Tales of her double life – Dr. Sophia Visanji does it all. Originally from Canada, Dr. Visanji currently resides in New York City where she balances her full-time job as an optometrist with her side hustle of blogging and content creation. What started as a creative outlet to purse her passion of photography, writing and fashion quickly grew into a second job where her alter ego – The Monocle Muse – came to be. She walks us through how she balances both sides of her careers and offers her most valuable tips and tricks for growing her brand from ground up, the best ways to manage your time and how to use social media to your advantage.
1. Where did the idea of the “Monocle Muse” come from?
I’ve always been a fan of alliterations so when I was thinking of names for the blog, I took a notebook and began writing words that represented what I wanted the brand to represent. “Monocle” – a single lens used to help people see clearly is to represent the emphasis of eyewear, and “muse” represents my purpose to inspire others.
2. Why is important for you to change popular opinions about eyewear?
I received my first pair of glasses when I was 14 years old. Unfortunately, back then glasses were less chic, more geek and I hated wearing them. I remember being so disappointed when my Optometrist told me I needed to wear them full time. Fast forward almost two decades later, I’m on the other side of that exchange, and want my patients to be excited about the prospect of wearing glasses to improve their vision, and ultimately their lifestyle.
3. How did you decide a blog would be the best way to share your ideas and projects?
I’ve always been a fan of photography and I am undoubtedly a very visual person, so when I was thinking of how to share my ideas with an audience, I couldn’t think of a better way than a blog and Instagram, which at the time was growing more and more popularity.
4. What role does social media play to get the word out on your blog and building your business/brand?
In today’s age, I believe social media plays a huge role in building a brand. Everything is digitally driven so you will reach an extremely large audience by creating unique, appealing visual content for brand awareness.
5. What are the most effective channels you use to promote yourself and your business and why?
Mainly Instagram just because there is such a widespread audience and it is much easier to be consistent with. I also have a website but have not been as active on it since a majority of my audience is on Instagram.
6. What are some of your tips and tricks for growing an online audience?
Be original and create interesting content that is captivating and informative and collaborate with others in your area of interest
7. What are your do’s and don’ts about online branding?
DO: Be original, be authentic, collaboration is key
DON’T: Repost content constantly, use tactics like “follow/unfollow”
8. How do you find a balance between your full-time job as an optometrist and your side projects as the Monocle Muse?
With a good deal of time management. I feel like in many ways I am forever “on” – if I’m not in the clinic seeing patients I am usually working on projects or campaigns for “The Monocle Muse”. I have recently committed to making sure that I am leaving one day a week (usually Saturdays) for “me time” to spend with friends/family.
9. Describe what a regular day in your life looks like.
A regular day in my life usually looks something like this:
6:30 am: my alarm goes off and we’re UP! I set an intention for the day and write down 5 things I’m grateful for.
7:00 am: I hit the gym for a quick cardio to get the blood pumping and the endorphins flowing.
9:30 am: Arrive at work and begin seeing my patients of the day.
5:15 pm: End of the day finishing any charts from the day and billing exams.
5:30 pm: Head out of the office and find a coffee shop nearby to answer emails and work on any admin work for The Monocle Muse.
6:45 pm – 10:00 pm: No two days in New York are ever the same. Some evenings I’m at PR events or taking a gym class. Most nights involve rich conversation with good friends over a delicious meal to decompress from the day.
10:30 pm: Time to wind down and curl up with a good book.
11:30 pm: Lights out!
10. Do you have any plans to expand your brand this year? What steps will you take to do so?
I’m hoping to eventually launch my own line of sunglasses which is in the works.
11. Social media is generally a free marketing tool – what are some aspects of marketing/branding you think are worth investing in?
A great photographer! The quality of your images is what will effectively showcase your brand message.
12. What are some of the hardest lessons you’ve learned in the past 5 years?
Nothing comes easy. You have to put in the time and really be committed to working at it. Consistency is key.
13. What advice would you give to people who are still wary of social media?
Just start! You will learn so much along the way. And at minimum you will indefinitely meet a ton of people who are like-minded and doing creative things.
14. What’s the hardest part of balancing your job and your blog? What do you love most about it?
The hardest part is really trying to manage my time effectively to satisfy all requirements and be the best version of myself in both roles. The thing I love is that it really gives me variety in my day and exercises both the right and left sides of my brain.