While most keep our musings private among friends, University of Georgia alumna Sabrina Molu has been outwardly posting sisterly advice and lifestyle tips on her public blog, Hey Simply, since November 2010.
Having graduated from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2011, Molu started her blog as a passion project — an outlet through which her creativity and passions for beauty, fashion and entrepreneurship could flow freely. Now, Molu works full time as the voice behind and the face of Hey Simply and its various social media platforms.
The Red & Black spoke with Molu to hear about her goals for Hey Simply and the advice she has for those looking to enter non traditional career paths similar to her own.
The Red & Black: What is the mission of Hey Simply and how important was personal branding in accomplishing this goal?
Sabrina Molu: Hey Simply is that cool older sister or cousin that you go to for things that are on your mind or that you're curious about. It's everything from skincare to how to find quality furniture that doesn't break the bank. We've kind of zoned in on this idea of [being] like a fairy blog mother. I really believe in owning your personal brand as your personal brand story and remembering that your personal brand isn't who you are as a person. [Your personal brand] is actually what people will say about you as you leave the room. You need to think about niching down. The internet is such a saturated place, especially if you're planning on having a digital media presence, so it’s important to choose one thing that you want to truly invest your time in and become known as a master of that thing.
R&B: What was your journey like after you graduated from UGA in 2011 to where you are now?
SM: I graduated from the Grady College in December of 2011 with a degree in advertising, minors in Spanish and women’s studies and a certificate in new media. I think that my certification was where I developed a lot of the skills that I used in my corporate jobs. I actually started my first WordPress site as a project in Dr. [Emuel] Aldridge’s class. That's the same site that allows me to do what I love every single day. I was lucky enough to graduate with a job offer, and I worked for an agency that is now called VMLY&R in Atlanta. After that I worked at Twitter. They had an office in Atlanta, [where] I focused really on social media planning. Then I worked at AT&T [where] I was a social media analytics manager. When I left the corporate world I was working as a product manager overseeing user experience at Turner Broadcasting for TBS and TNT and working in product management, which was 100% something that came out of new media and the work that I was doing on my own site. I did all of this while also running my blog on the side and only recently switched to focusing full time on my brand.
R&B: What was it like starting your business during a time when being an influencer/blogger was an uncommon career path?
SM: When I started Hey Simply, it was just a passion project. I didn't think that it would be any type of career. Careers like this didn't exist back then. As time went on, I dedicated more and more time and resources and really started to take my business seriously, even before it was able to be my full time job. And I think that constant dedication and commitment to the work and really just building out a passion project allowed me to make this a full time career. I think if you create something out of a true passion, without thinking that it will make you any money, there's just a different type of connection to that work. In any pursuit of entrepreneurship, you will work so much harder for yourself than you will for anybody else.
R&B: What is a piece of advice that you would give to college students who are interested in pursuing non traditional career paths?
SM: One of my favorite quotes that I read from a business book said, “When you're an entrepreneur, you get to pick and choose which 18 hours a day you work.” I’ve come to learn that it's so true. You think that you have all the flexibility in the world, and you do and it's wonderful. But that doesn't mean you're working eight hours a day. Your mind is always on — thinking about the things that you can do. I think a lot of us grew up being told that quote of, “If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.” I can honestly say that I absolutely love what I do, and I'm living my dream every single day, but I am still working every single day. Being the owner of your own company or the owner of your own brand means that you have to do both what you love and what you don’t with the same amount of prowess and expertise.
The Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.