Joy Ubani


I remember reflecting on an opportunity I had recently, and wondering if saying "yes" to it way back then was the right choice. It was my dream opportunity. There was glitter and gold all over it. In hindsight, I did in fact hesitate initially because not every aspect of the opportunity matched with my checklist (do you have one of those? now is a good time to create it) -- but, in full enthusiasm and intentionality to take every opportunity, I said "yes".

Presently, I've been offered another opportunity that sounds amazing. Last year, I would have excitedly rushed towards it. But this time, it feels less appealing simply because of where I am with my goals and in my journey.

So, I made an effort to try out what it felt like to say "no". If opportunities didn't align with my goals or give me the most peace, I didn't hesitate to politely walk away. And, it worked.
I noticed that life has a way of making room for us when we know where we’re going and have the actions to match (prioritizing your goals and what brings you joy, & being courageous enough to apply wisdom in saying yes or saying no).


If you’re currently at a place in your life where you’re discerning if certain opportunities are for you, this halfway mark of the year is perfect for refocusing on your goals.Before you say yes, ask yourself if an opportunity lines up with your goal.


Here are 4 reflective questions to considerbefore you grab an opportunity (that glitters and looks like gold):

  • Does this support my priorities and align with my calling?
  • Does this opportunity excite me?
  • What is my intention behind this and what can I give or gain?
  • Will this opportunity stretch me beyond my limits and do I have the capacity for it?


I have to admit that there was a certain point where I was glued to the word “yes”. I’d say yes to every opportunity that came my way. No matter how or if it interrupted my goals. At the time, saying yes felt good. It felt like the one caveat to growth that I needed to master in order to propel my career forward. I didn’t want to limit myself. For a while, this made so much sense…I was learning and growing in my craft. But truth be told, a lot of those opportunities just didn’t work for me — and I felt the impact later. 

If the answer is no to these questions, or you've come up short with your intentions, then perhaps it's okay move on with grace. For me, my intention was to learn as much as I could in my new career field. Do you know what your intentions are with each opportunity?

Thanks for coming back for the second part of this blog post!

Your questions

If you've kept up with me via Instagram, you may have taken on the chance to ask me your questions which I'm excitedly answering here.

Q: Did you have a gap between your 9 to 5 and your entrepreneurial journey?

A: No. As I mentioned, I ran my "hobby" alongside my full time job. Before handing in my notice, I had a project in Paris and London with a brand, Bifuko, so at the time, I was preparing to travel abroad to work on their launch campaign.


Q: Did you always want to be self-employed?

A: I think the short answer is yes. Initially, I wanted to run my own private practice as a psychologist. 

Q: What lesson has taken you the longest to learn?

A: I love this question! I love it because I want all of us to learn this (and master it early on). The lesson that has taken me the longest to learn is knowing my worth/what I bring to the table, setting my rates based on this, and having the courage to ask for it.

Q: How did you find strength to keep going when it gets tough?

A: Discipline, grace, and accountability. I learned to discipline myself early on to accomplish certain tasks, even when I don't feel like it. For example, I'll create a schedule or "Intention List" at the start of each week. I'll include tasks on there such as going on a morning run (to set a routine), posting on Instagram (to build brand visibility), reaching out to a brand or client (for a collaboration or to secure potential work). In the same vein, I remember to be gracious to myself. If there are days where I need to rest, eat ice cream and take a trip down to Topshop, I do so. I cannot come and kill myself, because trust me, it does get tough. To top all of this off, having an accountability partner is helpful. Maybe that's a close friend or family member you can share your goals with, or a fellow entrepreneur who is working on similar tasks. I have two friends and a dear sister and check in with each of them, respectively (and reciprocally) for emotional support, to share our resources, and to climb the ladder together.

Q: Are you making a steady income now?

A: Yes! Praise break!! This is something I prayed about for a while...and something I continue to include in my prayers. I work as a contractor with certain brands, while maintaining clients for my own business. Though, I'm still learning and will soon master the art of acknowledging and charging my worth.

Q: What is your ultimate goal?

