Boss Lady Series - Meet Anna!
"She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."
Today's featured Boss Lady is the definition of class, grace, beauty, and inspiration. I had the pleasure of meeting Anna when I moved to Durham, NC. Both of our husbands were in the Medical School Program at Duke University, so we got to know each other through various events and get-togethers.
I was instantly inspired by Anna's calming and kind presence. If you know me, I am a bit on the Type A side, so it is always so nice to meet people who balance out your crazy! Through getting to know Anna, I learned she is an incredibly talented artist. Her portraits and drawings capture the beauty in the small details, and I am so grateful to own a portrait she drew of my husband and me for our wedding.
Not only does Anna work tirelessly as an artist, she is also a full-time mom. She consistently displays love, affection, and patience for her children, qualities I really admire. Not to mention, she has THEE cutest kids I have ever seen! Her ability to balance her work as an artist and her endless duties as a mother is impressive, to say the least, and she does so with grace and style (for real, she always seems to be organized and put together...teach me your ways)!
"Some days, she has no idea how she'll do it. But every single day, it still gets done."
It is noticeable that art is one of Anna's true passions. I love what she has written on her Instagram page, "I love faces and the souls behind them." Creating portraits isn't just a hobby, it is something she loves and cares deeply about. I can feel her authenticity attention to detail in the portrait I am lucky enough to own. Her portraits allow you to feel something deep within. Whenever I gaze at the portrait of my husband and I, it takes me right back to our wedding day and I can feel our joy and happiness and actually see it through our eyes. Anna's ability to create this simply through a drawing is remarkable.
I am truly in awe of this woman, her artistic talent and her endless love for her family. Continue reading to learn more about Anna's inspiring story!
Wife. Mom. Boss.
What made you take the leap towards owning your own small business?
I've always loved drawing friends and family, and as a teen often gave portrait art as gifts. My dear family was so sweet about it even before I really knew what I was doing. So many scary portraits! As I got better my family encouraged me to see if friends and neighbors would be interested in hiring me. So ever since 16 basically I've been building up my little art business. It is the perfect, flexible job for me as I try to support my medical resident husband and raise my two children.
What were the biggest initial barriers to starting your business and how did you overcome them?
I think confidence was a huge thing. I was timid in asking for the payment that I deserved. I didn't want anyone to feel bad or think my art was too expensive. I've come to realize though that in asking more for my work, keeping it reasonable for the quality and time put into it, I am more respected and people take my work more seriously. I feel like a lot of people with their own business in a creative field can fall into the same trap. Good services/products should be paid for when received. Don't short-change yourself.
What is the mission of your business and what makes you passionate about fulfilling it?
People are my deepest joy. To understand and to be understood, to capture a likeness, to give a gift of a remembrance of a loved one, these are some of the reasons I do what I do. When in my art training, my professors and peers would try time and time again to steer me away from portraiture, but I couldn't ever do it. I did want to do something else to relieve myself from the pressures of comparison to the many others who take on traditional portraiture. I always came back to it though. I love more than anything to present a portrait to someone and to see the joy and love in their eyes as they gaze upon the face of a human being (or animal)that they care about.
What was the biggest mistake you made as an entrepreneur?
I mentioned this earlier, but not taking my work seriously and undervaluing my work was a huge mistake. Also, I sometimes divert to try to follow a trend or I try to emulate someone I admire instead of focusing on what I do best. Also, a mistake that I still make sometimes is saying "yes" too often. I need to be better at saying no to projects or ventures that I'm not truly passionate about. This feels especially important to me in my life because I'm splitting my emotional and physical resources between my art and my family. Wasted time doing art I'm not truly passionate about means I've not only wasted that time that I could have used to make something more meaningful, but my family has lost precious time as well.
What has been your most successful moment in owning your own business?
My most successful moment is always when I'm able to emotionally touch a client with my work while also creating something visually stimulating for me.
How do you strive to empower other females to pursue their dreams?
I try to show them by example, especially my daughter. There are a million excuses not to do something for yourself, especially as a partner, wife, or/and mother, but I've found that when I'm not feeling fulfilled or pursuing something meaningful to me, I'm not as present for my children. And vice versa. Family life has motivated me in ways I cannot even express. After graduating from college I found myself in a depression. I would lay in bed and watch Netflix for the whole day. I didn't feel like what I did was important or good enough. Ironically after having my first child, Lily, and then my second, James, I have less and less time, but I am creating more art than I ever have in my life barring my BFA art training. Loving people and serving people will always bring out the best in us and motivate us to do things that are good and important.
What do you know now that you wish you would have known when starting your business?
Do your best work always and be proud of it. Make time for it. Your contributions are not minuscule or unimportant. There is room for all of us. Don't compete or compare to others, only compete with yourself. We all have something unique and beautiful to share.
What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) to run a successful business?
I've sacrificed inefficiency and laziness. As a mother, if I want to do art I have to do it when I would otherwise be relaxing. I'm a very low energy person so this has been hard for me. I've also had to sacrifice my tendency to be irresponsible/unorganized and also to be shy. Having my own business has made me such a better, more capable person in so many ways. When other people rely on you for a particular service, you've got to deliver in a professional way.
What would you say to a female thinking of starting her own business but has reservations and too many fears about actually taking the leap?
Find a mentor. MENTOR MENTOR MENTOR! I can't say how important this is. Nothing is more valuable. Also talk to a friend to work through your fears with you. It's nice to express feelings so that you can address them. Also, research your field thoroughly. Don't jump into something head-first without knowing what is out there and who your audience is.
Who is a female hero of yours and why?
There are many, but in particular, Joanna Gaines. I admire her dedication to her craft, but also the importance her family and God has to her and the way she lets her children be involved in her work. She allows them to participate and to see her living the dream. I love the respect that her and her husband have for each other and the way they support each other in their work and their family life.
I grew up in SLC in a devoted family. My parents were kind and encouraged me in my art. My dad and I would draw pictures together. He is a talented sculptor in addition to being an anesthesiologists. At eight years old I took private art lessons with a teenage neighbor who, lucky for me, was extremely talented. He is now a renown artist. He helped me to feel confident in drawing. I continued my art study in public school and finally finished a BFA in drawing and painting at BYU in Provo, UT. I met my husband in Salt Lake City Utah and we dated and fell in love in Provo. He has always been supportive and encouraged me in my passion for art. We moved to Durham, NC for his medical training. We have loved Durham, it's a great place for us to raise our children and pursue our careers.
Follow Anna's amazing work on Instagram HERE!