Social media is a beautiful thing. Sure, it's possible to get addicted, and some people use it as a distraction or as a way to isolate themselves, but when you work alone all day social media is a great way to connect with like-minded people, connect with your fans and customers, and meet some fantastic people that eventually turn into friends.
I met today's Do-What-You-Love Story interviewee, Darling Castaneda, after she reached out to me on Instagram. She is super sweet and is passionate about helping others turn their dreams into reality--my kind of girl! Today she gives us a little peek into her life and shares the moment when she realized she could do EVERYTHING she wanted to do…
Tell us who you are, where you are from, and what it is that you do.
My name is Darling Castaneda, I live in Central Florida (though my heart stayed in Miami, FL) and I am a Strategic Brand Visionary. Basically, I work with a person’s dreams from idea all the way through execution. I get to help them take their ideas and convert them into a solid concept.
This initial step involves a lot of motivation and inspiration as well, I find people need so much of that when they are going through this process. From there I help them visually brand it by helping them choose names, if they need it, brand color palettes and more. The graphic designer I am comes into play when they are ready to showcase it to the world. I design their logos, websites, business cards, brochures, PDFs, social media and anything else you can think of!
What made you decide to pursue this career path?
Ever since I was in 7th grade I have loved graphic design. Don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that it was my dream career until my early twenties but that is how life rolls, right? I spent many years with a million ideas, interests, talents and concepts that I didn’t know what to do with. It plagued me at night, it made me lose confidence and it was a hazy experience.
The day I realized that I could do EVERYTHING I loved to do in one solid business was when I noticed I was doing it anyway. People would naturally come up to me for help on their concepts, they’d come to me to design their businesses and I realized… hum, why didn’t I think about this sooner?
What is the best part about running your own business? What is the most difficult part?
The best part about running my own business is all of the benefits that I get to reap. Seeing how I help people fulfill THEIR dreams and help them do what THEY love to do really makes my entire career worth it. On a more technical scale, I love the fact that I have FREEDOM as I run my own business. I can spend time with my family and I just have full control of it.
The most difficult part i’d have to say is the fact that with great success comes great responsibility. I have to constantly micromanage myself in order for everything to be functional. As a creative individual, micromanaging can be REALLY hard. Thankfully my husband helps me out with that!
What is your most popular product/service? Why do you think people like it?
Right now my most popular service is kind of a tie between my One on One Breakthrough Sessions and my web design, depending on where the person is in their career development. People seem to like my sessions because it gives them perspective, solutions and a great big breath of fresh air. I’ve been there, I know what it’s like to NOT be able to sleep with all of the ideas in your head and not knowing what to do with them. Therefore, I get to tap into something that gives them that breakthrough “aha” moment that they couldn’t reach because they were in that “haze”.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue their creative dreams as a career?
Never. ever. ever. give up. Oh! and that moment where you don't think you are good enough? It happens to absolutely everyone. From the most successful to the ones who are just starting off. I say that before a breakthrough moment comes the hardest challenge. So always stick it out because your moment is just over that mountain.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on SO MANY exciting projects. DesigNymph being one of them. She’s an interior designer who just nailed a deal with Bloomingdales and HGTV so i’m totally stoked about working with such amazing talent. I am also working very closely with one of Amazon’s Best Selling Author/Confidence and Motivation Expert Mrs. Rachel Luna which has been such an honor and pleasure working with. She will be coming out with a new challenge this year and i’ll be designing everything for it so that’s pretty exciting. A lot of great projects!
Where would you like to see your business in 10 years?
In 10 years my business will be where destiny wants it to be. I know that I will be having an e-shop within those 10 years, a book coming out much sooner than 10 years together with mentoring programs and e-courses. Many exciting things to come so stay tuned!
Walk us through a typical day of running your business.
My day is never a "typical day" but I try my best to keep it as organized as I can. Depending on the amount of projects that I have going on my days can be super hectic and very serene. One thing I can't go without is meditating. I always have to find my center and clear my head before starting the day because it is so important in order to proceed cautiously.
A friend of mine also approached me with a schedule that has worked amazingly for me. Every day of the week has its own "task" outside of my project hours. Monday is paperwork day, Tuesday is social media day so on and so forth.
I take two hour lunches, which aren't really lunches. They are more like "eat something quick, help kids with homework and play with them out until they are ready for a nap" kind of thing. The rest of my day consists of more project hours, returning all phone calls and emails I have missed, ect.
Regardless of what my days look like, I am always seeking inspiration everywhere I go and trying to be an inspiration. Not a day can go by where I don't attempt to inspire someone in any way possible.
If you could have one superpower what would it be?
Haha! Echolocation (the ability to locate anything) because... well, I have two kids. Enough said. lol!
Share a secret talent.
I can actually rap… I really enjoy writing lyrics for it and also spoken word. LOL!! I'm totally not kidding.
All images above were provided by Darling and can be found on her website. You can get in touch with her using the following links: