Mother/Hustler Jessica Chinyelu Has Advice For Entrepreneurs Struggling With Mom Guilt
The year was 2018, and lifestyle blogger, Jessica Chinyelu had no intention of leaving her full-time corporate job for another two years, but we all know how the saying goes: we plan and God laughs. Although her husband's mom stepped in to offer help as Jessica transitioned back into her regularly scheduled work life, her in-law's stay was coming to an end and it was time to make some tough decisions.
Jessica could either sacrifice precious time with her newborn to make someone else richer, or she could step out on faith and build generational wealth. Spoiler Alert: she chose the latter. To Jessica and her husband, this decision proved to be an easy one, even after trying and failing the same plan almost ten years earlier. Jessica told xoNecole, "I actually did not want to leave my job until 2020. I left my job back in 2009 and to be honest, I shouldn't have left. I ended up going back to corporate America. I had no idea what I was doing, I wasn't good with money and I had no business trying to start my own which is why I failed. But I thank God for the lessons because it prepared me for where I am today."
With the support of her husband and a prayer, she traded in the stability and security of a 9 to 5 to become a full-time entrepreneur for the second time. Jessica shared, "My husband encouraged me to leave my job in 2018 after giving birth and he believed in me. He believed I was ready this time around to go full-force, even as a new mom."
Now, Jessica makes a living as a lifestyle blogger, content creator, and booking agent, and couldn't see her life any other way. To date, Jessica has received more than $100,000 in paid sponsorships, hosted a number of sold-out conferences and workshops, and is the founder of Woman of Purpose, a non-profit that helps other women also live out their passions according to the gifts they've been given by God.
We sat down with Jessica to talk about securing the bag and your sanity, all while juggling the pressures of motherhood at the same damn time. Here's what she had to say:
How do you handle moments when you feel overwhelmed?
There are so many days when I feel overwhelmed. I'm a stay-at-home mom without a nanny and I'm running multiple fruitful businesses.
The struggle is real. I've found that slowing down keeps me sane and find my inner peace.
First, I pause and then take a deep breath. Afterward, I begin to tell myself, "Girl, It's Okay!" Whatever tasks need to get done can wait because my peace is better. I give myself time to process why I'm feeling overwhelmed. Most times, I feel overwhelmed because I've overextended myself or I didn't give myself a realistic timeframe to complete a task.
If I have to cancel a meeting, I do it. If I have to inform someone I need a tad bit longer to hand in a deliverable, I choose to be honest regardless of what the other person may think because my peace of mind is what helps me function from a healthy and stable place.
What’s the hardest part of your day?
The toughest part of my day is when I need to jump on a conference/Skype call but my precious baby boy wants all of my attention. Somehow, I always find a way to make it through those calls, even though it's hard. Hubby and I agreed we would send our baby to Montessori at 18 months. Until then, I make it work at home. It takes loads of patience, but it's so worth it.
When I have moments where I want to lash out (because every mama has those moments), I think about how blessed we are as a family where I can stay home and raise my kiddos instead of someone else shaping my child's character and personality. Think about it, some babies spend 8-10 hours per day at a daycare which means the majority of their time is spent with other people outside of the home.
Courtesy of Jessica Chinyelu.
How (and how often) do you practice self-care?
Self-care is a TOP priority for me. Before we had a child, I made sure my husband understood I need my getaway time! I go for a facial every eight weeks. I get a manicure and pedicure every four weeks. I ensure I go to my little Asian reflexology spot (they be hooking sistah up) once a month. I also use my girls' nights as a form of self-care.
I remember when I would place everyone else's needs before my own. It was not a pretty sight. I was moody all the time, I didn't feel good about myself, and I didn't look like Jessica anymore. I knew something had to change. I take at least 3-4 hours away from my family two days a week so I can focus on ME. It's needed! Your self-care is vital for your mental stability.
When do you feel most productive?
