Her Story with Karima Neghmouche: Bringing Her Vision to Life While Helping Others Do the Same

Photo by:  Love Hunters

Photo by: Love Hunters

This week's Her Story Spotlight is extra special because without her, reading her story on this website would not be possible.  Karima is the talent behind bringing my vision to life through this website and overall brand.  Prior to working with Karima, I had spend literally months trying to figure out how to put a website together. I just kept getting stuck because I either couldn't decide on what fonts to use or because I couldn't figure out how to add a specific page or section I wanted and would then put off coming back to work on it because I knew I didn't know how.  

Not only has Karima helped me get out of my analysis paralysis cul-de-sac, but she's also been an incredible friend and inspiration for this idea and all my big ideas.  In her interview below, she talks about surrounding yourself with the right people that support you and your goals and Karima is definitely one of those for me. 

She is so unbelievably talented and makes everything she touches beautiful. If you are in need of logo, branding or website help, I hope you can check out Karima's work  to see if she might be a match for helping you too bring a vision to life.

And if you're in the need for some inspiration AND practical tips for your business or personal growth, grab a coffee and pull up a chair because this one is so good. 

Meet Karima: 5 Fun Facts

1.  I adopted a dalmatian this year from the Kentucky Humane society and she goes EVERYWHERE with me. I find myself hanging out with her wayyy more than other humans. She is the best. Her name is Kota, she hates car rides, loves when I accidentally drop food when cooking, and is her happiest on long walks around the city!

2. My absolute favorite thing to do is going out to eat! I’ve been doing Whole30 recently and it’s made me spend more time in the kitchen- but nothing makes me happier than experiencing a good meal at a good restaurant. It is something I will always indulge in. I think good food is a craft and art in itself!

3. I am half Algerian, and half Appalachian! My dad is an immigrant an ex-pro-soccer-player from Algeria (North Africa!) That’s where my confusing name comes from. And yes, I have visited!

4. I’ve never loved working at a standard J-O-B. I was fired from my first one (save that story for another day) and ended up waiting tables while feeling lost and trying to figure out what the hell I was doing with my life. I’ve always felt a small nudge or inner-voice in my head telling me to “do more.” I thought at first I was going to be a fashion blogger (which is hilarious now because I literally do not wear anything other than yoga pants!) then I thought maybe a travel blogger, a food blogger, etc....

5. I started web design in college- where I created my first ever website. It was a personal website for myself. It was super light, bright and airy- constantly referencing fancy dresses and Starbucks and the color pink. Totally different from my style now and it’s so fun to see how I’ve grown!

Where you can find her:

In the past year, I’ve moved from Huntington, West Virginia, to Louisville, Kentucky, and recently to Raleigh, North Carolina!

Photo by:  Love Hunters

Photo by: Love Hunters

Tell us a little about your business, Karima Creative

I have freelanced on the side doing soooo many different things. I was making most of my money (and by most of my money- I mean like $200/month) doing social media management for companies. I didn’t LOVE it, but I knew I was good at it. So that’s what I thought I needed to do!

I hired a business coach, miss Jenna Harrison, and told her I thought I wanted to run a social media business. She helped me get clear on my “why” and what lights me up. That’s when I realized it was so much more than social media management: it was BRANDING! Web design, logo design, typography, the whole sha-bang.

Once Jenna and I started to work together, the momentum caught on like crazy. I started pouring myself into my side hustle. She was my #1 fan, encouraging me through the slump, through the “why the HELL am I doing this?!” through the “no one will pay me for this,” and through every other stage.

Things caught on after I spoke it into the universe: I am a business owner. I am a branding expert. My clients love me.

Now, I am a month away from leaving my 9-5 job and doing this full time. I have replaced my income (and then some!) and things have been going great.

What is it like working full time and running a side business? Any time management tips you have for the rest of to get it all done?

It. Is. Not. Easy.

