Tag Archives: career

Don’t Let the Likes Fool You

We live in an age where social media is prevalent. It’s not going away no more than the Internet it lives on is, and everyday it becomes larger than the previous day. Social media is truly embedded into our culture and how we communicate with each other. That can be both good and bad. It can be good because social media allows us to communicate with people that we may normally have not had access to because of distance and language barriers. There are also many other benefits to social media; such as the ability for businesses to reach a global consumer base and relatives to stay in contact from miles away.

Unfortunately, one of the down sides to social media is the impact it has on individuals and their self-esteem. A lot of people, adults included, use social media to validate their self-worth in society. Many people only have interaction with others by way of their social media accounts and the strive on a daily basis to make other people “like” them. What they fail to realize is that some of those people liking their content, whether it is photos, memes or statuses, don’t really know or like them as a person and would not ever support their endeavors in the real world where it matters.

For instance, being a radio show host I offer independent artists the opportunity to have their music played on my show. I did this because I was constantly receiving messages with links to YouTube videos from artists asking me to watch, like and share their videos. However, many of those artists weren’t generating revenue from their video content on YouTube. So what’s the point in me liking your art when my ‘like’ is not helping you to make money from your art? To me it was a waste of time. So I offered artists another, more traditional method, by which they could be heard, not just liked. A many of them have stated that they have seen an increase in the number of PAID downloads of their music as a result.

Artists and musicians aren’t the only people impacted. Aspiring models, actors and others are in the same boat. People love the way they look on Instagram and like their pictures on Facebook, but that doesn’t help if those same people aren’t going to see the actors in plays, movies or aren’t watching their television shows, and…. well…. everyone wants to be an Instagram model nowadays, so you can imagine how stiff that competition is. Getting a lot of likes on Instagram doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be booked for the next Dolce & Gabbana, or Macy’s campaign anymore than for the local county fair at this point.

Part of the issue is the façade that big brands portray to consumers as well. When big brands seek partnerships or endorsements, outside of professional athletes and well-known celebrities, they often seek individuals in large part due to the quantity of their social media following more than the quality of their followers, the person’s power to influence those that follow them or their own loyalty to the big brand as a consumer.  This makes everyday social media users and those with dreams of success and stardom believe that they only way to be successful is to have a huge following on social media.

What’s the use if your followers can’t be converted into consumers?

For instance, reality show stars are now being cast in movie roles that actors/actresses fight and train for, simply because they have a larger social media following, but they don’t actually do anything. The movie studios do this because they hope that the reality show star will give them free advertising for their movie. True enough, the advertising is free, but what movie studios fail to realize is that everyone that follows that reality show star on social media isn’t really a loyal fan who would buy a ticket to see them star in a movie.

Being in media has afforded me the opportunity to hear what everyday people honestly think about others. I don’t know what it is but me, but people love to talk to and confide in me. I hear it all the time “I just follow them because I think they are funny/I want to see what people are saying about them; but I’d never spend my money going to see them perform/sing/dance, etc.” And that’s the hard truth that a lot of people don’t know when they have dreams and goals of Instafame.

Consider the newest social media darlings, The Westbrooks. They are being called the black version of the Kardashians. I wouldn’t consider that a compliment personally, but maybe they do. They have millions of combined followers on Instagram and a reality show on a popular cable network. On the show, we get to witness the sisters attempt to do what their father (a successful businessman), suggests they do; monetize their social media following. We also get to see their friends either support their attempts (backyard pool parties) or try to use them for their own attempts at gaining clientele (club openings). Which is probably where the Kardashian comparison comes into play. It seems that the “power” their wield over their social media minions could be used more productively than to endorse hair extensions and pop bottles in nightclubs. They all seem to be intelligent young women, with guidance from their hardworking parents, who didn’t always have it easy, so they understand building success in a more traditional way to acquire longevity.

So why shouldn’t The Westbrooks be able to do something bigger and more impactful with their branding than what everyone else on Instagram is doing?

Time will only tell when it comes to how far things will go for The Westbrooks. They’ll either make change, make waves or be replaced by the next hot group of pretty sisters on the internet. In the meantime, I hope that they serve as a lesson on how fleeting and intrusive Instafame without strategic preparation can be. I also hope that at some point we move away from the façade of what makes people successful and show examples of more men and women using their influence on social media for more than monetization. Those people exist. They may not have millions of followers, but they have quality followers, who are positively impacted by them, myself included. Big brands aren’t paying attention to those types of social media influencers….yet. But that is something that I also hope will change so that being attractive isn’t the only talent left for people to have in order to become successful.
image

 

 

I Admit To Failing

There’s a preconceived notion that people who are successful are equally successful at everything they do and in all areas of their lives. People who are successful often have experienced failure; not only prior to becoming successful at what they’re good at, but also in other areas. Every first attempt at anything can result in failure just as repeated attempts at the same thing can, if a person isn’t learning more and growing during the experience.

As successful as other people think I am in my business and career, many attempts I’ve made to develop different ideas and projects over the years, have failed. Some worse than others, even to the degree that they won’t be attempted again. I receive a great deal of rejection emails from companies and brands I seek support from for my events and projects. I’m averaging approximately two rejection emails per day. They are always accompanied by an explanation. The most popular being:
•We’ve already supported events for the year.
•We only support specific causes and this doesn’t qualify.
•We don’t have the personnel to assist at this time.
•You don’t have a large enough social media following.
…and the list goes on.

Not only have I learned to expect rejection, I’ve learned that I have to decide in the beginning of the project or idea that I want to pursue, exactly how I’m going to move forward without any assistance or support, so that I don’t have to rely on others who may only reject me when asked. Being prepared to handle everything alone reduces the likelihood that I will have to feel disappointed later. It’s also partly how I came to be known as Super Woman; I go it alone whenever necessary.

I’m not nearly as successful as I’d like to be and it will take a lot longer than I’d like to get there because I started my business as a second career that I never planned for. I’m literally learning about my own business every day. I know that my level of success is determined by many factors and I weigh them all; including my accomplishments and failures in other areas of my life.

There is one area of my life where I admit to being a complete failure:

Dating and relationships.

It’s just something I’m quite terrible at and I have been my entire adult life. The older and more mature I become, the more I fail at dating. It has gone from me dating a lot, without anything serious developing, to men not asking me out at all and only offering me compliments privately on social media. I’ve been on about 5 dates in the last year. Men just don’t want to court me. Of course, they also have a variety of explanations, including, but not limited to:
•”I’m not interested in dating anyone.” (wants to remain single)
•”I’m not ready for commitment.” (has commitment phobia or already in one)
•”You’re too busy for me.” (is codependent and lacks confidence)
•”I’m too busy with other things in my life.” (doesn’t want to give attention to one woman when he can have many)
•”You don’t need a man in your life.”
•”There are plenty of men who want you, so I can’t compete.”

Those last two I can’t translate any other way and are complete fabrications by the men who have said them in my opinion. I have never said that I don’t need a man and I have no idea where all these imaginary men who want me are supposedly residing or even who they are. But I digress.

Of course my friends and relatives have made considerable attempts to keep hope on life support, by telling me how awesome I am, by introducing me to single men that they assume might be interested in me and they try to make me feel better with logic by telling me:
•Men think they’re immortal so they are waiting to get married later in life. (yes, but I don’t want to date anyone my father’s age or older)
•Men are intimidated by you/your success. (sigh, it’s only going to get worse then)
•Men all just want to be players and date a bunch of different women. (doesn’t that get old eventually?)
•Men are just stupid and confused. (and?)
•Men assume you’re already taken. (why? and why not ask me?)
•Men fear rejection. (so do women, big deal)
•You’re just not meeting the right men. (where are the right men?)
•There are plenty of men wishing for a woman like you. (but they clearly can’t say so)
•Your Boaz will find you one day. (Oh, God)
•You’re still young and there’s plenty of time for marriage. (if you say so)

