23 year old Entrepreneur Wrote Her Own Story Instead Of Quitting

Y’all, this Girl Boss Interview hits me in ALL the feels.

Not only because me and this babe go way back, but because her perseverance in this story is what gives me chills.

She’s going places. And I want a one-way ticket to wherever it is. 

Let me tell you: you’re gonna want to keep up with her journey.

calligraphy branding side hustle passion girl boss busines owner

Passion & Grit like this don’t come around often.

And her secret sauce for motivation? You need to bottle it up now!

Enough girl crushing, though, you’ll just have to read it for yourself!

You might want to grab your pen & pad for this one, babes!


  • Tell me about yourself?!

My name is Sarah (23) and I own a small creative studio called Sarah Jo Design (previously named SJM Calligraphy).

I grew up in Indian Trail, North Carolina and fell in love with mountains (and my future husband) while attending school in Boone, North Carolina.

That is where I started my journey with my company.

I started doing calligraphy for friends who were getting married and then one day I blinked and had a full-on business.

When I am not working I am going to the mountains with my fiance and our pup child (Mowgli), snowboarding in CO, hiking, and hanging out with my friends.


  • What goals are you currently pursuing?

I am currently pursuing the rebrand of my business.

I recently changed the name from SJM Calligraphy to Sarah Jo Design.

I have walked away from the wedding industry to pursue a branding business for women with side hustles. (Speaking to my soul, sister)

I am currently in the process of creating my own brand and cannot wait to launch it February 1, 2018.

  • What was your dream job as a kid?

Honestly, I wanted to be a nurse haha…. Then I took microbiology my Sophomore year of college and QUICKLY (I mean I ran) went to the registrar’s office to change my major.


business owner boss babe girl boss


  • Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is my best friend, Erica Berry (s/o Erica Serrano Photography).

She created her own photography business from nothing and now she just celebrated her 130th wedding shot.

She is the definition of GIRL BOSS. She pushed me to pursue my creative ability and I am forever grateful she did.

  • How do you find confidence when it’s lacking?

I always go to the Word.

There is nothing more uplifting than reading what Jesus thinks about you. He calls us beautiful, whole, worthy, able, more than conquerors, and the list goes on. (Like, I said CHILLS).

When I feel unequipped for my calling I run into the arms that speak life into me over and over. 

(Okay, I am seriously gushing)


  • Have you ever been tempted to quit? If so, how did you persevere?

Oh, everyday. At least some point in every day I think “what if I didn’t have to do this anymore?”

I would have more time, I wouldn’t have to keep up with emails anymore, no more filing. The list goes on.

But then I think about how God instilled this gift in me.

Not everyone is gifted with creativity.

Some are gifted logically, socially, etc.

He chose ME to have this specific gift and that motivates me to keep pursuing it. I would be selfish if I didn’t.

(There’s those chills again)…

  • What is the biggest hate you’ve ever received in your journey & how did you overcome it?

SO (this should be fun), I started my calligraphy business in 2014. I have worked SO.MANY.WEDDINGS.

I would like to say I am a pro.

I would also like to say I am very giving and didn’t charge people nearly as much as I should have.

So, I had a client who purchased the complete package (save-the-dates, invitations, day-of signage and products). We had gone through the save-the-date process AMAZINGLY. We were both so happy.

Then we were on to the invitation process. So, this client took it upon herself to design her own invitations and had them sent to me to insert my calligraphy

(talk about a slap in the face)

I usually design the entirety of the invite, but I wanted to be accommodating so I didn’t say anything (Mistake #1).

Then once we nailed down the design, she took it upon herself to get them printed. I usually take care of the printing process BUT because I wanted to be accommodating, I again, did not say anything (Mistake #2).

Then we are getting close to her due date for the invites. I email her asking for the list of guests with addresses, so I can address her envelopes. She doesn’t email me back for a month. Then she emails me the guest list, 5 days before her due date and expects them to still be on time.

This is where I had to draw the line.

I politely told her, that I can take care of the assembly (because I only do this for an added cost which she didn’t pay for) and of putting them in the mail for her 2 days after our anticipated due date (2 DAYS..because I was trying to be accommodating).

She instantly freaked out and demanded that she have everything to her doorstep by the due date.

There were many emails back and forth of her demanding I do this, and that I was being unprofessional and that this was outrageous; all the while, I tried to be as professional and as kind as possible.

Then she had her fiancé call me and leave a voicemail using some choices words about how they would be driving to Charlotte on the due date to pick everything up.

Yall, I lost my cool (not gonna lie).

I immediately emailed her and said that if she cannot wait 2 extra days then I didn’t think this business relationship would work and I refunded her the money she spent on the invites. I suggested a couple other stationers and wished them the best of luck in their search (because I would never tolerate being belittled and continuing a working relationship).

So needless to say, I learned A LOT from that experience.

#1 I learned to always be CLEAR and CONCISE about your services & to always speak up when you feel like you are being taken advantage of.

#2 I learned although money is good to chase after, sometimes it’s not all that matters, and a poor working relationship just isn’t worth it.

#3 You have to always be confident in who you are and what your business stands for.


  • What roles have health/wellness (mental, physical, spiritual) played in your success?

I find that I am my best self (socially, creatively, physically) when I am working out and eating healthy.

When I am in a health rut, I hit massive creative blocks and just can’t get motivated to do my work.

So when I am consistently working out and eating healthy this is when my mind is working the best in order to truly create content I am absolutely obsessed with.

  • What is your favorite healthy snack/meal for busy days?

My favorite healthy snack is bananas with cinnamon and either almond or nut butter (talk about YUMM)!


  • If you had to tell someone ONE TIP for success – what would it be?


It might seem you are posting to a 5 person audience or you’re just talking to yourself, but people are listening!

When I am consistent that is when I find the most response to what I am doing.

If you have a dream, speak it into existence, be persistent, and never stop.

One day you will look back at the starting point wonder when you got to the top of the mountain.

Most importantly: How do you like your coffee?

  • Iced. Add Vanilla. Add 2% milk. Viola!

calligraphy tattoo entrepreneur business owner branding girl boss boss bae


How can we stay in touch & keep up with your journey?

  • During my rebrand, you can keep up with my journey on my Instagram account (@sarahjo_design). This is where I will announce my website launch coming Feb 2018!

If you take anything away from this, let it be to never listen to yourself – but talk to yourself.

Never listen when your mind tells you to give up, give in, and throw away your dreams.

But instead, speak truth over yourself & recognize that you have a unique gift to share with the world. Not to hide away

Sarah – you are the ultimate Girl Boss.

And I hope all of you took notes on 3 her best tips for perseverance, her #1 piece of advice when it comes to success, and her secret sauce to not quitting.

If you liked this, you’d definitely enjoy: How Elise Lost 40 Pounds After Failing – From failure to Fitness Model

Freebie for tagging along: Click here to grab my Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe no sugar no added sugar sugar free hot chocolate sugar free hot cocoa healthy hot coacoa

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