Sophie Bowman is an Entrepreneur.com and Forbes expert contributor, multi-award-winning entrepreneur, founder of Company of the Year 2021, convertyourfollowers.com, and best-selling author. Known for her digital marketing genius and out-of-the-box thought processes challenging every industry status quo while walking the runways of Miami Swim Week.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I was born and raised in London, UK. My first school was called Unicorn School, so that tells you everything you need to know. I chose to go to boarding school aged eleven. Probably should have re-considered the fact it was an all-girls school, but I was still able to cause an acceptable amount of chaos.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I was a special needs teacher in the roughest borough in London, with a strong side hustle selling branding, copywriting, social media, and marketing services. Turning thirty was a game-changer for me. I embraced my inner early midlife crisis, put a deposit down on an apartment in Morocco, quit teaching, relocated to Marrakech, and transitioned the side hustle into my first creative agency, Brand Branding PR LLC. Everyone thought I was nuts, but living like a queen in a five-floored riad (Moroccan house) for less than $450 a month including tourist tax and a cleaner gave me the ability to live at a low cost while building my business and traveling the world and living in Australia for a while. I ended up in Miami after flipping a coin, working with European brands who wanted to launch in the U.S. market without losing their European soul.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
I always used to tell startup founders not to worry about wasting expenses on an office when you’re starting out, but that advice is obsolete since COVID. So, one of the best pieces of advice I learned from my business coach’s husband lawyer, Justin Nepola, is ‘Just Start.’ You can talk and plan all day long until you die, or ‘just start’ and figure it out while you’re finding your entrepreneurial feet. Find a coach or a mentor. You’d be surprised how much time, money, and stress you can prevent by having someone guiding you who already reached your desired destination. Sometimes it just takes a brainstorming session with someone business-minded to make a breakthrough. Join communities. Networking with other founders gives you access to local collaborative opportunities, allowing you to grow your business more rapidly at lower costs. Always challenge your industry status quo. No one ever made an impact quietly. Rewire your mind to see opportunity in everything. If I hadn’t broken my jaw in an accident that nearly killed me in 2019, I wouldn’t have lost weight on a two-month liquid diet, been scouted, signed, and paid to walk the runways at Miami Swim Week. That experience led to me taking the Miss Bikini Fitness UK 2021/22 title and was the catalyst for the creation of my patented technology swimwear line, launching later this year. If you never push yourself out of your comfort zone, you will miss out on opportunities to evolve. Take note from day one who cheers loudest every time you win. And who doesn’t clap at all? You’ll save yourself from wasting investing energy in the wrong people. There’s a reason why many people stay small in life. They play small and never take risks. Avoid small-minded energy at all costs. Surround yourself with go-getters.