It turns out starting a business is hard.

How Guac came to be!

Entrepreneur to Avocado. What gives? Let me explain.

So, a few years back I came up with a design for a hands-free dog walking belt because at the time my daughters were 1 and 2 years old and I never had a free hand.

I saw that other mothers were struggling to push a stroller and walk their dog. I wanted to create a product that contributed to a better quality of life so that people could step back and enjoy what they were doing rather than have their hands full.

There were similar products on the market but I chose to differentiate mine by adding certain features. It was cool. It worked.

I’ve always had a fascination with bringing the ideas in my head into fruition. Whether it be a product, a photo, a drawing-I love seeing things come to life. It’s my passion.

Is that still one of my businesses?

While it was super cool to do, it is no longer my business. I handed the business over to the manufacturer when I realized it had played itself out and it was time to move on to something new.

One of the hard parts about being an entrepreneur is that you have to know when the life cycle of your product is coming to an end. It may be time to close shop or just time to evolve.

It takes grit to start a business but it takes a certain amount of humility to know when to walk away.

So what is Guac & Soul? What’s the deal with the avocado? What’s happening?

Guac & Soul was created by me. I started my Instagram, @guac_n_soul by posting about mom life and my art mostly as a hobby. When I decided to focus on social media marketing, I began growing the platform and focusing on collaborating with businesses in the community.

On that note, I love music. Like, LOVE. Who doesn’t? So I wanted something like “rock n’ roll” but I also really love food. Mostly healthy food with a side of nachos. So “Guac & Soul” was born. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with it!

Anywho, the decision to focus my platform on small businesses had a domino effect and lead to my full time position at The Center for Economic Empowerment and Development where I have resources to help small businesses and entrepreneurs right here in the city I live in! I love my job. Love.

I mean, the idea of collaborating with and supporting small businesses became a tangible job. Grateful is an understatement.

So basically, I got tired of trying to find a marketing job after interviewing for a year so I decided to create my own job which lead to my actual dream job. I don’t sit still very well so thank goodness.

Recently my co-workers and friends inspired me to start blogging in addition to my Instagram and that has been a fun outlet for me. I mean, here I am! So I guess I’m digging it.

I’ve also recently begun to monetize my social media platforms so I suppose I’m still in the entrepreneur game in that respect. I’ll probably always have some type of side hustle. I can’t resist the challenge of building something and social media has definitely been an interesting challenge.

My entrepreneurial motivations have definitely changed since I first started all of this. My goal went from having my own venture to using my knowledge to help other entrepreneurs succeed in theirs.

Again, I now work in the Women’s Business Center at CEED where we empower women to succeed. In fact, we have a huge fundraiser coming up in October called Over the Edge where people in the community have a chance to rappel off of a building here in Fayetteville to celebrate a milestone such as opening a business or a personal accomplishment.

I love to celebrate the success of others and I’m so proud of the entrepreneurs in this community.

If I could tell you anything it would be: Your business will be your baby. Working for yourself is much harder than working for anyone else. You will have to be very disciplined to make it flourish and get it to a self-sustaining point. It’s entirely doable, but you have to know going into it that

The moments of accomplishment will keep you going.

The absolute most exciting moment was getting that shelf-ready, packaged product on my doorstep. I literally cried tears of joy. It was such a journey to get to that point and took a great level of determination. It was very gratifying to have something I dreamed up become a tangible product.

So, is entrepreneurship innate or what?

For me personally, I have an innate need to create. Before I had a paint set I would paint on printer paper with nail polish. When I was in elementary school I spent a summer saving up for a Minolta camera. I wanted to take pictures and I remember being so curious about that art form. I’m stubborn about my curiosity. I’ll make it happen. I suppose that’s another innate quality, curiosity. I’m ridiculously curious.

Creativity and curiosity are a strong mixture for an entrepreneur to have.

When I’m not working I am playing with my daughters, cooking, creating art, dancing to Billy Joel in my kitchen, or working out. I also really like to clean. Like, a lot. Probably more than necessary.

Honestly though, I work alot. When I go home I like to read marketing books. I’m always thinking of the next project. Some may call me a workaholic but I just really love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work to me. Maybe that’s another quality of an entrepreneur, we don’t really separate work from play-it’s all play for us and we’re happy to do it even when times are tough. It’s kind of a way of life.

