Nikeya Young is a published author, certified life coach and group fitness instructor, a loving wife and mother, entertainer (actress/member of SAG-AFTRA/model/christian singer/songwriter), motivational speaker, and all around “Renaissance Woman”! Nikeya’s national television appearances include: multiple modeling appearances on The Steve Harvey Show, NBC’s Chicago Fire, and TV One’s Find Our Missing, as well as several commercials.
As a fashion blogger, Nikeya has been featured in several media outlets such as: The Chicago Tribune, PLUS Model Magazine, SKORCH Magazine, Global Grind, Examiner.com, & USA Today. In 2013, Nikeya released her debut album, “Victorious One”. The album was executive produced by Nikeya and her husband Rodney. It received great reviews and earned her a “Contemporary Female Artist of the Year” nomination alongside Motown recording artist, Anita Wilson, and several others in the 2014 Chicago Gospel Music Awards.
In 2015, Nikeya combined her faith in God, and her love for fashion and launched “Virtue Chic” – a lifestyle blog/brand and movement for every woman who has ever felt like they were the ONLY one who feels that being a Christian and dressing modestly does NOT have to equal “frumpy”! The blog inspired her to write her first book “Virtue Chic: Classy Takes Center Stage” which was released on October 14, 2017. Nikeya resides in the Chicagoland area with her husband, Rodney Young Jr. and their son, Rodney Price Young, III (R3).
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
After contributing for several other outlets, I was inspired to launch my lifestyle brand Virtue Chic for several reasons. One of the main reasons was that it provided me with a centralized location to discuss all of the things that were important to me (my Christian faith, fashion, entertainment, personal growth) on my own terms!
Also, as a Christian woman in the entertainment industry, I know first-hand how discouraging it can be at times to maintain your position as a person of faith in the midst of a culture that oftentimes promotes a lot of things that are contrary to the Word and will of God. I launched Virtue Chic in hopes of letting young women of God know that they are NOT alone and that it is possible to be virtuous in the midst of today’s ratchet culture!
Tell us about your business.
Virtue Chic is more than just a blog. It’s a “movement” designed to encourage, inspire, and highlight young, 21st century Christian women and make being a virtuous woman “chic” again! There is a blog, an online television show/YouTube channel called “Virtue Chic TV”, a book entitled “Virtue Chic: Classy Takes Center Stage” (available NOW on Amazon, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble), and a motivational speaking/life coaching component where I am sharing my message of faith in media interviews, churches, and private group coaching sessions.
- 1999 Miss Black Tulsa 3rd Runner-Up
- B.A in Psychology, DePaul University (2003)
- M.A. in Special Education, Northeastern Illinois University (2007)
- 2008 Miss Illinois Plus America (4th Runner-Up to Miss Plus America 2008)
- 2009 Mrs. Illinois Plus America (3rd Runner-Up to Mrs. Plus America 2009)
- 2010 Mrs. Tulsa Plus America (2nd Runner-Up to Mrs Oklahoma Plus America)
- 2012 – Listed in the 4th Edition of Who’s Who in Black Chicago
- AFAA/NASM Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Licensed Zumba Instructor
- Certified Holistic Life Coach, The Spencer Institute
Where is your business based?
I work from home, so I am based in Homewood, Illinois (the South Suburbs of Chicago).
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I started off by purchasing the domain name www.virtuechic.net and launching a WordPress blog. Then I got the copyright for the name Virtue Chic. *Getting your business name copyrighted is a MUST! It’s only been a couple of years and I’m still growing the Virtue Chic brand.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Releasing a product (this new book) has helped tremendously with that! Through promoting this book, I am now able to introduce the Virtue Chic brand to radio audiences and churches that may have never come across the brand on their own. Now people are wanting to host book chats, group life coaching sessions and inviting me to speak!
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
I would say my biggest challenges have been time management (I am a stay-at-home mom of a very active toddler) and capital/funds.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Having a routine is a MUST for stay-at-home moms! Working when the baby sleeps helps a lot too! My son’s bedtime is 8:00pm. After putting him down, I usually sit down with my planner and create the action steps for the following day. Mornings are for sending out e-mails/press releases. It’s not in the budget for us to hire a publicist right now, so I am doing that work on my own.
Google is my friend! I learned how to write a good press release and from that. I have landed 5 different radio interviews in less that 2 months (just booked a sixth one today)! Lack of funds for passion projects is a reality for MOST Americans these days after taking care of your household bills and responsibilities (at least initially while your business is still in the early stages), but I refused to let that keep me from doing what I COULD do (there is always something you can do). Blogging/creating original content is “free 99” so I started there! LOL!
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Prayer and talking with friends who share my faith and are also entrepreneurs helps me stay motivated. I also look at my son and think about how I want him to grow up thinking that there are no limits to what he can achieve.
The best way for him to learn that mindset is by seeing his Mommy and Daddy shoot for the moon on a daily basis. When he grows up and gets an idea to write a book or create something, he’ll just do it without that nagging voice in the back of his head saying “Are you sure you can do that?” because his parents have lived out how to step out on faith, trust God, and trust the “God” in you!
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I try not to think of them as “competitors” for starters. Of course there are many bloggers/authors/life coaches out there who are inspiring others to be virtuous women and live their best life, but all of us come from different backgrounds and have different testimonies, so the way that each of us approaches the subject is automatically going to be different. I focus my efforts on hearing from God and using my unique gifts, life experiences and skill sets to serve others.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be (or at least headed in that direction)!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Do YOU! Everyone else is taken. Also, imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery. It’s just annoying! Be your authentic self. People are drawn to and inspired by “authenticity”.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
Periscope is AWESOME! I am also a part of some very inspiring Facebook groups that share amazing information/insight as well (such as: Christian Female Coaches and Consultants with Beverly Walthour, and Traffic Sales and Profit with Lamar Tyler). When you are on a budget and cannot afford to hire a business mentor/coach just yet, take FULL advantage of all of the FREE information that is out there via FB live videos, books, Periscope, Facebook groups, etc.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Well MY book “Virtue Chic: Classy Takes Center Stage” of course :)! Besides that, “Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want” by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy is a MUST READ!
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently seeking out more knowledge on driving traffic to my websites, gaining life coaching clients, and marketing/selling my book.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goal for the next few months is to book at the least 5 more media placements (blog features, radio interviews, television appearances) before the end of 2017 and set up at least 3 for the month of January to kick off 2018. I am also endeavoring to book more speaking engagements.
At my book launch event a few weeks ago, I had people fill out a questionnaire and indicate whether or not they’d be interested in hosting a “Virtue Chic Diva Chat” or group life coaching session with me, and I got a handful of people who said yes, so I will start my efforts with them!
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