A: Sigh -- my (fitness) trainer asked me this yesterday and I was surprised I couldn't answer fast enough! My goals are evolving, honestly. As I discover more about my skills, my character, and what excites me, my goals shift and are more clear. Short term, I'd like to see Beneath Your Beauty events grow to attract and impact more people. Long term, my goal is to own my own clothing brand (watch out, Zara); marry a fine, attentive, and God-fearing chocolate man, own a beautiful home or three, and vacation often. 😁 I'd also love to have the ability to practice law if I wanted to and provide counseling if I needed to....All this in no particular order...*ahem.

My ultimate goal is really helping people grow into confidence and thrive in life. I'm embracing and at peace with taking a different route to achieve this goal. Because God is my father, I realize that abundance is my birthright...I have been so blessed with multiple talents, and my heart yearns to use them all and bring Him fruit.

"There's nothing wrong with taking a different route..."

This was the thought I mulled over constantly for several months prior to leaving my job. Studying psychology had been my dream. I wasn't done. Yes, I was a high school counselor. But, there was so much more space on the career ladder. Yet, I felt such a strong and compelling tug to pivot. This feeling coupled with the toxic environment that was my workplace contributed in my decision to take the final leap on April 16, 2018.

Last week, April 16, 2019, I quietly celebrated the one year anniversary of leaving my job, making a career pivot, and diving full force into what I considered a hobby for the past 5 and half years. Now, let's rewind and I'll briefly get into this "hobby" of mine.

The back-story

In 2013, my brand Beneath Your Beauty was born. This was an outlet I created for connecting with women, and helping them build self-esteem, courage, and develop their personal style. Soon after my first Beneath Your Beauty event, I was asked to take on clients for brand management. I wasn't sure what exactly this entailed, but I was willing to (and did) learn on the way. Fast forward to 2014 when I moved to London to earn my masters in Psychology. I was frustrated by the lack of opportunities my program provided for graduate students. So, I took matters into my own hands and sought out opportunities. I knew I loved helping women...so naturally, my search included organizations that catered to this demographic. Not long after I began my search, I got my first gig in marketing as a Communications Manager (really, I was a glorified social media intern), for a lifestyle brand based in Milan, Italy. During my interview, I showed them the content I created for Beneath Your Beauty. They loved it and hired me on the spot. Excitedly, I jumped at the offer, not understanding this whole digital marketing thing (it was still very new back then), and desperately wanting money to pay the rent for my flat in London.

The pivot

After earning my masters in Psychology, I graduated, and moved back home to Los Angeles. Soon after, I started working as a high school counselor. I was so much closer to my dream of being a psychologist and providing therapy for teens and their families.

Concurrently, I ran annual Beneath Your Beauty events, created content for our blog; consistently took photos and wrote content for my personal brand (thank you for reading and keeping up with me!)....I did all this while working as a counselor full time, juggling a part time job as an ABA Therapist, and managing a small handful of clients for digital marketing (I was no longer working with the brand in Milan, but established clients of my own as a freelancer). As I type this, I realize that I did...the most. I started to get the feeling that I had to...choose. I'll admit that it did feel strange writing "Counselor by day, Marketing Strategist by Night" on my Instagram bio. So, I chose.

The chance

Just before I handed in my notice at work, I did my due diligence of applying to other jobs for the same role, as well as roles in fashion marketing. But, everything in me was nudging me towards taking a chance on myself. I wanted to find out if I could actually make it. So, I chose. I chose to step out fully and zero in on this hobby I just couldn't let go of despite my 14 hour work days and fully booked Saturdays. I never intentionally planned to be an entrepreneur or self-employed...by accepting that there was nothing wrong with taking a different route, I believe I willingly fell into it...


PHOTOGRAPHS BY FEMI OLUBODE



Everything becomes easier when you know who you are and are courageous enough to share it with the world.

