In today’s Her Business Story here at A League of Her Own, we interview the fearless female founder behind Real World Creatives. Founded in 2015 by Sonya Highfield, the business is going from strength to strength.
Sonya, tell us all about Real World Creatives
I provide business and mindset coaching to artists to help them make art AND money! I love empowering artists to become the experts of their own businesses and create lives they’re proud of by doing what they’re passionate about. I work with artists in a couple ways, through my free Facebook group, online membership community and at live events.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I started my photography business with no plan, no savings, and no idea how to run a business- but I didn’t want to keep working for other people and frankly felt unqualified to do anything besides art. So I started, did the starving artist thing, began to learn more about business and eventually created a successful word-of-mouth biz, and then felt strongly called to help other artists create the same…well minus the struggling and starving part! So I started my second business Real World Creatives and dove into the coaching and speaking world.
How long did it take for you to put your idea for Real World Creatives into practice?
Once I realized I wanted to start this second business and help artists it was about 3 months from initial idea to creating a website and beginning to build an audience and create content for Real World Creatives. I was truly inspired in a way I never had been, I was super energetic and optimistic and was following a vision I had for this new venture. I also hired a business coach right away, which was a big investment and helped kick start things.(Although in the end it was a very expensive lesson in exactly what NOT to do as a coach. But you live and learn!)
What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?
I don’t think there’s been one moment exactly, but a feeling of pursuing a vision and a passion when it isn’t making sense financially. It’s always a tough thing to say “Ok is it still worth it?”. But what I’ve learned is everyone’s entrepreneurial path is different, and sometimes the numbers don’t represent the other kinds of success and fulfillment you’re having in the business. I believe in financial responsibility and logical thinking, but I also believe perseverance and your intuition are key parts of success.
What has been your proudest moment?
I feel proud every time an artist tells me our work together has been impactful. There’s no better feeling. When they make a sale, or get a client, or show in a gallery, I feel like I get to experience all of that joy with them and it’s really an honour.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?
Ask for help!! Never, ever feel like you can’t find support if you need it. No one can do this alone, and you really will work better, faster and have more fun when you get the help you need.
What does success mean to you?
Success means I’m doing what I know I’m on this earth to do. Success means expansion. Success means having joy and freedom in my life. Success means a healthy, loving relationship with myself and my partner.
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
Oh heck yeah! I try to think of “mistakes” or “failures” as guides in the right direction, a sign leading me towards the thing that will work out. I’ve tried lots of different things that haven’t worked out, and it’s disappointing, but it’s always led to the next thing because I had to reflect and say “Why wasn’t this in alignment? What would truly be in alignment?”
Which women inspire you?
I have some amazing women in my life who inspire me with their endless dedication to knowing themselves, being their authentic, spiritual souls and putting good energy into the world. Some of my favorite people are Anna Tsui (life coach) Megan Marini (spiritual & business leader) Helena
Grant (stylist) Leila Laura (intuitive healer) and my current mentor/lady boss crush Maru Iabichela (Infinite Receiving).
And which men?
I’m a big fan Trevor Noah for speaking up about the craziness in the world, specifically the USA’s politics, but always doing it with humor and humility. I also will give a cheesy, but very true, answer that my fiance inspires me. He has a great work ethic but more than that he’s endlessly generous and thoughtful, and supports me in all my crazy ideas. Plus, he cooks and cleans! I wish I could say I do the same. He inspires me to be my best self.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
That I can be both an expert in my work and still learning. I don’t have to know everything off the bat. I don’t have to pretend to know everything. But I can also stand up and be in my power and share what I do know and what I do well, with confidence. It’s not all or nothing.
What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?
Your inner world directly affects your outer world. Personal development is actually the best tool for entrepreneurs. If you have all the strategy and logic and business tools but feel like an unworthy, unlovable loser on the inside nothing is going to flow right and success will not be fulfilling.