Allow us to introduce you to Rita Olds-Robinson, the woman behind the big (amazing) hair.
When we first connected with Rita, we were blown away by her determination and sense of humor. Honestly, we just wanted to be her friend. As we dug deeper into Rita's story and got to know what drives her, we wanted to be more than her friend. We wanted to be her business bestie, her mentor, and her student.
Rita may not have the hands on experience of other seasoned entrepreneurs, but she more than makes up for it in her keen design sense, her ability to listen, and her willingness to learn. And in our experience, those qualities are more powerful indicators of success than any amount of time spent doing something.
We hope you enjoy getting to know Rita as much as we have. And if you're in town for the #HustleHERWay Summit in June, we encourage you to get your ticket. Because Rita is going to rock it ... hard.
For those that may not be familiar, can you share more about who you are and what you do?
I am Rita Olds-Robinson and I am a Web Designer. I offer courses, consultation, and web design to help entrepreneurs, ready to make serious coins, live life on their own terms.
Let me tell you how I got here: I’ve been a professional writer in the corporate world for 10 years using my BA from the University of Pittsburgh to write creative copy, technical documentation, and manage projects for Fortune 500 companies including American Eagle Outfitters, Navy Federal Credit Union, Freddie Mac, the US Army and the FAA.
As a writer and project manager, I learned the importance of clear communications and strategy, and am able to use that in web design. In was in my last job as a Project Manager for web developers that I realized web developers make ugly websites and web designers need more coding skills. So I merged my creativity, intentional and strategic communication style, and new found coding skills to feel the void.
What prompted you to take the leap into entrepreneurship?
Honestly, I’ve always felt a sense of emptiness in the corporate world. The pressure, the deadlines, the urgency to get things done that didn’t really make a real difference bothered me, but it was all I knew.
And then I fell in love. My boyfriend proposed and I wanted an amazing wedding website that reflected us and our quirks (not staged or expected). So I built it (consulting with the web developers I managed). Then a friend wanted one, and another friend, and I felt like a found my purpose.
It was a side hustle until we got orders to San Diego — clear across the country. So I though, you know what, I’m not looking for a job in San Diego. I'll hire myself and I will make it. And here I am. Full timing since January 2017.
What has been the biggest joy since you've gone full-time in your own business?
My biggest joy has been seeing clients succeed. I am filled with joy seeing women walk in their purpose whether it’s making sales or sharing their voice via a blog. I am always screaming “Go, girl” from the sidelines.
What has been the biggest struggle?
Honestly, everything has been a struggle as a newbie. The top of the list: making a consistent income. But that translates to targeting the right audience, being consistently visible and being comfortable making the sale.
Managing my time is also a struggle. The beauty in working for yourself is YOU ARE THE BOSS. The downside is you must be disciplined. I am getting there, but the way my couch is set up...
As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, how have you had to keep those tendencies in check while launching your business?
I must remind myself that done is better than perfect, and someone needs you right now, so share, go live, or post it. I’m learning if I act from my heart and with integrity, perfect doesn’t matter.
One thing we hear A LOT from the women we work with is that they never have enough time to do everything they want to do. How can web design help business owners take back their time?
Ladies! Make your website WORK. It’s more than a menu of your services or staged images of you working. It’s your personal assistant, customer service rep, and more.
Here's how you can take back your time:
- Anticipate questions your customers may have and answer them a lot. You can do this by adding a stand alone FAQ page, including FAQs on specific sales pages, and including detailed descriptions of your service + process. You will get less emails with questions
- Map out your on-boarding process (every single step) and design your site to walk customers through the process from signing contracts to uploading documents to scheduling meetings. Tell the customer “What’s next” and guide them.
- Put the onus on your customers. Make it their responsibility to pay, schedule time with you, and provide content to you.
I could go on and on, but these blog posts may help:
Where do you see yourself and HeyDays Design headed in the future?
I am totally dominated by my left brain. I geek out talking about code and systems more than the creative side of designing, so I want to transition to teaching or consulting vs. designing. I am happiest seeing someone get their “AHA moments” and implement systems.
I work with first time entrepreneurs who have been in business 2 years or less and instead of them relying on me, I want to to empower them to be self-sufficient (even if they aren’t techie). I also want to teach my fellow designers to become better at implementing systems into their design because they are doing entrepreneurs a disservice by creating just a pretty site. It must be fabulous and functional.
Do you have any rituals or systems in place to help you stay focused so that you can achieve your goals?
I learned the hard way that I must:
- Meditate every single morning. Starting my day with a clear head is priceless.
- Get dressed for work and not work in PJs. It increased my productivity 10-fold.
- Work at a desk. Not the dining room table, not the couch, and definitely not the bed.
- Time block. Thanks to you, Emily, I set aside 1-2 hours to focus on one thing instead of multi-task.
- Be gentle and patient with myself as I learn.
Famous last words... What advice would you give to women who want to take a leap of their own?
Being unapologetically you is freedom. Embrace who you are and don’t try to mimic anyone else on your journey. Your purpose is yours and it won’t look or feel like anyone else's.
Defining success and happiness for yourself is freedom.
Challenge everything you’ve been taught about what it means to be a woman, happy, and successful, and redefine it if you want to.
Then chase makes you happy and work everyday to reach your own definition success.
PS: Be prepared to work.