Founder Spotlight: Raven Dreibelbis on Balancing Business and Motherhood
For as long as she could remember, Raven Creative President Raven Dreibelbis has had a passion for all things creatives tarting with a deep love for reading. At UT-Austin, she earned a degree in radio-TV-film and her love for creativity began to crystallize into a career.
“I’ve always been a little bit inclined toward unique things and just seeing beauty in the world,” she said. “In college, I learned how to produce, edit video and write content for video. When I graduated, my first job was being a part of the production crew for a show on the Tennis Channel. That’s where I got my start.”
The small business owner added, “Being a member of a small production crew, you wear a lot of hats. I was a camera operator, video editor, writer, designer and more. It’s very entrepreneurial in that way: you see what needs to be done and you get on with it.”
Raven moved from TV production to corporate marketing as she advanced in her career, eventually being laid off during the 2008 housing crash. The result was a freelance gig turned side hustle and eventual transition to full-time agency owner when she established Raven Creative. At Raven Creative she’s proud to lead a team that not only takes business marketing to the next level, but also empowers mom bosses everywhere.
We recently sat down with Raven to discuss what it’s like to balance the roles of mom, wife and entrepreneur along with some of the biggest lessons learned throughout her career.
Q: In 2008, due to the housing mark crash, you were let go from your job in advertising production. Take us back to that year – what went through your mind?
A: So, I got laid off from that company and I really had no idea what to do. I was young. And you know, a couple of weeks later, I ended up getting hired back on with the company, but on a contract basis. That was really the first little inkling that I’m not an employee of one company anymore, I can do this for multiple companies. I eventually went out on my own as a freelancer doing design work. I was young, very green in the industry, but clients were coming from all over. I was eventually hired full-time at another large-scale company in the financial services industry, but I kept the side hustle growing.
Q: As a one-woman-show, when did you decide to turn your side hustle into the creative agency that we know today?
A: In 2011, I had my first baby and obviously took time off after having the baby. It was during that time that I decided ‘this is the right time to leave my full-time role and work for myself.’ I sometimes refer to myself an accidental agency owner. I did not have very concrete goals for what I wanted to do with the company in 2011. The goals were really more personal for me because they were about family, flexibility and financial freedom. It was being able to look at what I wanted to do and say, ‘you know, there is no ceiling necessarily, I can make this as big or as small as I want. I’m in control.’
Q: Moms can often be an untapped talent pool. Did becoming a mother have any influence on your passion for developing Raven Creative?
A: Absolutely – 1,000%. My generation, and many generations, were taught to believe that the ultimate goal for us as women is to be a stay-at-home mom. I especially had a lot of guilt around wanting to be able to be at home with my children and witness their milestones, but also wanting to work and have a full-time job. And that influence is constant throughout my whole career because my perception of what I want and what I think is best for myself and my family has evolved. I’ve grown as a mom and a business owner.
Q: As a mom, wife and business owner, what do you think has been your ultimate superpower?
A: Perseverance for sure. I actually saw a stat recently that shook me – 45% of businesses fail within the first five years. When you’re an entrepreneur, everything feels hard, but I think having matured in the business and having employees that depend on me plays a major factor in my perseverance. It forces me to say ‘nope – tomorrow will be better.’ Just being able to see that light at the end of the tunnel lets me know that whatever challenge we’re facing at any point in time, we’ll get through it.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a mom, especially being tabbed as a business owner as well?
A: Wow – it has to be losing myself and then finding myself. You have a kid and your world changes, and I think that I had a bit of a unique journey because I tried to do so many things. I had a baby, I started a business and I didn’t really know what I wanted. I’ve never liked the label “working mom” because labels make it more challenging for us as moms thinking that we must fit into a certain box. I decided to focus on figuring out what works best for me and remember myself as an individual. Although my family is the most important part of my life, it doesn’t have to be the only important thing in my life.
Q: How has motherhood surprised you so far?
A: Honestly, when I became a mom, I don’t think I really had any idea what I was getting myself into. Ha! I think it’s the love and just watching them grow as little people. I have kids at different stages – I have an 11-year-old, a 9-year-old and a 1-year-old. My 11-year-old is growing up, getting into skin care and a little makeup while my 9-year-old is focused on baseball and finding his crowd. I also get the joy of my 1-year-old because my husband and I know how fast time can fly by. It’s so amazing that I get to see the evolution of their independence and see them grow.
Q: As a wife, mom and business owner, what has been the best piece of advice that you’ve received or perhaps would give to a younger version of yourself?
A: Ok – one of the best pieces of advice that I have ever received is to stay in your lane. It’s difficult to not be all things to all people, especially when you know that you can do it, but sometimes you must let others step in that take it on. A piece of advice that I would give is to never compare what you’re doing to what someone else is doing. Everything that’s done well takes hard work and there’s no such thing as an overnight success.