I'm Really Doing This - Erica Taylor

Guest Blogger: Erica Taylor

Erica Taylor is a Communications Coordinator at the New Orleans Convention and Visitor's Bureau and the co-founder of Dirty South Iron

Being an entrepreneur was never in my blood. The idea of owning my own business, leading a staff, MAKING BIG DECISIONS?! Woah. None of that falls under the “things that interest me” category. But here I am, 26 and in the process of starting my own business.

It turns out, being an entrepreneur is easy! Just kidding. It’s hard and terrifying and gives me outrageous anxiety, but at the same time, it’s an incredible, rewarding, empowering experience. It’s been quite the adventure. One of the many things I’ve learned is you never know who you know – and how they may be able to help you. People want to collaborate and are eager to support small, local businesses.

I’m a communicator by trade but as a business owner I’m also an accountant, graphic designer, photographer, video producer, content creator, community manager, marketing director… but thankfully I’m not alone. I have a fantastic business partner and fiancé, Jose, to split the work with.

Jose and I started Dirty South Iron as a passion project. Jose has always been an avid lifter and over the past few years, I’ve slowly joined the cult of SQUAT-BENCH-DEADLIFT. We have both struggled because there are very few gyms in the area that really support our training style, so we decided to take the DIY approach. Starting with building our own equipment (like sandbags and chains) for at-home workouts and progressing to our own private training facility (a.k.a. a storage unit) with a few pieces of real equipment. We haven’t stopped running into roadblocks since day one, but we also haven’t stopped striving. We don’t have a location, we have minimal equipment, but until we find the right fit, we’re building up our brand and showing the world what the Dirty South Iron lifestyle means.

Since having custom products made is very pricey – unless you’re ordering very large quantities – we decided to keep up our DIY approach – and keep costs down for our customers – by printing our own merchandise. The first attempt was block printing and, while that produced some fun results, we quickly found that screen printing gives more consistency and permanence.

This seemingly endless project has inspired me to seek even more freelance work, like writing and video production. Even though I never saw myself as an entrepreneur or freelancer, it’s a lifestyle I’m growing to enjoy. Finding the right balance between my full-time work, passion projects, side work and personal time is the biggest challenge – especially since my business partner is also my fiancé and roommate.

Work is life and life is work as an entrepreneur. If you want to be the successful – with a business or in strength sports – you have to love the process.