Invest in your business. This is something I wish I had learned a long time ago. Making an investment in your professional growth and your business is key to success. Sometimes that investment goes along with number 2, hire an expert. One of the biggest obstacles I see my target market make is bypass making the investment in a professional website and struggling more than they should to do it on their own.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50's.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ruthann Bowen.
Ruthann Bowen is the founder and CEO of Wix DesignHer, a web design agency dedicated to helping DIY entrepreneurs achieve professional looking websites. She started her publicity career at Warner Bros. Records in their gospel division, Warner Alliance, and then went on to open her own successful PR firm The Bowen Agency. After taking time off to raise her two children, she became certified in Wix and relaunched her business as a website design firm. Ruthann recently released her first book entitled, “The Female Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating Your Own Website in a Weekend”, a go-to playbook for website DIYers who are ready to launch a professional looking website without breaking the bank.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up in New Jersey where both my parents held jobs to make ends meet. We moved several times which meant changing schools a lot. One of those moves was right in the middle of my junior year in high school. I literally left one school before Christmas break and started a new school right after the new year. So, as a teenager, I had to learn some hard core lessons in winning friends and influencing people. To this day, I attribute those experiences to my success as an entrepreneur. Moving so often taught me flexibility, resilience, and the importance of believing in yourself.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Coco Chanel said, “Don’t be like the rest of them, darling.” I have a makeup bag with this quote because I need that reminder everyday. Even though there are many other web designers in the world, I possess my own unique set of skills and talents. I’ve had to learn not to compare myself and often remind myself to “not be like the rest of them, darling.”
How would your best friend describe you?
My best friend told me once that one of my qualities is being adaptable. She said, “You bloom wherever you’re planted”. That’s spot on. Upon reflection, all that moving around as a kid taught me how to adapt. In high school it was more of a survival mechanism than a characteristic. But as an adult I’m grateful for those lessons and experiences. I use those skills everyday to navigate relationships and my business.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much?
- Flexibility: You have to be nimble and ready to pivot at any moment. The pandemic brought that to the forefront. As an entrepreneur, you live with that uncertainty every day. So, not being married to either processes or projections gives you flexibility. It’s the foundation needed when the time may come to do things differently.
- Resilience: You have to have the ability to bounce back from the hard times. This means you might have to change course and reinvent yourself! It also means you need to keep an open mind and be ready to let go of some things. When I realized being a music industry publicist wasn’t in the cards for me anymore I went through a grieving process. Resilience is what carries you through that process and brings you to the other side where your new beginning and adventure awaits.
- Belief: You have to believe in yourself. This is an ongoing lesson. You would think it’s something that would come naturally but for me it’s something I have to work at. I believe in myself more today than I did several years ago so I’m making progress. But I work at it everyday.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
My career started a few years after college as a publicist at Warner Bros. Records for their gospel division, Warner Alliance. It was the dream job for a twenty-something; backstage passes, travel, working with the media and artists, presentations to the sales force, free CDs. I was totally in my groove. After five years working there, my mentor suggested I open my own PR agency so I took the leap and started The Bowen Agency. I had a nice long roster of clients, including the hit kid’s series back then called VeggieTales.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
After taking many years off from my PR career, when it came time to re-enter the workforce the landscape had changed drastically. When I left, people were still faxing. Now fast forward to 2015 and social media was the dominant force for promoting and publicizing. I took a small, part-time job where part of my responsibility was to create a new website. I did some research and quickly fell in love with the Wix platform. I became a Wix certified web designer and at the prompting of a friend started my own web design agency. My passion grew for helping female entrepreneurs who are DIYing their sites so I started Wix DesignHer to help them get a professional looking website without the hassle and headache.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
I knew I had run a successful business before so I figured I’d just give it another try. I don’t fit well in a corporate box and have found my greatest success doing my own thing my own way. The second time around I knew a little more about what to expect and the work it was going to take. But it was literally starting from scratch all over because I knew no one and had no connections.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
Taking that little part-time job opened up a whole new world for me called web design. I would have never known how much I enjoy creating and designing websites if it weren’t for that job. In order to justify starting a business with this newfound skill, I knew I needed some type of ‘stamp of approval’ so that’s why I took the classes to become certified. It was the validation I needed inside of myself to hang my shingle and tell the world you can trust me to build your website.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Fantastic! I just launched my first book entitled, “The Female Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating Your Own Website in a Weekend.” I’d like to say it was on my bucket list to write a book but it just sort of happened. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the early response and look forward to adding website in a weekend courses and events in the near future. I’ve also had the privilege of being on the WixCon planning team, a featured speaker at that event, and I’m one of the original moderators of the Wix Partner Facebook Group (4000+ members).
