Who or what inspired you to start your business?
I think starting my own business was weaved into my DNA. When I was 6 years old, my teacher asked us all to draw a picture of ourselves in our dream job. Naturally, I drew myself carrying a briefcase with a power suit and a name tag that read “the boss.” When I was 8, I would speak up regarding the design of my childhood home, the clothing I wanted to wear, and how art “should” look. It’s safe to say my love for entrepreneurship and design has been with me since I was young. As I grew older and started to establish my career, I began to realize that I could turn these two passions into my reality.
Exploring branding with friends and family who were building their empires sparked something in me that I had never felt before. It was at this moment, that I decided — I needed to build a platform where I could work with entrepreneurs and small business owners to empower them with branding!
I took the plunge, quit my 9-5, moved my side hustle to an online business model only, then launched my branding boutique — Roop Creative Agency, on October 4, 2016.
What was your biggest struggle when starting out?
I believe that imposter syndrome is real, and it’s something I struggled with when I first started. However, I worked through it by not comparing myself to others and building my business on what I am an expert on. It’s hard and sometimes it creeps up still, but it’s important to focus on what makes you unique. Most markets are saturated, that said, there are enough clients for everyone as long as you focus on what makes you special.
What’s the number one thing you attribute to growing your business?
Taking time to set goals is very important. I like to break this down every year into four categories (Personal, Relationships, Financial, Career). From there I create a monthly plan to accomplish each, then divide the plan into weekly and daily intentions. This allows you to focus on the big picture while doing a little something every week to make sure you stay on track.
WHAT PODCASTS ARE YOU LISTENING TO/BUSINESS BOOKS ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?
I love listening to podcasts for all my different moods! I’ve always been intrigued by people and their stories so anything along those lines always captures my attention.
Some of my favourites include:
- The After 30 Podcast
- Conversations with Coco + Friends
- On Purpose with Jay Shetty
- Armchair Expert
- Oprah SuperSoul Conversations
- The Michelle Obama Podcast
- Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend
The same goes for reading, I like to have several books on the go at the same time and usually have a morning/evening read. Currently, my morning read is Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty and my evening read is A Promise Land by Barack Obama. I have many business favourites, but I think it’s important to take time to learn from the lives of the successful people we aspire to be. My focus is on that right now.
WHAT MINDSET SHIFTS HAVE YOU MADE TO SET YOUR BUSINESS UP FOR SUCCESS?
Understanding that I can have it all, just not at the same time. Initially, it was hard for me not to be glued to my desk, soon after I’d feel guilty for not spending any time with my family. I learned quickly that to give my clients 100%, I needed to take time to recharge. We grow up thinking that in order to be successful we have to be working 24-7 but that’s not the case.
Shifting this ideology helped build my business up for success. I have set working hours and even book in a couple of hours each week to work on my own business. I also try to take weekends off because this allows me to be present with my family and friends. I found that this mindset shift not only improves my work but also elevates the client’s experience!
What’s your favorite music to listen to when you’re creating graphics?
This varies depending on what I’m doing, and who I’m doing it for. If I know a brand is linked to a certain musical style I’ll try to play some of that in the background to really immerse myself into the brand fully. That said, my go-to’s are classical music or piano, slow jams or pop I can sing-along to!
HOW DO YOU DECIDE ON WHAT IMAGES TO USE FOR YOUR BRAND?
When searching for images there are a couple of things I keep in mind:
- Does this speak to my ideal client?
- Can I envision myself or my ideal client in this photo?
I also have a rule that one of my five brand colours needs to be present and taking up at least ¼ of the photo. This allows for a flawless flow, plus you’re able to use photos from different collections. I think the mistake many people make is they use only one or two collections which makes you feel a little 2 dimensional — that’s not what life looks like, so having fun when choosing images is key. To me it feels like shopping for an outfit, you’re choosing from several different styles that can work well together.
HOW HAS HAUTE STOCK HELPED YOU IN YOUR BUSINESS?
Honestly before Haute Stock, I was spending days batching work and taking photos when the lighting was right. As my business grew this method was just not cutting it and taking way too much time. That’s when I came across Haute Stock. The thing with stock is that many people can use it at the same time but what I love about Haute Stock is that you can make it your own by cropping elements, making adjustments and mixing it together with your own brand photography.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST BUSINESS LESSON LEARNED?
Pivot if it’s not working! It’s essential to listen to your dream clients and make notes on what is working and not working in attracting them. For example, when I first launched my business I built my offer around what I had learned from working in the corporate world. Very quickly I realized that the needs of small business owners and budgets are not the same, so I went back to the drawing board and made adjustments, broke down my offers, and catered my services to the needs of my ideal clients. The point is — it’s ok to try, learn and adjust. You have to listen to the needs of your dream clients because that is who you are serving at the end of the day!
is a Toronto-based brand strategist who empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners through brand development, website design and digital strategies. She works with many women from all walks of life who are looking to build something of their own! With over 12 years of experience across the team, her business, Roop Creative Agency, has successfully launched upwards of 75 brands, helping business owners deliver a strong, sustainable and authentic brand experience.