Before we began, let's set the stage. The purpose of this interview series is to inspire and encourage millennials to take the leap into entrepreneurship or give advice to those currently on the journey.
This series will highlight millennial entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries who are offering services, products and resources to their audiences.
Throughout the next couple of weeks you will have the chance to read the stories of millennial trailblazers who are designers, social ambassadors, photographers, and more. I hope you are inspired!
In this Mindshift Interview, I have UX Designer: Shanice Stewart. During this interview, we deep dived into all things business, influencing the future and more. This interview was such a joy. Shanice's journey is one, I believe will resonate with many who are skeptical of the entrepreneurship world. She is someone who has worked heavily with startups and small businesses yet still has reservations when it comes to taking that leap. Here, she becomes very transparent with her journey. Let's take a look at things from her perspective...
Behind the Person.
Tell us about a little bit about yourself and what you do.
I am a graduate of The University of Georgia. I have recently taken a position with the Center for Disease Control as a content strategist. I am an avid book reader, and enjoy going on hikes with friends in my free time.
What is one quote you live by? Give an example of how you have applied this quote on your journey.
The impact of this quote is huge for me. It reminds me to be patient with myself. It forces me to accept myself for better or worse and realize every human has his / her own individual journey. For a period of time, I would look around and see all of my friends accepting wonderful job opportunities and advancing in their life. I could not help thinking of what I was not doing or why the same was not occurring for me. During these moments, this quote helped me bring it all into perspective.
What’s one habit you have developed that you feel as though has aided in your overall journey?
I am a former sufferer of seasonal depression. Upon visiting my therapist one year, it was recommended for me to start meditating. It was the change I needed. I believe mediation should be a requirement for kids in schools. So much so, I competed in The Ms. Black & Gold Pageant with mediation as my platform.
Why Small Business.
You describe yourself as a UX Designer. How did this interest develop? What was the idea that started it all?
I was in my last semester at UGA completing a degree in advertising, when I realized advertising was not something I wanted to pursue at that time. However, since it was my last semester I finished it up anyway. After consulting with a peer, he recommend I check out The GA Assembly for their course in UX Design. This would keep me from spending money on Graduate School fees. I looked into the program, and was awarded a full scholarship. Needless to say, I went and was emerged into all things UX Design had to offer.
What does a UX Designer do? What problems or pain points are you looking to assist small businesses or entrepreneurs solve through being a UX Designer?
UX simply means User Experience. A UX Designer is someone who fosters the experience when a customer uses a product. UX is the umbrella to several other components. For example, there are UX Designers, UX Researchers, and a few others. As a UX Researcher, I would interview potential users of a product for feedback. As a UX Designer, I would make the design changes needed to increase the user's satisfaction.
While working with one particular small business, I was brought on as a digital marketer. I interviewed platform users and asked many specific questions related to social media and our brand. I discovered many clients had not noticed our social handles despite them being represented on our site. I was able to bring this information to the owners and strategize on different implementations to resolve our social media status.
There are a lot of misconceptions about running a small business, like lack of freedom or difficulty growing income. What’s the biggest myth you’ve witnessed to be untrue?
Through my experiences working with entrepreneurs and small business owners, it's not as scary as people make it out to be. The environment is lively as everyone is excited about the business bouncing ideas and resolutions off each other. The owners are generally so passionate about their idea, product, or service it's hard not to pick up on their energy.
Personally, what are some of the cautions or reasons you rustle with on the topic of entrepreneurship vs a position in corporate America?
Being an entrepreneur or small business owner, the need for creating a team is inevitable. I would prefer to work solo on my personal projects. Plus ultimately, I would like to be a homemaker. I feel focusing on solely being a nurturer is way undervalued in society, and that would be my dream.
In order for a business to thrive there must be clientele. What marketing strategies have you assisted small business use to attract and find new leads for business growth?
Social Media is huge for a lot of the businesses I have assisted. The digital world provides the opportunity to reach millions of people in a way we've never seen before.
Word of mouth. It's that method that never goes out of style.
Yelp. Yelp is big on testimonials. And we all know testimonials convert clients.
Customer Service or the customer’s overall experience is crucial when it comes to a brand's longevity. What experiences have you assisted small business owners create for their clientele?
Organizing content to make sure it's user friendly. These days if the informaton a user needs to find is too complicated, they'll leave and search elsewhere. This is one area I solve for my clients.
Taking the time to really sit with your customer or clients makes them feel special. It creates a stronger sense of connection with the brand, because they feel as though their opinions genuinely matter. You really care about your audience. Plus, the gift card or whatever gift you use as reimbursement for their time is always happily received.
Influencing the future.
What are some accomplishments you’ve experienced as a UX Designer? And where do you see your future within this industry?
My biggest accomplishment is with a company called Akoma. Akoma is such a wonderful brand. Their purpose is to share uplifting stories of Africa to balance the narrative of poverty, corruption, and war constantly being circulated in the media. I helped create an onboarding process for their users. It was a honor to work for such an amazing cause.
In the future, I hope to become a Senior UX Designer or Researcher. I want to help make the final decisions on products that will shape our culture and behavior. I hope to be heavily involved on the tangible product side. For example, the way the iphone has shaped our culture. It's a tangible product that has ultimately changed the game. I would love to be apart of that next big thing; designing the physical part that holds the digital component.
Based off your experience working with several small business owners, what advice can you give to other entrepreneurs?
I describe a Mindshift as a moment in time, where one realizes, there is more to life than what society has told. Can you describe your Mindshift moment?
When I discovered a blog called Zenhabits.net. It introduced me to minimalism. Minimalism is all about essentialism and declutter. In society, the message is always more more more. Work to acquire more. Often times, the more relates to material possessions that add no real significance or meaning to our lives. In minimalism, your heart in your chest and relationships are what matters most.
Think about what living life on your own terms means to you. Describe your ideal situation.
- Financial Freedom.
- Comfortably within my journey.
- A happy Marriage.
Additional Gems from Shanice:
Choose Your Journey. Let passion be your guide.
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