HOW TO GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY
When did you know you wanted to pursue your business or venture? I inherited the skills to be a fashion entrepreneur at a very young age. My grandmother taught me how to sew at the age of seven, and I watched my mom as an entrepreneur for my entire childhood. After seeing my mom’s challenges as a business owner, I was convinced this wasn’t my path. But after finishing my Master’s degree, I moved to an area without many opportunities to work in fashion. Starting a business was my only option to keep my creativity flowing. I was blessed to have a few years to figure things out and let my business expand gradually. In 2013, I finally took a leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams. This was my definitive moment as an entrepreneur – I had to give it my all and stop hiding behind my day job.
Did your original business plan change along the way or are you doing exactly what you set out to do? If it changed, how so? It’s very different! For the past five years I have been operating a fashion brand. While I found some success with this venture, it wasn’t growing as quickly as I would have liked. I felt like I was running on a hamster wheel – expending tons and tons of energy and getting very little in return. I have always known that my mission in life is to inspire women from the inside out, but I had started a business that worked with women on the outside and anticipated that it would impact them on the inside. I had an epiphany that this was the wrong approach, and opened myself up to see the bigger picture. It took a few weeks of putting my ego aside and detaching myself from how I believed it should look before I was able to fully embrace The Inspirational Woman Project. Once I did, the doors began to fly open – I received an invitation from Arianna Huffington to bring my voice to The Huffington Post, had 98 women agree to interviews for a coffee table book, wrote a blog that went viral, appeared on The Today Show, launched a Kickstarter campaign, and more! It took being able to surrender to the unknown and trust that this new direction was going to serve the world in a bigger way.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
“Getting out of my own way! I have been so focused the past several years on how I think it’s supposed to look, that I nearly missed a huge opportunity to impact the lives of thousands of women!”
What top three tips would you like to pass along for those who have just started to use social media? First, ensure consistency in both your posting schedule and your voice. Second, interact with other users to create dialogue and share their content as well as your own. And third, do not ever buy followers. It may make you initially look “popular”, but none of those fake followers will ever purchase your product and anyone that is remotely savvy will be able to tell that your followers are fake based on your engagement levels.
When you think of the best people to work with, what traits do they share? Authenticity, passion, drive, and heart.
Give a budding entrepreneur your best hiring and firing business practices. When you’re hiring someone, it’s best to ensure that their vision fits with your vision. If it doesn’t, your business will not achieve the level of success that you envision. I like to think of my business as a giant puzzle. In order to have a complete puzzle, every piece has to fit perfectly. Having even one piece that doesn’t fit makes your puzzle incomplete and impacts the fit of all of the other pieces around it.
How do you organize your day to best optimize your time? Describe a day in your life. Achieving my best results during the day begins the night before. I get into bed with enough time to set my intentions for the following day, as well as give gratitude for all of the amazing, magical things that happened during that day. My first intention for every day is to wake feeling rested. Getting enough sleep is paramount to my happiness and productivity. I take time in the morning to enjoy my routine before going into the studio. My days are all varied with meetings, phone calls, designing, writing, managing interns, and more. I maintain a detailed schedule on my computer and phone to keep me on track during the day. I keep ambient music on in the background – it helps keep me focused and doesn’t let my mind wander off the task at hand.I also try to limit my social media time. I know that if my alerts are going off, I will want to check them constantly. I’ve turned the notifications on my phone off, and try to focus my social media to short, dedicated blocks of time.
Tell us about a time when you thought you should throw in the towel. What kept you going? I have had two major moments like this, and both times I called my mom to talk and cry through the frustrations. What keeps me going is this inner belief that I am here to make an impact in the world. For me to give up would be like me saying, “My life no longer has purpose.” What I learned from those occasions is that moving through those emotions and coming out on the other side is what propelled me to the next level. Shortly after each of my breakdowns, I received major opportunities, growth, and expansion.
What is the most important lesson you have learned as a business owner? Don’t attach yourself to a particular outcome. Set your intention, align your actions with that intention, and allow an outcome to happen. You may not be able to see the best possible outcome based on your current perspective, but you have to trust that it will be exactly what you need to elevate you to the next level.
What would your advice to your younger self be? Keep moving forward, love yourself, and release your doubt.