Founder Focus: Rosemary Ikpeme of MYnd Map
Rosemary Ikpeme, is a Nigerian born Londoner with a loud laugh and a curious soul. She’s the creator and founder of MYnd Map, a series of high-quality mindfulness, gratitude, and goal setting journals, planners, and agendas. Here she tells us why she founded the brand and how her award-winning MY Journals can help you focus on your dreams and become even more productive.
What was your eureka moment?
I started on the road of personal development in my mid-twenties. Since then, whenever I encounter a challenge in life, I always revert back to the strategies and tools I’ve picked up from my development journey and pick-up new ones along the way.
About five years ago, I was at a job I loved. It ticked all the values I had listed in my journal six months earlier. I was living the dream. Then came ‘the restructure’, and suddenly, everything seemed to go downhill. I went through nine months of bullying and racial discrimination. It left me physically and mentally broken.
In an effort to regain some control of my life, I decided to create a vision board of what I wanted my life to be going forward. I’d watched a Ted Talk called Draw your future by Patti Dobrowolski – but I was terrible at drawing so to help me I invited some friends over for a vision-board-making party. At one point I said that I wished there was a tool that had all these personal development and productivity strategies with inspiring illustrations I could colour in, all in one place. My friend said, ‘Well, why don’t you create it?’. And it just made sense, so I did!
What is your elevator pitch?
MYnd Maps mission is to empower individuals, organisations and business owners to build positive habits, mental resilience and abundance. We want to help people to navigate through life and its challenges with awareness, focus, self-care and balance, making sure that mental, emotional, physical health and overall wellbeing are a priority.
MYnd Map provides you with productivity and mindfulness tools to become more effective, efficient, and successful in achieving results based on your values and purpose. Our products help you create a life you want, love, and deserve.
How did you test your idea?
I started off by sending out a survey to friends and acquaintances on various networks that I was part of and received over one hundred responses which really helped me refine my ideas. I then applied for a Virgin StartUp loan. I knew if I received the loan it would be a great way to validate my business plan. But, my best decision was to use Kickstarter (crowdfunding) as a way to test and fund the printing costs of the MY Journal product idea. On Kickstarter, customers could pre-order the MY Journal product based on the prototype. I’m not sure I would have run the risk of printing a batch without knowing whether or not they would sell. The campaign was hugely successful and we were fully funded which gave me considerable confidence in the product – it was also a great way to market the business.
‘Your WHY is the bottomless petrol pump that fuels your journey.’
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a business on their own?
I say this all the time to my customers and anyone thinking of starting a business. Know your WHYs. Why do you want to do what you want to do? What is your driving force? Will it impact others – your loved ones, family, your community, society and/or the world in general? Knowing the answers to these questions is crucial because, although starting a business is incredibly fulfilling, it comes with a plethora of challenges and hurdles. Your WHYs are what keeps you going when you come across these obstacles. Your WHY is the bottomless petrol pump that fuels your journey.
Do you have a mentor?
I have a mentor who has been on this journey with me from the very start. I found him via a site called micro mentor. It was such a serendipitous connection, as I explained my idea to him, he connected with it straight away because he also practiced the strategies I wanted to apply in the MY Journal product.
We’ve never actually met because he lives in the USA. However, when there are specific challenges we can speak as much as once a week. He’s a great sounding board and knows how to put things into perspective when everything seems overwhelming.
What is your plan B?
My plan B would be pivoting the company. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we need to learn to be more adaptable, in life and in business. I also have another great business idea I’ve been mulling over in my head for the last few years.
What is the most worthwhile investment – of time, energy or money – you’ve made?
I’ve invested a lot of time and money on learning, growing, and researching all the strategies that I apply into my MYnd Map products to help our users. I also feel it is paramount to invest in professionals and experts for your business, like a good accountant. I’m so grateful to my dedicated fulfilment team. As a business owner time is an invaluable resource, and you need to be very calculated about how you spend and allocate it.
What one failure are you glad you experienced?
I don’t see anything as a failure; they are more lessons or clues to change directions. The biggest lesson I have learned is to outsource. I almost burned out during the first Christmas period of running my business. I had hundreds of orders I had to fulfil myself. I had to call Ubers to help take the bags and orders to the post office that was only about a three-minute drive away, because there were just too many for me to carry. I decided I needed to find a fulfilment company to help before I started resenting or even quitting the business I love.
As a start-up, you may want to do everything yourself at the beginning, but once you can hire or outsource some of the tasks that are time-consuming or are not your expertise, do it. That will allow you to focus on what you are good at without running the risk of burning out. It gives you the space to look at the bigger picture, to plan and execute growth and also frees you up to deal with any last-minute issues that may arise without being overwhelmed.
What book would you recommend that everyone reads and why?
I would recommend ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle. Stress is essentially regretting the past and worrying about the future, and this book explores living and being in the moment, this is the only time that matters. It is a book that can be reread multiples times and you will discover new lessons every time.
How do you find balance in your daily life?
Balance can look different depending on the day and what my body and mind needs more of at any particular time, but what always grounds me is meditation. I also find any sort of physical activity like stretching, walking, yoga, running, dancing, or working out, really beneficial. I get all my best ideas when doing these things, and they help me rest, reset, and de-stress my mind and body.
Visit her website to check out the brilliant MY Journals or follow her on social media: @myndmap. BALANCE readers can also get an exclusive offer of 15% off all orders with the code – MYBalance : https://www.myndmap.co/