Casting Director Turned Brand and Website Designer with Liz Martinez-Nelson | #25

August 30, 2022

Casting Director Turned Brand and Website Designer with Liz Martinez-Nelson | #25 Hollywood Casting Director Liz Martinez-Nelson started a family and chose to be a stay at home mom to her daughters. When it came time to return to the workforce, Liz opted to leave the grind of television to find a more flexible option […]

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Liz Martinez-Nelson

Liz Martinez-Nelson, Favorite Things Studio


Casting Director Turned Brand and Website Designer with Liz Martinez-Nelson | #25

Hollywood Casting Director Liz Martinez-Nelson started a family and chose to be a stay at home mom to her daughters. When it came time to return to the workforce, Liz opted to leave the grind of television to find a more flexible option to balance motherhood.  She stumbled upon a Squarespace course online and found a love of building websites and design. Liz now runs a successful brand and website designer business out of Austin called Favorite Things Studio, where she helps female founders bring their brands to life through her designs. Liz’s journey is full of twists, but she built a path that brings her skills to the forefront mixing motherhood with brand design. Meet Liz Martinez-Nelson on the Second Act Success Podcast. 

CONNECT with Liz Martinez-Nelson:

Website – favoritethingsstudio.com

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/favorite.things.studio/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/favoritethingsstudio


Profile of Success

Degrees/Certification: BFA in Theater from Denison University

Career Milestones: Casting Director and Founder of Favorite Things Studio

Personal Status: Married with two children

Current Career Status: Branding and Website Designer at her business Favorite Things Studio

Future Plans: Continue to grow her business 

Advice: “Keep your eye on the prize. Don’t lose sight of why you started and, and the ultimate objective, because there’s so many things to get distracted by. There’s so many places you can go off on a tangent and forget about why you started and, and what your goal is. So eye on the prize.”



01:08 – Intro

02:23 – How her career began after college

02:54 – Getting into Casting

04:46 – Finding her mentor that helped her in the casting world

05:22 – Shows she worked on

05:42 – Having her first child and maternity leave

06:26 – Being a stay at home parent

07:45 – Moving to Austin, Texas

09:24 – Taking a Squarespace course and deciding she wants to be a website designer

10:37 – Having support of her husband

11:22 – Starting the business

12:54 – Finding balance with family

13:57 – Imposter Syndrome

17:32 – Helping businesses grow their brands

18:18 – Her business Favorite Things Studio

22:13 – Growing following on social media

23:05 – Working with females to grow their businesses

24:17 – Importance of branding

25:39 – How to build a website for your business

27:18 – Common theme between her careers

29:30 – Privilege 

31:50 – 5 Fast Qs of the Week

34:00 – Connect with Liz Martinez-Nelson 


Second Act Success Podcast
Season 1 -Episode #25 - Casting Director Turned Brand and Website Designer with Liz Martinez-Nelson
Guest: Liz Martinez-Nelson
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Shannon: Hey friend, think you're ready to start a second act. I created a freebie that will help. It's my Second Act Blueprint with five questions that you should ask yourself before you make this massive decision. To check it out, go to secondactsuccess.co and download the Second Act Blueprint today. Now it's onto the episode.

Are you at a crossroads in your career or in life? Well, don't worry because life's next chapter is waiting. This is the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell.

I'm a television producer, turned boy mom, turned business owner, podcaster, and career coach. If you are looking to start a new career or begin a fresh chapter in life, then get ready to be inspired with stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice and offer steps you can take to help figure out what your true calling in life really is.

It is time to shine. So let's turn the page [00:01:00] and get started.

Welcome to Second Act Success.

today on the podcast. I have brand and website designer, Liz Martinez-Nelson. from Favorite Things Studio. Liz began her career working in casting for TV and film in Los Angeles. She placed actors in roles on some of Hollywood's biggest shows like Vampire Diaries, Hart of Dixie, and more. When Liz began starting a family, she opted to be a stay at home mom. A few years later, she pivoted and now she works with female founders to bring their brands to life. Here is Liz Martinez-Nelson, and her Second Act Success story.

[00:01:40] Shannon Russell: Welcome to the podcast. I'm here with my friend, Liz Martinez Nelson. Hi, Liz.

[00:01:45] Liz Martinez Nelson: Hello.

[00:01:46] Shannon Russell: Welcome. I'm so excited to chat with you.

[00:01:48] Liz Martinez Nelson: You know, I'm excited for this too.

[00:01:50] Shannon Russell: I have been friends with Liz for so many years and she has taken quite a journey. We work together in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles for quite some [00:02:00] time, and I have moved on and she has moved on. So Liz tell me where your story kind of started and then we'll work up to where you are now.

