243: Failure or Fashion? How Mikaela Pabon’s Setback Propelled Her to Start Dressed In Joy

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243: Failure or Fashion? How Mikaela Pabon’s Setback Propelled Her to Start Dressed In Joy

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For Mikaela Pabon, she is living a dream that would make her 8-year-old self ecstatic! She is the founder of the statement-making athleisure brand, Dressed in Joy. It’s interesting to think that she never thought she would be able to live out her fashion dreams, but here she is, today, doing just that as a full-time entrepreneur.

Her initial career path, although she didn’t like it, was in information technology (IT). Eventually, Mikaela found something in that line of work that she did enjoy in working with databases, which she did for about 15 years. But in 2015, the fashion enthusiast took her first dive into entrepreneurship and decided to call it quits after four years, and no profits made. 

After some time away, her dreams started to come back to her, and she was reminded of her days of watching fashion shows and “House of Style” on MTV, and it led her to design. Not for profit, but for herself. And if you ask Mikaela, she did not intend for the business she has now to be a business. For her, she was just designing something she wanted and didn’t see in the market. And to her surprise, people loved what she had to offer. After learning from her past mistakes, facing her limiting beliefs, and responding to customers, she built a successful and expanding brand and business.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

☞ How Mikaela went from closing one business to opening another wildly successful one

☞ How she was able to leave her full-time job to focus on Dressed in Joy full time

☞ How Instagram Reels helped her to boost her audience in a short amount of time

☞ And why she believes that no matter the obstacle when it’s meant to be yours, it will be

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Guest Social Media Info

Dressed In Joy (Instagram) – @dressedinjoy

Mikaela Pabon (Instagram) – @mikaela.pabon

Side Hustle Pro – @sidehustlepro


Mikaela Pabon 0:03

I think that people really need to buy into you and who you are and like you in order to want to buy into what you have.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:12

You're listening to side hustle from the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host, Nicaila Matthews Okome. So let's get started.

Hey guys, welcome welcome back to the show. It's Nicaila here. And today in the guest here we have Mikaela Pabon. The founder of the statement making athletes are brand dressed enjoy. Mikaela is a Brooklyn based wife mom of two Hawaiian dancer, print designer and content creator. And six years ago, she started an online boutique that she loved all while working a nine to five, from events to international photoshoots go into major buying conferences and investing in Australian brands for her boutique. She was ready for success. But that online boutique ended up being a failure, and Mikaela thought that she would have to let go of her fashion dreams. That was until she did a complete shift, and decided to design a style of hoodie that she had never seen before. Something bright, something colorful, that brought instant joy upon seeing it. So she did she designed that hoodie, and that hoodie led to an influx of orders. Soon, Mikaela was shipping out of her bedroom. And she did that until she was finally selling enough to get her own office, one product, got her own office. And in today's episode, you'll hear how Mikaela went from closing one business to opening another wildly successful one by completely scaling down. You'll also hear how she was able to leave her full time job to focus on dressed enjoy full time, all under amazing terms. And you'll also hear how Instagram reels help her to text her audience in a short space of time. And you'll hear why she believes that no matter the obstacle, when it's meant to be yours, it will be and that all things are possible with belief and hard work. Fun fact, Mikaela and I met almost five years ago at a creative conference. And of course, we hit it off because of our similar names. She told me about her boutique at that time. And we kept in touch via Instagram. And it has been really inspiring to watch her grow an entirely new business and flourish. So of course, I had to get her in the guest here to talk about this transition, and to talk about everything she's gone through over the last six years. Let's get right into it.

What was your first experience with side hustling? Why did you start and what were you doing?

