BBW MEMBER INTERVIEW: Ellen E. Thompson, Founder of Ellen E. Thompson Art.

BBW MEMBER INTERVIEW: Ellen E. Thompson, Founder of Ellen E. Thompson Art.

What is your name and occupation?

Ellen E. Thompson, Founder of Ellen E. Thompson Art.

How long have you been a Boston Business Women’s Member?

Less than a year

What is your instagram handle?

@ellen.e.thompson

What is your Linked in URL?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellenethompson/

Were you born and raised in Boston? If not, what brought you here?

No, I was born in upstate NY - I came here for work in 2015, what I thought was my dream job. While it didn't turn out to be the right fit for me long-term, the job that brought me to Boston ultimately taught me the value of pursuing my creative side, ultimately spurring me to open my own business selling my art and design services.

Tell us more about your job or company and what led you to your career?

I've had a winding but extremely fulfilling career path! I started my post-college career in 2011 living in the Netherlands while working in the field of intercultural communication and pursuing my Master's degree at the University of Tilburg. After graduating, I returned to the US and transferred my intercultural communication skills to the field of international higher education. In 2015, I started working at Berklee College of Music in operations, where I was surrounded by some of the most passionate and talented artists I'd ever met on a daily basis. While none of their musical talents rubbed off on me, the environment inspired me to find my own artistic voice, and in 2017 I started watercolor painting regularly as a hobby. As time went on, I knew more and more that my dream career would involve creativity on a daily basis. In the following years I attended watercolor classes and began searching for ways to combine my operations management background with my passion for creative expression. In the fall of 2019, I took a graphic design class at the Boston Architectural College and knew immediately that I had found my calling - I finally found a profession that equally values precise project management skills with creative expression. In February of 2020 I was hired to a fabulous job at Shawmut Construction & Design in a dual project management / graphic design role, but was laid off within weeks due to COVID-impacted downsizing. After a few weeks of adjusting to unemployment, I seized the opportunity to launch my own business selling my art and offering graphic design services as Ellen E. Thompson art. I am having the time of my life in a role that I feel I've been inadvertently been preparing for my whole career! Every step of the way has taught me something that I can apply to the many, many facets of being a first-time business owner. I love what I do and can't wait to see what lies around the corner.

What would your clients say about you and your company?

I'm empathetic, flexible, I nail their vision, a great communicator, and extremely thorough.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice that's really opened my eyes since starting my own business has been to put yourself face-first in your business (literally). Before I launched my own brand, I had the idea of an entrepreneur as a genius math whiz who had to have all the answers figured out - and that if you shared your business acumen with the world, customers would flock to you. What I'm realizing, especially through the words of brand photography guru Be Peachie, is that people connect with people. As a solopreneur, I've been getting more and more comfortable putting myself out there - my face, my 'origin story', my skills, and my offerings, and it's been life-changing for the better!

What is your favorite book?

Illusions, by Richard Bach

What is your secret weapon? An app, a tool, a organization method, anything?! (Can be a personal or professional life tool)

I use Monday.com to track my time for EVERYTHING I do that is work related. It helps me a) feel productive even on my worst day, because I can see what I accomplished in any given period, b) be more objectively productive, as I can start to optimize and tweak where I spend the majority of my working time and c) it helps me get in the habit of time tracking on the regular, so that I can charge for my freelance services accurately.

What is your most recent WIN? How are you slaying in your career or business?

I found a killer marketing consultant, Jennifer MacNeil of MacNeil Marketing Solutions, to help advise me on my business in May 2020 through Boston Business Women facebook group. I pretty much immediately connected with her and had a blast at our introductory meeting. Apparently the feeling was mutual - because after my first consultation with her, she turned around and offered me a freelance role with her marketing agency! I've been learning so much under her guidance and she is a rockstar client.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Do the weirdest thing that makes you happy. This mindset has helped me so much in the past few years embrace my niche in love and life and career - rather than seeing myself as not fitting in to the crowd or to a common narrative, I now am able to celebrate what sets me apart from others. It's also helped me to make decisions that have scared me a bit at the time, but ones I know I'll always be proud of down the line - such as starting my own business. At the end of the day, you have to keep your own fulfillment in mind too - that's no one's job but yours. So, ``do the weirdest thing that makes you happy!``

How do you enjoy your free time?

I absolutely love watercolor painting and graphic design, so I do these in my spare time despite also having them as my day job! I am obsessed with houseplants and have been known to run to Home Depot at 8 am on a Saturday morning if one of my plant friends alerts me to a killer sale.

What is something that not many people know about you?

My life goal is to be on the TV show Jeopardy. I've made it to the auditions round twice - once in high school, and once in 2016. My dream category would be 'houseplant identification', closely followed by 'dog breed identification'.

No Comments
Leave a Comment:

})(jQuery)