What do you do for Full-time work?
Okay, I'm an optometrist. I went to Optometry school and I am practicing optometry in the metro Atlanta area. I have a lease with a Walmart and, and I'm an independent contractor. And I have been doing eye exam contact lens, any red eyes emergencies all that since 2013.
What is your passion project and how long has it been in existence?
Okay, so my purpose/passion project is Anwuli eyewear. I recently started an independent eyewear line and my eyewear line is designed to fit Black and African features optimally. In my practice, I noticed that a lot of the frames that are out and available, definitely are designed with Eurocentric features in mind. And so that for myself, and I noticed that with my patients that there were often times where we had difficult times fitting into the frame selection. And so I was like, Oh, I kind of like fashion a little bit. So, yeah, I started an eyewear line.
Is it currently monetized?
Yes. So right now I am in the pre sell phase of my project, or my business rather. And we are currently pre selling the frames, they are in manufacturing right now and will be available early summer. So yes, I am taking pre orders for those frames right now.
What is your project’s origin story: Why did you start this project; what was the passion behind the project.
So I'm a little bit of a storyteller sometimes. So I try not to be too drawn out. But basically 2017, I kind of realized that with my, with my practice that I was working a lot. And to me the money didn't make sense. So you know, you worked a lot at work and a lot like where's the money? Where's the money? And so, I actually sat down beginning of 2018 and started thinking like, what can I do? What can I do to acquire assets or build assets. And I was thinking and brainstorming and brainstorming. And I was like, Oh, I want something that's going to be passive income was what I had started the conversation with passive income, meaning like, you don't have to get up and go to go to work for it. But what I found, or what one of the first things that kind of came to me was, Oh, you've been thinking about designing eyewear, I've mentioned that I've said it, I said it in a business plan. I did it in optometry school, you know, why don't you see what you have to do to get that off the ground. And of course, this is not passive at all, it's definitely requiring me to, you know, do quite a bit of work. But it's exciting work, I get really excited about doing it. And so, yeah, that's kind of where, you know, kind of what motivated me to start this passion project. Definitely not passive at all, yet, but we do hope that one day, it would be something that, you know, I do the work or I do the designs, and then I can kind of sit back and watch watch the sales happen. As I was getting into it, it was it seemed like, you know, there were so many roadblocks to me figuring out how to get these items manufactured. So I'm like, Oh, I come up with some cool designs, but like, how am I going to get the manufacturer who's going to build it for me? Where do I go, and I kept running into walls, trying to get that information, because I didn't know anyone personally at the time who was doing it and so I didn't even know who to ask or kind of where to get that information. So earlier in, in that in that process, or in that six months, I was just like, I don't know how I'm gonna get this done. And it just it was just it was a block. So I kind of hesitated and put it down for a little bit and thought about doing other stuff and but it was in the back of my head. The designs were floating in the back of my head and I just couldn't figure out how to make a move forward. So I paused.
my eyewear line is called Anwuli eyewear. Anwuli is my middle name. It is an Ebo name, it means joy. Ebo is a tribe in Nigeria, I'm not I'm a first generation Nigerian, American. So with our names, all of our names have meanings. And so in a way, the meanings of our names sometimes when you're introducing yourself, they're, in my opinion, they can be a bit of an affirmation, right? You're affirming what his name was that was that there's a lot to me there's a lot in the name so you're kind of affirming what it is my first name I'm Amaka means beautiful. I was an affirmation. And then my middle name is Joy. So that's the second affirmation and I just want um, when I was naming the line I wanted to make I were a joy, you know, because it was something that I would very rarely wear glasses most. In fact, most people don't see me and glasses because until now, a lot of the frames that I would try didn't fit and I love sunglasses, and I always promote people wearing sunglasses, but you know, a lot of them did not fit well. Now, of course, as I've been on this journey, I've found other brands, you know, I've found other independent brands and so I've seen that but um, I wanted to build something that was because beautiful things make people joyful. They do they make people happy, they bring the confidence, you know, my eyewear line is designed to make a statement without speaking to religious be something that's both beautiful. And when you see it, like you know that this person was very intentional, and that brings me joy. So So yes, the name means joy, and I'm just trying to bring that joy to people or bring joy to people using eyewear.
Is there a point where you hesitated to start it? What got you over that hump?
So as I mentioned that I tried to start or I sat down in 2018. And I came up with this, you know, brand idea. And as I was trying to figure it out, what I realized was that that was one part of the industry, the manufacturing of the frames, or the designing of frames. That was That wasn't really how do you say this readily? The information wasn't readily available? There was no Google, you couldn't Google how to make how to start a, an eyewear line, you couldn't, you know, you have to start asking individual people. So the more that I found out about it, it was like, the less I knew, so it's a little bit exclusive. If you will I wear design, let me say, How do I exist? So when you want to do something, you start?