Mikaela Pabon 2:47

So I've always wanted to own a boutique. It's just kind of been something that I've always wanted to do, but never thought I would be able to do just kind of, you know, the way you grow up sometimes with older parents and like you get a job 401k benefits, you know. So I, one day I was just like, you know what, this is what I want to do, I'm going to do it. I didn't feel like I needed needed a whole lot of money saved up. So I started talking to people and just started my own boutique. It started off with me going to trade shows and really searching for brands that fit my aesthetic. I've always been into colors and prints. And I really wanted a shop that was seasonless. So pieces that can be worn in December if you're on vacation in the Caribbean, or when you're in summer in New York. So I chose lots of colors and prints mostly from Australian brands. And it just started as a hobby. And I guess it really stayed a hobby because I don't want to make a whole lot of money. But yeah, that's how it started.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 4:03

And what drew you to that, you know, you, you make it sound. I don't wanna say easy but like when I think of starting an online boutique, being a buyer and getting clothes and then putting them on sale, that sounds really complicated to me. So how did you get an insight into this world and know that this is something you could do?

Mikaela Pabon 4:25

Okay, so a little secret, not a secret but my husband has worked in the fashion industry for close to 20 years now. He has been in marketing in the men's fashion urban fashion space since the 90s. So he was very helpful in just kind of give me an insight knowledge of this is the trade show you should probably go to this is how you talk to buyers. He was very, very helpful in guiding me in the right direction.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 4:55

Oh, fun fact. I did not know that. Yeah. And when you think about trade To you think, Okay, this is business to business, this is where the major brands are going to get their next season's hot and fresh stuff. So as you go in there as an individual, what was that experience?

Mikaela Pabon 5:13

It was intimidating. Because the brands that I wanted weren't, you know, your average run of the mill brands that you could find anywhere. These were brands that were selling at stores like Nordstrom at recipe selling, they were selling at some pretty heavy places. And but I wanted them because I felt like they were completely different from what I what I have seen in other online boutiques, and I didn't want to have the same feel as other online boutiques. So I decided, let me just go in there, I'm going to dress nicely. And I'm going to talk to them the way that my husband told me to talk to them. So you know, just be very direct ask any questions that you have, you know what information they're going to ask you gave me information about, okay, maybe they'll ask you for packs, or ask if you want to pack they're asking if you want to purchase individual sizes, a lot of brands asked you to buy a certain amount. So you have to have, you know, 20 $500 minimum purchase or $1,000 minimum purchase in order to even buy anything from them. So I went in there prepared with that knowledge. And it actually made me a lot more confident because I was like, super nervous before having that conversation with my husband.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 6:29

And how long did you have this side hustle?

Mikaela Pabon 6:33

too long?

Unknown Speaker 6:36

No, I really did. I

Mikaela Pabon 6:37

just held me so long. Because I felt like I felt like it was part of my identity. It was made me special. And it didn't, you know, so I held on to it, even though I literally did not make any profit. I started in 2015. And I let it go officially officially let it go. And like fall of 2018. And I'm like, you know what, I don't need this to be a part of me in order to be me.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 7:16

I just love that you are so honest about that. A lot of us hold on to things for too long, because we just want to make it work. And we also hear the advice, right? Like, it's gonna be hard, don't like how do you know when you're supposed to like, let it go? You know,

Mikaela Pabon 7:34

it's really hard to, it's really hard to know that it's supposed to that you're supposed to let it go. Because you're thinking like, this is part of the process. It's Yeah, it's supposed to be hard. Yeah. If you're not supposed to make money your first year. You know, that's kind of what people tell you. But it would have been four from each.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 7:56

The first year, not not all four. And why do you think you weren't making money? Like looking back knowing what and we'll get into your you know, your new business, but knowing what you know, now what what do you think were some of the reasons that you weren't making money?

Mikaela Pabon 8:11

I think a big reason was that I came out of the gate too fast. So I felt like I needed to cover all categories, I needed to have pants and dresses and tops and skirts. And I needed to have lots of them in the shop for people to believe that I was a real business like that was literally my thinking. And that was 100% wrong. I went way too hard to fast. And then after those some of those pieces sold and like okay, well, people are tired of seeing this stuff on the site. They're not buying it. And maybe they'll buy new stuff. So they don't bought a whole new set of stuff. And it's just like, you know, I was just doing too much, basically.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 8:54

And while you were doing this, you're obviously working full time. Tell us about that path. So what was your initial career path? And were you drawn to doing that as well? Or was it just kind of something that you fell into?

