Canva Changed My Life – Here’s How…
Here is a little story about how Canva changed my life. Before I get to that, I have a few other people that deserve a mention for assisting me on my Canva journey…
My background is media, new media and radio. I started building websites in the mid-nineties and launched a website forum, soyouvebeendumped.com in 2000 (ready to reboot it for its 20th anniversary).
Back in 2010, I began working with Gary Ennis of NSdesign. One day, not long into the job, Gary made an off the cuff remark along the lines of, “Thea you could be doing these workshops”.
The workshops were for Business Gateway and were all about creating effective websites, basic SEO and trading online.
Honestly, until that fateful day, I’d never once considered being a trainer. In fact, though I had been comfortable speaking to thousands on the radio, the idea of standing in front of ten or fifteen people scared the life out of me.
But that random remark stuck with me so I went to see Gary deliver a workshop in Clydebank. You know what? After it, I thought “he is right I could do that”.
And with that, a brand new career path was born. Thanks Gary!
Guy Canva’s Chief Evangelist
Looking back, I think the first person I ever saw talking (tweeting) about Canva was Guy Kawasaki who became Canva’s chief evangelist in April 2014.
I had signed up for Canva a few months before, on 19 February 2014. I started to mention Canva in my various Business Gateway workshops, telling people how they could make website elements using it.
Back then I was also a subscriber of PicMonkey (at $4.99/month), and I would use Canva for free, periodically, too. In those days, I felt like Canva was a bit harder to use – I mean I simply struggled to wrap my head around it. I could make the designs from their templates easily enough, but I struggled with what to do with them once created…(more on that in a minute…) So back then I pretty much stuck to Picmonkey. However, in my workshops, at the time, I did recommend both websites as places to make elements for people’s websites and social media.
Meeting Ms Melanie Perkins
In July of 2014, I happened to be back (home) in California and learned that there was a Blogging convention going on in my city, San Jose. It was a two day conference for women called BlogHer – and as I’d been blogging for around ten years, I decided to attend.
On arrival I clocked one of the exhibitor stands was, none other than, Canva. Two of its founders, Cliff and Melanine, were manning the stand.
Me being me, I walked up and introduced myself to Mel and Cliff, and said that I loved Canva and that I promoted it in my workshops back in Scotland. I also may have let it slip to Mel and Cliff that I liked Canva but I struggled a bit with the software and often found myself opting for PicMonkey in a pinch. (I know right? ‘Better go back and read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” again, Thea…)
I was just being my overly-honest self, and didn’t intend to be rude. As super nice as she seems, Melanie took my feedback in stride, and proceeded to walk me over to her laptop. She had me create a design, which I did easily, whilst she silently watched me.
Seriously though, as you can see it was a fairly innocuous meeting, on both our parts. I am sure that neither of them remember meeting me, and to be honest, though they were both lovely people, I didn’t give Canva or them much of a thought for a while.
Little did I know that this lovely couple, and the software they co-created, would change my life, immeasurably,…for the better.
Getting More Creative With Canva
Upon my return UK, and and armed with the newfound knowledge of Canva, I started to use it more and more. I continued to get more adept with it and was able to give quick examples in my various Business Gateway workshops.
Additionally, for marketing my own business, I’d use it for website elements, my Twitter tweets, Facebook posts and even Google Plus (remember that ole chestnut?)
Creating Killer Graphics is Born
In November of 2016 the always innovative Claire Duncan (pictured above) from Business Gateway Ayrshire called the lovely, aforementioned Gary, asking if he fancied doing a Canva workshop. At the time Gary, was too busy, and didn’t really see it as a full workshop. So as second best, Claire rang me – asking if I wanted to do one.
So do it, we did. Our very first FREE workshop was the not-so-catchy titled, “Creating Killer Graphics to Market Your Business Offline & On” – where we featured both Canva and Picmonkey.
After the first workshop though, we quickly realised it was way too much to cover, in just three hours, so we dumped Picmonkey. (Sorry, little monkey). At the time, that decision really was primarily due to the fact that Canva was Free and PicMonkey wasn’t.
“Scotland’s First Canva Trainer”
What started with that one workshop in Ayrshire grew to Lanarkshire (thanks Tim Dunsmuir!) Then Renfrewshire and slowly has spread to other regions across the country from the Borders to the Highlands!
Every month I get paid to do what I love – travel around Scotland and train Scottish businesses how to use Canva to market their businesses offline and on. What could be better?
Around November 2018, fitting their criteria of empowering others in Canva love, I became a Canva Certified Creative. – the second in Scotland. The day I received my Canva swag box in California was one of the best days of 2018 (and one of the best in my life!)
I was so happy and proud as I was showing my dad my box of goodies, and he was so happy for me and proud of me…Then, three days later, he died.
I Love Making Money While I Sleep
My dad would be delighted to hear of my Canva travels across Scotland. Prior to his passing, we had started to create a brand together, as a little side hustle, called Ralph Says Things. We made tshirts, mugs and merch out of some of his sayings – to make some extra money for him in his retirement.
Growing up, my father tried to drill into me that passive income is the best kind of income.
Here too Canva plays a starring role. I still design t-shirts, stickers, mugs, hoodies, bags, books and more – all using Canva.
So essentially what that means is, that my “day job” (as a trainer) and my “side hustle” are all about Canva.
That, my friends, is how Canva changed my life.
So now it’s a little funny for me to think back to those two days meeting two of its founders. None of us knew at the time where the journey would take us…
Canva is now a billion dollar Unicorn company, which continues to empower anyone anywhere in the world to design graphics for FREE.
Here in Glasgow, I am happy to help by empowering Scottish businesses on how to use it to market their own businesses.
Suffice it to say, I am forever grateful to Cliff, Melanie, Cameron and all at Canva. You have changed, and continue to change, my life in ways I’ve not even realised just yet.
Thanks again to Claire and Gary too. None of this would be possible with you two, too!