In today’s Community Spotlight, we’re chatting with Adrienne Linsday. She focuses on writing for publications and philanthropies, using her talents in a positive and impactful way—what began as an idea from a mentor, turned into so much more. Read more about Adrienne’s story to creating her business, Cloudberry Writing below!
Tell us about yourself!
I’m Adrienne Lindsay, the Founder & Director of Cloudberry Writing. I launched my writing business to champion people around the world who are using their talents for the greater good. My core business is writing for philanthropy, producing magazine articles and I help others edit their writing as well. When I look at my career so far, I realize that all my positions have been for organizations that are solving problems in our world, contributing creatively and discovering new knowledge. Cloudberry Writing is an extension of these values, and my business communicates inspiring projects through expert writing.
How did you get started with your business?
After a busy six-year period that included my husband starting and completing medical school (he was previously an engineer), moving cities, having three children and undertaking two major house renovations, you could say I am no stranger to hard work! I was also, quite frankly, exhausted. So that I could nurture myself and my family, I decided to resign from a senior role in university fundraising where I had the privilege to contribute to the realization of several multi-million-dollar donations.
My start in business came about when I invited one of my mentors – an intelligent and intuitive woman – out for coffee. She knew how intense my life has been recently and encouraged me to reconsider how I was defining success. I had not considered launching my own business until she said, “You’re a great writer – why don’t you start your own business?”. In that same week, another mentor said the same thing!
Those conversations were “lightbulb” moments, and I began to carefully consider how I could authentically bring my personal values to work practice. I loved developing my business from scratch – it was fun being creative. I now define myself as a conscious creative entrepreneur. I channel my experience towards positive projects such as telling the stories of changemakers, visionaries, and big thinkers and honouring other creative people.
What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It’s challenging to feel uncomfortable – the way you do when you are starting a business. It was hard to embrace that level of discomfort and build confidence in what I was creating. There were times when I questioned if I had made a mistake leaving my previous career even though I loved the freedom, flexibility and creativity my business offered me.
There are so many messages out there telling you what success is. It’s hard to push through those barriers and define success on your own terms, but it is worth doing. I don’t feel like I’ve “left” my former career anymore – I have taken all of those wonderful experiences with me into my business.
What would you say has been one of your biggest “wins”?
I was recently approached by a local print magazine called Swell, to write a lifestyle feature for them. It was nice to be sought out, and I felt privileged. Their magazine is absolutely gorgeous, and the content is terrific – it’s all about Newcastle (Australia) where I live. I am delighted to promote our beautiful city and the creative people who live here.
I am also honoured to be working with The Shorefast Foundation in Newfoundland, Canada (where I am from) promoting their incredible work. Located in Fogo – a remote island where wild caribou roam free – they have created a social enterprise that honours the integrity of place. The cause could not be closer to my heart.
Did you have any help building your website or did you do it yourself?
Station Seven’s Squarespace kits made it very easy to build my site on my own, although Mike and Brittni have been incredible at answering my questions! I’ve found all their products amazing and have practically bought up their shop! I honestly don’t think I could have launched my business without them.
With a background in Art History and working in art museums, I am aesthetically-sensitive. Because of the range of design elements used in their products (line, shape, form, colour, space, etc) I knew that visitors to my site would synthesize the information and ideas effectively. The minimalistic principles of Station Seven designs enabled me to communicate my business meaningfully and beautifully.
Any advice for others looking to start out?
My advice is quite simple. Keep going. There will be days when you may question if you are successful. Like my mentor told me, I would encourage you to carefully consider how you are defining success.
Keep an open mind, work hard and take breaks. Don’t be afraid to modify things along the way and always show the upmost commitment to your clients. Instead of striving for work-life “balance” go for boundaries instead. Be present at home and be present at work. I have recently made a commitment to not use my phone at all on Sundays – it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you are not distracted. In just two weekends of this new habit, I knitted half a jumper for my daughter!