Mikaela Pabon 9:08

So my initial career path was in it. And my father kind of pushed me into it. And initially, I didn't love it. But then I fell into something that I loved. I just kind of fell into working with databases. And it just became something that was really intrigued by so I went to school, I got a little more training on databases. And then I was able to get a job shortly after as a database administrator. And that's kind of where my career was for maybe 15 years, just working in in the IT world for a really long time.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 9:48

Then at the same time, you've had this desire since you were eight to be a designer. So how did you reconcile those two parts of your brain?

Mikaela Pabon 9:58

I didn't. I'd never It occurred to me that I could own a business, because I'd never seen it. No one in my family owned a business. My father didn't think that fashion was a real business to have or to begin. So I just wore clothes that I loved. And that was pretty much the extent of it for me at that point.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 10:21

Did you also have limiting beliefs around the ability to even be in fashion if you can't draw, for example, like,

Mikaela Pabon 10:31

Oh my gosh, that started extremely young. So when I said I wanted to be a designer, I said that in my head, I would watch these fashion shows that night, I would watch. I don't know if you remember, but they'd show the fashion shows with like, Techno house music, and it would just be just shows back to back to back. I don't watch those shows at night, I would watch like, houses style on MTV.

And just be like, and I want to be in this world that really want to be in this world, but not really knowing how I would ever do it. Because I can't draw that was my thinking. I can't draw. How am I ever going to be a designer? If I can't draw anything? And I can't go to school for it. They won't let me go to school for it. So okay, well, the next it, just kind of let it go. Like, it's never gonna happen.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 11:27

Yeah. And I know so many of us relate to that right there the like, but not been able to figure out or I won't even say figure out because we can't figure it out. It's just the not being able to envision how this will work. How could this possibly happen? prevents a lot of us from going after? It's like, how is that gonna work? How am I gonna do that? But that's the beauty of side hustling. Right? So what gave you the courage to even finally pursue this online boutique business, which the reason we're talking about this is because it really did lay the groundwork for what we now

Mikaela Pabon 12:02

it really did. I think it was just finally I want to do this. So I'm gonna do it.

Sounds crazy. But literally, I was just like, I really want to do this and my husband. Okay, so let's do it. Let's.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 12:19

So Alright, four years, then you finally let that one go, you let the business go. And at the time, I'm sure you thought of it as a failure. But what gave you the courage to try your hand at fashion? Again?

Mikaela Pabon 12:37

I have to start with saying, I didn't intend for the business, I have now to be a business. And why is that? Because I was really just designing something that I wanted, and didn't see in the market. So I'm like, you know what, I really want this kind of money. So I'm gonna work on designing that and see how I like it. That was all that it started as it was just kind of something that I wanted. So I'm like, Okay, let me just design it. I'll get it back. I'll wear it. I love it. That was it. I didn't expect so many people to also love it.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 13:12

So knowing what you've experienced in the past, what did you do differently this time?

Mikaela Pabon 13:21

This time, I listened to the advice that I gave earlier, which was to not go ham. I had the one hoodie in five sizes, six sizes. And that was it. That was literally the only thing I sold when I launched because I felt like if you have too many choices. Well that's how I feel. Now having too many choices. People are going to not know what to buy, get distracted and then leave. So starting with the one hoodie made it easy, because what the hoodie you got early, it was just kind of an easy way to jump into something without putting in too much of it too much effort.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 14:09

This sounds so smart. And it makes a lot of sense. I think the natural human instinct is just to give people a little variety. How do you know how to pace out your product mix so that you are being smart, not taking on too much product but at the same time giving people something to choose from?

Mikaela Pabon 14:31

Well, I didn't know initially. I say I started with a hoodie because that was all I had at the time. And I didn't want to do too much. And then slowly like oh, let's add joggers. All this added crap t shirt. Oh my god. I think that I'll let you know. I started adding more things and slowly started taking those things away. When I'm seeing what doesn't sell when I'm seeing what people aren't responding to Then I start to take take things away.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 15:06

Now let's talk about the investment side of things. I'm interested to know, the first go around. What did that look like as far as buying buying? To me sounds so intense. It sounds like so money intense as well. So what did that look like the first go round versus this go round in terms of, you know, if you want to give us a ballpark of like, what does it cost to invest in buying product for an online boutique versus starting out with one product and going from there?

