We had the good fortune of connecting with R’Minda Madison Russell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi R’Minda Madison, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
The only risk you should avoid at all costs is the risk of doing nothing.
When it comes to taking risks, most of us quiver at the thought of failing. Taking a leap of faith off of a gut feeling and a personal dream is no easy task. We have all heard the phrase, “get comfortable being uncomfortable,” and there is no better way of describing what risk feels like. It’s uncomfortable as all being, but absolutely necessary. Life continues whether we are ready for it or not and It’s on us to take action. Taking risks means taking control of your destiny.
I have a formula for success when it comes to risk-taking: Mindset + Action + Progress = Success/Happiness
1. Mindset. No matter the risk you are considering your mindset will determine your outcome. Going into a decision with a scarcity mentality instead of an abundance mentality will determine your reality and success. Now mastering your mindset is no easy task, but what we think is how we feel, how we feel determines what we do, what we do determines our habits, our habits determine our realities and our realities determine our success/happiness! It is all rooted in a proper mindset.
2. Take immediate action. Nobody is ready to build an empire. There is never the “right time” to launch a business. And successful businesses don’t just launch and make a million dollars in their first year. Taking immediate action gets us a smidge closer to our goals. You don’t need a bank account of 10k to launch a business and leave the job that makes you miserable every day. What you do need is consistency with your actions. It can quickly become paralyzing when looking at how far you have to go. Instead of worrying about tomorrow, you need to be taking immediate action today. The sooner we realize the only time we have promised is our present reality, the less we struggle with the anxieties of the future.
3. Progress is happiness. This is one of the hardest things to remember when you are in the thick of risk-taking. Taking the time to track and plan your risks/goals is key to happiness. You may feel like you haven’t done enough, or you are not keeping up with others in your field. This type of thinking is toxic to your goals and successes. You are only in competition with the version of you from yesterday. Track your goals, revisit your progress when you feel down and keep on trucking.
So now you are probably thinking, “what do you know about risk-taking?” or maybe even, “I can’t just make the jump (insert your excuse here).” All of those thoughts are natural because I and every successful person I know have said the same thing! I can tell you from personal experience, I have never regretted taking a risk, even the risks that ended in failure. As I sit here typing this, I am listening to the founder of Spanx speak. She said something that I would love to share and it’s her acronym of FAIL. F stands for “First,” A stands for “Attempt,” I stands for “In,” and L stands for “Learning.” So all together the word FAIL breaks down to our “First Attempt In Learning.” We shouldn’t be afraid to fail because failure is how we learn! In fact, one of my first ever risk-taking experiences in business ended as a major FAILURE!
I am from a family full of entrepreneurs and I’m the youngest. I wanted nothing more than to be a businesswoman at the young age of 15 years old. Yes, I worked in my parents retail store and helped them land sales for bulk orders while filling ice cream cones on the weekends but I wanted something of my own. I was a dancer, theater nerd, and cheerleader in school so makeup was a big part of my life. My mom had also sold cosmetics for Mary Kay Cosmetics previously and I always thought that was a cool company to work for. Unfortunately, for my 15-year-old self, you had to be 18 to launch your business with them. The paperwork was my birthday present at 18 and I took the leap. I bought an inventory, went to seminars, started a social media selling plan just to find out that I was not mentally prepared to have my own business. I wasn’t consistent, I was scared of what my peers thought and therefore didn’t put myself out there like my business needed. It tanked and I was left with no money and a ton of inventory. But that didn’t stop me – I learned and revised.
During that time in my life, I also was extremely bullied in school. Paralyzed to even go to classes or God forbid the lunchroom. I was left feeling stuck. Then a heaven-sent friend told me about CCP (College Credit Plus). In comes my second big risk, not doing my senior year of high school and instead, going to college and taking classes a year early. I was the youngest by far in all my college classes and at times I felt I missed out on high school senior activities, but it was well worth it. I raised my GPA, got acquainted with my new college campus, removed myself from my toxic high school situation, and eventually graduated college a year early.