I've discovered that there's a certain time and place for humility when it comes to taking up space in your industry (climbing the career ladder ain't it). This is where self-promotion comes in -- albeit it can be a murky territory because with self-promotion there's a fine line between sounding pompous if we overshare, and missing opportunities if we don't share enough. I've met people who seize every opportunity to self-promote and share who they are, and I've met those on the opposite side -- who would rather stand in one space and casually sip their drink while pretending to be fascinated by whatever they found on their phone screen (guilty!). But whichever category you fall into, self-promotion is a skill worth mastering, and I'm breaking down the art to doing so successfully:




  • Start by identifying your voice and your offering. In a few words, can you sum up who you are, what you do, and what you offer? Try condensing your 'story' to a few words doing your best to humanize yourself and create a personal connection to your voice and your offering. For example something I may say is: My name is Joy and I've always had a heart for helping people thrive in their business and personal life. Identifying your voice and offering will help you 
  • Rehearse this “pitch” with close friends, peers, and maybe a mentor.  I've found that it's often most effective to bounce ideas off your peers and someone who is more senior and more experienced. Once your gain feedback, rehearsing your pitch will help you gauge if people outside of your immediate industry can easily grasp your who/what/how. Be confident about your pitch (even if you must fake the funk). A confident delivery will make people believe in you all the more.
  • Have a goal and be reciprocal: Before you self-promote, have a goal in mind. What do you hope to offer this person or what do you hope to gain? By now, it's likely you've discerned that self-promotion goes hand-in-hand with networking. The best self-promoters are those who are genuinely interested in others (and who can find a way for their brand to service others).
  • Announce yourself and knock on doors: Now that you've perfected your pitch, it's time to share it with others and self-promote. I started self-promoting literally by announcing myself. Send an email or message to your network and contacts letting them know what you now offer. If you have a portfolio to attach to this message, send that along too. When I first made my career pivot, a friend of mine (hey, Naomi B.!) gave me this advise, and when I followed, doors flew opened as I knocked. Who are three people you can reach out to via email or social media this week?
  • Use your resources and practice in your online space: I'm a firm believer in making good use of what's in your hand. Are you already plugged in on social media platforms? If yes, start self-promotion there. Make sure your bio reflects your voice and your offering. If you're a photographer, go ahead and update your bio to reflect your offering. If you're a fashion influencer helping your community to look and feel stylish, take your profile a step further than sharing carefully curated photos and add your offering to your bio. And a bonus step in self-promoting is announcing yourself! Share your offerings on your feed with a call to action photo and caption. Embrace your audience in your Instagram story by using your voice and again, announce your offering. (Ex: If you want to be booked for photography, let them know you are available and back it up by sharing BTS of a shoot or the finished product of an edited photo).
  • Attend events with intention: Make it your aim to speak to at least one person in the room (with your goal of speaking to them in tow) -- you'll check one thing off your list which will boost your confidence. 
    • Master small talk: Before you self-promote, be mindful about getting to know the other person. Ask questions about them that go beyond the “what do you do”? You can compliment their work (or style), ask how they heard of the event, or even where they travelled from to attend. Small talk (which I'll be the first to admit, can be dreadful, but, when crafted mindfully, it can lead to bigger (eventual) opportunities.
Small talk can lead to bigger opportunities.
  • Create business cards and distribute when necessary. I honestly did this last because I underestimated it’s value and purpose. Reality is, a number of people will likely store your business card at the bottom of their purse. Others will copy your information and email you after your first meeting. Have business cards handy after ever coffee catch up, during every event, and even when you grab a drink from the local mom and pop bakery (they might need your services too, or know someone who needs to attend your event).
  • Look the part: Believe or not, a large part of self-promotion (and networking) dwell on your presentation and personal brand. It goes beyond your perfect pitch and overflows into how you carry yourself. Does your personal presentation match your voice and your vision? (I share more on personal branding here). 
  • Follow up: Don't be afraid to connect further with someone after your first meeting and initial pitch. Self-promotion goes beyond the initial self-promotion -- drop an email, connect on social media, and nurture the new connection that you've just shared your voice and your vision with.
What's your go-to method for self-promotion?

WHAT I'M WEARING:

Navy Oversized Blazer: ZARA (old)
WHITE Button Down Blouse: H&M 
Mom Fit Jeans: ZARA (similar)

PHOTOGRAPHS BY FEMI OLUBODE


Wow! It's been a while since I've shared an update on my blog and connected with you all on this platform. I'm still alive and kicking! The last time I updated you all, I was transitioning from a full time high school counselor, to a full time fashion and lifestyle publicist, consultant brand marketing manager. Since leaving my job in April, I've had the opportunity to travel to Paris, Amsterdam, and Los Angeles for client engagements, each focusing on launch projects. I thought I'd share some important strategies with you here. (If you attended the latest Beneath Your Beauty: Mastermind Edit event, you got a dose of these strategies on the day). Anyway, let's get into it!

