All Articles Tagged "career advice"
How is your career coming along? Are you were you imagined you would end up, or do you still have some ways to go? It’s okay if you still have moves to make. Life is all about the steps we take to get to where we need to be. If you have been reflecting on your life and decisions, here are some pointers on how to get to where you want to be in your profession.
Who said young Blacks aren’t making their mark in the tech world? Morgan DeBaun, co-founder of recently launched tech startup Blavity, is on a mission is to empower minority creators, inspire self-expression and connect people to content that reflects their culture. Blavity users can visit the site daily to check out the top videos curated by their preferences and what their network has been watching or sharing. Morgan talks about what inspired the platform, the power of black consumption habits, the challenges of being a Black female startup founder, and her future plans for Blavity. Check out the interview below.
MadameNoire (MN): You launched the platform in July 2014. What inspired you to start Blavity?
Morgan DeBaun (MD): There was this moment during my freshman year at Washington University in St. Louis where I was like, “I know I go to an all-white school, but I only hang out with Black people.” We had this term called “blavity” which is black + gravity. How did we all find each other? That’s where we got the idea of aggregating and bringing together different perspectives of diversity of Black experience into one platform.
Living in Silicon Valley, my business partner Jeff and I were always baffled as to why there is no platform geared towards solving our problems when we are a huge population of consumers. We were passionate about building a platform for people to discover new things and for creators to build their audience and to be powered to be their own brands.
MN: A 2013 Nielson report showed that African Americans are aggressive consumers of media and have unique buying behaviors different from the other major consumer groups. How is Blavity going to change the Black consumer marketplace?
MD: Look at Black Twitter. It’s bringing together people virtually over what’s happening and is relevant in our community. We’re killing Instagram. People love seeing other people’s experiences. With Blavity, we want to continue to empower the population to create those shared experiences.
Blavity uses a mix of Lean Startup practices where you’re asking, “What is the core root problem that we are trying to solve?” “How can we solve that problem the fastest and cheapest, get it to market and get feedback from our customers?” And “How we are going to build something substantial that is unique and proprietary and give us a competitive advantage?” What you see today is the first bucket but we are working behind the scenes on the second bucket.
MN: What were some of the challenges you faced to get Blavity up and running?
MD: The first thing was putting a stake in the ground that said we are building this community for the Black diaspora. This totally influenced everything else. We knew if we focused on solving this problem for a specific group of people, there’s so much opportunity. The second was figuring out who are we prioritizing. The creators are the lifelines for Blavity. We spend 65-75% of our resources and our time towards helping these creators be successful. Right now we are starting to thinking about venture capital funding. The first time raising money is a huge barrier for a woman of color with a minority product. It’s like we are a triple whammy: A woman, a Black woman founder, building a product for Black people. It’s a cool challenge to have. I am confident that our team can make it work.
Lisha Lee and Bethany “Queen B” Bell are two beauty entrepreneurs who have amassed a large following in a short period of time. Lee’s Hair Insanity, Lisha Lee Cosmetics brands and Queen B’s majestic hair artistry have put them both in positions of “ones to watch” in the worlds of beauty and art. MadameNoire talked with both women to find out their secrets to business and creative success in an already crowded industry.
Madame Noire: Please talk about why you decided to get into your respective fields in the beauty industry?
Lisha Lee: With hair extensions, I thought about starting my business (Hair Insanity) about four, five years ago. My hair is very coarse and my hair was breaking off due to flat ironing. I was trying to get my hair the same texture as a friend of mine, who has virgin hair, which is very fine and silky. I thought to myself that there has to be something different to achieving the same desired results for my hair without damaging it.
I started doing research and that’s when I [read] about Brazilian and Malaysian hair. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, what if I got some of this so I can see what will happen.”
Then I came up with Lisha Lee Cosmetics to expand on the success of Hair Insanity. I kind of did it for myself because I love nail polish. I’m not going to sell you something that I won’t wear myself. I wear nail polish, hair extensions, and lip gloss. These are things that I wear on a normal, day-to-day basis. Then you see other women out doing the exact same thing. I just basically took my business ideas from there.
Bethany “Queen B” Bell: I actually never wanted to be a hairdresser. It was something that I was never passionate about. I didn’t grow up braiding or coloring my girlfriends’ hair or anything like that. I wanted to go to school for fashion and changed my mind during my senior year.
My mom had a little heart attack. She was like, “This is my oldest daughter. I can’t spend 50 grand a year while she still can’t decide what she wants to do.” My mom was also getting married that year and where she was getting her hair done they had a school upstairs. So I went to check out the school and decided to try it out and it stuck.
I was only halfway through school and I had a position behind a chair. I built an awesome book and a salon out of the experience. About seven years into my career, I got really bored and needed to play around because I’m an arts kid. I decided to play around with my business of making hair art and ended up on Oxygen’s “Hair Battle Spectacular” (Season 2). From there I pushed myself even further to create the pieces that I have today.
