When a market is crowded with experts tackling the same topic, having a distinctive voice and approach is what helps you stand out.
That's how Emilie Aries has differentiated her women's empowerment brand, Bossed Up, and built a unique culture within the professional training space. Here, Emilie shares about the personal journey that shaped the mission of Bossed Up and has helped hundreds navigate career transition.
RM: What sparked the idea to start Bossed Up?
EMILIE: Bossed Up helps women beat burnout and invest in their own sustainable success—a mission that's close to my heart, because I was once on the fast track to burning out myself.
Not too long ago I found myself stepping into a leadership role at a young age, and felt this desperate need to prove myself worthy of the chance I felt they took on me. I put everything and everyone else first. I wasn't taking care of my physical or emotional health, and felt the need to martyr myself for my job.
Unsurprisingly, that strategy didn't pay off.
But hitting rock bottom meant [realizing] I had to take an alternative path, and that's when I first started putting some of that advocacy and effort behind striving for sustainable success instead.
RM: That's a mission we share in common! So what would you say your company does exceptionally well?
EMILIE: Bossed Up Bootcamp, [which is] the premier in-person training program for women navigating career transition. We take a holistic approach that incorporates work, love, and wellness, all into one weekend, to help women accelerate their lives and careers and own their identity as the boss of their lives.
RM: What role did branding play in establishing the value of what you do?
EMILIE: The Bossed Up brand is rooted in the history of hip hop, which I think is the perfect embodiment of the come-up story. It's about overcoming obstacles, going your own way and taking your destiny into your own hands, despite the pervasive injustices that still exist in this world.
I'm glad we decided to take a risk and start right out the gate with this bold, unapologetic, and explicitly intersectional feminist approach to women's empowerment and professional development.
Having [this distinction with our] brand has helped our growth tremendously in a space that's quite crowded with many different ways folks are choosing to empower women.
"Having [this distinction with our] brand has helped our growth tremendously in a space that's quite crowded"
RM: We all know that no business is perfect. But you're clearly rocking it out and enjoying every bit of it. What would you say has contributed most to your sense of satisfaction in business?
EMILIE: Constantly evaluating and re-defining my own role in the business has been huge. That requires an honest understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses, the willingness to invest in the leadership of others, and giving my team members the tools they need to be independent leaders of their own piece of our company. That required lots of training, documentation of our systems and structures, and quality control measures, as well as trusting and investing in my phenomenal team.
RM: One of the things I hear my clients, who've been in the game for a while, say is they're ready for a “grown up” business. What does that mean for you?
EMILIE: That doesn't resonate with me. I never want Bossed Up to feel grown-up. It's a toddler at best right now, and it's about creating a community that needs tending to, listening to, and caring for. I love that we've been able to boot-strap and generate healthy revenue streams, but no part of being a CEO of a start-up has felt like being a grown-up.
It feels like I'm constantly learning, absorbing, and creating—my favorite parts of childhood, as it turns out, never have to end!
"Constantly evaluating and re-defining my own role in the business...requires an honest understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses"
RM: I love that juxtaposition of working and exploring. What else has this business made possible for you in supporting the kind of work-life you want?
EMILIE: I'm geographically independent, which is nice. I recently moved across the country to Denver, Colorado, because I love to ski and hike and can do my work wherever without too much of a headache. But that takes a lot of deliberate business model designing up-front, and frankly, always comes with its risks.
My whole team is digital (we have staff in California, Texas, Washington, DC, and now Colorado). So the freedom I've been afforded by our business model design is the same freedom I feel is important for everyone I work with.
RM: Sounds like you're living the dream. Now that you've achieved this level of success, what's next for you and Bossed Up?
EMILIE: We have some exciting new free resources coming soon for job-seekers, career changers, and women who want to level up in their career or start their own businesses. To learn more, you'll just have to join our free online Courage Community!
Emilie Aries is an award-winning women’s leadership consultant, and the Founder and CEO of Bossed Up—an innovative personal and professional training organization that helps women prevent burnout and craft sustainable careers. She is a regular contributor at Forbes, The Huffington Post and Levo League, and a sought-after speaker at companies, organizations and universities across the United States. Learn more about Bossed Up at bossedup.org and connect with Emilie on Instagram (@bosseduporg).
GET THE BOOK
NEW HERE? MEET RM