[00:02:08] Liz Martinez Nelson: Like you said, many moons ago in a previous life, I was working in LA in entertainment as well. I was in casting mostly scripted TV stuff, and it was really fun. I loved it.

[00:02:20] Shannon Russell: Talk to me how you kind of found casting.

[00:02:23] Liz Martinez Nelson: Yeah, I studied theater in school, but with no intention of becoming a performer or actor, just, it was purely for fun. I knew that that was not the path for me. Unrelated to my theater degree, I ended up in LA and everybody assumed that I went there to become an actor. I was like, absolutely not, no interest again, it was just for fun. but I did wanna work in theater. My goal at the time was to become an artistic director of a theater and LA is not like a theater town. There were opportunities. So I worked at a couple theaters and that's what led me to casting. I met somebody who was a casting assistant, and I was like, what is that? And everything kind of clicked. I had this [00:03:00] moment where I was like, wait, that's really interesting to me. I feel like I'd be really good at that. And it actually caters to my skillset and I could actually use my degree weird. We were, responsible for hiring all the actors for TV series is mostly what I worked on. So we would get the script. We would break down each of the roles that spoke. Write a little blurb for each character, what we're looking for. That's the breakdown. We release it to all the agents, who then submit their actors that they represent. For the role. And we would go through everybody, people would call us and try to pitch us. This is who should play the role. in addition to that, we also would create our own lists because we're familiar with the talent that's out there and we're paying attention. So we would come up with our own ideas for who should play this role. And then we would bring people into audition for the role. They come in, they read for it. And then we pick, who's fitting this the best. And we present those options to the producers. The fun part is auditioning the actors, but there was all this boring stuff too. There were spreadsheets. I don't, that stuff was not my strong suit. That was

[00:03:55] Shannon Russell: You wanted to be creative and kind of

[00:03:57] Liz Martinez Nelson: Was like, actually a terrible assistant. Can you relate to this at all? [00:04:00] You probably weren't. You were probably really good. I was a terrible assistant, but once I moved up the ranks and once I became the head of the department, that's I was that and have assistant to do the stuff I was really bad at.

[00:04:12] Shannon Russell: What kind of, um, shows did you work on as an assistant? And then talk to me about like being the head of the department.

[00:04:19] Liz Martinez Nelson: I worked in several different offices because. Like actors in the casting world. We're also pretty much freelance. So there would be times when your show would end and well, for me, I would freak out and be like, I'm never working again, who hire stress out. And then three weeks later you hired. And you're like, I had fun during those three weeks when I had,

[00:04:37] Shannon Russell: that was me as a producer. Oh my God. Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:04:41] Liz Martinez Nelson: every time you waste the hiatus and then you get back in a room and you're like, ah, I should have had fun.

[00:04:46] Shannon Russell: yep.

[00:04:46] Liz Martinez Nelson: I worked in several different offices, but the last one that I worked in was for, the woman who ended up being my mentor, Molly Lapada, who was just like an amazing casting director. Her resume is huge. She, hired me as her associate casting director on the last show that I worked [00:05:00] on and she, ended up retiring and basically passing it on to me, which is an incredible opportunity. It's hard to break that barrier from casting associate into casting director. I got extremely lucky. My trajectory was pretty quick and that had a lot to do with luck.

[00:05:16] Shannon Russell: It's all in who, you know, your timing.

[00:05:19] Liz Martinez Nelson: it really is.

[00:05:19] Shannon Russell: Any good shows that we would know that you wanna tell our listeners

[00:05:22] Liz Martinez Nelson: The ones that people know are like Vampire Diaries, 90210 reboot and Hart of Dixie, which were all CW. And those were all kinda like the last few things that I worked on.

[00:05:31] Shannon Russell: So you're the head of the department. You have your first daughter, you're taking a break from casting. Do you think you're going back into casting where was your head at when it comes to what would be next?

[00:05:42] Liz Martinez Nelson: When I had my first daughter, I was like, all right, I'll go on maternity leave. I'll get right back into. And three months after I had her, I was like, no, okay. I'm not ready. I'm not ready. And then from there it became fear. I'm gonna be obsolete. Everybody else is moving on without me. Nobody's gonna wanna hire [00:06:00] me. And then it became, wait a second. I don't want to go back. Maybe like a year and a half in, I was like, I think I'm a stay at home parent. Actually. I think that's what I'm doing here. I'm not just waiting to go back. The farther I got away from it, the less I missed it, honestly, I think my ego missed it for a minute. the part of me that wanted to be able to drop like, oh, I'm a casting director at parties. That's gross, but it's true.

