Woman Wednesday: Thao

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Thao, Newark, California

“It’s best to live life to the fullest of our ability, and it’s critical to keep going and get back up when life knocks you down.”

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about connecting with and helping people! I have been a stay-at-home mom with a home-based business, but prior to that, I was working in corporate in the human resources field. Despite being great at my HR jobs, I was not fulfilled. Then I became a full-time stay-at-home mom, and that has been challenging. For years, I felt guilty about not fully enjoying being at home with my kids as much as I thought. The thing is, I know to my core that I’m made for more. It was not until I decided to take a huge leap of faith last year and started my home-based business that I finally feel empowered to create my own joy.

I now have a balanced life in that I get to be home with my children but also have something of my own! Aside from the flexibility, what I love about my current job is I get to help and impact other people’s lives in ways I never knew I could. It brings meaning and purpose back to my life all because I learned to listen to my gut instincts and did it despite uncertainties.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States when I was 9 years old. Growing up, my parents had a successful home-based bakery and were extremely busy with their business that there was no family structure and minimal quality time. Needless to say, I was an unhappy child and didn’t feel I had anyone to go to. My upbringing definitely had a huge impact on the person I’ve become. I struggled with self-esteem and insecurities as a child, and this played well into my adulthood despite having a bold and outgoing personality. However, I’ve done well academically and achieved both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees by the age of 24.

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I was ambitious, focused, hardworking, and driven. It wasn’t until after finishing my master’s and entering the real world and workforce that I became more lost than ever. For the first time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life! I went into HR, left it, came back to it, and then finally left it altogether after having kids. I desperately tried to figure out my purpose and direction in life, but I wasn’t able to do it for years. I think my self-awareness, resilience, and persistence have been instrumental to my growth and overcoming challenges. After I became a mom, I have been secretly living with depression and anxiety. Finally, I had the courage to share my story last winter on Facebook. It’s mind-boggling what these mental disorders can do to someone’s self-belief and ability to enjoy life. I realized during my darkest moments that the one person who was always there for me despite anything has been God. My struggles have indeed deepened my spirituality and commitment to redefining my life. The only person who could bring real change to my life is me and only me. I am not a quitter!

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I have learned that no worldly achievements will bring lasting meaning and happiness to my life if I don’t make an effort to develop myself and become the best version of who I am meant to be. Self-growth is the best gift anyone can give to themselves and has personally helped me cope with my mental disorders and life challenges in general. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma in our society and in most cultures about mental illness. I want to be the voice of people living with mental illness and show others that it is definitely possible to thrive in life despite your mental conditions. I also want young people to know that it’s okay to not know what you want to do in life. Some of us still couldn’t figure it out in adulthood! It’s best to live life to the fullest of our ability and it’s critical to keep going and get back up when life knocks you down. I also wish I was less fearful of trying new things for most of my life. Now, I’ve learned that doing things despite fear is the key to unlocking my best self and best life. It’s never too late!

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: For years, women have been limited by what we can do, and feminism to me is about breaking boundaries and glass ceilings. I see the ideal world of equality, and if that is desiring the same rights and privileges as men, then call me a feminist!

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Woman Wednesday: Chelsea

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Chelsea, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

If you don’t have a plan, don’t fret! Try new things. Travel. See things. Do things. Live. And it will come to you, babe. And when it does, just go for it!” 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about creativity and connection! I do my best to use these passions to guide me in my business and in my life in general. I’ve always been interested in art, DIY, lettering, costumes, decorating, any means of creating. I love hand-lettering and watercolor painting and had always dreamed of finding a way to make it into a viable business.

