Specialising in helping female coaches and founders, Elva Li is a Luxury Branding Coach, Creative Director, and Speaker who helps her clients create a luxury brand so they can attract high-end clients, increase their influence, impact, and income.
Elva grew up in Shanghai and moved to Melbourne where she found success in the corporate world. However, she felt it wasn’t her calling. After leaving her 9 to 5, she founded the Elva Li Luxury Branding and Lifestyle Studio, where she helps her clients elevate their brand and embody their next level.
Elva has 10 years of experience in business advisory, coaching, and brand styling. She combines her creative flair with her business savviness to help visionary female coaches and founders feel confident online, onboard high-end clients, and become the most iconic version of themselves.
Elva’s signature ‘Femme Brand’ system integrates holistic high-end brand strategy, creative direction, and mindset and soul work to translate the essence of a woman’s soul into a luxury brand to help clients increase their perceived value, expand their influence, and impact. Her approach involves inner work (mindset), outer work (strategy), and higher work (soul-alignment) so they can create and embody their soul-aligned luxury brand.
She has been featured on The Australian Business Journal, LadyBoss Asia, This Women Can, and has been seen on ABC, CBS, Fox, and more.
For more details, visit their website here.
Here we sit down with Elva, to know a bit more about her journey as an entrepreneur.
Q. What inspired Elva to become an entrepreneur?
Elva: There’s a song on repeat in my world and whenever I play it, it reminds me of the time I started my own business and finally left my corporate job.
“I spend too much time thinking about
who I’m supposed to be
I play by everybody’s rules
that doesn’t seem right to me
Should I even care?
They’re all sitting there
and everyone’s staring at me
If I step out in the spotlight
maybe I’ll be set free
What if I back down now
’cause I’m afraid of what might happen
What if they turn away
when I show them who I truly am
What if I lose my breath
when I throw those big doors open
What if I shine?
I was that girl playing by everybody’s rules, playing small at the corporate world and not daring to stand up as who I truly am.
Maybe you can relate too. If you are also a female entrepreneur, you’re someone who has chosen to take the risk of building a business that expresses who you are and allows you to live in your genius zone and do the things you love …. then somewhere along the line you felt like you didn’t fit in the 9-5… somewhere along the line, you felt like you were different from everyone else around you. If you’re like me, you know deep inside that there’s something more, there’s something different, there’s something better.
I grew up being a “good girl” for my parents, playing the good “successful” daughter, studying at the top university, and then living in the “successful” corporate world. But that life was never meant for me. Every morning from my office window I would look up at the blue sky, wishing I could grow wings and fly. Every morning I longed for something else. A different world. A beautiful world. One where there was freedom, inside and out.
Eventually, in 2010 I packed my bags, left my hometown Shanghai, and moved to Australia by myself hoping the world would be different. It wasn’t … because I was the same. Every day in my office cubicle, I continued playing the good girl. I kept my head down and I worked hard. I played it safe, but deep down I still dreamt of something else.
My life was forever changed when I was introduced to the wonderful world of women entrepreneurs at a business networking event. I saw glimpses of confident beautiful women who were running their own business with a lifestyle to match. It was like getting a blue Tiffany box from the Universe. I saw the beauty I was looking for.
The beauty of choice.
The beauty of another way.
The beauty of a business is the path to truly living a life that has it all.
I was enlightened. I had a choice.
I was no longer willing to accept my desires as just a daydream.
Dare to be different. Dare to be courageous.
I started building my side hustles, immersing myself with personal development, working with business coaches and mentors, connecting with inspiring people…
I’d be lying if I said building my business and brand was easy. The journey is “beautiful”, but it’s not always “pretty”. I have my doubts, fears, and insecurities popping up from time to time. When that happens and things get rough, I always remind myself why I started in the first place.
I started my personal branding business because I adore designing beautiful things and nothing brings me more joy than creating a beautiful brand for other female entrepreneurs and helping them turn their dreams into reality, one brand at a time.
I quit my high-paying corporate job as a Chartered Accountant because I want to wake up every day with passion and excitement, do what lights me up and utilize my full potential and talents; have the flexibility and freedom to do it whenever and wherever I want; surround myself with like-minded talented and inspiring people.
I am so grateful that I am able to quit my full-time job and that my business gives me the freedom and fulfillment, makes me feel passionate, inflow and lights me up every day.
