Always wanted to start your own business but had no idea where to start or how to build your brand? Emily Nolan of vegan lifestyle website My Kind of Life gives her advice on how to combine kind living with skillful marketing, how to have the courage to take the jump into entrepreneurship and how to stay sane in the process.
Tell us about yourself!
I am the Chief Empowerment Officer of MyKindofLife.com, a kind lifestyle blog that speaks to a large community of smart people interested in overcoming adversity, my journey as an international model as a size 14, and entrepreneurship. Most importantly, I share about how the power of choosing to live kindly has greatly influenced my personal life and the success of my brand.
Tell us about your experience as an entrepreneur:
My experience as an entrepreneur has been rewarding in more ways than financially. With the ability to control my own business, I’m able to reshape the way people see a living, breathing business; it’s influential, it’s motivating, it’s life-shaping and it’s kind. And yes, it is also everything that all entrepreneurs will tell you: it’s an upward roller coaster ride and very hard work. Well, I shouldn’t say hard work. How about, many hours of dedication–especially when you’re blessed–to be doing what you’ve always dreamed of.
How did you grow your profile as an entrepreneur?
I have always been a leader, even as a child. I would switch around the classroom’s popsicle sticks with the daily jobs on it so that I was always the line leader; the German in my heritage is very obvious at times, so I am not to blame–it must be a genetic mutation.
It has been a rewarding journey to see my profile grow as an entrepreneur. I have been asked, how do you promote yourself as a brand, without coming off as vain or self-absorbed? My message is always greater than who I am personally. I am just the vehicle to deliver the important message. When I share my story about overcoming 10 years of eating disorders with a vegan diet, or how I started a business based on inspiration and kindness, I’m speaking to smart, educated people who have dealt with the same issues and want to see the same changes and important message shared.
There are a lot of people in this world, and by sharing my story on MyKindofLife.com and other top publications, I am able to help them get through adversities of their own. The largest part of my success in growing my personal brand, My Kind of Life, would be attributed to employing the idea of selfless entrepreneurship, or starting a business to inspire kindness.
What are some difficulties you’ve come across on your path and how have you handled them?
With a business based on inspiring kindness and motivating people to become the best versions of themselves, you might think the journey was always roses, however, that’s not always the case. The most difficult moments of my journey have been living in NYC when my incredibly supportive and loving husband lives in Miami Beach (I visit a lot!). Also, it is difficult to accept patience when you’re very passionate about the message you’re spreading. I am impatient in nature, and as a child my poor Mom had to make up a short repetitive song about patience, just to buy time. It went, “Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry, have patience, have patience, there is no need to worry.”
Be patient. Be prepared. Your number will be called, and when it is, knock their socks off and give them no option but to remember you. That’s how I turned my struggle with patience into a rewarding, exciting journey.
What are your top three tips to someone who’d like to start a business but has no idea where to begin?
My top tips for someone who wants to pursue entrepreneurship would be to just do it, start small, and love your idea enough that you could dedicate the rest of your life to the mission.
Just do it. There are so many best-selling textbooks that teach you how to start a business and succeed, but the best way is to just do it. Just start selling your product, or start building your brand by contributing free articles to publications or a friend’s blog. You will find out what you need to do when you get ready to cross that bridge–or what I like to call the, “Oh shit!” moments. There are a lot more of those moments when you start up a business, like how to invoice clients and collect income, taxes, usually it’s the things that you classify under the “G.S.D.” rule, getting shit done.
Start small. Starting a business is an ever-changing business model that can be financially exhausting. I recommend starting small until you really feel like you’ve hit a niche that makes you comfortable in investing more money into. I started MyKindofLife.com as a smaller blog, and now that I’ve got a hold on what my bread-and-butter topics are, and what inspires and motivates me, I have invested a lot more into the development of something that I know is a great product.
Could you dedicate the rest of your life to the company’s mission? If I could wake up everyday and inspire people to love themselves more, and to know that they are great, just the way they are, I would–and I am. If you love your great idea enough to wake up every day for it, you will always have the energy to get through any of the struggles and have the determination to keep taking your brand to the next level. It takes ten years to be an expert, do you have the passion to fuel your idea for the next ten years? If you’re confident that you do, go for it!
What’s your number-one advice for maximizing your online presence as a business?
My best advice for maximizing online presence for a business is to volunteer your idea. Write articles for free (for online publications with a lot of eyeballs) to grow your readership, and volunteer to help other’s by sharing your message. Can I help out by speaking at your event? Can I help you fill content on your site by writing an article about how body image affects performance? What can I do to help you? Help someone and they will help you–that’s really helped me grow my online presence.
What are your tips on staying sane while working on starting a new business (as it can be quite stressful)?
My best tip on staying sane while starting a business is to picture myself as a reed in the ocean. There are big crushing waves, calm flat waters, and living creatures that live amongst my strength–and somehow, the reed always surfaces unharmed, stronger, and with the wisdom that the last storm imparted.
What’s the number-one lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
There are so many great lessons that I’ve learned as an entrepreneur, the best lesson is to be authentically you. My Kind of Life thrives on being open, honest and authentic, which makes my brand completely unique–no one else can say they have the same story that I do. I don’t like to see other people fail, so by eliminating any competition by building a completely unique brand, I can support everyone and they can help me, without having to feel that they’re feeding the competitor.
Photos by Mary Beth Koeth. Hair and makeup by Candice Crawford, using all cruelty-free and vegan products!