I tried a number of different career paths before realizing that I just don’t fit into a box, and it suits me best to think outside of it. The career I truly wanted wasn’t really a traditional job option, so I made it up! I am now self-employed as a virtual and creative assistant, which means if you’ve got a business, a project, or an event on the go and you need some help, I’m your girl. My clients are so diverse, and I love that so much. I may be creating websites or designing content, expense reporting or scheduling meetings, hand-making wedding favors or greeting cards, personal shopping or managing social media, planning parties or working on audiovisual projects, or anything and everything in between. I get to coordinate and be creative, while also creating meaningful connections and providing much-needed support to my clients. I love the feeling that my passion helps others to fulfill their passions.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I have always felt a bit different from those around me because it took me a while to find my path. I still feel like I’m “behind” in my life, and it’s a daily challenge not to compare myself to others. 

I went to university immediately out of high school without much of a plan. I wanted to go to art college, but I couldn’t envision a fine arts career, so instead, I bounced around trying to find what felt right. Everything seemed driven by a nagging voice telling me I had to be practical and choose something safe that would provide a stable career. Teaching? Too many teachers in our province. Clinical psychologist or English professor? Too expensive to do a Ph.D. Could I become a famous children’s author? Not likely. 

 

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I worked full time and went to uni part-time. I ended up graduating with an arts degree in English and psychology and still not much of a plan. I was proud of myself for getting that piece of paper, but I was essentially qualified for nothing. I did learn a few things though, like the value of money, how to balance school and work, administrative skills, insight into the human psyche, sweet bartending and barista skills, proper grammar, and the gravity of really listening to oneself. 

But now what? I tried moving to another city, then to South Korea to teach English, then I returned to Halifax. I helped my sister with her wedding, then did an internship with a local wedding planning company, and from that point on, I focused my attention on planning and coordination. I began a position as a post-production coordinator for film and television, and I loved it! I loved being the one to organize all of the stray parts of the post. I moved into a producer role at an audio production boutique and wore many interesting hats, but I still wanted to create! 

 

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A close friend of mine, Tonya, had launched her career as a virtual assistant and she became my mentor. She encouraged me to offer lettering services and sell greeting cards. She sort of opened my eyes to the world of the create-your-own-career mentality, and I began to take on VA client work during evenings and weekends. I began to attend a quarterly gathering of women in business called Leading Ladies Networking, and it was so inspiring to meet local women who had followed their passions and made their own success. Meeting all of these wonderful women gave me the push I needed to venture out on my own, and here I am!

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I have a wonderfully supportive family, partner, and close friends, and I feel so incredibly lucky for that. I know I would not have even attempted this journey without these special people in my world who have helped me to see my own potential. But ultimately, your drive has to come from within. Don’t waste time doing what you think you should do or doing things that don’t make you happy. 

If you don’t have a plan, don’t fret! Try new things. Travel. See things. Do things. Live. And it will come to you, babe. And when it does, just go for it!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means 100% equality. It totally means girl power in a rockin’ Spice Girl way, but to me that doesn’t mean “down with men.” Have I experienced “mansplaining?” Definitely. Have I felt the burning cheeks of rage and embarrassment when a male co-worker labels me “bitchy” for having an assertive opinion? Many times. Have I had “me too” moments? Oh, girl. Too many. Do I wish our society wasn’t still dominated by white males? Absolutely. But, does this mean that we must condemn all males? I think not. Many are our allies. Many, despite their societal conditioning, agree with us. 

So, feminism to me means we are all equals, ♀ women, men, and ⚨ genderqueer alike, we all have value. The sooner we can truly embrace that, the sooner we can all thrive.

 

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Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you!

I’m currently working on my online presence and polishing up my website.
Please stay tuned, and follow me @chelseajanecreative on Instagram or facebook.com/chelseajanecreative.

 

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Woman Wednesday: Marina

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Marina, County of Međimurje, Croatia

“Make brave decisions and just start before you are ready because “the right time” is just an illusion. Don’t wait until you will have time–create time for things that are important to you.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: As an activist, entrepreneur, and gardener, I’m passionate about possibilities to constantly create and contribute to creating a better community. I help aspiring individuals develop competencies, careers, and businesses so they can reach their potential and achieve success. Also, I help companies create a healthy foundation for their business, develop their brand, and create business growth strategies.

