Women in Business Q&A: Michela Aramini, Founder of The Lovely It Girl

Michela Aramini is the founder of The Lovely It Girl, a personal brand consulting boutique in New York dedicated to inspiring and empowering you to become the bold, beautiful, brilliant It Girl you were born to be, and style a personal and professional life you love. As a Personal Brand Consultant and It Girl Mentor, Michela works with women professionals and entrepreneurs helping them to create bespoke personal brands that clarify and communicate their "It" and connect them to their Clique of personal brand cheerleaders. Michela is a graduate of McGill University where she earned her Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing. She has extensive corporate marketing experience working for world-renowned publishing companies in New York, including Condé Nast and The Economist, where she helped create innovative marketing campaigns for beauty, fashion and luxury brands.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
Ever since I was a little girl I have always been extremely independent. My parents trusted me to make my own decisions and never pressured me to become someone I wasn't. I believe this freedom allowed me to explore who I am and what I want, and as a result I become very self-aware at a young age. This self-awareness made me confident in important life decisions, from deciding who to date to deciding which career path to explore.

After graduating from college and landing a coveted corporate job in New York, I realized that something was missing. Once again, my self-awareness empowered me to decide not to settle for a life that was less than one I truly loved. I realized that other young professional women felt the same emptiness and lack of passion and purpose in their careers, so I launched The Lovely It Girl to redefine the It Girl and empower entrepreneurial women everywhere to own their "It" (unique intrinsic value) and style personal and professional lives they love.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at The Lovely It Girl?
My experience working in corporate marketing has been invaluable in launching and growing The Lovely It Girl. In leveraging my marketing and branding skills, which I honed while working in corporate marketing at Condé Nast, I'm able to help women entrepreneurs and professionals create bespoke personal brands that elevate their careers. My former corporate marketing experience has also helped me to position myself as a brand expert and establish credibility and trust among my clientele, which has been key in developing my personal brand.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at The Lovely It Girl?
There have been many highlights since launching The Lovely It Girl less than a year ago in January 2014. I've been so grateful to land speaking engagements at some of my favorite women's networking groups in New York (Levo League, Lean In NYC, NYC Lady Project, Girls Raising). Taking my business international has been another highlight this year.

As a solopreneur, launching and growing a business is ever-challenging! I am constantly learning new skills required to run my business like accounting, sales and tech, none of which are my forte but are all part of the everyday hustle!

What advice can you offer to women who want to start their own business?
As women, we have a greater tendency than men to want to please everyone in our lives and as a result we're more likely to be swayed by the opinions of the people we love. If you're afraid to start your business because you think it will disappoint your family or friends ask yourself this: ten years from now, will I regret following my dreams and disappointing everyone, or not following my dreams and disappointing no one?

Also, if "everyone" in your life really would be disappointed if you quit your corporate job to follow your dream of launch your own business, surround yourself with people who would be supportive of this life-affirming decision. Join women's networking groups in your city and find a mentor who you admire and whose opinion you respect. After all, you shouldn't take advice from someone whose life you wouldn't want someday.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
To me, achieving balance in my life means feeling fulfilled both personally and professionally. This means devoting time to both my business and to my relationships, and practicing being present so that I can give and receive the most value in every aspect of my life. While I am a very social person and you can often find me mingling at networking events or having coffee with a new connection, making time for myself is always a priority. My daily yoga practice helps me start each day grounded and grateful.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I believe the biggest issue for (millennial) women in the workplace is the lack of female mentors we truly admire and desire to be someday. The women leaders in the workplace today have sacrificed their personal lives to succeed in their professional lives. While professional success is important to millennial women, our definition of success is more holistic. To us, success means creating personal and professional lives we love infused with passion, purpose and prowess. A fancy job title and impressive salary aren't as important to us as a truly fulfilled life that we are excited to wake up to each day.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
While I don't have one single woman mentor who has guided me in my personal and professional life, I am so fortunate to have a network of women who I consider mentors. Women who have defied the conventional path to success to follow their dreams and create businesses and lives they love. Without this amazingly supportive network of mentors I wouldn't have the confidence and conviction to follow my dreams and create a life I love.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Marie Forleo and Sophia Amuroso are two It Girl Icons I greatly admire. They have both defied conventional career paths to create businesses and brands infused with passion and purpose. As a personal brand consultant, I appreciate that Marie and Sophia have cultivated truly unique personal brands that differentiate their businesses in the marketplace and attract loving and loyal customers that are at the heart of their success.

What do you want The Lovely It Girl to accomplish in the next year?
My goal in 2015 is to continue organically growing The Lovely It Girl. I would love to launch an online personal branding program and book more exciting speaking engagements at women's conferences, sparking the It Girl movement nation-wide!