“I admire creativity and innovation, whether it comes in the form of art or science. Because our humanity is about people asking questions, exploring the unknown and trying new things. As a filmmaker, I would give a bigger reach to scientists and artists by telling their stories. But I didn’t always want to be in the background documenting, I wanted to do the making,” Said Alberta Chu, Entrepreneur and Documentary Filmmaker.
If you’ve ever considered starting a business, especially in a new field, that leap can seem daunting. Like Motherhood, it’s often wildly unpredictable, emotional, and joyful. But trusting yourself, to make the experience a success, is an act of self-love and permission to live without regret. But even when you know your ‘why’ building something new requires persistence, energy, and commitment to learn. So how do you bolster fortitude for the unknown?
Follow Compelling Opportunities
Alberta knew her superpowers lie at the intersection of art and science. “I’m in awe of the human ability to create new things. I started out as a biologist but quickly got into science communications. And then, had a whole career as a TV producer making documentaries for places like the Discovery Channel.”
After speaking in a series of scientific talks, along with her husband, serendipity led her to learn about the genetics of faces. Later she developed an app for it. Then her desire to shift from recording discoveries, to making her own, lured her to entrepreneurship. “It made a project like Facetopo appealing. So, I jumped over the fence and now I’m the inventor.”
Invest in the Right Expertise
The path from idea to finished product is often bumpy, especially for Moms and even more so, for Moms of color. Where access to funding and mentorship remains limited. But Alberta fearlessly followed throughlines in her career. From science to film, and now entrepreneurship.
She explained, “The idea of creating an app was a challenge and I love challenges. I thought, is this possible? Can we create an app to help people make 3D face maps on their phones? So, it took a couple of years and I had to just figure it out as I went.” It takes confidence to navigate those changes. And wisdom to invest in the support that’s outside of your genius zone.
And Confidently, Lean into Your Strengths
Alberta said, “I didn’t know what UX design was before. But I did have strong producing skills and good networking skills. And that’s what helped me build a team of creative people.” From getting the app developed to her pivot into the beauty industry, she’s assembled experts, to bring her vision to reality.
She added, “Finding the right engineers has been key. I’m working with a team of video game developers. Although they haven’t done this type of project before, they’re very creative.”
Manage Your Mental Health
Entrepreneurship is consuming and tends to be high risk. Although more women are starting businesses, revenues are still lower than men’s. Its toll on mental, not to mention financial health, has also been well documented. So, dialing up care for your emotional, physical, and mental health is even more important as a Founder.
Alberta said, “A friend recommended a book I’m reading now, Rising Strong, by Brené Brown. She’s a huge mental health advocate. And it’s a reminder that we have to put a name on things and work through them. Including hard feelings you might have about disappointments in life.”
Make Space for Self-Time
When I asked about her approach to self-care, Alberta said, “There’s the physical and the spiritual self-care you do on the inside. Then there’s all of the stuff you do on the outside, like skincare, sunscreen and fitness, which can satisfy both.” Most Moms have very little discretionary time. And when we do, it’s often fragmented and unpredictable.
Although movement helps manage stress and our overall health, most people don’t make space for it. But time to reset is critical and she remains intentional about it. “Although yoga is exercise, sometimes it’s just a way to have self-time. Sure, I’m stretching but it’s also just doing what I want. And it helps me feel better so I can perform and do all the other things I need to do, like going to the grocery store.”
Indulge in Inspiration
Alberta said, “I love to cook, although sometimes, the idea of putting dinner on the table every night can be a grind. But when it comes to planning a party and cooking a wonderful meal, I’m all for that. Sometimes, I’ll have people over because I feel like cooking a big, nice meal.”
Many of us gain energy from creative cooking. Which tends to feel different than managing daily constraints, like the weeknight meal scramble. Or accommodating our children’s preferences and it’s a bonus if you can add in connection with friends.
And Your Creativity
Alberta said, I like making things. Although I’ve never been trained as an artist, I’m surrounded by artists. And am very involved in the contemporary art community in Boston. I appreciate and admire creativity and innovation.
So, if you’re considering launching something new, whether it’s a business or a book, you can follow that winding path. And bring something brilliant and beautiful into the world. But do so, while nurturing your health, energy, and creativity.
Many thanks to the talented Alberta Chu!
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Facetopo Founder and cultural entrepreneur, Alberta Chu, thrives on innovation that builds bridges. By connecting people to information and each other. In developing Facetopo: The Beauty Education app, she combines technology and artistry to create a digital tool to advance inclusivity and wellness in the beauty industry.
The Facetopo app provides personalized face shape analysis and shows how to apply makeup according to your face shape with links to purchase cosmetics directly.
Her diverse work experience spans biotechnology research, science consulting, documentary filmmaking, and arts advocacy.