It’s that time of the month again – for monthly Q&A! You guys know I love doing Q&A whether it’s here on the blog or at the end of my IG Live’s – it’s a way we get to engage and I (hopefully) can add value to you by answering your question. June’s Q&A is coming a little bit late but better late than never. You guys had questions about everything from COVID-19 to building your following on Instagram.
Did you ever work corporate? If so, how did you know to make the leap to entrepreneurship?
Yes. I was a showroom manager for a home decor company for almost 4 years during my first years of blogging. My plan was to leave once I made the same amount of money my 9 to 5 was paying me from blogging. Coincidentally, I was making more from blogging than my job when I was let go in June 2015. I haven’t had a 9 to 5 since.
What’s the most rewarding thing about being a successful entrepreneur as a Black woman?
For me personally, one of the most rewarding things is getting to make a living for being myself. The other is when other Black women tell me they went for a goal or dream of theirs because they saw me go for mine. Nothing better.
Do you know anyone personally who has been affected by COVID-19?
No. And I absolutely don’t take that for granted. The stories I’ve heard and read have been so heartbreaking. My parents currently have some friends who have it and had to be hospitalized. I don’t know them personally.
Do you ever come back home to Huntsville, Alabama? Were you born and raised here?
I don’t. I haven’t been to Huntsville in years. We have family in the Birmingham area and we visit them a couple times a year but that’s it. I was born in Huntsville and then spent my Kindergarten and first grade years there. Other than that, it hasn’t served as “home” just because I have no family there. I’m the first American generation in my family and moved every two years of my life until I was 14. I was raised everywhere from Huntsville, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Because most of my family lives in Atlanta, that’s where I consider home.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Superfans by Pat Flynn, Happiest Toddler on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp, Unleash The Power of Storytelling by Rob Biesenbach and Traction by Gino Wickman. I’ve got an aggressive reading list in 2020.
What fragrances do you love and wear often?
How is your body feeling now? Feel like yourself again yet?
This last month was the first time in a long time that my body feels like mine again. Pregnancy is such a great yet peculiar time for your body. So is postpartum. Because I’m supplementing pretty consistently this go around, I feel like my body was back to itself sooner than my previous two pregnancies.
Last month was also the first time I had actually worked out since giving birth to Christian. I wasn’t in a rush to “snapback” and quite frankly social distancing has brought on a lot of pressure in motherhood and work that has allowed me to extend myself grace in the “get super in shape this summer” department. I try my best to stay hydrated and I’m still taking my prenatal vitamins for energy and to help me with my supply.
How can you bottle train an exclusively breastfed baby?
What helped me with bottle training all three of my kids is timing. I tried my best to not introduce the bottle too early, but not too late either especially if I knew I would be going back to work (which I had to do with my first) and someone else would be feeding them. The 4-6 week mark is when I would introduce the bottle to baby. Every baby is different, so some may take to it immediately (Christian did) while some may need time to adjust (like Caliana did). If you’re going back to work at the 8 week mark, I’d introduce the bottle at the 4-5 mark to give yourself at least 3 weeks to get them used to bottle feeding. Sometimes babies won’t bottle feed from mom, so let your spouse/partner give it a try if that’s the case. Even letting the caretaker do it beforehand if you’re able to, is very helpful.
I’m a new blogger/content creator – any tips for success?
Get consistent. Stay consistent. It’s hard, but necessary. Posting consistent content is “the secret.” It inevitably helps you become better because of the repetition and proves your commitment to your audience and eventually, brands.
What kind of camera and lighting do you recommend for someone starting out?
This is all depending on what kind of content you’re creating and what your budget is. If you’re not turning a profit from your content quite yet, I always encourage you to master taking photos with your smartphone using God’s ring light – the sun. If you can master shooting with those default options, you can usually make the fancier stuff work. For specifics, I’ve shared all the cameras and lenses I shoot with here.
How many times should you post on Instagram if you’re trying to grow an audience that’s engaged?
It really depends on the specifics of your goal – how much are you trying to grow and by when? Once you answer that question, you can come up with the appropriate answer. Generally, posting 1-2 daily on your in feed and 5-7 times on your Stories is a good way to keep the growth steady. If you want to grow faster, I generally tell people to increase the frequency of posting to 3-4 times on your in feed and 10-14 times on your Stories.
How long were you consistently blogging and influencing before you noticed a change?
About 2 years. It doesn’t just happen. Paying your dues is a prerequisite for winning. Success needs to make sure you’re not a quitter.
Do you suggest pitching yourself to a publication or podcast or a feature?
Yes, if that’s what you’re going for. Make sure you have something worth pitching (an interesting & consistent blog, a useful YouTube video, a new product or course, etc.) and be prepared to take on a lot more followers after being featured. Keep your pitch concise yet clear and make sure what you’re pitching is compatible with who you’re pitching to. Pitching your mommy blog to your friend’s sports podcast may not be the best fit.
That does it for this month’s Q&A. I ask you guys to ask me questions every month on Instagram and I answer them in a monthly post like this. If I didn’t answer your question, it’s likely that I’ve answered it in a previous Q&A, podcast or YouTube video.