Hey Divi Nation, today I’d like to share a customer story submitted by Aleksandra Rogala-Jacek of Adored Designs in the UK. Her story is a great example of our core value of empowerment. If you’d like to share your own Divi story, reach out to me at nathan at elegant themes dot com for more information.
My name is Aleksandra Rogala-Jacek and I’m the founder of Adored Designs – a design studio based in Tunbridge Wells, just outside of London, UK. I am a Brand Stylist & Web Designer for female entrepreneurs, devoted to use my design and art direction skills to help them build their dream businesses and get paid for what they love to do.
How It All Started
I always had an entrepreneurial bug and loved drawing and painting. When I was only 15 I landed my first freelance design job and after I left my friend ecstatic with her new blog design, I was hooked on web design.
Having spent over 10 years in art schools and graduating from the Cracow Academy with a Graphic Design degree, I gained a lot of experience and practical knowledge to add to my creativity.
I had a few attempts to open my own business, but none of them ever really saw the light of day.
So I immersed myself in the corporate world and worked as a designer for 6+ years: the first few years for one of the fastest growing advertising agencies in Poland, Art World™, then I moved to the UK and started working for brands like Childrensalon, River Island and Jimmy Choo. During those 6 years, I designed websites, brands, fashion campaigns, e-commerce websites, email newsletters, packaging, marketing collateral and more.
I really liked all of my jobs, but more and more often I had this nagging voice in my head, saying “you could be doing so much more”. I craved freedom to choose the projects I take on, freedom to work from anywhere and set my own hours. I remember always feeling like I didn’t use my full potential, like I was trapped and couldn’t fit in the box my employers tried to put me in. I felt I was meant to do so much more than just design! I was an entrepreneur at heart, but didn’t yet realise it.
Climbing the corporate ladder was rewarding, but it left me drained and unfulfilled as years went by. I started wondering: where would it lead me? Is it the life I really want? Do I want my manager’s job? In 10 years, do I still want to sit at this desk and feel like Friday couldn’t come soon enough?
The answer came as no far too often, so I started feeling anxious about my future plans and career. I didn’t know what to do and which direction to take. My career was going really well and I was a respected and valuable member of the team I worked with.
But, I wasn’t happy.
So I thought the best way to figure out what I wanted to do with my life is to start doing something I already knew I loved to do.
I spent my evenings and weekends working on side projects where I could use my full potential: building blogs and websites for my friends and family, taking photos, creating new brands. I really loved it!
Everyone kept telling me I should start my own business and deep down I knew I was meant to do this, but at the time, I couldn’t imagine where to even begin! I was so used to working for someone else, I couldn’t imagine I could actually go out there and find my own clients. I really wanted to do it, but I was terrified and felt like I couldn’t make a move towards my dreams.
Making The Leap
Right when I needed it I received a gentle nudge from the Universe, pushing me in the right direction.
After 3 years of working in one place and feeling more and more unhappy, drained and bored (but stuck for options), I had to change jobs. At first, the idea of changing my environment, meeting new people and working from a new office in the middle of beautiful London was very exciting, but after only few days (!) I noticed I am simply unhappy working for someone else.
I was terrified of the thought of quitting my full-time, secure job, but this overwhelming desire to become my own boss was just too strong to be ignored or covered by fear.
Then there was another nudge from the Universe and I stumbled upon the “4-hour Workweek”, by Tim Ferris. I was hooked! I knew there was no coming back for me and I am meant to start my own business and become one of the “new rich”.
Few days in my brand new job I spent 2 months hunting for, I decided to start working on my business. I spent my 2-hour daily train commute planning my offer, writing content for my website and building my sales funnel, reading books and blogs like crazy, learning, listening to podcasts and taking courses. I posted on my blog and social media while on my lunch break at work. During the weekends I networked like crazy and started landing new, paying clients.
Turns out there are many people out there who need my skills! I built my website, got myself out there and after 3 months I had a portfolio of brand new work to land me more clients. I could quit my full-time job right before the trial period ended!
First few months were very overwhelming and totally crazy, but my hard work paid off and I soon landed enough new clients to book myself for 3 months in advance. This was the moment when I replaced my salary and could focus entirely on my business!
How Divi Helped Me Build My Creative Business
I am a creative. I’m a designer! I am familiar with the HTML and CSS basics and I know WordPress, but that’s about it. I needed a tool, that would let me build stunning websites from my creative designs without going into code or hiring a developer I couldn’t afford at the time.
When I found DIVI I knew this was it! First I re-designed my own website in around a week, soon after I built two other websites for my clients: Melissa and Bailey. I was amazed at how quickly and easily I could bring my designs to life with DIVI and some custom CSS.
DIVI is great because it lets my clients (who are entrepreneurs) easily edit the content on their websites. They don’t need to hire a designer each time they want to edit an image, change the copy on their sales page, or create a new landing page.
I am able to design, build and style their website to fit their newly designed brands. What’s even more amazing is that I am able to create templates they might need (like a landing page for their new course), email opt-ins, or pre-styled blocks of copy and save them in their library! They can then easily load them when needed and it all looks professional.
Another great thing about DIVI: the Visual Builder. I don’t expect my clients to know how to edit the code. The Visual Builder is so easy to use, even the least tech savvy person you know can learn it quickly.
I often hear from other designers, that clients should not alter their websites themselves, after they’ve been professionally designed. It makes total sense, because there is a thought process behind each design and each element is placed where it is for a reason, which our clients may not understand. I spent over 4 years designing ecommerce websites and I understand the importance of the UX.
However what I also know, is that my clients websites are living organisms! As entrepreneurs and small business owners we grow, create new content, new offers, evolve and learn from our mistakes.
It’s crucial for my clients to have an option to improve their websites and content with time, themselves. I find my clients coming back to me for advice (and to hire me long-term) anyway!
At the moment, I am working on an ecommerce site for a beauty store with vegan, cruelty-free makeup brushes. I will be using DIVI and WooCommerce to create an amazing shopping experience. It will launch in just a few weeks, so make sure to check my website for updates.
Divi & Me in 2017
I’m growing my business now and will be bringing a web developer on board, full time. Even though I want to keep working with DIVI because of the amazing feedback I’ve had from my clients!
They all say DIVI is super easy to use, it lets them create new content and improve their existing websites in just a few clicks.
My plan for this year is to build a whole collection of beautiful, professional DIVI Child Themes specifically for entrepreneurs like: life coaches, photographers, wedding planners, business strategists and marketers.
There will also be a special e-commerce collection, just because I really love to work with shops and stores (and can use my 4+ years experience working with big brands!).
Let Me Just Say…
I absolutely love DIVI and think it’s perfect for any creative who wants to build websites freely, without spending hours coding, or learning how to code. I know it will help me grow my business this year, just like it helped me last year.
Great job Elegant Themes, thanks for supporting business owners, like me!