To kick off our new Digital Heroines series in partnership with Women in Digital, we’re interviewing Yasmine Robles. She’s the founder and lead creative at Robles Designs, where she provides “web design and branding for entrepreneurs that are hell-bent on taking over.” Started in 2010, she dove in full-force in April 2012. She has designed across industries and mediums: t-shirt designs for a local food truck, trade show brochures for an architecture firm, and websites for organizations ranging from a therapy center to a matchmaking company to a nonprofit supporting homeless veterans – and everything in between. This versatility is part of why Yasmine is a true Digital Heroine.
How did you end up in digital?
I studied industrial and product design in college before I got a junior designer job at a sign shop. They needed a new website, so they asked me to tackle that as a side project to work with the developer to make everything on-brand. That got me interested in developing, so I took one beginners’ course, charged my first clients way too little, and got things started freelancing and taking on digital projects.
What do you wish you’d known starting out?
Just start and stop procrastinating!
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I remember my high school art teacher saying, “isn’t it funny that the harder I work, the luckier I get?” That really resonates with me because it’s not about luck, it’s not about innate talent – it’s about working hard, getting feedback, then producing better work.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing women today?
A lot of self-doubt. We do face prejudice against us because we’re women, but we also let ourselves down by second guessing ourselves and not pushing through or creating that self-confidence that we need in order to grow.
How do you think we can overcome that challenge?
There’s two things I do: I ask myself, “what’s the worst that could happen?” and make a list. When I was starting my business, I wrote that maybe I’d move back with my mom if all the wrong things happened – but if that’s the worst thing, well, my mom loves my kids and cooks all my favorite foods and that’s fine with me. It puts it in perspective. The other thing I do when I’m feeling those self-doubt jitters, especially right before a meeting with a client, is force this attitude of “go for it anyway” and keep that in my mind. You don’t control the outcome, but you can control how you present yourself. Stop second guessing yourself. Jump all in and wait for the results.
What’s your latest side hustle or passion project?
Right now my focus is on the business, but I do have a fun side project helping my daughter create stickers and sell them. I’m teaching her the design phases of sketching things out and prototyping. And we’re currently remodeling our house which is a project in itself. I think I got so used to having a side project that sometimes I feel like I need to do something else that’s not related to my business…you just get that itch. I’m thinking about diving back into painting, drawing, anything that’s not exactly design-related but still in the art field.
Tell me about a time when you experienced failure and what you learned from that.
During my first attempt at my business, I was still working a 9 to 5 – or more like a 7 to 7 – and between the 10-hour day in corporate and trying to launch my business, I burnt myself out. I considered it a failure, but I also learned to tune into myself. I was trying to do it all – be supermom, build a business, be all-in at work – and I was only getting 3 hours of sleep per night. I realized these were the symptoms of a breakdown, so I asked myself, “what can I let go, and who can support me?” Asking for support was a really good lesson. It was hard to learn, but now when I start feeling like I need to be perfect with everything, I can ask for help, let some things go, or remind myself that it’s okay that some things may not get done.
How do you find balance while making your passion into your business?
I stick with the why – why did I choose to create my business? My priority is my kids, and my business means I can control my schedule and have the flexibility to be able to work in the evening and do something with them during the day, or vice versa. That’s my why, and I always come back to that. My kids won’t remember a clean, tidy house, but they’ll remember that I went to their concert at school or could stay home with them when they were sick. You have to know your why and then not sweat any of the small stuff that might affect it.
The nationwide theme of June’s Women in Digital meetups is email marketing. What’s your #1 tip for creating emails your audience wants to read? What makes an email stand out to you?
Know your target market better than they know themselves. You’ll know exactly the kind of content they want and they’ll think you’re reading their mind. The emails I typically click into also have tongue-in-cheek subject lines or are just funny. Usually this is the Skimm and a few retailers every so often!
Why do you love digital?
It evolves so quickly, and I love that. It’s also accessible and can appeal to everyone. Even my daughter has a Pinterest account, and she finds inspiration there and immerses herself in the fashion world without needing to fly out to Paris. If you have a phone or a laptop, the world is at your fingertips. And I can have a hand in manipulating the digital world to support other organizations. That is extremely valuable to me.
Interview edited for clarity and length.
One of Hero’s values is diversity & inclusion, especially for women in tech. We’re proud to be a partner of Women in Digital, an organization focused on the advancement and growth of women in digital creative fields by uniting them together.
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