We had the good fortune of connecting with Mandy Heck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mandy, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Self development. Around the time I started my business I read a book that changed everything for me and it was called, “You are a Badass”, by Jen Sincero. That book really introduced me to the concept of self development and from there I was hooked. When I was first starting out, I didn’t know anything about business and pretty much everything felt scary. All the different books and interviews I started reading and listening to really helped me overcome all of those initial emotions of starting something entirely new. I started to learn that pretty much everything we do is controlled by our subconscious mind including what we do or don’t do for our business. I had a lot of limiting beliefs in my subconscious and quite a few fear-based thoughts that all needed an overhaul. By doing all of the work involved in self development, I was able to rewrite those thoughts and beliefs and set myself on a more positive trajectory. And this is all ongoing for me.
One of the biggest concepts in self development I had to overhaul was my relationship with money. I came from a scarcity mindset upbringing soaked with fear-based beliefs and emotions around money as do many of us. Healing this relationship with money was one of the most important aspects I had to work on (and continue working on). I read multiple books, did all of the exercises, the affirmations, listened to all the interviews, did all the meditations, hired coaches, and last but not least named my business Abundance Illustration. This was to be a constant reminder of the concept of abundance. Our past is no indication of our future and by naming my business “Abundance Illustration”, I remind myself of this concept every day. A lot of people get weirded out around the topic of money, as I used to before doing this work. But now I feel so comfortable, grateful and calm around the idea of money. And having a business, I have to feel good around that topic. If I don’t focus on money in my business, then it’s a hobby, not a business.
Self development has been something I’ve focused on throughout the 4 years that I have been in business. It has helped me to be in a constant state of growth creatively and strategically. It has helped me to know when to create/release new designs, when to delegate, when to hire coaches, when to change my pricing, when to upgrade systems, etc. A lot of growth has to do with getting uncomfortable over and over again and putting yourself out there even if you don’t feel like it. I have hired coaches, and I have one now, who will hold me to the goals that I set. Knowing that I have someone holding me accountable has been incredibly helpful.
There are endless mindset shifts and lessons I have learned from doing this work. I started out scared and with a very limited idea of what was possible. Now I feel calm, collected, incredibly grateful, full of love for everyone I come across, and I have I mindset of endless possibilities. Yay! lol. For real though. This stuff works.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Sure! I create whimsical animal art in the form of stickers, original drawings, greeting cards, prints, and more. The scenes are pretty fun like a squirrel in a robe sipping coffee and wearing bunny slippers or a raccoon roasting marshmallows over a campfire draped in a camping blanket. But I also have some designs that are more magical and majestic like a wolf howling at night in front of mountains and the Milky Way or a raven in front of pines and a setting sun. I also draw realistic mini drawings of just the animals on a white background.
I think what sets my art apart is that I draw all my designs with colored pencil and everything has a somewhat realistic feel to it. There is a lot of detail in each design which I think really enhances the overall energy and experience of each piece. I’ve also lived in pretty amazing magical areas for the last 4 years, Colorado and Alaska. And both places have a ton of wildlife. So I think that wilderness, woodsy, mountain, and ocean feel really comes through in each of my creations.
I am most excited about creating the new designs! Coming up with these characters and bringing them to life is such a fun experience. I have an endless imagination so there are always multiple designs awaiting creation. I am also always excited about the tiny framed animal drawings. Really the creation process is by far my favorite aspect to this business. I also love hearing about the joy or the laughs that my designs bring others! That part is also amazing to me! I also love to give to animal conservations to help support the wildlife that I draw. Being able to do that is exciting and brings me joy.
Getting to where I am now professionally was not easy. Like what I said in the first part of this interview, I overcame the challenges by constant growth through self development. My biggest lessons I learned along the way were heal your relationship with money, treat every situation and person with gratitude and love, do the things that will help you grow even if they are scary, trust your intuition and follow your gut, know your worth, hire coaches, do the inner work, you are 100% responsible for your level of success, don’t take things personally ESPECIALLY rejection (that is part of the journey of business). You might have to put in 10-12 hour days, especially in the beginning to really jumpstart the business, but eventually you can start to delegate and maybe even take a few days off, lol. Even if it is hard work, make sure to keep the fun and joy in the process. There are so many more lessons I learned. Might need to write a book, lol.
I just want everyone to know what we are capable of so much more than we think. If I could create an entire business of animal art, you can really do anything. I started out selling tiny drawings in a gallery in Alaska, and now I sell my art in over 90 shops through the US and I also sell on Etsy and Faire. In the beginning I had no idea that was possible. I love hearing about the joy my creations bring people and if I never pushed beyond my comfort zone, I wouldn’t be able to share that magic with the world. You also have gifts to share with the world. Don’t deprive us of your magic.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So I am in Manitou Springs, so to eat, we would definitely go to Crystal Park Cantina for dinner! They have the best Mexican food in the area! With the best freshest guacamole ever and the outdoor seating is a whole vibe. Or Tapateria in Old Colorado City! For breakfast we’d have to go to Garden of the Gods Resort and Club. Their breakfasts are incredible and they have a breathtaking view of Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak. We’d do the Incline if they are up to it, lol. That is a huge butt-kicking hike that consists of 2,744 stairs right up the side of a mountain and the hike down is the beautiful and scenic Barr Trail. And to recover from the Incline, we could soak in the hot tubs at Sunwater Spa which overlook the foothills and Pike’s Peak. We’d also to go up to Denver to see the new Meow Wolf, which I just visited and it was one of the most incredible experiences ever. There would also be a trip to some hot springs. The closest are Desert Reef hot springs which are 45 minutes south of Manitou Springs. There are also endless incredible hiking areas in my area like Red Rock Canyon open space, Garden of the Gods, Barr Trail to Pike’s Peak, and even more amazing hikes in surrounding towns. We’d also hop on 24 west which is a highway that has gorgeous mountain scenery and leads to Buena Vista, Salida, Breckenridge, and a few other awesome mountain towns. This area really has endless opportunities.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Books- All the “you are a badass” books by Jen Sincero. For introducing me to the world of self development and transformation.
Local businesses- the homies at Colorado Ski Furniture in Manitou Springs for being awesome and supportive! And for having me as part of the crew!
-My business coach Manuel Annang!
-My sister’s business Task Tree for helping me with remote business tasks!
-Heartshake Studios in Old Colorado City for being the first shop in Colorado to carry my art!
-Annie Kaill’s Gallery in Juneau, Alaska, for being the first gallery to carry my art when I was first starting out!