Please welcome today’s guest editor, fellow interior designer and friend, Lori May of Lori May Interiors. I’ve invited her to share valuable insights on how she followed her passion into a new career. Like many of us, Lori couldn’t ignore the inner voice prompting her to take the first steps outside of her comfort zone. Ironically, the day she did was the same day we met…

When I decided to go back to work almost 2 years ago, I knew no one like me. I had been at home with my two young children for several years and while taking care of them and all the things that came along with being a stay at home mom was incredibly rewarding, I had this nagging feeling that I was missing something. At first, I thought something was wrong with me. Why wasn’t just being mom enough? It seemed to be enough for most everyone I knew. Women that worked outside the home were foreigners to me, but at the same time the women I knew that stayed home with their children were becoming more foreign to me each day.

I had built incredible friendships with women who were like me. They stayed home with their children and ran the household. Many of them, like me, had husbands who traveled for work and were gone for long stretches at a time. These women were my support group. But, as I started to talk about going back to work, we had less and less to talk about. This was a painful and lonely time for me. I started to realize that I needed to create a new support group of people who would lift me up in my new role as mom, entrepreneur and business owner. But how?

We are incredibly fortunate here in the Atlanta area to have a vibrant interior design industry and many of these talented people blog about their projects and businesses. Before I started my blog, I was a reader like many of you. I knew that I wanted to start a blog, so I decided to attend a blogging conference in downtown Atlanta. What would it hurt I thought? No, I didn’t have a blog yet, but what a great conversation starter! I went to this conference with my homemade business cards and spoke to as many people as I could in a matter of two days. It was amazing. I felt invigorated, motivated and full of life. I also met several people that would become vitally important to me as my business grew. Two years later, I am still in contact with many of these women and have developed wonderful friendships that mean the world to me. We meet for lunch and discuss our projects. Many of us have worked on projects together. When I leave these women, I feel the same as I did after that first blogging conference. I’m refreshed and renewed and ready to face the next challenge.

As many of you know, it’s often difficult to separate your business and your family life. Many of these women are also mothers. Talking to them has helped me transition from stay at home mom to full time business owner. We all have difficult days (or weeks), but knowing that there is someone that understands what it feels like to go from helping to prepare a science project with a 6 year old to making a whole house renovation presentation within the same day, can make your life a bit more sane.

If you are in need of support in your life (and who isn’t?) please put yourself out there. Was it easy for me to show up at that conference knowing no one? Was it easy to strike up conversation with people I had never met? Of course not. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

We only have this one life. We are incredibly talented women with so much to offer to both our families and our passions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who can help you. You might be surprised at how rewarding those relationships can become. Don’t let an opportunity pass you by. You are so worth it!




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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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  1. dayka Says:

    Loved meeting you @ Lavish, Lori! So happy you honored the calling of your soul and had the courage to walk through that lonely place to get to where you are today…couldn’t image not having you “in the group”. :)



  2. Joann Kandrac Says:

    Great post Lori! I know that you have inspired other women today. We are very fortunate to have such great support from other designers in Atlanta. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it!!


  3. Amanda Eck Says:

    Well said Lori! I am so honored that God put you in my life! It is so important to surround yourself with other like-mined people in this business and we all need help and encouragement as we strive to be both mothers and entrepreneurs.

    Erika- what a great series!!! Looking forward to reading more!


  4. Niki Says:

    I still remember when we first met at Taqueria del Sol Lori!! I immediately knew you would be a great addition to the blogging world. I look up to you in so many ways, and I’m glad to call you friend!


  5. nikki Says:

    Great way to step out on a limb Lori. And look how far you’ve come? A great tale about following your inner voice and taking a chance. Great to get to know you lady.


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