WBS Member Interview with Karen from Duende Design

What does being a business owner mean to you?

It means freedom and flexibility. I am able to do what I love and I am also able to be there for the people I love which is something I really appreciate. I have been the mother that was working full time and felt like I missed out on so much. Now I am able to have a better work-life balance without regret.


Meet Karen from Duende Design

WBS Member Interview with Karen from Duende Design

Duende is a spanish word it is pronounced du-en-day – it is feeling person gets with the feel inspired by a piece of art, it is an emotive reaction that can’t quite be described.


Tell us about your business

I find creative solutions for businesses through creating a consistent brand identity. I support business owners in understanding the importance of how they present their business to the world.


Why and when did you start your own business?

I started my business in this format in September 2015, it was something that I always wanted to do – to be run my own business to be the key decision maker and leader. I spent many years in customer service roles and during that time I decided to follow my instinct and start studying graphic design – which I something I had wanted to do for a very long time. It was at the time where there were more opportunities to study online which is what I needed to do as I was working full time.


What does being a business owner mean to you?

It means freedom and flexibility. I am able to do what I love and I am also able to be there for the people I love which is something I really appreciate. I have been the mother that was working full time and felt like I missed out on so much. Now I am able to have a better work-life balance without regret.


What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

Hard to say really, I have read a number of books but I couldn’t put my finger on one person.


What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Getting to the point of launching my business. Over 6 years I studied 3 qualifications – one Cert IV and two diplomas all while raising a family – two of my children were born while I was studying! I feel like every completed project gets better and better.


What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?

Have systems and processes. Take note of what you do frequently and develop a system for it that becomes an excellent habit.


What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

Networking is my most effective tool, even if the other business owners that I directly network with aren’t my ideal clients, they probably know someone who will be. Let your community know what you do – and for me, that’s the school and kinder mums that I see every day and the businesses I frequent.

Duende Design Portfolio

What is one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

Be yourself, convey your true personality to your audience. Be honest with what you can and can’t do and ask for help when you need it.


Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?

Stay organised digitally – have a system for your digital record keeping as well as paper.


What do you do for fun/relaxation?

I spend time with my family, I love to travel, try new things and socialise with my close friends.


What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful woman in business?

  1. Clarity – on who you are and where you are headed in your business. Integrity – set values for your business.
  2. Confidence – put vulnerability aside and show who you are, it’s scary but worth it.


What fears have you faced in business? Have you overcome it/them? How do you manage fear?

My ultimate fear in business is failure and I think being in a creative business it comes with a huge dose of vulnerability because my work is very much a part of me. To overcome my fears I plan in a smart way whether it is budgeting or time everything needs to fit inside the means that I have. I manage fear by taking a step back to see what I can change that will have a positive impact and ease that fear.


What are your top 5 goals you want to achieve by the end of 2017?

  1. I’d like to be fully booked 2 months in advance
  2. Consistently achieve my monthly income target
  3. Increase my social media following
  4. Successful implementation of new package pricing with client uptake
  5. Consistently schedule social media


What makes you happy?

Happy clients make me happy when I see that a client is able to take what I’ve taught them about using design to enhance their business image and presence I feel so satisfied. Having the flexibility to be there for my children, especially when random things pop up brings me joy.


Have you had to make any sacrifices whilst running your business? If so, what are they?

Of course! It’s a huge financial sacrifice to start a business compared to the stability of being employed elsewhere. We have gone without luxuries, holidays and budget strictly.


Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most and why?

For a long time I have admired Stuck On You, a simple idea developed at a dining room table that has become a multi-million dollar international success story.


Where do you see yourself and your business in 2-5 years?

I have experienced high growth this year, in 2 – 5 years I hope to have employees and a permanent office space. I hope that in five years I will have a true design studio with an awesome reputation.


What book has inspired you the most? (OR What is your favourite book?)

Guilty secret. I have three business books on my desk that I need to read. Honestly, I love Harry Potter books because of the rich descriptions that are a mental visual feast.


How do you measure your success in business?

I measure success by flexibility and freedom – outside of my working days am I able to do the things that I find personally fulfilling. I also measure success by creating fans of the business who send positive feedback and word of mouth referrals.


Where is your dream destination to go for a holiday and why?

Europe. I would especially love to explore Italy for its rich art and culture and The Netherlands to learn more about my family history.


What is your favourite inspirational quote?

“Perseverance is the key to success” – I’m not sure if anyone else said it before me!


What are your top 5 business tips?

  1. Connect with other business owners
  2. Be yourself of social media
  3. Have a strategy for your marketing and media that reflects your vision and mission as a business owner. Curate your social media feeds.
  4. When you can afford to, outsource the business tasks you don’t like doing
  5. Be a valuable resource to those around you


Why did you become a WBS Member?

After attending my first WBS event I knew it was the right fit for me – positive people looking for support and encouragement and also giving it and without the ego of other networking groups.


 Connect with Karen




Join us for the first WBS Event for 2018 

The first WBS event will be in Berwick on Friday 9th February 2018 at Zagames. Karen Martz from Duende Design who will be discussing Building your authentic brand identity.

Book your tickets here: https://goo.gl/wyPR2e

Become a WBS Member and join the network where we promote, connect and motivate women in business. 


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