As part of this year’s launch for my Launch Your Business 8-Week Boot Camp, I am publishing a new 5-part blog series called, “My Journey to Freedom: From $0 to 6-Figures…On My Own Terms.” Feel free to post any questions you may have in the comments!
In April 2007, I started my first blog. Less than a year later, I had my first paying client!
How did this happen?
Compared to all the other other websites I saw out there, my blog was, well, ugly.
The colors were blah. My header looked crazy. I put words on top of an image of birds on a wire…WTF. My “headshot” was a picture my mom took of me on my phone in my aunt’s backyard.
But I decided not to let any technology issues or graphic design limitations stop me. I set it up on Blogger.com, Google’s free blogging platform.
I wanted to write about leadership issues from the perspective of a young professional of color in the nonprofit world.
So I named my blog, “Perspectives from the Pipeline: Observations on the Nonprofit Sector from the Next Generation.”
Then I started publishing 1-3 posts per week.
And I couldn’t believe what happened next…
People actually started READING my blog and leaving comments and sharing the link with their network!
I continued to blog every week and over the next 6 months, I built up a solid readership. The buzz was building. My colleagues in Washington, DC were noticing me more and I could tell my reputation was growing among my peers.
Starting in the fall of 2007, I began looking for speaking opportunities so that I could raise my profile even higher.
I found out about a special event that was happening during the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) Annual Conference in DC. The website said that they would be discussing African-American leadership in the nonprofit field.
I remember thinking to myself, “I’m Black, I’m a nonprofit leader and I need to be on this panel!” I took a look at the current speaker list and realized that there was no one under 40 on the panel. This was my chance! I knew that I could bring a fresh perspective to the conversation.
So, I emailed the event organizer with a link to my blog and my bio. She was interested! She followed up with a phone conversation and I was quickly added to the panel. I felt so proud and happy to have booked my first official speaking engagement as a thought leader! I didn’t get paid but it definitely paid off.
The event was called, “Who’s Got Next? Addressing the Leadership Crisis Among African-American Organizations” and the room was packed. I was nervous, but I was prepared. I had my notes in front of me and I gave the best remarks I could. I let my light shine to a room full of Black leaders. And I loved it.
Can you guess what happened next?
As a result of seeing me on that panel, people began to contact me for other speaking opportunities!
In fact, someone who was sitting in the audience at the CBC event invited me to be the keynote speaker for their annual event in Boston in the spring.
But this time, I was going to be PAID. I was so excited to have my first paying speaking gig.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know how much to charge! I estimated that it would take me about 4 hours to put the presentation together and deliver it and valued my time at $100/hour. Yes, I only charged $400 for my first speaking engagement! I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I neglected to charge the organization for travel expenses. So I actually ended up using my speaking fee to pay for my own train ride from DC to Boston and my hotel room for one night. <facepalm> I learned the hard way and I definitely raised my prices and changed my policies after that!
By April 2008, I had officially launched my business, Thurman Consulting for the very first time. I was still working my full-time nonprofit job and I had no intentions of leaving at that point. I just wanted to let people know that I was OPEN for business and available for hire. And I definitely wanted to make extra money to supplement my salary. How did I launch? I literally just sent out an email to my entire network of friends, family, colleagues and co-workers and told them what I had to offer. Soon, I had lots of different people reaching out to me for speaking, consulting and even coaching.
At the end of my first year in business, I had earned about $10,000 “on the side,” in addition to my salary from my job. New possibilities were opening up to me every day and I remember feeling so excited about my life and career.
In my next post, I’ll be sharing about how I went from having a successful “side hustle” to actually quitting my job. It wasn’t an easy decision to make and I’ll be exploring some of the factors that led to me claiming my freedom.
In the meantime, I’ve got some homework for you!
HOMEWORK FOR TODAY:
▪️I launched my business with just ONE service, which was speaking. What ONE product or service would you like to offer in your business?
▪️Most women make starting a business so much harder than it has to be. Be honest. What is REALLY holding you back from launching your business this year?
▪️You don’t have to have a pretty website or a fancy logo to make money. How can you start sharing your expertise with the world NOW?
Feel free to post your homework below!
See you tomorrow,
P.S. Enrollment for my 2019 Launch Your Business 8-Week Boot Camp is open! This is my signature course that will show you exactly how to launch or relaunch a location-independent business so that you can make a big impact, earn a great income and live an abundant lifestyle. When you sign up now, you will receive INSTANT ACCESS to your Orientation Packet and 10 hours of bonus training! You can expect to receive massive encouragement and clarity from these bonuses even before the course officially begins!
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE: https://happyblackwoman.com/launch