It takes a lot of determination. It takes a lot of crying, and a lot of saying no. That’s one of the most valuable things I have learned- is how to say no.

I realize I wake up with a limited amount of energy a day and have to pick and choose where that energy goes. It could go to cleaning the house, or it could go into my business. I have finally totally scheduled out my entire week on Google calendars to ensure I put in some “me” time. I attached a version of my calendar this week.

Karima Creative calendar

Literally everything from walking the dogs to eating dinner is laid out! Through everything (and currently balancing 10 projects at once) I have realized I am my most valuable resource and nothing will work or move if I can’t.

Self-care has become a #1 priority to me and I have realized that at the end of the day, my sleep, my health (mentally and physically) will be the things that help me drive my business. I need a good, clear head after a good nights’ sleep. Being a creative, there is only so much art I can produce in a day to avoid burn-out. I have learned what re-ignites my fire: going outside, hiking, going out to relax with friends, and I schedule those times into my schedule weekly.

So, my tips for management are definitely to go into this with a purpose. Do not let yourself fail. I realized the only reason I would fail would be from me. Understand perseverance is key. Remember that busy is not a badge of honor. Remember done is ALWAYS better than perfect. And do one task a day- and look back and you did 365 things for your business a year.

What is challenge you have you had to overcome to get where you are now with your business? How were you able to overcome that or what are you doing now to overcome that’s working?

One of my biggest challenges was fear of putting myself out there- of feeling like an impostor. I just quickly realized this: no one REALLY knows what they’re doing, and every expert in any industry will tell you that. I was so scared of what people would think- I still am sometimes. Will they think I’m insane for starting my own business? Will they think who the hell am I to start a web design business? Will they critic and laugh at my work behind my back?

We are all our own worst critics and it’s hard to get out of our head enough to share what we love with the world. So find your people and your tribe who support you and lean on them.

This has caused me to remove a lot of people out of my life. I truly believe you have to surround yourself with wonderful, motivational people. Energy is limited and it is infectious so I believe in spending my energy on those who believe in me and who I believe in, too.

Karima Creative

What are main keys to helping you get to where you are now?

  1. Invest in yourself. Investing in a business coach made me literally almost throw up afterwards. It was the biggest amount of money I’ve ever spent at once. But then, after that purchase, I realized- it was real. There is no turning back. I cannot waste my time, her time, or my money. Investing in myself made me realize that if I wasn’t willing to spend money to get things started, why would anyone else ever spend money or invest in me for their business? It was the first thing I did and the thing that kept me on track through it all. It goes hand-in-hand with accountability.

  2. Speak it into existence. It can sound a little hippie to say this, but I genuinely believe once you say something out loud and speak it into existence, the universe conspires to make it true. Half of having a business is mindset and when you tell the world you are a business owner, you start to believe it. Then you start to become it. When people asked what I did, even starting out, I said I owned a business that was doing really well. Now, I speak things into the universe like “I will make a gross profit of six figures this year.” or “I will book a new client today.” And it keeps me on track.

  3. Take it one day at a time. For this step, I have started using the five minute journal. I take the mornings and get intentional on what I want to accomplish this week. I realized that every step forward I take is exactly that- one more step forward. When you do things for your business every single day, you will be amazed at the progress you make. And remember: it is all figureoutable. We all have had the same worries: what about tax season, who will pay me, what kind of color scheme should I use, who is my ideal client?! You will figure it out. We all have started at square one. One step at a time.

What advice would you give to other women looking to start their own business while working full time?

Use your commutes, your lunch breaks, and your time after work wisely. When you are an entrepreneur, you quickly learn that EVERY MINUTE counts. Schedule things. Make lists… I make SO many lists. Create calendars scheduling out your weeks so you set boundaries for yourself and know when to stop and breathe and eat and spend time with your family.

