Why To Succeed You Need To Be A Believer with Dr. Christiana Stephen
Katerina: Christiana, how are you? Could you tell me how you started your 50AmazingMoms.com business?
Christiana: The thing is, I started it for myself at first. So, after I had my four children, I went into depression. I had postnatal depression, and I was just looking for something that will make me better if you get what I mean. Because I tried doing so many things. I learned makeup and learned photography. I learned a lot of things, but I still was… I was still depressed. I wasn’t happy about anything. I wasn’t happy that I had children… I wasn’t happy about my body. And so, um, one day, I decided okay I was going …Katerina, we have to pause, someone is at the door, please pause.
Katerina: [Laughs] Okay, let’s continue our interview. It’s a joy to have four little kids running around and knocking on the doors. So, Christiana, Why being an influencer? What motivated you to start your social influencer career?
Christiana: I didn’t start up to be an influencer. To be honest, I actually started off to just inspire people, help people lose weight, and that’s it. That was… what it was…So, on top of my head, I did not think about being an influencer at all. But the more I worked with these women, the more I worked with mothers, the more I realised that they saw me as an influencing figure.
Christiana: So, sometimes, people would send me messages. “Oh, you’ve inspired me a lot, or you’re my mentor… oh, I love you”. You know, things like that. And then, when I realised that my life is inspiring people and influencing people, I decided to be more conscious of the things that I do. Because now it’s no longer about me. So, that’s how the whole lifestyle influencer came; it wasn’t me. It was the people that were calling me an influencer, and that’s how it started.
Katerina: Yeah, yeah, because your Facebook has how many fans? More than 1 million fans, I mean, this is amazing. And your website? A couple of million fans, I mean, it just.. how long did it take you to actually grow this audience to be such a huge audience?
Christiana: Okay, actually started in 2016
Katerina: Okay, yes, so not long. Yeah, yeah.
Christiana: So, that was, I set it in July 2016. And so, in July we should be four years.
Katerina: Yeah. Great. And, when you just started, what was the most difficult time you had starting out? Was it, being out there, or showing your face, or doing videos? What was the most difficult thing for you when you’re just started 50AmazingMoms?
Christiana: The most difficult part was creating content. Because at the point when I started with 50AmazingMoms, I was doing my PhD. And I had four little babies to look after. So, it was like creating content was the major work because, you know, how is it Dr Katerina with PhDs? A lot of research and combining because… and, and then I had like a part-time teaching job as well. It looked like I had so much to do at that point, so it was creating content that was my huge difficulty.
Katerina: Yeah, yeah [laughs] Christiana, you’re like a superwoman, but, if you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Christiana: Okay, it would be like to change the lives of every mother.
Katerina: Yeah. Yeah, that would be what I’ll do. But you are changing lives; you are changing lives. It’s amazing. The comments on Facebook is like “Yes, Doc,” you know they just… they think you are superwoman. Yeah.
But when you just started your journey, have you ever had moments of doubt when you thought… well maybe I should just quit?
Christiana: Yes, times like that usually come, you know. But not now and I haven’t had that, you know. When I first started, it was really challenging because I started out, reaching out to people that I knew. You know, I went up to my friends, long term friends, family friends and all that. To tell them, this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to start a page for mothers, and these were mothers as well.
They didn’t buy into my dreams or my visions. Yeah, so that was very discouraging because I’m like, oh, this is family, these are my friends. They didn’t even follow me on Facebook. I invited them to like my Facebook; they didn’t. They were not proud of anything I was doing.
Christiana: And that was really, really discouraging. Imagine starting a brand, and your family is not even supportive of what you’re doing, they wouldn’t understand it. And so, one thing that kept me going was that this is my dream; this is my vision. I’m still going to go ahead, whether or not someone supports me.
Christiana: Yeah, so I just went ahead anyway, I had nothing to lose, I was just a full-time student working part-time. I was just creating content and just putting it out there. Yeah, so I didn’t care how people looked at it, but that was the most discouraging thing on this journey.