Mikaela Pabon 15:34

Okay, so I was like I said, I was extra, I was so extra with. I went too far. So I really wanted these Australian brands. So I wanted like cameo collective and Finders keepers like these really fancy brands. They retailed probably from about 70 to like $250. So they are wholesale prices were considerably higher than if you would go to like, the fashion district in LA or someplace like that. So I can't even remember what my initial investment was. But I want to say it was between five to 7k, which is, it was way too much. It was way too much. I did not spend that much money. But like I said, me being Miss Leo, because they needed to have everything for everybody. And it has to be the flyest stuff like, no, it was too much bearss this time around, I went with my investment was hiring a designer to help me put my design on a canvas, because at that time, another limiting mindset. I didn't think I could do it myself. So I worked with the designer to help me do that. So paying for that. And then really just paying for the first 30 in the shipping, which was less than $40. So 5k versus $40. I think I did a pretty good.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 17:09

I think so too. So I find it interesting that, you know, with the first business, we talked about things not selling, and when it comes down to what's selling, it comes down to customers, right? So what was the difference between how you marketed the first business to how your marketing dressed, enjoy, do you think that there's a difference there, that's also resulting in a difference in success.

Mikaela Pabon 17:32

There is a huge difference, because prior to launching, just enjoy, I wasn't really talking about my own personal style on my Instagram, it was just kind of like, oh, here, I have these clothes, buy them. They're really cute, you should, you should want them. And that's not enough. I think that people really need to buy into you and who you are, and like you in order to want to buy into what you have. So I started building my brand, not with the intention of my personal brand, not with the intention of starting a business. But it was just something I wanted to do. I wanted to start working with other brands and creating content for them. So I started working on that and building that up. And with that, I was showing people my style, and I was showing people how I use colors and prints and how I infuse those things into my wardrobe every single day. And it made sense for me to make this kind of hoodie because it was like wow, this is Michaela, this hoodie is like Michaela on a shirt. So because people liked me and bought into me not bought into but they liked my style and the way that I put things together. It was just kind of an easy way to go. Oh, I can't. Maybe I can't put those prints together like she does, but I can buy that cookie.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 18:57

Yes. Hey guys, it's Michaela here with a quick word from our sponsors. This episode is brought to you by fresh books. There's a lot to love about being your own boss, but trying to figure out your financials on your own isn't one of those things. Luckily, there's freshbooks the all in one accounting solution that's built for business owners like you freshbooks takes all the not so fun parts of running a business from building and tracking invoices to organizing expenses to managing online payments and automates and simplifies them saving you up to 11 hours a week in the process. freshbooks has your back at tax time too. With a ton of reports to choose from, you'll know exactly where your business stands. And you can easily hand the keys over to your accountant so they can take over when it's time to reconcile everything for the year. Try fresh books free for 30 days, no credit card required. Go to freshbooks comm slash side hustle pro and enter side hustle pro in the habit you hear about a section and Get more time back to build the business you love. This episode of side hustle Pro is brought to you by Gabby, Gabby takes the pain out of shopping for insurance by giving you an apples to apples comparison of your current coverage with 40 of the top insurance providers, like progressive nationwide travelers. On average, Gaby, customers save $961 per year. That's why when Meanwhile, we're shopping for insurance, we checked out Gabby. And it's a very straightforward and quick process, you can either input your insurance information or link your current insurance account, and in just minutes, you'll be able to see quotes for the exact same coverage that you currently have. So that's what I had to do, I had to input my information, including my current insurance provider, and cabbie provided several quotes for that cost comparison. So I went to GAVI to find out how much we could save. And I ended up finding out that we were already getting the best deal. So if Gabby can't find you savings, they'll just let you know. So you can relax knowing you have the best rate out there. And they promise to never sell your info. So no annoying spam or robo calls. Okay, no one has time to be overpaid on car or home insurance, when we can be using those funds to invest in ourselves and into our side hustle. So see how much cabbie can save you. It's free to check out. There's no obligation. Go to Gabby comm slash hustle Pro. that's spelled g a bi comm slash hustle pro gabby.com slash hustle Pro. You're so right about that. Because you know, we met and we started following each other. I definitely admire your style. And I'm like, Oh, that's so vibrant. How does she do that? I could never do that. Like, oh, that wouldn't I wouldn't have that flair. Like it wouldn't come together the same way. How does she think about this? How does she come up with that? And but then yeah, when you see a hoodie, you're like, Oh, this is an accessible way. This seems like something that I can do without having to like think through like, oh, what plays or combination. And you know what's funny? What intimidates me to thrifting when people are like, Oh, I just thrifted. I'm like, What? I go in, and I see racks of old clothes, and I walk by