Regardless, whether these statements are true or not, I still fail at dating. If I can’t date anyone more than one time, how can I ever expect to get married again and have it last for the rest of my life? Whenever the rare occasion arises that I actually like a man enough to want to date him, he friend zones me indefinitely and showd no interest in dating me in return. When a man asks me out, I don’t know if I’m even on a real date or not. The few men who actually asked me out in the last year, do so inconsistently (every six months or longer) which is a clear indication that they are just not that into me. That inconsistency presents new concerns for me to contemplate because it’s been so long since I’ve seen that man. I wonder:
•What should I wear?
•Should I expect food?
•Should I be prepared to ask for separate checks?
•Should I drive myself or ask him to pick me up?
•Should I shake his hand or hug him  when I see him?
•Should I thank him when I leave?
•Is he only asking me out because he wants free book publishing?
•Is he only asking me out because he expects sex?
•Is he secretly married or in a relationship and I don’t know it?

All of that is too much to worry about and by the time I get dressed I’m a nervous wreck, for no reason at all. I don’t believe in dating for just for “fun” or to get a free meal. At the age of 40, if I give of my time, rearrange my schedule, spend time and money to get my hair and make up done, put on something impressive, leave my house and allow a man into my personal space, my goal is to find out if there’s any interest in developing a committed relationship between the two of us, over a reasonable amount of time, or not. That is my only intention at this time in my life. I can have fun and a meal with my friends, by myself or with Super Son. After all, I’m busy.

My schedule is often an excuse men like to use against me. Many men have claimed they don’t ask me out because I’m always working or going places. What they don’t realize is that my ambition was born out of me not having a reliable, consistent, interested and loyal man to share my life with. Instead of crying and complaining about being alone, or wondering what’s wrong with me, I decided to find ways to occupy that increasingly extra time in my life more productively, with hopes that it would eventually make me wealthy. My goals are an equal and opposite reaction to the rejection I’ve received during my failed dating experiences.

My bad dating experiences have altered who I am on a deeper level and changed me into a very driven, ambitious, goal-oriented, single, business woman, who is very mindful of what and whom she invests her time and energy towards. It’s a huge benefit for me in business and since I wasn’t successful at dating and relationships to begin with, I don’t see the need to change for ‘what ifs’ that may not ever materialize. To some degree I’ve even convinced myself that no matter how successful I become, how well I take care of myself (financially, spiritually, physically), how well I dress, how engaged my social media presence becomes or anything else, there’s a great possibility that I will still fail at dating and relationships. Some of the best advice I ever got from a very successful, married man (guess who that might be), was that I need a man who realizes that you are the missing element in his life and success”. However, if men don’t see me as a woman they want to combine lives with, that is something beyond my control. All I can control is making sure I don’t waste my time or energy needlessly trying to convince a man otherwise. That is time I can’t recoup and energy that I could’ve put into myself, one of my causes, or others in my life who need me.

I know that saying I’m a failure may seem to be a self fulfilling prophecy. But it isn’t. Admitting that I don’t succeed at dating actually makes me more self aware of what I am good at doing. It creates a deeper appreciation for the achievements and blessings I do have. I may be single, and bad at dating, but I am a great mother, a published author, a published writer, a business woman and I use my gifts in ways that inspire others. Would a man want to date a woman with all of that going for her? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve discovered that some men don’t want the “next Oprah Winfrey” for a wife.

The good news is that today we don’t have to find out. Instead my energy is going where it is currently needed; into the Super Woman Brand. I’m able to focus on the opportunities coming my way and broaden my business relationships, instead of lowering my standards or wasting my time. I can’t share the details of the opportunities until the ink dries, but when I do share them, know that they have been a work in progress by myself or whomever I’m working with on them. Overnight celebrity, or Instafame, have never been my goal. My goals are bigger than that. As a result, through the practice of patience, I strongly prefer slower growth that builds strength and resilience, so I can withstand more, both professionally and personally.

The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit. ~Moliere

Enjoy Your Success Today

Sometimes I wonder if people want to be successful, or if they just want to be famous.

