We had the good fortune of connecting with Dani Kahn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dani, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Part of changing my life and becoming more accountable for my own success was instilling good, consistent, daily habits. While it is difficult to be disciplined (and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect) it helps to stick to a routine. Upon reading the book: “Atomic Habits” by James Clear – I started to put into practice many of the tips he describes in his book. Habit One: Planning my next week every Friday afternoon. I bullet journal all the tasks that I need to get done for the weekend and the rest of the following week. Habit Two: I stick to the same morning routine every day, waking up at 4 am, praying/meditation, drinking 24 ounces of water, 4 ounces of coffee, washing my face, completing chores, exercise, eat a good breakfast – then my work day starts by opening my phone. Waking up that early makes it possible for me to get ‘me time’ done before anyone else in the house wakes up. Habit Three: I write lists, my notebook contains many task lists (using the format that James Clear describes in his book). I have a slight memory problem where I really won’t remember anything unless it’s written down or drawn out. Instead of using that as an excuse or ‘weakness’ I hone in on being very detail oriented and get many tasks done. I would not have considered doing these habits 8 years ago. In fact I would have laughed at being so strict and ridiculous – but when I put these things in to motion my life changed exponentially for the better, I increased my income and I became more reliable to those around me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My business is married and matched with my family’s business, HG (Higher Grounds) Roastery and Café. We have been open for 8 years. My Husband and I started doing the marketing and branding for the small café which helped our small family owned and operated business grow rapidly. We named our marketing business Studio Fortis. For our marketing, creative work business this is our tagline Statement: “Assisting Small/Micro Businesses Express Themselves Creatively” Studio Fortis is a “Husband and wife team that specializes in brand development and marketing for the little guys. This includes website training, logo design, printing services, and multimedia marketing for social media and beyond.” One challenge I have come to face is the advancement of my own career – I do not have a college degree yet. Due to COVID-19 affecting the economy, I have been unable to commit to any more college courses due to my family business needing a healthy volunteer employee. I have assisted my family, at the sacrifice of quitting school, to help maintain their jobs and homes. We have received assistance and unbelievable community support – as our small café is family owned and operated in Gilbert, AZ for 8 years – so we are still open and providing a safe environment for our guests and customers. We are so incredibly thankful to be providing services to the community still in 2021!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Definitely explore the Gilbert Art Map! It’s a fun tour around the Gilbert Heritage district. And when you stop by HD South, Home of the Gilbert Historical Museum, say hi to the mural my Gilbert Leadership class created! https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/f334975102c444a999402dd8fb33d8c1
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without my supportive husband and family I would be absolutely lost right now. Through them I gained confidence and grew my career. A lot of things I tried really didn’t work in the first two years of developing my business and professional life – a lot of uncomfortable situations (mostly me being so incredibly nervous I just wouldn’t show up to things, like pretend I was sick, cancel last second). But eventually I got to a point where I changed my idea of what is introverted to: ‘excited’ or ‘sensitive’. I think that you have a lot to offer if you tap into the idea that everyone is feeling a bit nervous when they’re networking or marketing (most people really are) – and I would set a goal in each one of those settings. “I will hand out at least one business card and get one business card.” I never set goals that felt unattainable, and I didn’t beat myself up for not wanting to do it. I jumped into the Gilbert Chamber referral teams really really scared. But eventually I just showed up every week, gave my shaky 30 second ‘commercial’, and slowly started talking to people. It really helped with my public speaking and overall messaging. Every situation that was really scary I always learned the most from – so I started to seek out bigger networking groups and applying to things like Gilbert Leadership. A few other groups I owe a big thank you to: Gilbert Talks Board Members, GVAL (Gilbert Visual Art League), 910 West, and my Instagram artist community.
Other: My illustration Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/inkydani/
Elaine Kessler is a wonderful photographer and teacher – allowing me to participate in a panel. My husband is present in many of these images. Thank you to the Gilbert Leadership Board for graduating me. Volunteer of the Year for the HD South, Gilbert Historical Museum.