Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Truth about Being a Multi-hyphenate Pt. 2


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.
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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Truth about Being a Multi-hyphenate -- My Entrepreneurial Journey: Reflections & Q&A


"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

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Friday, March 15, 2019

The Art of Self-Promotion (How to Master Talking Up You and Your Brand)



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

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

5 Things To Do Before Your Launch


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.



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