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Barry Landis was my boss and mentor at Warner Alliance. It was his suggestion to branch off and start my own PR agency. I remember sitting at lunch across from him at one of the local restaurants in Nashville, TN and he just casually brought the idea to my attention. That one meeting kickstarted my entrepreneurial journey and his belief in me throughout my career has been unwavering. Everyone needs a Barry Landis in their lives.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
During the first WixCon event in Miami a couple of years ago, many of the Wix executives flew in from Tel Aviv for the event. At the rooftop after party, I had the opportunity to speak with several of them in person. When I think about how I got started with that tiny part-time job all the way to chatting with the creators of the Wix platform, it blows me away.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
Believing in myself is something I work at daily. Many times I have to remind myself of the accomplishments I’ve had so far both big and small. It’s so easy to dip into negative thought patterns and the comparison trap. So I’ve surrounded myself with plaques all over my office and a screensaver that all focus on believing in yourself.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
My family and friends have always been a huge support system for me. They are truly my biggest champions. Early on, right at the beginning of starting my web design agency, one of my friends invited me to be in a mastermind group she was starting. For the past five years we’ve been getting together every month (for the most part) sharing our questions, goals, wins and accomplishments. The support of a group like that is priceless.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
Putting yourself out there is scary. Every post I write, every video I put together, every blog, every email, every one of those things is stepping out of my comfort zone. Because each one has the potential for someone to come back and critique me. But I put it out there anyway. Because there are those who get back to me that are so appreciative of the time I spend with them. They are the ones that make it all worthwhile.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- It’s hard. But do it anyway. Bob Briner was a leading figure in professional sports management, former president of ProServ Television, and regular contributor to The New York Times and Sport Illustrated. He was also one of my most successful PR clients. When I asked him, “What’s your best advice for me?” he very quickly replied, “Grow slow.” Organic growth is slow, it’s hard work, and it’s an unpopular route to take. But in order to create those deep roots for a lasting business, I believe it’s the only way to grow.
- Delegate what you don’t know. I can’t tell you how much time, effort and headache this one principle will save you. One of the most freeing moves I made in my business was hiring an accountant. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have time to design websites. My rule of thumb is if I have to spend more than a half hour figuring something out, I call or hire an expert. Boom. Done. I don’t have time to sit around and DIY everything in my business.
- Prioritize self care. This is something I’m still learning. But it’s so important to take care of yourself. Drink plenty of water. Exercise. Get annual check ups.
- Be consistent. Staying the course and being consistent takes a lot of discipline. But the rewards are worth it. Sometimes you have to wait for that reward, other times it comes quickly. Either way, you have to keep consistent in your business in order to move forward. This means showing up every day, making calls, sending emails, following up with leads, communicating regularly and do it all with a kind and generous heart.
- Invest in your business. This is something I wish I had learned a long time ago. Making an investment in your professional growth and your business is key to success. Sometimes that investment goes along with number 2, hire an expert. One of the biggest obstacles I see my target market make is bypass making the investment in a professional website and struggling more than they should to do it on their own.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I’d love to inspire people to be more kind toward one another. We all need encouragement and support in this thing called life. We have enough going against us already. We should be helping each other out, not tearing each other down.
What do you want to be remembered for the most?
Being kind and gracious with a healthy dose of fun.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Via Instagram @wixdesignher or over at wixdesignher.com
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!