Do-What-You-Love Stories: Anna Measures

The people who are lucky enough to do what they love everyday come from all walks of life and take lots of different roads to get to their dream careers. Some people know from day one that they want to be their own boss. Others find that what they love to do is part of a regular ol' 9-to-5 job that they look forward to going to everyday. And then you have those who tend to dabble in lots of different work environments until they find one that just "clicks".

Today we get to hear the Do-What-You-Love Story of surface pattern designer, Anna Measures and find out what it is like to go from in-house designer to a self-employed freelancer, how to make the transition less scary, and some great resources for switching your creative brain into "business mode"… 

Tell us who you are, where you are from, and what it is that you do.

Hello! I'm Anna Measures, an illustrator and surface pattern designer. I help sell products with design. I'm a creative business-owning vegetarian based in Southern California who works remotely anywhere there's wifi. You can see some of my work at Toys R Us, Babies R Us and the Kennedy Space Center Gift Shop.


What made you decide to pursue this career path?

I knew when I was 9 that I was an artist. Later in college, I had a hot male model in my first figure drawing class. That didn’t hurt. ;)


After majoring as an Art Major, I got a job as a Giftware Designer. I designed “My Name,” personalized products for the juvenile market. Some product programs were mugs, drink bottles, sippy cups, melamine bowls and flashlights. It was great being an in-house designer for the experience. Now I’m a freelance designer.


What is the best part about running your own business? What is the most difficult part?

For me, the best and worst about running my own business is the same...the freedom.

It's very easy to get into a procrastination binge. I don't mind when things are slow because then I have more time to take a class or create personal work that might lead to a work opportunity later. That’s what I signed up for.

What’s hard is shutting down the internet, to keep promises to myself. Being a solopreneur is a marathon!


What is your most popular product/service?

Why do you think people like it?

Freelancing is my most popular service right now, my customers like it because I never miss a deadline. I like it because it expands my style and I always love a challenge designing for different markets. If I don't think a potential customer and myself are the right fit or the timing is off, I'll recommend another designer.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue their creative dreams as a career?

Let's see…I'm going to give advice as if I had a magical time machine & was speaking to my younger self. 


Get on your lab coat & approach your dream like a test! 

Start small, like freelancing on the side while still working your day job. It takes a LOT of pressure off. Plus you can see firsthand what being in service of your customers is all about. See if you like it! Creating as a hobby is different than for your career. 

(I freelanced on the side for a year before I put in my 2 weeks notice. At the time, I was the only one in my job's Art Department NOT laid off, so it was really good timing. I started as an in-house designer for children's novelty items & giftware.)

Pssst...It was a bit like winning Survivor and walking away ;)

You can see more about how I went from side business to FULL time by signing up for my email updates.


What are you currently working on?

I'm working on developing a brand that's consistent & recognizable. 

I can design in different styles so I've been trying out new things…

Also I'm freelancing and have been working on product designs. I LOVE collaborating with my Customers. I eat feedback for breakfast. 



Where would you like to see your business in 10 years?

I'd consistently deliver the best experience & service to my Customers.

I hope to reach more people so I can show n' tell how gorgeous the world is! 

I traveled a lot as a kid. I'd like to share that rush whenever I found a beautiful new place or object. 

I plan to hire out all the parts I’m not good at (or don’t want to do) so I can focus on what I do best. I love to make time for continuing classes like figure drawing. 

I always want to S-T-R-E-T-C-H myself. 


What are 5 resources that you use most or that has positively impacted your business the most?

There are some wonderful how-to classes out there. I’d like to focus on resources that helped change my mindset from employee to business-owner. Here are some great resources that has helped the most:

  1. Seth Godin's Blog
  2. Steven Pressfield's Book, The War of Art
  3. Simon Sineak’s TEDx talk, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
  4. Brene Brown’s TEDx talk, the Power of Vulernability (cause putting yourself out there can be intimidating at first) 
  5. has free live online classes - (I like the classes that focus on business/marketing) Check out their calendar.

What is your favorite movie? 

I like a lot of movies, but Rocky 4 will always have a special place in my heart. It has the most montages I've EVER seen in a movie. 100% CHEESE. 