 

After high school, the “box I put myself in” became too small for me. After I quit my first job, I started to grow–personally and professionally. I founded an organization, I worked as a manager, head of sales, project manager, mentor, consultant, and now–I am the CEO of my own company “Konekta,” where I help others find their passion, their life and business purpose, and create the life that they want to live. I am the creator of Successful Women podcast, #MOŽEŠ (You can do it) campaign, I organize conferences and networking events, create educational videos, write for Croatian business magazine “Poduzetnik” and last but not least, I am a Bio gardener, and I love to learn. So, if you ask me what my biggest passion is–the possibility to constantly create is my passion, as well as contributing to the community and helping others. This is what led me to this moment in my life where I can say that I am absolutely satisfied and happy.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: The atmosphere in Croatia in the ‘80s and ‘90s was not supportive of individual development. Priorities were to find a job, get married, have kids, and get a mortgage, and that’s it. My family was sometimes having a hard time accepting that my sister and I were not “like the other kids.” Today, they are proud of us both–my sister is also an entrepreneur and an author.

It takes a lot of courage to become the person that you believe you can be. But even though others sometimes couldn’t understand our choices, the strong women in my life– my mom, grandma, and my grandma’s sisters made a great impact on my life. My grandma’s lessons about integrity and respect for people and the community created my path. All my life, I was a human and women rights activist, and for a long time, I worked with unemployed and marginalized women. Today, I am doing very similar work in my own company–I empower people, mostly women, to reach their potential and create prosperous businesses they can be proud of.

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Never give up on your dreams. If you don’t have support, be your own support. Make brave decisions and just start before you are ready because “the right time” is just an illusion. Don’t wait until you will have time–create time for things that are important to you. Celebrate your successes–don’t just put new benchmarks to achieve even more. And most importantly–you can do it. You most certainly can do it!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: For the last 19 years, I have been creating opportunities for women and supporting them so they can stand up, be visible, and become stronger and proud of themselves and their work. For me, feminism is based on love and pride; it is creating equal opportunities for all as well as equal distribution of power among men and women.

 

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Woman Wednesday: Marae

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Marae, Cuba 

“Impossible, after all, is only an opinion.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about travel and connections. I believe travel has the potential to make this world a better place by teaching us about acceptance, diversity, strength, and values. It also teaches us self discipline and self-worth. My life has been changed with every trip I’ve taken, and it is my biggest dream to help women discover the travelpreneur lifestyle so they, too, can reap the benefits of a life lived in their own terms while discovering the world. At first, I traveled for fun; vacations, adventures, etc. But then, I realized every place I went to had the possibility to gift me with unexpected lessons and surprises if I dug a little deeper. Unable to stay longer because of work or school restrictions, I started looking into ways I could stay in places longer, travel a bit slower, and develop deeper connections.

 

 

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Now, I get to book travel for others and myself and make commissions on all of it. I also get to coach others on how to become digital nomads, and this has given a deeper purpose to my life than I ever could have imagined. Seeing others transition into this seemingly impossible lifestyle is my biggest joy. Every time I see someone making a living while traveling, my entire being smiles. I am currently working on a group coaching program that will allow more entrepreneurs to venture into this digital nomad lifestyle. I am also working on expanding my blog/social media channel and on learning how to be a mom for my first baby coming this June!

 

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was born in Cuba. I was not able to travel, let alone so much as speak my mind until I left my island country at the age of 12. My father escaped the country by swimming the Guantanamo Bay to seek asylum at the US base, and I knew from a young age that fighting from your dreams demanded doing things that people thought impossible. At the age of 16, I earned a scholarship to go study in Germany for a year, and since I had never traveled much before, and I did not know when I was going to do it again, I used all my allowance money to travel around Europe on cheap airlines and buses and staying in the cheapest hostels. That year, I visited 17 different countries and cities, and my life forever changed. I remember being mesmerized at how a place so “small” could be so diverse. I fell in love with travel and I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing it. 

