Photo of NY skyline taken from Riverside Park by Joana Miranda

Building an “empire” is a slow and often scary task, as I’m learning.   Sometimes life throws you a curve ball – like my recent move to New York City where I’m not able to use my jewelry-making equipment in our new living situation – and you’ve got to stop, reassess and figure out exactly what you’re building all over again.

This week’s Empire Building Kit’s projects felt a little disjointed to me, but maybe that is because I already knew some of the material being covered from my own small business experience.  However, the final day of the week was inspiring to me.  Meet Deb Pang Davis who lost her job as Art Director at a luxury magazine in 2006, started blogging without exactly knowing what she was doing, and then decided to go back to school to get a certificate in web design.  Along the way she created her web business Cococello, and is now at the point where she has hired her first employee.

Why am I inspired?  Because Deb has managed to turn adversity into success, and she’s done it in this crappy economy.  Her site conveys who she is, what she’s passionate about, what type of person is a good fit with her style, and how she’ll help you.  She comes off as smart, together and sincere.   As I’m rearranging the pieces from the stalled construction of my own empire, I’m intrigued enough by the promise of what she offers to think about getting her help.

In the meantime, a thought on why I am so committed to following through with the Empire Building Kit

I’ve now spent 2 full years job searching for my “dream job” in New York City.  Every day that goes by with a job application unanswered makes me more convinced that if I want my dream job, I’m going to have to create it.  Along the way, I’ve been inspired by people like Deb who have done just that.   Her story, and other similar stories I’ve learned through working through Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Building Kit, give me the courage to look deep inside at the fears that hold me back and to face them directly.

What will my empire look like?  I don’t know exactly, but if it looks like me, only stronger and more confident, I’ll feel like I’ve succeeded.


  1. Joana

    Thank you very much for this post. Your determination jumped out at me. You have captured so well what every business person — be it a one person band or a fat-cat banker — can absolutely identify with. That is the rollercoaster of absolute excitement and downright frustration of starting your business and building your empire.

    I’m cheering you on from here in Cambridge and can’t wait to see what your empire will look like.


    • Hi Chris,

      So nice to get your email and to know that you are cheering me on from “across the pond.” I think my business might always be the one-person-band version (hopefully, not playing the viola in the subways, though!), but as long as I can be doing what I love to do, I’ll be ok…actually, great, euphoric, and ecstatic, to be precise.

      With all best wishes,

  2. Hi Joana,

    Wow, thank you. You are so kind.

    I totally believe you can create the life of your dreams and by life I really mean that. It’s not just a job. The beauty of being a creative person is there really is no distinction between work and life 🙂

    Have you found a place to use your equipment? There has got to be a way… Maybe someone in your community can help you out?

    Good luck and best,
    Dream. Believe. Commit.

    • Hi Deb,

      I meant to send you a link to the blog post where I mentioned you, but somehow let it slip out of my mind. I’m so delighted that you found me and that post! I AM committed to trying to live my dream, however some days it seems more possible than others.

      I’m loving being in NY, but the challenges of space and expense are not insignificant (not to mention that we are trying to sell our house in WI in this terrible market.)

      I am working hard at expanding my design business and would love to talk with you further when I am feeling a little more on top of the direction I’m going.

      You are an inspiration, and I’m delighted that you took the time to write to me.

      All best wishes,

Leave a Reply