Lessons from Year Two


DEAR QUEENS is two (as of February 3, 2017)! This is a real thing. A little under 3 years ago I purchased the domain name and set out to empower women. Hesitant about whether or not I'd be able to maintain this medium, I started. Got a logo made, started creating a template...well, you know the rest

And, here I am—two years later. Celebrating another year of writing, inspiring, and lessons. Another year of successes that only could've been orchestrated by God. And another brand-aversary post dedicated to what I've learned along this wild journey. 


1. Sustain your vision.
I sought counsel from a few entrepreneurs, a few friends, and a few designers—most often when it came to re-vamping/improving the DEAR QUEENS brand. I wanted honesty, but I wanted it delivered delicately. Please be delicate. One thing I noticed most frequently, is that people will share their vision for your brand. Despite where you tell them you want to go and what goals you hope to achieve, they will always tell you none of what they know and most of what they think. They will offer advice that has nothing to do with what you're asking for, and attempt to guide you in a direction different than what you plan. In some ways, this can be seen constructively—in some ways it may be constructive. But you must pay attention to what people may try to turn your brand into. No matter what you ask, or how much you agree, remain true to your vision. The one that gave you the confidence to launch. The one that helped you reach the audiences you've reached. The one that has you working late nights. In whatever ways you must, protect that vision. Don't allow anyone else to change the mission of your brand. Don't let them change your mind about doing it. Don't let them take any piece of it from you. Hold true to what you've started, and whatever changes you make, let them be from your heart to advance your vision. 

2. Remember where you started.
This initially read 'remember why you started', but that's not enough. I remember, everyday, why I do this. I have it on post-it notes. I have it written in notebooks. Shoot, sometimes I send it to myself in e-mails. But that doesn't help when I'm down-and-out. When I'm stressed and frustrated. When I feel like I don't have the audience I should, or my stats (which I try not to pay attention to) aren't growing as quickly as I'd like. What helps is me remembering where I started. Where I was last year compared to where I am now—both as a brand and as a woman. Both as a creator and as an intellectual. The growth that has occurred within myself and on this internet space, despite it not being what I think it should. Remembering where I began, helps put things in perspective. It reminds me of the massive growth. The massive change. The massive accomplishments. It allows me to recenter myself and get refocused—because while I may not be where I wish to be, I certainly am not where I was. And that's confirmation enough to know I'm on the right path. 

3. Be intentional.
Trying to connect and collaborate can be challenging. In my first year I jumped at every opportunity that came to me. I overloaded and overwhelmed myself with opportunities. Very few of which helped advance my brand directly. There was a very small ROI from the many things I put my hand in. I learned, over the course of recent months, the importance of being intentional. Busy does not mean productive. I was busy. I was not productive. 

While I was expending energy into my brand, I wasn't getting much out of it. I had to step back and redirect that energy. I had to end projects, cancel radio shows, and reel myself back in. I had to refocus that time and those resources to myself. To my brand. To building it in the ways that make sense for me and my audience. While I'm all about supporting people's endeavors, I couldn't continue to do that at the expense of my own. Be intentional about partnerships. Intentional about resources. Intentional about the time you spend on things. Doing everything won't grow your brand, it'll only exhaust you.

4. Do the work. 
Nothing happens without working. And I don't mean baby work, I mean real hands-in-the-dirt-getting-grimey work. One of the toughest pills I had to swallow was that little introvert me has to get from behind my computer and get into the women empowerment world. I have to attend events—however near or far they may be. I have to work to solidify my seat at the table. That means participating in the big discussions. The meaningful debates. That means doing more than writing. More than twitter chats. More than trying to make blogger friends. It means aligning myself with people connected to where I hope to grow. It means being in the audience until I'm knowledgeable enough to be on the panel. It means studying. It means networking. It means showing my face, wearing my merchandise, and spreading my message—both on and off the internet. 

As I celebrate this 2nd brand-aversary (a little less extravagantly than last year), I have a new appreciation for the work. The real work. And though I haven't even begun that level of work, I'm excited to see where this goes once I do; once I plant my feet in this soil and begin trekking toward the destiny God has for me and my brand

So to this 2nd year, to my new and old readers, to those who've been part of my journey, those who've listened to me stress and who've held tight while I took a hiatus or two, to those who're being so patient while I get this right, those rooting for me publicly and privately, those praying for the success of this brand, those about to pop some champagne in my honor tonight (because, I can't have any), to those who have allowed me to be their friend, sister and confidant: LET'S GET THIS WORK!  

GIVEAWAY: As part of DEAR QUEENS' annual brandaversary giveaway, I'm giving away THREE packages with DEAR QUEENS merchandise + my favorite book, Renita Weems' 'Showing Mary'. All you have to do is post a screenshot or quote from your favorite blog post and hashtag #DEARQUEENSTurns2. The three winners will be randomly selected one week from today! 

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