December 31, 2011

business, Inspiration, Me


If knew then what I know now, where would I be?

Just take a minute and only a minute to ponder this question. If you spend longer than that you will take for granted the wonderful things you’ve done up until this point.  Thirty more seconds into your wonder, you will then believe that all the things you would have done, are no longer possible.

Seven years ago, in the minute I took to answer the aforementioned question, I felt that my dreams of being a successful interior designer or architect were just that. Dreams.  My thoughts took me way back to my senior year in high school.  In a conversation with my Grandfather, an architect, who hovered over me as I declared my major at University of Georgia in the fall of 1997  he passionately explained, “Everyone needs a money manager. Why be an architect? You will always be under-appreciated and underpaid.”

I was supposed to work in the family’s real estate business, a 25-year old empire he and my grandmother built on his salary and her schoolteacher’s pay. Who knew that five years later after that discussion, both of them would be dead and the company dissolved? Needless to say he scoffed when I defiantly entered the university as a pre-journalism major. Unfortunately, he wasn’t around to see that I did in fact graduate with a degree in Finance and Real Estate. Even after his death, I always did what he told me to do.


Your mind can take you a lot of places in just one minute, can’t it?

So getting back to the promise, here’s what I want from you…

Do not leave this Earth without at least pursuing the dream inside of you. So what if life took you on a detour? As long as you have breath in your body, you have a chance. Can I be honest with you? I work my ass off everyday. I didn’t work this hard in my corporate jobs and trust me, those were pretty stressful. I’m doing what I love and my past work experience has helped me to be the businesswoman that I am today. Before I transitioned into full time work as a designer, I considered my full-time accounting job to be a source of income to fuel my design business. I gave 100% at my job, but had other plans.

I resigned in 2008 after having my third child and focused completely on Erika Ward Interiors six weeks after his birth. I then started this blog in 2009 and had no idea that I would be also reigniting my passion for writing. My short-lived pre-journalism dream in college became a reality and another source of income for my family. Look at God! He’s awesome. You know I couldn’t write this post without giving him the praise! *church waving*

Now that I know you are excited about this message, and it isn’t by happenstance that you are here, I want you to remember this:


Educate yourself. Take classes. Conduct informational interviews. Capitalize on your strengths. Believe in yourself. Stop spending so much time reading what others are doing, and be a doer yourself. Remember your path may be different that someone else…and that’s a wonderful thing!! Your unique perspective makes your testimony richer.  Stop being a hater and become a congratulate-er! And if others are hating on you, don’t spend time thinking about them. They are only distractions on your pathway to success.

In 2012, I want you to soar my friends! It’s not always easy, but it is ALWAYS worth it. Your obstacles help you to grow your faith muscles. A little resistance will make you stronger if you always push back. Persevere. Others are watching you, too. But they aren’t waiting for you to fail, they want you to succeed so they know that it’s possible.

Be hopeful while knowing that you are also someone’s hope.

That’s about it for now. I commend you if you are still reading with only one photo in this post. It goes to show just how serious you are about pursuing your passion.

Happy New Year Friends! Always wishing you the best.

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About Erika Ward

Multi-passionate entrepreneur, spokesperson, speaker, and philanthropist, Erika Hollinshead Ward worked in the design-build industry as an accountant before turning her passion for interior design into a successful business. Named by Atlanta Tribune as having one of the top design firms for two consecutive years, Erika is a highly sought after expert whose work has appeared in several media outlets such as House Beautiful Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Fox 5 (Atlanta Affiliate), Huffington Post, and many others. Her influential voice in the home improvement sector has lead to marketing collaborations with leading home and lifestyle brands including Home Depot, S.C. Johnson, and Home Decorators Collection. Erika holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Georgia and resides in Atlanta with her husband and five children. With her sharp business acumen and design prowess, you can rest assured that she is one to watch as a voice for working mothers, women entrepreneurs, and interior design enthusiasts.

