Today we’d like to introduce you to Collette Portis.
Collette, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My journey began 28 years ago before we had computers in our home, public internet, and pictures on computers. While I was in the 6th grade I attended a computer camp during spring break. While attending the week-long camp I learned to use the numbers and letters to create and animate a man who would walk from the left to the right side of the screen. It was at that point that I was convinced that I would design for the rest of my life. I was never without a pencil and paper to ensure that no matter where I ended up I had the tools that I needed to draw and create at any time. I began creating logos, newsletters, letterhead, etc. for churches and small businesses because of my love for the craft.
At 15, while working for a federal government agency, I asked if I could create a website for the department, without hesitation, my boss said yes and so I did. The restrictions and guidelines that I had to follow to create the site helped me understand that there must be uniformity and that what is communicated and how its communicated is extremely important. This set me on the path to branding other companies and organizations. I then found myself design book covers, t-shirts, wedding invitations, and anything else. After praying about the gift, God helped me understand that it was connected to my purpose and I had to work to turn it into a business.
Unfortunately, the fear paralyzed me for 15 years. Finally, after working in many arenas and assisting many businesses and organizations with growth and sustainability I decided to go back to school to earn my Masters, and so I did. After which, I was, like many others, unable to obtain employment. It was then that God showed me that I had ignored my purpose as a result of the fear. At that point, I was left with no choice but to start my business. April 1, 2013, I made the decision to be obedient. As a result, I ended that day with 7 clients who just so happen to call and ask for me to design for them.
About a year into the business, I came to realize that I didn’t have much work to show new clients because the businesses that I created for in earlier years were all closed. It made me realize that it wasn’t enough to design for a client, but I had to be proactive about helping my work to live and grow. So, I went back to God and asked, “how do I do that?” The answer I received was to do for my clients what I had done for my employers for the 15 years that I was not designing. I understood then that my work during those times was assisting businesses in developing the systems, tools, and teams needed to grow and become sustainable. It was at that time that I began the consulting side of Destined Designs.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs on both my mother and father’s side of the family. As a result, I understood what the life was like to a certain extent.
Although entrepreneurship was embedded in my family culture I had a front row seat to the plight of the self-employed. My family built businesses that generated lots of capital, but there were 2 things missing; the understanding that a business requires systems, leverage, and timing, and the understanding of how to accumulate wealth.
As I grew older, I witnessed my family members become ill or pass away and so did their businesses. I realized that I knew how to make money, but if I wanted to be successful I had to include lots of self-development, find the right mentors, and NEVER give up. There were ups and downs. There were days and times that I didn’t know how I would pay the bills or have gas to get to the next meeting. The hardest part of all was the realization that I had to unlearn and relearn because much of what I understood served me well as an employee, but would be to my detriment as a business owner. Entrenching myself in business meant that I had to sever some relationships and build new relationships the right way. It meant being ridiculed by family and friends and constantly being told that I should just get a job.
Nevertheless, I understood that time and financial freedom doesn’t come from being an employee. If I wanted to change my life and my son’s life forever I had to chart my own course and others would not understand. I had to be ok with that. My passion and drive stem from the desire to assist others with moving from the dread of the 9 to 5 to a life of freedom and purpose as a result of offering the world the purpose within them.
Please tell us about Destined Designs.
Destined Designs is a branding and consulting firm. We change the lives of our clients in 45-minute segments by helping them control their time, develop the systems and tools necessary to improve production and build teams who understand their core values and support their company mission. We help entrepreneurs decrease their workload while increasing their profits. We are known for developing entrepreneurs who are healthy givers who through their purpose changes the lives of their families, communities, and team members.
I am most proud of our ability to build a company culture that is dedicated to excellence, collaboration, and the delivery of products and services that make an impact in the lives of our clients. I believe what sets us apart is our unwillingness to work with those who are not willing to actively improve the lives of others. Our consulting clients understand that working with Destined Designs means having an annual mentorship program, supporting a cause by committing to raising funds for that cause, volunteering their time, and sitting on the board of an organization with shared beliefs, and finally that collaboration makes all of us better so we actively work to build community partnerships.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is that of my 3rd birthday party. I remember sitting on a picnic table that was situated next to a large oak tree. I sat there on the table with my head leaned to the left observing all that was going on. At the same time, I’m thinking, “I am different than them.” It’s my favorite memory because I was only 3 years old, but could understand that I possessed something different than the rest. I also believe it was my first recollection of my inability to live this life outside of the purpose that was placed in me before I was born. At the same time, I believe I was fully aware that God was with me and would never leave me.
Max Sejour Photography