This is the last entry in my summer series spotlighting some of the awesome entrepreneurs I know and their small remote businesses. I will probably do another series next summer, so if you know someone who should be featured or if you have a small business that you’d like to promote, get in touch with me!
I’d like you to meet Jennifer Moree, an artist extraordinaire who I had the grand pleasure to meet several years ago at a digital marketing conference (and who could kick my ass since she practices martial arts with her family), and whose art I have hanging in my house. Graphic designer by day, her side hustle is her passion, her art, which you can find countless examples of on her Instagram and which you can purchase from her recently launched Etsy shop. Because she’s always finding herself as an artist, teaching herself new methods and experimenting with different styles, she creates a wide array of quirky, joy-bringing art including colorful abstract paintings, wood-burned pieces, and digital illustrations.
Raised in Bogotá, Columbia, Jennifer moved to Georgia after earning a scholarship to the Art Institute of Atlanta where she turned her talent into technique. Now, she lives with her family outside of the city in Marietta, a suburb close enough to the city to explore museums and attend cultural events, but far enough away to offer a peaceful, nature-filled retreat. She’s been able to carve out a cozy little home studio to have a quiet place to practice her art away from her family responsibilities and professional duties.
Let’s move on to the interview! If you have follow up questions, please visit her on social media (all of her social links are at the bottom of this blog post).
What have you learned about running a small business since you began? What piece of advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time?
I’ve learned that there is as much if not more work done with marketing and administrative duties than as doing the creative work to run a small creative business. If I could go back and give myself advice it would be to take a leap and not overthink everything so much and to not be so afraid to take a leap. I’ve hesitated and been so insecure and could have started taking steps to do this long ago if I had believed in myself more. Nothing will ever be perfect so just work with what you’ve got. Life is short, do what you love and just go for it!
How has the Covid crisis affected your work/business?
Despite the economic hardship that has resulted due to Covid, and I could even say because of the economic hardship, (I was partially furloughed from my day job as a graphic designer) this has lead to two things: to having a lot more time to create, which has been amazing, and to adapt, be flexible and creative in finding sources of income. Suddenly when you find yourself unwillingly losing part of your job and income, that hardship can take you weird places that you may not otherwise have gone. Suddenly you find yourself taking leaps you normally would be more afraid to take. So despite all the incredibly difficult things going on in the world right now, I am trying to stay positive and be grateful for the good things the crisis has brought me. I have been on the creative roll of my life!
Biggest challenge you’ve faced running a small business and how you’ve overcome it?
Prioritizing tasks and knowing where and how much money to invest has been the hardest part for me. I get overwhelmed with ideas and tasks and have to take a moment to take a deep breath and list and prioritize things and break things down into small steps/tasks.
Additionally I find it challenging as an artist to figure out pricing my own work and making financial decisions that are a healthy balance of valuing my skill, effort, and investment without over or underpricing. I’ve done a lot of research, reading articles, learning from other artists, and making many adjustments along the way (and doing a lot of annoying math, not my favorite) to figure this part out. I’m sure it will continue to be a learning process as there will always be different variables to consider in the business.
How long have you worked from home? What has changed from when you first starting working from home to now? What have you learned? What tips can you pass on to others who may be working from home for the first time?
I have been working from home about 70% of the time for about 4 years now. Now I work from home full time and the biggest change has been adjusting to working from home with my husband and kids at home all the time with me! It has been great but we’ve needed to change our spaces and try to accommodate all our needs as a family living in remote work/school times. I am huge on having a space that feels good to work in so I recommend making adjustments that will make your life easy and also keep you inspired and motivated. Remote work can also be lonely, so finding ways to stay motivated is extra important. I recommend finding those motivators, such as sprucing up your work space, and finding ways to socialize (even if we have to do it virtually these days).
How do you separate your personal and work lives?
I’ll be honest in saying that it’s all mixed together right now. Juggling and multitasking is the name of the game these days. When you have 3 kids (2 doing virtual learning), run several businesses, and have a day job, life does get pretty crazy. I’ve come to terms with the fact that some things may take priority over others at different times. I pay attention to how I feel, if I’m feeling more anxious then I’m probably doing too much and need to scale something back, even if just temporarily so I can make other things a priority.
As cities reopen, what local establishment/attraction/site would you encourage people to seek out in your town?
Our martial arts school, Evolution X Martial Arts! My husband owns and runs the school and is incredibly talented and the school is a wonderful place to train in Atlanta.
Additionally, Little Five Points is awesome and has my favorite bar, Corner Tavern as well as many other amazing venues and businesses. Phoenix Wellness Center is also there and is a great place for a massage and some high quality self care.
There are also many amazing museums in Atlanta, but if you have kids like I do, that love science and nature, the Fernbank Museum is my favorite, with both interactive indoor exhibits, and an outdoor play area and nature trails.
What’s your travel style?
We love travel and try to do as much as we can as a family. I like to plan one beach vacation per year, plus one new, bigger adventure type vacation per year if funds allow. Last year we went to Disney World just months before the pandemic. We hope to take a trip to Europe next year if possible and have often considered going somewhere for a month or so since we are all virtual right now. We’ll see what the future holds!
What’s your favorite travel destination that you’ve been?
Hawaii. My husband and I got married there. I still dream about that place. It was absolutely magical with amazing beaches, volcano hikes, zip lining with an ocean view, and a very muddy ATV tour along a very Endor (Star Wars) looking forest. And of course marrying the man of my dreams on a magical beach during a beautiful sunset.
How do you think Covid will affect the future of travel? How will it affect your own personal travel in the next 12-18 months?
Ugh! Hardest question ever. I work in the travel industry so this is a heavy question as I get frequent updates on how bad things are for the industry. I think as with other aspects, it will take a long while for travel to recover.
For now, travel will probably continue to happen at a much much smaller scale and of course will look quite different. However, what I have observed and believe is that human beings are incredibly adaptable and find a way to make things work. I miss the ocean so much it hurts and can’t wait to take a vacation again. I just had a baby (6 weeks ago) and my husband just got laid off, so we are being extra cautious for our baby and also very frugal right now. It’s going to be a while for us, but our time for travel will come.
Any final words of wisdom to fellow entrepreneurs, remote workers, and travelers?
Life is short so do whatever is fulfilling to you fearlessly and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. Be fearless, just go for it.
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing some of your experiences and earned wisdom with us today! I encourage everyone to view he impressive portfolio and follow her on Instagram for art updates Social links are below!