Mikaela Pabon 22:19

the eyes, what you have to start what you need. So every single time I go into the thrift store, the first place I start is blazers, okay, because they always have great blazers. So if you don't look at anything else, look at the blazers, you will always find something there.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 22:44

Now, let's talk about the transition, the pivot the big last year was crazy for the airline industry. And you know, next thing I know, I've seen you make an announcement that you are full time entrepreneur now.

Unknown Speaker 22:59

Yeah. Tell us about that journey.

Mikaela Pabon 23:05

Honestly, it started probably a year and a half before that, where I hated my job. I could not stand my boss. So evil, like I really hated it. And I was like, You know what, they just need to offer me a package and pay me a little bit of money. And let me have my five benefits forever. And I'll be happy, just I'll be good. Just do that. I was like a year and a half a year and a half prior to leaving. And then let's say maybe six months after that I got a new position, which I loved. My boss was amazing. I love the work, I was back to do my reporting and everything. Because prior to that I was traveling two to three times a month, and for two to three days at a time. And I was like going to different airports and performing audits. It was like the most boring job ever. And then I got back into the office full time and I was creating reports. And I was working with a really, really great boss. And it literally just fell in my lap. Exactly what I had asked for a year and a half prior fell in my lap. Because everything was doing so bad at the airline. They were like, you know, we just we need to get people out. So you know, we're going to offer these packages and see who takes it. And I was like, Hi, thanks, bye. After much deliberation, of course. My husband about it because it's scary.

Unknown Speaker 24:37


Mikaela Pabon 24:38

this is some check that I was getting on the fifth and the 20th every single month. I didn't have to think about it. I had health benefits while I still do because they gave it to us. I had health benefits. I could get up and fly anywhere I wanted to at any time my mom could get up and fly anywhere anytime she wanted to. And it was it was safety. I had been there for 10 years. So Just the life that you're used to of paying yourself or getting paid twice a month, those benefits.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:06

Yeah, flight benefit alone.

Mikaela Pabon 25:08

Like, hello, I can, you know, how can I do this? Right when, you know, they said that because of my age plus the time that I had been there that I would get lifetime flight benefits that was like, oh,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:22

amazing. That's like you let into the universe.

Mikaela Pabon 25:26

I did, right? And I'm telling you, I would pray about it. I was like, I was like, I just can't be here. This, she makes me crazy. I can't do this. And when it came, I cried. And I told my husband like, I can't, this is what I prayed for. And he was like, exactly. So this is why you have to take it. So.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:52

So what did you do on day one? After leaving?

Mikaela Pabon 25:58

What do you want to do on day one? Probably not much. I think I'm just kind of laid around. excited that I didn't have to log on to my computer at 9am. I didn't do much of anything. It was very strange, but

Nicaila Matthews Okome 26:13

real. Now, at the same time, at some point, I'm sure you sat down and had to think through Okay, what is this new normal look like? What are you hoping to replace your income at this point, or just grow the business a bit more, or you thought

Mikaela Pabon 26:30

I was definitely hoping to grow the business, I had had a couple of really good months for sales, and influencer campaigns were coming in. Not a lot, but enough to make me feel like okay, I can do more of these. And I can make a little bit more money. I figured that once January came around, which is when my severance pay would run out that I should have enough money, whether it's from campaigns or from the business to to be okay.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 27:03

And around this time. Were you doing anything different on social, like, I've seen your social media growth to this coincide with any particular campaign or like reals? Like, how are you seeing the growth in that area?

