Updated: Sep 29, 2022
We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Mo Pirela a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Mo, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Is your team able to work remotely? If so, how have you made it work? What, if any, have been the pitfalls? What have been the non-obvious benefits?
E-meetings, coordinating schedules, onboarding, and client projects are all managed and completed remotely by my company. One of the benefits of working remotely is that potential and current clients always have easy access to my availability. By incorporating my schedule into my email signature, each contact provides the option to set up a meeting without myself or the client ever having to leave the comfort of home. Another benefit is that centering remote-work establishes clear boundaries early on in the business so that high-quality work is produced for each client. Remote-work also incorporates elements of self-care and mental health practices into my business. I am able to create the positive and affirming environment that I prefer to work in. Solidarity& Co. services provides high-quality virtual assistant services to others. The remote aspect allows me as the business owner to honor my personal needs which were often overlooked in other settings. Most importantly, working remotely has granted me the freedom to focus on my passion for helping underserved self-starters, and prioritize my well-being while creating a legacy and filling a void that I felt existed in my community. Solidarity&Co. Services makes it possible for historically minoritized and marginalized people to have access to genuine support while working with someone who has a passion for collaboration, and understands the barriers that they may face in growing their brands.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
The need for community was exasperated during the pandemic of 2020 and now more than ever, millions of people are flocking to Instagram & TikTok to find like-minded people. It was the same for me when I decided to create Solidarity&Co., a digital space for advocacy, creativity, solopreneurship, and social justice initiatives, all in one place. It dawned on me that solidarity is more than a thing we feel when we see media coverage of horrific events.
Solidarity is being compelled to be in a constant state of awareness, action, and change. For me, solidarity is a lifestyle. It has always been how I lived my life, so I set out to show others this way of life and to make genuine connections with people who I felt were living the solidarity lifestyle too.
As a writer, advocate, and entrepreneur. I have found many ways to promote solidarity and be active in my community. I have had my poetry published in several publications like Black Minds Magazine, UnMute Magazine, and Of Earth and Sky: Poetry Anthology 2021. I have performed poetry pieces at community arts events around Charlotte, NC, and as the Founder of Solidarity&Co., I grew the brand to offer virtual assisting services to underserved folks like myself, to include SolidariTees, an apparel line to enhance the efforts of advocates, and began accepting speaking and poetry performance bookings for community focused events, panel discussions, and charitable causes.
I am most proud that people consistently supported me and the idea and mission behind my brand. The main thing I want potential clients, supporters, and literary enthusiast to know about Solidarity&Co. is that it is a labor of love and encompasses what I believe is my purpose, to inspire others to show up in the world as their full selves without “niche-ing” or minimizing themselves and their passions to meet society or industry standards. I truly believe that when we work together, in solidarity, we can change the world.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
The lesson I had to unlearn is the notion that an entrepreneur first has to determine their niche. As a person with an intersectional identity, this way of thinking held me back from starting a business, sharing my creativity, and believing in my ability to employ myself for far too long. I endured so much corporate toxicity because of it. For years, I worked in contact centers for well-known corporations, often times dreading the walk from my car to my sterile, grey, too close to my neighbor cubicle. Although I was a top performer, I lacked a creative outlet, I never had time to travel, and I spent most of my money on lunch because it was the only way I could get some enjoyment of the day. Once I unlearned the need to niche, I realized that by doing the things I loved I could create multiple streams of income for myself, support people in a way that genuinely felt good, and express my creatively on a daily basis while advocating for causes that I cared about. I walked away from my corporate career and challenged myself to work towards creating the life I wanted every day. So, every day I posted on socials and shared my reason for caring about and doing so many things. Audre Lorde says it best, I think, when she said, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” I kept this quote in mind along with Kimberle’ Crenshaw’s teachings about intersectionality and continued to honor all of my passions by channeling them into my work. Through showing the interconnectedness of it all, I continue to make connections with people who seem to be able to relate to the my brand in one way or another.
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
First, I decided the best way to get this idea to others was to start an Instagram account. Then I signed up for the free version of Canva and started creating graphics to post on my feed. As a writer, creating captions came easy to me, and I hashtagged the keywords, or the words I thought were most important to get more eyes on my account. Within a few weeks I was engaging with real people in the comment section. That prompted me to figure out a way I could monetize those interactions. I thought, if they like the content on my page, maybe they would buy a t-shirt that attached to our shared beliefs. I began sharing the products I created with my new followers and the first orders came from some of my first followers. My best advice on building a social media presence is to combine your personal and business. This worked so well for me because my brand is also my lifestyle. By showing how your personal life connects to the mission, vision, and values of the brand, people grow to like, know, and trust you a lot quicker than folks who have separate accounts. I agree that some personal things are separate from business, but when you can, combine the two and describe how they connect to build your audience on social media organically and authentically.