Welcome to Selfmade Stories, our series with Office Depot OfficeMax where we talk to emerging entrepreneurs about our Selfmade virtual business course. This week, we talk to Cari Abaunza, the force behind Well-Made Heart – a creative wellness company specializing in helping women in creative fields avoid burnout – about the importance of researching deeply. your target audience (regardless of their niche) and how to listen is key to truly understanding their needs.
B+C: If you were at a dinner party describing Cœur Bien Fait to a guest, what would your elevator pitch be?
Cari Abaunza: Well-Made Heart is a creative wellness company specializing in helping creative entrepreneurs avoid creative burnout through wellness practices, resources, and coaching.
B + C: Where did the inspiration for Well-Made Heart come from?
Abunza: WMH actually started as a DIY blog in 2015, however, my desire has always been to merge the idea of working with your hands as a therapeutic approach as well as the creative benefits.
B + C: Where were you in your own life when the idea came to you?
Abunza: Once I quit DIY blogging, I still had a desire to keep WMH alive in some way. It wasn’t until seeing the repeating pattern of creative burnout in my life, and one particular job that really pushed me over the edge, that I realized I wanted to finally move WMH into this space of well- to be creative.
B + C: What do you think was missing from the market that led you to Well-Made Heart?
Abunza: I know there are tons of coaches out there and lots of creative businesses out there, but I wanted something specific for creatives that would help them pursue their creative calling. Burnout is a topic everywhere, but narrowing it down to creative burnout seemed like the area I really wanted to focus on.
B+C: I imagine there is a LOT of research involved in starting your business. Can you explain your information/data/research collection process and how this is used to develop Well-Made Heart?
Abunza: Yes! It started with gathering my own experiences of creative burnout, understanding how I managed to overcome and overcome it, and then building a framework. From there, it was all about researching everything there was to know about creativity, the challenges creative people face in their work, and of course understanding the basics of burnout. I’m chatting with creatives to understand what they really need during burnout and how best to help them through it.
B + C: What are the main challenges your company is trying to solve for women?
Abunza: These days, there are still more men than women in leadership positions in creative fields. Many women are so exhausted that they give up or stop pursuing their creativity very early on. My desire is to help more women pursue their creative passions by helping them learn more about creative burnout, recognize the symptoms and what to do, and develop a wellness lifestyle. global creative so that they can go further in their creative career.
B + C: How do you imagine your business?
Abunza: At this point, it’s a coaching business, but eventually it will be a brand that sells guided journals, maps, and other paper goods to help creatives flourish in their creativity.
B+C: What stage of the business launch process are you at and what are some of the challenges you are facing right now?
Abunza: Right now I am setting up my coaching services. That means getting certified as a coach, learning how to craft an offer, and learning how to market myself. That in itself is a challenge!
B + C: And what are some of the breakthroughs or successes you’ve had that propelled you forward?
Abunza: Gain clarity in the steps towards my final goal. I didn’t set out to be a creative coach first, however, the more I worked on how I wanted to understand my audience, the more I realized I wanted to have one-on-ones before creating materials to help them. So that helped solidify my business plan.
B+C: Creative burnout can feel different to people depending on where they are in their personal life or career. When it comes to Well-Made Heart, how do you define “creative” and what are the different ways women from all creative backgrounds can benefit from your service?
Abunza: Creative burnout may look different, but often has the same underlying tones and symptoms. As a Well-Made Heart, I define “creative” as anyone who works or participates in the arts and expression, whether as an entrepreneur, employee or hobbyist. This can be through the arts (like writing, painting, designing) or through other areas like ideation, social media, content creation, etc. Creative burnout isn’t limited by how you create, rather it can strike any creative time, from master to beginner; the small business owner to the hustler aside. My hope is to educate, support and coach all creatives in ways that will avoid burnout, develop lifelong creative wellness practices, and thrive in their creative calling.
B+C: Can you explain in more detail what the MWH Guided Journal is and how you came to develop it?
Abunza: When I started with Selfmade, I had the idea of creating a course for people with creative burnout. After interviewing many creative women working in art and design, I came to the conclusion that in fact, they did NOT want classes. It was an overwhelming concept for them during burnout. So instead I opted for a guided diary which could be worked slowly and which would also have the ability to QR scan certain pages which would lead to little teaching snippets. With creative exhaustion, rest is essential. I thought a guided journal would balance rest, self-awareness, and teaching all in one.
B + C: For you, how do you balance the creative aspects with the commercial aspects?
Abunza: As a creative myself, I found this to be a challenge. I eventually had to make a schedule for myself and allow my early mornings to be spent on creativity, like painting and writing, and my mornings through afternoons to be spent on business.
B + C: What do you hope women get out of Cœur Bien Fait?
Abunza: I hope that by finding WMH and interacting, they will understand the importance of creative well-being in their lives and how crucial it can be to create boundaries to protect your creativity.
B + C: How did you approach the marketing of your brand and its awareness?
Abunza: At this point, I’m developing one aspect at a time, which means for now I’m establishing my Instagram and then moving into more depth on other social platforms.
B+C: What are some of the ways you maintain your sanity or stay focused while embarking on your entrepreneurial journey?
Abunza: I have to constantly assess how I feel and assess my nervous system while reminding myself of what my end goal is. I can lose my sight quickly when I feel overwhelmed. Learning to find what is essential and choosing to remove unnecessary things from my plate has been very useful to me.
B + C: What is the best professional advice you have ever received that you would pass on to others?
Abunza: Probably to choose to see what is essential rather than what is not and to make a choice for less but better.
B + C: Who or what inspires you?
Abunza: I think I’ve had the desire to build this for so long that I can’t stop remembering it and putting one foot in front of the other.
B+C: How has receiving the grant from Selfmade helped you grow your business?
Abunza: Receiving the scholarship helped me take a small idea and turn it into my current reality. Without the weekly responsibility of Selfmade, meeting amazing entrepreneurs, great support and teaching, and of course, my admission into the program with the help of Office Depot OfficeMax, I know I wouldn’t be as far along in my company than today.
B+C: How have Office Depot OfficeMax services/products helped you accomplish more in your business?
Abunza: I immediately bought a printer, which has already helped me print documents for my business! And I also hope to get other necessary paper products.
B + C: What’s next for Cœur Bien Fait?
Abunza: This is followed by taking on individual clients, creating the coaching portion of the business, and eventually prototyping the guided journal and materials that clients can experience.
Thanks Cari! you can follow Well done heart on instagram.
Equipping your workspace with the right tools can make all the difference when it comes to building a successful business (see: Cari’s printer). Office Depot OfficeMax can help you do just that — from billboards, posters and banners to promote your business, to Promotional materialto keep your customers informed, there is a full suite of business services and the solutions available to run your business.