Wise Women Wednesday: Naomi Mdudu

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Q. Who are you? What is your background? 
A. I studied law in university over something ‘vocational’. I was very academic growing up and came from a very academic family so studying something like journalism wasn’t on the cards for me. Looking back, I’m so glad that I did. Studying law taught me to think analytically, write succinctly and taught me to think in a much more expansive way – great foundations for everything I’m doing now.

Throughout school, I assisted a whole host of different stylists and magazine editors. As soon as my lectures finished, I’d been rushing of to prep for a shoot or jumping on the Eurostar to Paris for fashion week. I loved styling but after four years I realized that I was more drawn to words as a form of storytelling.

Two weeks after graduating, I landed a job as a fashion editor of a financial newspaper (at the ripe age of 22) and worked in newspapers until I left in 2014 to start The Lifestyle Edit. Looking back, it was a huge amount of responsibility – in my first newspaper job, I was the their first-ever fashion editor and in all my roles, I was fortunate enough to be given free rein to shape the editorial tone and voice of the style sections. I learnt so much from how to craft a great piece to how to manage people. I’m immensely grateful.  

Q. What is your work?
A. I’m the founder of The Lifestyle Edit Media, which encompasses our online content platform, podcast and my work as a business coach and strategist, supporting creative female founders make a living doing what they love. I help them transition from concept to six figures in revenue through my tried and tested roadmap to establish marketing, revenue models, sales and automation systems to position their business for rapid growth.

The Lifestyle Edit was born because I wanted to create a platform that firstly, celebrates the incredibly dynamic female founders and executives that make things happen behind the scenes at the many of the businesses we all know and love. But more importantly, I wanted to create a space where these women could talk candidly about their journeys and share actionable advice that our community can take away and immediately action in their lives.

Looking back, entrepreneurship was always on the cards for me but when I decided to take the leap, there was nowhere for me to turn. At the time, there were fantastic resources for women in the fashion realm – but when it came to unpacking the careers of prominent women and talking in-depth about the factors that have influenced their life choices – I couldn’t find anything out there. I wanted to know how these women navigated the professional realm but I also wanted to know how their approach to wellness and both physical and mental health feeds into that. I wanted to read stories that were honest and that reflect some of my life experiences.

Starting a business is scary and it can often feel isolating. The Lifestyle Edit was always designed to circumvent that by creating a community of women going through the same journey but from a wide range of different life stages, all rooting and supporting one another.

It’s funny because we’re often called a modern self-help destination for start-ups but we’re not about being preachy or prescriptive at all. Our mission is to use these stories as a vehicle to share different lessons women have learnt along the way.

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Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. Growing our podcast! We’re constantly thinking about which experts we can bring on the show to go deep on topics and strategies that we know our community needs support with so I’m loving working on that.

One of the exciting things right now is that entrepreneurship is prominent in social discourse but one of the downsides I believe is that there’s a lot of content that focuses purely on inspiration and the what, rather than giving women actionable advice that they can implement and use to change their lives and their businesses.

It’s a big undertaking to deliver on that every single week (and multiple times a week!) but it’s a mission I’m really excited to continue to pursue.

Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. Two years ago, I decided to close the done-for-you consulting limb of our business. At the time, it was the biggest contributor to our top line revenue but also the biggest contributor to my declining personal wellbeing and relationships. As much as I loved supporting our clients, it was moving me away from the real reason I started my business, which was to empowering new female founders with the strategies they need to start and rapidly scale their ventures. Shortly after wrapping up our accounts, I announced to my community that I would be taking 1:1 clients and my roster was filled immediately. I haven’t looked back since…

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Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it?  If not why not what's stopping you? 
A. I get to do what I love doing every day!

There are so many things I’m proud of but hands down the most rewarding thing for me has been servicing this community. It was always my mission to create a business that not only inspires women to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions, but also walks them through the ‘how’, so it’s been incredible to see that mission transcend beyond the site to The Lifestyle Edit Podcast and the work we do with female founders through our coaching services.

Reading emails from our community about how a story on the site sparked them to leave an unfulfilling 9 to 5 and go full time with their side hustle, or how a podcast episode helped them secure funding for their business is something I’ll never tire of.

It’s a really exciting time to be a female founder right now: women are taking the helm of some of the most influential companies in the world; we’re receiving more private investment than ever before, and there’s a general spirit of optimism and community amongst female founders that’s really exciting. Hopefully that will only continue in the coming years. I’m certainly going to try to play my part.

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Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. Practice listening to you intuition – it always knows the way – and don’t allow self-doubt or imposter syndrome to hold you back.

And get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. Growth means pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Remember, your dreams are on the other side of your fears. Courage isn’t the absence of fear but the willingness to feel fear but do it anyway. If I let fear rule my choices, I’d be in London right now working in a job that wasn’t right for me.  

Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. Courage isn’t an absence of fear. It’s about feeling fear but doing it anyway.

Messy, intentional action is better than no action at all.

Perfectionism is fear disguised as a high expectations.

The list goes on!

Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. Recognizing that the work I do isn’t about me; it’s about showing up for the people I’m here to serve.

I’m constantly having the remind myself not to allow my ego (whether that shows up as fear or perfectionism) get in the way of the message. 

Q. What's your favorite yoga pose? 
A. Child’s Pose 

Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. By focusing on ‘being’ before ‘doing’.

I try my hardest to getting into alignment through meditation, visualization, mantras and things like that to make sure that I’m being intentional about my thoughts so that my actions flow from there.

I’m a firm believer that we’re the thinkers of our thoughts. Our thoughts then create our emotions, which create our actions, which ultimately create our lives.

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