Our ethos at Patchwork is about getting the things you really crave – and a major part of this is actually being able to ask for what you want. That’s why we’re so thrilled to be talking to Tiwalowla Ogunlesi, life coach and founder of Confident and Killing It, on the blog today, as part of our series interviewing women in business to celebrate our new business shower templates.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Tiwalola Ogunlesi, I’m a life coach specialising in positive psychology, international speaker, podcast host and the founder of Confident and Killing It. After struggling with self-doubt and a very negative mind as a teenager, I’m now on a mission to help women and girls love and believe in themselves. Making a positive impact in the world, showing up as my true authentic self and prioritising my wellbeing are things that I really value in life. When it comes to my personality, I like to say if Oprah and Beyoncé got together and had a baby, I would be the result of that powerful combination.
My business Confident and Killing It is a purpose driven organisation that wakes women up to their worth so they can be confident, unstoppable and dare to live the life they truly desire. Through engaging workshops, coaching sessions, podcasts and community meet ups, I equip women with the tools they need to overcome fear and self-doubt, programme their minds for success and take action in life. Since starting in 2017 I’ve upskilled thousands of women all over the world and delivered engaging experiences for brands/organisations such as Google, Facebook, The Times, Deloitte, Morgan Stanley, UN Women UK, and The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy.
Tell us about the start of your business journey.
In 2015, months into that first job after university, I felt a bit lost and unfulfilled. I was working in an industry I was not passionate about and it began to affect my mental health. There was deep unfulfillment that came from being stuck in a job I hated. In the back of my mind, I knew there had to be more to my life than living on autopilot.
In a search for a more fulfilling life, I began volunteering as a Youth Leader with a group of twenty 15 year old girls. As I was mentoring these girls, I realised they all had the same issues I had as a teen. And then it struck me – there’s this generational cycle of low self esteem in women and girls and something had to be done about it.
I started my self-love journey at 21 and I saw the immediate impact it had in my life. I got access to so much love, peace, joy and CONFIDENCE that I wanted every woman and girl to have access to that same power that comes from believing in yourself and owning your story. I started off making inspirational videos on instagram for about a year and when I saw how valuable people found it, I started putting on community events in different countries and then a movement was born.
Fast forward to December 2019, I made the big decision to quit my day job to run Confident and Killing It full-time. My original business plan was to run in person workshops with organisations and personal coaching for women in my community. When I left my job, I had no bookings or clients lined up but I gave myself 3 months to build my reputation and secure the bag. Things were going well until March happened, lockdown happened, and everything got cancelled.
I started getting cancellation email after cancellation email after cancellation email. People were just nervous and scared. No one knew how this was gonna play out. And so every single thing I had booked got cancelled. I had quit my full time job with three months worth of savings and I was quickly coming to the end of my savings. March was meant to be one of my busiest months ever, with International Women’s Day coming up, but everything got cancelled. And I really hit rock bottom. At that point I was like, “What am I supposed to do now? Do I get another job? Is this the end? Am I a failure?”
But because of all the work I have been doing on my mindset when I hit rock bottom I knew the only way out was up. So I said “People can cancel my opportunities but they can’t cancel my creativity and my hard work.” In the midst of all that uncertainty I said 2020 was the year I’m going to see the most growth in my business and that’s exactly what happened. I put a note on my vision board that said “Whatever goes down, must come back up, I am unstoppable.” So I decided to put on a free webinar series called Killing It As An Entrepreneur where every Sunday in lockdown I held panel discussions with entrepreneurs to talk about everything from wellness to money to personal brand. I started it because I was an entrepreneur and I was freaking out, so I knew there would be others out there feeling the same and I wanted to support them.
Killing It As An Entrepreneur exploded the brand. I had thousands of women join from all over the world. Someone in the Philippines even stayed up to attend at 3am. I’d never had numbers like that before at an event. Some of these women then started recommending me to their companies which led to corporate bookings. So in 2020 I gained about 10k new followers and worked with the world’s biggest companies and brands like Google, Facebook, Deloitte, Tiktok, Depop, UN Women and others simply because I refused to let my circumstances dictate my future and decided to bet on myself and create my own opportunities.
