By Ramunda Lark Young
Sisters Who SOAR is a column created to connect women around the world to extraordinary women of color who’ve surpassed obstacles and rose to great success. So often we hear women say there are not enough leaders who share their experiences, successes and fears. This column is poised to enlarge your personal circle of knowledge and learn from brilliant women who continue to SOAR!
Nicole Roberts Jones is uniquely gifted at one thing–drawing out what’s best in YOU and helping you take your Brilliance to The Bank™. From her early days in the entertainment industry in Talent Management and Casting, she is the creator of the FIERCE Formula™ and now works with entrepreneurs to create multiple streams of income from what they already know. Nicole’s ultimate goal is to push her clients to their internal edge, and step into the true power of their gifts and talents in the work they do.
A nationally recognized transformational speaker, best-selling author and Bankroll Your Brilliance™ Coach, Nicole is also the CEO of FIERCE Factor Lab. With over 20 years’ experience working with entrepreneurs, corporate executives, heads of states, celebrities & nonprofit directors in talent and program development, her clients have included The Steve Harvey World Group, General Motors, McDonalds, and Lisa Nichols, just to name a few.
On top of all that transformational goodness, Nicole is a former adjunct professor.
Ramunda: What has been the most surprising part of your transition from the entertainment industry to becoming an entrepreneur?
Nicole: I came from a career in entertainment at one of Viacom’s largest cable networks broadcasting to 89 million homes to rubbing elbows with stars at all the Hollywood parties. I was living what many called “the dream” and instead, I woke up one day and discovered it was my biggest nightmare. Everyone kept telling me who I should be and what I should do. I was startled when I realized that I didn’t even know my own soul!
The surprising transition occurred when I began working with young women looking for more out of life and my natural ability to draw out the best in them and help create a path of hope. It was the same skillset I’d used with talent in entertainment, but utilizing it with girls, allowed me to create a fingerprint and legacy with them. I was making a difference and that changed me.
Ramunda: As an entrepreneur, what has been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far and how did you overcome it?
Nicole: My biggest, or rather yummiest, obstacle I struggled with and had to overcome was letting go of people’s perception of me. I allowed their visions to define me. I had never once asked myself, what does Nicole want! I also had to let go of all the negative chatter in my head. I grappled with not looking and feeling “black enough” based on the taunts of young people I went to school with and battled with not fitting in.
The battle was deciding to choose me. I realized over time, that it felt good being me, unapologetically. I had to define my own type of fierce. To me, fierce means standing in the full power of your gift. My fierce was finding the thing I was born to do and facing the lies I believed about myself that simply weren’t true.
For every woman who is living in the land of “perception, the land of make believe,” one of my favorite Bible verses is “I have come that you have life and have it more abundantly.” When we realize we were born for greatness, we can live boldly, more fiercely.
Ramunda: You are a well-respected business coach and leader recently inducted into the Forbes Coaches Council. Why do you think it is important for women to step outside of their comfort zone to establish authentic connections with thought leaders, and mentors?
Nicole: I’ll tell you why:
1)If you had it all, and you knew how to do it all, you wouldn’t need anybody else, that’s not the case…for anybody.
2). I’ve been in this business for 24 years. There was no blueprint and I ended up doing so many things wrong; I didn’t have anyone to show me the correct way at that time.
Three reasons why authentic connections matter:
- You are your own best kept secret. People won’t know your gift unless you get out there and let them see you in person.
- Sisterhood, support, only comes when you are out and meeting other women who are in the battlefield with you and you make those connections. You can build of tribe of women who you can learn from.
- I realized I needed help. I hired a coach and joined a mastermind that provided accountability partners. I created a community around me. Starting out, I was only making $13K year coaching and understood I had to move out of my own way. I needed to learn from someone who was where I wanted to be.
People often get a coach and mentor confused. The difference:
Coach: someone you have a contractual relationship with that help you reach a goal in mind
Mentor: someone who is already where you want to be, but fits you in only when they can.
Ramunda: How has face-to-face networking impacted your business overall, since many entrepreneurs make their primary focus marketing, promoting and connecting with potential clients online?
Nicole: There is nothing like a personal connection. There will never be anything that replaces human interaction and it’s critical. A mixture of both social media and human interaction are necessary. If you want people to say “yes to you,” you need them to connect and experience you, and then you can create those relationships where they are ready to invest in you and themselves.
Ramunda: What advice would you give a woman who is working both a full-time job and pursuing entrepreneurship?
Nicole: Do Not Quit Your Job! You need to eat! Build your business alongside your 9-5 career. My corporate clients are armed with experience and expertise that people need and it’s crucial to understand the thing you were born to do. Build your business in a way that you make money while you sleep. You must create multiple streams of income and bankroll your brilliance. You do not quit your day job until you make the same amount, predictably month over month.
My full-time job was my investor. Every time I got paid, my business did too. You must understand that your job can fuel your business. I had two jobs at one time along with my entrepreneurial endeavor. My job was indeed my investor.
Ramunda: What does fear look like to you?
Nicole: Fear is real, but I use fear as FUEL! When you experience fear, it only means you’re doing something you haven’t done before.
You have to remember you have a choice: your faith doesn’t get activated until you are in the face of fear.
Anytime you feel fear, put on your big girl panties and find the resource, coach or information you need.
You can choose fear either of these acronyms for fear and they work wherever you are mentally: Face Everything and RISE or Face Everything and Run! You choose.
Ramunda: What one piece of advice would you give your 12-year-old self about life?
Nicole: I would tell her, “you’ve got this.” It’s an affirmation I tell myself even now when I’m nervous. Knowing that you have everything you need to succeed is liberating.
Ramunda: What’s next for Nicole?
Nicole: Annual Fall Event: Be the Answer betheanswerevent.com. Dallas, TX Sept 29-30.
This is not a conference, it is a two-day intensive. We are going to do the work and you will leave with an actual plan to move your business forward.
Ramunda: How can our audience connect with you?
About Ramunda Lark Young: Mom, SocialPreneur, wife, community leader, lover of people and God. She is the Chief Encouragement Officer and Connection Strategist of Ramunda Young, Inc. A firm dedicated Encouraging Extraordinary Women to SOAR! Built on the premise that leaders can exceed beyond their expectations when given the proper tools and connections, Young has dedicated her life to equipping women for success
She and her husband co-founded MahoganyBooks, an online award winning bookstore whose books are by and about people of the African Diaspora.
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