Someone once told me business is the greatest game in the world if you know how to play it. That really resonates with me. Now, as someone who thrives on creating, I have learned the hard way over time that without discipline, I can create all day and it will go nowhere. I could decide to paint masterpieces but if I don’t have the discipline to finish them or market them, it won’t make a difference and will remain an unfinished hobby in my closet. I can’t think of anything sadder than potential collecting dust. I’m guilty of it though.While discipline and creativity are two sides of the same coin, it is very difficult to have both of those elements and personally, I must remind myself everyday to keep a balance between the two in order to be productive. I have many ideas and I can easily get carried away with starting a million projects but I have to have the discipline to focus my energy.

I constantly fail at things. I’m always learning. I could always do better, do more. It’s learning to do things better and integrating that into your work that makes the failures stepping stones and not setbacks.

My advice to fellow entrepreneurs:

Figure out your “why” and write it big and bold where you can see it every day. That’s what’s going to get you through those days, weeks, and even months in the trenches of the start-up days. Remember why you did this and keep your eye on the bigger picture.I’m often asked if I could start another business, would it be the same? Definitely not the same. I don’t like to look backwards. The world is constantly evolving and what was needed yesterday is no longer relevant today. I don’t have any plans to start another business-I really enjoying helping others start their own. You’ll often see me around town helping photograph products and setting up collaborations. That’s my jam and I can see myself in this for the long haul.

Can I borrow your crayons? Moms-listen up!

Yeah, moms an artist.

…and the apple didn’t fall far.

Creativity is time consuming though and it turns out, so is being a mom of two

So naturally, I haven’t focused on really creating much since my kidos were born.

5 years ago.

#oops

About a week ago I picked my pencils back up and now I can’t stop. It doesn’t make sense why I haven’t been making time for it.

I mean, I’ve been just a little busy raising two kids. Just a little.

But now those little girls are getting older and I’m starting to come out of that up-all-night, diapers and sippy cups phase. I’m entering the school-age phase (which is surprisingly still full of tantrums…darn.)

Anywho-

One of my daughters loves to draw too. It’s really all she does.Last week we sat and created and talked and it was one of those unforgettable moments where I wasn’t vacuuming goldfish crumbs or playing referee between my kids.

I pulled out one of my “serious” drawings (which I never do for fear of juice spills or something crazy) but I gave it a shot and it worked. I was simply just sitting and creating with one of my favorite human beings on the planet.

I remember drawing at the coffee table when I was her age. As I got a little older I would use nail polish as paints and hairspray as fixative. I was always making something-usually a huge mess. I always felt the innate need to make something and my parents let me.

I could never leave a blank surface alone. Imagine being the parent of that. Just imagine. #sorrymom *insert magic eraser advertisement here*

I’m the same way though. I’ve always encouraged my girls to make something-even if it’s a mess.

The first time Noelle drew on the wall I was so proud of her drawing that I took a photo of it.

You guys, I took a photo. Who does that? 🤣

I was sad when it came time to move and we had to paint over it. I cherished her creativity and I wanted it to flow freely.

Like that time she was 1 and I gave her paints and a pumpkin. She painted it and then rolled it across the kitchen floor. I call it the great pumpkin paint disaster of 2014. She loved it.

I loved that she loved it.

I fully regretted that enthusiasm when Orchid was born and markers+our white walls became her daily favorite thing. 🤦🏻‍♀️ but hey, we got through it 👍🏻

So, art has impacted all aspects of my life without really realizing it – including how I raise my children.

I won’t give you some cliche about how you should make time to do what you love cause you know what?

Parenting is flippin’ exhausting and we ‘re all just doing the best we can.

I mean, somedays I’m just proud of the fact my girls have on matching socks 🤷🏻‍♀️ #win

In a perfect world would we stay up after they go to sleep and do what we love? Would we set time aside in the day? Would I sit down and color Paw Patrol coloring book pages with my kids every morning?

Sure.

But sometimes we’re just tired. Sometimes we need to get things done. Sometimes we don’t make time for ourselves. And sometimes hobbies are shoved in a closet for years on end because play dates and blanket forts are more important and that’s perfectly okay.

My advice: don’t forget who you are mamas. It might take 5 years but, someday you’ll be able to incorporate that part of you into parenting and it’ll be one of those moments that trumps many others.

Someday instead of crayons and coloring book pages it’ll be sketchbooks and pencils and you’ll realize how fast it really does go and how epic it is to show them what you love.

If your passion is skydiving though, I would recommend just doing that by yourself. Not all hobbies are meant to be shared 💁🏻‍♀️ #justsayin

Tacos & Tribe Goals

Tacos & guac and a friend who doesn’t mind me stuffing my face and ranting with my mouth full 🤷🏻‍♀️

Count me in. When Chronic Tacos invited me up to Raleigh to check them out-I didn’t bat an eye.

I mean come on, it’s tacos.

