Updated: Dec 14, 2019
In such a short amount of time we have managed to build a network of power women around the world who are breaking boundaries and are excelling in their chosen career and/or business ventures. Miracle Olatunji is one such woman who has shown a lasting commitment to the betterment of the lives of those around her and is the embodiment of the phrase 'paying it forward'. From being a seasoned entrepreneur, key note speaker and author as well being a nominee for the Forbes 30 Under 30 list to name but a few achievements, Miracle is on a mission to make a difference, one person at a time with no plans to start slowing down now.....
Miracle, your accomplishments range from being the founder of an award-winning organisation and international keynote speaker to being a student and best-selling author. However, what I’m interested to find out is what came first and what was the pivotal moment that you realised you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
When I was in high school, I participated in an incredible youth entrepreneurship program called the Diamond Challenge. Through this program, I started to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and I was able to learn about the problems that were being solved in different parts of the world and meet the innovative people who were creating solutions. I was so inspired by these young entrepreneurs I had met who were working on ventures that made a significant impact on the lives of other people - in their communities and in society. Their energy and passion was contagious and I quickly caught it!
You founded the youth led organisation OpportuniMe, an organisation that connects the youth with personal and professional development opportunities. What made you decide to start this organisation and what have you achieved with your organisation so far?
While I was in high school, I decided to start OpportuniMe after I realised how time-consuming and stressful the process of searching for summer programs and opportunities was for me and thousands of other young students. Through OpportuniMe, I’ve been able to connect fellow youth to opportunities that have enabled them to explore possible careers, build their network, and get a head start on developing their passions and life and leadership skills. I’m a passionate advocate for access to opportunities because I have seen firsthand how even just one opportunity, connection, or resource can change the trajectory of someone’s life!
With the launch of any business venture there is a great amount of work that takes place behind the scenes. What steps did you have to take to move from the initial idea to moving it into fruition?
As a first time founder, Not knowing what to do upon first discovering this problem I needed to solve, I decided to apply to this new incubator for high school students called DualSchool. It was a great decision! I was matched with a mentor, became part of an amazing community of innovators and change-makers, and received a lot of support to develop and bring OpportuniMe to life.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new clients/referrals?
I’ve found that a combination of word of mouth and social/online media is really effective. Social media is a powerful asset for building a business or brand. With social media, you’re able to amplify your message, mission, and products/services at scale.
You are the author of Purpose: How To Live and Lead with Impact. What was the inspiration behind the book and who did you set out to reach with it?
Purpose is a book for anyone and everyone who want to make a difference in not only their lives, but in the lives of others, their communities, companies and organisations, and the world. It’s full of inspiring stories and actionable insights for readers of all ages. My hope is that the book will inspire fellow young women especially to realise that, as Michelle Obama said, there is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.
Every single person on this planet has a unique purpose and reason for existence. I want to empower people to realise they have unlimited potential to make an impact in the world.
In today’s modern society, many young people are struggling to stay on top of their finances and as a result are spiraling into debt. Students are often the most at threat due to hefty student loans and the cost of living; especially on campus. That is why I am interested to find out more about Thrive which helps to empower college students through financial literacy education. What was the inspiration behind joining this organisation?
One of the key factors that impact our quality of life is our finances. My passion for personal finance began after attending an event where I learned about the disparities in financial literacy education. I believe that financial literacy has the power to empower people - both personally and professionally. That’s the purpose behind why I do this work!
Too often as spectators of other people’s lives we don’t see the hard work and battles they have had to face and overcome during the process of launching their business ventures. Have you had any setbacks that you can share with us and if yes, what steps have you taken to overcome them?
One challenge I had to deal with was figuring out what to do when someone infringes upon your intellectual property (IP). A few months ago, someone I don’t know made a fake website and made a false announcement that he was on the board of OpportuniMe. This situation was tough but through it, I learned so much about IP law and effectively handling difficult situations like this.
By taking action, I ended up helping other people involved as this person was also going around making false claims about other people and companies- big and small.
It is always a major honour to be recognised for the work that you do. You have been honoured as a Young Global Leadership Scholar, a Woman to Watch, Youth Entrepreneur of the Year, Young Futurist, and the grand prize winner of the World Series of Entrepreneurship. Congratulations and well done on your successes so far! How do you feel have received these accolades and do you have any more in your sights?
It’s really exciting to be in the company of fellow leaders who are passionate about making a difference – in business, science, social justice, healthcare, media, fashion, education, technology, and other fields! We have always heard that young people today will be the leaders of the future, but this list reminds me that we don’t have to wait until ‘the future’ to make a difference. We can start now! I’m also a nominee for the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. I look up to so many of the incredible people on it and it’s an honor to be nominated.
Women are known for having the skill of multitasking but when you have to manage so many different things at once, there can be a fear of having a burn out. How do you manage to keep on top of all of your ventures and create a healthy work life balance?
I use the Google Calendar app which I highly recommend. It helps me manage my time and see where it is spent the most. It’s also really fun to use. You can also get pretty creative with it. I color-code based on what it is I’ll be doing at the time- whether it’s time blocked out for my classes and studying, writing and edits for my book, business, social - anything in my life!
What have been the most valuable tips you have learned while embarking on your ventures?
As a founder, you may also be the CEO of your company, but you also have to remember that first and foremost, you’re the CEO of your life. Like a business, your life has many aspects that need to be managed. The choices you make are important to getting you closer to your goals. Invest in yourself by reading, taking courses to sharpen both your soft and technical skills, and prioritising your health.
You also want the business (you) to grow, so one way to do that is to step out of your comfort zone. Do something that might scare you but is important for your career growth. For many people, that might be public speaking, taking on or starting a challenging project, or anything else that might feel uncomfortable initially. Over time, you not only become more comfortable, but you will also experience personal and professional growth.
Who or what inspires and motivates you?
One of my biggest role models is Oprah Winfrey. Though I have not met her (yet), I have learned so much from her life story, and the wisdom she shares with the world. Despite the challenges she has faced in her life, she is grounded in her purpose and has a strong sense of self. I want to follow her lead and uplift other women and girls too. Oprah’s ground-breaking, history-making successes have opened the doors for many who are coming behind her.
What upcoming ventures do you have coming up that you want to share with us?
I’ve started working on the dates and locations for my book tour (London is definitely on my list!). Next year, I’ll also be launching a new business venture and plan to scale my event series focused on education and resources for women to build their net worth, self worth, and network.
What advice or pearls of wisdom would you give to other business women and career women?
Building on the earlier advice of seeing yourself as the CEO of your life: Create your own personal life and career “board of advisors” which consists of people who support and push you to be the best possible version of yourself. This may include family, friends, mentors, sponsors, coaches, and more.
Follow Miracle on Instagram HERE
Order Purpose HERE
Interview by Sasha Shantel @women_who_slay_