Savvy Entrepreneurs // GG Renee Hill

If you've ever checked out one of my Savvy Style Chat features (which are returning soon, yay!), then you'll love this NEW Savvy Entrepreneurs series as well! 

While the Style Chat focuses on choosing style and beauty products that fit a woman's lifestyle, the Entrepreneurs feature will focus more on what it takes to become your own brand and maintain your own business. I'm finding more and more, that those of us that fall into that Gen X / Millennial generational range have started to desire something of our own; something that fulfills us either outside of, or instead of, the normal 9-5 gig. Maybe you've been thinking about starting a business similar to the ones you'll read about here, or maybe you have questions about the "how to" of striking out on your own; either way I am endlessly inspired by these ladies, and I hope you will be too. 

So without further ado, I introduce my very first Savvy Entrepreneur, my best girlfriend/blogger/author/entrepreneur: GG Renee.  


GG Renee Hill / Author & Blogger / AllTheManyLayers.com

Tell us a little about yourself and your current occupation?

My name is GG and I’m an independent author and blogger.  I worked in finance for 12 years, but eight months ago I quit my job to pursue writing full-time. 

When did you know it was time to make the leap from working for someone else, to striking out on your own? What was the tipping point?

It started as a small feeling that I barely paid attention to and it grew into this huge, distracting elephant in my head that I couldn’t ignore.   I knew that 2013 would be the year for me to make some major changes, but I was thinking that I’d probably finish out the year at the company.  It didn’t happen that way.

I went into work one day fully prepared for an all-day client meeting; nothing out of the ordinary on my mind. In the middle of the meeting, I got up, left the room and went to the bathroom to cry my eyes out.  I felt so out of place and useless and uninspired and miserable and horrible and awful.  I’d been feeling that way for a while but in that moment it hit me like a ton of bricks. After the meeting, I went straight to my boss’ office and gave notice. It was a defining moment. It felt amazing.

Who or what were some of the resources you looked to when you started planning to build your business?

I’m a reluctant entrepreneur in the sense that I really never had a desire to take on the risk and responsibility of running a business.  But in the last few years, my creative juices really just overpowered me and pulled me in a direction that I never saw for myself.  Sometimes we limit ourselves this way, you know?  I don’t like to sell (I’ve tried before), so I never thought I could be a successful entrepreneur.

Anyway, I’d been following Marie Forleo forever and when I quit, I immediately signed up for her online business course for creative entrepreneurs called B-School.  I’m in the thick of it right now.  The course is super intensive and it helps you marry your passion and your creative all-over-the-place-ness with practical business strategy and marketing psychology. 

Have you always loved writing? When did you discover that you could—and wanted to--write for a living?

I’ve always loved writing, but I didn’t start taking it seriously until I started blogging.  Blogging helped me build confidence and realize that my writing didn’t have to be perfect in order to inspire people.  Once I got a firm grasp on that, the sky really opened up. 

You recently released your second book, WALLFLOWER—tell us about the inspiration behind this book.

All of my life, I thought that my calm, quiet nature was a weakness.  I wanted to be tougher, more aggressive and more vocal.  I felt that I was limited by my sensitivity and I saw it as a burden.

WALLFLOWER is a book of essays for women like me, who have gone through life thinking that something is wrong with them because they are introverted and reflective in nature. From shy beginnings and limiting beliefs to anxiety and the awkwardness of self-promotion, I offer advice to women who want to express themselves creatively but are afraid to draw attention to themselves and be vulnerable.  

The book feels like a warm conversation between the reader and me about what it's like to be naturally quiet and still want to carve out your own space and make your mark in the world. It's about the challenges -- speaking up for yourself, making yourself vulnerable and overcoming the fear of being judged. It's about the rewards -- realizing the gifts that can be found in your solitude, embracing who you naturally are instead of rejecting it. It's about finding confidence in being different. 

