Timeesha Duncan: “Face the Fear and Do It Anyway”

Sheltering in place gives us an opportunity to bond with family members, find new hobbies, resurrect old hobbies, and get to spend more time with ourselves and really focus on what’s important. This is a great time to press the reset button on our lives. Figure out ways to help others who are in need […]

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Sheltering in place gives us an opportunity to bond with family members, find new hobbies, resurrect old hobbies, and get to spend more time with ourselves and really focus on what’s important.

This is a great time to press the reset button on our lives. Figure out ways to help others who are in need and less fortunate than us.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of our series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Timeesha Duncan, an Award-Winning Speaker, International #1-Best-Selling Author, Personal Brand Strategist and Educator. She is best known for helping entrepreneurs create powerhouse brands and become known online. Timeesha helps entrepreneurs captivate their target audience, build their tribe, and impact millions with their brand message.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

As a child, growing up in the Bronx, NY, I’ve always had a love for the arts, branding, and marketing before I even knew what it really was. While little girls were playing with dolls, I was cutting out fashion model images from my parents Ebony and Jet magazines, taping them to my walls. I guess I was creating my own version of Pinterest before it existed.

I started dancing at 3 years old and began working in the fashion and music industry at 15 years old as an editorial and runway model and professional dancer. I worked for many years as a dancer in music videos, and also as a makeup artist and stylist. Here is where I learned how the entertainment and fashion industries took ordinary people and turned them into household names, and this truly excited me. When I moved to Atlanta in 2006, I begin working for one of the most iconic brands in the world, The Coca-Cola Company, supporting the EVP of the company. There, I learned more of the secret sauce to creating brand love, on a corporate level.

I’ve always had a passion for marketing and branding but thought because I didn’t have a degree or couldn’t draw, I couldn’t start a business in marketing. So I decided to embark on another passion of mine, event planning. I started my first official business, Tim Duncan Events, a luxury event planning firm while working at The Coca-Cola Company. Many event planners were impressed with my branding and wanted my help with their businesses. That was the sign I needed to answer the calling. I transformed my business into a coaching and branding agency for creative entrepreneurs, and the rest is history.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

I don’t know if this is an interesting story, but surely one that has taught me a lot. When I first quit my job at The Coca-Cola Company, I launched my first ever program and made12,000 dollars within 3 weeks. I was elated, to say the least. I figured, if entrepreneurship was going to be like this, I should have quit a long time ago. Being home all the time, and having such a successful launch made me feel like I was on a vacation. So I started slacking. I would go to lunch with my sister who was already an entrepreneur with a successful business. I had no agenda, no schedule, and no plan, and most importantly — no discipline. My business suffered because of it. I remember staring at my bills on my desk and my bank account had big fat -57 dollars in it. I lost my momentum and started regretting my decision to quit.

I realize that it was the business that failed, but it was me. I failed the business. I started realizing that if I do not do the work, I will not get paid. I think that’s a misconception many people have about being an entrepreneur. You can’t believe everything you see on Instagram. We make it look good, as if all you do is sip champagne all day, travel, and lay on the beach, but the reality is, you will work harder for yourself than anyone else. It requires discipline, focus, and commitment.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes! I’m most excited about my membership program called BrandMade Society. It’s an amazing community of entrepreneurs who have been looking for on-going support in growing their businesses. While I still love to coach clients 1–1, many people cannot afford the investment to hire a personal brand coach. I made a vow that in 2020, I didn’t want money to be a reason why someone could not grow their business, and so the BrandMade Society was born. Inside the program, I teach new masterclasses every month that help entrepreneurs grow their online presence, get more clients, and grow their monthly revenue. It’s an amazing community of phenomenal entrepreneurs and I’m honored to be leading this charge.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My husband and my sister have always been an inspiration to me and pushed me to start my entrepreneur journey. My husband has always been my rock and has always supported every decision I have made (even the not so smart ones). I knew leaving my comfortable paying job to start a business full-time would have a direct effect on him and our children, so having his blessing and his support to help me get started meant everything to me. As a business owner himself, he understands the struggles that come with entrepreneurship. He is always encouraged me, is an amazing mentor, and supports me however he can, even if that means cooking dinner for everyone so I can finish a project. Things have not always been easy but have been worth it. Becoming an entrepreneur has made our relationship stronger and we have grown closer because of it. I am grateful to have such a supportive husband by my side.

