Someone's dream is attached to the vision you've been sleeping on. Let that sink in for a minute. The vision you've been given is only yours, so I'm sorry to break it to you, but you're the only one capable of living out the destiny you were given.
Issa fact that someone you don't even know is waiting on you to bless the world with your purpose, and yet, for some reason, you spend most of your time doubting your ability. It's time for you to stop playing with your goals sis, someone else's game plan depends on it. Just ask our CEO, Necole Kane, whose dream made room in the industry for the vision of dozens of other women. To her, designing a life she was proud of was so important, that she shut down her already thriving business and started from scratch with new values.
If at first, you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again with new intentions. That's exactly what Necole did when she shut down NecoleBitchie.com in search of a business venture that aligned with her purpose. Four years later, Necole has successfully rebranded her business and invented a new formula for success that's based in self-love and positive affirmation. Since the site's launch and subsequent acquisition by Hollywood heavy-hitter, Will Packer, we have garnered millions of unique viewers and created a one of a kind community of women who respect and empower each other, and it all started with a woman who has a dream bigger than most people could see at the time.
She recently sat down with Forbesand gave us 5 important things to remember when forging a new path in a jaded industry, and we are taking notes:
Plan With A Purpose
Everything that looks good ain't good for you, and this is this principle also applies when it comes to business. When it comes to deciding whether an upcoming project will be a burden or a blessing, it helps to decide whether or not that endeavor aligns with your purpose and your long-term goals:
"It's so easy to get knocked off your path just because of opportunities that people bring to you. They may sound good at the moment but then you look up one day and you're way off the path that you had."
Surround Yourself With Bosses
You can't pick apples from a banana tree, and you can't expect to get solid business advice from someone who's never started or ran one effectively. That's why Necole says it's important to keep a tribe of experienced bosses around you to help you navigate uncharted territories. According to Necole, this advice came in handy when Will Packer offered her an acquisition deal for xoNecole:
"When I was pursuing an acquisition, I had this huge fear because I didn't know anyone that had ever sold a business before and the only black woman I knew that had sold a business at the time was Lisa Price [of Carol's Daughter]."
Necole said that although it's cool to get advice from your homegirls from time to time, it's also important to consult with mentors who have already pressed past where you are right now.
"Side to side mentorship is super important but I don't think we pursue it as often because we look at mentorship as someone that has been in the business for 'x' amount of years. Sometimes that's really not the case, it could just be pursuing mentors that are in fields similar to you - you guys can have an exchange of information, you can contribute whatever your expertise is and vice versa."
Know Your Audience
When it comes to your business, it's easy to say that "everyone" is your target audience because when it comes to customers who will spend a coin, we don't discriminate. But ultimately, to run a successful business you have to define, understand, and cater to a unique customer who is crazy about your product. For Necole, she found that xoNecole's tribe was comprised of predominantly Black women from Atlanta, so she packed up her things and moved to the big peach. Since then, our readership has quadrupled and she feels more inspired than ever before:
"The Atlanta move was the best move we could have made for the brand, that's where our audience is."
Don’t Forget About Mind & Body Maintenance
One thing Necole doesn't lack is body, child, just thinking about her makes me feel like I need to hit a few squats. But according to her, her bomb body and ferocious abs didn't come without hard work and discipline, both qualities that have helped her along her business journey as well.
"When I went into my fitness journey, that's when xoNecole started to really take off in terms of me pouring what I was learning from fitness and getting in the gym every day and the discipline it takes getting up at 5 am every morning to get your cardio in before work, getting your meals in on time."
To Necole, working out isn't a chore, issa gift; one that she takes full advantage of every damn day.
"As an entrepreneur, our whole day is a hustle and grind, and there is no space for things that fill us up and for me its fitness."
Put It On Paper
The Lord told us that if we have a vision, we should write it down and make it plain and this phrase is more than just some scriptural mumbo jumbo that your grandmother used to say, it's big facts. A little over a year ago, I wrote in a personal journal that I wanted to be paid to write. Today, I'm a full-time freelancer who works for one of the women who inspired me to be a journalist in the first place. Little did I know, only years before that Necole was somewhere writing intentions that helped my vision become a reality. Necole explained:
"I used to set intentions every morning. I would write out exactly what I wanted to happen. The day I started doing that was January 2016 and one of the things I wrote that day was 'You will receive a huge opportunity today.' And that's the day that Will Packer emailed me. I wake up every morning and I write down exactly everything, and I'm detailed. If I want 2 million new readers tomorrow, I write that down."
Read Necole's full interview here!
If you want to hear more about Necole's transitional story, come out to ElevateHER on Saturday August 3 in Atlanta where she will be discussing her career pivot for the first time in an intimate conversation with Dr. Key Hallmon. Click here to purchase your tickets today here.