 

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: After I graduated from college, I got a grown-up job. I was making good money and had everything you’re supposed to wish for. I was selling commercials for ABC and Fox and I was living “the American dream” but life felt empty because I did not have more than 2 weeks a year to do what I loved most: travel. I quit everything and became a server at seasonal resorts and parks so I could live in different places every 6 months, and I would work vigorously for 5-6 months and then travel the rest of the year. When I found out people could make a living online, I tried many things. I looked into teaching online, started my own digital marketing agency, looked into drop shipping, worked as an online influencer, started a blog, and even worked for a couple of startups. None of it worked out perfectly, but it all gave me the skills necessary to be where I am at today.

 

 

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Through all the jobs and businesses I started, there was only one constant: I was on my way to figuring out a way to make a living while I traveled the world. This was my goal, and I was determined to make it happen, no matter how long it took or how hard it was. After I became a full time “digital nomad” working solely from my computer, I had months where I did not know how I was going to eat, yet I kept going. Months where I did not see any progress in any of my endeavors, days where no money was coming in, and many times where I even applied to on-site jobs as a back up because I was so afraid to fail…. But every time I got the jobs, I kept reminding myself that if I took the job, I would go back to the thing I was trying to run away from…a life in one place that did not allow me to be fully mobile to do what I love doing the most, TRAVEL.
Today, I am so thankful I stuck by my dreams and did not give up on this dream because not only am I able to make a living online, and not only do I travel full time, but I get paid WHILE I travel, and TO travel. This is what I’ve dreamed of all my life and I only got here through perseverance and determination. Not everything works for everyone, but there is ALWAYS a solution if you don’t give up.

 

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means possibilities. It means bridging the gap, filling in the blank, and opening the doors to opportunities. For everyone. It means standing up for what you know is right, and never taking no for an answer; impossible, after all, is only an opinion.

 

 

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I’d love to connect with you!

You can find me @bravefreetravel on Instagram or facebook.com/bravefreetravel and check out my site/blog here.

 

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Woman Wednesday: Deasha

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Deasha, Manchester, United Kingdom

“You do not have to have tons of money. You do not have to have knowledge or experience. If you have enough drive, ambition, and vision, then you can create any life that you want.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about helping female business owners to leverage their time and scale their impact and income. I love taking care of the planet and recycling and exercising as much as possible, which is why I work with women that have similar values and want to create a life of freedom for themselves.

I manage a business called Social Treats. Social Treats is a social media management and coaching business. We help wellness entrepreneurs to build organic strategies that really help them to get more reach, engagement, and think outside of the box to reach their target clients.

I wrote a book called She Did It. This book is about me, the story of how I struggled with creating a life that was different from the norm, how I overcame imposter syndrome, and how I focused on creating a life that is different, unique, and on my terms. And I want to help other people do the same.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I am a traveler at heart and that is because of my father. Together, we have traveled a lot of the world. My dad is more than happy to stay in hostels, ride on night buses, and go volunteering. I spent 5 years traveling and working and learning about myself and the business I was capable of running. I knew that I wanted to create a path for myself that was different from others, that did not tie me down to a location, and that did not have me working a strict schedule and that allowed me freedom. 

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I think my favorite place to travel with my dad was Costa Rica. We spent New Year’s Eve in San Jose (had our passports stolen from the hostel) and went to a monkey park to volunteer to rehabilitate spider monkeys. It was so much fun and so different from most people’s father-daughter holidays. And my favorite place that I’ve visited on my own is Thailand. I have spent so much time there, and the people are just amazing—plus the food is to die for!

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: You do not have to have tons of money. You do not have to have knowledge or experience. If you have enough drive, ambition, and vision, then you can create any life that you want.

And some tips for helping the world is just to be more conscious with every decision you make, take a refillable bottle and cup with you everywhere. Try to recycle or reuse anything you have, and try to reduce the amount of plastic you have in your bathroom. Do you need to buy all that shampoo and conditioner or is there a local place where you can refill your bottles and not have to buy more plastic?

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism is the freedom of choice—to choose how you live your life and to not be defined or put in a box by anyone. 

 

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