Small Business Stories: Dana Marin
A creator and storyteller at heart, Dana Marin started her business to help people on their journey to developing their business or passion. Get to know Dana, blogger, photographer, and social media manager extraordinaire!
Dana Marin: March's Small Business Story
Welcome back to Small Business Stories, a series where I interview entrepreneurs and small business owners here in the Netherlands.
So far, I've had a chance to chat with Ricardo of Ricardo Dutkowiak Fotografie and Stephanie of Firefly Coaching. This month, I've decided to switch things up a bit and try a traditional question-and-answer interview format. Dana is insightful, passionate, and experienced. Read on to discover her journey, struggles, and great advice for other small business owners. I know you'll enjoy what she has to say as much as I did! Let's dive in!
"I wish I’d known that it’s OK to not have a unique career path. That it’s OK to want to do more than just one thing in life, and that some people thrive by having two careers at the same time."
Meet Dana Marin
Ciera: Hi Dana! Thanks for taking part in this series. Let's start simple: tell me a little bit about yourself.
Dana: I’m a creator and storyteller at heart, who started my business to help people on their own journey to develop a business or a passion. After working in market research for many years and being a blogger and a photographer in my spare time, I decided the moment had come to leave behind my first career and move towards a more creative life.
At the moment, I’m growing my business as a multidisciplinary creative, with expertise in content management, writing, photography, social media content, and management. I offer services in social media marketing (from strategy to creating, to implementing), portrait and storytelling photo sessions, and articles.
I'm originally from Romania and have been living in the Netherlands for 12 years. Also, I’m a curious and social person who likes to express myself creatively in many ways: from writing to painting, from cooking to gardening and making homemade cosmetics.
Ciera: So many of us small business owners create businesses in areas that are far different from our traditional educational backgrounds. But I feel like when we dig deep enough, there is always a link. What about you? What is your educational background like? Did your schooling prepare you for your business or are you self-taught?
Dana: My background is in sociology and ethnology, which was the starting point for my previous career. When I understood that my career dreams changed and I needed to shift toward a new direction, I started exploring new skills. Over the past years, I studied creative writing, digital marketing, and SEO, and took a Digital Content Creation course at Condé Nast College, London. I also learned a lot from my experience of writing and growing my blogs, through trial and error and a lot of work.
Ciera: In an article on your website, you describe yourself as a "multipotentialite". I love this word. Can you describe what it means to you and why you identify with it?
Dana: I’ve always had multiple interests and passions. Throughout my working life, I’ve had a side hustle next to my day job, not for the money, but for the variety.
Over the years I’ve been an Avon lady, I volunteered at children's foundations, and theatres, and I was an urban gardener, a blogger, and a photographer. Learning new skills is imperative for me.
If I have to do only one thing in my life, then I get bored. I think having knowledge from various fields is a big advantage because you can include it in all your activities.
Learning and Embracing Rejection
Ciera: What do you wish you’d known ten years ago? About anything! Business related or just for fun.
Dana: I wish I’d known that it’s OK to not have a unique career path. That it’s OK to want to do more than just one thing in life, and that some people thrive by having two careers at the same time.
I used to have this limiting belief that I needed to choose one thing and stick with it. I struggled a lot to accept the fact that I wanted to do more than one job, while everyone around me was telling me I have to choose.
Ciera: As a freelancer myself, I really liked your article “Freelancer Life and Embracing Rejection”, particularly, the part about treating yourself after receiving a hard rejection. What advice would you give to struggling freelancers facing rejection?
Dana: This is a thing that will get better in time. To get there quicker, you can start today with one thing: accept rejection as just another aspect of your life and don’t take it as something negative.
Take the rejection, learn from it, and move on. It’s easier said than done, I know, but it’s possible.
And, yes, if it’s a hard rejection, I strongly suggest treating yourself with something that makes you happy. Treat yourself for trying.
Ciera: What is your favorite thing about connecting with clients?
Dana: I love meeting new people, learning about their passions and what drives them. I have the luck of working with some very passionate people, and I love getting inside their heads, and exchanging ideas. It’s fascinating.
Ciera: What is a business struggle that you have overcome? How did you overcome it?
Dana: The biggest struggle I overcame is the one about starting a business, about taking a big risk. It took me years to get to this point and a lot of (over)thinking.
How did I do it? I arrived at a point in my life when I was very unhappy with my career path, and it felt like a “now or never” kind of moment. A moment when not taking the risk is more painful than avoiding it, and I decided to finally follow my instincts.
Ciera: Before you go, is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?
Dana: I am always open to various creative collaborations, so please don’t hesitate to contact me!
Ciera: And lastly, as is tradition with SBS, can you leave a question for the next person? It can be business related, random, fun, or whatever you like. :)
Dana: What is the first thing you think about in the morning?
(For the answer to this question, stay tuned for April's Small Business Story!) To get in touch with Dana, you can find her here:
See you next time!
Are you a small business owner located in the Netherlands? Would you like to expand your network?
If you're interested in being featured as part of the Small Business Stories series, let's chat!