What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
In a nutshell, my upbringing and passions. I am from a family of African immigrants. I did not come halfway across the world for the fun of it. My parents were entrepreneurs as well and always stressed the importance of citizenship and entrepreneurship. I always knew I wanted to empower women and help fellow sisters along the way too. It took me a while but now I figured out what I love doing, then made it a business. I founded GorgeousWithin in 2010 when I returned from a mission trip in Africa. I am doing something I love, so I go to sleep with an agenda and wake up every day with an eagerness to execute various plans.
A few years later, I launched a creative consulting agency www.liveboldconsulting.com. Please watch the promotional video by clicking here. This company came after I myself had suffered loss in my own life. I decided once and for all that I would bet on myself and others who are creative, bold, and crazy enough to chase after their dreams no matter the cost or loss.
Tell us about your business.
The mission for GorgeousWithin is to inspire women to work on becoming the best version of themselves. We leverage our technological, social and intellectual capital to inform, empower, educate and challenge. This includes: motivational speaking, customized consulting, expert leadership guidance and deep dive workshops. My must popular topics today are around body image, dreams and entrepreneurship.
At LiveBold Consulting we are a creative THINK and DO consulting agency hell-bent on changing the landscape of creativity for companies and individuals.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
We sell our GorgeousWithin T-shirts on our website, but stay tuned and follow us for our upcoming events.
Where is your business based?
Both are in Chicago IL, USA. But Livebold is a “Virtual Consulting” agency, so we have clients in as far are South Africa and Thailand.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
First I had to believe in myself. I also had to prove I was viable speaker and trainer. My years in corporate and women’s ministry validated that I was. I then built a website and started teaching at Columbia College Chicago while simultaneously speaking and booking workshops along the way. How I spent my time and with who I spent my time with changed drastically. Surrounding yourself with a support base and people you can turn to was crucial in the early years.
For LiveBold it was a little bit different. I would not say easier, but I did skip a lot of the growing pains. I had to pivot some of my existing strategies, then I essentially got incorporated and had a lot of referral business through my creative contacts already, but the workshops were not enough. I had been thinking of a company for a few years so I did some competitor research and figured out the best practices for consulting agencies. Then when I had the time, I launched LiveBold. Having a team that believes in your vision and you are important too. In both cases I had amazing support and great interns. My team and family are really the rock stars that make me look good.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Email marketing, networking with bloggers, companies, non-profits and fellow entrepreneurs like you/ladybloggers and word of mouth, it never goes out of style. Someone giving you a virtual or in-person positive “yelp” can do wonders. For GorgeousWithin it has always been aligning myself with companies and organizations who have the same vision for the women they service. Referrals.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Time and pacing my growth on both brands. I don’t have enough hours in a day so time management is so crucial. I live and breathe by my schedule and iPhone alerts. I made a mistake once of having too many clients and was so burnt out. So now I pace myself and my staff so we can take on specific projects and complete them without burning out.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I have mastered the art of saying “no” and turning down business. If the client is too demanding or the project is not a good fit, we just walk away from the deal or tell them we can take them on at a later time.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
For me it’s my faith and legacy in mind. We live in America and have a responsibility I think. It’s implicit we must do more, be more, help more. So no matter how bad my life or business was going, I always have to remember it’s more than just me at stake. One of my new most recent favorite quote’s from I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi sums it up perfectly… “Odds are the reason we even have the opportunity to be on those pedestals is because of the work of someone who came before us. Choosing not to maximize our positive impact is careless.”
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Personal touch. 1:1 service and partnering on initiatives.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
If you are not failing at something – you are not trying. Breaking things is ok as long as you are learning and moving forward.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Get started. It does not have to be perfect. Most people if they are honest enough will tell you they had no clue in the beginning too.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
My mentors and other business professionals. My Mac Book, Apple Watch and iPhone. I would be lost without them.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @vunzai.yeazel @gorgeouswithin @liveboldconsult
Twitter @vunzaiyeazel @gorgeouswithin_ @liveboldconsult
Website www.gorgeouswithin.com and www.liveboldconsulting.com
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Hashtags #GorgeousWithin #womensupportingwomen #selflove #Backsidestories
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built” by Duncan Clark. Everything you need to know about starting an e-commerce business can be found in this book.
“I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual” by Luvvie Ajayi.
“ReWork” by Jason Fried (ReWorking your workday).
“Creativity Inc.” by Edwin Catcall (Leading creative teams).
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am helping produce our first documentary and partnering the GorgeousWithin brand. Raising capital for documentaries is a whole new animal I am being introduced to. I have always had a passion for the arts. I am looking forward to using film to positively impact women as well.I am also working on finishing my first book. So if there are any women filmmakers and writers out there please send along your advice for production or publishing.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Personal: Train for my Sprint Triathlon in 2017 – did my ½ marathon this year. I train 4 days a week, when possible twice a day. My Apple Watch keeps me honest and I have accountability partner’s at my gym checking in on my progress.
GorgeousWithin: Complete #BacksideStories documentary & finish book. We have a core team and meet every week.