EEK! Today my first ever mentee is on the blog – Deepa Berar.
As you guys know, I take on 3 mentees a year. The movers, the shakers & the ones who love to hustle. I thought it would be fun to pick Deepa’s brain on the process to show you guys what goes into it all.
Deepa was actually the one who inspired the mentee program in the first place. She found me & Michael through The Gary Vee Show & asked to interview us. We met for coffee & instantly liked each other.
After the interview ( how vintage is this ! ) she proposed to me. Proposed to me to mentor her. So, once a month for about half an hour we would discuss strategy & building her brand.
Side note: right now I’m full for mentees, but if you’d like to apply in the future, tell me about yourself below.
To get you acquainted with Deepa, let me tell you a bit about her. She started out as a beauty blogger & YouTuber until she lost almost all her hair to alopecia. She spent so much time being her own guru & managed to grow all her hair back!
Deepa decided to open up this facet of her life & grew the most amazing community because of it. In this post you’ll find out tips for branding, the most valuable things she learned as a mentee, & her advice for people just coming into the space.
Alright, lets get into it with my very first mentee, Deepa Berar.
♡ Introduce yourself to The Skinny Confidential community. Tell us your story!
Deepa Berar: Hi, I’m Deepa. I’m a YouTuber & cosmetic tattoo artist! I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto & last year made the move to sunny San Diego & I’m so happy! It feels like where I was meant to be my whole life.
I post videos & blog about everything from alopecia to beauty, microblading & a little bit of my life too. I started out as a professional makeup artist & hairstylist 14 years ago & my blog started out as a way to answer all of the beauty questions I would get from my cousins. My background is East Indian & a lot of us come from really big families, so I actually have 38 first cousins in total.
3 years ago, I lost 70% of my hair due to alopecia & through a ton of research & experimentation I managed to grow all of it back in. For those of you who don’t know what alopecia is, it’s an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss on the scalp and/or body.
At the time this all happened, everything I was posting about was all beauty related. I was collaborating with beauty brands & even had an ambassadorship with a hair brand, so there really was no hiding my hair loss from my viewers. Lauryn had been my mentor for about 3 months at the time this all started happening. Through her encouragement, I decided to open up about my journey with alopecia on my YouTube channel & to my surprise, there were so many people who reached out that were going through the same thing.
That really encouraged me to post more about hair loss & to try to help others as much as I could. 3 years later, we have built a strong community of beautiful, compassionate & supportive people. It’s amazing to see people come together like this & it truly makes me so happy.
♡ Tell us about the mentorship with me.
DB: The mentorship was such an amazing learning experience! I love everything to do with business & I’ve always known that having a mentor is so important. When you’re starting any business there is such a huge learning curve & it helps so much to have someone to talk to who has gone through it all & learn what worked & what didn’t for them.
When I first came across Lauryn back in 2014, I fell in love with her blog immediately! There was just something so exciting about each & every one of her posts! The style of her blog, her writing style, the photography & graphics were so inspiring ( can you tell I’m a total Photoshop nerd? ), & her personality just shone through everything. It was refreshing to see someone being so authentic when the rest of us were trying to be so perfect.
Something about her just struck me & I knew she was the person I wanted as a mentor. We worked together for a year & did phone sessions along with a couple of in-person sessions when I would visit San Diego. Her & Michael were just so down to earth & approachable, & you could tell that they just genuinely wanted to help. She gave me so much valuable advice & really encouraged me to just be myself.
♡ Tell everyone how you approached me- I LOVED IT!
DB: 🙂 So back when I emailed Lauryn, I was doing these interviews for my YouTube channel ( which actually became the basis of my podcast, Deep Beauty ). They were interviews with people who were doing inspirational things & I really wanted to have Lauryn & Michael on. I emailed her several times asking if I could interview her. At the time I was working with a PR rep who had drafted a pitch email that went on & on about me & all my accomplishments & why the person should want to be interviewed by me, which was really the wrong approach. I think it was something that would have worked in the past, but with social media, things have changed so much. A lot of traditional marketing tactics just don’t work anymore. You have to be real & to the point.
At the time I was still living in Canada & was headed on a trip to San Diego. At the last minute I decided to reach out to Lauryn one more time. This time my email was way shorter & to the point. I wrote from the heart & talked about how obsessed I was with Lauryn’s blog, branding & business sense & that I needed to share her with my world. That was the one that got the response.
