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A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Lao Tzu

TODAY IS LAUNCH DAY!

I’m Charlene Li, an accountant turned entrepreneur and now… newly-minted BLOGGER.

I’ve already been mentoring business students and creative entrepreneurs for years now, but I’ve always been a relatively low-key, 1-on-1 kinda gal. I’ve never put myself out on the internet, so this is exciting yet scary for me at the same time! 😰

The Motivation behind Crazy Cute Co.

When I first abandoned the 9-5 life, I left behind a six-figure salary. I didn’t tell people about it for a whole year, fearing how they would judge me! 😱 It was a scary and emotional, yet exciting time. It wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows though.

Once people found out I had gone rogue from a “solid” accounting career, many of them looked down on me with skepticism and condescension, questioning my “crazy” life choices. They thought the idea of doing something I loved for a living was “cute”, but not as sustainable as having a “real job” in the corporate world.

 My WHY:  I started this blog to share the REAL highs and lows of my journey out of the corporate world, and to empower entrepreneurs to finally understand the numbers and experience business success.

My journey is ongoing, but I hope it’ll inspire others to pursue their passions and chase their dreams because LIFE IS SHORT. I’ve become who I am today after experiencing multiple failures and learning from my mistakes.

My Backstory

 2006-2011  I graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in accounting and finance) from the University of Toronto. I started my career as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) at a multi-national firm, then held finance and project management roles at a major Canadian bank. While climbing the corporate ladder, I felt unfulfilled and desperately needed a creative outlet. I’ve always been a creative person from a young age, and felt there was more to life than spreadsheets. After getting married, I succumbed to a lifelong itch to start a business.

 2012  I launched a boutique graphic design studio specializing in invitations and stationery. It started off as a side-hustle where I met clients in coffee shops with a binder full of paper swatches. I grew through good ol’ fashioned word of mouth and referrals from happy clients who appreciated the value of customized service and hand-crafted quality. Business really took off when I rented my first studio office and started attending industry trade shows. Read more about Empress Paper Crafts.

From studio to photoshoots to magazine features - my previous stationery and design business

 2013  My work was featured in several high-profile wedding magazines and blogs. Eventually, I quit my corporate bank job to pursue my business full-time. I generated six-figure revenues in my second year, much to the surprise of skeptical friends and family, who initially thought it was a “hobby business”. I hired additional staff members over the next year who became invaluable to my growth and customer service experience.

 2015  I became a new mom, and struggled to find the “magic sauce” to keep my business going despite the impossible demands of parenting! I ultimately decided that despite early success, my business model was not a good long-term fit for my new lifestyle. I made a heart-wrenching decision to stop taking on new clients just as I was experiencing the benefits of media and press exposure, and an influx of referral business. Anxiety and depression hit me hard when sleeping and feeding schedules made it feel like I no longer had control over my life.

Charlene-Li-Family

 2016  I spent the next year figuring out my new rhythm as a parent, and soaking in every bit of information through parenting books and blogs. Life with a toddler is straight-up gruelling (to say the least!). As much as I loved spending the first year at home with my son, I knew I needed to get back to the world of entrepreneurship. At the end of the year, we had a unique opportunity to relocate to the US.

 2017   We moved to Boston to immerse ourselves in the start-up scene. It was the perfect opportunity to experience life in one of the greatest cities in America. I found a job with a young real estate development firm, and my husband, Vince became involved with a Boston food start-up hub. He developed an idea for a gourmet snack product that ended up placing in the Top 3 of a high-profile food pitch competition at a local food incubator. Excited to build on his momentum, I only lasted a year working for someone else before deciding to work with Vince in our latest start-up adventure.

 2018  We moved back to Toronto to launch our start-up gourmet food brand, and I also started the Crazy Cute Co. blog to promote financial empowerment, and share the REAL highs and lows of our ongoing entrepreneurial journey.

You Can Build a Business and Life You Love

Today, the power of the internet now gives us more opportunities than ever to start a business doing something you are excited about getting out of bed for every morning.  The possibilities of making money online are more abundant and life-changing than ever before. 

If you’re like me, you’ve probably already figured out that high salaries aren’t worth selling your soul to work at a job you hate until retirement! You seek a life full of purpose. Your business allows you to share your unique talents with the world and make an impact on your terms.

 I’m a believer in collaboration, mentorship, and community. 

Every entrepreneur and business owner has the potential for success as long as they’re equipped with the right tools, knowledge, and relationships.

 

I’m excited to connect with you — Let’s start cashing in on your passion,

 

P.S. #BossBabe Stuff I ♥

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