Q. How did Elva get started?
Elva: I started building my side hustle while I was working full time in my corporate job. I tried several business ideas until I found my “Sweet Spot Business Idea”. Whether you realize it or not, you have your special “zone of genius”. It’s that gift, talent, skill, or ability that sets you apart from everyone else. It’s the thing that no one else can do quite like you.
I found my sweet spot business idea, which is the perfect intersection of what I love (creating beautiful things and turning visions into visuals), what I am good at (luxury branding) and what the world needs (branding and design services for females entrepreneurs).
I always love beautiful designs. Even when I was working in business advisory services, I enjoyed designing beautiful spreadsheets and presentations. Although the first side hustle I tried was health coaching, I got all the compliments from other people for my chic beautiful branding, design, and website. And people started asking for my services in branding and design. They loved my branding and website and wanted it for themselves too.
Once I find my sweet spot, I have a much clearer vision of my path and it becomes much easier for me to move from doubt and fear into confidence and action. And I started to invest in courses and education that helped me build my expertise in branding. I traveled to Paris to study luxury business and branding and invest in 5 figure mastermind to surround myself with like-minded female entrepreneurs.
Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?
Elva: When I start stepping into my new entrepreneur identity and building my dream business, I realized how vital it is to stay in action. Doubt and fear are a normal part of the process. But I can’t let these emotions paralyze me; I need to get into action anyway. I worked with mentors and coaches to follow the proven success strategies to keep myself moving forward no matter what — and begin building a habit of massive daily action.
I’d be lying if I said building the business was easy. You will have your doubts, fears, and insecurities pop up from time to time. But if your why is strong, the how won’t seem as daunting; the technology won’t seem as overwhelming; and the naysayers won’t get you down. I have my three why statements that keep me going:
- The big why statement reminding me of the value I can provide to other people through what I do and the big vision I have for my business
- The desire statement reminding me what’s in there for myself and my family if I build my business
- The pain statement reminding me what it means if I don’t make this work? What does it mean if I can’t leave from my 9-5? What does it mean if I don’t get to live a life I love?
First, the pain pushes you, then the vision pulls you. – Dr. Michael Beckwith
Q. What is the Most Memorable Thing You’ve Done Since you Started your Business?
Elva: It is the journey and the growth. Over the years, I have been continuing peeling back the layers of conditioning … the ideas that I was to be pleasant, proper, professional, to look a certain way, act a certain way, and do my business in a certain way…
Everything looked “perfect” from the outside, but I was feeling like a fraud on the inside. The essence of my soul was locked up tight under layers and layers of who I thought I “should” be.
I have evolved. Now I only create and give in the ways that are truly aligned for me. I do the work, charge the rates and receive in ways that feel true for me. Now my signature Femme Brand Experience is $20,000 and I work with my soul-sister clients who are soul-hearted and have an amazing high frequency.
And, I am still evolving – as we always do. There’s beauty in becoming. Life is lovingly guiding you towards all of the areas that need to be released, removed, and healed… in order for you to step into your highest vision and mission. Some of these lessons will come up again; and I believe that they do, when we need to deepen our relationship ourselves and to embody the “next level” – a philosophy that now guides my whole business.
There are still times I feel my business and brand no longer align with who I’ve become; like I know I am meant for more but have no idea what “more” looks like. But now I know how to bring myself back to alignment and constantly step into my “next level”. Now I know that the only way to receive what I desire is to be who I truly am.
If you are on this journey of evolving and stepping to your next level, I see you. I am on this journey with you.
Q. What is one book does Elva recommend, and why?
Elva: “Light is the new black” by Rebecca Cambell: The book inspired me to answer my soul’s highest calling, keep my creations potent, align my business to my soul and
scale it in a way that is sustainable, so I can create a life’s work, not a season.
Q. What are your top 3 favourite online apps, tools, or resources and what do you love about them?
- Google G suite: professional email.
- Acuity Scheduling: scheduling my appointments.
- Asana: project and team management.
Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?
Elva: I would like to share my gifts with the world by helping my soul-sister clients not only create but to live their luxury brand with femme alignment, stand in high worth, shine bright as who they really are, and create impact, income, and freedom.
Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
Elva: Let the beauty of what you love to be what you do.
To keep up to date with Elva and her journey, connect with her on Instagram.