An interview with Kumba Dauda

Kumba Dauda

We grabbed a few moments with Kumba Dauda, Freelance Social Media Manager, Blogger and Influencer Outreach Specialist. 

“I have been working since the age of 14 from working in call centres to working as sales assistants in various retailers to working as a visual merchandiser to finally find where I excel – marketing. 

It took me 10 years going in and out of jobs that I hated to finally landing on my feet and carve out my own career path and become my own boss. I wish someone told me at school that being an entrepreneur is an option too!

I initially went to university as I wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry so I received my bachelor degree in Fashion Marketing. I was working as a Digital Marketing Manager at a local start-up who were on a mission to leverage the benefits of technology and bring new software to a care home setting to help people with dementia. 

I was extremely passionate about helping them grow knowing first-hand the psychological and emotional effects of Dementia as my Nana was diagnosed only a few years ago. That passion to help others living with Dementia led to being able to grow their social media accounts to over 20,000 followers in just under a year. 

Unfortunately, their funding came to a halt and I was out of a job. So I started my freelancing journey, which soon developed into a fully functioning digital marketing agency and here I am today with Wholehearted Social Media where I work with a team of marketers to provide digital marketing services to brands! 

We’ve supported clients from Johnson & Johnson, Dixons Carphone, Ocado to online entrepreneurs such as Niyc Pigeon and Alisa Arvind. I’ve hosted digital workshops in Bali and Mykonos as well as running my own personal brand Kumbear XO where I have collaborated with brands such as L’Oreal on televised and digital advertorials. 

My next goal is to develop Wholehearted Social Good which will act as a nonprofit tier of Wholehearted Social Media and will make a positive impact on the world globally.

If I could go back and do it again, I would have started sooner which brings me back to the point that schools should be teaching entrepreneurship, money management and mindfulness! If schools did this think about how many world-changing ideas could happen sooner… if kids were just given that little nudge to think outside the box.”

Kumba’s Advice for Women Wanting to Step into Entrepreneurship 

“Focus not only on your business growth but your self-development. Both come hand in hand for success. Confidence, self-esteem, accountability are all traits that can be consistently worked on. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, no matter how many people say it is. Your business will keep you on your toes, it’s important to have the foundations of a healthy mindset to avoid going up and down! Stability within your way of thinking takes practice and discipline but it is necessary. 

If I don’t succeed, I will learn the lesson and try again… another way. The growth mindset is one of the key elements to moving forward in any element of your life and not be stuck. These are the traits I would say I have learned to develop which have helped me propel in my career: 

Resilience – being OK with rejection and looking it as a learning opportunity every time you hear NO. Every no, gets you one step closer to a yes!

Passion – finding something that you are passionate about, this deep-rooted passion will encourage you in the hardest times to keep moving forward. For me, it is working towards the fruition of Wholehearted Social Good and creating positive impact globally. 

Open-mindedness – my business changes all the time, keep your ears open to those who have walked in your shoes. Study their methods, learn from them and apply it in your own way. 

Routine & self-discipline – this is super important for me to keep my mindset in check. Morning routines and self-care practices are vital for me to switch off. Sound like a very “wellness guru” thing to say which I am not and I acknowledge that different processes work for different people so experiment to find out what works for you. Self-care is not a one size fits all thing. 

How my job could change over the next 10 years…

“Oh, great question! Social media changes daily. I have a new interface and functionality to work with every week. In 10 years I see there becoming one social media platform that gains the monopoly with a paid monthly platform similar to the YouTube model and I have a funny feeling it might have something to do with virtual reality as we all crave that one-to-one connection and VR brings us one step closer to that – pretty scary huh? But 10 years is a long time and the digital capabilities are moving quick. I can’t wait to look back on this one in 10 years now!

Digital Burnout and Keeping Tabs on Mental Health

“I have so many practices in place to avoid digital burnout. I thankfully have never experienced burnout but I have experienced other physical illnesses which have hindered my ability to work. This is what I implement into my routine to make sure I keep my mental health in check. 

My morning routine involves an hour of me-time before I even look at my phone. I need that clarity and a positive mindset before I start my day. Meditation has been a powerful practice which over time I feel has helped to calm and control my mind. But it is a practice, not a quick fix. Took me a while to learn how to ENJOY the silence as I’m so go go go all the time. 