Katerina: Because you see, you sometimes listen to some entrepreneurs, and they have these amazing stories about supportive parents and supportive friends. What do you do if you don’t have supportive parents or supportive friends?
Christiana: My mom didn’t understand this. When I first showed her, she was like, “Oh, Okay.” You know when okay is like it’s okay, yeah. Well, you know that deep down inside is not really Okay. And then I had friends that I contacted via email, friends that I actually called. They were like, “Oh, do you want to do that? Why do you want to show yourself, share, you know?” So, it was really discouraging.
The only person that was supporting, to an extent, was my husband. But even he didn’t understand where I was going, you know. Yeah. But the rest didn’t really understand it.
Katerina: Yeah. So, if you think about it, the challenging time you had starting out. What was the most difficult challenge you had to overcome when you just start it [50AmazongMoms]?
Christiana: The most difficult was having to expect people to like what I do; having to expect people to support me. That was the difficult part of it. Because it just feels…, it feels somehow when you put up your stuff on Facebook, and you feel like the first set of people that should be part of you don’t engage with it, should be people that know you, people who you’ve had contact with, and then they just look and walk past.
Christiana: You know, so that was.
Katerina: So, how do you deal with them…, people who are negative on Facebook and social media? People who, sometimes, just put some snide comments without really thinking how it may affect you personally? How do you deal with it?
Because a lot of the time, starting entrepreneurs, have this fear of exposing themselves and being out there? And they’re afraid, you know, to be… to have people that don’t like what they do and say things about them and it’s very discouraging for them. So, how do you personally deal with them… negative people?
Christiana: Personally, I don’t have issues with people, not liking what I do. Now, if you don’t like what I do, there’s nothing wrong with being constructive about it. But if you come to my page and you drop a toxic comment, I’ll weed you out and block immediately because the thing is, apart from that, I am someone who is in control of my space.
Katerina: Yeah, right.
Christiana: I don’t like toxic people, because, well, that no matter how strong you are, if you give in to it, it starts affecting you mentally. And, I try to draw that line now. If you come to my page and say, “Oh, I think you should be doing it this way, not this way”… That’s okay. But if you come to my page and say you are a silly woman, this kind of thing, I would block immediately and delete you.
Katerina: Yeah, yeah.
Christiana: That was how I used to handle people. Sometimes I’d go live, then before I go-live… and people just come up and say nasty comments. Imagine you’re going live, and someone is coming into your comment trying to bully you. And so, yeah, I had all that. I had all that.
And what I usually do is… At first, I used to feel bad like “Why would this person say this,” and then… but now I’m more… because I’ve grown into it. If I’m “live” and you say and trash, I’ll just give it back to you immediately. And I’ll block you or call you out. I literally will call your name and give it to you well. And then block you out immediately.
Sometimes I will respond, sometimes I don’t see some of those comments. But, by the time I finish my live show, I’ve seen that people are following me. I’ve already lashed the person out of the bag. So, so yeah. But, it can be very discouraging working with toxic people or bullies.
Cyberbullies are everywhere. Yeah, everywhere… yeah… so you just have to be strong for yourself and know how to draw that boundary.
Katerina: Yeah. Okay. Could you tell us a little bit about what do you actually do? A little bit about your website? What services do you have on the website? What advice do you give to women? What is the 50AmazingMoms project is all about?
Christiana: Alright, so the 50AmazingMoms is all about redefining motherhood and changing the norms.
Christiana: So, the norms about mothers, is that the mother should always be tired, should always have no time, should be too structured, and be all about children and family. Yeah, I’m trying to change that norms.
Because you are a mom, it doesn’t mean you cannot achieve other things for yourself. It doesn’t mean you cannot live your life. I mean, before you become a mom, you have dreams, isn’t it? So, why would those dreams die off just because you have become a mother? So, that is what the project is all about.