My parents were hard-working people, who encouraged my sister and me to get a college degree and job that we could retire from. They were not supporters of entrepreneurship because of the uncertainty and risks it posed. That kept me playing it safe for a very long time. My sister is an entrepreneur and has a very successful brand but she definitely worked hard and had to overcome a lot to get there. Watching her triumph showed me that regardless of what obstacle may come my way, I can do this. I lied to my parents for the first 6 months after I quit my job and told them that I was working from home, lol. She knew my secret and continued to encourage me and supported my secret until I was ready to come out. She has been my biggest cheerleader and I am forever grateful for all of her support.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family-related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

The biggest challenge I am facing right now is managing homeschooling and business during this pandemic. Before the pandemic, I spent most of my time operating my business and managing clients when my children were in school. But now that we have to homeschool our children, the time I would be working I now have to spend with my “new job” as a 1st-grade and 4th-grade teacher (simultaneously). It’s definitely a challenge trying to keep a 6-year old focused at a desk, watching his teacher online for 4 hours a day. My 9-year old is pretty self-sufficient, but he has tech issues and questions every 15 minutes! I’m managing this all while having coaching clients, meetings, and projects with my clients.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

It’s a work in progress. But we are getting our rhythm together as a family. I wake up a little earlier than everyone in the home so I can get the important things done first. I’ve moved all my coaching calls to the afternoon. My husband and I tag team with the children. I work the first shift from 8 am-10 am and support the children with school, and he’s on for the 2nd shift 10 am -12 pm. This gives me a chance to get their day started and then I can work on other things while they are concentrating on schooling.

Can you share the biggest work-related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

The biggest challenge is just being a mom and managing work, all in the same space. My husband is an amazing dad and is very hands-on with the children. But any mama of boys knows that boys love to be under their mamas. Homeschooling is a challenge we are working through, but after virtual school is over, the boys want my attention. When they have a question or a problem, they will walk right past their father to come in my office for help. We both try to redirect them but I guess its a boy-mom thing. I know there will come a time when I am no longer the most important woman in their life, so I try to appreciate this time, but it’s hard when I have deadlines, launches, and trainings to teach, and they want me to read a book, play with them outside or show me their latest drawing oh and don’t forget eat.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

My husband and I deciding to work shifts during homeschooling hours has helped a lot because I can get some work done when they are occupied with school. I also have to dedicate time to play with them and make sure their social needs are being met since they cannot get that in a school setting. So I have to cut work off at a certain time, no excuses. This actually helps me to have a consistent schedule I can stick to and not feel guilty about it. It’s not flawless, but we do the best we can.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

Create a workspace that inspires your creativity. This could be in the form of adding flowers, adding art pieces, playing music, lighting candles, or whatever inspires you. Do not work in your bedroom or a common area of your home. Set a schedule for homeschooling, work time, family time, and self-care. Be patient with yourself and those around you. Take breaks when needed. We’ve all had one of those days where the kids are fighting, toys are all over the place, laundry is piling up, dishes are in the sink, you have 100 emails that need to be answered and you’ve worn the same sweatpants for 2 days in a row. It’s not the end of the world. Tomorrow is a new day. Don’t forget to take walks outside and see the beauty around you.

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?

One of the first things I did when the pandemic started was to redecorate my home. I figured if I have to be here all the time, I might as well love the space! So I made sure to create a space that made me feel good and relaxed. Making sure we stayed healthy and had good exercise routines in place was also important (although I still feel I gained the Covid 15 lbs). Every morning before the family wakes up I walk around my neighborhood or I’ll walk at the nearby beach. This helps me to stay sane and connected to God and his purpose for me. I recently got back on my bike after 28 years! (I had a bad bike accident at 12 and never picked up a bike again). My husband and a close friend really encouraged me to ride again, as this is a great activity for the kids to get outside while social distancing. We have family game nights every week. All of this has actually helped our family bond more and get closer.

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

When the virus first happened, I started doing some research on the Spanish Influenza in 1918–1919. The world went through a similar pandemic as this, and we got through it. That reassured me that 100+ years later with all the technology and science improvements we have now, we too will get through this.

Sheltering in place gives us an opportunity to bond with family members, find new hobbies, resurrect old hobbies, and get to spend more time with ourselves and really focus on what’s important.

I am an avid Christian and my faith in God and the bible helps to keep me sound and grounded that he has the power to remove any anxiety and fear that comes our way and that has truly helped me not have any fear around what’s going on around us.

This is a great time to press the reset button on our lives. Figure out ways to help others who are in need and less fortunate than us.

Statistics show that pollution has gone down, animals that were thought to be extinct are resurfacing, and that’s because we are not out destroying the planet. So our planet is also getting the rest and reset it needs to provide for us.

From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

A few of the things we have been doing in our family is to make sure that we call family members via zoom every week, especially those we don’t normally speak to. Sending cards to loved ones in the mail (not online) are always super special to receive. Caring for those that may have health challenges or elderly, by sending or delivering food, and supplies. We have our own family game night, but then once a month we have a group family game night with all of our family from different states. Doing this our entire family was able to see two aunts who have health challenges that don’t allow them to get out or travel. We’ve been able to connect with more family members during Covid than pre-Covid.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is: Face the Fear and Do It Anyway. This is a favorite quote of mine because life can be scary and fearful. However, if we allow our fear to get in the way, we can miss out on all that life has to offer. I believe that everything we want in life is outside of our comfort zone. So we have to push ourselves to get what we want in life. Sadly, I have allowed myself to miss out on many opportunities because of fear. But fear is simply False Evidence Appearing Real. Anytime I have faced my fear and did something, I didn’t regret it.

How can our readers follow you online?

My favorite place to hang out is on Instagram. I would love to connect with everyone there. My Instagram name is @TimeeshaDuncan

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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