Okay y’all, I know I’ve slacked off on blogging. But hopefully, you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook–and you can see your girl has been busy. In between consulting with clients and conducting business communications workshops–yours truly has been on the speaker’s circuit. First, I kicked off my summer sixteen tour at The Powerful Women’s Weekend in Detroit, Michigan. For 2 whole days, I was surrounded by badassery and it was nothing short of ahhhmazing.
Then I headed to Excel Public Charter School for Girls in Washington, DC for the Black Girl Magic Summit. My topic: “Why Follow When You have the Power Within to Lead?” Oh, and I got my entire life together with these little ladies.
And lastly, I jumped on a 22-hour flight to speak at The African Women in Technology Conference (AWIT) in Nairobi, Kenya. My master class topic: Maximize Your Brand Presence & Carve Your Own Path to Success.
I hate to toot my own horn (well, let me stop lying, I’m embracing my moment )but I was beyond EPIC! The entrepreneurs, students, and executives who attended the conference were beyond EPIC. But I realized I have a lot more work to do because there are far too many people playing it safe and living someone else’s definition of success.
And on top of everything else, we have to stop telling children that success and happiness means : “Go to school, get a degree, get married, work for 30 years and then retire.” Because it’s more to life than that traditional scenario. And it’s possible to define your own rules for success.
So I’m excited to take #CarveYourOwnPath to the next level! By the way, if you’re looking for a speaker for your school or organization, check out my workshops or shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anywho, before I delve into the feedback I received from attendees at the AWIT conference, let me take you back to my reality in 2012. When I left my corporate consulting job to enter the freelance world, I really didn’t have a plan. I figured I had over 15 years of experience in strategic communications and learning development. And I could help almost anyone create a plan to reach their target audience and turn their vision into reality.
For instance, when senior officials in the United States Navy wanted to spread the word about their new diversity program, I helped them create and execute a global communications and learning campaign to reach sailors living and working primarily on submarines and on land. When USDA veterinarians were faced with a Scrapie outbreak (a disease of sheep involving the central nervous system), I traveled to Nebraska and worked one on one with Veterinary officials to produce everything from video documentaries to website content and instructor-led training for farmers and Veterinarians in remote locations.
But guess what? My skills weren’t enough to be successful as an entrepreneur. My Bachelor’s degree in Communications/Public Relations and Masters degree in Secondary Education–wasn’t enough. Even dropping the name of the Fortune 500 company I worked for at the time wasn’t enough to build my business and attract new clients.
More importantly, my mindset wasn’t ready for entrepreneurship. Silly me kept waiting for someone to “pick me” for a project. And at times, I was paralyzed by uncertainty and a fear of what other people would think.
But my mess became my movement. Enter: #KandidConversations & #CarveYourOwnPath
For months, I woke up every day at 5:30 am, broke and beat down, but I continued to work my entire ass off, even when I didn’t feel like it. When I created my own opportunities by cold calling companies, volunteering for organizations and writing for my own blog, I started to attract paying clients and writing assignments for Black Enterprise Magazine, the Forbes Travel Guide, and Diversity Woman Magazine.
When I approached networking and relationships like “How can I add value for this person?,” I created a network of badassery who helped me get out of my own way. And ultimately, when I decided to publish an eBook to share my story including the setbacks, failures, and triumphs, I began to snag interviews like “One to Watch” by Hashtags and Stilletos and Package Your Genius by Amanda Miller Littlejohn.
I say all of this to say, today, you have everything you need to get started.
” When it comes to success, people buy into people. It’s not about your degrees or number of followers, it’s about influence and impact. I get chills when I think about the fact that someone chose ME for these opportunities. Because I know there are women with a gazillion more social media followers than me. But MY story. MY Voice. And the way in which I empower people to take action on their lives—WINS time and again.
But the reality is, my personal brand is not about what I say, it’s about what I do. Check out the feedback I received from my session.