In today’s Her Business Story we meet the female business owner behind CityGirl’s Design, Virginie Carmichael.
Virginie, tell us more about your business CityGirl’s Design
I do web design for female entrepreneurs. I currently focus on building online courses and membership platforms as they’re more challenging and I love a good challenge!
I do everything from design to development, and I love implementing as much automation as possible.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I never, in a million years, expected to be an entrepreneur. I went to interior design school and thought that maybe I could get a job in a company that imported furniture and I’d be the person going to Europe and bought all the cool, trendy stuff.
But then I met my boyfriend, who was building an online business and had the freedom to work whenever, from wherever, and I knew that was something I wanted.
How long did it take for you to put your idea into action? What prompted you to act?
My boyfriend and I started traveling even without me making an income. He was making enough for both of us at the time, and I had quite a bit of savings, so we just left for Costa Rica!
It actually took me a whole year before I figure out what I really wanted to do. I tried translation, writing romance books and travel blogging, but they weren’t my thing.
When I decided to build my web design business, it actually happened quite fast!
What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?
I have to admit that when I have some low-income months, I get really scared. I start wondering if my business makes sense, if I should be doing something else, if I’m doing something wrong, if I’m wrong, etc.
I hate the downward spiral, but I get caught in it anyway. During those slow months (which totally happen to everyone, it’s normal!) I have to work extra hard on my mindset.
What has been your proudest moment?
Getting my first payment. Who knew someone would legit pay me $1,000 to make their website for them, when it’s so easy and fun for me? I’ve raised my prices a bit since then, but every time I get paid, I feel so grateful I get to do something I love so much!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?
You can actually do whatever you want. Society wants everybody to fit in those perfect little boxes, but if you’re not interested in becoming a doctor or a lawyer, you can still make money and be successful.
Being your own boss isn’t easy, but you don’t have to settle for a boring office job if that’s not your jam. Sky really is the limit!
What does success mean to you?
It means having control over my time and how I want to spend it. Money is only half of the equation. Being successful to me is being able to head to the beach at 3PM on a Tuesday because that’s what my heart wants.
And work on a Sunday at 8PM because that’s what my heart wants.
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
I’ve been trying to make as little mistakes as possible… which is bad, I know. I’m working on taking more opportunities, without necessarily knowing where it’s going to end up.
Which women inspire you?
I don’t really follow the entrepreneurial “gurus” out there, but I do enjoy Melissa Griffin’s blog. And Alex from Alex in Wanderland when I feel like reading about travel!
And which men?
I’ve enjoyed Mike Michalowicz’s books a lot! So I definitely recommend following him.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
I wish someone would have told me to try to start my business spending as little money as possible. I bought a bunch of tools I thought I needed until I realized they didn’t do much for my business. Eventually, I cut most of it because they weren’t the best investments.
Find what’s really worth it to you, what is absolutely necessary. Cut the rest until you have some actual cash flow. You won’t be in the red from the start and will have much less pressure on your biz.
What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?
You don’t have to be perfect to get started. This is something I still struggle with, trying to get everything right before launching. Making sure my website is working perfectly, or that my makeup looks good before a video, or that my post sounds really good before posting in a Facebook Group. Waiting for perfection is a trap: it’s not going to happen. So if you’re still nervous about launching something, it’s a sign it’s time. If you’re not nervous anymore, you’ve launched too late.