Misti Graham currently resides in her home state of Oregon and is a graduate of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Media.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneuHER, she held numerous corporate and agency marketing positions throughout her career, including Chief Marketing Officer for the Windy City Motorcycle Company in Chicago, Illinois.
Misti enjoys building the inspHERation brand, kicking ass, and taking names! She loves working out and taking care of herself in every facet of her life. She is passionate about all people in her life.
Misti enjoys simple pleasures like good food, traveling the world, reading, and listening to music that speaks to her soul. Her personal mantra is to live inspiHERed. Misti’s past has brought her to the present and she cannot wait to see what the future has in store.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
It began as an emotional breakdown one night in the middle of a dark Chicago apartment. The idea of inspHERation was born in the midst of true sadness, devastation, and vulnerability. On that fateful night, it felt as though my life was finished, and I had lost all control of what was happening to me.
As I lay there on the floor, my tears began to slowly subside and eventually gave way to an idea that would change my entire life’s purpose. I realized that after surviving previous hardships in my life, from finding and losing my Dad to a heart attack at only 48 years old to coming out as a gay woman at the young age of 21, I most certainly had the ability to muster enough strength and perseverance to also get through this chapter of my life.
In that life-changing moment of clarity, I conceptualized the inspHERation brand with the idea that we as women, all possess an immense, untapped strength. We don’t realize how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have.
You see, it’s the indomitable nature of the female spirit that keeps us moving forward no matter what circumstances life hands us. It is the idea that through our words, choices, and actions, we can inspire and empower not only ourselves but one another as we each travel our own path and follow our own journey.
SurvivHER, warriHER, sistHER, partnHER… ultimately everyone has a story to tell; this one is simply mine. I am a woman of inspHERation, and I encourage you to find your HER.
Tell us about your business.
inspHERation women’s apparel and lifestyle brand. My brand represents all women and young girls who want to continue to empower, inspire, and motivate themselves to get through whatever adversities life hands them. In doing so their actions will continue to do the same for all the other women in their lives.
I was a featured speaker at the Portland Women’s Expo in March of 2018. Additionally, I also spoke at The Ultimate Women’s Expo events in Anaheim and Phoenix of April 2018.
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Initially, I figured out what my company name, brand message, and identity was going to be. My next step was to hire a professional graphic designer to put that idea into motion for me. I then made sure I filed for a trademark on the inspHERation name.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I’ve been doing a lot of grassroots marketing and found it to be extremely effective. By attending tradeshows and speaking to women one-on-one, I’m experiencing tremendous results in sales and awareness. Additionally, I utilize social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as free platforms to spread my message.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
One of my biggest challenges is that I have been trying to manage all facets of the launch on my own. Right now, I am a one-woman show, so I’m the jack-of-all-trades for my company. I stay very diligent in making sure that I’m not “majoring in the minors” by only give 10% to 10 different things instead of 100% to one thing at a time.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Every day, I make a schedule for myself so I don’t get off track. I keep my daily tasks close at hand and check them off as I complete them. Although there are days where unexpected tasks come up, by having a schedule I can keep them more manageable.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I really have learned to focus on being mindful in every area of my life, especially my business. By putting this practice into place, it helps keep me grounded and focused on what’s right in front of me, instead of letting any worry or anxiety take over my thoughts. It also helps to not get too far ahead of myself in worrying about situations or scenarios that may never happen or are out of my control.
I also focus on taking inspired action every day. Even if I just do something small for my business to move it forward, I make sure I complete at least one task beneficial to the growth of my company.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
As I built the inspHERation brand based on events that have transpired in my own life, I try hard to translate that message through my sales, marketing, and advertising tactics. Anyone can sell you a shirt or hat, but my inspHERation apparel line comes from the pure motivation and inspiration it took in my own life to pick myself up and keep going.
In the experiences I’ve had thus far with meeting women and telling my story, the feedback has been nothing but positive in the sense that women relate to my story and want to support a company like mine that in turn, supports women like them through empowerment, inspiration, and motivation.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
As an entrepreneur, take one day at a time and don’t go too far into the future. Remain mindful and focus only on the next step that’s right in front of you.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Make sure you hire the right people to assist you in the areas you may know nothing about, such as a CPA, a branding and graphic design expert, a website developer, and an attorney.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I really like all of the products that the Intuit/Quickbooks programs offer. I currently have my master accounting software through them, along with my merchant services account on my website and my credit card processors.
Having one vendor for all things financial is very beneficial. They also have apps for all their accounting options, so with one push of a button I’ve got instant access to any of my accounts through my iPhone and iPads.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I recently read an article on goalcast.com about never giving up and finding strength in my darkest moments.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently studying as much as I can about selling apparel on the internet and how to grow an e-commerce based website.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goals are to begin aggressively growing my online advertising presence along with creating an additional revenue stream for the inspHERation Group.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.