We had the good fortune of connecting with Cera Byer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cera, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started working full time and providing for myself financially at 13 years old. I’m a *ahem* Elder Millennial, so I grew up on this cusp where we learned typing/computer stuff in Elementary School. I was always pretty tech savvy – so as a teenager during the first dot.com boom suddenly everyone needed computer stuff – basic websites, data entry, proficiency with MS Office, logos, that kindof stuff. So I was able to have office jobs starting from a very young age. At 17 I was working in Marketing Research. It was a pretty creative job and I made a LOT of money for a 17 year old, and suddenly could really provide for myself comfortably. I had everything I was supposed to want – and I spent my lunch breaks on the floor of the bathroom crying. I *hated* corporate work. I transitioned from there to being an agent for hair & makeup artists & costume stylists. I thought, since it was more creative, it would be better for my spirit, but nope. Still corporate. Still soul crushing. I consider this time period to be a tremendous blessing – I got everything that I was supposed to want really young – everything that was supposed to provide happiness. I had a good job, made good money, had an apartment, all of that – and I was miserable. This allowed me to realize that my primary goal was actually happiness, and that making a lot of money and having nice things didn’t mean anything to me if I didn’t enjoy how I spent my time. I was able to let that pursuit go WAY earlier than a lot of my peers, and dedicated my 20s to figuring out how to pay my bills without ever holding a job where I wasn’t in charge of my own time/decisions/destiny.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business as it is now has been a long, flowing river with divergent twists and turns. I never set out to do what I’m doing now, it evolved. I really run a feminine business, and operate my life from my feminine energy as much as possible. For several years my business mantra was “follow the fun”. People ask me my goals or my five year plan and I tell them, “It’s to be happy.” And I’m not kidding – that’s the goal. That’s all I care about. As much as I love my business and everything I’ve built, if I stopped being happy every day I’d walk away and do something else in a heartbeat. I don’t mean this in a morbid way but life is incredibly short and precious, and I’m not wasting my time being miserable every day. My business grew through me following my interests, following my instincts and intuition, creating offerings based upon conversations with community (noticing places where there were needs I could fill or problems I knew how to solve), and trusting that if I kept doing that, I’d get somewhere good. Along the way I had to invest in learning a lot more business skills than I started with, and that has definitely served me. I had to overcome the same blocks that most artists do – not believing my voice was valuable, thinking that being an artist meant I was bad with money and structure, thinking I hated selling. I had to do a lot of unlearning in order to learn the skills we all need to be successful at being self-employed. Learning those things uniquely positioned me to help artists build successful businesses, because artists have a unique set of challenges and limiting beliefs. But I think it’s important to share that I didn’t start with a clear, defined goal. I want more people to know that it is possible to build a successful business by starting with the goal to follow what feels good and inspiring and nourishing, and trust that it will lead you somewhere great – and not just possible but it’s an amazing way to work. It requires a lot more faith than most folks are comfortable with, but it’s a magical way to live and build a business.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
So, I am a complete homebody and I live in the valley so I would be a wack ass tour guide. We’d probably go to Carbon Beach at least once, and to Firefly for brunch or dinner. But other than that…I’d probably give them a house key and encourage them to have fun exploring and come back when they were done so I could cook dinner!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
ALLLLLLLLLLLL of my teachers, mentors, and coaches. It would be impossible to give just one. Every time I embark upon anything new I tend to do a lot of research. I get obsessive about my interests. Every step of my journey I’ve had incredible teachers (both formal teachers and people in my life who teach me by being in relationship with me), mentors who took me under their wing and answered my questions, and life and business coaches who supported me through making big decisions, or validated my ideas and encouraged me to keep going. I consider myself a life-long student, and I’m constantly seeking advice and support from people who have already gotten where I want to go. I think maintaining a beginners mindset is crucial for continual growth in any area of life.
Other: The Elemental Entrepreneurship Podcast – on all podcast platforms!