WALLFLOWER is self-published. What was the process of taking it from your laptop screen to readers’ hands?

I used Create Space, which is Amazon’s self-publishing platform.  They make everything easy to understand and efficient.  I worked with a friend and colleague, Carmen Cardoza on the book cover design and sent the photos over to Create Space.  I worked with another friend and colleague, Kim Jackson J (me!) to do a comprehensive edit of the manuscript.  Through Create Space, you can publish your book for free, but I chose to pay and use their professional services for the interior design. They also handle all of the printing, distributing and royalty payments.

Who is the woman who reads your books and articles—what is her lifestyle like? What kind of personality does she have?

The women who read my blog, books and articles have active inner worlds and they see everything that happens in their lives as a potential source of growth or clarity.  I write for crazy beautiful complex free creative inspired love drunk women.  (I never get tired of saying that.)

My readers are soulful and have many layers.  They are down to earth and perfectly imperfect.

They want to be successful in career, in love, and in relationships. To be physically, spiritually and emotionally fit. They strive to carry themselves with grace and learn from mistakes. They want to make a positive impact on the world in their own unique ways. And they want to look good and have fun while doing it.

What are some of the more challenging aspects that you have found in working for yourself?

The business stuff.  I wish I could just create and connect all day, but records need to be kept, bills need to be paid and things need to be organized.   I also have self-diagnosed myself with creative A.D.D. because I have a hard time sticking to my to-do list.  I’m easily distracted and often have several projects all going on at once, making it hard to get things done.  I’m figuring it out though. 

What are the things about working for yourself that get you excited to get out of bed in the morning?

I feel so unbelievably blessed that I get to write every day and I don’t have to sneak it in between meetings and after the kids go to bed.  My favorite part of my life now is writing and connecting with other creatives, finding new ways to reach people, stretching beyond my fears and living in alignment with my spirit.

There are a lot of women who do/will look to you as an example for having the courage to find freedom in designing your own life and career; whom do you look to as an example or for inspiration?

So many!  My sister, Dana Hill, CEO of COCOTIQUE.  Rosetta of Happy Black Woman.  Alex Elle of Words from a Wanderer and Shop ALS to name a few.  I’m also inspired by all of the people I have the opportunity to connect with through B-School.  It’s a community of big-hearted, soulful entrepreneurs and we just “get” each other.  The energy is powerful.

What other things does working for yourself give you the freedom to do? Are you finding it easier to achieve balance between personal and professional life?

The best, bestest, bestiest part of it is being more present with my three kids. I love working from home and not having to put so much energy and time into work that drains me instead of feeding me. 

It is easier to juggle personal and professional in many ways, but in some ways it can be more difficult.  Because I love the work so much, I can often allow myself to be so consumed that I don’t want to stop to make dinner or make phone calls or do other errands I know I need to do.   Also, not everyone understands the sacrifices that need to be made.  I don’t have a guaranteed paycheck coming in every two weeks, so I have to hustle.  For the most part, I work every single day of the week.  Even when I’m not visibly working, I’m thinking about what I need to do or I’m brainstorming. 

What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs and/or writers?

Start now.  Even if you aren’t certain about what or how or where, start following your curiosity now and make time for the things that inspire you.  That’s how it starts.   When you put that energy out, the world will feel it and things will start to happen.  Be open to it.  Say yes to things that scare you and figure it out as you go. 

How has your new occupation affected your personal style? Do you dress differently? Wear your hair differently? And how does that make you feel?

Oh!  It’s the best.  I feel more like myself than I ever have in my adult life.  I didn’t realize how much of myself I’d suppressed in order to “fit in” at my corporate job for so long.  I feel like my hair, my clothes and my jewelry all are resoundingly GG now, finally.  If I had to describe my style, it would definitely be boho casual, occasionally boho chic.  My hair is bigger and happier than ever and it is definitely a reflection of how I feel on the inside. 

Want more of GG Renee? Here's where you can find her: