What I’ve Learned From: Launching

Launching this blog was the first time I actually launched something that I have been working on myself alone. In the past, I’ve been apart of other people’s launches or have created content to launch something else. At 20 this was my personal project baby and I am really proud of it.

I went in wanting to do a small launch because I didn’t think that what I had to say had any value. I knew that there were so many blogs out there just like mine with larger teams, influences, or whatever it was. But as I have been doing my research and learning more about social media strategies and understanding my own personal data (coming soon..) I learned that everyone starts small and it takes TIME for something to really take off and get developed. For some people it even took years. It’s never a picture perfect road and there are bound to be several mistakes. Surprisingly that brought more humanity into what I was doing because it was something I connected with.

So I thought “okay well if it’s going to take some time I might as well make it as perfect as possible”. Obviously there is room to improve and edit but I wanted a solid base. The day of my launch I actually Googled “How to launch a blog successfully on social media”. The first thing it said was Get a strong content base first and I was like okay so I already did that. After that I skimmed the article but wanted to find a way to do it that reflects me but also is simple. I didn’t want to put something out there that wasn’t really who I am and what I stand for. I think there is so much amazing creators out there who are honest and who they are online is who you meet in person so I wanted to be like that as well. It’s really important to me to be authentic.

I also don’t want to spend a lot of money on advertising it. If I can find a way to do it myself or for free then I’ll figure it out. I used some social media templates to create my instagram picture. Also, I think about what marketing strategies I have seen that I have liked and tried to make it my own.

This whole process took a lot of bravery because when you put your work out on the Internet no matter what it is there may be some really strong backlash on it. I was so worried about what everyone thought about it that I began to lose sight as to why I was doing it in the first place. I took a step back and really asked myself “Is this something we are willing to commit to?”. I knew in my heart the answer was screaming YES but again, I still faced a lot of insecurities.

After speaking to some people on Instagram, specifically women who have launched their own platform, I knew I wasn’t the only person feeling this way. Aside from the potential hate, whether people are going to read it, I was just worried if anyone really was listening or if anyone cared about what I had to say.

… and they were listening. The amount of personal messages, comments, and support I got from the launch really made it all worth it and validated what was in my heart and what was my truth. I am confident enough (it’s taken a long time to get here) where I’m strong in what I believe is right and “good” so I led with my heart during this launch and people saw it. Not only did I practice that during the launch itself but in the development of this whole platform. This was the first time I allowed myself to take complete ownership of a project because I was always afraid it wasn’t going to be “good enough”. Since I am my own boss, if it’s good enough to me and if its backed with the right intentions then I am okay with it.

It was really emotional because my friends, family, and people I haven’t spoken to in a few years expressed their support to me. In less than 24 hours I had over 200 people on the site. I was not expecting that at all. I honestly didn’t even have a number and that may not be a lot but to me it is. It sort of just happened and I am so grateful and appreciative of all the people who were so nice and so supportive. It made me cry because this was a big step for me and people close to me knew where I have been and where I am going. I love that people not only saw myself in the blogs but they saw themselves as well. This is a place where I hope people can relate to and connect with.

The experience truly changed the way that I viewed myself and it gave me the confidence to go forward and keep doing this despite what anyone else thinks.

So if you are a content creator or someone who is nervous to launch something, you are not alone. I hear you, I see you. Launch it. Just do it with the right intent and make sure your heart is in the right place. Don’t do it for the “clout” please LOL.

What I’ve Learned From: My Role Models

Role models are people in your life or influencers that have qualities, accomplishments, traits that you look up to. They all don’t need to be famous or dead. Their stories, mission, and life should reflect on who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. My role models range from different of industries, professions, and ethnicities. I will go into detail why I think these people are AMAZING. I also may be missing a few people because I look up to a lot of different people in different stages of my life.

  1. Colin Kapernick
    There is nothing I love more than a person who stands up for what they believe in. Aside from his great looks and incredible athleticism, Colin Kapernick is one of those people who is willing to sacrifice their careers in order to make a difference. His peaceful stance caused a storm of controversy in the media and sports world which is partly why I like it. He disrupted the system in a peaceful way and people still had a problem with it but he didn’t back down and he persisted. I appreciate that he has made such philanthropic efforts to support the causes he believes in.
  2. Oprah
    I mean it’s OPRAH. Who wouldn’t consider her a role model? At the Golden Globes Oprah’s speech brought me to tears. It was so moving in that it spoke to this shift that is happening in our world where we as women are becoming more resistant, strong, and transparent. In my short 20 years of life, I have yet to see someone like Oprah make such an impact and influence on others. During Oprah’s Golden Globe Speech she said “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” which is mantra that I’ve adopted into my own life. Knowning, speaking, and living your own truth is one of the only ways that you can truly be secure in yourself and your accomplishments. So, #Oprah2020
  3. Chrissy Tiegen
    This may be random but Chrissy Tiegen is by far one of my favorite celebrity moms out there. I have her cookbook Cravings and I am so excited for the launch of her second one. I love her transparency that she had about her having her baby Luna and honesty when it came to her post-partum depression. She is witty, funny, woke, and unconventional. I love that she became more than John Legend’s wife and has paved her own way before and even now. Also, I love the relationship that is portrayed on the internet of them. I say that because we never know what happens behind closed doors so I love her and I love the way she is a mom and her recipes are so yummy! If you follow Chirssy Tiegen on Twitter you know she is blocked by Donald Trump AND she has made countless efforts to educate the public about what is going on. She exposes what is happening in our current political arena in a way that is satirical and informative.
  4. Shonda Rhimes
    ShondaLand has been here for a very long time and I love it. I frequently listen to interviews that Shonda Rhimes has done and what I love the most about it is that she talks about her shows and ideas in a way that showcases her passion and desire to tell stories all around the world. She thinks globally and casts people in the roles that fit the best no matter the color of their skin, gender, or background.  She is a working mom of three and I can only imagine how busy her schedule is but also I appreciate her TedTalk where she said “yes” to her daughters for a year and how much that changed her as well as her relationship with her daughters.
  5. The Women Around Me
    I think the people around should offer you some form of growth, development, or support. That may sound selfish but if you have people in your life who are not inspiring you or encouraging you then you may find yourself stuck in the same place. I like to keep my circle small because I hate wasting my time and energy especially when it comes to other people. Quality over quantity, am I right?This may be a cliche one but I have a much longer list of role models I admire (a few to mention Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Iskra Lawrence, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, Mariska Hargitay)  but honestly it is the women around me that continue to push me to be the best version of myself.

