The Key to Business Success

donna kim- beige shirt-blue jeans

January 6, 2015 • Brandmakers

Patience.

How often have you found yourself frustrated with the “process” of building your brand or business?

Oftentimes, we can become discouraged when we think we aren’t accomplishing our goals  or getting the results we want “fast enough.”

Meet Donna Kim, TV lifestyle expert, digital editor, makeup artist and creator of DonnaDaily.com, a lifestyle and motivation website that features original video and editorial content that inspires readers to live their most brilliant and beautiful life. Donna’s worked with top brands that you know and love. (Check out her impressive resume on Linkedin.) I spoke with Donna all about her career journey and some of the wisdoms she’s gained over the years from learning to patient with the process.

What you’ll learn in today’s BRANDMAKERS:

  • How moving to New York changed Donna in ways she always expected
  • How an internship laid the foundation for the rest of Donna’s career
  • 3 network building tips every brandmaker needs to know
  • The secret to growing your social media following (Hint: It has to do with being very flexible)
  • Why unwinding should be part of your entrepreneurial plan

My key takeaway:

Brand building takes time. Keep focused on the end prize, but enjoy and learn from the journey. (CLICK TO TWEET)

Whatever the pace of your journey is, trust that it’s going as planned. As long as you are growing and getting better each day, you’re on the right path!

Check out the interview with Donna below!

BRANDMAKERS is a series highlighting individuals who are SHINING (aka killing it and raising the bar) in their respective industries.

 

What inspired you to enter the world of media?

Donna Kim (DK): When I was a little girl, I didn’t see many Asian- American women in the media. At the time I didn’t know how to express that exact sentence to myself. I felt like there weren’t enough role models that I looked up to except for Oprah. I thought it would be really cool to do something like Oprah.

I had no idea how to get there and had no connections in the field. I grew up in a quiet town in San Francisco. I always felt like an outlier because I didn’t have other friends who were interested in the media field. I was part of clubs in high school such as the newspaper club and broadcast club but it was never to the extent to where I had access to networks like NBC or ABC.  I thought that if I could go to New York for college, I would make the opportunity to really have those hands-on experiences

When I moved to New York, I felt that I had to reinvent myself the day I moved there. It was a really courageous thing at the time. I became the person that I always knew I was simply because of my surroundings. I was around people who were like me: very entrepreneurial-minded, creative, friendly, and really into networking. Living in New York catapulted my career in ways I would have never expected.

Was there a time early in your career when you realized media was truly your passion?

DK:  I was a fashion intern at Shape Magazine and was organizing samples and helping out with photoshoots. I ended up working for the executive style director who was always on the morning TV shows and inspiring women to look and  feel their best all the time. I was her fit model and modeled for every single television segment she did. Being around her, watching her career and helping her  out was where I had this surge inside me that said this is exactly what I want to do, too.

If I could have stayed at Shape forever, I would have. The problem was that I always wanted to know what it is like to work in a newsroom. I had so many interests besides my initial working in media so I took internships at CBS News, Entertainment Tonight in production, and at Elle.  I went back to Shape and stayed there until I got into Columbia University for graduate school. That’s when I started to freelance report. I was a reporter for various types of  content while in grad school. This all helped me get to the place where I needed to be.

 

Is graduate school necessary in order to be successful in media?

I don’t think you need it to be successful. It’s a personal choice. Whenever I hear people debating it, I always wonder, “Why do you care what people think? Why do other people’s opinions about what you want to do with your career even matter?” People have told me that I didn’t need to go grad school. I did it because I had a personal goal of furthering my education.  I wanted to go to Columbia and learn journalism from the top professors in the industry.

Donna Kim 3

What are some of your top network building tips?

DK: 1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but know your place. There’s always a time and place to ask questions. If there is somebody that you really look up to and respect, figure out a time to meet with them and have a conversation about your interests and what you want to do in your career.

If there is somebody that you really look up to and respect, figure out a time to meet with them and have a conversation about your interests and what you want to do in your career.

You have to be really aware of the trends and be aware of what is happening now in the job search, especially in media. It’s about being really open-minded.

2. Be open-minded about opportunities. You may not  get your dream job the first time around. You probably won’t until really way later and you have gained that experience and you really grow in confidence. Being open-minded and taking jobs that you may not be really enthusiastic about initially could actually open many doors.

Being open-minded and taking jobs that you may not be really enthusiastic about initially could actually open many doors.(TWEET THIS)

3. Make a friend at your current job that you can hang out with outside of work. This is good because you can have this person “have your back.” I’ve found that my closest girlfriends weren’t from college but from my internships and my jobs. Those are the ones that always had their eyes and ears open if I ever needed a job. Likewise, I did the same. I always put effort in maintaining close communication with people. Living in New York City, that quality is really hard to come by because people are really into taking and not into giving and exchanging. You have to put in effort if you want to maintain relationships.

You have to put in effort if you want to maintain relationships.

Were there any challenges that you faced early on when building your brand?

DK: My challenge was being very patient with the process. I don’t like being compared with anyone. I don’t like competing with people. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the game. You are going to get compared. I had to learn to know what I had to offer, my strengths and weaknesses (and constantly working on them to become stronger as a person.)

 

You mentioned that growing up you didn’t see a lot of Asian American women role models in media. Do you feel that you are now making an impact in the industry?

DK: There’s a lot more Asian American women and people who are doing cool jobs, but I still feel that there still is not enough yet. I hope that I am making an impact. It would be really nice if that is something that I can really make a stamp on in this industry one day.

 

One of your titles is “Digital Media Strategist.” How did you build that arm of your brand and venture into being an entrepreneur?