Well, I'm the type of person when I want to do something, I start talking about it with people sort of in an accountability way, and sort of in a, you know, letting the ideas develop, I'm not one, you know, some people don't tell anybody what you're doing. But I was the kind of person that I would talk to anybody. And I will tell you, that 2018, I will talk to anybody who would listen, how are we going to build wealth? Guys? How are we going to get this passive income? And, and you know, and I will share the idea with people and they will kind of say, Oh, my God, that's really dope. I never thought about fitting eyewear on black faces, and, you know, my glasses, a lot of the people I talk to, oh, yeah, my glasses are a little, like, a little short, on the temple, they're a little short. And, you know, so people would kind of like, keep giving me these affirmations.
And I would, and I would talk about it, and I will talk about, and I'm talking about it, I talked to one of my friends who she's one of those kind of people or names, versus one of those people who, who has the juice, like she makes things happen. So she kept talking to me about getting like a business coach. He's like, Oh, I got this business coach. And she, she helps you take back your time, she helps you get get really organized. And she kept harping on a cap off. And so finally, she made the virtual introduction to my business coach, Whitney, and I ended up deciding to sign up with Whitney. And so what Whitney did when he has a program called take back your time, and what she did was she helped me get really clear on what my personal goals were, what my professional goals were, and she and our work started to help me get over that hump, it started helping me find solutions instead of more roadblocks. So we might not have always got it, you know, right. But once we started working, we were very specific, with with what we were trying to do. And so that helped me organize my practice helped me free up space in my brain, you know, so that I could actually be a lot more creative, and a lot more intentional about how I was moving in the optical industry to be able to, you know, get over that hump, and figure out the manufacturing piece and figure out, you know, how to get these things and start going.
One of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to starting passion projects is finding time in their already busy lives to do it. How did you find or make time for your project?
I did the program, take back your time, and just a huge part of that was just really getting very clear about what you want to do. So I'm a little bit of a social life, I was, I'm a sorority girl, I'm really big with my family, I have a lot of things that I love to do. But um, I think pre COVID, right, we were just kind of a lot of us were spinning. So this this steal time was interesting for me. But even before then it was just, you know, it was get up and go was go to work, get off, get a flight, I'll be in Houston, get the party, do this, do that, you know, all this stuff, or different organizational stuff, I'm going to do this for the youth, I was heavy in my community youth organization that that was very important to me. And I was just everywhere for everybody. So I didn't have a lot of still time to think. But I still wanted to do the things that I love. So with the program, what it helped me do was really figure out what do you what do you need to outsource? What do you need to get off your plate? What do you need to take off your plate? And then how do you show up the best for the things that you actually that are actually important to you. And then another piece about the program was that we really got my, my nine to five, my practice organized. So I got that space very organized to where the employees that I have, we're doing you know what they're supposed to be doing. So that in between patients, I'm not necessarily doing a whole bunch of administrative work, and I do have the time to do or focus or do something with my eyewear line. And think about that, or make the calls I needed to make for that or send the emails that I needed to send for that. So it's basically organizing that nine to five space and organizing even my personal life, you know, so that I can still show up for people, because that's a big part of my personal joy, being able to show up for people and being able to participate in stuff, but but still have time to do other things, not just ripping and running from one place to the next.
Another big challenge faced is fatigue. You work 9-to-5, it takes up 95% of your energy. And we are not even talking about family and their needs yet. What can you share with the listeners about getting energy after all the demands of life?
Okay, thinking about like energy, I think that that it's important to be able to see where you want to go. So I very vividly had a vision of what I wanted. And I and I wrote that down. And I didn't necessarily know how I was going to get there. But I got committed to the end like what what do I want my life to look like? What you know, what do I want it to look like? And so some of that, you know, it does require some personal motivation, you know, to say, Well, if I want this to happen, then I do have to do this in the day. And anybody who knows me knows I'm not staying up late. We're not doing it, I'm going to bed at night. I actually like the workout a lot too. So physically, I definitely think that being connected with health and wellness definitely gives me a certain source of energy but the other piece of energy comes from this internal motivation, seeing and having a very clear vision of where I want to go and what I want my life to look like. Definitely motivates me to get things done effectively because again, I'm not gonna stay up I'm not gonna I'm not the burn the midnight oil all anybody went to college with me, y'all know, I'm going to sleep at 10 at the latest, you know, I can't stay up studying, I can't stay up working necessarily, but I like to make the best out of the hours that I am up to be very efficient and effective. When I when I do sit down to do work, make a make list. I write things down. And I definitely have to notate everything as far as like calendar wise. Just staying very organized will help you be able to address your daily tasks so it doesn't get overwhelming.
I have heard about passion projects providing renewed confidence and new skills when it comes to people’s day jobs. How has your passion project impacted the way you show up at your day job?