    A few shoutouts my close friends Niki, Alia, Kalynn, Nushi, Tas, Aliah, Denise. These girls have seen me in so many phases of my life and have loved me unconditionally. They truly are so beautiful, genuine, kind, supportive people who will be in your corner and fight for you. Other mentions Priyanka (@postivelypri) , Naomi Thomas(@iamnaomithomas) , Crisedia Rico(@criseidarico), Carlena(@_carlenanicole). You four have been so helpful as I try new things from fitness, empowerment, and content! You all inspire me so much and I am so proud of you all for paving your own path with your passions and talent. LIKE WOW I am one lucky girl to be surrounded by all these women who are killing it! All these women challenge me to be better version of myself. I cannot thank them enough. ALSO the women in my family who have paved the way for me to do all of this myself has been such an amazing support system.

    I love you all so much and thanks again for everything!!

 

What I’ve Learned From: storytelling

As a kid, I always loved to write. I was that kid with the imaginary friend could fill up those OG Lisa Frank diaries with wild short stories from my imagination. I loved to tell stories. I also wanted to be a journalist. Although my childhood journalist dreams are no longer, that form of story telling has translated into my semi-adult life through the form of a blue journal that goes with me everywhere.

At 15 years old, I was told to use journaling as a way to cope with my mental health. To me it was a way I could get my anxious thoughts on paper to make it less scary. It was a way for me to slow my mind down and see that what was happening in my head were just words and words on a paper aren’t that scary. I took that and really made it my own personal escape. To this day my journal is my prized possession. I use it in meetings, to take notes, it houses every to-do list or list I have made since May and everything else in between. I go through journals a lot. I love the soft leather ones and preferably blue because blue is a calming color. My journals are always on sale at barnes and nobles or amazon primed directly to my apartment.

Aside from all of that I worked as a tech journalist and ended up running the Carolinian Newspapers Social Media and Web Content for a year. Everything that was online was my responsibility. I did make some mistakes along the way but overall that experience taught me so much about where I am passionate about.

Believe it or not my more technical positions as an intern taught me a lot about the different types of storytelling. Story telling through data and queries which was such a full circle moment because I realized in those moments that I can tie what felt so natural to me to an industry that is seemingly so black and white. But it isn’t. I think that the data helps explain the gray in all of it.

Now we are here. Online and at this blog. Journaling became a way for me to express myself in a way that I wasn’t able to. At the time that I started this blog which first began in that blue journal, I felt like I wasn’t being listened to from the people around me. I honestly felt a bit misunderstood but who doesn’t when they are in their late angsty teens? I’ve come to understand that it’s totally normal to feel what I felt which was comforting but I decided to take this sense of powerlessness to change it to something positive so ironically enough I took it online.

Storytelling, to me, isn’t flat or limited. It’s pretty extensive and can adapt depending on what you want to portray. If we look closely we can see our social media feeds are just stories that people want to tell. They are characters through their own experiences and creativity. You can tell a lot about a person in the way they tell their story online or in person. This is why I love this art form so much because it is in every avenue of our lives.

What I’ve learned about: Transitions

Transitions, to me, are some of the most eye opening times a person can have. I am currently in a place where I am transitioning. It’s painful but it’s very needed. Now they look differently for everyone but generally this is a time where we recently got out of a place and are entering a new one. During this time we do some hard core self reflecting which is scary. Being honest with yourself is a scary process. Transitions may happen between relationships, jobs, etc. We have all been there. Part of transitioning is thinking about what you want and what you don’t want to have presence in your life.

What better time to transition than during a school break? This time is a bit unique for me. It’s uncomfortable but I am forcing myself through it. My path is a bit unconventional. I get bored very quickly but I am confident in what I like and so far I love the lessons that I have been learning. Throughout this experience I’ve become a lot more confident in what I like and make sure to be open minded to new things as well.

Transitions are a perspective shift. It can be the smallest change in thought but recently I have gotten tired of being bored and now more than ever I want to be proactive.

So here is what I did. If you like to stay organized or enjoy making lists like me this could help. I gave myself 3 minutes to write down all the things I love to do or things that I like. I wanted to see how creative I could get or if anything new happened to spark my interest recently.

  • cooking
  • working out
  • making lists (yes that’s one)
  • eating
  • drinking coffee
  • crystals
  • makeup/skin care
  • data
  • social media
  • linkedIn
  • figuring out the “why”
  • content creation
  • journaling
  • food science
  • poetry
  • home good stores
  • the beach

Now this isn’t a very extensive list but for 3 minutes I think it’s pretty solid. If you know me this is TOTALLY reflective on who I am. This process became a catalyst for me to do the things I have been putting off and become more selective on where my energy is being allocated towards. It became more about asking myself what brought me joy and satisfaction versus what I could do to please others and making others more successful.

I am still going through this transitional period of time. It’s a process, I know. But I thought I’d share some insights on my thoughts about it.