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Meet Trailblazer Deziree Dufresne

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deziree Dufresne.

Deziree, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Like a lot of young adults, when I graduated high school, I had basically no idea what I wanted to with my life. But I really liked photography, and I had a knack for it, so I decided that seemed like a decent thing to pursue. I started by mentoring with a few photographers, and it kept coming up that the business part of a photography business was actually the harder and more important part. So, a few years later, when I still wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, I decided a business degree made sense.

While I started my degree, mainly because it seemed like the practical, “correct” thing to do, I was surprised to find myself actually enjoying pretty much every one of my business classes. I had decided to go for a marketing emphasis and knew I would enjoy those classes, but I also ended up loving accounting, operations management, and finance. And it turns out, I really DID learn things that helped my photography business.

Throughout college, and after, I continued to run my photography business, and it became clear that while I loved photography, it was the actual work of running a business that I was more interested in. I loved crunching numbers, figuring out the best way to streamline or automate a process, and teaching myself little tricks to make things run smoother. But as I immersed myself in the local photography market and made friends with other photography businesses owners, I realized that not everybody loves that stuff. And furthermore, many creatives downright dread having to deal with the business side of things, and it doesn’t come easily to them.

I ended up meeting a kindred spirit, Katie. She’s a photographer too, and a super creative one at that, but she also loves getting all nerdy about optimized workflows, the perfect organizational system for to-do lists, and calculating the ROI on different marketing channels. The more Katie and I bounced ideas off each other, the more I thought that together the two of us could really help out our fellow creative professionals. And when I proposed starting a business with Katie (with a well-organized business plan of course), she was completely on board!

Just a few weeks after I sent over that business plan, we launched Acorns & Oaks on January 1, 2018. An educational business focused on teaching creative entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses by design, we offer everything from free articles and worksheets, to paid online courses and 1 on 1 mentoring. And the more I work on Acorns & Oaks, the more I realized just how truly passionate I am about the topics we teach on. Having my own business has been rewarding, but helping teaches other business owners how to succeed as been even more fulfilling to me.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Finding the type of work that I can really get passionate about has definitely been a journey, and not always a smooth one. I think the biggest struggles for me have been the times when I have needed to change my focus in life. Every time I start down a new path, even if I KNOW it’s a better direction for my life, I have trouble letting go of the old direction. It oftentimes feels like I’ve wasted all of that work I did before because I am trying something new. But in reality, everything in my life has helped me get to this point, even if it doesn’t always seem directly related.

I think when you’re starting your own journey, in anything, it’s important to remember that everything you work through might help you later down the line. My advice is to not be afraid to try new paths and new things, and especially don’t be afraid to let go of things that no longer fit with your goals.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Acorns & Oaks – what should we know?
The main goal of Acorns & Oaks is to help creative business owners build a business that will allow them to do the creative work they love in a profitable way. To do this, we offer educational resources on a variety of business topics, including business automation, planning resources, branding, software reviews, and more. My personal favorite topics/specialty are goal setting and workflow creation. I love teaching business owners how to go about building their business up in an organized, structured way and implementing tools to streamline their processes, so they can spend more time doing what they love, and less time getting bogged down in the chores of running business.

Acorns & Oaks focuses specifically on helping creative businesses, which generally take the form of a one-person show, which needs different tools and strategies to be successful than bigger businesses. A lot of business education out there is focusing more on growing those big businesses, which isn’t always helpful for the type of businesses we are aiming to help.

My proudest moments are when someone who has used our educational resources comes back and tells us what a difference it’s made in their own business. Whether it’s just a trick they picked up from one of our articles, a template we’ve created, or something they learned in a class, I love knowing that the work we are doing has helped someone’s small business!

Which women have inspired you in your life?
Both my grandmas were small business owners, which I definitely think has had a huge impact on my own life, and my love for small businesses. My maternal grandma ran a one-woman tax preparation agency, and my paternal grandmother has a small gift shop. Neither of them ever got rich off of their businesses, but I think they would both agree that running their own businesses was an enriching experience.

Seeing them doing what they love has helped me define what is important in my own life and business. Running a business isn’t always about making the most money, instead, you have to aim for your own idea of success. And for some people, that may be make as much money as possible, but for others, that may look like something else. It may look like making enough money to live on while traveling as much as possible, or supplementing your spouse’s income while having flexible hours to raise your children. Through Acorns & Oaks, I help other small business owners define what their success looks like, and then design their business to get there.

Pricing:

  • Tons of blog posts, worksheets, and templates are available on our site for free
  • Online courses start at $100
  • Pricing for in-person classes and one on one mentoring available on inquiry

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Sarah Fosco Photography

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