Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsey Clark.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lindsey. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I never expected to find myself living the life of an entrepreneur. After all, I went to college to study Psychology and Theology. Business classes, design classes — those were foreign concepts to me.
In fact, I never even thought I was a creative person. I liked writing. I liked painting. I liked trying to write music. But, in all honesty, I was pretty terrible at all of it.
I was a humanitarian at heart. Throughout college, I was part of a social justice club on campus that brought awareness of injustices happening around the world. we’d throw events on and off campus in order to do our part, as college students, to make an impact in the world — whether through raising awareness or raising funds.
My senior year of college, there was one specific event where the graphic designer who was supposed to make our promo material flaked out on me and wasn’t able to create the promo graphic. Frustrated that I was in this position — relying on someone else to make something for me, I decided to that I needed to learn photoshop, so I didn’t have to depend on others to make my promo graphics.
I bribed a friend with a cup of coffee to show me the basics of photoshop. After an hour tutorial, I felt like I was on top of the world with my newfound knowledge in photoshop. Even though I wasn’t very good — I thought I was amazing. Cause, hey! Effort counts sometimes.
After college, like any college student post the market crash in 2008, I was trying to find my place in the world (and a job). With zero luck, I found myself interning at a non-profit organization in Tulsa, Oklahoma that gave me the opportunity to travel the world and take part in groundbreaking and breathtaking humanitarian projects such as providing clean water to remote tribes and rescuing women out of the sex trade.
At the time, I felt like interning was a setback — here I was, a college graduate with bachelor’s degree in psychology, paying to work for someone instead of getting paid. Fast forward, I realize — my life wouldn’t be what it is without those three years of interning.
While I wasn’t making money and found myself living off of taco bell, I was picking up skill sets and learning how to create something from nothing. It was at the organization, that I come to the understanding that I could be creative in both the arts and business. I was put in environments that put my hour lesson in photoshop to work and stretched my mind to get creative in marketing and business.
In 2012, I moved back home to San Diego, California. I was planning to join the family business of real estate — which, btw, fun fact: I’ve been a licensed California real estate agent since the age of 18. Back to the story, 6 months into cold calling and knocking on doors asking people if they wanted to sell their home — I realized, “real estate is not for me!”
Desperate to make money and finding no luck in the San Diego market for a job, I decided on a whim to make a website and start offering social media services. With no idea what I was doing or what I was getting myself into, I made a basic website and launched third story apartment. I posted my shiny new website to Facebook and announced that I was “now accepting social media clients” and within 24 hours landed my first client.
This is why I often say entrepreneurship found me — because, 1) it was never my plan and 2) I’m fully aware that this is not normal — launching a website and getting a client within 24 hours.
Alas, this is a true story and this how it happened.
It sank or swim. While I had no idea how to build a business, how to find new clients or how to do anything really — I knew that I wasn’t allowed to fail because there were no other options for me. Google became my best friend and researching how other companies did thing became my greatest mentor.
A couple months into doing social media, I started getting asked to do graphic design — and, since I was in no position to turn down money, I said “yes” to anything that came my way. One thing led to the next and before you knew it, I was saying “yes” to branding projects and building websites.
I had zero experience and no portfolio — but, for some reason, people trusted me and took a chance on me even though I had no idea how to build a website for a business. But, like I said — Google was my best friend and I figured it out. And, realized — not only do I like building brands for people — start to finish, but I’m pretty dang good at it too.
So, here we are — seven years later, a psychology major who is self-taught in design and building brands for some of the most inspiring brands and entrepreneurs around the world. Along the way, there’s been other side businesses and endeavors that I have chased — but the common denominator among anything that I do is a desire to help people realize that their dreams are worth chasing and pursuing.
Has it been a smooth road?