What's one thing on your "bucket list"?

I’d love to go to India. Places with some major history. I live in Southern California so 200 years to me is old. 

I hear Thailand has gotten a lot of influences from India so I want to see if I recognize similar things. (I used to go to boarding school in Thailand. The uniforms were like Harry Potter students' — except without the wizard robes.)

Anything else you'd like to share with us?

I only share certain stories to my email subscribers. 

(Including what REALLY happened when I went into a Tiger Cage.) 



My subscribers also get the latest news & free gifts like:

Free Guide: 5 Mistakes when hiring a designer that you don’t know you’re making

Wanna free copy? Download it over on my website.

All images above were provided by Anna. You can find Anna using the following links:




Do-What-You-Love Stories: Darling Castaneda

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:





Do-What-You-Love Stories: Monika Forsberg

Monika Forsberg is a Mother, Animator, and Artist based in London. Her work is so imaginative and unique and browsing her website is like taking a walk through a magical land filled with colorful characters and beautiful blooms...beyond creative!

Today Monika gives us a little peek inside her life and business, and shares her Do-What-You-Love Story...



Tell us who you are, where you are from, and what it is that you do. 

I'm from a coastal town in the very north of Sweden. I grew up with snow forest endless summers and a lot of imagination. I moved to London in 1995 and became who I am now. I studied illustration but spent most of my time hiding away in the darkness of the animation room. I graduated eventually and had my first child and started working as an animator and also did a brief stint of textile designing.


What made you decide to pursue this career path?

I've always drawn and made things…me and my friend Linda used to sit and one end each of a table and draw and make stories up. Sometimes we'd record them on a tape player and make sound effects to go with the stories, sometimes we just drew girls with big dresses on and made elaborate patterns on the dresses. We'd made cut out dolls and built 3D stables for our toy horses and organise little horse jump competitions (we'd make the 'jumps' out out match stick boxes etc) and we also spent an awful lot of time in the outdoors playing Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (I was Huck). I remember us telling Lindas mum we wanted to become artists and or writers and her mum said it was impossible.

I decided to become a photographer aged 16 as it was the oat creative career path i could choose where I lived and when i started studying something creative it felt like I'd found home.


What is the best part about running your own business? What is the most difficult part? 

The best thing is that I get to do what I love, the hard thing is to have to do all the boring bits such as hunt for jobs/commissions/sell things and doing admin. I found it hard that what i do (draw) isn't always taken seriously as a job. 

What is your most popular product/service? Why do you think people like it?

I been doing animation for the longest so it's what I'm the most successful at but generally people seem to respond really well to work that is the most personal and work I've had most fun doing it is and the more fun i had whilst making it. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue their creative dreams as a career? 

I would totally say Go for it, if it's what you love doing. I couldn't do anything else. It is hard work and its seldom 9-5 with a secure a stable income so you've gotta really WANT it to do it. The quicker you take responsibilities for your own ups and down the better…If you get rejected it's easy to lash out and blame the person that turned you down rather than admit to yourself that maybe you're not good enough (for that job (yet)) or that you didn't communicate your ideas clearly enough or that because  a client asked you  for a square peg and you submitted a round one you cut your chances in less than half. Learn to listen and learn to look see. Observe. 

I'd say it'd be useful to enjoy being in your own world. It can get lonely (if you don't enjoy hanging out with yourself for stretches of time) and do it for you and not to  get approval from someone. ````and do what you love.


What are you currently working on?

I'm working on a few things I cannot yet talk about as well as trying to establish myself as an illustrator/licensing artist rather than solely being an animator .


Where would you like to see your business in 10 years?

I'd like to be a bit more finically secure not having to worry about having money for the most basic of things…I'd like to still be curious and adventurous in my art. 

Tell us about your workspace! What is your favorite thing about where you work? What would you splurge on if money were no object?