I feel most productive when I'm on a Starbucks patio with my headphones over my head sipping on a very berry hibiscus drink and knocking out my to-do list. If I get at least three tasks completed, I feel pretty darn great about it. I used to try and accomplish ten things, but I overwhelmed myself that way. Now I focus on what's TOP priority, get it done and reward myself.
What is your advice for dealing with mom guilt?[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BrlCpPhnv4-/\ expand=1]
Man, I wish someone would've taught me how to deal with this when I first had my baby. Have a team of #Mamabaes who you can vent to when your completely over being a mom. Husbands don't understand what we as women go through at times. A #Mamabae is your experienced friend who has 2 or more children and will not judge you for feeling like you want to slap your husband or leave your baby for a few days just to get away. She's never in competition with you (new moms have a tendency to be in competition with one another), and she's always encouraging you to be kind to yourself and treat yourself at all times. She will remind you that it's okay to leave baby with dad or grandparents or close friends while you go out and DO YOU. You need this!
Secondly, don't compare yourself to other moms. Instagram will have you thinking you're the worst mom and you end up not enjoying motherhood because every experience is being compared to another mama's journey. The beautiful thing about motherhood is each mama's experience is so unique. Cherish the process instead of beating yourself up about it.
Lastly, ask for help and don't feel bad about it. No one is asking you to be a super mommy and if they are, put them in their place. I know I do. Asking for help takes courage and when you ask for help, you can get more done for your family and most importantly for yourself.
"No one is asking you to be a super mommy and if they are, put them in their place. I know I do. Asking for help takes courage and when you ask for help, you can get more done for your family and most importantly for yourself."
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
Money isn't everything. Chase peace and money will flow to you. I've become a professional at saying no to things because I realize if I'm losing peace over it, it's not worth it. One of my daily declarations is "God money (not good money) comes to me on a free course by the speed of the spirit." Money should not control you. You control money.
What is the most important lesson you want your kid(s) to learn from you?
This is such a great question. There are many lessons I want my kids to learn from me. I may get a little deep here because if you really think about it, it's a pretty deep question. I want my kids to know the truth about who they are, their true identities, and be so content with themselves and their true gifts that they never stray away from it. I want them to know they can achieve anything and to walk and talk like Kings and Queens because that's who they are. I want them to understand what living a true life looks like when you really allow your gifts to make room for you.
These days children are being influenced by anything and everything and it's important for us to teach our children how not to be easily swayed. I see young kids not confident in themselves, their abilities or their true gifts because their parents never took time to nurture those gifts.
I'm half American, half Nigerian. The Nigerian side of my family felt like everyone should be a nurse, a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer. I do not want my children to grow up with this type of mindset. I want them to learn how to be true to themselves and transform their true gifts into a gift that is as fruitful or even more fruitful than the profession of a nurse, a doctor, an engineer or lawyer.
Courtesy of Jessica Chinyelu
What advice do you have when it comes to time management as a mogul mommy?
Time is extremely valuable because you cannot get it back. My best advice would be to become a super planner. I have multiple calendars to keep me on track. Create a family calendar that everyone can see. I placed a dry erase calendar on our fridge so hubby can see what I have going on for the month and he plans his activities around my schedule.
Also, communicate like crazy. Hubby and I have to discuss our schedules daily to ensure we're on the same page and a caregiver is booked when needed. And be sure to carve out your ME time and ensure it's on the calendar. You need that ME time.
How has being a mother helped you become a better entrepreneur (or vice versa)?
Becoming a mom has helped me go even harder. I feel like I do more as a mom than I did whenever I wasn't a mom. Motherhood brought a different side out of me in the greatest way possible and I'm embracing it to the fullest. My greatest ideas to date came after giving birth.
"Motherhood brought a different side out of me in the greatest way possible and I'm embracing it to the fullest. My greatest ideas to date came after giving birth."
What tips do you have for financial planning, both professionally and for your family?
I'll start with professionally. When it comes to your business seek advice from a financial advisor and hire a CPA. You need to know EVERYTHING about your business and where the money is going, how much is coming in, and what's not working for your business. Make sure your business is a legal entity and protect your personal assets. Get an attorney on your side. You never know what will happen in the future.
If you didn't grow up in a family where you had healthy conversations about money, be honest with yourself about it and seek help when it comes to your family. Money is such a touchy subject, especially in the black community. I wasn't good with money before I met my husband. It was a challenge in the beginning of our marriage because I never wanted to discuss money. We made a decision to have seperate accounts, a joint account, a joint savings and investments together. Although we have seperate accounts, we made a decision to be transparent about those accounts. This was hard because I was not used to answering to someone about MY money. When you get married, MY now becomes OURS. I had to change my mindset about money and get comfortable with planning OUR future together for OUR family.
Featured image by Instagram/@JessicaChinyelu.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
What would you do if you just got laid off from your corporate job and you had a serendipitous encounter with someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime? Tamara Taylor was faced with that decision in 2013 after she was let go from her sales profit and operations coach job in the restaurant industry and met a then-up-and-coming stylist, Law Roach, on a flight to L.A. She and Roach struck up a conversation, and he shared how he was looking for someone to run his business and was impressed by her skills. While she took his business card, she was unsure if it would lead to anything. But, boy, was she wrong. Two weeks later, after packing up her home to move back to her hometown of Chicago, she called Roach; he asked if they could meet the following day, and the rest is herstory.
Taylor founded Mastermind MGMT, an agency that represents some of Hollywood’s best “image architects” like Roach, Kellon Deryck, and Kollin Carter, who are responsible for creating unforgettable style and beauty moments for celebrities like Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, Taraji P. Henson, and more. Taylor and her company possess an array of functions, but her biggest role is to be her client’s advocate. We hear endless stories about how creatives aren’t paid or underpaid in the entertainment industry, but Taylor ensures that her clients get their piece of the pie. The entrepreneur opened up about her company and her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, in an exclusive interview with xoNecole.
“I always say that I'm an artist advocate first, deal closer second. So my primary focus is to just make sure that the artist is getting everything that they deserve, whether it's compensation or, you know, certain accommodations, but just making sure that they have everything that they need to be able to show up and provide the best service that they're hired for,” she explained.
“So you know, in the beginning, it was hard because I didn't have any experience, and the artists who I was working with at the time–we were learning together, meaning neither of us had assisted anyone. We didn't have mentors in our specific fields. So every deal was like a new learning experience for us from the styling side and also from the business side, and so it took, you know, doing some research, using some very creative tactics, to find out information in the industry and just starting to request accommodations that I knew other artists were granted, who maybe didn't look like my artists.”
Photo courtesy of Tamara Taylor
Ten years later, there’s still not many people who are doing what Taylor is doing. However, things have gotten easier thanks to the research and connections she made in the beginning. During Mastermind MGMT’s ten-year anniversary celebration, she announced her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on helping young entrepreneurs through a 12-week program. The program is divided into “two routes.” The first route is for aspiring creative artists who want to start a business from their talent and all the things they need to learn about business, such as taxes, life insurance, etc. The second route is for practicing creative artists who are already in the industry but need resources such as how to plan for retirement or how to sustain themselves if they can’t work for a short amount of time, i.e., the pandemic.
“I just feel that I'm able to have a business and be successful because of their art as well. And so there are things that I know, I tried to teach it to them but understanding that I can only do so much because I'm not a subject matter expert in those fields,” she said. “So I at least want to be able to provide the resources, and then if they make their grown decision not to do it, then that's on them. But you know, I could be guilt-free and taking advantage of the resources that I'm also providing to them.”
Taylor continues to be an innovator in her industry by always pushing the boundaries of creativity and thinking one step ahead of everyone else. The Chicago-bred businesswoman is moving into the tech space thanks to a new invention created with her clients in mind, and she is looking forward to bigger collaborations in the future. Follow Mastermind MGMT on Instagram @mastermind_mgmt for more information.
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Feature image courtesy of Tamara Taylor