There are times in someone’s life when they can’t have one without some of the other. However, I observe people who are very successful and they don’t seem to realize it at all. They are seemingly chasing fame instead of celebrating the success they already have and the added success coming their way. The level of success they currently have is spectacular and impressive, and they are already accomplished and awesome, but they are constantly minimizing it themselves and their success because they desire to have fame and a lot fans. Having fame and fandom on any level isn’t at all what it’s cracked up to be. Being famous involves a lot of responsibility that many people truly can’t handle. Sometimes being famous can actually destroy your success.

Success requires work, sacrifice and maintenance. Remember all of those college classes you took and that student loan debt for those degrees? That was work. Remember all of the friends you lost and relationships that failed because you were studying or working? What about the long days and nights you spend striving towards meeting a deadline? Those are sacrifices. Think about your continuing education or leadership classes, conferences and networking events you attend. That is maintenance.

Fame is fleeting and unpredictable; it can help, but it can also hinder. Fame also has limitations. Everyone has different gifts and talents when they come into this world that makes them unique and contributes to the quality of their lives. When you are aware of what your gifts and talents are you can use them towards being a success, instead of trying to emulate others. Everyone won’t be a famous author. I know this because I receive phone calls and emails from people who haven’t completed a manuscript. Everyone won’t be a YouTube sensation overnight or at all. Yet daily people invest a great deal of time in doing so. Every woman with curves won’t become the next Kim Kardashian or Amber Rose, but on a daily basis women strike a pose on Instagram in hopes of being discovered. Becoming famous for most people who do isn’t about their gifts or talent. They are dependent on societal trends and timing. Without that fame formula coming in to play for them, we’d never have heard of them at all. Years from now we won’t remember most of those famous individuals for anything meaningful, if we remember them at all.

I’ve learned that you can’t reach the next level of anything in your life or career if you don’t appreciate where you are currently at. Appreciate the success you have today, no matter how small you may think it is. There’s something to be said for having gratitude in your current situation. There’s a lesson in this moment of your life that you need to learn in order to elevate to the next level.

Even if your name is never in lights on a marquee, strive to be success in your life, not famous. Success comes in various forms. For many people success is being able to pay their bills on time, feed their children and help others in their communities. Success for some people is never going before a judge or having their children go to college. Success for some people is having an opportunity to go a job they love everyday. Success is what the people who matter in your life will remember you for when you are gone.

Gratitude is extremely powerful and pushes you closer to your purpose in this world. Be grateful for what you have in your life and career today. Change your perspective and begin working towards improving upon the success you have without expecting to become famous for it. Your life will be more fulfilling and you will be happier when you do.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

Turn Down For What?

Often we go through our lives concerned about what others think to the degree that we diminish ourselves. Too often, women in particular, down play our talents, dumb ourselves down to seem less educated or intelligent and quiet ourselves up to seem less intimidating. There’s that word – intimidating. I’ve heard that a lot  in my life and until I reached my 30s I honestly didn’t understand what it meant. Men often said I was ‘intimidating‘ to them and that’s why it is difficult for men to ask me out or commit to a relationship with me. I thought it meant I was doing something wrong. I later came to the realization that wasn’t the case. In fact what I grew to understand was that

Strong Women Only Intimidate Weak Men ~ Dr. Farrah Gray 

Recently, the extremely talented Mo’Ne Davis was verbally attacked  on Twitter by a male college student who called her a “slut” because he was jealous of her.  Yes, jealous. That was his motivation whether he would admit it or not. He didn’t like that Mo’Ne Davis was shining brightly, so he called her a “slut” on social media in an attempt to take her down a notch and throw shade at her. He wanted Mo’Ne to turn down so he could build himself up. His envy of her success drove him to behave like a jealous person does – ignorantly – and he lost his opportunity in return. Mo’Ne, being the exceptional young woman that she is, forgave him, asked his college to reinstate him and publicly stated;

“Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone deserves a second chance. I know he didn’t mean it in that type of way. I know people get tired of seeing me on TV. But sometimes you got to think about what you’re doing before you do it.