MN: Lisha, did you have a start-up funds before creating your businesses?
LL: Honestly, I started my business in 10 minutes. I had no money. I had no job. I did all of this on my own, with no help, no boyfriend, no family, nobody but just me.
A few years ago, I got laid off and I thought “Oh my God, what am I gonna do?” Then the hair came in and I did my research. Every time I got money in my hand I would buy samples (of hair). I just put everything into the business.
I spent money on the logo, business cards, brochures, samples, bundles. Of course I was struggling. I was completely struggling. Then in 2012, my mom ended up with lung cancer. At that stage, I kind of put the business on hold for a little bit. For some strange reason in 2012, all of a sudden people just started ordering and I was just making it from there. I didn’t even have a website, only social media links. In 2012 I made $80,000 and in 2013, I made $120,000.
No one likes getting fired from a job. There could, however, be several reasons you have been fired: the company’s having trouble, you’re just plain old doing a bad job or your boss is a jerk, reports
In fact, sometimes being let go from a position can be a lesson in disguise.
- You can”t take the rejection personally–even if it was about your work. Tell yourself “you were in the wrong job, at the wrong place, at the wrong time,” suggests Oprah.com. You just need to determine why you were fired so you can learn from the situation.
We asked nine businesswomen what they learned from being fired and the responses were insightful.
And if you on the hunt for a job, be sure to check out the new MN job search board here.
[h/t CBS News]
The summer season can put us all in a trance where we want to do less work and more vacationing. Both productivity and job enthusiasm take a major hit, which is why we need to stay focused. Keep ahead of the curve by following these tips to boost your career this summer.
Layoffs are typically not an ideal situation. Unless you were just hanging in there to reap the benefits of being laid off while you take some time to plan your next move, losing your job can make you feel inadequate and worried. What did I do wrong? Why me? There are so many questions that, unfortunately, will never get an answer. Sometimes things just happen and it’s up to us move on. Here are nine lessons we can learn from being laid off.
All of us would like to enjoy a slice of success when it comes our line of work. Otherwise why the heck are we getting up each day to do the work? Don’t let the days pass you by as they are opportunities to move yourself one step closer to your goals. Here are some ways you can create your own career path.
When it comes to the coin, all of us want to do everything we can to make sure they keep coming in and last for the long haul. There are tons of ways to let your money grow with the most popular being retirement investment platforms like a 401(k). When’s the last time you took a serious look at yours? Do you even invest in one? Here are some things you should do with your 401(k).
The world knows Joy Bryant as a fashion model-turned-actress, but many don’t know the “About Last Night” actress also attended Yale on a scholarship—an experience that she says helped to prepare her for the competitive world of show business.
“Getting into Yale, I’m already used to competition,” the 38-year-old Bronx native told Rolling Out. It’s not easy to get into Yale. The possibility of rejection or having the odds stacked against you or a lot of people are gunning for your spot — that whole dynamic I understood.”
Though she later dropped out of the Ivy League school to pursue modeling, she says it gave her the tough skin that she needed to make it in modeling and ultimately Hollywood.
“Coming into Hollywood, I wasn’t shaken at all,” said Joy. “Not that I’m going to be the most successful actress ever, but I’m not scared. I’m not scared of rejection. Modeling prepared me for that. Sometimes the rejection can be so brutal and in your face — you have to get a thick skin. Coming into this business, I wasn’t really tripping on anything. What I view as mine to have, I will have. And I can wait it out.”
Though it was not the most predictable voyage, she says the experience definitely taught her that everything that happens in life is only preparing you for what’s to come.
“Everything leads you to the next step. I went to this great school that got me into Yale. Instead of Wall Street or wherever I thought I was going to go, I got into modeling. That exposed me to so many places and things and from there, I went into acting. In acting, I’ve done well for myself and I love what I do and I’m looking forward to more of it. But it’s also led me to other things. I produce and I write and I’m able to express myself in a way that gives me happiness. It’s afforded me a great quality of life.”
As for what’s next, Joy says she has her eye on some behind-the-camera gigs.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to grow and who knows? Maybe the next step for me is to write the Oscar-winning script! That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Check out Joy’s full interview over at Rolling Out.
Networking is intimidating for more people then you may think. In almost every survey or report on the biggest professional fears, or fears in general, speaking in public and networking are sure to be close to the top of the list. Being driven by the fear of stepping out of your comfort zone to network could cost you opportunities for professional growth.
With networking, you are not only making professional connections, but cultivating valuable relationships that could help build your career or even your personal life. With this in mind, here are a few tips to overcome the fear of networking that could help you lose the intimidation and gain great contacts.