How She Does It: Nicole Cicak, Founder of On Lane Avenue

Nicole Cicak
On Lane Avenue was established in 2015 in Columbus, Ohio by Nicole Cicak. It all started out of her first home on bustling Lane Avenue. Since it's inception, the brand has grown into an illustration, design and paper studio.

Nicole now lives in the Chicago suburbs, but she will never forget her first house and where it all began.

Deb Bailey: So happy to have you here today, Nicole. How did you get started as an entrepreneur?

Nicole Cicak: Great to be here, Deb. Before starting my business, I was working a corporate 9-5 graphic design job. I’d always dreamed of going out on my own, so I started picking up client work in the evenings. It was tough to work around the clock, but I needed to know I could find clients. Finally, the timing felt right to quit my job, so I did. It was so scary, but it was the best decision I ever made. I’m so much happier now. I have to give my husband Ryan a lot of credit for this. He was so supportive of my crazy dream. He had a steady job to support the financial risks I took in the beginning.

Deb: It's great that you were able to follow your dream. Are there any “lessons learned” that you’d like to share?

Nicole: Wow there are so many! The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to do what you love. Society tells us that it’s normal to be unhappy in an uninspiring job. I don’t think it’s okay to spend 90% of your life doing something that makes you unhappy. I believe that by doing what you love, you’ll be more successful long term. I’m the perfect example of this. If you want something bad enough, you’ll be successful at it. Also, when you’re happy, you will see much more success in other areas of your life.

Another lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t do it all. You need to make huge sacrifices to get what you want. In order to grow a successful business, I don’t see my friends as much as I’d like. I can’t spend three hours at the gym daily, or an entire day watching TV. I don’t judge other people who do these things, because we all have different goals and priorities. I’ve also reinvested money in things that will save me time – like getting groceries delivered, and having landscapers. I view my time as my most precious asset.

Nicole Cicak design

Deb: All of that is so true. So, who are your ideal clients?

It sounds cheesy, but my ideal clients just nice, genuine people. I can take on any project, but it’s rare to find people who are positive and excited about the work. It’s so much easier to get things done when you do. Positive energy is contagious, and it’s necessary in fostering great design.

Deb. Not cheesy at all! Positive energy is always desired. What successes and challenges have you had in your business?

Nicole: My biggest success has been launching my own business. I’m making a much higher income than I did at my corporate job and, more importantly, I’m much happier. I’m growing my team, and I’ve worked on projects I could only have dreamed of working on a few years ago.

My biggest challenge is always balance. I have a full plate of graphic design projects that I typically work on 9-5. I have a team I manage during that time as well. I illustrate in the mornings, evenings, and on the weekends. I still have so many new endeavors I want to take on, but I’m also desperately trying to lead a balanced lifestyle and not get burnt out. My family is always the priority and I never want them to feel otherwise.

Nicole Cicak design

Deb. Balance is really important, but it is a challenge for entrepreneurs. What inspires you to do the work you do?

Nicole: To inspire others to follow their dreams. I’m motivated to succeed in my business, because I want other people to see that it’s possible. It takes guts to go for what you really want in life, and each person who does makes it that much easier for everyone else.

Deb: I really like that. You can inspire others by showing them how to go for their dreams. What’s your vision for your business going forward?

Nicole: My vision is very hazy, because it’s constantly evolving. I see myself establishing more of a brand around On Lane Avenue, and growing my team. I want to stay small, but I still feel like there’s room for growth at this point. I want to grow the illustration side of my business more, and hopefully merge that into some of the graphic design work I do. I see myself creating things like illustrated logos and patterns for brands. I’d also love to get some of my art prints into retail shops, but I’ve only just started to explore that venue.

Deb: What advice would you give to women entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

Nicole: My advice would be that your business will constantly be evolving and changing. It’s easy to get frustrated when things aren’t exactly how you envisioned in the beginning. Maybe you don’t have ideal clients, or you can’t seem to get your brand right. This is just the first iteration of your business.

You will get closer and closer to what you want every year. Just  try to enjoy the journey, and say yes to opportunities that feel right. You may be surprised where you end up! I started out wanting to be a freelance designer, and now I’ve ended up with a design and illustration studio. I’ve rebranded my business many times. I never had this vision in the beginning, but it’s better than anything I could have ever imagined.

Nicole Cicak

Deb: That's great advice because it certainly is a journey. I know you love what you do, what is your favorite activity to relax and unwind?

Nicole: To sit on my front porch swing with my husband and my dog. It’s impossible to be stressed out while sitting on a porch swing! Bonus relaxation points for bringing a glass of wine out with me.

Deb: So true! A porch swing and a glass of wine sounds great. :) Now that you've had these experiences, what would you tell your younger self?

Nicole: It’s all about the journey. At times, you may feel like you’re going down the wrong path, but everything is just getting you closer to what you want. You’re always right where you’re supposed to be.

Deb: What do you think are the top 3 traits an entrepreneur must have?

Nicole: Creativity, Accountability, and Integrity

Deb: Thank you for joining me today, Nicole. This has been a wonderful conversation. Before you go, please share website and social media URLs.

Nicole: I enjoyed it, Deb. Here are my links:




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