To say it was an honor to speak at BlackTech Week's Office Hours alongside Mattie James and Anabel Mendez would be a total understatement. Seriously, I was on cloud nine when I received an invitation to be a part of this panel.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with BlackTech Week, they are the bee's knees. They're a network that not only puts on a week of events that highlight technology and entrepreneurial innovation, but they also host events year round such as this one! Quite honestly we need more networks/companies like this in the world in Black community, because they truly make all the difference.
With that, my opportunity to speak on their panel about Monetizing Your Influence was a big moment in my entrepreneurial journey. I was excited, nervous and slightly intimidated to have such a grand chance to be a part of something larger than my blog and network.
Going into the event I was all ears for the knowledge that was about to be shared from my fellow panelists and I was so happy to have some major key takeaways from not only them, but also the audience! The smallest things make all the difference, so I took mental notes to come back and share first hand my top three with you all.
Remember the Three C's: Collaboration, Community & Coins
As bloggers let's be honest, sometimes we look at other bloggers as competition or as "people who took the campaigns we wanted to work on". In my younger days that was definitely me, but what I've come to realize is the Three C's are the master combination and so many people are missing out on it.
Anabel Mendez said it best when she highlighted how valuable multiple bloggers are who collaborate together and work well within their local community at events, launches, etc.. Working with others instead of against them is HUGE and high key makes you more marketable to companies.
Think of it this way, if you're a blogger who has three blogger boos who all have a 10k following, that's a huge community and companies would love to work with ALL of you. So don't fight the opportunities that come your way. Work on your collaboration track record and watch your community AND coins grow.
You Never REALLY Know Who You're Inspiring
One of the most humbling moments of the event was when a gentleman came to me and told me he came tonight just to hear me speak given he'd watched my video on my recent unemployment and it inspired him.
At that moment I realized what we all hope and dream of as bloggers had come true; the idea that we put our content out there and it's truly reaching/inspiring people outside of friends or family. All the self doubt I've had about what I do, how I share my content and what I choose to share went out the window in that once instant.
So to anyone who's ever doubted they're own work, this takeaway is truly for you. People may not be in your comments or all up in your likes on Instagram, but that doesn't mean you're not an inspiration to someone somewhere. Keep going.
Above Everything, Be Authentic
I've seen a lot of people struggle with this little thing called "authenticity" lately, (yes there's a dash of shade in there), but if you seriously want to make it in blog world, remain true to you.
Comment pods fade, buying likes goes will cease and selling your soul for protein powder will plateau eventually, but what won't is your message. Truly take the time to know who you are, what you want to do with your life and what your message is to the world. Think about it, execute it and stay true to you.
Do you think companies aren't figuring out all the BS? They are, trust me. It may seem like your authentic self isn't in the limelight by other "famous" social media people who've cheated their way to the top, but it's not your job to play judge. Let them do their thing and worry about being as authentic with your audience as you can possibly be.
Remember that people "like" stuff all the time, but they connect with real people.