a similar situation of not really knowing where they fit in or feeling insecure about just being themselves: If you want something bad enough, no matter what it is, it can materialize if you believe in yourself and work your butt off! If you can look at setbacks as opportunities for growth, you can overcome anything.
One of the things my company offers is help to female business owners on a sliding scale or, in special circumstances, for free. We do this with our web design services in the hope that we’ll inspire others to do the same. I believe that it’s through helping each other rather than working against each other that we can achieve great things!
I’m very grateful for the way things have turned out. Today, I’m engaged and running a successful business. And more than anything, I’m happy and looking forward to the future.