When we did meet, I was nervous to ask her to be my mentor, but my dad ( who is an entrepreneur as well ) encouraged me to just do it & pointed out that the worst she could say was no. So when the interview was done, I just came out & asked her if she would consider mentoring me & she said yes! I was so, so happy. You never know what’s possible until you ask.
♡ What was the main piece of advice that really helped?
DB: I learned so much! I took so many notes from all of our conversations & condensed it down to key points that I still refer to, & trust me there are a ton of great points! I think the main thing that Lauryn helped me do was to take myself seriously as a business. In any business you are going to be working so hard in the beginning stages with very little profit, if any. The whole social media world makes it seem like you are going to be landing brand deals & sponsorships right away, but it doesn’t work like that. You have to put a lot of hours in to build your brand before you will see any money. Money can not be your motivation. You have to be connected with your message & the reason why you’re doing all of this.
That’s one thing that really stuck for me. My husband & I did the long distance relationship thing for 3.5 years, so I was constantly traveling back & forth from Toronto to San Diego. I was basically only working part time for half the year so I was constantly stressed out about money. You can actually see the moment I decided to really take Lauryn’s advice to heart in my posts. My posts became more real, genuine & transparent.
Everything just started to fall into place once my motivation became about helping others. Lauryn helped me ignore all of the noise & focus on my message & that’s what really made the shift for me.
♡ Do you have any branding tips to share?
DB: Yes! Make sure everything you do is cohesive. Whatever fonts, colors, imagery & even social media handles you use, make sure they are the same across the board. It makes it so much easier for people to find you & for you to ‘stick’ in their minds. Don’t be afraid to be different, just because a particular font or color is popular doesn’t mean you have to use it.
Also, don’t be afraid to let your true self show in everything you do! What is that saying- be yourself, everyone else is already taken? Someone is going to connect with your branding & communication style & for the people who don’t, well as Lauryn always says “you’re not going to be for everyone.”
♡ What’s your advice for other bloggers who are just starting out?
DB: Find what you’re truly passionate about & don’t be so concerned with how many other people are talking about the same thing. Focus on you & like Lauryn always says, “just put your head down & work.” You have to have tunnel vision when it comes to your goals. It’s so easy to get distracted by other things, I mean the craziness of life is never going to stop & you will have no control over that. All you have control of is how much you put into your goals.
Also, don’t pay so much attention to what everyone else is doing or posting about. I know that can be really hard to do, but it takes away from your message. I try not to watch other YouTubers or read other blogs when I am about to film or write because it changes my voice. I learned that from Lauryn.
Focus on helping others & building a community & the success will come!
♡ How did the mentorship help your brand?
DB: My mentorship with Lauryn has changed my life completely. Lauryn really encouraged me to put my authentic self out there with videos like “My Big Secret” & “My Alopecia Story.” If sharing your struggles is going to help someone else going through something similar, then why not put it out there? There are people that not only want to, but need to hear your story.
That’s one thing I love about Lauryn, she takes responsibility of her community by putting her struggles out there & shares what has worked for her & what hasn’t. Not a lot of people are that fearless.
Sharing my authentic self led me to ultimately connecting with my WHY. When I was posting about beauty, I truly didn’t feel fulfilled. Now that I’ve been able to help others suffering from hair loss, it has resonated so deeply & opened up this whole community that I didn’t think was possible. And it helped me connect with my #deepbeauty message of beauty on the inside & out.
Through this whole journey I was also able to find my ultimate dream job- cosmetic tattooing/permanent makeup. I started microblading & opened up my own studio in San Diego & soon I’ll be doing scalp micropigmentation, which is tattooing hair onto the scalp. It’s basically both worlds combined- beauty & hair loss.
One last thing that really helped was learning not to wait to execute. Lauryn really drove that home for me. I wanted to start a Facebook group for so long & when I discussed the idea with her, she said “when is the time going to be right? How many followers do you need before the time is perfect?” That really hit home & I launched my group the next day. The time is never going to be perfect, you just have to jump in & you’ll figure it out along the way.
♡ What are the 3 main things you learned from the mentorship?
DB: The 3 things are:
- Consistency is everything.
- You can’t do it alone so get help.
- Always be building, never stay stagnant.
♡ What kind of business owner would you like to mentor?
DB: Someone who truly wants to help others.
You can expect my other mentees to come on the blog & talk about their experience too, so stay tuned.
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