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Aspiring Co. is here to remind you to chase your dreams relentlessly and to inspire you when you feel like giving up. We are telling the stories of women who are fighting everyday to pursue a life of meaning.

The Women of BYOB Retreat

The Women of BYOB Retreat

BYOB (Build Your Own Brand) Retreat took place in Washington, D.C. during Memorial Day weekend. This retreat was designed to empower attendees with skills needed to start your own business or improve what you might already have. We had the pleasure of attending with friends to Aspiring Co. Marissa and Shelby of MRAY Co.. We attended panels and a keynote to learn from industry leaders in their perspective fields and expertise. Here are a few of our favorite parts from the two day retreat!


In a session entitled “Fireside Chat with Tonya Rapley” Tonya (Founder of My Fab Finance) and Andrew Nguyen (Founder of BYOB Society) shared their insights on money and business. Tonya shared that she moved to New York with $500 and after being in the city for a while, she learned that most of her peers (and she, herself) weren’t good with money. She sought out a way to change that and through her journey came up with My Fab Finance. One of the keys to her success that she shared was having multiple streams of revenue. She works with brands who want to attract millennials, teaches, writes, speaks and sells product as additional ways to make money. Tonya also stressed the importance of attending conferences like this one and learning as much as possible on your journey. She added that we need to fall in love with the execution as much as the learning meaning that you have to actually apply what you are learning as you get more knowledge. For those who are interested in transitioning out of their full-time job to entrepreneurship, Tonya advised the following:

1.     Pay down debt.

2.     Make sure you are making money before you quit.

3.     Save to invest.

4.     Assess your healthcare options.

5.     Take advantage of learning opportunities with your full-time job before you go.

Next we attended a series of panels, Mastering the Art of Networking and Negotiating and 40 to 80 real quick: The first steps to transition from corporate to entrepreneurship. In both sessions we learned a ton. One of the things that sticks out most for me is when Kiki Ayers said, “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” Studies show that as women, we tend to negotiate less than men. I know this definitely holds true for me. Negotiation is not easy but it is definitely necessary and I appreciated this simple phrase as a reminder. In the next session, Pauleanna Reid reminded us that a lot of the time, we are “asking for more when we haven’t mastered less.” I loved this concept because it is so true. We are all always looking for what is next, and asking for a larger audience but not committed to the one we already have. This is a reminder that content is key. Stay focused and committed and the growth will come.

To end the retreat, we listened to Yvonne Orji (from HBO’s Insecure) talk about her life an experiences. She shared how her faith has played a huge role in her success. When she moved to L.A. she worked on her craft and acting while working as a comedian and wedding hostess. As a comedian she learned a valuable lesson in that sometimes you bomb, but you always finish. She knew her worth and kept her standards high because she wanted to make sure she didn’t sell herself for her dreams. Her story was beyond inspiring! Yvonne stressed that nothing we do is lost. Every opportunity, every connection, every gig that we take is preparing us for the next thing.


If you are looking for an opportunity to learn from other business owners and like-minded people, we highly recommend checking out BYOB!

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