2017 has been good to me as an entrepreneur. I have had the opportunity to unlock new skills through quite a few amazing professional experiences. My favorite highlights would be meeting readers at the Spoken Black Girl Launch Party, doing PR and media coverage for the Miss Black USA Pageant, and representing SBG at my local health fair. I am grateful to the many venues and organizers who invited me to speak about mental health and self-care. It has been a year of service and transformation.
When I first started my blogging journey, I was overwhelmed by the level of technical skill involved in creating and maintaining a website, running several social media accounts, sending out newsletters and other tedious tasks that come with the blogging territory. I often felt lost in the dark, constantly wondering if I was “doing it right”, but I knew I had to spread my message and follow my purpose, so I navigated through new software, tested the waters with graphic design and learned everything I could about likes, hashtags, and twitter chats. The journey has been messy, but I’ve now come to a place where I can call these experiments in digital media actual skills.
In today’s world, social media is the single best way for any project or company to gain traction and interest. Before I started Spoken Black Girl, I was a social media hater. I had a Facebook that I rarely posted on. When I started to blog, I quickly realized how important it was to share my content on social media, gain a following, and understand one’s audience. While working in social media and marketing at a magazine, I learned the ropes of social media management and marketing. That combined with the new world Spoken Black Girl opened up for me gave me insight into the limitless potential of social media. Social media management is more than just posting pretty pictures for likes, it’s about knowing your audience and sharing content specifically meant to improve their lives, educate, or entertain. It also takes a lot of attention and genuine engagement, so plugging clinical sounding posts into a social media scheduler is usually not effective.
Thinking back, I’ve always been interested in design. I remember begging my dad to buy Printmaster, an early graphic design software, for the family computer so I could wow my teachers and ace school projects. I’ve always had the ability to imagine the written word and recreate it through visual means, or do the reverse by examining images and writing lengthy essays about them (I was an English major & Art History minor). It’s no wonder that I enjoy creating websites, which are essentially beautiful vessels for the written word.
Over the years, I have created several websites. In middle school, I copied code into my Xanga page and figured out how to embed a Bloc Party playlist into my myspace page. I wouldn’t delve into web design again until I started my first blog in college. The website was ugly and wouldn’t last beyond 3 posts, but it was a start. Since then, I have found that every major project I start is incomplete without its own website. It wasn’t until I spent a month building the Spoken Black Girl Magazine website that I realized how much I enjoyed the process of designing and building new websites. Each website taught me something new. Web design, content writing, graphic design, coding… these are all legitimate skills that I have strengthened with some extra effort. I enjoy taking web courses and using apps to deepen my understanding.
Writing & Editing
I could fill several posts with my journey as a writer. I’ve been interested in all things writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve worn the editor hat several times as well and it is my pleasure to share these skills and abilities with others. This year, I have been flexing my writing skills in a variety of ways with business writing, blog posts, profiles, and web content writing.
I finished the first draft of my novel… oops I forgot to tell you all! No, I actually didn’t forget. I have been celebrating this milestone as a personal victory although it is also, undoubtedly, a professional victory. Novels are like babies and I can’t help but feel protective of my first draft. It needs time to breathe and so does its author.
Before 2017 is over, I’m determined to prove it’s never too late to complete a project! Late last year, I wrote the Spoken Black Girl Journal for Self-love and Healing. Earlier in the year I set about getting published and ready to launch but ran into difficulties. Other projects came up and soon the journal was another unfinished project on my hard drive. I’m happy to announce that the Spoken Black Girl Journal for Self-Love & Healing is finally back on track! Look for the journal to be released in February 2018.
This doesn’t come close to summing up all of the skills and experience that I’ve gained this year, so I’ll share more next time along with a roundup of the best resources for creative entrepreneurs. For now, go after what you want full-force. Don’t worry about how your dreams will come true. Take a leap and learn the skills along the way.