Featured image by TAILIAH BREON.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
A Cape Town Travel Guide: Black Girl Edition
If you haven’t been to Africa, this is your sign to go. My first time visiting the continent of Africa also happened to be my first time working on the continent of Africa. I worked there for a little over a month and did minimal research before I went. I was very well aware of the picture that America has painted of Africa since I was a child, so I wanted to go there without any additional preconceived notions, and I’m glad I did.
I learned so much, saw so much, and unlearned even more. Africa is rich in culture, views, traditions, and many more. In talking to the citizens there, it is clear that their love for the U.S. and the perception of who they think we are runs deep. However, their adoration for America was a hard pill to swallow for me sometimes because America/Americans are often looked at as the prize. While I can understand their viewpoint, I will respectfully have to disagree. That’s a story for a different day, but I will say that I am so thankful to have experienced Africa first-hand and that so many of my previous ideas and understandings were debunked.
Most people who’ve visited the motherland will talk highly about Ghana, Kenya, and Liberia (as they should). But Cape Town, South Africa, should be held to the same standard. From the food, the views, the activities, and most importantly, its citizens, Cape Town has fast become one of the most popular places to visit in Africa. If you need a good head start on where to go, this list of places below should give you a good head start.
Places to visit in Cape Town
Aquila Private Game Reserve
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
Bo Kaap – This beautiful residential neighborhood in Cape Town has quickly become an Instagramable favorite for many tourists visiting the capital city. Many people enjoy taking pictures in this neighborhood because the homes are so colorful and vibrant. Visitors are also welcome to tour Bo Kaap and learn about the neighborhood and its history.
Aquila Private Game Reserve – What’s a visit to Africa without touring one of their most notable safari’s? Aquila Private Game Reserve is also where they house “The Big 5;” elephants, lions, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos. This location also offers horseback riding, among other festivities.
Quad Biking – ATV’ing is one thing in the States, but in South Africa, it’s a whole other experience.
Newlands Forest – If you’re looking for a good walking/biking trail or for some good views, Newlands Forest is a must-stop. If you’re driving, just be careful. The street entryway is right off the street and can get a little dangerous if you’re not careful.
Kloof Street – Kloof Street is a popular street in Cape Town. It’s full of various restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and so much more!
Soi Bar – A personal favorite of mine, Soi Bar is a semi-new bar spot infused with various Asian dishes. If nothing else, you must try their creative drinks. Be sure to ask for the drink they offer on the hidden menu. Included with the drink is a security escort.
Green Street Market - talk about supporting Black businesses. Be sure to stop by Green Street Market to find the latest jewels, hand-stitched fabrics, and more! Cause what’s a trip without souvenirs?
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
Chapmans Peak - Be sure to take your time and drive slowly as you’re en route to Chapmans Peak. Also, note that it will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Table Mountain – You’ve not been to Cape Town if you haven’t visited Table Mountain. For all my SpongeBob Squarepants fans, you’ll also be able to learn a little back story about The Flying Dutchman. Most, if not all, people who’ve gone will tell you to take the cable car up the mountain. One, it’s a five-minute glide-up, and the view is worth it. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike up the mountain. And I mean hike! Depending on where you start, hiking up the mountain will take a minimum of 2 1/2 hours up, and be sure to release your inner Meg knees for that walk down. It’s the hardest part!
Canal Walk Shopping Center - If you’re looking for more urban or modern attire, then head on over to one of, if not the biggest mall in Cape Town, which is located at Canal Walk shopping center. It’s even got a grocery store inside.
Banana Jam Cafe – As for late-night festivities or if you and some friends just want to wind down for some drinks and good food, Banana Jam Cafe is a great place to start. It’s a nice Caribbean vibe. They brew their own beer, and the music is just right. You won’t be disappointed!
Boulders Beach – I’ve heard of horses at the beach, maybe even pigs, but have you ever seen penguins on the beach? You will at Boulders Beach!
Whether you’re traveling solo or with some friends, you’ll get bonus points if you know some phrases and words to help you along your journey. Here are a few words and phrases that I picked up while in Cape Town:
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
- Kushushu (Koo-Shu-Shu)- Hot
- Iza (E-za) - Come
- Izapha (E-za-puh) - Come here
- Imma (Ee-ma) - Wait
- Bamba (Bam-Buh) - Hold
- Tata (Tah-Tah) - Carry or take
- Langa (Lan-guh) - Sun
- Amanzi (Uh-man-zi) - Water
- Puza (Pu-zah) - Drink
- Ewe (Eh-wei)– Yes
- Hamba (Ham-ba)/ Vaya (Vi-ya) – Go
- Ke Sharp (Ke-Shap) – It’s good
- Ndilambile (Dee-lam-bee-leh) – I’m hungry
- Lala (La-la) - Sleep
- Mzanzi (Mm-Zan-zee) – South Africa
- A con (A-con) - Air conditioner
- Dankie (Dan-kee) - Thank you
- Chomey (Cho-me)/Mikey (Mikey) - Friend
- Baie (Bai) Dankie (Dan-kee) - Thank you very much
- Cheers – Goodbye
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Feature image courtesy of Chivone Smith