Mona Vand shares tips and tricks for becoming your own brand

In this episode of Behind Her Empire, influencer Mona Vand discusses the trials and tribulations of building a business around your personal brand.


As the daughter of Iranian immigrants, Mona Vand believed she had only three paths in life.

“Doctor, engineer lawyer,” she laughs. “It’s the biggest joke with all Iranians, because that’s what is most respected.”

Vand landed a great pharmaceutical job right out of college and made his parents proud. But she quickly realized that working as a pharmacist did not make her happy. So when a close friend who worked as a news anchor offered her a way out, she jumped at the chance.

“She was like, ‘Oh, my God, you’re so cute. You should come [the news] and be the expert. We have expert doctors [on] all the time,” Vand said. “So I thought to myself, could this be a career in itself? My wheels started spinning.

It was the days of Dr. Oz – when Oprah Winfrey brought in a former health expert for her show and ended up creating a new TV talk show host. At the same time, beauty bloggers were turning to social media platforms to offer advice and create a new type of occupation. Vand began to think that she might be able to pursue this career path. She started sharing her wellness tips on social media to try to build a following.

“I was like, ‘Could I be like a younger, more modern version of Dr. Oz?’ It would be my dream career because I wouldn’t lose my degree and I could also do what I love,” she said.

Vand spent a few years trying to figure out how she should market herself on social media. She said one of her biggest early mistakes was signing a contract with a marketing agency that required her to essentially give up rights to her brand for a chance at becoming an influencer.

“It was about three to four weeks after launch [the website] when I realized it wasn’t the right partnership,” she said.

After a few tough conversations, she was able to get out of the deal and regain control of her brand. She learned an important lesson: “Not everyone who succeeds has the right advice for what you’re doing,” she said. “Everything is contextual.”

While working with the marketing agency, Vand secured sponsorship that allowed him to quit his job as a pharmacist for a year. But once the association dissolved, she was forced to return to work at the pharmacy.

“It was very humiliating and also very hard,” she recalls. “I remember telling my brother about it and I was crying, like, ‘I don’t want to go back.'”

But Vand continued to post daily content and document wellness tips and routines in her own life, constantly testing different content styles and formats to see what worked. It was her “what I eat during the day” videos that really blew up and positioned her to become a successful entrepreneur.

“I was so invested in my brand, and wanted it so badly that it wasn’t hard, honestly,” she said.

Now, Vand has over a million subscribers on TikTok and YouTube and her content ranges from skincare to cooking to natural remedies to treat ailments.

“We’re in an interesting time where women are expected to do everything, where you can have a full-time career and be a mother and be that boss and I can do anything a man can do. And I love that we have the opportunity to do that,” she said. “But I also think you shouldn’t feel bad if you don’t want to do all these things.[…] Everyone is fulfilled by different things.

Andria Moore, social media and engagement editor for dot.la, contributed to this article.

This podcast is produced by Behind Her Empire. The views and opinions expressed in the program are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the dot.LA or its press room.

Learn more about the Behind Her Empire podcast. Subscribe on embroiderer, Apple podcast, Spotify, iHeart Radioor wherever you get your podcasts.

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