Inspiring Interviews

Reinvention Stories: Marilyn Wo

With Lydia Lee

From Solo-Freelancer To Building A Supportive Team

I’m so excited to introduce you to Marilyn Wo who I coached in the 90 Day Launch program, to transition her from being a solo freelancer to building a supportive team.  After working for 10 years as a freelancer but feeling stuck on trading dollars for hours, she decided that she needed to take her freelance business to the next level so she could fulfill her dream to have more freedom in her life.

“Through this journey, you’ve helped me break free from my ten-year “imprisonment”. From a one-woman show, I’ve grown a team of three to support my business. I have more freedom to set aside time for myself, my family and now I truly enjoy my work!.” – Marilyn

Marilyn runs an unlimited graphic design business that helps marketing leaders communicate their brand message clearly through kickass designs.

Her clients need to churn out ongoing marketing collaterals for campaigns, events, and advertisements but don’t’ want to spend hours managing designers or doing it themselves.

Her team does the heavy lifting for them and they don’t have to bear the overheads of hiring in-house designers. All for just one flat intern rate per month.

Her Unique Value:  With more than a decade of design experience working with hundreds of clients, she always makes a point to put herself in their shoes, understand them and do all she can to help them move towards their goals with the design work she does for them.

Why She’s So Passionate About Her Work:  What most people want is the freedom to do the things they love doing, and make a living while doing so. She’s been on the opposite side of this and now enjoying the freedom of control. This makes her want to help others achieve this too. 

Here’s Marilyn’s very own words on our experience coaching together and what she’s learned to reinvent her work from being a one-woman freelance business to launching a model of work that supports her life.

What prompted you to decide to work with me?

My freelancing business came to a point where I was stuck. I thought it could bring me freedom but gave me a job instead. It became more like a prison to me.

I got to know you as a cubicle crasher coach and you have been helping many others escape their 9 to 5 jobs.

Hearing you speak of how to help them move out of their comfort zones to explore what they are good at, to make an impact in others’ lives and live with a purpose brought me to book a call with you..

On the first consultation call, I know you are in it for your clients to win. Just within that hour, you gave me real tough love, true honest advice that I don’t wish to hear but much needed for me to move on.

I see how you are an expert skill-spotter, working with you is a no-brainer!

What was the biggest transformation you experienced (personal and professionally)?

From working together, you’ve helped me see things so much clearer, especially more about myself. I never knew who I am is the reason why people want to work with me. It may sound obvious, but it wasn’t obvious to me then and you helped bring this to light.

This shift in mindset led me to think more positively about myself and eventually the way I run my business. 

You helped me reverse engineer what seemed to be a monstrous, giant complicated job into bite-sized, easy to follow steps. I’ve been procrastinating for years when it comes to progress because I didn’t know where to start. 

Through this journey, you’ve helped me break free from my ten-year “imprisonment”. From a one-woman show, I’ve grown a humble team of three to support my business. I have more freedom to set aside time for myself, my family and now I truly enjoy my work!

What has been most important for you to learn to create the kind of business that helps you to build the life you want?

I’ve learned one thing from you that’s most important and fundamental to whatever I do now. That is to block off time to do what is most valuable to myself every day.

It took me years, and it certainly takes practice to build this habit. But once that is in your blood, results can be phenomenal and life-changing.

Staying on schedule is the best weapon I’ve been using to conquer my day, and not be a slave to other people’s priorities.

If you were to speak to someone who wants to build a meaningful life and business, what would be your advice for him or her?

1. Know why you do what you do

“Ask yourself why 7 times”, says Benjamin Hardy.

This is the best way that I’ve learned to keep me on track to focus on what is right for me.

I write my goals down every day in my journal so that I know I’m on track with what success means to me and what I have to do to get there.

2. Always be connecting with others to build deep relationships and help one another

Lydia is a people person and I’m such an opposite of her. I love how she connects with others to create a network of like-minded people to support each other in times of need. Watching how she does it teaches me what it means to build a business.

It’s more than just an exchange of services for cash.

A meaningful life to me comes about when part of what I do contributes to someone else’s success. The process of getting to know someone, learning about his or her journey and just keeping in touch is a huge part of it.

3. Be consistent in your actions towards your goals

There will times when repeating what you do becomes a chore or a bore, or it’s just plain tough. Find out if these are the things your business or life needs for you to reach your goals.

If they are, suck it up and get them done whether you like it or not. If the process takes energy away from you, hire people to help.

If they are not required, don’t waste your time, drop them and move on to focus on tasks that contribute to helping you achieve your goals.

The more times you do one thing, the better you get at it, or the more people notice, or there’s more impact you create. Hence, consistency is the way to lead you to true success in whatever you do. Nothing can replace that.

What are you most excited about right now?

Oh, I’ve so many! I’m now focused on growing my team to serve more people and bring more jobs to more designers. Also, sharing a lot of what I do and my entrepreneurial journey at the same time.

Learn More About Marilyn’s Work

Free illustrations for your business here.

Create your brand style guide: A 7-part free email series.

Get free tips to boost your business with design by connecting with her on Linkedin.

Marilyn’s personal blog sharing her entrepreneurial journey.

Get my newsletter!

Every month, I share real advice on career transitions, creating meaningful work, and designing a lifestyle business you love.

We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

4 Keys to Launch a Business You Love

Watch my Free Workshop to learn how to build a business with your existing skills, knowledge, and experience.

Binge watch me on YouTube!

Watch weekly video episodes at #ScrewTheCubicleTV, where I start real and raw conversations around creating meaningful work with your business.

Watch now