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Daily Inspiration: Meet Carla Medina

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carla Medina.

Carla, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started my business a couple of months after the world shut down in March of 2020 as a result of the Global Pandemic (COVID-19). The world had changed dramatically. There was a lot of fear of the unknown and at the time, though I had held a position in Austin as a Marketing and Customer Success Manager, not even my job was safe. As many of us throughout the world quickly realized, our jobs were non-essential. So for me, as a single mother of two boys, I had to figure it out. And honestly, I was kind of thrown into the world of entrepreneurship. My choices were simple at that time – ‘sink or swim’ or, as I like to add – build a boat. So I started Iris Designs, LLC.

As a professional, a marketer, and having the experiences I did in project management and leadership, I had already kept an eye on social trends. I really, however, began to pay attention to social media when I started to see a spike in new businesses seeking help in the digital space. I had also seen established businesses popping up on social media – asking their audiences for support with their web design, development, content creation, and marketing. What these businesses were doing was re-establishing themselves in a highly saturated digital space – tapping into audiences that they may not have tapped into previously. And this was the time to do it – EVERYONE was online. The world saw a global spike in activity on social media, Zoom calls, online sales, and entertainment, etc. So it was clear to me that this digital avenue was how I could make my mark and earn a living. I could support small business owners with navigating the growth of their business through branding, web design, and strategic marketing all through the comfort of my home.

Having close to 8-years of marketing experience, and having an amazing tribe of friends who all happened to be small business owners – their encouragement paired with my drive gave me the fuel I needed to get things started. I actually have to give a huge shoutout to Toni Ringgold, my best friend of several years who poured into me by giving me advice and wisdom from her own personal experiences in business. And DeCarmen Mitnaul, who is a business and non-profit coach, whom gave me free business advice (even when I didn’t ask for it, lol) and the encouragement that I needed to start my business and keep going – even to this day. I am truly blessed to have people like them in my life that stayed grounded with me during a very tumultuous time.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Absolutely NOT. Being a small business owner is not for the faint of hearts. There are definitely long hours and long nights involved, pouring into your business. Redeveloping and rethinking how to do things better for my business so that I may continue growing.

One of the struggles that I had experienced firsthand was my overhead costs. I was almost embarrassed to talk about it – but, I spent a lot of money initially on marketing dollars and contractors, investments, etc. I learned after a year in business that I was operating in a mental space similar to how I operated when I worked for larger agencies — but I’m a small business. So I got an accountant and I began learning (still learning) better ways to implement my own marketing campaigns.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a WHOLE creative out here in these streets! And a marketing and customer success professional on the side. Prior to COVID and starting my business, I worked in healthcare marketing for a mid-level medical facility and for a small employment agency in Austin. I did a lot of work in customer success management, B2B, B2C, content creation, affiliate marketing, web design, and of course – establishing and building community relationships. I loved what I did! But the thing that kept my passion and drives alive was and still is my love for creative arts.

My hobbies included; working with K.Zamore Entertainment as a stageplay actress and songstress, which along with my own independent artistry, afforded me the opportunities to perform throughout Texas and Florida.

Listen, the biggest thing that set me apart from others is my creative nature, my love for connecting people with the things and people they need most, and building relationships.

How do you think about luck?
I definitely believe that luck may have played a role at the beginning of my business journey. I mean, I started this in May of 2020, the beginning of our global shutdowns. It took having the right people in my life and the experiences that I’ve had working with small businesses – that catapulted me toward entrepreneurship.


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Image Credits: Headshots: Korey Davis and Light Designs Media

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