MILLENNY WOMAN OF THE MONTH – Merlinda Francois
Every month we would like to introduce you to amazing women that we have crossed paths with during our entrepreneurial journey. They are strong, fearless and so inspiring.
This month it’s Merlinda Francois business professional with 5+ years experience in multiple industries including luxury hotel marketing, sales marketing, small business development and project management.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?
I am a Caribbean gal from the Island of Dominica who temporarily relocated to London in 2017 after a catastrophic hurricane destroyed my Island. While working in the foreign service, I decided to invest in my brand identity which lead to my side-hustle as a Career & Business Coach and Professional Consultant.
I help people feel empowered and able to reach for their dreams by showing them how to embrace their natural skills and creativity to improve their earning potential resulting in a happier and more fulfilled life. Some of my business unshaken values include resilience, authenticity, reliability, drive and sustainability. I believe that if we can bounce back from difficult situations, be transparent, commit to what we say and keep pushing, we will grow.
How did the idea about your business come about?
I started a lifestyle blog in 2013 but due to the demands of my job, I placed it on hold. Fast forward 2017, I was working as a consultant for a Caribbean Development Bank funded livelihood project in Dominica where I helped displaced women to improve their skills to find jobs. I really enjoyed working in the field day-to-day because I have a passion economic development. I found that not many people are able to comfortably sustain their livelihoods without earning a residual income. It was at this moment, I changed my niche and started writing blogs on career development.
What’s your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Knowing that what I do can help make someone’s life better. I have had people tell me “you inspired me to start a business” and this really melted my heart. This is the feeling I want to evoke – It keeps me going.
What tips do you have for other women who would like to start their own business?
One of the things I learnt the hard way was that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Three tops tips:
Treat your business like a project and plan everything to avoid chaos. I used planning systems like Evernote to keep my business in check especially as I am still working. I also plan my social media in advance.
Learn to be authentic both online and offline because that is the only true way you can connect with people. Be your weird self and the right people will gravitate towards you.
It will be arduous and there are days when you will feel like giving up and you will face opposition but keep pushing. Business is for go-getters, you have to want it bad to grow.
What is something you’ve always wanted to try but have been too scared to?
Taking a solo retreat to Bali or Thailand has been on my bucket list but I am still paranoid about it.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you into something else is a greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
We live in a world of consumerism and everyone is screaming at us to buy, buy, buy but, we keep on this hedonic treadmill just trying to find the next thing to make us happy. I believe if we simplify ourselves, follow our passion and purpose we could have accomplished so much more.
Who’s your inspiration and why?
I have two:
- When I first stumbled upon Marie Forleo’s site I stayed on for a while. Her enthusiasm reminds me of why I need to keep pushing myself. I have been following her for years and I enjoy listening to her podcasts.
- Serena Williams because she embodies a strong powerful woman who will not give up. Mindset is everything and even as a mom she manages to thrive. I love this.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
It was extremely cold, and I went to work with my satin bonnet under my knitted hat. I believe it was up until the end of the day I realized that I did not comb my hair.
What was the last book that you read?
Becoming Michelle Obama – this woman is an epitome of inspiration. Her story reminds me that there is always room for improvement.
And last ,but not least. What’s in your MILLENNY bag?
My phone, planner and laptop – these three are a must when I am on the go… I have gotten so accustomed to my bag, I use it for everything. It’s my everyday bag now.