FreshBooks is on the road! Last month, we hosted #imakealiving in Austin, Texas. Next up: Los Angeles, California!
With great risk comes great reward—and for small business owners everywhere, this couldn’t ring truer! Plenty of heart, soul and labor goes into the creation and day-to-day of a small business. And guess what? FreshBooks is here for you every step of that journey.
Last month, we hosted another #imakealiving event in Austin, TX. Here’s how it all went down!
Highlights from #imakealiving Austin
Our amazing panel included Ebony Stewart (spoken word poet), Chelsea Francis (Photographer, Editor of Pass/Fail), Lucas Aoki (wall mural artist) and Meshell Baker (international speaker and purpose coach). The audience and our panelists were welcomed by FreshBooks’ Events Manager Paco Arizmendi and the event was moderated by Events & Community Manager Irene Elliott.
To kick things off, panelist shared their experiences with building their brands, which was the theme of the night.
“You build a strong personal brand by showing who you are and what your passionate about. Then put your best foot forward from there,” says Chelsea. “I’m an extrovert so I started by setting up networking events, meeting people and connecting them with each other.”
Lucas, a local wall mural artist, had a different take as he recalls his experience. “In my case I feel like the word ‘brand’ doesn’t work for me. I never thought of creating my own brand—I just started painting because I needed to do it. That developed over time and led to something else. I couldn’t say I have or created a brand; it just happened organically.”
“Your career isn’t ending. Sometimes people just don’t hire you for thirty days.” –
— Manny Pandya (@Manny_Pandya)
Later, the conversation transitioned to purpose and panelists were asked what their message is as creative entrepreneurs and why their audiences are drawn to it.
“My message is all about vision,” says Meshell. “What I help people do is create compelling visions. How do you do that? You create a vision and make an imprint. It’s to help people experience a life more fulfilled. Most people say they want to be successful and make a million dollars. I help them become something because once you become it, you’ll have it and enjoy it.”
She continues, “You don’t actually need as much as you think you need to be happy and have a fulfilled life.”
As the conversation turned to questions from the audience, the hot topic of imposter syndrome came up.
“Everyone is faking it,” says Chelsea. “Everyone feels inadequate and has to push through that to prove themselves in the world. But that doesn’t make it easier going through it.”
Ebony adds: “I have a mantra that says ‘the universe will not make a liar out of me’. Sometimes I am the only person they have to call. I’m this black woman who filled this and this box. But I showed up because I’m the only one who could do what I do the way I do it. I wouldn’t look at it as though I don’t deserve to be here. Don’t self-sabotage yourself before the next thing even comes. I try to just stay in this present moment.”
Last night’s was incredibly informative and diverse. We need more events like this in Austin to remind us small business owners that we are not alone. Thanks again, .
— Zach McNair 👋 (@zachmcnair)
Looking Ahead to #imakealiving Los Angeles
For the 6th city on our #imakealiving tour, we’ll be coming back to sunny LA! Each and every #imakealiving event helps to facilitate and inspire connections between small business owners—and we’re honored to be a part of it all. Ready to get the conversation going, LA? We can’t wait to meet you!
Event: #imakealiving Powered by FreshBooks
When: Wednesday, August 22nd
Where: The Rose Room, 6 Rose Avenue, Venice, CA 90291
Details: #imakealiving will host a diverse panel of people from different industries. They’ll share stories about their livelihoods and non-traditional career journeys. Our panelists will then show you how to harness that inspiration and apply it to your own career. Our goal is to motivate and empower you to break out of your comfort zone and take some chances with your career and marketing!
Cost: Free—seeing you thrive is all the payment we need
Panelists: Sonja Rasula, Kristen Pumphrey, Khayyam Wakil, Espree Devora
about the author
FreshBooks. Before joining the team, she was the Editor of a national trade publication and has over 6 years of experience in writing and editing. Connect with Megan on and say hello!Megan Santos is the Content Marketing Manager at