Oh, gosh — the journey has been anything but smooth. But, honestly, I wouldn’t change my story or journey one bit. retelling the story, it’s easy to make everything feel so fluid and easy. but, gosh — the journey has been anything. But honestly, I feel like my story would make for good reality TV, it’s got drama, it’s got tears, it’s got highs, it’s got dramatic lows, it’s got hilarious “uh oh” moments, it has some insane “how did that happen to you? moments (in both the good ways and bad ways). It’s got a little bit of everything that makes for good TV. but, yeah — all that to say. The journey hasn’t been a walk in the park — well, I take that back— unless the park is Central Park on a hot summer new york day. 😉 Meaning, there are moments where you’re in this dreamland of “Ah! I’m in new york — this is dreams come true!” And then, thirty seconds later, you have that “oh my gosh! it’s so dang hot — can we please get out of this humid heat before I die?”
In all honesty, one of my biggest struggles was the fact that while I was building third story apartment, I was also building another business with a friend who lived in the country. As someone who never intended to find themselves in the business world, I ironically found myself building two businesses simultaneously. which definitely brought on its own unique set of challenges.
I really struggled with work/life balance. I worked all the time and to be honest — started finding my worth and identity in how much I worked. Which, is never a healthy place to be.
In addition to that, I think I really struggled with the idea of “time”. My ambitious self-wanted to see immediate results to all my work. And, it took awhile for me to realize that everything is a process. And, it’s not just about putting in the hard work today, but being consistent about it day after day. It took me awhile to realize, “Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will my dream.” These days, I now have a healthy understanding of chasing dreams — and realize that time is on our side. While we feel like things might be delayed, the delay is only benefitting us because it’s preparing us for something grander than we could have expected and set up wild opportunities for us.
But, yeah — all that to say, every story has it’s own struggles. And mine is no exception.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Third story apartment is a branding studio that provides dreamers + entrepreneurs with the visual tools that they need in order to make their dreams come alive. Basically, a flowery way of saying — I design logos, websites, and collateral materials for people who are doing inspiring things in the world. The real specialty is websites, though.
Outside of third-story apartment, I write a lot and I host a weekly podcast called the daring romantics (which, can be found on iTunes) that discusses more of the heart and lifestyle of business as opposed to the “how to”. my writings and podcast are infused with a lot of encouragement — because, building a business is hard. And, I think sometimes, as entrepreneurs — we just need someone to be real with us about their experience and then tell us “you’re gonna make it!”
So, yeah — more than anything, that’s what I’m known for and that’s usually the thing draws people into third story apartment for their branding and website. That, and the fact that Pinterest algorithm has been kind to me and my website designs. 😉 But, as far as my work — my web designs are known for having a lot of personalities, layering, and texture — which, I think really sets me (and my clients) apart from others. I believe that building a solid brand is more than just a logo — it’s how you put everything together, it’s how you communicate to your audience, how you present yourself, and how you create and shift the culture.
The thing I am most proud of within third story apartment is the ripple effect of goodness that my work has. It’s so much more than designing. I not only get to help bring my client’s visions to life, but I get to play a small role in the change that they are creating the world. It’s such a cool thing to know that my work is helping people reach their health goals and live a more active and well life or that my work is paving the way for teen girls in low-income households to get scholarships or that my work is creating a platform for someone to write and share their thoughts that can impact other people’s destinies or that my work is helping promote awareness for women in sex trafficking. When you look the big picture, it’s so rewarding. And, I cannot help but be proud of all the goodness that is happening because I made something.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I love San Diego to the core. This is my home, I grew up here — and I couldn’t imagine building a business anywhere else. while most of my clients find me online and live outside of the city and/or country, I feel that is based in San Diego has provided me so many opportunities and has given me the ability to build relationships with so many other go-getters.
The good thing about San Diego is that dreamers are always doing, creating, and launching. which means, there’s no shortage of work for designers. Someone is always going to need promotional material, a brand refresh or a website.
I’d totally recommend someone who is starting out to build a business here in San Diego. In my humble opinion, it’s one of the world’s greatest cities.
- Full Branding Package – $5600
- Website: www.thirdstoryapartment.com
- Instagram: @lindseyeryn / @thirdstoryapt / @thedaringromantics
- Twitter: @lindseyeryn
- Other: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-daring-romantics/id1304002999?mt=2