Computer in crop field

Take the Risk or Lose the Chance: Starting a Small Business

It was three days until the New Year’s Eve, and the ball dropped early.

The previous company I was working for downsized. I lost my job. I didn’t see it coming. Six and a half years—the entirety of my professional career. Gone.

Make the Choice

It took me a long time to be mature enough to realize that I get to decide how I react to situations. The only person in control of my life is me. So when I was told that my job had been eliminated with no warning I had a choice to make.

Wallow, get angry, hide in a hole, or make the best of it.

Take the Risk

Within a day of losing my job I was working on generating a killer resume and cover letter, and making sure my online presence was up to date. After numerous rounds of revision and way overthinking things I was done.

I looked them over and thought, “Dang, I would hire me.”

So I did.

Make a Plan

I decided to push the reset button. A few days later I was on a plane, eager to get away for a few days, process my roller coaster of emotions, and plan how to move forward starting my own company.

Plane wing and sunrise

The afternoon I got home I formed an LLC, and the rest of this story is yet to be written…

Do What Makes You Happy

Starting Gevelinger Design LLC wasn’t in my plans.

I feel like a bit of an imposter saying that. I don’t have a grand story of spending years planning my move to jump into the world of being an entrepreneur.

What I do have is years of seeing companies struggle to figure out how to reach their customers on an emotional level and motivate them to take some action.

I’m passionate about helping companies use strategic design to build their brand. I work to understand consumer emotions and motivations. To get someone to take action you have to reach them on an emotional level. We are feeling creatures who think, so it’s key to understand those feelings.

My goal is to help the people running companies reach their customers and in turn grow and thrive. Design is a powerful tool for accomplishing that.

The Hard Stuff to Talk About

How did you feel when the job you went to for almost 7 years was suddenly gone?

Shocked, disposable, worried, lost.

Taking with others helped me realize that those are perfectly normal feelings, expected feelings even. I leaned on my friends and family. I searched inspirational quotes on Pinterest. Every once in awhile I’d randomly cry. I cranked the speakers and listened to power ballads (shout out to Demi Lovato and P!nk).

I felt like I had failed even though I did nothing wrong.

How did you figure out what to do next?

I had to decide what’s important to me. I took some time to figure out what makes me happy.

It’s not just designing that makes me happy, it’s solving problems for people that I really enjoy. Design just happens to be what I use to solve those problems.

How are you moving forward?

I recognize that holding onto the past isn’t going to change the future. I’m constantly learning. I’m surrounding myself with people who are going to push me outside of my comfort zone.

I’m betting on myself and my abilities. I’m accepting that things that scare me will help me grow the most.

Have you ever had an unexpected job change? Share your experience in the comments below.

Subscribe to the Gevelinger Design blog to join me on this journey. Upcoming posts will include everything from thoughts on business, to branding and marketing advice, and business happenings.

Dana Gevelinger

Dana Gevelinger

Dana Gevelinger is the owner and designer at Gevelinger Design LLC, a company that helps companies build their brand through strategic graphic design.

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