Unfollow anyone who makes you feel inadequate, only follow account which uplift, empower, make you laugh and inspire you. 

Make sure that your offline time is non-negotiable. When you are out with loved ones put your phone away, be present and engage in conversations without mentioning work all the time. Find your inner circle to discuss work-related topics with who can understand and keep it there. 

When I feel overwhelmed I just shut off my laptop and go for a walk around the park or go to the shops. I need some time to recharge when I’m working at a screen all day – it can be a major creativity killer for sure. 

I exercise 3 times a week either in the form of a class such as yoga or boxing (both great for stress-relief) or a mixture of cardio and weightlifting. This is my way of really helping release any nervous energy but also to keep on top of my health which is the number one priority. 

Again, I just want to reiterate that self-care is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Maybe colouring books work for you or maybe it’s treating yourself to a massage. Work out what helps you to switch off entirely – then do more of it!”

Social Media and Being Exposed to Inspirational and Powerful Women

“The way I look at it, that every person has access to their own little pocket of the internet. My pocket of the internet is filled with inspirational people who I admire, so I am exposed to powerful women on my feed daily! 

But of course, everyone’s social media feed looks different based on what they click the like button on. I would urge you to make sure that your feed is a source of inspiration and positivity and for you engage with people who you do look up to and you can learn from.

Social media is a double-edged sword when we are speaking about mental health. In many ways people use it as a source of empowerment, however, on the other end you can quickly become trapped into a vicious cycle of comparison and seeking validation from others through likes and that feeling of instant gratification is quite honestly addictive at the same extreme as gambling on a slot machine.

I think the best way to protect your mental health online is to be aware of your usage only follow pages which make you feel good, monitor the amount of time spent online and always always always put it into perspective. Social media is a highlight reel of peoples lives – no one has it all figured out. Even if their social media looks like they do! I can not stress that enough. 

Being a Woman

“Thankfully, I have a very strong sense of self. I know who I am, what I am capable of and I can be stubborn at the best of times so no one can crush that self-belief for me because it comes so deeply rooted from within. It is something that I picked up from my Mum who was very independent, strong and self-motivated so I guess it rubbed off on me. 

I’m learning to embrace my femininity more in business and using skills such as empathy and my natural ability to nurture to grow the most amazing team. As women we are incredibly powerful, we need to harness the natural skills that we carry to our advantage at work instead of looking at them like a weakness which society often tells us. 

I wouldn’t say I have to work harder than my male counterparts, I stay in my own lane and try not to compare myself, my career progress or my self-growth to anyone (it’s how I stay sane). Comparison is truly the thief of joy so I will never allow myself to be put into a box or labelled. 

I have worked in tech previously which is a very male-dominated area, but if I’m honest I felt it at times at events as I was usually one of the youngest in the room, absolutely tiny with coloured box braids and a prominent Scottish accent. I didn’t exactly blend in. Being a woman didn’t make me feel any less entitled, however, it didn’t stop me constantly bugging my boss about when my raise was coming – because I knew what value I brought to the table. 

After a recent health scare, I know that forcing growth to happen rapidly tends to cause me a great deal of stress which has a negative impact upon my mental and physical health – which for me isn’t worth it. I’d rather grow slow and steady and maintain my health. When things start to speed up, I don’t like feeling overwhelmed with work so I hire someone to help! For your health, the extra stress isn’t worth it. 

My Biggest Strengths and Best Advice I’ve Received

“Great question, I think it is honestly that I am able to put myself in other people’s shoes. Being empathetic is of those low key traits that you don’t realise how valuable it is until you see someone trying to lead without it! I feel like emotional intelligence is a very hard thing to teach, it comes more so with experience but it is an invaluable skill to have. 

Hal Elrod’s 5-minute rule is amazing. It states that when things go wrong there is a rule that you can only be negative for 5 minutes. So you can set a timer for 5 minutes vent, b*tch, moan do what you have too but when that 5 minutes is over, you take a deep breathe and say “I can’t change it”. Then you let it go. 

By letting it go, you learn from it, move on, and try again.”

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