I know that my different paths of passions can be traveled at the same time. – If Yvonne
One of the most common obstacles I hear from career changers is choosing which career path to take when you have many interests. Ify Yvonne destroys this limiting belief by building a portfolio career that includes a daily job as a pharmacist with two side chores: 1) as a social media influencer (millions of YouTube video views and tens of thousands of Instagram followers); and 2) as co-founder of the fashion line, Nkeoma By Ivy & Livy, with her sister.
Yvonne’s goal with Nkeoma is to celebrate the culture of Africans (Yvonne is Nigerian-American) through fashion, destroying another limiting belief that you can’t combine money and meaning. This multi-dash is building a portfolio career that combines diverse interests, both commercial and creative.
My 3 favorite takeaways from our exchange:
1 – Pay attention to your market because your audience tells you what they need. Yvonne developed a new product based on customer feedback: “With the success of my businesses, I had a plethora of friends, family and followers asking for help and guidance in setting up their businesses. This is how my corporate launch academy, Hustle & Glow, was born.
2 – You don’t have to quit your job to start your career change: “During my first year as a pharmacist, after finishing my shifts at the retail pharmacy where I worked, I spent the night building Nkeoma By Ivy & Livio.
3 – Be demanding about the advice you follow: “Do not consult with people who are not where you want to be or who do or have done what you are trying to do … Their advice will always be guided by words that take you on the safest path “.
Our full exchange below:
Caroline Ceniza-Levine: How has your diverse career in the portfolio changed, and in particular the pharmaceutical and fashion sector?
If Yvonne: Since I was in high school, I have always known that I wanted to have my own business in the fashion industry, but I also knew that I wanted to have a professional career in the medical field. I am a woman, a Nigerian woman to be more specific, so I know that my different paths of passions can be traveled at the same time. After earning my PhD in Pharmacy and starting my pharmacy career, it was time to pursue my dreams of having my own clothing line. Since I was still a budding influencer at the time, I built a business from scratch. I learned a lot along that journey, especially the textile and manufacturing industries. With the success of my businesses, I have had a plethora of friends, family and followers asking for help and guidance in building their businesses. This is how my corporate launch academy, Hustle & Glow, was born. At my corporate throwing academy, I help women go from 0 to throwing in months.
Ash-Levine: What prompted you to finally make the leap or was it a gradual move?
Yvonne: However, it was a gradual move, always preparing and anticipating the next step. My vision and dreams for myself have always been my focus in everything I do. Being immersed and happy in working in my areas of passion, while also helping and motivating others to pursue the same. There have certainly been leaps at every stage. I engaged in new concepts and understanding this as I experimented with each project was my method of action.
Ash-Levine: How did you decide to influence and then e-commerce?
Yvonne: I started my hobby as an influencer at the end of my studies at pharmacy school, it really happened and it grew from there. Always keeping my vision of what I wanted for myself, I knew that growing a genuine and loyal audience was key to any business I would eventually undertake. Then, when the time came, and I discovered e-commerce, I launched my own home clothing brand, Nkeoma By Ivy & Livy.
Ash-Levine: What resources were particularly helpful in making the change, e.g. courses, books, tutor or coach, professional association?
Yvonne: For my new corporate launch academy project, Hustle & Glow, I sought out minds, mentors and coaches who would really help me build the systems and processes I needed to be able to efficiently and effectively help my clients to launch their businesses ….[Specific examples include] The series of books by Julie Solomon, Lauren Tickner and Jen Sincero.
Ash-Levine: When did you feel like you changed careers, i.e. identified yourself as an entrepreneur versus an employee?
Yvonne: During my first year as a pharmacist, after finishing my shifts at the retail pharmacy where I worked, I spent the night building Nkeoma By Ivy & Livy. It was then that I really felt that the word entrepreneur was part of my name and title.
Ash-Levine: What, if anything, about your old career was useful to your new one? What, if anything, did you have to unlearn or give up on your old career?
Yvonne: I am grateful for my career and experience as a pharmacist, because it taught me the importance of quality control and workflow. When I fill up doctors’ prescriptions, I need to make sure that the drug the doctor has ordered is the one I am dispensing and administering to my patients. All the steps I take as a pharmacist to ensure accuracy and safety are the same ones I apply when fulfilling orders to my customers. This greatly reduces returns, exchanges and losses of money within the company.
Ash-Levine: Were friends and family supportive? If not, how did you find the motivation to work through your career change?
Yvonne: My family, my parents and my siblings have been so supportive on my journey and I am grateful for that. I met my husband in the midst of building my businesses and he has been such a cheerleader and support system as I became a wife and mother through all the chaos. And then all of my followers and supporters who have watched me grow over the years have been my motivation and inspiration to move forward and provide them with knowledge and entertainment.
Ash-Levine: What advice would you give to other professionals who are considering pivoting?
Yvonne: My advice to those who are thinking of doing that pivot is to just go. Don’t hesitate or wait for permission. Get your mindset right (read lots of books to help you in that department!) And just do it! You will discover all the details of your journey to new levels. As you read this article, you’ve been through the darkest day or hardest time. Everything always works in the end. So keep your vision and your goals for your life at the fore and seize any opportunities that bring you closer to that goal of yours. Invest in coaches and mentors to teach you new skills and concepts. Do not consult with people who are not where you want to be or who do or have done what you are trying to do. Unfortunately, they won’t give you the proper advice or strategy to get there. Their advice will always be guided by words that will lead you to the safest path. To be successful, you have to get uncomfortable and navigate unfamiliar territories.
Ash-Levine: What’s the next step for you?
Yvonne: For me, I will continue to grow Hustle & Glow and help women around the world launch their businesses, gain financial freedom and live in abundance. I’m writing a playbook for launching a business that will provide great value to those who need help and guidance on entrepreneurship and building a truly profitable business. In August 2021, I held my first women’s retreat in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii and I’m excited to start planning the next one for 2022!