We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Ikediobi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
While I started working on Bare Chats, I decided to channel more energy inward, and intentionally work on my personal development. I had goals and dreams for my future, but I knew that my mental health needed to come first if I wanted to achieve my goals, especially as someone with perfectionist tendencies.
I started by doing a deep dive on who I was — how do I define myself? What were my characteristics? My core values?
Then I moved into identifying my strengths and areas of opportunity. No one is perfect, and we’re all growing through our life experiences.
As someone who studied Marketing and Brand Management, I knew that at the core of every business is identity. It’s the aspects of the business that make it unique, different, and identifiable. As an entrepreneur, you are a walking brand. I wanted to make sure that I understood my brand better than anybody.
Then I focused on understanding who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go in life. This was done from a business/career perspective, but more importantly, on a personal level. Understanding what values I wanted to live by, what I wanted to stand for, who I wanted to be surrounded by, etc. This allowed me to track my growth over time.
Self-development is one of the most rewarding parts of your self-care journey but, it’s often not as pretty as it sounds. It’s real work that may feel uncomfortable at times, but the growth that you experience makes it worth it. It’s a process that continues throughout your entire life because there’s no “finish line” — but that’s the best part.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
When we decide to start something new, we do it from a place of creation. We may have an urge to solve a problem, create a new revenue stream, or change our current circumstances. Bare Chats was born out of a need to solve a problem that I and many others experience daily.
Stress is a feeling that can manifest itself in many different ways throughout our life. For me, being a high-performing college student meant that I set extremely high standards for myself, and I would anxiously strive to get there. Through my unfiltered therapy sessions, I learned that my approach to life was one that often led to burnout and overexertion. More importantly, I learned just how common it was and knew that there was an opportunity to help change people’s lives for the better.
Our primary focus at Bare Chats is to inspire people to stress less, and express themselves more by going inward first, and outward second. We all carry insurmountable strength inside of us, we just have to unlock it. Journaling is one of the many ways to do that, and we provide the tools to help you feel comfortable and confident in expressing yourself.
I wanted to include an excerpt from a journaling entry that I wrote after I showed the first prototype for Bare Chats:
“This is going to help so many people I know it! After showing the prototype to a few people, and hearing their sigh of relief [about how much they needed this in their lives] it makes it all worth it. I remember when I was in my dorm at UR [University of Rochester] crying about an exam that I thought I failed. If I didn’t let it out in a journal, I would’ve just bottled it up and let it fester until later. Someone out there is doing that right now, but eventually, they’ll have Bare Chats.
Michelle, give yourself time to grow, learn, and evolve because that is exactly what Bare Chats is for. Always remember that the goal is progress, not perfection, and you will be okay.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would have to take my best friend to one of the Houston classics: Lotus Sea Food on one condition: that they order the crack sauce.
Then we’ll spend some time shopping at the Galleria, have them swing by the Graffiti Wall to take IG pictures, and end the day in Midtown.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building the pipeline between diverse talent and opportunities. This organization helped me land my first position as a Product Manager for a Fortune 500 company, Citi, and dedicated many hours of prep to ensure my success. With all my heart and gratitude, thank you.