Alicia and I were high school colleagues and we maintained communication after graduation. Through intermittent periods of catching up, I learned that she is an endo-warrior who uses every opportunity to sensitise women and men about the good, bad and the ugly of endometriosis.
She recently launched her business, Elli’s Creative Hands – where ‘Elli’ is short for her last name and is also used as her nickname.
We chopped it up and I took notes.
Why a business?
Elli: It started as a means for earning a second income since I work from home and I’m a single parent for my child.
What’s your clientele like?
Elli: My clientele is pretty small at the moment, but the few people I’ve worked with so far are all great and easy to work with. This is a big plus for me.
How did you unlock your creativity?
Elli: I’ve always been quite creative; always had a love for art. I’ve been making school projects (requiring art and creativity) for my son and my friends and other persons would always have good things to say about the end products.
They thought I was very talented but of course, we don’t always see ourselves in the way that others do. In trying to come up with a way to increase my income, a few of my very close friends suggested I actually turn my skill with making projects into a business.
I was doubtful at first but after pondering, I asked myself, “What do I have to lose?” When the answer was “Nothing detrimental to my family,” I took the leap of faith and went into it.
I knew I was good but being good for your own liking and to the liking of others are two totally separate things.
Does using your creative energy provide a means of therapy for you?
Elli: It is therapeutic for me. Watching my ideas come to life makes me happy. If I’m not pleased with the outcome or how things are turning out, I start over. So it’s not just about the business and being able to make a few extra dollars but it’s also important to me that I deliver a product that my clients will be pleased with.
If I’m not happy with my product, I wouldn’t expect my clients to be pleased either. I treat each task as if it’s being done for my own child. No shorthand – same efforts if not more.
Aside from requests, how do you formulate ideas for your designs?
Elli: My ideas come to me in stages so I may start out with a rough plan but end up with something totally different but better! That’s the fun part for me. Improving as I go along.
Does it ever wear you out?
Elli: It can be tiring because the job is time consuming but what keeps me going when tiredness and doubt take over, is I remind myself why I started. The only answer is for the betterment of my son and myself and also to share my gift to help others in any creative way that I can.
What’s the greatest satisfaction you’ve experienced through the process of building your business?
Elli: To be honest –
A happy client’s appreciation for my service is more fulfilling to me than the money itself.
…Money comes and goes but their gratitude is something I honestly cherish and look forward to.
Alicia and I spoke about future plans and this is what she had to say:
“In the next 5 years, I’m hoping to be more established with more business coming my way. I started this business with the goal to stabilize my finances to ensure I’ll always be able to provide for my child’s needs and so much more.
In the Jamaican economy, it’s really rough just to stay afloat with one income. Personally, I’m hoping I will also be back in school if not to educate myself further in the business world, then to pursue my dream of becoming a pharmacist.”
Advice to those with a business idea and intimidated by fear:
Just go for it. Ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen?” or rather, “what’s the best thing that can come from it?”. Fear holds us back from reaching our true potential.
All I can say is once you get past the fear and actually bring your vision to life, all you’ll be asking yourself is “what took me so long?!”. Never mind that you won’t be rushed with clients. Things may be slow at first but don’t lose hope. Rather, focus on perfecting your craft, market it however you can and your work will speak for itself. The clients will come. Just stay dedicated and remember your why.
Alicia’s word to single mothers out there:
A woman is built to absorb many burdens in this world. Still, at the end of the day, we remain strong, focused, determined and hopeful. Our children are our lives and we do all we can for them simply because we must. Let your children be your reminder and motivation to always aim higher – If not for yourself, then for them.
Support the businesses of other single moms and dads who are out there trying to make ends meet just as we are. God’s got our backs. When He says is for you will be for you and no one can say otherwise.
Alicia is no stranger to fear of the unknown. Pushed by that fear and motivated by the possibility of improved life for her family (Alicia and her son), she took a leap of faith and has no regrets.
I envision the headlines already “Alicia Ellison: The mompreneur. From school projects for son to creative business”.
She’s a living well of motivational Tumblr quotes and will give you all the reasons you should drop fear and pick up the nerve to do the work that will positively change your life.
Here are some of her creations!
3D model of lower jaw showing different sets of teeth.
Contact Elli’s Creative Hands:
Facebook- Elli’s Creative Hands