Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rachel Lee, Co-Founder of Neo Genesis, located in Burnaby, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a personal brand strategist, designer, and creative unicorn on a mission to help impact-driven entrepreneurs build a kickass personal brand and present themselves online with confidence. After having spent the first few years of my business building, evolving, and growing my brand alongside my clients, I discovered the secret to creating an authentic brand that captivates and builds instant rapport with customers.
Today, I help my clients discover their own “secret sauce,” clarify their message, redesign their brand wardrobe, and apply their brand consistently to their online presence so they can FINALLY start attracting clients that truly light them up and create the impact that they want to be making.
Most of my clients are entrepreneurs and thought leaders who are the face of their businesses. Regardless of whether they're a solopreneur or a team leader, they know that they are the highlight of their customer's experience, and want the way they show up online to reflect how they show up in real life — with personality!
Tell us about yourself
I like to tell people that I started my business by "accident." Growing up, all I wanted was to be a graphic designer who made cool things for cool people. It wasn't in my plan that I would end up hating my full-time graphic design job because it didn't give me the opportunity to interact directly with the people I was designing for.
I wanted to be a professional creative problem solver, and my job didn't give me the space to grow into that role... so naturally speaking, I started taking on side projects to explore my options. I really wanted to find a happy spot where I enjoyed the work that I did, helping people I love and making the kind of money that I knew I deserved.
As the universe would have it, I ended up quitting my full-time job before I found the answers I was looking for and was thrust (completely unprepared) into the world of creative freelance. Unfortunately, I didn't learn anything about business when I studied design in art school, so you can already imagine what the first year of business was like for me.
I realized I knew nothing, and I kept being bombarded by all sorts of messages about what I needed to “do,” “have,” or “be like” in order to run a successful business. This got me listening to all of the wrong advice, and I ended up copying people to the point where I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.
While things looked fine on the outside from a business sense, I felt horrible on the inside. As I delved further into building my business and niched down on helping my clients with their branding, I very quickly realized that I had some serious misalignment with the way I was presenting MYSELF to the world.
It got to a point where I actually developed anxiety around the questions, "Who are you? What do you do?" because I was confused about my own answer. I wasn't clear on who I was outside of what I did, and I had no idea how to tie that really important identity piece into the way I presented myself in a professional setting.
So long story short, I ended up sitting myself down one day and brain-dumped 100-something pages worth of thoughts in response to the one question, "WHO AM I?". This launched me into a complete transformation in the way I showed up, not just in my business but in my life as well. Little did I know, this was the start of my own journey with personal branding — because, to me, it's less about how I show up and it's more about the person that I see myself becoming.
This is what gets me up every morning because it's not just a business thing! Personal branding is a powerful personal development vehicle, and it's something amazing that I want to share with the world.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
While most business owners might brag about hitting their first 6, 7, or 8 figures, I actually see my biggest accomplishment as the incredible amount of personal growth I have experienced over the short 3 years that I've been in business. I made MANY adjustments throughout the course of my journey, but every day that I show up for "work," I'm reminded that I am becoming the type of person who is capable of handling more responsibility and creating more impact. I wake up every morning feeling immense gratitude for the choice I made to go down this path, and that, to me, is the biggest accomplishment!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are a LOT of self-doubts that you struggle with as a business owner. Some days, it can get so overwhelming that you just want to stay in bed and never get up. The biggest question that every business owner struggles with (no matter at what stage of their journey) is, "do I have what it takes to make this happen?"... and the only way to prove that you can, is to just show up and give it everything you got. Because of this, "Do it messy" has become one of my slogans, and it's something that I have to recite back to myself on the days when I really don't want to show up.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I probably have a million and one tips to share, but I would definitely say that if you're just starting out, here are 3 things that you'll want to consider:
- You have to know WHY you're starting up a business — because if your "why" is just to make money, your business is going to fall flat when things get tough.
- You have to be KICKASS at what you do — because a business with no solid offer is nothing but an unrealistic pipe dream.
- You have to be prepared to make a bunch of MISTAKES, and be ok with the fact that people will see that — because you won't know what works until you test it!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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