[00:06:22] Shannon Russell: Mm-hmm . Absolutely.

[00:06:23] Liz Martinez Nelson: now.

[00:06:24] Shannon Russell: Yeah. So I know that very well.

[00:06:26] Liz Martinez Nelson: It took me a minute to embrace it. but when I did, I made the decision that I wanted to stay at home with each of my kids. Cause I ended up having two daughters for the first three years of their life. Which ended up being about six years total. So that gave me like a re-entry date into the workforce. I knew that in 2020, that was my goal to re-enter the workforce. The thing is, I didn't know how cuz I knew I wasn't going back to casting and I knew I wanted to do something that gave me the freedom to work during school hours only because I really loved my role as a stay at home parent. I loved being the person that woke up in the morning with them, got them ready, and then I [00:07:00] would use those school hours to do something productive that would help me to contribute financially to our family and then pick them up from school and put it away, you know, not think about it. So that was my goal. It was a blank slate. I got really excited about what could be coming next. I had this feeling that something was coming and that it was gonna be good. And I didn't know what it was. There was this big blank of what it was gonna be, but I felt really excited.

[00:07:23] Shannon Russell: so Many people, I feel like get that feeling and they kind of push it down and ignore it. I like that you were open to whatever was next and whatever that blank was going to turn into. So often we can get locked into, like, you kind of said like that ego, like, this is what I am, this is who I am. I cannot stand that thought because I don't think we are who our jobs are.

[00:07:45] Liz Martinez Nelson: You wanna know something really funny? When I moved to Austin, if people would ask me what I do, I might say, oh, well, I used to be a casting director and the weirdest thing happened. Nobody would ever ask me any follow up questions. I thought that was so [00:08:00] crazy. I loved it. I was. Thank you. That tells me that I was more than my job, and I always knew that, but like, that's nice because there was some element when I was in entertainment of like, well, why do you wanna keep having this conversation with me? Is it because you're enjoying this conversation with me? Or is it because you think that I might be able to help you in some way and that's gross feeling?

[00:08:20] Shannon Russell: It is a gross feeling. Yeah. I feel like we were both at that place where. Family came first, the kids were what made me leave entertainment. It sounds like the kids are what made you leave and you leave. And you're in this place of a void of who am I, if I'm not what I did in the first half of my life. How can I use my skills and recreate myself. It takes some time and it's a lonely process. Were you starting to think about what else you were going to do while you were in LA or did you decide to move first?

[00:08:48] Liz Martinez Nelson: the cogs were already turning in LA. About a year and a half, after I had my daughter, I started brainstorming, what could this be? And it started with those more, [00:09:00] abstract ideas of like, well, what do I want my life to feel? And look like it wasn't about what the job was gonna be or what the work was gonna be. It was more about like, what do I, how do I want it to be structured? So it was more about the life that I wanted to create. I was into the entrepreneur culture. I was Reading books, blogs, I was listening to podcasts, not unlike this one. So this is how it happened. This is how I became a brand and web designer.

[00:09:24] Shannon Russell: Okay.

[00:09:24] Liz Martinez Nelson: A friend of mine asked me if I wanted take this Squarespace design course with her. And I was like, yeah, sure. I'm not doing anything. I, I love an online course. So I took this course and I learned the, the backstage of Squarespace and how to like break it apart and rebuild it, using code, using CSS. I felt like it was very unrelated to anything for me. I was like, okay, now I know how to do this weird thing. 2020 is the year that I wanna get back in the workforce, the pressure's mounting and like so many other elder millennials, I downloaded TikTok and I came across a TikTok from a brand and web designer who was talking about the behind the scenes of her [00:10:00] business. And she's like, Hey, this is how I make, you know, six figures and my brand and web design business. And I go in and I look at all her content and I sort of see the behind the scenes and she's showing her her computer screen and what she does. And it was the same feeling I had when I learned what casting was. I was like, boo, this is for me, click. Everything was like, wait, this is. I would be good at this and I would enjoy it . it aligned so much with the two things I've always been into are theater and arts and crafts. So it's like I did my theater related career and this one sparked that little arts and crafts are in me because I've always had a creative side and I just thought I can do that. So That night, I think I told John my husband, I was like by the way, I'm gonna be a brand and web designer fun. Huh. He was like, okay, I know you will, if that's what you're saying, you're doing, because you're, you're good at the things that you try. And if you're saying you're gonna try it, I know you're gonna go for it. Like just very supportive.

[00:10:53] Shannon Russell: that's so rare. Liz. I have to say like, I was friends with John guys before I was friends with Liz. So I've known him forever [00:11:00] and he's such an amazing guy.