And guac. 🥑

@dezi_gonz

Now first off-when you ask a friend to drive an hour and a half for tacos and she says yes-you know you’ve found your tribe.

I mean, priorities, am I right?

So we booked it up to Raleigh on a Friday in rush hour traffic (#fail)

But we made it!

We ordered a variety of food. We taste tested tacos and of course we had to try the Guac. And I mean, at this point margaritas just seemed like a necessity. We came all this way!

I seriously dig the variety of options-and that you can choose how you want to jazz it up (street style, baja, spicy, mild, etc) It was the bomb-dot-com.

This place definitely has a unique vibe-a dark dia de los muertos skull mural is contrasted with a light casual atmosphere. I like chill places that offer cool art to look at and things that spark conversation 👌🏻 With an order up front and take a seat situation, we felt welcome to hang and chat.

Overall, I would put it in the win column. They give tacos this out-of-the-box “cool” and I dig it 😎

If you’re in Raleigh, go check them out! They have a kids menu too 👌🏻

Oh and after we basically fell into food comas-we made the epic drive home. This meant taking it back to the early 90’s with some jams and talking about our glory days with some “I miss my kids nowsprinkled in 🤣 #momlife #amiright #mykindoffriday

Check them out

Half-Hearted Homebody

“No.”

There I said it.

Blanket: Pendleton from Leclair’s General Store

So many times we have trouble with that word for fear we are missing out.

I’ve discovered that “missing out” can mean a variety of things.

There was a time I felt I was missing out if I declined invitations.

I mean, it could be SO fun!

…but then the prism turned. Maybe it’s age or maybe it’s that mom/worklife exhaustion but I started to feel that I was missing out on opportunities to better my quality of life by constantly saying yes to events and gatherings. I was missing out on resting, focusing on art, and doing things I love to do! You know, that self-care trendy stuff 😉

Sometimes self-care means being selfish with your time.

Giving myself permission to stay in has been one of the most rejuvenating and productive things I’ve done for myself.

I bounce around my place cleaning, creating, resting, and taking care of my own little corner of the world.

Supereats Snacks

When my little world is given the attention it deserves, I can thrive in my career and the things I do attend. Spreading yourself thin is no bueno.

That’s not to say I never get out or attend events-I definitely do! It’s just a matter of balance 🤷🏻‍♀️

But I mean, who doesn’t love sweatpants, messy buns, and movies? #justsayin

Well, lets try this blogging thing out.

Hair: Maral Larson. Bag: Leclair’s General Store. Outfit & Sunglasses: Old Navy

I’ve never been a writer. There I said it.

Putting my abstract, multi-tasking mind in black and white is a serious challenge. So I probably don’t have much business blogging other than I have some things to say.  For those of you who don’t know me, here’s an overview: I have two very silly little girls, Noelle & Orchid, who keep me on my toes and make my world go ’round!  They are 17 months apart, and yes we planned it that way. There were dozens of cloth diapers hanging on the clothesline, sippy cup mountains in the sink, and a few solid years of dark circles and dry shampoo. How did I do it? ALOT of coffee and baby snuggles. And baby-wearing. That helped.IMG_3458

Photographer: Katherine Ilona Photography

I grew up in Pennsylvania, moved across the world, and now I’m in Fayetteville bouncing around in my Phillies hat and chasing my girls. I totally love watching this city evolve into an amazing community filled with entrepreneurs, art, and collaboration.I work as a small business consultant for a non-profit organization called CEED and I absolutely LOVE my job. I am an artist in my spare time. I mostly enjoy drawing portraits but anything remotely involving creativity is good in my book. Speaking of books-I really like them. I am a hardcore Billy Joel fan and have absolutely no shame in my singing/dancing game regardless of where I happen to be. I practice a holistic lifestyle and I’m constantly striving to learn more about what I’m putting into my body while trying to work a fitness routine into my crazy life! Carrying around 2 children has to count for that, am I right? IMG_3464.jpgMarketing is my absolute jam. I love staging products and creating content for local businesses. I randomly selected marketing as my major because I thought creativity+the challenge and ever-changing nature of business would be stimulating enough to hold my interest and it was definitely a winner.

My blog will be focused on nutrition, neat small businesses & their products, my lifestyle being a working mama, and wearing my many hats 🙂

Slightly aWkWaRd, totally p a r t i c u l a r, a smidge HYPER, and
c o n s t a n t l y inspired. I hope you enjoy this journey with me and feel free to comment or ask questions. I love interaction and look forward to getting to know the people in my Guac & Soul community!

Photographer: Katherine Ilona Photography. Location: Leclair’s General Store