As part of our brand, we like to recognize a wide range of influential and inspiring female entrepreneurs, designers and creators. For this profile, we interviewed travel entrepreneur Sierra Busch!
Sierra is in the midst of creating a location-independent career for herself based on multiple income streams rather than one set job with little flexibility. Her primary goal is to build her art business, Sierra Dawn Art Studio, and to support it, she has Creative Edge Travel under which she works as a freelance Travel Designer and leads her own tours to Italy (coming soon!). Sierra also started a community of women entrepreneurs in the travel industry in 2016 called Travelistas United and they're now at 350 members. The group talks about how they want to influence the industry, support each other's projects, and meet for events and trips. AND, last but not least, Sierra runs an Etsy shop with her mom selling handmade "mindful home decor" called Watercolor Muse.
Who in your industry do you admire- who has influenced you?
Oh man, pretty much all the women in my Travelistas group - I'm not even going to start listing them. But one of the first travel companies to inspire me was El Camino Travel. I also love Visit.org which connects travelers with local organizations doing great work for the community. Global Glimpse is also doing some really great work bringing high school students abroad to impact local communities. All such important work that inspires me to find a way to make travel more than just a trip and art more than a pretty picture. Art-wise... my favs are Gustav Klimt, Odilon Redon, Claude Monet, and Alphonse Mucha .
Where do you go/what do you do in order to do your most creative work?
I'm actually gearing up to isolate myself in a cabin for 3 weeks in the woods by a beautiful stream. I've got an exciting art commission to work on and I'm in the stage of moving dreams into real entities which takes focus and, for me, no distractions. I have always been most inspired by nature - by the forest right outside the door of my childhood home in the Appalachian Mountains. I immediately see interesting patterns made by the shapes of the leaves and delicious color schemes- it all just fills me with energy that I have to get out on canvas.
If you could recommend one book or documentary, what would it be?
I really like a lot of the points Elizabeth Gilbert makes in her book, " Big Magic ". The one that sticks out is the idea that ideas move on - if you don't run with an idea you have it will pick someone else to bring it to life, as if it's a real living entity to be respected. The examples she gives tell it all.
What trends in your industry excite you the most?
In travel, I love the move to off-the-beaten-path experiences that are more immersive and all-encompassing. Solo travel is booming and really great as well but I'd love to see eco travel and sustainable tourism become mainstream. In art, I see more and more people seeking out quality handmade items rather than cheap, mass-produced options and that is really exciting to see!
What are your essentials for a productive day?
On a perfect day, I meditated, exercised, painted/worked in the studio, did some networking, and inched towards whatever my weekly goal is. Bonus points if I spent time outside and did some reading. Sometimes you just have to accept that you can't do it all and you're doing pretty darn good anyway.
What was the best piece of advice you have been given?
When I was trying to decide if/when to quit my job that was going nowhere to pursue a dream career in an industry entirely new to me, a new friend, Mel Campolo, told me "You have to create the open space for something new to move into." That stuck with me and the next day I gave my two weeks notice. The following day I was offered a job I had interviewed for and I couldn't believe it (it was actually the first interview I'd done). That job ended up falling through as I apparently had some hard lessons to learn but it was a necessary experience and got me started on the right path. But it's that idea of believing in your dream enough to take a chance, to show the universe you are serious before it will take you seriously.
What is one product or service under $200 that you’ve found in the past year that has changed your life?
That's a tough one. This isn't as exciting, but honestly, the thing that has impacted my everyday life the most is Google Calendar . I use it now to plan a weekly goal for each of my 3 or 4 projects then each day before I start working I plan the task I will tackle for each goal. At the end of each day, I spend a few minutes reflecting on what got done, what didn't, and why. It sounds so dorky but I've seen my productivity level skyrocket and it takes away the end-of-day stress that comes from simply jumping from task to task on the computer all day but not being able to point to any ONE thing that got done.
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