In College you have options. You can get the most out of your education and college experience or you can just go for the paper at the end (diploma). Taking the risk of studying abroad, out-of-state internships and more gives you the confidence you need for post-graduation success. With no money in the bank, freshly 18 and new to campus – I signed up for a semester in Madrid, Spain. We all know someone who has studied abroad and have seen the difference of the before and after. Something changes in you when you take the risk of putting yourself in an extremely different environment. That change is your mentality. You prove to yourself you can do hard things. Spain at 18 will be something I remember for the rest of my life and it is 100 percent the place and time in my life I started taking my “manifestations” or mental work seriously. I also was able to make amazing friends, eat delicious food and see some amazing countries as a backpacker.
Just as my previous fails didn’t stop me from taking action to get more out of life, the successes have done the same. After completing my semester abroad I was fully in the groove of my new lifestyle. Something odd happened. I was bored!! You are only bored if you are too comfortable. So I knew it was time to push myself. I am from Ohio so at the time Florida was the place I wanted to live. I looked up dream companies in Miami to work for and stumbled on Royal Caribbean. I was also in the third year of journalism school when I received the article prompt to interview someone with my dream position. So after countless emails, LinkedIn requests, and bribing, I landed an interview with a PR rep for Celebrity Cruises. I could have found someone easier, closer, quicker with a response for this paper but choosing the easy way out only hurts YOU in the end.
I ended up getting his interview done for my article AND made a connection in Florida. I then started to bombard him with my resume and brainstorming ideas. I don’t know if it was out of frustration with the persistency or if he was impressed with my ideas, regardless, my resume landed on the desk of the HR hiring manager. It’s risky to put yourself out there, but knowing your worth, hunger and vision is key.
After my time in Miami, I came back and finished out my final year in school. I loved Florida but I couldn’t get California out of my head. Another tip – if you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it. So on went my journey of selling my entire life, graduating school and moving across the country with my cat and boyfriend. With no network, no “real-world experience”, no savings, and triple the rent price I was quickly thrown into a hustle or fail situation. Because I took the previous risks and proved to myself I can do what I set my mind to, moving home wasn’t an option for me. It all starts with your mentality. It wasn’t easy or comfortable by any means to do this but it has propelled me into my current reality as a business owner.
I touched on the idea of having life happen “for” you instead of “to” you and that was exactly my mentality when the pandemic hit and I lost my marketing job. I again was left with a few options in a very turbulent time for not only me but the entire GLOBE. It would have been comfortable or easy to let life happen to me, stay on unemployment, sulk about being laid off, and stress about finances and my stability. What wasn’t easy was the mental work it took to turn off that narrative and instead launch a creative agency in the thick of a global pandemic. Looking back now three years into COVID, I am so incredibly grateful that my past self chose the abundance mindset. I now have a full book of business, a waiting list, an amazing work-life balance and I am changing the game when it comes to the toxicity of corporate America’s burnout culture one project at a time.
Now, I deal with risk-taking every day. It’s almost like a muscle, the more risks you take the stronger your vision and self-worth become. Negotiating contracts, sending pitches, and representing someone else’s company via social media and website design all incorporate some type of risk-taking. If I were to stress out and shut down with each crossroads I stumble upon my business would never grow. Taking risks is how we create our realities, destinies, and self-worth. Taking risks is how we advance in life and failing is how we learn.
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?
Visualize Creative is a creative marketing agency that specializes in social media management and website design. From content creation, social media coaching, website development, and more we work with brands mainly in the functional health and wellness space. We are actively taking on clients and would love to turn any brand’s vision into a reality. Now a little about how I started it.
Visualize Creative was developed because I was frustrated with how creative agencies were run. Most agency work leads to burnout, horrible work-life balance and disconnected clients. I wanted to create an agency that was run by a creative to enhance other creatives so we may provide the best services possible to our amazing clients. I strive to bring happiness and fun creative energy to any project. The Visualize Creative difference is in the strategies, content quality, and creative energy.
I would be lying if I said the road of entrepreneurship is an easy one to take. There are some extreme moments of self-doubt and pressure from outside forces. During these moments, It is important to mentally know how to recenter yourself. People don’t talk much about the mental work that goes into launching a business and actually sticking with it. Mastering your mind is key.
