Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Yohanna Law. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Yohanna, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Can you talk to us about how you learned to do what you do?
Although I have a bachelor’s degree in art, I can honestly say that I learned everything relevant to running my business by teaching myself. I was fortunate enough to come up in a time where blogging was becoming very popular and those in the design business who were already experiencing success shared a lot online. I’ve always had a hard time investing in myself due to fear that I wouldn’t get a return on that investment. However, once I started to slowly get over that fear and invested in my first online class from an incredible designer, I quickly learned that all of my really hard work could’ve been eased a bit if I would’ve just invested earlier. I’m not sure if I would give a certain skill more than another, as I can’t imagine doing this without every skills I’ve acquired, but learning how to price myself is definitely a big one. I spent years undercharging because I felt I needed to fit within everyone’s budgets in order to book clients. That’s a big no-no. The more I learned, the more desire I had to learn more — this was great, except time became something I had less and less of. I’d say that was my biggest obstacle.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I’m originally from Rio de Janeiro, BR and I moved to South Florida in 2001. Education has always been very important to me and being challenged while in school was a must. To be honest, I loved anything that had to do with being creative, but it wasn’t until high school that I realized I could actually turn design into a career. At the time, most people talked about being doctors, engineers, lawyers, or literally anything else that wasn’t creative. Thanks to MySpace, I got into graphic design and could not leave my computer alone. I learned some coding, like most of my peers, from changing up my profile and that’s how I chose to major in graphic design when I applied for college.
After college, I knew I wanted to pursue a master’s degree in mass communication to complement my degree in design. While doing so, I started freelancing on the side with some pretty small jobs, but it confirmed that it was what I wanted to ultimately do with my life. Although I didn’t take my business full time until 2019, I have been freelancing since 2011 while working corporate jobs.
Now, I offer clients branding and web design services along with brand management for past clients. I’m most proud of how I got to where I am and the way that I connect with my clients. After spending months working together, I notice an incredible bond that’s formed and some decide to either hire me to manage their brands on a retainer or they come back to me for new businesses/projects in the future. I love the trust that I’m able to build with my clients and when they tell me that their experience with me was worth every penny, I know I’m in the right place doing what I’m supposed to do.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m originally from Brazil and coming to the U.S. changed my life in more ways than the obvious. I started college in 2010 and I was all set to have everything I needed paid for (tuition, rent, etc.) with money left over. I worked so hard in school to make sure I was set when going to college. To my surprise, our permanent residency was denied and that resulted in so much money that I no longer had access to. I can go on forever on this, but basically I had two choices: drop out or stay in school and just figure it out. Thankfully, I was able to land a job doing web design remotely and I worked 40-50 hour weeks on top of a full class load in order to pay for school and living expenses. It was very hard and there were times when I just wish quitting was an option for me, but I knew I’d never forgive myself because I could do it… I just didn’t want to do it that way. I look back at how different my college experience was from my peers and really miss what it could have been, but I can’t deny how the experience changed me for the better. From hearing that I didn’t belong there to dealing with bills being past due, this was something that built so much character.
What else should we know about how you took your side hustle and scaled it up into what it is today?
Simple Blyss started out as a side hustle that eventually became a full-time business, but it wasn’t necessarily by choice. To piggy=back from the previous question, obtaining my permanent residency status was a very long road. I got married in 2017 and my husband applied for me a few months later. It wasn’t until September 2020 that everything was finalized. During this long process, my work permit expired and I could no longer work at my corporate job. This conveniently happened after giving birth to our first child, so I knew I had to pivot. My fear of inconsistency with finances had kept me from taking my business full time for a long time, but this was the push I needed. This move helped us build our first home and I couldn’t thank God enough for the incredible blessing it has been. I went from having 2-3 clients in the first year, to being booked out months in advance shortly after. It took a lot of hard work and faith, especially when things were slow. I’m so glad I persevered and was able to build something I am so proud of.
Brand photography by William E. Royster III (@wroysteriii)