I admire her forgiveness, however, I have issue with her saying “I know people get tired of seeing me on TV” and here’s why:

As women, in general we turn our light, our shine, and our accomplishments down too much, too often and to make other people feel better about themselves just because they want to see our light lessened.  We do it in the work place, we do it at social events, we do it at family reunions and we do it with the men in our lives. As a result, we are paid less and disrespected more. We shouldn’t do this to ourselves, each other or teach other young women, like Mo’Ne, that they should either. If being successful in any shape, form or field results in others feeling envious of you, that isn’t your fault and it isn’t something you should apologize for. You shouldn’t stop doing the great things you are doing in your life or career because someone feels intimidated. You can’t control other people feeling jealous of you. You don’t have to lessen yourself to build others up. If a person’s jealousy doesn’t motivate them to do better for themselves, that’s entirely too bad for them.

I no longer care about how intimidated someone else feels when it comes to my appearance, my success, my intelligence, my height or anything else that makes other people feel ‘some type of way‘ when I enter a room or express myself.  Especially not a man. That is their issue to resolve, not mine. I will continue to be the amazing woman I am and anyone, man or woman, who can’t handle it doesn’t have to stand in my sunshine. They can go find a dark shadow to lurk under. And if Mo’Ne Davis was my daughter, I’d tell her the same thing.

The next time you encounter a situation where someone is attempting to diminish your shine, say this to yourself until you feel it resonate within yourself like the sun itself

I shine brightly, I am intelligent, I am successful, I am happy, I am beautiful, I am self assured, I am gifted, I am talented, I am loved. I live within my purpose, and I strive for personal greatness, so turn down for what? 

 

IWD – It’s Not What You May Think

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women from all around the world, past and present. Today we also reflect and advocate on behalf of women’s issue and gender equality and social equity.

At Super Woman Productions and Publishing we contribute to International Women’s Day by hosting the only official IWD event in Michigan each March 8, called Women’s Day Tea. This year isn’t any different. However, for the first year this year, I ran into a small roadblock. In Detroit, I’m accustomed to people being behind in receiving and sharing information. I’m also accustomed to people not being receptive to something that is different from what they typically know about or are exposed to. Detroit isn’t the most innovative place in the world, like it once was.  It takes time for people to understand the value of something “different”.  Although I’m accustomed to these factors, I don’t accept them and I find ways to work around them.

This year, however, I received a lot of inquiries from women business owners whose only interest in Women’s Day Tea was to be a vendor at the event. I literally received messages on social media, by phone and email asking if there were any vendor tables left for the event. They didn’t seem to understand that vending wasn’t the purpose of the event and that I only offer four vendor tables to create an added feature and opportunity for women-business owners in Detroit, that would help them to meet and interact with other successful women in hopes it will encourage them and help them economically. Most of the women who contacted me by phone immediately dismissed me (practically hanging up on me) when I told them that vendor tables were sold out, and they didn’t allow me an opportunity to invite them to attend. Women who contacted me by email, didn’t accept my invitation to attend and responded with “let me know next time you have an event with vendors”.  Very disappointing.

When I vented about this sudden upswing of women business owners only wanting to be vendors at events and not understanding the importance of IWD as a whole, someone had the audacity to suggest that I should just turn the event into a vending event since so many people seem to want that and, in essence, just take the women’s money since they didn’t know any better.  That’s not the type of business woman I am and that does not contribute to the purpose of IWD.

In my post event surveys from Women’s Day Tea for two prior years, attendees stated that the event vendors were not the primary reason they attended the event or would attend again. Those who attend, attend to celebrate the purpose of International Women’s Day more than they attend to buy products from vendors at the event. In fact, their attendance still supports women-owned businesses, and attendees network with each other and hopefully support each others’ businesses and community projects after the event concludes. So, if my paying attendees have an understanding of the goal of the event and attend because of that goal, why would I want to shift the focus to please those who don’t have an understanding? I wouldn’t. And there are thousands of other events all over Michigan, throughout the year, if women want to buy a vendor table for a few hours or an entire day. I stuck to my guns. I did not turn Women’s Day Tea into a vending event or expo.

As a result this is what happened:

I received an email from an internet television program asking if they could cover the event; they now have a level of exclusivity and “bragging rights” because they get to cover the only official International Women’s Day event in MichiganWalt Disney Pictures contacted me and asked if they can send representatives to give away promotional items to the event attendees. Of course I said ‘yes‘ and it may turn into future business opportunities with Walt Disney Pictures. At the last-minute, for online ticket sales, tickets were still selling. I woke up this morning to emails from women asking if they can pay at the door.

