Cori Padget - Founder of Big Girl Branding

[quote style=”boxed”]The best thing you can do is to be okay with being a work in progress and to see each day as an opportunity for growth.[/quote]

Cori Padgett is an eclectic mix of silly faces, dorky fun, and dirty south charm. She’s a full-time freelance copywriter, professional blogger and serial entrepreneur whose been working from home for more than four years now. She tries like mad to help others do the same by sharing her challenges, successes and horror humor stories with all and sundry.

She is founder and “Chief Dork” (as well as the brains and dubious brawn) of the popular entrepreneur blog Big Girl Branding, where she enthusiastically shares the aforementioned stories and utilizes her freelance copywriting skills, helping other brands engage their audiences and sharpen their messaging. She’s been featured on notable blogs like Virgin.com, CopyBlogger, Problogger, Gala Darling, Freelance Writing Gigs, Fire Pole Marketing and Design Sponge, to name a few. She’s known not just for her own unique “voice” and cheeky moxie, but also for her ability to adapt to the voices of her clients and to capture their vibe with creative prose.

Catering to mid-sized business owners that understand the value of the written word, she rapidly built a name for herself that’s only continued to grow since she first wandered online back in 2008. While it wasn’t all chocolates and vino, Cori Padgett was never one to bail on a challenge and doggedly persevered, seeking success. She kissed her old job of cleaning vacation homes goodbye and resolutely refused to look back. While she didn’t quite strike it rich (at least in the “moola” department), Cori is now engaged to be married, is a passionate Christ follower, and is a mom of three (count ‘em three) amazing boys she gets to spend time with every day, never missing an important moment. So despite not swimming in dollar bills, she still considers herself pretty damn rich indeed.

She is passionate about writing, inspiring and sharing her knowledge, experience and faith with others—and she feels God-led and God-blessed that she is able to do so. Her current mission is to share the news that you too can be independent and on the road to financial (and spiritual) freedom, with or without a college degree or typical 9-5. All it takes is a little faith in God, hard work, and focus, focus, f***ing focus!

What are you working on right now?

Right now? I’m working on retaining my sanity and avoiding prematurely gray hair! Kidding. Okay, I’m not kidding. But I’m also working on a few client projects (ghost blogging and some web copy pieces), as well as creating content for a new blog I’m preparing to launch that’s centered around sharing my faith and what I’ve learned about God over the years. (And being a grown up of course, but who wants to really be a grown up, right?) I’m also focused on vetting and creating great content to share with readers of Big Girl Branding to help them along on their own entrepreneurial journeys. My goal is world web domination. Muahahaha.

Where did the idea for Big Girl Branding come from?

Honestly I’m not really sure it came from anywhere; it kind of burst forth into life and sprouted like a newborn monkey. (Do monkey’s sprout? Don’t answer that. They totally sprout.) My intention was to create a business blog to showcase my writing skills to potential clients, and somehow it evolved to reflect my desire to be a professional blogger and mentor cool people with my writing and life experiences.

One of my favorite quotes back when I was just starting out was: “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it!” (I still like that quote even today.) Since I knew I didn’t just want to talk about copywriting on my blog, I mixed the Big Girl Panties mindset with branding (a topic that fascinated me and that I associated with all things marketing and entrepreneurial)—and woo, BGB was born! They completely go together, don’t you think (hehe)? My journey just accelerated from there.

What does your typical day look like?

It’s more domestic and mundane than you’d probably like to think! During the school year, my typical day consists of getting my boys ready for the day and dropped off at school. Then I usually grab coffee and come home to do some reading on my porch swing. Or I might have breakfast with a friend. After I get a little “me time,” I hop online and respond to client emails, get a little social on social media, and spend time either writing for my blog, guest blogging or writing for a client. I also help my fiancé run his business, so that takes up some of my time as well.

When the afternoon rolls around, I pick up my kiddies for the day, come home where chaos ensues. Snack time commences, then it’s homework time, dinner time, and finally blessed bed time! During the summer of course, all bets are off and chaos ensues on a daily basis. I usually find myself plucking new gray hairs and praying for deliverance.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Blood, sweat and tears. No, really. Tapping into your creative brain is draining—more draining than someone who doesn’t do it regularly might realize. Bringing new ideas to life is like birthing a child, and you usually have absolutely no control over when those ideas are ready to make their debut!

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Hmm… I’d have to say the way that more and more people seem to be willing to take risks and dip their toes into entrepreneurship. In an economy that’s been floundering for a while now, more people are realizing they can’t rely on “job security” anymore, and are taking their futures into their own hands and creating their own job security. I think that’s fantastic.

I’ve found that not everyone has the mentality necessary to go into business for themselves, but those who do and who are willing to go all in and risk it find themselves achieving amazing results and maybe even surprising themselves. Sometimes you don’t know the depths of your own strength and resourcefulness until that’s all you’ve got to fall back on.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I used to wait tables in restaurants. I did not enjoy it at all. I learned that working for someone else wasn’t attractive to me and that I liked the flexibility and independence of working on my own much more, despite some of the cons. I had a taste of working on my own when I started cleaning as an independent contractor for my aunt’s cleaning service, but cleaning toilets and dirty kitchens still wasn’t my idea of a fun or fulfilling job. So I set out to figure out what was fun and fulfilling for me, and somehow, I fell into writing for a living. Go figure.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I’d start out with a more solid plan and do a little less “winging it.” Taxes are a nightmare if you don’t start your business off on the right foot right out of the gate, and that’s a big lesson I had to learn the hard way.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read, learn, and be a sponge for new information. Never make the mistake of thinking you know everything there is to know about something, because you never really do. Be humble and smart enough to recognize that and pursue self-education with abandon. Just don’t get stuck in the trap of learning but never doing. Eventually you have to put all you learn into action if you want to create any sort of forward momentum.