And what I do is… I’m a bit more organised now. I’m a bit more organised. So, on Mondays, I usually do a meal Monday. On Mondays, I talk about healthy food that mothers can eat because you need food to fill your body, and also talk about nutrition and how it’s very important. On Tuesdays, I do things like, talk to you, it’s mostly motivational, or I talk about waist training or anything that bothers women, but it’s all about talking. Yeah.
On Wednesdays, I do a workout on Wednesday. So I do exercises online, just to get people coming in. And I think like for me, that workout was, that’s really worked well because it’s happy to see people come up live to do a workout. It’s usually videos and edited videos, but just seeing that realness of how it worked out, If I get tired, I tell them I’m tired. My legs are aching — I tell them so that they just feel like it’s natural; it’s normal, there’s nothing wrong with you.
On Thursday, I have Thursday training as well. That’s about a workout. On Fridays, I used to, I usually do fashion Friday, when I talk about fashion, beauty makeup, anything about beauty and fashion. And on Saturdays, I do a workout in the morning. Sometimes I let the kids take over the show, talk about how I bring the kids up, talk about what they’ve learned what I’ve taught them. I bring them up in the kitchen, show moms how to incorporate kids.
There’s a lot going on 50AmazingMoms, to be honest, and I just try to make it a place that creates value for mothers.
Katerina: Yeah. So, what do you think is your unique skill set is, that’s really helped you to become, successful running the 50AmazingMoms website?
Christiana: Okay, I want to talk about you, the fact that I’m a researcher is a huge thing for me, because as a researcher, you can research anything, you can find anything. You can decide to do any study. And so that has really helped me as a researcher because sometimes, some things I talk about are based on research.
So, I spend days and days doing research, days learning. So, when I come out to talk, sometimes people think I’m a medical doctor but… not me. No such, and I keep telling them I’m a full-time researcher. I love research; it has actually helped me. Another skill that has helped me is the fact that I talk.
Christiana: So, I’m very good when it comes to public speaking. I actually learned how to engage my audience. I know when to stop. I know when to stop, so that has actually helped me. Above all that. Another thing that has really helped is being real. Because the thing is, motherhood is real; it’s a real journey. There’s no faking of motherhood. Some days you’re tired, some days you have all your stuff together.. is also good.
So, it’s being real and putting the realness out there. A lot of times I go on live shows, I do my live shows. I have lots of viewers watching me when I have no makeup on, and I’m still okay. I feel really comfortable with it. Sometimes I do makeup, sometimes, I don’t do makeup. So, I try to capture the realness of what it means to be a mother. I’m home, I’m not doing makeup. If I’m going live now, you will never find makeup on my face. I actually invited a lady to come on my show, and she’s like, oh.
Katerina: [Commenting] Christiana usually is very glamorous.
Christiana: Yeah, I do. I like the glamouring. I’m coming live a lot of times, and I want to have that real face of mine. And, that helps mothers to connect, because you can’t be staged and expect people, real-life people to connect with you. I don’t like staging anything. So I come out as real as I am, as it is the face, I just do my stuff, and that being real is something that is lacking in a lot of businesses.
Originality is lacking, so just be you. So, just being original. You’re going to have competitors. That is true, to be original, just being you. And even if I bring the world best person on my show, people will rather that I talk than listen to someone else. That’s because they feel I connect with them. Yeah, you know, so that has really helped me being real.
Katerina: Yeah, I saw your Thursday exercise show, and I’ve been amazed. I mean it’s… women have problems networking and talking one-on-one with another person. Yet, you are exercising in front of thousands of people. How do you overcome fear? How do you do this?
Christiana: I used to look funny, you know, when I was younger, I used to be very shy. Yeah, I didn’t use to face crowds. I didn’t like crowds at all. And so, I think… I just started learning. The first day I went live it wasn’t funny, you know. It wasn’t funny. I was like, “Oh my god, people are watching me how do I do it?” I was kind of… a bit uncomfortable.