  1. Research like-brands: You already have your idea. Now, it's time to take a look at your competitors. Yes, there probably is another brand out there selling a similar product or sharing similar content. Don't let that scare you -- instead, use it to your advantage. Take a look at their online and offline presence (if your business is product based) to get a sense of what they're doing right, and what they've missed. In marketing lingo, this is called a SWOT analysis where you make note of their strength, weaknesses, opportunities (for improvement), and threats (within the market).
  2. Define your target market/target audience: Before you announce your launch, it's important to determine who you are targeting. If your brand already exists, consider segmenting your audience into first time consumers, loyal consumers, or consumers who have subscribed to your mailing list, but yet to take any action or interact with your content/products. Segmenting your target market will help you tailor your launch campaign to reach this specific consumer. You want to do your best to make sure your launch campaign is relatable and attracts their attention.
  3. Engage with your audience and solidify your online presence: Creating a consumer profile and segmenting your audience is the easy part. Engaging with your audience takes a bit more time and intentionality. Find key spaces your audience occupies, drive them to your content, and convert them into loyal consumers. For example, if your audience already lives on Instagram, find them in that space by previewing how like-brands are engaging with them. If you're an existing brand, perhaps they've tagged your brand in a post recently. Use that as leverage and draw their attention to the new product you've launched. Check the comment section. If a member of your target audience has mentioned a specific need that your launch addresses, grab their attention and direct them to your mailing list. 
  4. Develop a clear communications strategy: I can be that nagging marketing manager that consistently reminds clients to have consistent language and clear imagery. If you're reaching your target market through social media for example, remember this platform relies heavily on imagery. Invest in a photographer and get clear, sharp imagery that will capture the attention of your audience. Be sure that your language on all your platforms is clear, consistent, and engages your audience. And if this weren't enough, it's important to work out a plan that details where and how you'll share information. Using softwares like Mailchimp or Infusion Soft are a great way to communicate with your audience via email. Apps like Planoly and Unum are an effective way to plan your Instagram communications strategy and see a layout of your (clear and sharp) imagery before your audience does.
  5. Create buzz: I've worked with clients that have chosen to round out the above steps with a launch event. If your budget can accommodate this, events are a surefire strategy to gain interface with your target market. You'll provide a space for them to interact with your product (or with the face of the brand), and potentially purchase products on-site. Remember, audience experience is one the the most important factors to gaining loyal consumers. Other great ways to create buzz around your launch campaigns is by collaborating with other brands, and creating affiliate programs with influencers (but this is an entirely larger topic that we can get into in a next post!).
Thinking of launching or re-launching your brand? Join my mailing list for more resources on launching, and perfecting your brand's strategy.