What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest problem is self-discipline and focus. I think that’s a major problem of any entrepreneur who works from home, especially if you have a family. It’s too easy to get sidetracked by life and to allow your business and goals to fall by the wayside. Discipline takes planning, and currently, I’m a work in progress. The best thing you can do is to be okay with being a work in progress and to see each day as an opportunity for growth. Every step forward is a step forward, so even if you only take one step forward a day, that’s something to celebrate. Build yourself up and resist the urge to tear yourself down. There are enough people in the world willing to do that for you. You have to be your own biggest cheerleader and give the negative people and negative emotions that can creep into your life the finger. And God bless them of course. They’ll need it.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Just about anything can be a business idea. Whether it’s a marketable business idea is the real question. To get an idea up and running quickly, look for marketable ideas that don’t require a lot of startup capital. Service-based businesses are great for this because all you really need is the skill to provide the service and maybe a few tools to help you provide it. Nine times out of ten, you already have the tools, and that’s even better! That’s why I fell in love with freelance writing. I enjoy it, I’m good at it, it was easy for me to set up shop, I already had the tools required to be successful, and I had my first client within a day of putting myself out there. Figure out what your own marketable skill sets are, along with the things you love to do, and see if there’s a way to develop a business around that.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I’d eliminate all of the senseless violence that seems to be par for the course with humanity. It’s beyond my comprehension how people can violate women and children, murder innocent people, and feel no remorse when doing it. I don’t know how I’d go about it though, unless God sees fit to grant me some super powers! Until then, all I can do is pray about it, lead others by my own example, and be the best Christ follower I can possibly be. Hopefully others will follow suit and I can make a difference in at least one life somewhere.

Tell us a secret.

I’m a dork. Wait, that wasn’t a secret. Okay, I’m a closet car singer. I belt it out like Beyonce while driving. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

I love Twitter, Facebook and social media platforms in general. It’s fun to connect with other people in different ways, share bits of yourself with them, and build relationships that grow you both as a person and as a business. Tweetdeck is pretty awesome, and lets me segregate my Tweet intake and avoid being overwhelmed with information. I’m also a productivity junkie and love planning apps and tools. I’m always trying new ones, hoping they’ll keep my ass on track. (They typically do for about a minute and then I find myself looking for another one. Hehe.)

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I have two books to recommend, actually.

  1. Work the System by Sam Carpenter. It’s a great book on systems in your life and business. It talks about recognizing them, creating them and utilizing them effectively. Having systems just makes things more fluid and streamlined. I highly recommended reading this book.
  2. Signature of God by Grant R. Jeffery. This book is for your spiritual soul. I had a lot of questions and used to avoid church and talks of God like the plague. When I found this book, I felt like I found enlightenment. He goes through all the scientific data that proves the Bible is an authentic source and the inspired word of God, and he discusses all of the prophesies that have happened and are still happening today. It’s very interesting reading about the history of humanity and Christianity and the Bible.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

  1. @RedHeadWriting, because Erika is awesome, mouthy, and an advocate for causes that matter. People matter to her, and that makes her a beautiful soul in my book.
  2. @NicholeBazemore, because Nichole is strong, inspiring and beautiful. She’s also funny, no-bullshit and faith-driven. She’s definitely a force to be reckoned with!
  3. @MenWithPens, because James is awesome, kindhearted and whip smart. If you want to learn to write well, following that woman will be an educational, worthwhile time investment.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Probably yesterday, at something a friend said. My boys make me laugh often too. They’re goofballs like me. And my fiancé makes me laugh all the time. He’s King Goofball in our house. At least our children get it honestly. Hehe.

Who is your hero?

No one single person. But successful people who are using their lives to make waves and make a difference in the world—and who overwhelm you sometimes with their sheer talent—are people who inspire me.

Is working for yourself really as easy as some people like to say it is?

Hell no! Working for yourself is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever do in your life, barring childbirth. But it’s equally as rewarding and is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. It might be the best decision you ever make for yourself too.

What’s the big secret to being happy in your life and your business and your choices?

The big secret is that there is no secret. Being happy is a choice, just like everything else in life. You can choose to be miserable and focus only on things that bring you more misery or you can choose to be happy and direct your attention to the endeavors that make you feel happy. From moment to moment, person to person, thought to word, being happy is a decision you make every day.

Connect:

Cori Padgett on LinkedIn: http://www.LinkedIn/in/CoriPadgett
Big Girl Branding on Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/BigGirlBranding
Big Girl Branding on Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/BigGirlBranding
Cori Padgett’s website: http://www.CoriPadgett.com
Big Girl Branding’s website: http://www.BigGirlBranding.com

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