If I had the money (and the space) I'd build a shed in the garden and it'd be my studio. My studio for now is wherever i can find the space. I often work in bed whilst my youngest son (and our cat Eddie) naps next to me. With children (I've got two) you've gotta grab the time when you get it. I also draw/paint in the sofa at night whilst we all settling down for some family time. I paint a bit at the kitchen table whilst cooking and i have a sketch book and pen and a camera in my bag and draw doodle photograph whilst waiting for a friend or going places on the bus. The favourite thing about working like this is that it there is no defined line between work and play, I'm just having fun…You don't need the best trainers to be a good (football)soccer player. You don't get anywhere by making excuses, there is no cheating. There is hard work  and the more effort you put in the more you move forward. Focus on the positive and acknowledge (and deal with) the shit but theres no need to dwell the negatives. Make goals for yourself.


If you could have one superpower what would it be?

I'd like to be able to duplicate myself so there could be more me's so I'd could produce more. There are so many ideas and so many things to do that my brain is always seven steps ahead of my fingers.

What is your biggest pet peeve? 


If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you hope you had?

I'd bring a knife (so i could cut things down and construct things) a dog (as they can find fresh water and also are great company) and a stamp collection (so i could sit and look at all the little pictures and dream of far away land).



All images and video in this post are by Monika Forsberg and can be found, along with her other beautiful work, at her website Walkyland


Do-What-You-Love Stories: Andrea Archibald from Simply Vague

Back in August, I began selling some of my Buck & Libby products at a fun shop in Columbus, OH called Simply Vague!

Today we are chatting with shop owner Andrea Archibald about what happens when your dream career turns out to be not-so-dreamy, the grand opening of a new store, and the day-to-day tasks of running a business that is changing how we shop... 

That’s me, my dog Goose, and someone’s knee (Maverick, our Neapolitan Mastiff is not pictured) 

That’s me, my dog Goose, and someone’s knee (Maverick, our Neapolitan Mastiff is not pictured) 

Tell us who you are, where you are from, and what it is that you do.

My name is Andrea Archibald. I live in Ostrander, a little place in the middle of nowhere that sits between Marysville and Delaware Ohio. 

I own the store Simply Vague, an all Ohio made consignment store in the Mall at TuttleCrossing, and soon to be in Polaris Fashion Place. Simply Vague is a celebration of all that is LOCAL! The store carries products from over 170 Ohio crafters, artists, farmers, food artisans, inventors, musicians, and the l

Photo from the Dublin Villager article here:  Source       

Photo from the Dublin Villager article here: Source



What made you decide to pursue this career path?

Prior to opening Simply Vague in 2012, I worked as a new home sales consultant. Growing up I always aspired to be just like my mom, she sold homes for the #1 homebuilder in Columbus and was often (if not always) the companies top sales person. I felt that she had this great responsibility, she was selling people the American Dream, a home is the biggest purchase that many of us will ever make, and so many families trusted her to help them make such a huge decision. As early as I can remember I wanted to sell houses.

When I finally settled into what I thought was my dream job, I was in for a rude awakening. I was working on 100% commission, worrying every day about where my next sale was going to come from, putting in long hours, never taking a day off, dealing with unhappy customers, and a boss that I couldn’t please. On the bright side, I met husband Nate while selling homes, we fell in love, became a sales team, and after 3 years, we were DONE. That is when Simply Vague was born. 

A c  onstruction site, my old stomping grounds!     

A construction site, my old stomping grounds!


Nate and I wanted to create a one of a kind local experience. He and I love to attend farmers markets, craft shows, I enjoy shopping on etsy, and have always been a fan of crafting (although my career never allowed much time for my creative passions). In May of 2012 we set out to open a brick and mortar version of etsy, an open year-round farmers market, a craft show that takes place every day! 

What is your most popular product/service? Why do you think people like it?

Simply Vague has become well known for being the place to buy unique, one of a kind, often times customizable items, a great place to buy gifts for all occasions. When opening Simply Vague we wanted to create something that was a good contrast to all the stores you typically find in a mall.

When I was young, I always wanted to have the same things that all my friends had. Where I went to school, you weren’t cool if you didn’t wear Abercrombie clothes, so I did. That was in 2005, and times have changed! Simply Vague is a store for those of us that DON’T want to be like everyone else, a place that you are sure to get something that NO ONE else is going to have.

What is the best part about running your own business? What is the most difficult part?

