From L’Oreal and Unilever to becoming a self-employed brand & marketing strategist

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Sorah Kim is a NYC based brand and marketing strategist, writer, and public speaker. After working eight years climbing the corporate ladder at L'Oréal and Unilever, Kim gradually realized that the typical 9 to 5 grind wasn’t for her. Like many white-collar workers, she was unhappy and burnt out with her work, and decided to take matters into her own hands by becoming an entrepreneur. She began her journey by taking classes at Progress Playbook to learn more about entrepreneurship and what it takes in NYC. Today, she finds happiness and success in independently consulting with beauty, health, and wellness companies.


Sorah’s Steps

  1. Reflect on your life - are you happy?

  2. Assess your skill-set to identify your niche

  3. Experiment with ideas and concepts you believe in to secure clients

  4. Make a decision and set your goals

  5. Start and grow your business!

  6. Continue to find and pursue opportunities

 

Sorah’s Resources

  1. Social Media and Blogs (Instagram, Thrive Global)

  2. Networking Outlets (sorahkim.com, LinkedIn, TEDx)

  3. Personal Skills and Character (consulting expertise, passion for beauty and health, self-promotion, confidence)


1. Reflect on your life - are you happy?

Do you feel fulfilled working your current job? Can you see yourself pursuing something that can bring you success and happiness but are too afraid to take the leap? These are all questions Kim asked herself when contemplating leaving her job at Unilever to become a NYC entrepreneur.

2. Assess your skill-set to identify your niche

In business, there’s a niche for practically everything. Combining skills from your career with outside knowledge of what you’re passionate about can lead to great, innovative ideas. After excelling in the advertising and branding departments of top international companies, Kim was able to confidently boast her expertise in branding and marketing. By leveraging her professional experience and personal passion for beauty and health brands, she was able to create a niche working with smaller brands in those industries and promote herself to prospective clients.

3. Experiment with ideas and concepts you believe in to secure clients

The experimental phase of your entrepreneurial dreams is important. While at her corporate job, Kim picked up side-hustles (one-on-one consulting, writing blog posts, etc) that not only gave her experience in beauty and health consulting, but also gave her reassurance in her abilities. Surprisingly, Kim gained her first clients unexpectedly after introducing herself to a group of strangers at a yoga and meditation event.

While working with her first client, Kim struggled heavily with “imposter syndrome” - feeling like a fraud despite accomplishments like working in brand marketing for six years and having a Master’s Degree in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing & Management proving otherwise. She felt incompetent in her branding and marketing abilities, wasn’t used to working alone, and missed the validation she used to get from collaborating with coworkers. This stress manifested into feelings of anxiety, burnout, and depression.

Through tapping therapy, Kim was able to complete the project and ultimately gained the confidence in her abilities to eventually quit her job at Unilever.

4. Make a decision and set your goals

Visualize where you want to see yourself in a given time period - whether it’s working towards starting your own company or improving your work-life balance. Create realistic goals and work toward achieving them. For Kim, this meant planning months in advance to resign from her job. She decided to phase out from working as a full-time to a part-time employee, to help maintain stability in her life while experimenting with side-projects. This helped her to stay organized, motivated, and remain focused on her decision.

5. Start and grow your business!

Already having clients and networks from her previous projects, Kim put herself into a position of success before she officially became a full time entrepreneur. During her first week as a self-proclaimed “freelance brand and marketing strategist”, Kim found opportunities to promote herself and network, like speaking at a Business Network International event to pitch her brand in front of 50+ strangers. Before, she felt burnt out and feared the possibility of failure as entrepreneurship became her main focus. However, she came to the realization that her dive into solo consulting should be driven by freedom - not fear.

Marketing yourself, planning ahead, and constantly taking steps to work toward your goals is instrumental in becoming successful.

6. Continue to find and pursue opportunities

Look for the potential in everything and use every resources at your disposable . Network with everyone you talk to, promote your brand on social media, and don’t be afraid to approach clients are all steps Kim took to grow her business. She updates her personal blog to give advice to people looking to improve their quality of life and tell her personal struggles, and recently secured the opportunity to speak at a TEDx event about her journey of self-discovery, self-care, branding and purpose.


Sorah’s tips to gain confidence and find your purpose

  1. Cut out the unnecessary noise from your life: excessive spending on things you don’t need, wasting time on the couch, and bad influences.

  2. Reserve time to de-stress and focus on yourself. Activities like meditation, yoga, reading books, and exercise can help to clear your mind.

  3. Don’t give up! While rewarding and fulfilling, starting your own business comes with plenty of obstacles. In Kim’s case, getting over the mental block of feeling like a fraud for selling her expertise to companies was one of the many obstacles you could face.

  4. Make time to spend on doing the things you are truly passionate about. Even if it’s for a hobby or entertainment, pursuing these things will help improve your daily happiness and life.

  5. View everything as an opportunity for self-improvement! Getting over the inevitable obstacles and mistakes with entrepreneurship not only helps increase your productivity, but also benefits you as it helps to develop the character and the drive to become successful!