Understand that perseverance wins the race and that the only thing in the way from your dreams is yourself. Hire a coach or find someone that will hold you accountable to keep up momentum and keep doubt away. Remember self-care. Eat well, treat yourself well. Learn how to say “no” to things you don’t really want to do and give up the feeling of pleasing everyone. Explain to your family and friends that this is temporary and it’s your dream and you have to make it happen for yourself. Keep on pushing on when things get hard. Learn from your failures.

Learn from others who have done it. Indulge in podcasts, in books, in everything. Realize the tasks that take less focus (ie: following people on Instagram, scheduling your posts, organizing your email lists,) and do those while you can do other things that help save your energy: for example, I will go outside and sit on my porch with coffee where I can’t focus incredibly for my hard work, but I can sit out there and reply to emails, client inquiries, etc. It helps me conserve my energy levels for when I’m in my office knocking things out.

And, don’t feel guilty for wanting more. This is something I struggled with for a long time. Guilt for myself, my family, my bosses. Recognize that feeling then let it fleet. You deserve to live a life you love, following your dreams.

Photo by:  Love Hunters

Photo by: Love Hunters

What are some business resources that help make life easier/better?

  • The app PLANN for scheduling my posts for a cohesive Instagram feed!

  • Squarespace- it makes my website look great, gives me analytics, and now handles email marketing!

  • Google Drive, Calendar, Docs, Sheets- Google everything!

  • Canva for creating quick and fun branded social media post

  • VSCO for photo editing on my phone!

What is a book(s) and/or podcast you would recommendation for others looking to start or grow their business or just for general positive mindset motivation?

AHHH, so many!

  • Definitely the Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher. I owe that podcast a lot for making me actually start my own business.
  • The podcast How I Built This. Especially the episodes with Kate Spade, Sam Adams, and Edible Arrangements. It makes you realize how important failure, grit, and perseverance are.
  • The book She Means Business by Carrie Green. Inspiration on every. single. page.
  • The Five Minute Journal. This truly made an amazing, positive shift in my mindset.
  • The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Not related to business exactly, but minimizing my belongings made me feel better about my home, cleaning, and all the other tasks that can be daunting when you have too. many. things.

What are common mistakes you see small business owners make when it comes to website design and what tips do you have to help?

Not thinking about the user experience when creating a site. Everything you do with design needs to be intentional and to guide whoever is viewing your website to where you want them.

Also, the longer the spend on the page, they more they will learn to like you, trust you, and eventually buy from you, so keeping things steady and interesting on the homepage is so important. Clear call-to-actions and having a clear offering. Good content, not rushed. And show your face! People want to connect with you first, then your business. When people are viewing your site, they are trying to convince themselves to work with you- and it is your job to actually convince them.

Photo via Unsplash by  Steve Harvey

Photo via Unsplash by Steve Harvey

What advice should we consider when creating or resigning our brand?

Authentic and real will beat trendy everytime. Not every brand should look the same. The #1 flaw is that people compare themselves to others’ in their industry. This makes you blend in when you need to stand out. Remember “only dead fish go with the flow!” You should always create a brand that is true to who you are because trendy is exactly that: trendy. It will not last. Strong brands convert.

Is there anything else you want the group to know about being an entrepreneur or what to look for when working with a branding/design business?

One of my favorite things Jenna Kutcher says is brands pivot- which is why you need a brand, not a business. But before anything, get clear on your why and your message and what you want to do. It’s okay to boot-strap things at first if you’re saving for the investment, but also realize the benefit in the investment. Your website is your employee working 24/7 for you- and if that’s not something to invest in, I don’t know what is!

How can people find out more about you and your businesses and how you might be able to help them? 

www.karimacreative.com

I will be giving a logo giveaway soon, so that is definitely something to be on the lookout for. I also do completely free mood boards for clients with photos, a color palette, and other cool things that make you realize you already do have a brand- and people love it.

She made this site!

Get your free custom branded mood board like I did - Click here!