DK: It stems from my experience at Shape where I was working as a personal assistant. I saw that she was doing all these really cool things. In my downtime when I was waiting for her on set, I would  take pictures and say, “You should uplaod this on Facebook. We should tweet this and mention brands.”  She said, “I leave all of that to you.” I was experimenting as I was learning how to help her build her existing brand on social media. I saw that it was working and  was impactful. I was lucky enough to have jumped on that social media/marketing bandwagon when I was really young.

I’ve found that brands that are a little more established are a little less nimble and open-minded to having help. It was up to me to figure out ways to communicate and express how important it is to have social media marketing in order for brands to take it to the next level and to also bring in the millennial generation. Let’s be honest. These millennials are geniuses. They are developing apps, becoming millionaires,  and are on social media 25/8. Social media became part of my identity.

The crazy thing is you can build your brand on digital media for free. Understand that social is a platform for everyone to be  creative and make your voice be heard. Use social platforms to make your brand what you want it to be

Use social platforms to make your brand what you want it to be.

 

What has been your go-to advice you’ve given your clients on how they can grow their social following?

DK: Growing your brand is about paying attention to the trends. Even though you want to maintain brand integrity (which is totally fine), social is about being nimble. I tell that to all my clients. Know that you can’t abide by a calendar. It’s not the most efficient way to be spontaneous on social media. Social media is very instantaneous, overwhelming, and fast. It’s the one arena where you have to relinquish a little control. Be fun. Create it as an opportunity as a way to engage with people.

RELATED: CHECK OUT OTHER BRANDMAKERS INTERVIEWS 

You’re a very busy woman. What do you do to relax and unwind?

This is something I really believe in. I really value hanging out with my friends not talking about work. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than just relaxing, girl talking, unwinding,  and turning my phone off.

At the end of the day, if you don’t have anyone to celebrate your successes with or you lose sight of your friendships, what is all that success worth?

At the end of the day, if you don’t have anyone to celebrate your successes with or you lose sight of your friendships, what is all that success worth?

I love to sleep in and have time for myself but there’s nothing more fun to me than a long day of work and just going out and having fun.

Unwinding helps you. It makes your day feel like there is something to look forward to. Even if you are going through your day and you have a lot of fun going on, you know there will be more fun waiting.

I used to be such a workaholic and didn’t have much time to spend with my girlfriends. It wasn’t until three years ago that I really started to hang out with my friends. It made my life progress in ways that I never really expected.

Donna Kim 2

How has your life changed for the better?

 There’s a lot less anxiety and worrisomeness in my life. There’s more joy, peace, awareness, and harmony. I’ve been able to make other parts of my life a priority.

 

What makes you shine?

I maintain a sense of humor.  I don’t take life too seriously. Alot of people live on a timeline. I’m a very chill and go-with-the-flow person. It makes me enjoyable to hang out with. I’ve noticed that more people want to hang out with me when I am not high strung and filled with  nervousness and worries about projects.

My ability to be really happy and calm also makes me shine. I treat everyone the same. I don’t care what their social status is. I treat everyone equally. I’m very welcoming. I see no judgment in anyone. That helps me alot. It has brought me a heightened sense of self-awareness.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received that has helped you grow your business?

Be patient. Do what you do for love. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, it’s going to show and manifest in so many ways. There’s plenty of time to be successful and to make money. If you are willing to be patient with the process and trust the journey, you are going to really enjoy what you are doing every day.

There’s alot of people that work and work and don’t lift their head up to enjoy the moment. It’s something that we need to pay attention to. Slow down. Enjoy the small victories. Don’t dismiss them. Enjoy the process.

Slow down. Enjoy the small victories. Don’t dismiss them. Enjoy the process.

Early on in my career, I wanted things to get done so fast. I looked backed and saw that I accomplished so much and didn’t really celebrate the little successes. I was so busy thinking about my future. It’s important to take a moment and enjoy what you are doing even if there are hard times.

Take a moment and enjoy what you are doing even if there are hard times.

It’s make the experience a lot more fulfilling.

What’s one thing you’ve accomplished this past year that you are proud of? Share in the COMMENTS section below.

Connect with Donna Online:

Website: www.donnadaily.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialDonnaDaily
Twitter: twitter.com/donnadaily
Instagram: instagram.com/donnadaily
Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/donnakim
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/donnadaily/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/+DonnaKim
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/donnadaily
Other:  https://donnakim.contently.com/

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Rana Campbell is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Ranacampbell.com, a site dedicated to personal branding and helping people learn how to SHINE in their personal and professional lives.

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  • Shannon Moore

    It’s the 6th day of the year and yesterday I celebrated my one year anniversary as an ordained Minister. Last year was a year of many trials, stressors and setbacks, but I endured and I am much stronger because of it. I will be completing my undergraduate degree in May of this year as well as finishing up a three year internship with county government. At my internship I am heading an arts project of Climate Resilience and another project on building safe and resilient communities for Black girls. Today, I am full of gratitude and excited about the future. Ladies, we have a long road ahead of us, but we’re plowing anyhow!

    • Thanks for sharing, Shannon! Surely, this year will be a great one for you.

  • My clientele list has picked up over the last 2 months. I’m a licensed Esthetician/Makeup Artist. I almost gave up on my dream and business goals because I wasn’t seeing any fruit in the city where I currently reside but the doors of opportunity have open and since then I have been marketing myself and putting myself and the business out there and I am gaining a return in my investment. Glory to God!

    • Yes! Thank you for sharing this. Never give up on your dreams. The resilient always prevail 🙂