For the June Edition of the Inspiring Women of the Month Series, I interviewed an extremely successful, beautiful and talented lady- Heidi Nazarudin! "The former investment banker turned Style Star" is the Blogger-in-Chief of one of my favorite Websites: www.TheAmbitionista.com and the CEO of a successful digital branding agency: Marque Media. Heidi did what many of us want to do, but don't have the guts to- leave their "safe" jobs and pursue their dreams! Check out her interview and her insights on starting a business, life style tips and fashion trends!
Interview with Heidi
1. You had an extremely high profile career as an international banker and CEO of a Nasdaq listed company - something most people, male and female, can not even fathom! What was the catalyst to leaving and making the decision to start a blog?
I didn't leave my company to blog lol. I left my company to pursue a career in fashion. I knew I did not have the stomach to go to fashion school ( to design) so I thought I could write and talk about fashion. So I started freelance writing about fashion and once I was able to secure 2-3 steady clients I resigned. This process from being able to write professionally to getting regular freelance jobs took about 9 months. And from there I also ghost-blogged for a few blogs. I only started my own blog after experiencing the joy of connecting with readers via the blogs I wrote for. So it was quite a journey. And even then after I created my own blog I didn't know it would be the thing it is now and it would lead me to doing the things I do now. But the one constant was that i wanted to be involved in fashion in a successful way and here I am : )
2. What would you say were the biggest 2-3 challenges or obstacles in starting your own business? And can you give us your tips on overcoming this challenges?
I think my biggest challenge was separating my self-worth from my work. I was a successful investment banker earning a lot of money and i wanted to become a fashion writer. Writers don't make a lot of money and so there was a lifestyle change. Some friends stopped inviting me for social gatherings and some people treated you differently because you were no longer important (read: not spending a lot of money) . It was not easy but I surrounded myself with people who treated me the same and also learnt to understand that how they treated me was a reflection on them. I also had to learn how to delegate effectively. This is still a challenge but I get over it by figuring out what exactly in my business that I absolutely must do myself and what can be tasked out. I actually write down my 10 things that I really cannot delegate. Everything else I task out. Even things like scheduling appointments, housekeeping, formatting my blog posts .. once I can delegate them, I did.
3. You were born in Malaysia, and lived all over the world. I have a similar life story ( I was born in Moscow and lived all over Europe before settling down in LA). How has living in all those places shaped your style?
Style-wise I am very cosmopolitan which means I tend to look polished no matter what I wear ( so no festival looks from me unfortunately lol) but it has also made me very versatile. I tend to blend in whatever city I am in - I often get asked for directions from other tourists ( and locals) when I am in a foreign city. I suppose this is not a bad thing lol.
4. Speaking of looks, overall you look STUNNING!! How do you keep yourself in shape and healthy? Do you have a daily fitness regime or follow a specific diet?
Well I am very good with make-up and I know which hairstyles work for me. I am actually very lazy which is why I keep my hair short so it takes maybe 15 minutes top to style it. I'm in front of the camera a lot and I travel so much that I have to be very good to my skin - I hardly drink, sleep 7-10 hours a day and I use very good skincare. Oh and i know this is very boring but i use sun protection religiously. Good skin allows me to go easy on makeup on days I am not in front of the camera. Again - laziness drives a lot of my decision making here lol.
5. In your opinion, what fashion trends are you loving for this coming summer?
I love the pajama as day-wear trend. Everywhere you go there are these beautiful silk pajama sets that are as comfortable as they are chic. And because i live in LA where most people don't do anything but casual, these are perfect!
6. What are your plans for the future? Any exciting events or projects coming up that you want to share with us?
I am a co-founder of an exciting new venture - we'relaunching a subscription box service called The Boss Box. It's a subscription box curated for corporate go-getters and businesswomen. And the kicker is - we've partnered with Dale Carnegie Inc to include what I call #toolstothrive - information and education for these bossladies. I can't wait for it to launch!
7. In so many ways, you have defined "success" . If you were to give one piece of advice for all the women, daughters, sisters, friends out there looking to achieve success, or the next level of it, what would that be?
Set your goals and your action plans and go for it. And while you're going for it - surround yourself with people who are also ambitious and making their way up. I think one of the reasons I am able to achieve a lot is because I was surrounded by people who are achieving a lot. Your mental state of mind is the most important thing when trying to achieve something. I was surrounded by family and friends - men and women who were going after big things and in a way, this made me fearless. Asking for a $10,000 contract on your first day as an independent business owner seems okay because you saw that it was not a big amount in the grand scheme of things , or that aiming for $50,000 for your Q1 seems normal because that's what you saw your friend, a successful small business owner was making. Imagine if all you do is hang out at home with your roommate who made minimum wage.Your state of mind will be very different. And the good news is with the internet - there are so many networks out there that give you access to successful people or people who are trying to also make it big in your industry. You just have to seek them out.
8. Do you have a mantra, or quote you live by?
I often repeat this phrase to myself whenever I feel overwhelmed, " Don't worry about what you can't do, worry about what you can do." . It basically means don't focus on your weaknesses or things that are out of your hands but concentrate on your strengths and take actions on things that are within your control. It really has helped me to not stress about things.
Thank you so much for this interview Heidi!!
Former investment-banker turned style-star Heidi Nazarudin is a global jetsetter based in Los Angeles - but calls the world her home. She balances being the Blogger-in-Chief at the award-winning website TheAmbitionista.com and being a CEO of a successful digital branding agency, Marque Media. She has graced numerous magazine covers including Marie Claire Malaysia as well as features on Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, WWD, Fast Co, Huffington Post and many more. With more than 700k social media following and growing, Heidi epitomizes her tagline - Conquering The World In Style.