[00:11:01] Liz Martinez Nelson: I think he believed it more than I did and I believed it.

[00:11:04] Shannon Russell: Good.

[00:11:05] Liz Martinez Nelson: I doubted myself more than he did. And by the way, Shannon, if I had known how much work it would take and how many new skills and things I'd have to learn, would I do it again? I don't know. It's a good thing. I did not know.

[00:11:16] Shannon Russell: You were talking about the little nitty gritty details of casting and it's the same when you're building a business, right?

[00:11:22] Liz Martinez Nelson: not know that I was gonna have to become a business lady. I mean, you, I should have known that. It worked out you just learn one thing at a time. The first thing that was in front of me was all right. I have to learn Adobe Illustrator because I have no clue how to use it.

And that's the tool. That was a massive challenge. And I'm so proud of myself that I actually did it. Now I have to figure out how to like book clients. Now I have to figure out how do I market myself? I was like, how I have to learn this now? Oh my God. But it's been so fun. I mean, I've hated it and I've loved it because it's been so hard. But I love, I love learning all these new things and I've got a list like of 10 more things that I need to tackle [00:12:00] to get to where I wanna be. I'm still very much like in the journey I'm on year two,

[00:12:03] Shannon Russell: It'll get done when we get it done. And we're not reporting to anyone. It is what it is and we're in control, which is not something that you and I experienced in our former life, in our first act.

[00:12:14] Liz Martinez Nelson: The vision that I had for this business, even from the beginning was big. And so I had to pace myself and give myself grace that like, no, it's not going to be a fully functioning, successful business in the first week or in the first month or in the first year. It can be what I want it to be. also, I don't need to scale. I don't need to have employees. And I sometimes have to check myself and remind myself that, that was the whole point. That was the whole point

[00:12:39] Shannon Russell: Both of us created this second act around our family and to prioritize our kids. So we have to remind ourselves of that because our type a is like, well, wait, wait, I still wanna do this and I have to make this perfect. So it's such a learning curve.

[00:12:54] Liz Martinez Nelson: so much of that is so relatable. I'm like, no, no, not me. I'm not type a, um, [00:13:00] it's this, uh, urge, like I feel drawn to my work. I feel magnetized by it. So, even if my kids I'll be hanging out with them and if they start to do a little project together, like let's say they go in the art room and start drawing. I'm like, oh, well, and I'll sneak off to the computer and I'll be like, Hey, and then I'm like, wait, I could be sitting there with them. It is it's tricky. It's like, of course that was the whole reason. But now I have this new thing to be excited about and to work in. It's not really a bad thing to want to be working in, these businesses that we've created for ourselves, but you have to monitor it.

[00:13:30] Shannon Russell: My dad always had that saying that, if you love what you do, you're not really working every day. And, I love what I do, both of my businesses. So the boys know that and I'll be sitting there on my computer and Chris, my husband will say something like, oh, you're on your computer again. And the boys will be like, but she's not working. She loves it. And I think that's so funny cuz yes, I'm working, but I do love it.

[00:13:51] Liz Martinez Nelson: Yeah, it's a balance.

[00:13:53] Shannon Russell: it's a balance. Okay. So tell me about that process of making it into a business.

[00:13:57] Liz Martinez Nelson: Once I made the decision, it was about,[00:14:00] creating this new skillset in entrepreneurship we talk a lot about imposter syndrome, but Shannon, like when I tell you I did not have imposter syndrome, I was an actual imposter. Like I was officially an pause or like there was no syndrome. I email everybody that I know. I'm like, Hey, I'm starting this business. I'm gonna be doing brand and web design. If you know anybody who is looking for that, please, feel free to point them in my direction, whatever. that really helped because I did get my first couple of clients that way. And from there, my next couple of projects were referrals from those two people. So I was lucky in that I had work rolling in from the very beginning. It was, a struggle because none of the parts were in place yet. The business parts weren't in place. I was still learning the platforms that I was working on, between Illustrator and Squarespace. So it's were the tools that I used the most. I was still getting more comfortable with coding, because I don't just fill in Squarespace websites. I code them. [00:15:00] There was a lot of like daily little, little challenges that would come up that I'd have to address little fires to put out everywhere.

When I think back on that time, I'm really proud of myself because it was hard and I knew it was hard, but. I was doing it it feels weird to give myself credit, but I really like, if it were my daughter who did this, I would be in awe. Like I'm proud that I got through that really hard part

[00:15:21] Shannon Russell: that you didn't give up.

[00:15:22] Liz Martinez Nelson: Yeah. I think the motivation to, to, to get to the other side of that was stronger than the urge to just give up.