I'm learning that career progression often depends on certain characteristics and habits we develop overtime. Character traits and habits that will push your business goals, or hinder you from achieving all that you can. It's the little things that move you forward, which you don't necessarily learn when you google your craft, but you learn on the job; while you're communicating with others, and from the feedback (in your face or behind your back) you gain after your assignment. I'm sharing certain habits I've been more intentional about developing since my recent career shift:
  1. Write everything down: 
    • For planning sake: I've gotten into the habit of planning out my week every Sunday night. In my notepad, I write out overall tasks I'd like to accomplish in that week, then take it a step further by writing out what I need to do each day of that week. At the end of each month, I go back and conduct an audit of the tasks I've done to help me better plan the next month. 
    • For memory's sake: Writing everything down also applies to conversations with clients and staff. I learned from early on the importance of documenting what was said and what was agreed on so you always have a point of reference.
  2. Taking initiative pays off: As Sheryl Sandberg says in her book Lean In: "It is hard to visualize someone as a a leader if she is always being told what to do." During a recent Beneath Your Beauty masterclass, Dan Ogunsanwo, one of our guest speakers, echoed this sentiment. You have to assume authority and make those around you (clients included) believe that you are an authority in your field. Take initiative by presenting new ideas and marketing strategies; getting to the boardroom a few minutes before your boss; anticipating the needs of your consumers and having that extra item or incentive ready...just in case.
  3. Be approachable and available (so people can talk to you): There's a level of trust people should have when they think of your brand (or the face of your brand). I find that since a number of us are often interacting with our audience online, we miss the point of being truly social. People should feel comfortable approaching you. I've learned that (in addition to a good work ethic), kindness is one of the driving forces behind success. So when someone reaches out for a coffee date, say yes (within reason). Don't be afraid to have conversations and get to know people. As they say, your network is your net worth, so lead with kindness and openness.
  4. Don't take it personal (but assume others will): Working in my field has taught me invaluable lessons -- one being leave emotions out of it. There have been times where I've felt offended at how a colleague spoke to me; undervalued because a client didn't seem appreciative; and disappointed when I didn't receive credit for an idea. And let me tell you, I'm an emotional person and often let my emotions lead. So when things happen that call for an emotionally charged response, take a breath before you respond. (Yes, you should respond to what's bothering, but learn to do so delicately and honestly without your emotions hindering your progress). From her book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg says "communication works best when we combine appropriateness with authenticity, finding that sweet spot where opinions are not brutally honest, but delicately honest."
  5. Always ask for feedback: Lately, I've found so much value in soliciting ideas and input -- from clients, and from other colleagues in my field. Contrary to popular belief, needing help or a second opinion is not a weakness, but it's a step to finding a path forward. So, talk to your consumers or your clients. Find out what you're doing well, and find out what needs improvement. Requesting feedback can also help build your relationships with consumers, clients, or even help you form a mentor relationship with those excelling in your field already. During a recent work trip to London, I sat down with two women excelling in my field and didn't hesitate to ask for their insight on certain aspect of the job I'm still learning. For the first time since I started this journey, I exchanged ideas with women who were unafraid to grow together. That's the way forward.
  6. Be an expert in your field: Don't be content working with what you have and what you know. Constantly research, and be open to learning. If you're an influencer, read up on photography so you're well versed on how to improve your imagery. If you're in ministry, go beyond what you know and read literature on a topic you want to explore. As a fashion brand, don't stop at designing your merchandise; learn how manufacturers work, study trends and do a deep dive of your consumer market.
As a bonus, I'll add a tip I'm still mastering: don't doubt yourself. I'm learning that the actions I take must match up with God's word over my life. So if God tells you you are fearfully and wonderfully made, act accordingly -- stop second guessing that event you want to produce, that blog post you want to write, or that job you want to apply. You get ahead by believing you are qualified for that specific task.

P.S. I have a mailing list! Sign up here for marketing & PR tips directly in your mailbox.

WHAT I'M WEARING:

FLORAL JACQUARD BLAZER: ZARA
White SHIRT WITH FRONT PLEATS: ZARA 
MOM FIT JEANS: ZARA
*Literally just realizing how much I love Zara! Ha!

PHOTOGRAPHS BY FEMI OLUBODE

Project Manager, Intern Role

I have an exciting opportunity to share! I'm looking for an intern to work with me across the Beneath Your Beauty brand. Essentially, I need a partner in crime! The focus of this role is to provide support for Beneath Your Beauty events and masterclasses. This is a very broad role that involves lots of learning, chai tea, and the occasional girls day out to Elan Cafe.

The ideal candidate will need to be resourceful, take initiative, and work fast.
What you should know:
  • The role is part time and may turn into a full-time stipend role after the initial period
  • Commitment of 2-3 days weekly is required 
  • Must be London based (with weekday availability)
  • Previous experience with events is required
  • Tech savvy (proficient with Google Drive + other productivity apps)
  • Experience in social media (content creating and copy writing)
Responsibilities include (not limited):
  • Email management (as it relates to upcoming BYB events/masterclasses)
  • Support and lead on project management + liaising with relevant third parties
  • Support with research, design and strategy for various BYB projects (events/masterclasses)
  • Assistance with organization BYB London events/masterclasses
This is initially a part-time + 3 month interim role that will begin immediately.

To apply, click here.




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