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Brianna Régine Walston, Founder and CEO of Brianna Régine Visionary Consulting (BRVC)

Brianna Régine Walston is the Founder and CEO of Brianna Régine Visionary Consulting (BRVC). In this interview with The Industry Leaders, she shares her top advice for business professionals, namely the 3 things she wishes she'd known when starting out.

For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?

Thanks for having me and sharing my story. My zone of genius is brand growth strategy for entrepreneurs and decision-makers. Prior to starting BRVC in 2017, I worked in retail, start-up, small to mid-size and corporate environments. I’ve seen, at various levels, what it’s like to have an exciting and meaningful initiative you want to get off the ground. Yet, you either have no idea how to make it happen or you do, but the strategy and execution required to make it happen seem daunting. When I reflect on the work I valued the most, I realized I was drawn to the challenge of making ideas come to life head on. I like making the impossible possible, problem solving and getting the work done. The rewards are worth it.

The winter of 2016, I felt called to start my own company where I could be the reliable problem solver for brands, while creating a human-centered experience. So I got to work. I spent months thinking about my name, planning my services and how I’d get clients. And then, I used social media to put myself out there. Three months before completing my undergrad at UConn, I officially launched my company, Brianna Régine Visionary Consulting (BRVC), and have continued building it brick by brick since then.

Was any one person who was instrumental in helping you get from where you started out, to where you are now?

Whenever I am asked this question, I immediately think of my support system, clients and team members (or “BRVC alum” as I call them). My support system is my family, friends, and therapist (lol) - they give me the perspective I need to keep going, rejuvenating energy that balances the stresses from being a business owner, and unconditional love.

Equally, I’m grateful for all of my clients, every intern and staff member. They bought into my company’s vision and worked with me. Because of them, I’ve been able to continuously grow BRVC.

Is there a particular piece of advice you were given in the early days of your business journey that you still benefit from today?

Know your worth!

I’ll admit: when you start out, this advice might feel ambiguous because you’re building confidence as a business owner and you’re trying to price your value in a way where you can build your portfolio but also make a living. When I look at my service prices at the beginning of my journey, I internally melt (lol). But everyone has to start somewhere.

A big part of knowing your worth is learning to listen to your intuition - it will help you feel good about your decisions.

For example, when I first started, I’d engage with potential clients that gave me an off vibe. Not necessarily because they or their brand was bad, but because they were signaling red flags that crossed internal boundaries I hadn’t confidently expressed yet (i.e. not showing up for scheduled meetings or requesting meetings during times that were most convenient for them with no regards for other people involved, having unrealistic expectations, not wanting to do their part…). Every time I ignored this gut-reaction for the sake of building my portfolio and getting money through the door, it wasn’t an enjoyable experience.

Now, I do a better job of listening to my intuition and advocating for my value.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about leadership in your business journey so far?

Cultivating a culture where clients and team members feel heard, valued and respected is key to accomplishing your goals. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it definitely wasn’t built by one person. Regardless of how much you pay for help or a customer pays you, everyone should be treated as an essential part of the bigger picture–because they are. Without buy-in from your customers and team, you don’t have a sustainable business. At least that’s the way I see it.

What are the top three things you wish you'd known when you were just starting out?

Don’t sell yourself short. Set boundaries. Work on yourself as an individual.

  1. Know that your prices don’t have to be the lowest on the market (even if you don’t have much experience). Do your market research and really assess what you bring to the table. Don’t downplay that either. Sure, it may not make sense for you to come out the gate with the same prices as someone who’s been in business for 5 years, but you don’t have to sell yourself short at the beginning either. (I wish I knew that sooner than later.)

  2. Set boundaries. When you first start out, there are going to be situations where you feel you have to compromise in order to build your portfolio. This is normal but don’t put yourself in any situation to be belittled or disrespected. There’s BETTER money out there. Trust me.

  3. Work on yourself, always. Running a business isn’t for the faint of heart. As your business grows, so will you and vice versa. Do the self-work so that you can show up as your best self, in the good and bad times. This is particularly important when you step more into the CEO role, grow a team and are responsible for cultivating a healthy workplace environment.

In your experience, what is the most effective way to build a strong network of mentors and advisors to guide you in your business endeavors?

Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Transparently, I didn’t get any mentors or advisors for my business until last year. A year prior to that, I did reach out for mentorship but I didn’t follow up about it as much as I should have. I believe mentorship is important because having someone in your corner, who’s been in your shoes, makes the hard times a bit easier. When you’re growing a business it can be isolating, and you can be in your head a lot. Talking out your ideas, challenges, and everything in between with someone who gets it, can give you the reassurance and enlightenment you need to show up as your best self.

How do you determine when it's time to pivot, and what factors should you consider in making that decision?

It's time to pivot when you’re not seeing the results you expect. But before pivoting, give it enough time to be sure it really isn’t working. The factors this decision is based on are subjective but here are the things I’ve considered when I’ve had to pivot in business: the need for revenue, bandwidth, resources that are/or will soon be accessible, obligations (personal and professional), and ultimately my personal and professional goals overall.

How do you stay motivated and inspired during the business cycle of ups and downs?

I lean on my relationship with God and I spend time with my family and friends. Being around my support system replenishes me and reminds me of what I value most in life. I also stay motivated and inspired thanks to my self work practices–reciting my affirmations and making sure that the content I consume doesn't bring me down.

Looking back, what one thing would you do differently if you could start your journey over again?

Budgeting effectively. But I always give myself grace about this, because when I started my entrepreneurial journey, I didn't have a lot of examples of business owners in my immediate circle. I didn’t have anybody to go to, to ask advice on budgeting and finances in business.

Other than that, I wouldn’t change anything. I believe everyone has a path and everything happens for a reason. My journey has had its ups and downs, but it has allowed me to gather the tools I need to be successful.

Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?


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