What do you wish you’d known when you started out?
I’ve learnt it’s so important to reset and ask yourself: am I living at my own pace? Or am I just trying to keep up with the rest of society? The work does not stop and burnout is real. I didn’t think you could burn out doing work you love but you absolutely can. So I wish I had known that it’s ok to go slower and decide for yourself how you want to live your life, what rules you want to live by, what pace you go at and then be unapologetic about it. I also wish I had defined success on my own terms a little earlier. For the longest time I was obsessing over numbers and comparing my growth to similar brands. That made me miserable. But now I know success isn’t about numbers, it’s about liking who you are, liking what you do and liking how you do it, as Maya Angelou once said.
What’s the one physical thing you wish you’d had when you started out?
I wish I had a cuter work space. I’m someone who is really inspired by an aesthetically pleasing environment and so beautiful offices and workspaces really motivate me to dream bigger.
What’s the one thing you wished you’d asked for help with?
I wish I had asked for help with the admin and logistics side of my business. I’m a very organised person so I tend to just do things myself because it’s quicker than teaching and explaining it to someone else but before I knew it I was doing finances, email creation and scheduling, social media content creation, running workshops, coaching clients, hosting events ALL by myself. That came with an immense amount of pressure and burnout. Ever since I hired Ruth, my amazing virtual assistant, it’s taken so much pressure off me and I’m getting better at delegating tasks and going at a more comfortable pace.
Why are we scared to celebrate ourselves?
There’s 3 main things that come to mind, firstly I think society has created negative connotations around celebrating ourselves. We’re often sold a lie that we should be humble and put our heads down and let our work do the talking. So we grow up seeing celebration as arrogant or boastful when it really isn’t.
Another reason why people are scared to celebrate themselves is due to the deeply ingrained self-doubt where they believe they are not good enough or they don’t measure up to the people around them. When you feel like everyone else is better than you, you often feel you aren’t worthy of a celebration because there’s nothing significant about what you’ve done.
And finally many people don’t actually know how to celebrate themselves. We live in a society that celebrates hustle culture and so people don’t actually know how to pause, reflect and appreciate the journey that they’ve been on. They are constantly striving for one goal or the other and forget to take a moment to appreciate themselves.
Why is it important we celebrate ourselves?
It’s actually scientifically proven that when you own your accomplishments, and you celebrate yourself, you actually programme your mind to be more positive. It makes you feel more confident and optimistic about the future. You remember all the times you’ve been killing it more than the times where you’ve made mistakes, or you failed at something and that motivates you to keep going. Also when comparison and imposter syndrome creeps in it’s important to remember all your key achievements so you can challenge that voice that tells you you’re a fraud.
I love celebrating myself and I use my Monthly Wins Tracker which is a free tool on my website to keep track of both my small wins and big wins. If I do something good that I’m proud of, I will celebrate myself because I am always worthy of a celebration. Period. People always tell me that my joy and confidence are infectious and that’s because I am unapologetic about shining my light and celebrating myself. When I show up in that way it inspires another person to also celebrate themselves. So celebration doesn’t always have to be arrogant. When I win another woman also wins because she can look at me and go if Tiwalola can do it, I can do it too. It’s not bragging if it’s based on facts so if you did it…OWN IT!
What’s your next business milestone coming up and how will you be celebrating?
I usually don’t need a milestone to celebrate myself, I’ll celebrate for absolutely any reason. Signed on a new client? I’m off to brunch, hosted a successful event? I’m booking a massage haha. But my next big milestone is launching The Confident and Killing It Academy which will be a private club for members to learn, get coaching and build community. I will most definitely be celebrating that by booking a very relaxing holiday for myself.
Thank you Tiwalowla for taking the time to chat, for all the amazing work you do, and also, for the most brilliant sentence we think we’ve ever read (about being Beyoncé and Oprah’s baby.) Make sure you’re following Tiwalowla here and Confident and Killing It here. And if you’ve been inspired to create a patchwork of your own to celebrate your new business, you can check out our collection of templates here.