Small Business Interview: Caroline Rogers, Cali Jae Designs

Meet Caroline Rogers, also known as Cali, a book worm, avid coffee connoisseur and passionate self taught designer, from New York who also happens to be pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Marketing and Advertising. She created Cali Jae Designs as a result of her love of aesthetics, design and her desire to create an inspiring space for ambitious creatives and entrepreneurs, to guide them in building their empire.

Enjoy Cali's interview!

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what services or products do you offer?
Hi there! My name is Caroline and I am a brand stylist and strategist for female entrepreneurs who want to build the business of their dreams at Cali Jae Designs. I help them achieve this through beautiful web and graphic design, killer branding and smart marketing strategies with social media, blogging and email marketing. 

Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
I have always had an interest in having my own business. I love being able to be my own boss and have the freedom to work whenever and wherever I want. Throughout college I helped other students with their graphic design work (I was a fashion merchandising major) and helped other bloggers design their websites. I was constantly being told how good I was at what I did and finally decided to launch my own business in the field! 

Do you have any special training? 
I always say the styling side of my business comes from my fashion merchandising degree and the strategy side of my business comes from my marketing degree. Throughout college I took photoshop & illustrator courses as well as a fair share of marketing courses! I do plan on taking a certificate in web and graphic design this year! I always say never stop learning, whether it is an e-course, a youtube video or a class I am always willing to learn more about my line of work and implement new techniques!

What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
I think the biggest accomplishment of all has been being blessed to have built this business on my own and be able to collaborate and connect with other fabulous females on a daily basis. I get to continue living and working towards my dream every single day!

What mistake(s) have you made with your business? What did you learn from the experience and how did you bounce back?
Every business no matter how big or small goes through ups and downs and you just have to pick yourself up and learn from each experience. I always say it isn't a mistake just a lesson learned. I think my biggest lesson learned has been to charge what I am worth. In the beginning of owning a business it is hard to not only price your services but be confident enough to charge enough for your services. I was always trying to low ball my services so I would get the sale but in the end it just created more work. I learned to really be strategic about my prices and charge what I am worth! I am not only happier but people take my work more seriously. 

What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful small business?
The number one element is to have streamlined branding. Have a great logo, a color palette, specific fonts and graphics as well as a professional looking website with your own domain. Another important element would be to track your expenses! I can't tell you enough how important this is!

Keep track of all client payments and what you are putting back into the business. This not only helps you stay more organized and in the know, but makes tax season a lot easier! 

Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
Go for it! If you have a dream of starting your own business do it, what is stopping you? Life is too short to not be happy if you want something make it happen! Be confident in yourself and your services/products. If you aren't confident with yourself or your products and services no one else will confide in you. 

Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
Like I said earlier keep track of your expenses. Keep an excel document where you lay out your monthly expenses, your yearly expenses and the inflows of your income. Review this every month and see if you can get rid of any unneeded expenses or if anything needs to be changed or updated! Also, keep your business and personal finances separate. Have a designated business account.

How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
I am a libra so I am all about balance. It definitely takes some getting used to and it is not an easy task when you work from home but it's all about what works for you. Dedicating specific times to work on your business is important.

Have a set time where you start work and end work so after your work day you can unwind and spend time with your loved ones and make time for other aspects of your life. I think the biggest thing for me was to take weekends back for myself and shut my computer off, get out of the house and dedicate that time to family and friends. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years
In 5 years, I see myself growing this to my full time business, living and continuing to work for my dream lifestyle, being able to travel the world and married by then! :)  

Please share a fun fact about yourself
I am the biggest coffee drinker. The first thing I do every morning is make myself a cup of coffee and have a couple more cups throughout the day. It is my energy fueler. Coffee, cappuccino, latte, hot or iced I can't turn a cup down! 

Thanks so much for doing this interview Caroline!
Caroline's website at
Instagram @calijaedesigns