There are so many benefits to running my own business. I get to meet the most incredible, talented, inspiring individuals on a daily basis. I get to watch their small businesses take off, and be a part of their do-what-you-love-stories. Most importantly, I am able to work my own schedule, and that means I get to spend lots of time with the love of my life, my 4 month old son Holden. 

Picture 5.jpg

The most difficult part of owning my own business has been learning to delegate and ask for help. I tend to take on too much and am known to be a bit of a control freak.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue their creative dreams as a career?

My advice to those interested in in pursuing their creative dreams as a career is, don’t listen to anyone that tells you that your dream is a bad idea. There is nothing wrong with taking risks, I believe wholeheartedly in no risk, no reward.

If I had listened to everyone who told me that opening Simply Vague was a bad idea, or too risky, I would still be doing the same redundant thing every day, I would be stressed out and unhappy.

If you are passionate enough about something, you can make it a success, and when you do something you love, you don’t work a day in your life!

What are you currently working on?

Right now there are a lot of new exciting things on the horizon for Simply Vague! First and foremost, the grand opening of Simply Vague in Polaris Fashion Place on September 28th we are busy making preparations, from physically setting up the store to sending out press releases, hiring new employees, and finding new product. On September 27th, I will be appearing on Daytime Columbus to promote the opening.

I am also working on planning my upcoming Made LOCAL Marketplace show, which means that I am sorting through applications, scheduling entertainment, and producing marketing materials for the event. I hosted my first show in July and it was a huge success, the second will be a holiday show, it is scheduled for December 14th from 9:00-4:00 at Bridgewater Banquet Center in Powell. I hope to make this second show bigger and better than the first!


Last but not least, I have been blogging for a new magazine called Broadway+Tresher that represents blending urban innovations with rural traditions.

Where would you like to see your business in 10 years?

In 10 years from now, we would like to have at least 5 locations. As long as people love local, we will continue to spread the local love. Our long term goal is to introduce Simply Vague to Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland, Toledo, and wherever else would like to have us!

Walk us through a typical day of running your business.

My days are anything but typical. Some days I work at the store, sometimes I stay home with the baby, and sometimes I spend the day shopping for store fixtures, or visiting craft shows.

In order to stay organized I work off of a running to-do list. Because I never know what my day is going to entail I try to set goals for myself and stay task-oriented.

My husband and I take turns working at the store and staying home with our son, we both have different things that we bring to Simply Vague so it is important that we both spend time there. When it’s my turn to work at the store I work on updating the Simply Vague website, Facebook page, instagram, blog, etc. I usually like to feature products that are new to the store or products that are coming soon. I also work on entering all of the sales into our computer system. We have an old school hand written system, each sale needs to be manually entered into the computer. It can definitely be time consuming but I have found it is a good way to keep track of everything and record sales for nearly 200 vendors.

I spend most afternoons returning emails, it can also be a very time consuming task as I get anywhere from 50-100 emails each day. There are always questions to be answered, vendor applications to look over, and marketing ideas to explore.  

My typical evening (once the little guy goes to bed which is sometime around 8:00) consists of looking for new products. I often start by researching local trends and then I try to find local artisans that make things that I think are going to be a good fit for the store.

Once work is done, I usually fall asleep while watching a movie in bed with my husband.

If you could switch jobs with someone for a day, what occupation would you try?

I am not sure what you call her occupation, but if I could switch jobs with someone for a day, I would definitely switch jobs with Vanna White! I could totally get dressed up in a ball gown and walk across a stage pressing buttons for a day! I’m sure most would agree that she has the ultimate dream job.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?

If I could have one superpower it would be the ability to time travel (if that is even a super power?)

Having a baby is the most rewarding wonderful thing in the entire world, it has changed me in the best way possible. Being a mom is also heartbreaking, in 4 months my son is already so grown up, and I miss my tiny little baby, he was just here and now he’s gone! One minute he would sleep on my chest every night (more so for my comfort than his) and now he’s in his own room which seems so far away.

I would love to have the ability to go back to the moments with him that came and went so quickly, holding him minutes after he was born, the first time he smiled, his first bath, the first time he rolled over.


Want to visit Simply Vague or attend the upcoming Made LOCAL Marketplace and get your shop local fix? Visit the following links to get in touch:


Simply Vague



Made LOCAL Marketplace