30s: Juggling business, family a tough chore

Friday, July 12, 2013, Vol. 37, No. 28
By Tony Troiano

Tasneem Arif and her 4-year-old daughter

-- Submitted

There is work – creative, engaging and artistic work – and there is the sick 4-year-old pulling you away from the computer.

The 34-year-old entrepreneur and owner of 52design, Tasneem Arif, gets stuck in the middle some days as does anyone who works from home and has children and other demanding responsibilities.

Entrepreneurship in your 30s can often be a tug of war, particularly for a mom who runs a one-person shop.

“Sometimes it is hard to separate your business work life and your home work life, but an ability to prioritize tasks helps tremendously,’’ says Arif, a graphic designer, illustrator artist and copywriter who lives in Murfreesboro.

“Art makes me happy,” Arif says. “Whether I’m creating and selling or doing my work for customers I really like getting involved in my projects, and there is so much satisfaction in the finished product and delivery.

“I want to be the best I can be, become a master of my craft. I’ve studied marketing, photography and sketching. Everything has progressed very well.”

Arif, an artist since childhood, is from Pune, India, and received a master’s in commerce from the university there. She came to the U.S. after marrying her husband, an engineer who had been in America for many years.

They met through extended family, meaning the marriage process included, “so many people it was like, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Everyone had to give their approval. He passed the test with what you might call a shining resume.’’

In her first visit to Middle Tennessee, she worked at The Clever Factory in Nashville. After a stint in Dubai for her husband’s work, she decided to create her own company.

She says her husband’s support has been integral to her success.

“You have to have courage to become an entrepreneur and weather the ups and downs,’’ she explains. “All jobs can be stressful. Mine is securing projects, doing a good job, meeting deadlines and having a happy client.’’

“Tasneem has really pushed to challenge herself professionally,” says Tasneem’s friend, Jade Novak of Jade Novak Designs.

“She is a professional who always thinks about how her designs will be interpreted by the end-user. She uses her heart and her mind to solve creative problems.”

To see Tasneem Arif’s work, visit www.tasneemarif.com. Her artwork is for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/52design

Her website offers testimonials from Nashville’s Upper Room Ministries, for whom she has done several projects.

Writes Terrie L. Thompson, director of digital resources at Upper Room: “Good design draws you in, invites you to stay a while and look around. Tasneem cares about how the customer encounters all aspects of content, print or digital, and will suggest ways to make the experience better for the end user.

“I’ve worked with Tasneem for five years, and have always been delighted with her work,’’ Thompson concludes.

A friendly exchange of ideas, a genuine one-on-one between artist and client, has helped Arif find and keep business.

“Tasneem works with people well,” says Jill Ridenhour, a former customer. “She takes requests for changes in stride, which can be difficult for some artists. She recognizes we have a vision as well. Working with her is so easy.”

Currently, Arif is expanding her base, focusing on digital publishing. She is determined to draw more customers into the fold.

“I’m excited about creating interactive digital publications for tablets, smart phones and other touch screen devices,” she says. “This is a great platform for businesses that want to create richer content for deeply engaging their audience.”

Arif’s profession changes quickly, meaning on-going learning and self-teaching.

“Know all the tools well,’’ she explains. “It speeds up the processes, and you always want to strive to be more proficient in every aspect of what you do.’’

Digital publishing has evolved into a vital marketing tool for businesses. A designer can create a 360-degree view of the business’ product with panning and zooming on items such as homes, landscapes and buildings. Interactive slideshows can incorporate video and audio.

Businesses can also discover how people installed their app and how they are using it, which can be a valuable research tool.

“I get excited and have much satisfaction working in this area,” Arif says. “I enjoy using my skills here and want this area to be a big part of my future.’’

As for advice to other entrepreneurs, she points out some specifics.

“The success of your business is directly related to how you market, network, social media, how you build referrals, price, manage your taxes, accounts and handle other legal requirements that may affect your business.

“So learn as much as you can on each of these and, of course, be an eternal optimist.’’

And, when your little one needs you, take a break from the computer.