Mikaela Pabon 27:16

It's been real. So that around that time, let's say August is when I had more time to create, and I just started coming up with these cute little ideas, whether it was color combos, or I think I did pose in later, but color combos and just styling pieces in different ways. And I started doing those videos. And people loved it. It just started to take off as far as my account just growing and growing. And then I'm like, Okay, so this is great. Let me do more of these. And I started a posing series, how to pose and more color combinations. And then I added the kids and did some cute videos with the kids. And it just blew up. I felt like overnight. So I woke up one morning, finally at 30k. This was September of 2020. And by December I was at like 90

Nicaila Matthews Okome 28:14

because I looked one day just you know, casually.

Mikaela Pabon 28:19

That's how I felt I would wake up in the morning like, what was overnight like what what is happening right now. It's It's insane, like real? When you are either providing value or entertaining? Yep. They just really help you grow.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 28:36

Yeah. And Instagram is, you know, prioritizing that in their algorithm. So, absolutely. And a you know, it can be intimidating for folks, I speak to folks all the time, who are still intimidated by Instagram, because it's become a thing where, you know, people forget that all marketing comes down to storytelling organically at the end of the day. But because there's so many bells and whistle options, it starts to feel like there's no way to just do it organically anymore to be your authentic self. But you can I promise you, you can do you have any tips for people who are small business owner, and are growing on authentic brand, literally out of their apartment, yourself. You know, want to be their authentic self.

Mikaela Pabon 29:23

Figure out what it is. You want to share and you don't want to share. Because I think a lot of people hear the word be vulnerable, be authentic, and they think they have to share everything about their lives. And that's totally not the case. Like my husband and I get into an argument. I'm not sharing that on social media, like that's our business for our life. Right. If you know I'm sad about missing my dad or something like that, that's something that I'm comfortable with sharing because I would tell anybody that you know, just figure out what you feel comfortable talking to people about whether it's your Friends or stranger, Uber driver, whatever it is. And those are the things that you can share on social media.

Knowing that my videos, certain videos, do well, like opposing video, for instance, I'll wear my brand in that posing video, and I'll tag my brand and the posing video, which sends people to the brand. And that's how I was able to grow my business page very quickly, by using the videos that I know are going to do well, they're going to get maybe 400,000 views or so those are all eyeballs that are looking at all this cute outfit that she has on Where did she get that? And then they go over to my business page. So that's another way is if you're talking about something, you're just sharing information with something that you're that you design, or were one of your T shirts or something like that so that people can get more visuals on you. Yeah, when

Nicaila Matthews Okome 31:04

the pieces. Love it. So not everyone makes money when they're first starting out. And like you said, you can make revenue for many years, but still not be profitable. So what has been your experience with dressed enjoy?

Mikaela Pabon 31:19

Oh, God. I feel like I got lucky. I was lucky. But I did well, because like I said the print was me. And because I was so excited about it. And I shared it to my social, which maybe I had 13 or 14k at that time. And people really, really loved it. And I launched a pre order. And with that first pre order, I want to say I sold just over 50 hoodies in a weekend. And I was like, what, what I was hoping to sell 10 How do we get here? Yeah, my first month was, was definitely profitable. And then I had some slow months after that, because I just wasn't promoting it like I should have. We sometimes think that when we have a business that people get tired of hearing you talk about it. And maybe they do. But there are people who will hear you talking about it for the first time, every single time you share it. So I had to get over that fear of people getting sick of me in order to be more profitable.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 32:37

Let's talk about burnout. Let's talk about burnout now, because when we're working nine to five, we're side hustling, that's something that we're faced and I know he talks about being so tired while you were pregnant. How have you handled growing a business juggling a home business? When you were working? juggling that job? What have you found to be helpful with this?

