When I was growing up, one of my most beloved cartoons of all times was—Wonder Woman! And fast forwarding some 45 years later—I’m still intrigued at how some women are using their unique “super powers” to show up powerfully in their spheres of influence to make a difference. Well, Uchenna Lewis is no exception being the purposeful queen-of-all-things.
Uchenna is the CEO of VIP Legacy Builders, a boutique consulting firm providing Image Consulting & Personal Branding, Coaching, Speaker Mastery Classes, and Financial Literacy/Solutions. It’s mission is to empower everyday people to leave extraordinary legacies by building businesses and brands aligned with their vision, ingenuity and purpose. One way this mission is executed is by coaching women to show up looking like their destination and not their location, allowing their image to convey a hope and a future.
“Your image speaks up for you before you ever have a chance to say a word, therefore we must make sure your image sends the right message. I help women to get clarity on their brand message and helping them recognize that their image must reflect their vision and brand message. No one wants a brand that’s a cheap carbon copy, so authenticity is a value-added attraction.”
Share some of your entrepreneurial journey.
Unbeknownst to me, my entrepreneurial journey started decades ago watching my Dad start up the very first interior decorating and furniture company in the little quaint town of Enugu, Nigeria that I grew up in. Seeds of entrepreneurship were sown then as I developed an immense sense of appreciation for the independence, flexibility and lifestyle entrepreneurship afforded us but also the realities of hard work and failures were present.
Fast forward to 2015, I was a single mother raising a beautiful little girl, working a corporate job coaching and training a few hundred independent representatives in a global beauty company but had a sense that I wasn’t doing all I was created to do. I was really fighting this gnawing feeling inside of me that questioned what my purpose was and why I was here. I spent many a sleepless night restlessly seeking. I remember attending a conference that year and was so positively impacted and on my way home that evening, as I pondered the events of the day and all that had transpired, I hear this voice within me saying, ‘You will be like a midwife and will help people birth the gifts inside of them.”
Since faith is the crux of your life, how do you integrate it in how you deliver to the marketplace?My faith really is the basis of my life and business, therefore the solutions I offer stem from that. I coach my clients to live in their truth and show up as their authentic selves no matter what, and I’m no different. Being your authentic self is the number one way to find and magnetize your tribe. There’s no divorcing my faith in the marketplace. When a client hires me, they almost always already know that they’re working with a woman of faith because I make it no secret. The people who I’m called to are drawn to that and greatly appreciate it. I understand that I may not be for everyone and I’m okay with and respect that. But for those I’m called to, I do the best I can to serve them with love and see my service as an extension of ministry. As Colossians 3:17 exhorts. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…”
How do you manage to balance your life as a wife, mother, pastor/minister, and entrepreneur?
Balance sometimes seems quite evasive when you wear so many different demanding hats. I used to try so hard to balance it all and realized I was fighting an almost losing battle as there would always be an area that seemed to be lacking. So now, what I seek is to be at peace and in harmony in the different roles. Making sure I maintain my personal time of prayer and meditation is a must because I need the wisdom that only God gives to do and be my very best in each space. I really cannot do it by my own strength.
Self-care helps tremendously because when I’m at my best, everyone else thrives better. Learning to say NO is one of the best things that happened to me. As a nurturer and one who loves to make sure everyone else is okay, this was tough to do but very necessary. I have to say no to the things that don’t serve me nor add value to my life and what I’ve been called to do. Learning to delegate and letting go of some things has been my biggest challenge and steepest learning curve, yet my biggest help. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m daily working on staying occupied in my areas of brilliance and delegating the other areas. Lastly, knowing what the priority is at every given time and responding accordingly helps keep things going with a better sense of cohesiveness.
What is the best advice you can offer entrepreneurs as we navigate through this pandemic?
APPRECIATE YOUR PROGRESS. If you are an entrepreneur, I want you to first applaud yourself! No matter what state your business is in right now, you must be mindful that you have thus far survived one of the most challenging times we’ve ever seen. For whatever it is worth, it is equally important to continue to show up even in the midst of all of the uncertainty. How you show up in times like these may be very different from how you’ve been used to showing up, but you must be willing to adjust and pivot.
REVISIT YOUR VISION. The modality with which you achieve that vision might be different, how you get there may not be the way you originally envisioned, but the vision remains the same. Come back to it again and again and make sure it is clearly communicated with your team, customers or clients.\\\
ENGAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Engage your clients especially on social media. Appreciate them, assure them that you are still here to serve them, and make sure they know how much they mean to you. This is a really good time to survey your existing customer or client base and see if there are ways you can better serve them in this season. Embrace the fact that having real estate in the digital space is no longer an option but an absolute necessity now and beyond the pandemic. So, look for ways to gain a strong footing online.
ASK FOR HELP. If you feel stuck, get help! You might think getting help is expensive, but not reaching out for help can be much more costly and detrimental. Remember, closed mouths don’t get fed. For those who have a brick and mortar business, you should seriously consider adding on a home-based business that will allow you leverage all the tax advantages that a home-based business offers.
DIVERSIFY INCOME STREAMS. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the fact that you cannot afford to put all your eggs in one basket. How many streams of income are you realizing from your current business? If the answer is one, then you must re-evaluate and appraise your business and strategy. Be intentional on maximizing and utilizing all the streams you can from your business. If your business is strictly service based, perhaps you could add a line of products to go with it. And if you are product-based, also consider the services you can add on. Super-size your offerings by having add-ons such as leveraging speaking no matter industry you’re in. Your business will grow exponentially when you’re able to give voice to your message and add value to others through speaking.
INTEGRATE PASSIVE INCOME. Also, find other passive means of income such as affiliate marketing as you continue to work on and grow your business. Many of the products or services you already use and love may have an affiliate marketing side that you may not know about and you are leaving money on the table if you aren’t leveraging that. So, check out the sites that you frequently shop and inquire about their Affiliate Marketing program.
AVOID WASTEFUL SPENDING. Make sure you are looking at your finances and trimming the fat by eliminating unnecessary spending because we don’t know how long this will last or if any more help will be extended. Invest in financial literacy! You must understand that as an entrepreneur, you must go from making money to making money work for you. You will only truly learn how to do so when you understand how money works.
INVEST IN SELF-EDUCATION. And last, but not least, this is the time to invest in sharpening your skills and upgrading your knowledge base to accommodate our ever-changing climate. Your harvest will only be as good as the quality of seeds you sow in yourself and your business. For every new level of growth, you must be prepared to invest at a higher level for your personal development. Your business will only go as far as you grow in your own personal development. You are more resilient than you know and can come out from this pandemic even stronger than ever. You got this!
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Her latest book, Anorexic Faith, can be pre-ordered now by clicking here.
All images by PC Pro Photography LLC