In my first year of business, I did a lot of inner work. I took self-help seminars, read countless books and attended plenty of networking sessions. It wasn’t until I was consistent with my actions towards bettering myself and my business did the clients come. At one point I was sending out 50 – 100 pitches a day and grabbing virtual coffees with anyone who would give me the time of day. I was able to sign a few clients and then a few more and a few more and boom – I found myself actually doing it. I was building my business. I now have the business I’ve always dreamt of but it took a lot of mental preparation, consistent action and risk taking to get here.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons and most of those came from major setbacks, or “failures” if you will. I even at one point went to work for a “steady paycheck” and found myself at a miserable crossroads of giving up my dream business and “working for the man” or leaving the job that gave me financial security at the time and trying this business owner thing all over again. Thank God I chose option 2. Never doubt your dreams. You can do anything you set your heart and mind to.
Another big lesson I learned, and still am mastering, is proactive thinking and action versus productive thinking and action. When we think proactively we are preparing our minds for the next level in life. We are mentally planning where we want to be and how we are going to get there. Productive thinking is to-do list planning and reacting to other peoples ‘urgent’ situations. Productive action is cleaning your house when you should be writing your business plan, it’s finishing up your clients’ to do lists before even preparing and scheduling your own. It’s important to have a healthy balance of both. If you read, or have read, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey does a great job categorizing this principle to further understand.
And I’ll finish with the biggest lesson of all, which is basically, ‘fake it until you make it.’ I always hated that saying because some people interpret the ‘faking it’ part as all talk no action but it is the best way to describe how to get past imposter syndrome. When you find yourself in situations where you think you are underqualified or maybe reaching a tad just know there is nobody else like you. You are the only one that can bring certain thoughts to the table. You are the only one who can determine your rates and how you should run your company. You are the only one who can rewrite your story. My interpretation of the ‘faking it’ part is creating the dream version of yourself and showing up as that person every day. Eventually you will find that you are not pretending to be that version of you anymore, you are that version.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Not to toot my own horn but I think I have nailed the perfect long weekend in San Diego. It goes as follows.
Day 1: Beaches + Dancing
– Brunch in Pacific Beach. I normally like to go to The Menu, it has the best chilaquiles, but any boozy brunch spot will do.
– Hang out at the beach and grab a California burrito from Harrys Taco Club on Cass street, a “blunt” sub from Cheba Hut or some octopus tacos from Oscars for a late lunch.
– Get cleaned up and head out for a night out for dinner and drinks either in Pacific Beach or Gaslamp. Live music or a dance floor is necessary at some point in the night. I highly recommend Firehouse in PB.
Day 2: Hiking + Seals + Sunset
– Start your day at Torrey Pines Hiking Trails. The hike to the beach is a little over one 1 hour, give or take.
– After your hike, grab a bite to eat in La Jolla – I like Dukes – and check out the seals at The Cove.
– Get cleaned up and head to Sunset Cliffs for one of the best sunsets of your life.
– After the sunset, you can head into Ocean Beach for a bite to eat at OB Noodle house or head to a reservation in Little Italy. Any place in little Italy will do.
Day 3: Wrap it up
– This is your day tour opportunity. Take a whale watching tour, head over to Balboa Park and check out the Spanish Village or have a day in Coronado.
– Make yourself a reservation somewhere fancy and wine and dine yourself either at Civico 1845, Barbusa, Costerra, Herringbone, or Mister A’s – if you need to go all out.
– Bonus points if you book a sunset cruise with Triton Charters.
Of course, there are endless retail stores and farmers markets to attend but that’s the overall outline that isn’t day specific.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not be the woman I am today without the guidance and support of my family and friends. I was fortunate enough to have parents and older siblings who all found success in their own avenues of life, and they have all encouraged me to do the same.
Materials-wise, I love to take Tony Robbins courses. I also particularly liked the books, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, “Born to Win” by Zig Zigler, “Manifest Your Destiny” by Wayne Dyer, “You are a Baddass” by Jen Sincero, and “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. I could go on and on about self-help materials as that is a big part of my life. We are never done learning and it’s important for us to continue to enrich our minds every day!
Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@visualizecreative Visualize Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Blog Contact Information: Instagram: www.instagram.com/rmindamadison TikTok: www.tiktok.com/@rminda Blog: www.rmindamadison.com