[00:15:28] Shannon Russell: You did it.

[00:15:29] Liz Martinez Nelson: Still doing it.

[00:15:30] Shannon Russell: yeah, you're still doing So how did it feel when you got that first client? That was not someone you knew

[00:15:36] Liz Martinez Nelson: So weird. I do like a one line of day journal and I remember writing it like, oh my gosh, somebody hired me who like doesn't know me and they're paying me money to like, do this thing. It's crazy. Like what a weird feeling, because my business is digital. I don't sell a product. I don't make something and sell it. It's like alchemy. It's like pulling money out of thin air. And that is a, [00:16:00] that is such a cool feeling to me I have a lot of negative money stories from growing up. I was a mess in my early twenties, my bank account was always overdrawn. Even as a casting director, I was never making a ton of money. It was always little chunks throughout the year. So to have this ability to create, it felt like magic, you're gonna pay me money for this thing that I just like touch a computer and, and make things happen.

[00:16:26] Shannon Russell: How amazing is that, that you are doing this, this person can't build their business without what you are giving them.

[00:16:31] Liz Martinez Nelson: right? And that's what you have to remind yourself. That's where the imposter syndrome actually feels like imposter syndrome. There is this moment of like, Ugh, I can't take your money. , no, that feels weird, but it's for sure what I am providing my clients is in most cases, way more money off of what I've given them. Then what they invested. What they've paid me is gonna feel like a drop in the bucket compared to what they're going to. Throughout the course of their business' life with the tools I've created for them. So [00:17:00] that's a good reminder. And as I increase my prices, I have to remind myself if I'm creating the can design for this mixed cocktail beverage, I'm charging, you know, $6,000 for that, they're gonna make so much more money off of his product. That's gonna be purchased based on the design that people see in the little refrigerated section.

[00:17:18] Shannon Russell: Most people don't know how to do that. And you are offering that skill. As an entrepreneur, I know my limitations and I know what I need to spend money on to help the business. You really are offering them a service that is going to benefit them so much.

[00:17:32] Liz Martinez Nelson: And that's a good feeling. I mean, I didn't get into it for this reason. , my why in the beginning was very selfish. I want financial freedom. I wanted to be an example for my kids. I wanted to show them that I could pursue something that I'm passionate about and make money from doing that. But along the way, I got really excited about helping other women start their businesses. I'm a big part of that for a lot of people, people come to me with their first idea and I'm helping them turn it into [00:18:00] a reality. They cannot get eyes on their product or their service without my help. And that is exciting oh my gosh, I've helped establish all of these brands. That's so cool. It makes me feel so good.

[00:18:12] Shannon Russell: You should feel so proud really. Talk to me about the kind of work that you do. So you design websites, you design logos.

[00:18:18] Liz Martinez Nelson: So I work with women, female founders, who are either starting out their businesses or they are, coming into a new era in their business. Maybe it's been a couple of years since they started their services have evolved and they need to have their brand and, and website align better with where they are right now. I consider myself a strategic brand designer. So part of my process is diving into the business everything from like core beliefs and values to, the mission statement and the target audience, everything defined really clearly. The brand voice and the messaging, and look at the competitors, which I usually refer to as [00:19:00] contemporaries, because my belief is that if you are doing something, in a unique way, you don't have competitors. And then once we've established this brand strategy, I use that as a guide for the design. As I'm designing, I'm always going back to these key words, these values, our target audience, and keeping all of this in mind so that once we do have a visual direction and we have all these assets, your logo, your sub marks, your colors, the font pairings, they're all aligned with the mission of the brand and with who you are. So that when your target audience sees it, it like connects so deeply with them that all the other contemporaries fall away. They're not gonna be comparing prices because you have become their first choice of who to work with. And, at the end of it, you come out with this really aligned visual identity. And then we take that and we create a website and same thing. I'm very strategy focused. What's the objective of the website. To make sure that, the [00:20:00] user is having the best experience possible. And of course I incorporate all the assets that I've designed into the website. So it should be pretty I can always help maintain any of the, website or create marketing materials, collateral print design, using the assets that I made. So it's kind of, choose your own adventure for the client.

[00:20:17] Shannon Russell: How many clients can you take on at once? It seems like one client could be taking up your whole day.

[00:20:22] Liz Martinez Nelson: Definitely I've had consistent clients. It's been so great and I owe it to, , Instagram for one, because that's the main marketing platform that I use and then referrals. I've had a pretty consistent flow of clients coming in between those two places.

I love working with service based businesses because it's really about showcasing the value and the transformation that you're providing to the client. And I found that that's a really strong suit for me. I've really found a niche there. I've worked with coaches, I've worked with interior designers and photographers. And I love working with other creators. So that's really fun. I think I unintentionally niche to sort of moms,[00:21:00] female entrepreneurs, of course, and I get a lot of these personalities that are kind of like mine, they're usually like a little bit quirky, smart, driven, um, know what they want. And I think that, that I unintentionally niche to like people I'd be friends with.

[00:21:17] Shannon Russell: Then they are trusting you more because your personality is like theirs and it's mutually beneficial. That's kind of my niche that I work towards for my coaching people like us that are looking to switch from one career to the next, because I can relate and they can relate to me.

[00:21:34] Liz Martinez Nelson: I also say we all have a brand, whether you've been intentional about it or not, it already exists. Is it gonna work for you or not? That's the question.

[00:21:43] Shannon Russell: Exactly. What is the name of your company and how can we find you on Instagram

[00:21:47] Liz Martinez Nelson: It's called Favorite Things Studio little bit of a nod to musical theater and it's brand and web design studio. right now The place to find me is on Instagram, but I'm slowly feeling it like shift. Maybe go check [00:22:00] TikTok. I dunno.

[00:22:02] Shannon Russell: How do you like doing the videos and kind of showing yourself? That's a struggle about being an entrepreneur. Like you might not necessarily want your face to be the face of the brand, but you don't have a choice when it's just, you.

[00:22:13] Liz Martinez Nelson: I was so resistant to getting on video. I did not for one second, think that I would be showing up on Instagram in the way that I am now, but I'm very comfortable. I had this realization like you have to, you have to do it because without that person to person connection, I'm. I don't know a bunch of pictures of logos. I mean, So I fretted over it. But you know, you have to start somewhere you have to show up the first time, if you wanna be able to show up the hundredth time. now I'm, I'm so happy to share and I've connected with so many people now I've made actual, real life friends from showing up on Instagram in the way that I do. That's where a lot of my clients come from.

[00:22:51] Shannon Russell: I love scrolling through your Instagram and seeing everything that you've worked on, all of your work is beautiful. Let's talk about your mission because I've read that your mission is to help [00:23:00] women business owners show up online. Why is that a mission that's so important to you?

[00:23:05] Liz Martinez Nelson: It's become more important to me as the business has evolved because I've become more and more aware of how many women are affected by life coming in and sort of. Changing things for them. Right? I became a mom and suddenly I had to make this decision. Is it gonna be work? Is it gonna be home? Is it gonna be something else? A lot of men don't have to do that. If you want a family, suddenly there's this domino effect that happens, that doesn't happen for men and more and more women are, starting businesses. wanna see us crush it. I wanna see you sell millions of whatever you're selling or actually, you know what? I wanna see you sell the number of things that you wanna sell. That's, that's actually more accurate. I want you to be able to build the business up to your highest standards, the biggest that you can dream it up. That's, that's what I want you to achieve. And so if I can be a part of that, that's the reason, I [00:24:00] genuinely can say that wasn't part of why I started my business, but it became a big part of what makes it so great.

[00:24:07] Shannon Russell: You're helping people and you are serving and that's a Testament to you and your morals and your values as well.

Why is personal branding so important these days?

[00:24:17] Liz Martinez Nelson: If you have a business, you have a brand, it exists. The personality of your business. It's what people perceive of you. It's what they expect of you. It's what they associate you with. So it's already out there. It was enough, five or 10 years ago, just to have a business and have a service that you're offering. But now with so many people starting businesses and with people out there searching on the internet, like you can find a million people who do what you do, but you're gonna be set apart based on your brand. That's what people are gonna be drawn to. And people really do make purchasing decisions based on brand. Even when it comes to big companies, we make purchasing decisions based on brand. Like, why do I buy Dove everything? It does smell really good. But part of that is that I like, I like the message and I feel like it's very women focused and so if we're intentional about our [00:25:00] brand, that's the magic that sets you apart. And that's the magic that connects you with. Target audience and helps you to be able to work with the people you actually wanna work with. You're not gonna be taking every job that you can get and taking every call that somebody asks of you, you're gonna be able to be a little more picky and it's gonna reduce the friction for you in your business. So to me brand is about being super intentional about it and putting in the time and investing the money into something that you're gonna get the most mileage outta

[00:25:27] Shannon Russell: If people are listening and they have an idea for a business or a side hustle, or even just a creative project that they want to start, but the idea of making a website is just so overwhelming, what advice would you give them?

[00:25:39] Liz Martinez Nelson: So if you're starting out and you you've acknowledged that you need a website, there are a lot of different ways you can go about it. DIY that's gonna be the most affordable option. If budget is truly a problem and you do not see the value in investing in hiring somebody, you can go DIY, but the warning is you're probably not gonna come [00:26:00] out on the other end of it with something that's gonna get you as much bang for your buck, but if the objective is, look, I just need somewhere where people can go. I'm starting out. So you go to squarespace.com. You go to showit.com. You sign up for a free account. And all you invest is, for your URL and your hosting. Those website platforms come with built-in templates. However, they are crap. trust me. Okay. You can purchase a template, designers like myself, sell website templates. I recommend that you look for the specific industry that you're in. I like Squarespace. It's the most user friendly, other people love, Show It. Show it is a little bit easier if you don't have coding knowledge to, to work with designwise. And then if you were to place where you acknowledge that investing in this is worth it, hire a designer. We know what we're doing. The end result of hiring a designer is gonna put you like way ahead of the game, you can hire a designer for, you know, a thousand dollars. You can hire a designer for $10,000 and everything in between. Just do your research and make sure [00:27:00] that you're aligned with that designer and that you've seen their work. You like their work. You feel comfortable interacting with them like that way. You really get, everything out of it that you, that you want to.

[00:27:09] Shannon Russell: Oh, this is such great advice. Is there a thread that you can see between the casting world and the brand and website design world?

[00:27:18] Liz Martinez Nelson: Yes. There are a couple themes that have come up for me. Specifically in casting, we would choose three actors for a role to send on to our producers and directors and inevitably, the choice that we were in love with. Would somehow get knocked out. And the choice that was at the bottom would somehow, and it would always be that middle choice every single time. And it wouldn't be as successful as we wanted to be. And then you'd watch the episode and be like, oh, why wasn't it? So, and so that was the right one that inspired me to use in my current business, the one concept method. When I design, a logo suite, instead of sharing three designs, like here are the three logos I made for you pick your favorite. That's putting the onus on [00:28:00] the client to make design choices that. Doesn't make sense. I'm the design expert. So now what I do is I will explore a ton of different options. I'll sketch out a bunch, maybe I'll put someone into illustrator and then one will be calling to me. That's the one that I've fall in love with the one that makes the most sense, the best solution for this brand. And instead of. Putting that in the mix with two others that I really hope you don't pick. I will fully flesh out that brand. So I will create the logo, the sub logo, the marks, the colors, the fonts, everything around this. And I will completely build it out and put it into mockups, real life examples. And that's how I present my work now. So that's something really specific that I can point to, it's crazy that I, I got to do one thing that I felt so connected with that I felt really made sense for my skills and my interests. That thing I wrapped it up. I finished it really. My second act was my stay at home parenting life. So got to do that. Something that I had no idea how much I would love it, got to do that. And now this third thing comes along. that, again, caters to this different set of skills, these different [00:29:00] interests, but gets me as excited. I feel really, really lucky that that's the case,

[00:29:04] Shannon Russell: That's so inspiring Liz, because so many people just stay in their one path the whole time, and maybe aren't fulfilled at all in any aspect. you've gotten to do three acts, if you will, that you love equally. This is what I'm trying to preach with my podcast. And my coaching is that you can be all of these things and you can go back to them at any time. You could say, you know, a movie could come to Austin and you. You could say, I wanna cast it.

[00:29:30] Liz Martinez Nelson: But we also have to talk about privilege because I have to say I've had a lot of privilege and I don't wanna ignore anybody who's listening who feels like, well, that's not an option for me I had less risk involved, you know, going into this. I think that I knew if it didn't work out, I would be okay, because I've got a partner who is making an income that can support us. Not everybody has that.

[00:29:55] Shannon Russell: You're right. Very much a privilege that not everyone has because there's single moms out there that, [00:30:00] don't have that option.

[00:30:01] Liz Martinez Nelson: you're in a job where of course you don't wanna be doing it, but like, what is your,

[00:30:05] Shannon Russell: What I say to some of my clients that are in positions like that is that they can work on it on the side, which I know as a working mom, it's so impossible to find any extra minutes in the day, let alone a couple of extra hours to yourself, but the internet is so amazing to just Google different ideas to research the free podcast that you can listen to or blogs that you can read, or if you really needed to work, and stay in your job, you could have, worked on maybe a square space course at night or on weekends

[00:30:37] Liz Martinez Nelson: And I did.

[00:30:37] Shannon Russell: break.


