Warrior Women Interview: Amanda Farough

This week, I am beyond elated to share a Warrior Women Interview with Amanda Farough, writer and gamer extraordinaire who is ALSO the creative brilliance behind violetminded Design, a web design experience that will BLOW YOUR MIND {I know, because she designed and created this here site}. So sit back, relax, and allow Amanda to rock your world.

Tell us about how you got started on this path.

Entrepreneurial tendencies are in my genetic code. My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were (and are) dissatisfied with working for someone else. So, they worked for themselves and built businesses that really flourished. My dad taught me that I should never settle; to always question the status quo and maintain my ferocity. So, when the opportunity presented itself for me to break out and start a biznez of my own, I leapt at the chance.

I could've stayed in software. (And been entirely unhappy.)

I could've continued on as a job coach. (And been entirely happy with the position but unhappy with my location.)

I could've finished my degree in Interactive Design and gone off to work for a Design Agency. (And been working under someone else's direction -- or regime. Could've been awesome. Could've been horrible.)

So I stopped playing the "what if?" game.

I put my Big Girl Panties -- boy shorts, if you must know -- and started violetminded Design the only way I knew how: with my whole heart and my whole being. I poured my heart and, at the time, meagre skillset into becoming the best web designer I knew how to be. I stopped looking for a full-time job; my husband assured me that I should follow my dreams and let him take care of the bills. So, I spent all of my spare hours building my portfolio, pitching to potential clients, and honing my craft.

It was really, really hard work. I got paid $5.50 an hour in some cases. I was underappreciated, underpaid, and underloved. The underloved thing was the part that nearly did me in. For the first year and a half of my biz, I thought that I was a worthless designer and had no place in the Greater Scheme. (Actually, I had a Nightmare Client tell me that I WAS a terrible designer.)

Destined to mediocrity.

Or so I told myself.

At the beginning of 2011, I stepped up my game. I told myself that I was Worthy and that my specific talents were not something to be undervalued -- anyone could be a Web Designer but not everyone could be violetminded. I raised my rates. I took on brilliant clients. I did some of the best work I've ever done. And by the time my son was born in July, my biz had grown from a few rock-star clients to a tour-bus of 'em.

These days, there are even more.

I've positioned myself not as an Authority (nor as THE Authority) in web design (because I'm not), but rather as a designer that understands marketing, copywriting, graphic design, user experience design, usability, and whole host of other bits while truly-and-for-always caring about her clients as if they were her flesh and blood.

Some would say that's silly. Others tell me that I'm set to burn out (again). I say, "I can't do this any other way."

Who directly participates in your work?

I'm a firm believer that design is both iterative and entirely collaborative. I work with an amazing team to keep me on my toes (and keep me honing my skills). My clients are privy to the most intimate details of my Process so that they always know where they are. And, most importantly, they know that they're cared for.

What is the most beneficial aspect of your work on this journey?

The Process is definitely the most beneficial aspect of my work. The outcome is always gorgeous and well-thought-out and entirely well-coded BUT it's the Process that people come to me for. I take them through a journey to find their visually-charged voice. I lovingly (and ruthlessly) cut to the core of who they are, what they do, and WHY they do it so that I can provide the most wonderful online space possible.

I see my clients. Not visually, per se, but certainly in the, "I understand you. I see you for who you are. And I love you."

Describe your current big project or dream and how you are bringing it to the world.

I'm looking to take my work to the next level by starting up a Couture Web Studio. I have the key players picked out and we're contemplating the whole thing. It may take some time for it to come to fruition but I envision this as my Great Work. I'd like to revolutionize the way creative entrepreneurs see their online spaces.

Right now, a website is a means to an end. That end is to make sales, book clients, and get FAMOUS. Read: get PAID. What I imagine for creative entrepreneurs (writers, artists, designers, merry-makers, truth-tellers, soothsayers, and whimsical biznez owners)is for their online space to be an extension of their true selves. Once that space is optimized for them (and their people), said creative entrepreneur can continue what they're best at.

Creating, changing the world, owning their story, and having a helluva good time while doing it.

What keeps you doing this work with joy and gratitude?

The joy comes from the people that I chose to work with. Since I have the ability (and luxury) to handpick my clients, I make sure that I only work with the Best and the Brightest in every way imaginable. They have to be overflowing with love so that I can give them all of that love right back. And love, my darlings, is what keeps my heart beating.

The gratitude comes from a much more sacred space -- their online space. I watch my clients grow and unfold into what they were meant to be. Many of them tell me that it's because of the careful attention I paid to their story; that their visually-charged voices evolved from their online space. Those comments, that evolution, is what keeps me humble and gracious.

What is one thing you suggest women can do to move forward in their personal journey with integrity and wholeness?

Don't listen to self-aggrandizing poppycock and rhetoric. Results come from hours and hours of practice and dedication. Anyone who tells you different is only in it for themselves.

Please share some final words for our sisters in community.

Follow your heart. Then listen to your head. And then, only when you're terrified and feeling utterly hopeless, put them together. The light will spark. You will understand what your Great Work looks like. And when you're lit up like the night sky, you'll be ready to light up the entire world with your brilliance.