Natanya Bravo on building a successful business based on helping inspire other women, celebrating wealth in all forms, and the early challenges of advertising a small business.
Business coach Natanya Bravo chats with us about how she realized her full potential by helping other women realize theirs.
Describe your business in a few words?
The Bravo Life was created to inspire women around the world to realize and actualize their full potential. Now a global community of over 40,000 women, The Bravo Life provides coaching, resources, and live experiences and retreats for women worldwide who are committed to living their best lives, as their best selves.
Through powerful brand strategy and marketing, I empower purpose-driven coaches and consultants around the world with the tools, resources, and strategies to create and grow their own thriving businesses that serve others!
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I spent the first part of my career living bi-coastal between New York and Los Angeles, creating global brand marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 consumer brands including Adidas, BMW, and Coca-Cola among others. While successful by society’s terms, I knew I wasn’t living up to my potential. Tired of saying “one day” – I finally listened to that internal voice and leapt into the unknown. Leaving behind a successful career, I booked a one way ticket to Paris to realize my potential and create my dream life. Throughout this process, I was inspired to share my journey in hopes of empowering other women to go after their “one day” dreams and step into their purpose.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I worked in the entertainment and media industry running brand marketing and experiential campaigns for consumer brands for 10 years.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes! I just didn’t know when or how because I am multi-passionate. All of my ideas kept me feeling stuck because I was waiting until I had the ‘perfect’ idea. I’ve since realized there’s no such thing as perfect, you just have to take uncomfortable and imperfect action – that’s where the clarity lies.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Definitely organic. When you have a small (or no) audience, personal connections are key. I shared authentically about my own journey, why I was starting the business, and the ups and downs that came with that. That vulnerability opened the door for others to share with me and allowed me to connect with them 1:1. My following grew really quickly but my bank account did not. I knew how to market my brand, selling my offer(s) was a new skill set that took some work to learn what people actually wanted from me that I could offer.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I spent $5K on Facebook Ads and got nothing back for it. I was devastated because I hadn’t made much money in my business at that stage. I now know that ads only amplify what’s already working, if your offer isn’t already selling without ads, it won’t sell with ads.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
We’ve worked with over 600 clients, and every week I get messages from current and past clients who have been able to do everything from quit their jobs to moving abroad. We also just passed the $1MM sales mark in the business, most of which happened in 2020! I think womxn are often taught to shy away from money conversations, but it’s important to celebrate ALL forms of wealth (love, money, happiness)! More than the number, it represents me being able to hire more incredibly talented individuals and invest in more resources to help even more people step into their purpose, that’s what drives me.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
My favorite question actually has nothing to do with the job, it’s the question a friend asked me that sparked my move to Paris – What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but never said out loud? You really get to know someone, and oftentimes I can see an actual a-ha moment happen for them too. As for hiring advice, before I decide what I need to hire I make a list of EVERY single thing I do daily, weekly, and monthly. You have to track this for at least a month because you won’t get it all the first few times. Once you have your list, highlight all the things that are not in your zone of genius and you don’t enjoy doing – hire those out first!
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
At the beginning of the pandemic we definitely had to pivot quickly as I think everyone was unsure about the future of the coaching industry. Being understanding to our clients personal lives and the stress we’re all dealing with has been really important. Also providing more opportunities for entry like payment plans and free content. I’ve also seen the positive side being that more and more people are taking their future and stability into their own hands, so it’s been great to be able to support more clients who are on that journey with the clarity and strategy they are looking for!
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We hope to get back to retreats, and start hosting conferences once it’s safe to do so – I’m really excited about that because I believe in the power of community. I am launching a podcast later this year and also looking to create more of a collective and community amongst other coaches and consultants so that we can all support each other – we are so much stronger together than we are as “competitors”.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Trust the data, not your emotions. Easier said than done, but it’s been the key to our growth this past year.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
You’re not supposed to have it all figured out to get started, you just have to start. The clarity comes in the doing, not the thinking. I spent so much time thinking about my idea instead of taking action so I could get the clarity I was so desperate for!
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I meditate regularly, listen to positive affirmations, and stay connected with family and friends. It’s been a rollercoaster for all of us and I think sometimes we forget that when we only see the pretty images on Instagram. It’s important to create an environment that protects your energy and allows you to thrive mentally and emotionally, even in chaos.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Yes, it’s important to have time just for you to explore and express yourself outside of whatever professional role you have. When I feel like I need to disconnect I will remove email and work notifications from my phone. I also don’t let myself feel guilty if I need to take a day off. We’re humans, not machines, and while machines help us greatly it’s important to disconnect them from time to time.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m an introvert and naturally shy outside of my immediate family and friends. I think people expect me to be outgoing because I do the work I do, but I still get butterflies every time I go to do a talk or record a video. There’s also a misconception that because someone takes big leaps, they must not have fears. I’m actually filled with numerous fears daily, I just choose to do the thing anyway because the thought of not doing it and wondering what if is scarier.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Start the day with some form of self care routine (even 3 mins!), work in blocks of time instead of spending the entire day on one thing, keep a post-it of your why next to your work space.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being committed to your why and taking the very next step even if, and especially when, you can’t see the top of the staircase.