And, after that live show, a lady came up to my messenger, and she said: “you’ve really done well, I think we should continue doing live shows.” That was the only comment, and this is a lady I’ve never met. I’ve never met her, and she made that statement in 2016 when I first started. And that statement kept me going. So, each time I go live, I just remember that someone thinks I’m good.
Katerina: Yeah, that proves that we have to be supportive of each other. We have to support each other because one word can actually make a huge, huge difference for someone else…, someone else’s confidence and self-confidence.
Christiana: That’s true. That’s right. We mentioned support women, have to stop lashing on each other. It’s a tough world already, so the most you can do if you can’t support someone just walks away instead of dropping nasty things or being toxic, you just walk away quietly.
Katerina: Yeah, true. So, what you’re not good at?
Christiana: What am I not good at? Okay, this is a tough question. I’m not good… I’m not good at pretending.
Christiana: The thing is, sometimes people expect me to fake it. But I’m not good with pretending. So, if not… I’m going to explain. I could be doing a live show and all of a sudden when was having a migraine I’m saying like my head is hurting I’m having migraines, I need to go now. Or maybe I’m doing something, and my kids are being loud. I’ll have to tell them, “Excuse me, my kids are being loud.” I don’t know how to pretend. Yeah, about situations. I don’t know how to pretend.
Katerina: That’s the thing because of entrepreneurs. They sometimes have, they think “you have to fake it till you make it.” And people just start getting anxiety and you’re saying you need to be as real and as authentic and to be real?
Christiana: Being real doesn’t cost you anything. It doesn’t cost you anything, just walking out and just not having makeup on. It costs you so much more to spend an hour doing makeup to make people happy. So being real doesn’t cost anything, you’re just being you. Yeah.
And the truth is when it comes to being an entrepreneur. People need to understand that. Every business has a niche. Yeah. And no matter how perfect you are, you’re still going to get people who will not like what you do. It’s really no point, putting yourself under that pressure. When you can just come out real and be original. There’s so much fake already in the world, so just be you, just be you, just like you for who you are. You like you, anyway. Yeah. You just drive up people who share your vision with you, as opposed to trying to please everyone.
Christiana: I don’t try to please people even when people come on my show and say, “Oh, I don’t like what you’re doing.” Oh? You’re not supposed to be here then! Yes. Yeah. Oh, I’m not… I’m not. There’s no business that is for everyone. I think entrepreneurs should understand that, as well. You’re not there for everyone. Just have your niche, and be yourself and be real, make improvements. When there’s a necessary improvement to be made, I mean, we can rule that out, but faking it till you make it? I don’t believe in it.
Katerina: Now… that’s great… that’s great. What is the most common reason for people failing at something or giving up, in your view? Why do people give up?
Christiana: I think… like a failure or giving up, first of all, begins in the mind. Yeah. The moment you start telling yourself, “Oh, I can’t do it.” That word is very limiting. “I cannot” — it’s very limiting, and lots of times, people have all the resources, but their minds, they’ve already told them they cannot do it. Yeah. And the moment your mind wins you, you’ve been won. So, you have to continually tell yourself; you can. No matter how hard it is.
I started 50AmazingMoms. I didn’t even have money on me when I started. I was just a student, you know. I wasn’t even thinking of whether I’m going to grow to 1 million, even though I did. All I needed was just 50 women. I just needed 50 women! I was just lucky… I have millions now following you that’s a runaway because I have lots of them. My WhatsApp is always full. For my email… sometimes I run away from the computer. But, I just needed 50 women to start with me, and those women that I wanted, I wanted like families and friends, but they weren’t forthcoming.
Christiana: No. So… but it didn’t stop me from searching for 50 women. That’s why the name 50AmazingMoms because I didn’t want just to be weird.
Katerina: Yeah, so, in your view, what is the common myth about anxiety and fear people have?
Christiana: I think that majority of the anxiety and the majority of fear in our mind, our mind is really strong. Like, sometimes, it happens to me. Sometimes I wake up I’m freaking out like “Oh I can’t go live today. I don’t feel good enough.” You know, I’ve already told myself, nobody has said to me that. I’ve already told to myself that I can’t do it. And so, when I decide to go live, and I’m speaking to people, and I end up telling my friends “Did you know I wasn’t feeling well when I was doing that,” and they’re like, “Oh, we didn’t even notice that.”
