We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Loving-Campos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
I’d have to say, “sacrifice now so you can enjoy life later.” This was the slogan and mindset I heard growing up. I come from a family of business owners and entrepreneurs. Growing up my family worked all the time, throughout the day, over the weekends and evenings with no end in sight. Obviously they were passionate about what they did but everything revolved around working. Vacations and time off didn’t exist. As I came into business for myself forging my own path, I completely disagree with that mentality. Sure, as entrepreneurs we need to work hard. We need to have drive and ambition, we need to put one foot in front of the other and we need to have systems in place to set us up for success. However, we can also enjoy the life we are living in the very moment we are living it. I like to think, work hard, play harder. If we cannot enjoy the fruits of our labor then what is the point? The world we are living in today is very different from the world of yesterday so I say enjoy now so you can continue to enjoy later in your life.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
During my time pursuing a graduate degree in architecture I started becoming adept in design programs. My wife was working as a graphic designer in a print shop as well as working and creating artwork. She was also involved in numerous art galleries around Denver. A classmate referred a friend that needed help launching a magazine so I did my first freelance gig working for a publication. More referrals came through and my wife and I decided why wait until I graduate, let’s start a business. We launched our company in 2007. I graduated in 2009 and instead of pursuing a career in architecture I went into graphic and web design. In the beginning it was challenging. I took on any project that came in. I worked all day into the wee hours of the morning. I feel into the work hard now so that I could enjoy later mindset and quickly got burnt out. It wasn’t until I started setting boundaries with my clients that things began to shift. I stopped taking calls after 5 and disabled the email notification on my phone. I have to say that was probably one of the best things I did was disable that notification. Before disabling that I felt an obligation to reply to every email that came through, even if it was after my hours and I felt bad if I didn’t respond immediately. But, I wasn’t respecting my time. After doing that, I found balance. I took up yoga and meditation and have been practicing now for about 13 years. Side note, I teach yoga around the Denver Metro area because it has been a tremendous benefit to my life that I want to share it with others. One of the best lessons that I’ve learned I would have to say is being able to adapt and pivot your business. More so this year than any other year. Being able to recognize if something isn’t working and not being attached to it can lead your business down a path that will bring success versus a path that is only going to be a financial drain because you’re emotionally invested. As entrepreneurs we’re full of ideas, some great and let’s be honest, some not so great. If you can let go of something that is not working or pivot your model to something that works, you’ll be greeted with so much success. I think something that sets me apart is being myself. I’m outgoing and extroverted. I enjoy being around people. I enjoy learning about what drives people, what inspires them to start their businesses. I listen and engage with my clients. I make myself available and am fully invested in them. I succeed when they succeed.
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.
The mountains! We are so spoiled to live in such an awesome state with so many activities at our finger tips. I’d take my buddies up to the mountains to camp, hike, do some off-roading, some SUPing, climb a 14er or 13er depending on the day. We would have gone to The Crimson Room or Chapultapec to listen to some jazz had they not closed. We’d get sushi from Sushi Den and galivant around the streets of Denver enjoying it’s uniqueness.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s definitely a bunch of people but by far I need to give a shoutout to my lovely wife and business partner. My wife’s encouragement after I had graduated from college and spent some time in law enforcement is what lead me to this path in the creative industry. Creativity was always present, but it truly didn’t open up for me until I went to graduate school for architecture. Coming from a background in business management and law enforcement, the creative world wasn’t front in center. For as long as I can remember I always had an interest in architecture but my upbringing took my down a different path. But I always wondered what if. What if I had gone to school for architecture. By the time I graduated college, what if turned into, it’s too late. I already went to school for management and I told myself it’s too late and I’d be too old by the time I get out of architecture school. My wife (girlfriend at the time) told me that it’s not too late. If I wanted to pursue a career in architecture I should. Her encouragement reignited my curiosity and when I moved here, to Colorado in 2006, I enrolled in the graduate program of architecture at CU Denver. It was during that program that I found my path and way into the creative industry. My parents and grandparents also deserve a shoutout. Seeing them as entrepreneurs was inspiring. I knew I would work for myself at some point in my life. Seeing them achieve all that they have gave me the encouragement I needed when it was time to take the leap and start my own business.