[00:30:38] Liz Martinez Nelson: I treated parenting as a job

[00:30:41] Shannon Russell: It is a job

[00:30:42] Liz Martinez Nelson: So when I was doing my courses and everything, it was after bedtime, that's when I was working in it. But at the same time, I want people to hear the message, you can do this, but I can't ignore the fact that I'm coming from a place where that wasn't as scary. So

[00:30:56] Shannon Russell: Sometimes it's the fire under us that make [00:31:00] us, actually pull through and accomplish the thing. I was listening to Allison J Prince's podcast this morning, she had a guest on who was a single mom of three kids. She had $0 to her name and she decided she needed to make money. And she wanted to open up a t-shirt business she got a really cheap t-shirt printing machine and she and her high school daughter were making t-shirts and trying to sell them. And now she's a multimillion dollar business owner. She was just so desperate to figure this need out for her family, it forced her to make it happen. And Not that everyone can do that, but there's different, I guess. Levels of pressure you can put on yourself. As women, we can do so much and we can feel that pressure and really turn it into something, when we're held under the gun like that, I

[00:31:49] Liz Martinez Nelson: Yeah.

[00:31:50] Shannon: Alright. It's time for our Five Fast Qs of the Week. Here we go!

[00:31:56] Shannon Russell: name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught you.

[00:31:59] Liz Martinez Nelson: [00:32:00] Perspective because in the moment everything always feels like all important and life and death. And then when you look back on it, it just doesn't. So I'm living this third chapter, trying to remember that and keep in mind that when disaster strikes, it's probably something that I will look back on in five years and be like, eh, so many fewer tears shed this time around

[00:32:23] Shannon Russell: Good. So would you recommend taking a leap into a big life change to your best friend?

[00:32:27] Liz Martinez Nelson: I'm so glad I get to answer this because I think it's controversial. I think I'm the first person to say no. Not if my best friend was not suited for it, not if it's not something that she felt really excited about. I have a couple people who I consider my best friends and I can tell you one of them, no, she should stay right where she she's fine. She loves her corporate job. She does not understand anything about what I'm talking about we are in two different worlds. So, no, I only recommend it. If it's something that sparks joy in you and that you feel like excited by and if you have the personality for it, because I don't think that it's for everybody just [00:33:00] like stay at home. Parenting is not for everybody, just because I love it. And it's, what makes me light up? It's okay. That my other friend was not for her. And she couldn't wait to get back to the office, you know? So I don't think entrepreneurship is for everybody. I would not recommend it to everybody.

[00:33:15] Shannon Russell: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who's trying to start a second act today,

[00:33:20] Liz Martinez Nelson: I would say, keep your eye on the prize. Don't lose sight of why you started and, and the ultimate objective, because there's so many things to get distracted by. There's so many places you can go off on a tangent and forget about why you started and, and what your goal is. So eye on the prize,

[00:33:38] Shannon Russell: what does the next chapter look like for you, Liz?

[00:33:41] Liz Martinez Nelson: I think that it's open because, I really like where I am right now in my business working one on one with clients, I'm still in a place where I'm really thriving as like a one-on-one designer. I'm not far along in this chapter to know what the next one holds

[00:33:57] Shannon Russell: Fair. I love that. So where can our audience [00:34:00] connect with you?

[00:34:00] Liz Martinez Nelson: The best place to find me is Instagram. If you want to kind of get a sense of my vibe and, and who I am, and then the next step would be going to my website, because I'm a big believer that social media is a marketing department. It's a great way to kind of get visibility. But if you're thinking about working with me, go to the website, because that's where I really outline the offer and the benefits and the transformation and everything. My Instagram handle is @favorite.things.studio, and the website is favoritethingsstudio.com.

[00:34:29] Shannon Russell: Thank you so much, Liz. This was so great to chat with you and catch up and hear how your business is just growing and evolving. And if anyone at home is looking for branding advice or website design, you can go to Liz's website, which is favorite things, studio.com.

And thank you again, Liz, for all of your advice that you shared today,

[00:34:50] Liz Martinez Nelson: this was so much fun. It's been really good catching up.

[00:34:52] Shannon: Liz certainly has a lot to be proud of. She built a business that fits her current lifestyle and she found fulfillment, [00:35:00] helping other women build brands to grow their businesses. My takeaway is that Liz was self-aware enough to recognize that feeling that she got when she started learning how to build her first Squarespace site. She loved putting the pieces together and creating a design. When she realized that this was the same feeling she had previously had Working in casting, placing actors in roles. Liz quickly realized that she was onto a new career opportunity utilizing her skillset. We should all try to keep this in mind and be ready for when that feeling of excitement hits us. You never know when inspiration will strike. I'll see you next time. My friend.

Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success. To view show notes from this episode, visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast. So you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again [00:36:00] for listening. I am Shannon Russell, and this is Second Act Success.



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