When did you launch your business/blog?
I launched my original blog back in 2011, rebranded to VeePeeJay.com in 2014 and created VenandRose.com in 2015.
What inspired you to pursue your dreams and begin creating the life you want?
I know that God chose this path for me because I never set out to work for myself :) I started my blog 2011 at a transitional phase in my life. About 2 years later, I recall telling my husband that I knew I didn’t want to work for anyone else. He was 100% supportive of my decision and it all started from there. I’m blessed to have him as my partner in life and in business. :)
How does your business line up with your purpose in life?
Living on purpose is really important to me and I’m blessed that God has given me so many different ways to be of service to others. Whether I am sharing an inspiring story through a post/video, supporting other bloggers on their journey, or creating positive, inspiring lifestyle apparel, it all lines up with my purpose. Every time I receive a comment or message from someone telling me how something I shared/created was an encouragement to them, I am reminded that I am walking in my purpose.
What do you enjoy most about living life on your own terms?
I love that I get to decide what I do and what I DON’T do. I also love the freedom and flexibility to set my schedule and pretty much have a location independent lifestyle. It's definitely not all cupcakes and ice cream because it involves a lot of hard work and sacrifices but I would not have it any other way.
Describe an a-ha moment.
Oh my, I have had quite a few of those over the past two years. One of my more recent a-ha moments happened while attending the Steve Harvey SOAR Retreat in Miami in 2015.
One of the speakers, Doreen Rainey, said something that really resonated with me. She said, “The most selfish thing you can do is to be filled with so much fear that you don’t SOAR. Someone else’s success is dependent on your SOAR”
For a long time I had allowed fear to hold me back from doing so many things and I felt like she was talking to me. At that moment I made the decision to stop playing small and fully utilize all my skills and talents in service to others because it’s really not about me.
What has been your biggest challenge as a blogger or business owner?
Working for yourself is a big challenge in itself and I have gotten used to being a one woman show. Even though I try to sometimes as I grow I just can’t do it all. Sometimes it's hard to delegate tasks to others because you want to ensure it’s done a particular way but I’m learning to trust other people to handle tasks so that it frees up more of my time.
What keeps you motivated on days when you feel overwhelmed?
Prayer and just taking a step back. Prayer is an important part of my life and when I feel overwhelmed, I just take the time to pray or just be still. Working in the digital media space can be “noisy” and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything that’s going. I make it my duty to take care of me so that I can be of service to others.
What’s one thing that you makes you stand out from your peers?
I think anyone who makes the decision to just stay true to themselves will stand out and I try to do just that. Also, no one has had the same experiences that I have had so that will always set me apart from everyone else.
What’s your biggest fear? And how do you overcome your fears?
My biggest fear is failing. At one point I used to allow fear to stop me from even starting. I don’t think you ever stop being scared, but now I don’t allow it to stop me from taking action, I just accept it as part of the journey.
What’s one lesson that you’ve learned on your journey to being free?
I have learned you can’t do it alone. I'm blessed to be surrounded by an amazing tribe of supportive women on this journey. Also, closed mouths truly don’t get fed, you have to speak up and ask for what you want.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the fact that I have taken steps to live the life I want to live. I went from thinking about it, to actually doing it.
How do you support other women?
I support other woman by building genuine relationships with them and by supporting their businesses/endeavors. Support and encouragement go a long way, so I try to be supportive as much as I can.
What does being free mean to you?
For me being free means being authentic and staying true to who you are, while living on purpose.
What is your favorite affirmation or quote?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phillipians 4:13. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or fearful I remind myself of that verse.
What book would you highly recommend the BeFree Community read?
“Whose Shoes Are You Wearing” by Christine St. Vil & Julian B. Kiganda is one of my faves. It was really one of the catalysts for me to stop being so crippled by fear and to really stop playing small. More recently, Shonda Rimes “Year of Yes” was one of my favorites.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Done is better than perfect! If you are waiting for everything to be “perfect” to make a move, that time will never come. Be intentional about taking small steps everyday that will get you closer to where you want to be. Also, don’t be afraid to invest in your growth and your business.
Share a fun fact about yourself.
I don't know if this is fun or embarrassing, but I was born and grew up in Grenada, where beaches are everywhere and I still can’t swim :)
What exciting things do you have planned for 2016?
2016 is my year of Implementation. I plan to take steps to put into action all that I have learned in 2015. I want to do more speaking as well as more workshops and trainings. I also plan to continue to add new offerings to my Ven&Rose brand. I definitely have a full plate in front of me.
You can learn more about Vashti...
The Chasing Free Feature is designed to spotlight women who are living in purpose, pursuing her dreams, and creating the life she wants by doing what she’s passionate about.
Monthly, I'll introduce you to women that are unapologetically living life on her own terms. She's a solopreneur, blogger, small business owner, she may even have a side hustle until she’s able to do what she loves full time. She’s doing the darn thing! And she openly shares her journey with the BeFree Community to help inspire others to be free.
If you or someone you know is living out their dreams and want to be featured on the blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!