The Journey of Starting a Business | Red Skirt Media Video Production for Female Founders
“This is the best idea for a business you’ve ever had.”
It didn’t feel like a compliment, but I took it as it was. I had many business ideas in the past 4 years. I even pursued a few of them. But Red Skirt Media seemed special. And harder to get up and running. But let’s go back a little bit, and let me introduce myself properly.
I’m Izabelle Azevedo, the founder, creative and everything else at Red Skirt Media (at least for now). I’m not from here. I was born and raised in Brazil, where I actually started my entrepreneurial journey (just not officially). As a creative coming from a low income family, I found my way to make some money to buy myself cool stuff even before I was in high school. I started making and selling jewelry, at some point I sold catalogs, handmade purses, and even desserts. I was savvy, I guess.
But it wasn’t until I was in America, after leaving my friends, job and diploma behind, that the idea of becoming a real business woman came to mind. In May 2015, I saw myself going two directions: either I could start my own thing, or I’d be working as a nanny for the rest of my life. Even though I love kids, babysitting wasn’t really the future I dreamed of. So what the hell could I do, without a certification nor money (I mean, is $200 enough)?
My coaching talent (that I didn’t know I had then) came handy when I sat down and made a list of possible businesses I could start. From event planning to housecleaning to social media management to petsitting to professional organizing. I needed something I’d be interested in, that I had the skills (obviously), didn’t need certifications, wasn’t complicated, and didn’t need much money (again, 200 bucks is what I had). So I chose Professional Organizing.
My fascination for entrepreneurship and marketing started there. I was obsessed with everything I was learning, and proud of how I was building confidence every single day. Putting yourself out there ain’t easy, especially when your English isn’t that good (far from what it is today). But I was committed to the idea of making “Neat-a-Holic Solutions” work. And it did (still does). It didn’t pick up right away, but within 6 months I was making good money, and able to quit my nanny jobs. That was amazing! Plus, I got that business up and running in less than 90 days, a little detail I shouldn’t forget to say…
People started asking me how I did it. I had a blog and YouTube channel in Portuguese, and I loved giving information through content creation. So I had a new idea for a business: help people see and go for their possibilities. My husband, who said the quote I started this post with, told me “What you want to do already exists, it’s called coaching.” Mind blowing. There’s a whole industry helping people figure stuff out. I’m in.
I got certified and started coaching by the end of 2016. Many websites later (thank God I make them all myself), I ended up focusing on Brazilians and Lifestyle Design with Sua Vida Desenhada. But coaching is a tough industry. There’s no way you can make it without showing credibility. So I gained momentum (and clients) through content. Also, through sharing my story, being vulnerable and authentic. I was definitely standing out, growing my audience, building a fan base. And most important, I was changing lives. Until mine started going a different direction.
As much as I love coaching, having the business while going through mental health challenges wasn’t sustainable anymore. Admitting that was hard. But having to start yet a new career path, at 31, was ever harder to accept. But everything happens for a reason. If it wasn’t because of that, I’d probably never give myself permission to try this as a business.
Creating content was always something I enjoyed. From designing to writing. Thinking of every single detail. Doesn’t matter if I was working with a digital magazine, creating a whole marketing campagne, or posting on Instagram and doing videos for fun. I excel at creating media. I’m constantly having new ideas. Why not work with it?
It’s not like I never thought about it. I applied to study Communications (Radio and TV) when I was 18. I also grew up watching MTV and thinking of how I’d do those music videos if I was the brain behind it. And this idea came back, and stayed silent in the back of my mind. Today I see the three sources of inspiration: the Dream, Girl documentary and Erin Bagwell (the director), a video from a brigadeiro (Brazilian sweet) company, TinyB, and a coaching client of mine who was trying to get into the hollywood industry (and is actually now studying to be a coach).
When I found myself lost personally and professionally, there was a voice whispering, and that voice was telling me to start a media company. I couldn’t hear it clearly, so the universe sent its message through my husband one night. That Sep/Oct last year. Since then, I’ve been working on this new business idea. I stopped coaching completely, borrowed money to buy equipment, and started practicing my skills and calling myself a filmmaker (even though I’m actually a content creator).
One business took me to other. That’s how life is, I guess. One thing leading to the next. I’m not sure if I’ll be with Red Skirt Media forever, but I can definitely see myself doing this for a while-- creating content, using my creativity to tell stories that connect. And especially with Red Skirt Media, I want to be working with other female founders, to help them gain momentum and connect with their audience through content. Sharing their stories, their mission, their values.