Seven years ago this week, I did something whimsical. After an evening of casual brainstorming, with the encouragement and advice of my husband and a dear friend, I bought a domain name and started this blog. I didn’t go into it thinking “OMG I’m going to create a brand and quit my day job and this will be awesome.” How could I possibly have guessed what this would have led to? At the most, I hoped for some free hair products and/or makeup, and the sole intention was self-expression.
And look at how it’s all turned out. Who could EVER have guessed? Not I, said the cat.
On August 13, 2006 – we stayed up all night talking about blogs and what blogs we loved and it was suggested I should buy a domain. Afrobella.com was purchased. By August 14, 2006 I figured out how to post and I got my first ever blog post up – now it reads like a manifesto of sorts. I remember staying up until 3 a.m on August 15, trying to figure out how to embed a video for this post.
I quit my day job in February of 2009 to pursue Afrobella full time. The rest is history. Almost every day I experience new opportunities that I’d never conceived of before. Every day I have to rise to a new occasion. It’s exciting and fulfilling and honestly, amazing. Sometimes I really have to ask myself, how did I get here? But I always know the answer – years of hard work.
This blog has morphed into many different things, but in many ways it remains the same. I’ve learned so much lessons in blogging and in life along the way. Allow me to share some of that, with you.
1 – it may sound like a BS cliché, but you really should follow your passion. If you’re really interested in something, even if it’s something people around you think is weird/boring/lame – don’t give up on it. Your interests are your niche, and if you stay engaged, they could someday become your area of expertise. And your area of expertise can become your full time gig, if you work hard enough at it. I’ve found that you work harder for yourself than you do for anybody else.
2 – your well-thought out, considered opinion may be more valuable than you think. Note I said WELL-THOUGHT OUT. It takes me forever to blog about heavy topics because I know what I have to say will be read and I want it to resonate. Never just throw something together to be first or to chime in. Make sure it’s well thought out, and well considered.
3 – your voice is louder and more powerful than you may realize. Your blog is a platform for your best work, and now thanks to social media, whatever you share can be amplified. Sometimes you think you’re speaking in a whisper to one or two people and you might be surprised to find out how many people are reading your work and being inspired by what you’re sharing.
4 – you are more capable than you think you are. When I first started this blog, I didn’t think it would become a career. I didn’t think I could interview the kinds of celebrities and influencers I’ve been allowed access to. I didn’t think I would become a business or a brand or all of the things I’m expected to be now. I didn’t think I’d be called upon for business luncheons with execs, or for speaking on important panels at conferences. I didn’t think I’d be a party host or a public speaker. I had to rise to all of these occasions and you know what? I was totally underestimating my capabilities the whole time. If I can do these things, I’m willing to bet you can too.
5 – that thing that you’ve been saying you really need/want/have to do? You should go ahead and do it. For real. You don’t know where it’s going to take you.
6 – just by living and being your own, authentic, genuine self, you can inspire people. More people than you might think. Don’t go with the tide and try to be what other people want you to be. Being true to you will take you further than anything else.
7 – Unexpected awesomeness awaits you. You just need to go out there and get it. Tap into your inner wellspring of courage and go after your dreams. And don’t be afraid to dream BIG.
Too often we limit ourselves from greatness. There’s always a reason NOT to do something. There are so many things I know I held myself back from trying, because of fear. This is one of the things I was brave enough to do, and look at what it’s led me to. Because of this blog, I’ve learned that it’s important to just put yourself out there and TRY. Because you never know what will come from your efforts.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me and helped me along the way. Thank you to everyone who’s read my posts, shared my posts, commented on my posts, or followed me on social media. I wouldn’t be on this most incredible adventure if it wasn’t for you!