My name is Laurie Lapko. I am a mother of two, graphic designer, GirlBoss, lover of all things creative, color and pattern lover and an out-of-the-box thinker. Let me give you a little background on why I started the journey, and why I am just a girl boss building my empire.
I am 48 years old and was married for 15 years during which time I was a stay at home mom with no income of my own… We had two beautiful daughters, soon turning 14 and 16, who are and always will be the best thing to come out of that marriage, and what keeps me getting out of bed every morning.
When I decided to get married, in retrospect, it was for the wrong reasons but that’s a tale for another time and I won’t bore you with it here. Suffice it to say, I allowed myself to become complacent and controlled in a manner that I never want to experience again…. I wish to teach my girls early, so they hopefully will not repeat the mistakes I made along the way, that being self-reliant and independent is a necessity and to never give that control to anyone…EVER.
In 2014, after 15 years of unholy matrimony, I decided to put an end to a toxic and mentally damaging marriage for the sake of not only my girls, but for me as well. I had always been a hard worker, capable of taking care of myself, both financially and emotionally. Before I was married, I didn’t need to rely on a second, or in my case husbands, income to see me through. It is time for me to find that person again, to become that person again and never look back save for the lessons I learned along the way. To learn how to be on my own, and to succeed is what matters to me most, securing a future for myself and my teenaged daughters is my priority. While in theory, this sounded like a solid plan…it hasn’t been easy to stay focused and continue to hustle to make it happen.
Prior to getting married, I worked in corporate America as a Senior Web Developer, earning a 6 figure income. It was at a time that companies were downsizing, and so did the company I worked for and I found myself laid off. I “worked” for my ex-husband in his business (this was NEVER a good idea) after getting married in addition to being a full-time mom, and most recently returned to the workforce last year. I recently found myself unemployed again and with no money coming into the house outside of Child Support, I was yet again faced with a very bleak outlook as to where things were heading. I had to do something, I found myself at 47 looking at a bleak outlook for employment based on age, lack of recent work experience (remember I was unemployed for the 15 years), a lack of a college degree and job skills that had fallen into antiquity. In the face of yet another financial hardship (think barely 2 pennies to rub together), I needed to take a good hard look at where my life had gone and why I was where I am. Taking stock of how I was going to manage to keep it all together, I decided to define my PLAN and start focusing my energy on the positives and how I can accomplish success on my terms. I want to be able to help others to do the same, to define their own plan that focuses on keeping on the path to success.
Someone recently said to me, “Well it can’t be that bad, your ex-husband has to pay the mortgage and utilities. Should be a piece of cake.” Yes, it helps to have those things in place, however, it does not stretch far enough to be able to cover everything he doesn’t pay for and it is not as stress-free as it may sound to the outsider looking in. It covers even less when it comes sporadically, when the whim hits (control is something not easily let go of for some people), or when spite gets in the way.
For four years I have faced hardship, bleak financial outlooks, the risk of losing everything during a time when I should have been celebrating regaining my freedom so to speak. Some things are in my control, others are not. While I am thankful that I was able to be home for my daughters through their infant, toddler and adolescent years, after 15 years I realized that feeling as if I have accomplished nothing is still a hard pill to swallow. However, I am a strong woman with a goal in mind, and I will find my way through the storm.
I have returned to college focused on finishing my degree in graphic arts (only 3 semesters left!), am proud to say that I have maintained staying on the Dean’s list each semester despite the ups and downs, and have buckled down on my business as well. Things are slowly looking brighter, and believe me, when I say… defining your “Plan” and focusing on it will help you keep that hustle going to accomplish your dreams. It’s what has kept me focused on bringing beautiful designs that are not only pretty to look at but will keep you on the path to success whether your plan focuses on family, work or life as a whole.
I hope to have given you insight into my background, and what keeps me motivated every day to keep working on building my empire and bringing beautiful designs to you. It isn’t always easy, I have successes and failures. It’s ok to be a beautiful disaster once in a while and lose the path to your dreams, just so long as you strive to find it again and get back on the path. I choose to hustle every day to achieve the goals I have set for my future and obtaining financial freedom. I hope you will stay on this journey with me, and allow me the opportunity to get to know you!