So, sometimes fear and anxiety are in the mind, it’s listening to so many negative things. If you surround yourself with negative people, it’s a problem as well. Yes, it impacts everything that you do. So, yeah, anxiety when it comes to business, one has to be careful what you’re feeding yourself like things you’re listening to and people you’re surrounded with. And that really is important because that’s where it begins. Yeah, so that’s why I think, yeah.
Katerina: So, what advice would you give to starting entrepreneurs? Or, someone who wants to become a social influencer like yourself? What advice can you give them? Maybe some resources you can suggest that can help them on their journey?
Christiana: Okay, if you want to be an influencer, whether it is a lifestyle fitness, any kind of, you learn. You, first of all, need to see what people have done, their success stories, get to see what others did, what they did, and how they did it. Now, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to follow them or do what they are doing, but it will give you an idea of what you will be expecting.
Katerina: Yes, true.
Christiana: Yeah, so… I used to follow. Lots and lots of top influencers, fitness makers, I still follow a lot of them. And sometimes I just go there to learn. To improve your own self because you cannot be an influencer if you can’t even improve on yourself. How do you influence people when you can’t influence your own self? People get inspired by the things they see, how you progressed, so there’s always room for improvement. So, to be an influencer, look around what people are doing what other influencers are doing and how they’re doing it. Secondly, you need to know what you’re doing, what do you want to influence? Do you want to be a fitness influencer? Do you want to be a beauty influencer? Do you want to be a fashion influencer? Do you want to be a lifestyle, the different types of influences? Now, don’t try to do everything yet.
Katerina: Yeah, right.
Christiana: Know your niche. Know your strengths. Sometimes people come and tell me, “Oh, you do makeup? Do you want you to do a video, and do your makeup video that teaches how to do makeup? I did, like, I actually have a makeup qualification. Yeah, I am a certified makeup artist, but I really don’t know how to sit down and draw my face in front of people.
Katerina: Yeah, okay.
Christiana: So, even when people are asking me, I’m like, “Oh, I don’t know when that is ever going to happen.” Yeah, but just for the one I’m doing is fitness, food, stay healthy, childcare. That is so much already, you know? Yeah, I tried to do fashion because my PhD was on fashion, so once in a while, I do fashion because that’s just more like my research angle. But other than that, I don’t try to do everything. You can’t do everything, so you need to get a niche. And mostly I tell people, make sure your niche is around something you’re passionate about and something that you’re comfortable with.
Katerina: Yes. So, I guess this is the reason why people have anxiety; they have all these ideas in their minds. They want to pursue just about everything at the same time, and they kind of stretch themselves emotionally and physically… and financially, and then run out of steam. Right? But if you focus on your tribe, trying to be as authentic as possible, you know… being real. It’s actually going to keep your mind in the healthiest state as well.
Christiana: Yeah, that’s true. I quite agree with what you’ve said. Sometimes people just want to do everything, and it’s a lot of pressure, even on your finances. It’s a lot of pressure. Imagine someone wanting to be a fashion influencer? If you want to do fashion clothes. You need… yes, clothes, trust me! You need to know… you need to understand trends. Yes.
So, if fashion is not your thing, it would be so demanding. Yeah, because if fashion is your thing, that it will be easier for you because… oh you’re already like putting on clothes and all that. So, it all has to do with making things easy for yourself. Don’t be everywhere, don’t please everyone. Yeah, you beyond that pressure.
Katerina: Now, that’s great advice from Christiana. So, thank you so much for sharing this amazing story, and I guess that concludes our first episode. So, stay tuned, and I’ll see you in the next podcast, to hear a fantastic story from another female entrepreneur, and thank you so much, Christina, for being on the show.
Christiana: I would never say no, thank you so much, I appreciate it.
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