How To Create Self-Made Success As A High School Dropout

From High School Dropout To Successful Designer
with Alisha Whaley

How To Create Self-Made Success As A High School Dropout

Meet Alisha Whaley

I grew up just outside Philomath, Oregon as a small town, home schooled girl on a farm. I grew up competing and being in-charge of the youth group drama club. I currently live in Lebanon, Oregon with my Hubs Braden (11 yrs in August), our twin boys Raylan & Peyton (age 8 in May), and two large dogs Angus and Cash.

I decided early on that I was finished with homeschooling and decided to get my GED two months after completing 10th grade. I jumped at the opportunity to enroll in the upcoming fall term for a 3 year Graphic Arts program at a local collage, and other then that I am entirely self made. My hard work and consistent education through a variety of online mentors is what has lead me to my current success today. The funny thing…these online mentor’s have no idea their impact in my life, they do not even know me.

How did you get inspired to start doing what you do as an influencer in your industry?:

For years I saw incredibly talented women struggle to be seen in business and work endlessly without ever really getting anywhere. I knew just by looking at their graphics, if they just changed a few things it would make a world of difference. If you want to be seen as professional, you need to reflect that in your graphics. This is what ultimately inspired me to take my love of graphic design and serve others with my talents.

We often have a book, podcast, video, or event that stands out to us and is instrumental in shifting our perspective in business. Do you have one that has been a significant impact for you moving forward? If so, can you share?

I can't say just one book was instrumental in my perspective shift within my business. It was an accumulation of things. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert began the journey of shifting my mindset, she taught me to love myself and that the permission I was seeking only needed to come from myself. Brene Brown taught me that I was not alone in feeling shame for wanting more and how to be resilient to that shame. But it wasn't until Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis that it ALL fell into place and I finally learned how to fully believe in myself. If I can't believe, why should anyone else.

What are some of your biggest lessons learned over the years and what are you applying to your business today that is working for you?

The biggest lesson I have learned in my business that has transformed everything and is really what I attribute to the level of success I have today is;

believing I am worth more and that I can't do it alone.

For about 5 years I struggled to be seen. It wasn't until I hired a business coach and started to change my mindset that all my attempts at growth finally started to happen.

What has been your biggest challenge and how have you worked to overcome it?

The biggest challenge within my business, actually in my life in general has been my overall mindset.

Once I decided to make myself a priority and pursue relentlessly, through books and podcasts, the best possible version of myself, I was able to overcome the crushing sense of self doubt that was holding me back.

How To Create Self Made Success As A High School Dropout

What’s the best advice you ever received?

Stop believing the lie you are telling yourself because it feel more comfortable to believe it than change it.

What’s your best advice for handling criticism?

Criticism hurts. That's never going to change. It’s how we push through that matters. Ask yourself, is this relevant to the direction I am headed in life/business? If the answer is, “NO”, ignore it and move on. If “YES”, grow from it, learn from it, and keep going.

What do you believe your true purpose is? What value and impact do you hope serve and give to others?

I believe my true purpose is to show fellow entrepreneurial women that they are worthy of the business and life they dream of. That with my help, not only will their branding be epic, they will be too. My one desire is that when I am done with helping to design a client's brand, they will not only have the confidence to use it to its fullest potential but that they will also believe more in themselves which will ultimately make them more successful.

How do you structure your days?

I strive for a set morning and evening routine. I wake at 4 am, journaling and reading my bible in the quite of the early morning never fails to put me in a good mood. Being able to wake up with that jump start to my mindset makes everything else run smoothly. Between 5 am and 5 pm, my days are never the same. Between being wife, mom, and business owner, my days can change instantly. Somewhere in my day, I do fit in at least 20-min of a workout to keep my body in optimal health to keep up with my very on-the-go lifestyle. I end my day with a hot bath and a good fictional book. The fiction helps me to relax my brain and stop thinking. The bath helps my body relax. I'm in bed by 8 pm most nights.

How do you find time to follow your entrepreneurial journey while juggling other life responsibilities?

In order to juggle all the things and pursue my own entrepreneurial journey, I have discovered that I have to put myself first. Now, I know this sounds backwards, but here's the thing. When I don't take care of myself first, every tiny thing falls apart. It's not until I remember that unless I am running at 110% percent I can't possibly do it all. That's also why I choose to hire out what I don't actually enjoy doing. Such as deep cleaning my house twice a month.

What tools do you find indispensable in your day-to-day business?

Hands down I could not run my business at the level I do without Social Curator by Jasmine Star. It has made a world of difference when I am on a time crunch and have NOTHING to engage my audience with. Jumping on Social Curator and grabbing what I need instantly is truly a lifesaver. Also, I couldn't stay on point without my weekly dose of Jenna Kutcher, Amy Porterfield and Rachel Hollis podcasts.

Social Media is such a gateway for influencer’s today. What platforms work best for you and why do you choose to use them the most?

Instagram and Facebook have always been my chosen platforms for reaching my audience. I am drawn to Instagram for the images (did you know I have a love-affair with photography), pretty images feeds my soul. I adore FB for the ease of learning. The authenticity in groups is amazing! Real people that otherwise I'd not have known or have been able to learn from.

What are you tips for maintaining a present influence on these platforms and how do you encouraging continued engagement with your following?

Firstly, If you want authentic engagement, you have to be willing to do the work. You can't just sit back and wait for others to engage, if you are not engaging no one else will either. Second, consistency is the name of the game. Showing up even when you don't feel like you have it all together. By showing up as myself, not trying to imitate what I think I "need" to appear as, I am able to keep my audience engaged. People love a good story, especially one that is authentic and real. Something relatable. This will build trust which turns into fans that then become life long customers.

What can people expect to see when following you?

If you follow me, you'll see a girl who is on a journey of pursuing her best self. I am talented and honest, what you see is what you get. I don't sugar coat things or deal in opinions. I am a facts kind of girl. While you'll never see a graph or stats, you will see continued growth and a strong desire to see others succeed.

What do you believe set's you apart from others in your same industry?

I like to say I have a super power. This power is what sets me apart from others. I can read minds. Quite often my clients have no idea what they want, they just know what they have isn't working and they want better. I am wicked good at taking a client's jumbled brain dump and being able to pick up on key elements that set THEM apart and make THEM unique. I then transform this into a visual concept. Often a concept my client didn't even know was possible, yet captures everything they are as a person and a business.

How To Create Self Made Success As A High School Dropout

What’s next for you?

I have a few things up my sleeve for 2019. Laughing in march is a workshop titles: Brand Builder, Logo Edition - What's your logo saying about your business". Farther down the road of dreaming big is the development of an online course that teaches the fundamentals of design for creative entrepreneurs that wish to better understand the design world. I am also working on a writing a book.

Lastly, what legacy do you hope to leave behind and imprint do you hope to make on others?

The legacy / impact upon the world that I so very much long for is that in some small way, I will have helped the women of the world to believe MORE in themselves. To understand that a brand isn't just about pretty design, it's much more about the person behind the brand. On my website's about page, I wrote a little saying "Own your OWN awesomeness - no one is as exquisitely you. Let your light shine!"

Where can people find you?



Instagram Handle: @alicoleco


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Are you ready to discover the power with influencer marketing?

How do you set yourself apart and create a brand when there are already so many influencers doing it already? What value do you have to offer? The SSI Influencer Branding Program as a step-by-step program to get your brand up and going. Together, we will secure your purpose by defining your passion, shape your overall image by design, then finally launch your brand to the world.