Your Solutions — This is what makes your brand valuable to others. Your brand must provide a solution to your audience and they must be able to recognize the transformation through your lifestyle. Being a nurse entrepreneur has allowed me to be a solution to the nursing burnout problem. Nurses are able to recognize my freedom and flexibility in life as a solution for them. I launched my digital branding company after being sought out by many of my colleagues for help.
As part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Very Successful Lifestyle Brand”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Meisha Amia, the expert for travel nurses and online entrepreneurs. She provides education, strategies and resources to Registered Nurses who want to negotiate top tier travel contracts and build a sustainable online business. Meisha Amia’s role as a travel nurse, crisis nurse and disaster nurse for over 30 healthcare facilities in 8 years has equipped her to guide and advise nurses in the startup process and long term management of this career pivot. In her book, The Bedside Boss: From Scrubs to Six Figures she has been able to help thousands of nurses build self awareness/ purpose, understand contracts and negotiations, deal with compliance issues and organization, create a financial management plan for travel nursing, prepare and manage crisis situations that commonly occur, and build an online business and passive income. The strategies in this book have been vital to the growth of the travel nurses impacted by Meisha Amia.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
Growing up for me was different in many ways. My grandmothers collectively helped raise me because my dad was in the Air Force and my mom was a single parent who lacked many resources. But that’s not it. I was sick, very sick growing up with severe asthma. I have been on life support two times and experienced open heart surgery at the young age of seventeen. Purpose was obviously written in my story early on. I knew God had great plans for me and I’ve always pushed through challenges for that reason.
Can you tell us the story of what led you to this particular career path?
I have been a creative since a young age. I would make clothes, scrapbooks, hairstyles, videos and music. While everything about me screamed “creative”, some days I was too sick to create. I had plans to become a cosmetologist by the time I was fifteen. I started doing my classmates’ hair at home and I worked as a shampoo girl at a family friends hair salon. One night I was doing my aunt’s hair and the hair spritz “Pump It Up” was so strong that my lungs collapsed and I was rushed to the hospital to be placed on life support. I remember thinking that my love for creating had to stop. I spent more days of my younger life in the hospital battling severe asthma. I pushed back my dreams of becoming a cosmetologist to becoming a nurse. I figured that’s where I spent most of my time anyway, I might as well work there. Two years after I became a Registered Nurse, I met a travel nurse on my job in Baltimore and she told me all of her agency details. I thought this was the perfect pivot to get back into being creative, I wasn’t happy anyway. Six months later I started my first travel nurse contract in Atlanta, GA and that’s when my life took a major shift. I started a blog on Tumblr and began to tap into various entrepreneurial ideas.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t know if it’s a mistake but it’s certainly funny. I was a nurse in Atlanta and had to be placed “on-call” overnight. Well after 1:00am I assumed they didn’t need me so I went to a nightclub to celebrate my friend’s birthday. Well in the middle of the dance floor my phone rang! Of course, it was labor & delivery telling me to come to work because the unit was busy. What I learned from that was to start a business and build my freedom. I definitely function better when I can control my own schedule.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The film, “Eat, Pray, Love” made a significant impact on me. I realized I wasn’t happy in my career, my finances were horrible and my heart was broken…it was a lot. So I started traveling to find myself and it worked!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Make peace with your past, so you can live in your purpose”- This has been relevant for my life because I had to accept the things about my life that were traumatic in order to heal and use that piece of me to walk into my purpose. Making peace with your past is a conscious mental health action that is necessary to show up unapologetic and in purpose.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. For the benefit of our readers, let’s define our terms. How do you define a Lifestyle Brand? How is a Lifestyle Brand different from a normal, typical brand?
A lifestyle brand is a reputation built based on one’s personal life journey. Typically when we hear a brand, we immediately think of a logo and a business. That wasn’t how my brand initially developed.
What are the benefits of creating a lifestyle brand?
Creating a lifestyle brand builds credibility for the experiences you have and creates influence which can later be monetized. The likeness of you is more established in a lifestyle brand because they are able to experience your personality.
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved Lifestyle Brand? What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
Coca Cola has done a great job of building a lifestyle brand. I’m impressed with the experience of “happiness in a bottle” that you get from the brand experience. The have created a human connection with their brand message and the #ShareACoke campaign. To replicate this I would recommend that the company focus on humanizing the brand around storytelling and getting your audience to be interactive.
Can you share your ideas about how to create a lifestyle brand that people really love and are ‘crazy about’?
I teach my clients to create an experience around their products and services that their audience can feel, relate to and learn from. People are crazy about the lifestyle brands that deliver content to them that is Empowering, Educating and Entertaining. Those 3 E’s are the secret to creating a lifestyle brand that people really love.
What are the common mistakes you have seen people make when they start a lifestyle brand? What can be done to avoid those errors?
They don’t start it. They start with a product and a sales motive instead of building the community with lifestyle branding. To avoid this from happening don’t put all your attention on making the sale. Your main attention should go into documenting the journey, telling the story, building relationships and making people aware of your lifestyle brand.
Let’s imagine that someone reading this interview has an idea for a lifestyle brand that they would like to develop. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?
Establish your why. Too many people are getting into this because it’s trendy. Trends don’t last. Your why, your passions and your purpose do. Focus on establishing your voice and your position in which you want to be known for. I wanted to be known for the nurse who stepped outside of the traditional role and built my own opportunities.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Very Successful Lifestyle Brand” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Your Why — This is the fuel for sustaining your brand. Building a brand is not an overnight process. So if you have a focus on your “why” you will be able to push through the challenges. I started my brand to help nurses make money in less time because I knew how exhausted we were. That’s a constant reminder to keep going when I’m overwhelmed
- Your Story — being able to tell your story boldly and unapologetic is important. Storytelling is a magnet for success all by itself in many “viral” online brands. I’m constantly telling my story of how I became a travel nurse to double my income and invest it into passive income opportunities.
- Your Solutions — This is what makes your brand valuable to others. Your brand must provide a solution to your audience and they must be able to recognize the transformation through your lifestyle. Being a nurse entrepreneur has allowed me to be a solution to the nursing burnout problem. Nurses are able to recognize my freedom and flexibility in life as a solution for them. I launched my digital branding company after being sought out by many of my colleagues for help.
- Your Relationships — How you interact and connect with people is important for a lifestyle brand because a lifestyle brand is established to reach a community. After being intentional about my relationships I have been able to build a network of over 30,000 in my community.
- Your Consistency — Because it builds trust. If you say you are going to blog on Mondays and Wednesdays, then be sure to do it. Many brands interpret “be consistent” and assume it means to show up everyday but that’s not the case. You have to define your own rhythm and flow.
Super. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
The most amount of good to the most amount of people would be a minority owned healthcare system and women’s hospital. Unfortunately racism in the healthcare system is being overlooked all the time. Being a black nurse is the hardest title to hold under white supremacy. We are being denied opportunities and overlooked by our white counterparts when it comes to the role we carry and moving up in executive nurse leadership positions. And if we do get executive positions they intentionally put us in unfair situations and challenges which ultimately makes us leave the position. If we deal with this as nurses, just imagine what patients of color are dealing with. If I could inspire any movement it would be to see equal treatment of black families and black nurses in the healthcare system.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Kandi Burruss would be my dream lunch date because she is a serial entrepreneur and has done a great job building a successful lifestyle brand. What truly makes me want to sit down with her is that fact that she has built an empire by being her authentic self. We share some of the same interests and mindset about building wealth.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.