Guest Post February | Finishing the Race!

Author, Ashanti Chanel
Finishing the Race

You ever feel so stuck and discouraged? It’s like you’ve gotten yourself into this race you’ve created and now you can’t even jump over the hurdles. You see everyone around you accomplish their goals and you’re wondering where is my finish line? You’ve been running toward your dreams for years and It seems like you’re not getting any closer. The funny thing about life is we always see how long something takes but we never see how far we’ve actually come.

We’ve all got our passions and when we are trying to pursue them it’s so many constant reminders of “This is impossible!” “You can’t go that high.” “You’ll never make It to the finish line!” But it’s also that burning feeling in our bodies that’s telling us “This is what you love!” “You gotta give It your all even if you don’t win!”

It’s so easy to give yourself reasons of why you should give up but it’s so hard to realize why you should stay. Take a step back and ask yourself, “Why did I start this?” Was it for the world or was It for me? When you’re racing for the world, you lose yourself trying to win. You become what the “worlds winner” is suppose to be. Prideful, boastful, and you lose everything in the process. You lose the reason of why you started this in the beginning and you lose it in the end. When you race for you sometimes you have to walk alone, you have to struggle on your own. Others won’t understand why you do what you do. Not even your family and friends, but it’s not for them to understand. It’s for you and God to understand.

When he placed that fire in you, he didn’t place it in there for you to satisfy others with in, therefore the world won’t always agree with it. This hurdle that you’re dealing with right now in your life wants to stop you from finishing the race, but I need you to endure through it all. God created you with a purpose. He gave you a beautiful gift and even though sometimes It seems like nothing is working out in the natural, you better believe he’s cooking up something in the spiritual.

You may not even realize it but you’re closer to the finish line than you were yesterday, you’re closer to your breakthrough than you were yesterday.

You’re closer to finishing the race

Love, Shanti

Guest Post February | Brand YOU: Self-marketing Your Way to Whatever the Hell You Want

Author, Tameka Christmas

There are two reasons why people hide behind their brand: shame of promoting a brand/business or people are very much interested in the behind the scenes of the movement, job, business, or brand. I fall into the first category.

I wasn’t afraid of sharing magical moments on Instagram or tweeting popular tweets on twitter. It was natural, automated. I didn’t think about it. I just did it. I also didn’t fear sharing content on social media and give credit. I would screenshot a post on Instagram, retweet a tweet, or share an article or product on Facebook. However, when I got down to sharing events, products, or business ideas for myself, I would shut down.

I cancelled events, photoshoot campaigns, and business ideas because I would give myself so much negative talk until my mind was convinced that everything would failed. I felt stuck, unsure, and convinced that doing my own thing wasn’t for me. I even prolonged the released of my own website because I didn’t like it and felt like it wasn’t perfect enough or didn’t convey the message I wanted. But once I started promoting my blogs the fear started subsiding.

My personal brand allowed me to start promoting my own things: my tweets, my love for jackets, my design business, my blogs, and so much more. I bought Make Yourself Marketable by Emmelie De la Cruz and started really investing in my personal brand. Emmelie’s book guided me through the personal mission statement, goals, core values, successes, and things I can offer to others that align with vision and core values. In addition, I started really researching women who have built their brand from just being themselves and pursuing the things they love. People like Valencia Clay (teacher activist), Mia Ray (lifestyle blogger)), Myleik (Owner of CurlBox), Meagan Ward (Owner of Creatively Flawless), Emmelie (Marketing Strategists), and so many more constantly improves their craft and utilizing their skills to fund and start more opportunities that align with their purpose all while being their authentic self.

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” – Brene Brown, Daring Greatly: how the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Through this self-marketing journey, I have learned:

  1. Promote but always be yourself
  2. Silence your inner critic
  3. Always keep improving
  4. Life is a journey. Not a destination. Where you start today, you may not even be tomorrow.

As you build your personal brand or even your blog, people want to connect with who you are. They want to know the person behind the brand and how they connect with you. When I started participating in twitter chats, more people started engaging with me. They begin to see me as a person they can communicate with, relate to, and buy from. My sales begin to increase, of course not how I wanted, but people begin to build trust with me.

Self-marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. We tend to overthink and overcomplicate everything. I started researching and learning from women who are their brand. Their brand was an extensive to what they want to offer, not who they are. And once I learned my own value, I felt the journey to my own success took learning, growing, and owing who I am while growing into who I want to be. Identify your transferable skills, develop a vision statement for your life, stay aligned to your core values, and promote the hell out of yourself.

Self-Market Tools:

  1. Facebook page
  2. Blog or Website
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Twitter
  5. Instagram
  6. Attend networking events, workshops, and conferences
  7. Serve your community
  8. Partner with others. Collaboration over competition