My name is Celinne Da Costa, and I'm an international brand story coach, published writer, and media influencer.
I'm Italian-Brazilian and have been living in the U.S. for 15+ years. After 3 years working in corporate advertising in New York City, I decided that I'd had enough. I was living a placeholder life, and I felt no satisfaction in spending my precious time working on other people's visions instead of my own. I quit my job, gave up my apartment, and embarked on a one-way ticket to Europe. I designed a social experiment to keep me occupied on my travels: I circumnavigated the globe by couch-surfing, without ever using the website. Instead, I stayed with people who were connected to me somehow - friends, friends of friends, people I met on the road, etc. That was the fun challenge that took me around the world, and how I got started in my business!
You can read more about it on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/celinnedacosta/2016/05/12/why-i-quit-my-job-to-couch-surf-the-world/#433091c33a8c, and I've also written a book about my experience, The Art of Being Human (http://bit.ly/TheArtofBeingHumanCelinne)
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
It developed organically. I spent my first year traveling for my social experiment and creating content out of sheer will and passion. As I began growing my following and getting featured in publications such as Forbes, Business Insider, Intrepid, Huffpost, etc, brands and people approached me with opportunities. The opportunities trickled in and I made the most of them - so, more opportunities came. Eventually, I realized I was occupying a very interesting niche market - brand story. That is how I started my business as a Brand Story coach, and now I teach high-level entrepreneurs to create and share stories that attract their ideal audiences, raises their brand value, and manifest the reality they wish to create in their personal lives and business.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Having faith in myself was the biggest hurdle. Everything else is just a matter of logistics. If you believe in yourself and your vision, the money will come, the opportunities will present themselves, and you will meet the right people. But the trick is to truly BELIEVE, with all of your heart, in what you are doing... and then take action towards it. Believe it or not, that is super hard to do and what stops most people from manifesting their dreams!
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I don't face much contention, primarily because I don't surround myself with people who would give it to me. My family and friends are extremely supportive. My philosophy is to let go of people, things, and circumstances that don't serve me - so, people who don't believe in my dreams are not people I want around me.
I did face some skepticism from some of the people close to me in the very beginning, but they also trusted me. I dealt with the skepticism by acknowledging it and then letting it go. I believed so strongly in my dreams, that I don't think anything anyone said would have swayed me.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Having the support of people around me. Seriously, no one becomes successful without help, and I recognized that from the beginning. I believed in myself, but having people who were close to me believe in me as well has absolutely accelerated my growth. We also need the support from people who work with us - I have a small team of people who I outsource work with, and I love working with them. What's more, I wouldn't be able to do what I do, if they weren't so good at their job and taking things off my plate so I can stay in my zone of genius! People are everything. I've built my business around the idea of human connection, and that is what supports my growth every day.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Well, I knew it was difficult, but I didn't realize how much. Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur nowadays - but few people recognize how much work, sacrifice, and stamina goes behind it. In the beginning, you have to do everything by yourself: marketing, finances, sales, accounting, the list goes on. As you grow, you can outsource, but you still need to manage the people you hire!
I wish I would have known how important outsourcing is - hiring people that are better than you at certain tasks saves you so much time.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
You absolutely have to believe in yourself and in your story! The foundation of any entrepreneurial business is your brand, and in order to create a good one, you need to dig deep within yourself and understand why you do what you do, what you stand for, and how you plan to manifest that to the world. In other words, get extreme clarity on your vision, and be fearless about pursuing it. I believe that when your heart is in the right place, everything aligns to help you walk your beautiful path.