We are so thrilled to be sharing this week's #sheforshe interview with Carrie Waller: writer, stylist, photographer, and the brilliant mind behind the craft blog Dream Green DIY!
Although it may appear that Carrie Waller has seamlessly styled her way to success (since everything she does looks flawless...), she has spent the last four years of her life SERIOUSLY grinding. From juggling part-time jobs to late-night writing and styling deadlines, Carrie's poured every ounce of time and energy into building her brand and sharing her creative prowess with the world!
Photo by: Chelsea Laine Francis
Driven by a desire to "inspire makers and doers to put their abilities to work," this female jack-of-all-trades is constantly expanding her creative potential, while also leaning on strong female friends for fresh motivation and inspiration along the way.
We chose Carrie to be an advocat for #sheforshe because she's uber-talented, humble, and an entrepreneurial inspiration for women everywhere!
(YOU GO GIRL!).
Read on as she discusses the challenges of her profession, handling fear and self-doubt, and her take on "finding your purpose" so that you can get paid to do what you love!
SOLO: Which women have consistently supported and encouraged you throughout your life?
CW: Of course, my mom and little sister have both been constant wells of support for my business and for me personally. My friend (and fellow business owner) Liz Cook also is a major encouragement in my life. She pushes me forward and offers an outside perspective that I find too valuable for words. The entire blogging community is another major source of support. We band together in a way that is impossible to describe, whether that's offering a shoulder to cry on (even if just through email), or simple pieces of advice and words of support letting me know that I’m not alone.
I wouldn’t be able to blog if it weren’t for the women who blog alongside me.
Are there any women who have influenced your success or inspired you in some way?
I have a few bloggers and creatives whom I follow on a regular basis, and who (likely without realizing it) influence and inspire me everyday. Women like Rachel Smith, of The Crafted Life, Sarah Khandjian, of Sarah Hearts, and Jeran McConnel, of Oleander and Palm. These three women absolutely ROCK at what they do, and their collective creative content is a well of endless motivation for me.
What drives you to wake up every day and continue doing what you’re doing?
Growing up, my dad always encouraged my sister and I to find a way to get paid to do what we love. That mantra has been something that I have worked towards my entire life. The fact that I can honestly say that I've made that dream come true—not to mention my desire to keep that dream alive— is what gets me out of bed everyday and what keeps me happily working long into the night.
What makes you different from all the rest?
Although it's a given that we each have our own unique voices and perspectives within the craft blogging world, I don't like to focus too much on the differences. There's something so beautiful and empowering about the community as a whole, that I find more value from working as one unit rather than individual pieces. Within my particular niche, there are thousands and thousands of women doing roughly the same thing day in and day out. To focus on ways to differentiate and separate myself actually feels like I'm doing myself a disservice. Certainly, I'm always looking to find ways to create something new and to find my own creativity, but I like to think that we're all working towards the same goal—to inspire makers and doers to put their abilities to work and to indulge in the art of creating something from nothing.
Which of your personal attributes have contributed the most to your success?
My creativity is at the core of everything I do. I love to take photographs, craft, read, sing, dance, draw, paint, write—you name anything creative and I've dabbled in it. That unending passion and need to be creative is what keeps me motivated, inspired and, ultimately, fulfilled.
Photo by: Chelsea Laine Francis
Are there any sacrifices you have had to make in order to be successful?
A friend of mine recently told me about a metaphor that a professor explained to her, and I’ll share it with you to illustrate what I’ve had to sacrifice. Essentially, life is a little bit like a stovetop that has four burners. Your health, family, friends and work each take up one of the burners, and in reality you can only function successfully with two of the burners lit—the others inevitably fall by the wayside.
For me, I have definitely had to make sacrifices in these areas in order to be successful. I’m sad to admit it, but my friendships and my health have fallen out of priority as I hustle to push my brands forward. I’m trying hard to bring those two areas of my life back into focus, but it’s definitely hard to focus equally on my health, friends, family and job. It’s a daily struggle that I’m not sure I’ll ever master, so I’m just quietly thankful for my support system and the friends who understand that I love and think about them often despite the fact that I rarely am able to connect in person.
What advice would you have given to yourself when you were first starting out? (i.e. what mistakes have you learned from)
I think the one thing I wish I had known that fateful day that I purchased my domain name was just how much time and work it would take to build a brand from scratch. The journey to where I am now (which, despite being four years into it, still feels like the "beginning") has been fraught with stress. It takes an incredible amount of time and energy and willpower to keep pushing onward. I've been approached by others looking for advice on starting their own blog and the very first thing I always tell them is that it takes more time than you can ever imagine. That said, it's worth every late night and deadline pile up to be able to say that I'm living my dream!
How do you stay on top of all of your projects without losing your head?
My Todoist app! Without this handy digital to-do list, I would not be able to manage all of the competing deadlines and priorities on my plate. I’m able to see the next seven days in a snapshot, and can lay out all of the steps needed to make my freelance and blog projects come to life on time and with proper care.
How do you pull yourself out of bad moods or dark days?
I read other blogs. Seeing that other women, who are theoretically going through the same struggles that I am (i.e. the dreaded comparison game, competing deadlines, feeling overwhelmed by enormous projects, etc.) is hugely empowering. Just realizing, yet again, that I'm not alone helps to pull me out of my funk and get me moving instead of moping.
How have you (or do you) handle self-doubt?
I am a little hesitant to admit this because it sounds so silly...But whenever I start feeling burnt out or insecure, I'll pull up my blog, my portfolio or Glitter Guide and see all of the concrete good that I am doing. Seeing the words I've written and the projects I've managed to complete is a great reminder that I am doing good (or at least decent!) work and that I'm making each and every day count.
What are the challenges you face in your work, and how do you handle them?
I think the main challenge is comparison. It's impossible (truly impossible) to not weigh my success against others'. Everyone is racing towards this invisible finish line of coming up with the next best and most clever thing in DIY, and it's tough when I see people having these brilliant light bulb moments while I'm here feeling like my work is totally sub par. This is the moment when I combat my self-doubt by looking back on all of the things that I have accomplished on my own—I need that little reminder that I'm making my own marks in this business. It's what keeps me going and what lifts barriers so that I can see the possibilities ahead.
Photo by: Liz Cook Photography