At 6 pm today, Women’s Day Tea will take place as planned. The ladies who attend today will have a delicious and fun time, receive gifts and giveaways, network and celebrate the purpose of International Women’s Day with one another. Selected women in attendance will be awarded as #MakeItHappen honorees. Those women who opted not to attend Women’s Day Tea because they only wanted to be a vendor, have unfortunately lost out on opportunities to be vendors at the I Feel Good! Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference in August at Wayne State University, where we have up to 20 vendor tables available.  I have learned that sometimes passing up one opportunity because it doesn’t fit what you think it should, results in other missed opportunities. I truly wish more women in Detroit would realize that. That’s today’s lesson on being short-sighted, I suppose. 

There’s Always More

It’s always been my opinion that as an entrepreneur, you’re never not working towards building or improving your business. If you wake up in the morning and you don’t have anything to do, you’re not hands on enough in your business and that could have dire consequences. It’s not that you have to go to an office every day, or that you need to micromanage your staff, but you should know exactly what is taking place with your business and have a system in place to be informed of it on a regular basis.

If you’re as hands on as I am with your business [which is not necessarily recommended, but for me, that’s just how it is], you soon realize you are never done. There is always more.

There’s always more to do, more to learn, more to accomplish, more to research.

And if you do those things right and well, there are always new opportunities that you can take advantage of because of your entrepreneurial vision and the work you dedicate towards it.

For example, I went from having no annual events to having two after 5 years in business, now four before my seventh year in business. I went from having no community and nonprofit partnerships in my first six years, to now having two with Karmanos Cancer Institute and Lung Force. I went from blogging on what was once the Essence Community Ning-site (which has since been dismantled) to blogging for Six Brown Chicks. I went from have one or two articles and features published about me in the entire year of 2011 to having nine (plus) articles and features published about me in the last six months alone…and there are more pending. There is always more.

There is always more work to do, more to learn, more to accomplish and more to research.

I wrote a little book, this year, called Breaking Through the Black Ceiling, which took me less than a year to complete. I already have the foundation for two more books; one work of erotic fiction and one based on a true story. Before I could finish those, I was referred to very promising funding opportunities for some of the television and web series scripts I’ve had lying around for the last few years. These scripts have been waiting for their turn to come to fruition before an audience and they will soon get it. Because there’s always more.

The only thing I can’t seem to get more of is time. However, that isn’t an issue if the time I have is spent wisely and used for the purposes of being more productive and more profitable. That is what an entrepreneur should do based on my experience, not what is taught in business school. As I look forward, 2015 has a great deal of promise in it because there is always more. I’ve already had planning meetings and discussions about 2015 events and the expansion of them. We’re already considering guests for Fridays in 2015 for The FabLife Radio Show, which is now in season 3. And that’s not all, because there’s always more.

There isn’t a day that I wake up and don’t have something to do. Even if I initially think I don’t, that thought changes very quickly when I see or hear something that sparks an idea or completes an existing one. That may be the major difference between being a media entrepreneur like myself and another entrepreneur in a different industry – the type of task and the process of getting to it. But a task in need of tackling is still inevitable. It has to be. Growth and sustainability are paramount in building a business from the ground up, regardless of what type of business it is. There is always more.

I’m writing this blog in the between taking webinars and participating in conference calls. No joke. I also checked my social media analytics and scheduled posts for later this evening and tomorrow morning while writing this. I’m not bragging, I’m just reiterating that there is always something for an entrepreneur to do where their business is concerned. If you call yourself an entrepreneur and you’re finding yourself bored without anything to do on any given day, please reevaluate how serious you are about being an entrepreneur. Even if it’s planning the holiday party for your staff (or hiring someone to do it), there should be something on the horizon for you to look forward to completing, learning or accomplishing for your business. If you don’t know what it might be, download Breaking Through the Black Ceiling and see if it helps you uncover what it may be.