With the onslaught of COVID women having been starting up, slowing down and/or sharing more of their time and life with those that are near and dear. However, if you are working women thinking about starting a family, how could you circumvent maintaining/developing a career and having a child during these precarious times? Could entrepreneurship be the answer?
Before the pandemic there was a groundswell of women deliberately setting up businesses before they have a child so that they could establish a flexible working lifestyle before, during and after their baby arrives. Will this be a growing trend as women and particularly the working lives of young women has been negatively impacted by COVID.
Helen Tewogbade Olukoga is a seasoned professional was at a stage in her life in when she was thinking about having a baby and setting up a business. She is the founder and owner of the Taiya Soul a London based creative business, that uses music and other creative mediums as a tool for support, empowerment, coaching, mentoring, teaching and communication. Helen set up multiple businesses partly in anticipation of impending motherhood.
Let’s get an update on how things have developed in Helen’s entrepreneurial journey:
Business Feature of the Week: Taiya Soul
1. Tell me about your business?
Taiya Soul is a business brand based in London that uses music and other creative sources such as motivational speaking as a tool for support, empowerment, coaching, mentoring, teaching and communication.
Taiya Soul provides a variety of services, because I have skills and interests that feeds a brand that is multifaceted, enterprising and formed on the foundation of entrepreneurship.
1. I am a professional singer and performing artist
2. I am a professional songwriter
3. I deliver professional vocal and breathing classes
4. I am a motivational coach
5. I am a businesswoman and entrepreneur
6. I run a lingerie business - that provides a better, honest and positive narrative on self-image.
All these professional services has music at its core, and creativity as the backbone. The different elements of music and its ability to upskill, empower, teach, enable, provides a voice for people who need it most.
2. When and why did you set it up?
I started each part of the group at different stages in life, but I’ve always been involved in music, I started singing at the age of 7, song writing at the age of 10, vocal teaching at the age of 18, mentoring at the age of 28 and the Lingerie shop came at the age of 37.
I created the Taiya Soul brand as an umbrella brand to house all these services because I naturally have a love for music and have always been deeply reflective of it as a tool, and always looked into the possibility of using it further than the remit of singing and entertaining.
The vocal teaching and coaching I do, came out of volunteering my services as a music director in my church at the time, I found that girls and young women would use part of our music teaching time together to ask for advice and coaching for challenges such as self-esteem, confidence, career guidance, education, and so on. I realised there was a need for it and started volunteering my time to do it more and more.
3. Where did you get your business idea from?
The idea to bring all these business services and artistry together came out from a recent conversation I had with Linda, when she asked me what I did, I listed off all the above and more, and on hearing it, it just sounded all over the place. Bringing it into a singular brand made more sense, giving it an identity that is cohesive, and connotes the very thing I want to achieve. Community and togetherness. A creative community where we are a group, a collective of hearts and minds at different stages in life, but a place where I can be leaned on, learn from, and learn in the process.
4. How did you set up your business?
I wrote a business plan for each area of the group. I then created a strategy including aims and objectives and included milestones. I registered the name of one of the businesses with Companies House, then opened a business account. In my strategy, I’ve included marketing and promotional strategies, vital contacts, a professional community I can get support and information from, a personal tribe that include people whose mission and values align with mine and targets.
5. What problems did you encounter? How did you overcome them?
Finance is still a challenge, partly because I suffered heavily from self-doubt on my abilities, so I held back and undersold what I was offering, which hurt my bottom line, also the current global crisis of Covid is having an impact, people are a lot more reluctant to spend if the value-added experience and result is not clear from the onset.
My current challenge is social media and creating content that reflects me and my brand. I'm naturally a people person, but I'm also very private about my personal life, so it's a constant concern about what is "appropriate and right" to show about my life and business while staying authentic and genuine.
Another challenge is staying grounded and focused, you can sometime get carried away and forget that your business decisions and plans can impact those around you.
6. What have been the benefits to you in running your own business?
The benefit of running my own business is the learning, I've gained so much insight about myself, business and being an entrepreneur. Another benefit is flexibility and knowing that I'm time rich now compared to when I was an employee. I am more intentional with what I use my time on now. Lastly, I see knowing that I'm pursuing freedom for myself, as I see it and being the author of my own journey and story is motivating, it keeps me enthusiastic about getting up and on the business every day.
I’m building a legacy for the future, one that my future kids and I can be proud of. I’ve always wanted to be an ambassador for success, through my gifts and skills.
From an early age, I knew I was called to support people and enlighten them to the beauty of themselves, so creating the brand allows me to use my gifts, passion and mission on a larger scale. It’s personally empowering knowing that I have the biggest influence in making my life and my time on this earth successful or not.
7. What has been your proudest business achievement so far?
It's still daring to actualise my vision, but it now comes with the emotional and spiritual maturity I've gained. Daring to start a business is what I'm very proud of. The fact that I'm brazen in my effort to turn my talents into an income. My only tiny concern is giving up and packing it all in.
8. In hindsight, what one piece of advice do you wish someone gave you when you started out?
I still advocate you get some business coaching, but I would advise you combine that with networking in your sector. Also get to know the technology, especially those relevant to your field, use social media but be selective, use those you know is most relevant to your business, don't jump on everything that’s trending. Understand how current global issues will or could impact your business, and strategies on how you can navigate through them. Covid is an issue no one saw coming, but it's impact has provided an opportunity of generating additional income. There is now a need to become more independent, self-employed, stand on our own two feet.
This is a blessing in disguise.
Want to know more?
Taiya Soul provides a variety of services.
▪ Professional singing and performing artist
▪ Professional song writing, and vocal arrangement (studio and live)
▪ Professional vocal and breathing classes to help develop vocal skills, metal health management for depression and anxiety .
▪ Motivational coaching and speaking
▪ Online Intimate apparels boutique - O Intimate Lingerie, for women.
All these professional services use music as its core, and creativity as the backbone. The different elements of music and creativity coupled with their power to upskill, empower, teach, enable and provide a voice for women who need it most.
For inquiries please email:
To join the movement, follow Helen on Instagram:
Thinking about starting a side business?
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