Mikaela Pabon 33:02

I'm taking breaks and breaks where I'm not thinking about the business? Because I'm always thinking about the business. I really had to Well, okay, so let me let me let me back up until the truth. My husband had to tell me that I need to take some breaks. I will work myself into the ground and not even think twice about it because I'm doing what I love. And I enjoy it all. So you know, it's fine. Yay. But my husband was like, Girl, listen, stop. We need you. Yeah, so you can't be on the phone all the time. You can't be on computer all the time. Take a break. And, you know, that made me stop and think I know he's gonna listen to this and be like, Oh, why she listened to me. But you know, that made me stop and think and be like, Okay, take some breaks. Because working a nine to five. Granted, my job was not very stressful at all. Once I got into that, that other position, it was not stressful at all. So working the nine to five and then coming home, and then it's dinner time. It's bath time it's bedtime. It's family time, and then after the bedtime, then it's more work. And then I'm working on the Saturday and working on the Sunday and it's just like I didn't take any breaks. So finally, taking the time to just be like, Okay, I'm not gonna think about work today. I'm not going to answer any emails. I'm gonna take these emails off of my phone. That kind of helped me breathe a little bit.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 34:39

Did you start hiring help to also help you breathe like so that you're not the one trying to address every email and every part of your business? No.

Mikaela Pabon 34:51

I haven't done that yet. I plan to. But it's really hard. It's really hard to it's really hard.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 34:59

I know. You know, you're preaching to the choir it is. It's a slow process. I don't think that's the problem, per se. I mean, you you got to work at the pace that's right for you to figure out okay, what do I really need help with? How do I put that in the job description? And, you know, cuz that that people don't talk about how hard it can be to figure out how to hire. How to find the right person.

Mikaela Pabon 35:24

Yeah, it's been difficult.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 35:25

But it is important to set some time aside to at least get help with the the biggest part, like whether that's customer service emails, or whatever is draining you the most.

Mikaela Pabon 35:37

That's true. I think we did that on the home level.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 35:40

What do you mean by that?

Mikaela Pabon 35:41

So when the pandemic hit, obviously, we are home with the kids, our three year old, she's now three boat, she was two at the time, she was in daycare every day from eight to six. And then our son was in school in aftercare. So he was thinking until we picked him up at like 530. And that, obviously, all changed in March. So getting help in the home was like, a huge thing for us recently, hiring a cleaning lady to come in every other week. So that's one less thing that we're thinking about, we can just do the touch ups when we need to. And then we have her come in and do a deep cleaning. And then we also hired a sitter to come in with the kids because I was literally here with them all day every day trying to do my own work, run my business, and also do homeschool with my six year old six. And then when after my two year old, so it was a madhouse. So hiring help in that capacity helped me to breathe, because things at home weren't being taken care of a little bit more.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 36:58

Okay, well, that's good that I get because there's no way. There's no.

So I noticed on your Instagram feed that you have been working with some larger influencers. And how has that process been for you, though you're doing beyond say style, like you sending out boxes? Or people just organically buying and posting.

Mikaela Pabon 37:28

That's the thing people are buying and posting.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 37:30

That's awesome. Yeah, I

Mikaela Pabon 37:33

mean, I noticed I know some people who were like, I'm gonna kill this amazing I'm gonna buy one. And then they posted organically because they love it and they want to show it off. The only person that I sent to only two people that I sent to that posted were Tabitha Brown, who is Oh my god, amazing. And Jessica Alba. I sent her a package and she posted in her stories.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 38:00

How do you go about reaching out to people's teams to even offer to send them

Mikaela Pabon 38:05

so to have that idea into? A dm girl? And because she unfollowed me, and was I can tell myself? I'm like, Oh, she followed me away. Okay, so if I sent her a message, she's gonna get the notification message. So I just did that. And she was like, Oh, yeah, send it over. And then she loved it so much. So she bought everything else. And and then I have a PR friend in LA, who was absolutely amazing. And she's been helping me get my pieces into the hands of either celebrities or celebrities silence. So she also got a piece of the hands of Jason Bolton for a couple of his clients. And he posted on his stories about it as well.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 38:50

Love it, love it. And I love how things are just coming together. Michela like this is your time. And I want people to know that there's no time limit on your dreams, there's no fixed moment in time when you're supposed to quote unquote, make it your best years are still unfolding. So don't get discouraged if like, I didn't come up with this idea. I didn't make the Forbes you know, 30 under 30, or whatever, right? Like they

Mikaela Pabon 39:22

need to do 40 over 40

Nicaila Matthews Okome 39:25

under 50 and just allow Hello. Like this. It's just not realistic. People make it at all different times. And so I love that you're showing that and we're showing that and now you know, we're continuing to show that we're reinventing ourselves every decade.

Unknown Speaker 39:42


Nicaila Matthews Okome 39:44

60 like side hustles so y'all Stay tuned. So speaking of that, before we get into the lightning round, I would love to know what is next for mckaela and just enjoy.

Mikaela Pabon 39:56

Oh, what's next? I am Talk about this. I can't talk about this. I can. So I'm working on a capsule collection right now. Yes. And it's not going to be athleisure I'll say that it's going to be maybe some dresses and or maybe a blouse or something. So I'm going to be working on that this month of March, which should hopefully be out by the end of this month. So that's nice for me, I want to not that I want to move away from athleisure. But I want to kind of go back into what I started with, with just kind of resortwear seasonless clothing. Design some really beautiful printed pieces.

Unknown Speaker 40:46


Nicaila Matthews Okome 40:46

I'm ready. I am ready for resort dressed, enjoy, because I can already see it. And I love I don't know who I think I am. But I love some resort where I'm like always envisioning myself on somebody

Mikaela Pabon 41:01

in this fabulous outfit. You know, I haven't been on a plane since August of 2019. Where

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:10

bookmark and like, I need that I need that and I need that.

Unknown Speaker 41:14

So I'm here for it. I'm ready.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:19

So now we're gonna jump into the lightning round. You know the deal? Just answer the very first thing that comes into your mind. Are you ready? I think so. All right. Number one, what is a resource that has helped you in your business that you have to share with the side hustle pro

Mikaela Pabon 41:34

audience be Facebook group? build brand launch?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:38

Alright. Number two, who is an entrepreneur that you admire? And why?

Mikaela Pabon 41:44

I would have to say kalila right? mess in a bottle. I just admire her growth and everything that she's done, and I really look at her like, yes, one day, I'm gonna be there.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:56

Number three, what is a non negotiable part of your daily life?

Mikaela Pabon 42:02

non negotiable part. Um, I won't say it's a daily thing, but I am always up early, whether it's to work out, or to just have some time to myself, whether it's 15 minutes or an hour, I just need some time alone.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 42:19

I hear you for what's a personal habit or a personal trait that helped you significantly when you were side hustling,

Mikaela Pabon 42:27

optimism. I don't like to dwell in the negative. So just being optimistic and always believing that I can has been extremely helpful in side hustling and now my fully entrepreneurship life.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 42:45

And then finally, number five, what is your parting advice for fellow black woman entrepreneurs who want to be their own boss but are scared of stepping away from that steady paycheck?

Mikaela Pabon 42:56

I would say to not compare yourself to others and the journey they've had whether they've had a good one or a bad one. Yours is your own and you can't look at someone else's and think that because they did it this way you have to or because they failed at this you will to yours is your own and your path is your own.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 43:15

Amen. And with that, where can people connect with you and dressed enjoy after this episode,

Mikaela Pabon 43:22

you can find my shop @www.dressedinjoy.com my business Instagram is @dressedinjoy. And my personal Instagram is Mikaela.pabon

Nicaila Matthews Okome 43:33

right you guys and there you have it. You can find all the Show Notes for this episode over at side hustle product co slash episodes.

Hey guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six bullet Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro, that co slash newsletter. When you sign up, you will receive weekly nuggets from me including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business Tip of the Week. Again that side hustle pro.co slash newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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