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17 Responses to “IN 2012, PROMISE ME…”

  1. BossyGirl Says:

    This is soooo on point. I stopped living everyone else’s dreams in 2010 and started to do what was good for me! It’s something about that third child that changes how you see the world! :-)


  2. dayka Says:

    love this, my friend. this is definitely the road less traveled, but it’s a wonderful thing to know–sink, swim or soar–you did it your way. i’m so excited about the new year, still floating on everything wonderful that happened for both of us in 2011. congratulations on all of your success, your grandparents would be proud! :)


    • Erika Ward Says:

      So glad to have both a friend and business partner in you. I, too cannot stop thinking about how our dream of Room Service Atlanta blossomed the way it did. It was almost overnight!! Looking forward to pressing on in that venture and also supporting your personal endeavors as well.

      I think about my grandparents everyday and hold fast to all they taught me.


  3. Nycki S Says:

    Thanks! This was very inspirational. Although my I love my career, I recently started persuing some of my other childhood dreams. It is hard work, but I love it!


  4. MichelleJenningsWiebe Says:

    Thanks for your openness and transparency! I’m so
    glad you have followed your dream! You are an amazing person, in all areas!
    To HIm be the glory!!!!
    Happy 2012, friend!


  5. Tamara Says:

    Great post Erika! I’m believing to see great things in 2012 for me and Jem of the South. No more focusing on what others are doing, but making sure I stay on task remembering why I started Jem of the South. Thanks for being such a great inspiration! God Bless for an EPIC 2012! :-)


  6. Kisha Says:

    This is SO inspiring and encouraging! In the past, I’ve not done or tried to acheive a goal based on advice from others(family)..”There’s no real money in that”. I eventually fell into the mode of “I’m too old now. To start or I just need to focus on raising my children”. Although, sad to say now my interest have now moved passed it. However, there are things now I’ve been contemplating getting started, but I’ve allowed the fear of failure keep me at bay. I’ve been praying on it and I’m feeling a bit more at ease about it. The major point is to try..put in your best efford and to at least attempt to pursue your dream. Never allow someone else’s thought on YOUR dream to detour you from pursuing it. Thanks Erika for this boost. Have a blessed new year.


  7. Denetra Says:

    Wow!!! This post is great. I really need to print it so I can reread when needed. Thanks Erika and happy new year to you.


  8. Debbie at Vintage Scout Says:

    What a great post to send out 2011. My first degree was in accounting from UGA, many moons ago. After raising two kids and being a military spouse for 20 years, I went back to school. Vintage Scout Interiors is my dream coming true. True words in that first degree comes in handy. And like you, my grandmother continues to be a real inspiration to me, and so thankful for my sister, who is my biggest cheerleader. Congrats on your continued success, Erika. My montra is “Good things happen to good people” and you prove that. Happy New Year to you all!


  9. Amanda Eck Says:

    Erika! What a wonderful post!! Thank you for sharing your story. I have to admit there are days I question God if im doing what im suppose to be doing! I do know that the passion for design burns so strong in me that I can’t see myself doing anything else but I struggle many days because it seems im going nowhere-the clients aren’t coming fast enough or the designs I do aren’t good enough, or when will I ever get published? WILL I ever get published? Am I even good enough to get published? The doubts go on and on….. so thanks for the pep talk to just keep moving forward! Have a Happy New Year!


  10. unique home Says:

    Hi Erika,
    First of all thanks a lot for such an inspirational and wonderful post. Through your story every woman like us get much of courage to keep herself forward. Thanks for sharing your story and realize me that, I am also the hope for very someone special of mine.


  11. KristenB Says:

    I am so blessed to see your journey unfolding before my eyes. Thank you for sharing.


  12. JoAna Says:

    Hi Erica, I am so blessed to have stumbled upon this message. I am a Houzz community member and stumbled upon your website while reading an article today. Good messages may not come when I want them, but they are always right on time. It’s amazing how detours works. Thanks!


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