I think, yes, yes. So to your point, yes, I definitely feel that tapping into the things that bring me joy made me an overall. Better practitioner, I'm joyful. I'm excited. I'm happy. And of course, because it's in my field, you know, I definitely have opinions about, you know, I wear because the eyewear piece, we're big on health and big on ocular health, but a big piece of it is, you know, how are you? How do we make you see better? What are you using to see better as a context as glasses, what's making it better? So I think that having this perspective, getting into the design aspect of the frames, having that conversation and knowing you know, kind of what I'm trying to do in that space has definitely made me show up better in my practice. It's just, it's a lot more balanced, even with the awkwardness and weirdness of the whole past year, you know, with the pandemic, and all of that stuff. I still feel like I'm able to show up in my practice, a lot more enthusiastic, enjoyable. So yeah, I would definitely say that it's impacted positively.
There is someone out there listening to this recording who has something they are passionate about but they are on-the-fence when it comes to starting. What bit of guidance would you provide to them?
So it's actually supposed to there's two things. And when you say, don't, you know, what did you know now that you didn't know, then kind of that's kind of how I'm rephrasing your question. Maybe I knew this, but I didn't know it the same way. So the first piece of advice is start, right, you can't finish something that you don't start. When I started having this conversation in 2018, I didn't know that it was gonna take me until 2020, is when we finally launched the brand to actually have something out, you know. But I started it. And now I do have something out. So if you, if you want to, if you want to do something, you have to start, if you want to finish something, you have to start, you can't finish something you never start. So that definitely is a big one. The second one, or the second piece of advice is to, it's actually a combination of things, it's have the enough humility to pivot. So I think one of the biggest words of 2020, and it's carrying into 2021, let's pivot, be able to change directions if you need to. And so I think in order to do that, you have to have a certain amount of humility, you have to have to kind of take ego out, you know, to say that, okay, this way, I was trying, even though I was so convinced, typical work, I need to kind of scale back and move in a different direction. And I think, yeah, those are my two pieces, two big two pieces, that I would definitely tell anyone who wants to move towards their passion.
Lastly, are there any particular books that you have found helpful along the passion project journey? Please share 1 to 3 of them if any come to mind.
Um, so one of the biggest resources that are you mentioned her, and this is not even a start to sound like a promotion per my coach program, take back your time has been was implemental. So that was a huge resource for me. I think that when, when I was first approached about, oh, you know, getting this coach, I'm like, Well, I can't afford it, or I don't want to, but I think that you have to invest in what you're trying to do. So coaching, getting some sort of coaching is, is is a huge, I think, place that sometimes people underestimate, you know, we all want to get it out the door by ourselves. But really, there are people who know and have tried and trued methods to building businesses, helping you get more organized and you know, you get professional, professional input on on starting up a business and different things like that. If you get the right one, and you make that right investment, I think that can definitely propel you for it. So that's one resource for sure. Take back your time was was awesome. Another resource I read. I read a book, I read a lot of books. But I'll tell people this I will read for fun. So I read books, why people watch TV. I can't tell you anything about any of the shows. But I love books, but I never read anything educational for the past few years minus what I read in school, but I read a couple there's two books that that come to mind. That definitely changed my paradigm definitely helped me shift. My paradigm was Rich Dad, Poor Dad. My dad had that book in our house for forever. And I didn't I did not read that book until 2017. I promise you all the good things that my dad tried to bring us we were like, No, we don't want to hear back. So that book was about building assets. And that definitely helped me shift my paradigm because I remember saying things when I was younger, like Well, I'm not really money motivated. And and the thing is like no, that's that's not it. That's not it at all, you know, because you do want to build wealth. Right? So you are motivated by finances and money and you have to kind of have the right perspective on finances. So that was one and then there was another one called for For our work week, that definitely helped me shift my perspective. So being when I was a business owner, I think I already had it in my head that like, why are we working these five day work weeks or six day work weeks, you know, why are we working like this. So when I read that, it's interesting because I don't know if anybody's ever read that book, he talks a lot about outsourcing talks a lot about getting different aids and you know, the 80 20% rule where he basically you do 80% of what you need to do and 20% of your day and talked about all that stuff. And I tried to figure out how to apply that to my practice because I have to be present to to to make my accuracy patient right, so there's no way for me to do 80% of that and 20% of the day but there was a way to you know, change the way we scheduled even in this COVID period, the way we set up our scheduling to make sure that we have appointment slots, fill those appointments slots effectively so that we make the most out of the time that we are there. So that for our work week, I think I couldn't apply it wasn't just you know, wasn't just a direct application of the things that he mentioned but it was it was a shift in the way that I thought about how much time I was devoting and putting into work and what I was getting out of it if that makes sense. So that definitely helped shift my perspective.
Where can the people learn more about your passion project and the dope work you are putting out into the world.
Links to items and people mentioned in this episode
Take Back Your Time Coaching with Whitney A. White
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss