Tag Archives: leadership

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.
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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

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.

 

 

 

 

Making A Bigger Difference

For those of you who were unable to attend this past weekend’s I Feel Good! Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference at Wayne State University, you not only missed a successful, empowering and inspiring event, you also missed the launch of my newest initiative. No worries! I’m going to tell you what it is now.

I am now the first Women’s Cabinet member for the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE campaign! 

I was surprised to be approached by the American Lung Association, but I am honored to have the opportunity to bring awareness to an issue that impacts the lives of many women. Although I don’t personally suffer from respiratory illnesses, I do have friends, relatives and colleagues who are directly affected. I have witnessed the effects of COPD, lung cancer, asthma and other illnesses, so I understand how important LUNG FORCE is to our community and the health of women everywhere.

The LUNG FORCE Run/Walk Detroit is on the evening of Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:00pm at Belle Isle. The event will include the 5K Run or Walk, yoga, barre and Zumba (starts at 4 pm), lung health information, music and fun! I have set up my team and everywhere is invited to join as a runner, walker, volunteer or as a virtual team member.

As you may know, I believe in living a purpose driven life. Being a business owner for me isn’t solely about making money; it is also about using my talents and influence to make a difference. Joining the Women’s Cabinet of the American Lung Association comes shortly after my Community Partnership with Karmanos Cancer Institute (who are sponsoring LUNG FORCE) and deepens my philanthropic efforts in Metro Detroit. I believe that in order to be an effective leader, I have to lead by example. I can’t tell someone to do something, that I’m not also willing to do. Although I can’t take on every campaign or cause, I do strive to put forth a tremendous amount of effort and dedication to the causes and campaigns that I support. Working with Karmanos and the American Lung Association are important to me because my loved ones have been affected by cancer and respiratory illnesses, and for some of them, these illnesses have resulted in death. Each day one of the blessings I count in my life is my health.

I truly hope that you can join my LUNG FORCE Team and support us, either online or in person, on October 3, 2014.

For additional information about LUNG FORCE click here! 

To Join The Super Woman Productions and Publishing LUNG FORCE Team Click Here!