Producing “She’s The Boss”

I’ve been super busy lately because I have been in the throws of producing  an original web series for a client. I’ve reached a milestone (the series debuted!), so I figured I would weigh in with some thoughts and an update.

Have I produced a web series before? No. Since high school, I’ve made small video projects over the years but nothing with a budget, an idea, and a team of people to work with to make it happen.  After a longtime client asked me to help oversee his production studio, this web series landed on my desk and I did my best to make it work.

I like challenges.

Enter She’s The Boss

The overall concept of the series She’s The Boss was semi-packaged by the time I stepped on the scene: it would be a series profiling NYC’s Black businesswomen and industry leaders. 20 women, 20 episodes,  5-7 minutes each and sponsored by General Mills. There were some big challenges though: we did not have any guests confirmed, the creative aspects of the series hadn’t been finalized, the client had just bought the show and it needed to go up ASAP. It would be a hustle to get this project up and going. We could do this, right?

Right.

The series debuted last week, and it’s been an exciting few weeks to say the least. We’re still booking guests, but the guest list and shoots have been awesome. We shoot almost every week and every shoot day is different, with its own set of challenges and personalities. The other day I was on set tearing up a bit by just how inspiring and awesome our guest for Episode 3 was. I did a walk through on location with the guest for Episode 5 today and she had the best energy. It’s an exciting time to be working on projects like this.

Episode 1: Ericka Dotson, Indique Hair

This was our first shoot–ever–and Ericka Dotson was great. She has awesome energy and her team is very well put together and fun to work with. I was nervous about the shoot but it went well. It’s not 100% perfect, so you know my inner perfectionist is uncomfortable, but overall I am happy. I look forward to our other episodes building on top of this one. Check out Episode 2 over here, featuring my soror Michelle James.

Being A Boss Lady

She’s The Boss is an aptly named series for my first project in this role as I get comfortable with being “the boss” of a team of folks.  I’ve worked for myself for the last 3 years, so it’s been a while since I worked with a team, let alone worked in a leadership capacity. I’m still growing, learning how to lead, getting my stride together, etc, so being on set with these phenomenal ladies has been a a great “learning on the job” experience. These interviews keep me grounded and reinforce to me what it means to a woman and a leader. It’s okay to be confident, it’s okay to be “aggressive,” it’s okay to be a perfectionist, and it’s okay to delegate.

I can’t wait to finish shooting this series! For now, you can catch a new episode every Thursday on MadameNoire.com/ShesTheBoss.

Branding Myself Without Losing Myself

Personal Branding
Getting personal with branding

In case you didn’t notice, I am in the middle of a redesign or reorganization of my blog.

After a year or more of collecting dust with a very lazily-modified Thesis theme (basically, I just changed the link colors), I decided I needed to make my website a little bit more personal. So, this is a work in progress. I might fire up Ye Olde Photoshoppe and design a header graphic one of these days. I may add some other icons or graphics here and there. I may leave it alone. We’ll see. What I’ve done so far is a result of a few hours of work late Saturday night while chair dancing to my Keri Hilson Pandora channel. (No, I don’t want to hear your judgements.) Besides, who knows when I’ll have free time again, given my exhaustive social calendar?

Feeling Dirty

I often struggle with branding myself online. It’s not that I don’t know what to do. I know what to do–I do it for my clients all the time. It’s just that I don’t want to do it for myself. Marketing myself makes me feel dirty. I feel at odds about there being a gigantic photo of myself in my sidebar. But I know something like that needs to be there.  Even though that photo is somewhat old, it’s the only one I have of myself looking sincerely into the camera (pro-tip: eye contact builds trust with the viewer). So, up it goes until I find a new photo to replace it.

Writing my bios (short and long form) are a gruesome process for me. I have no problems writing copy for clients about themselves, their business or product. Solving these problems for my clients are always so obvious, and come naturally and easily. But for me? The negative self-talk overwhelms the sane strategic advice I use with clients. Perhaps this is because I struggle between wanting to be something society thinks I should be (typical American Rat Race at work), and being my authentic self.

That sidebar bio? It originally began with something dry and generic. I hate the idea of my job defining who I am as a person. I am so much more than a job title, self-employed or not. Yet, my bio statement opened up with what I do for a living. So, I flipped it. The revised statement is a nod to Romy and Michelle, and guess what? It’s sarcastic. But, I’m sarcastic.

The Future of My Blog

Recently I completed some blog re-organizing and SEO work for a client, BrothaTech. I had an exhaustive checklist of things I knew I needed to fix  on his blog, and I gave him a list of things to do. After checking my list twice and reviewing my completed work, I realized I don’t do half of these things on my blog. Not even close. Basic SEO strategies were being ignored. Advanced strategies as well. Meanwhile, this place is collecting dust, and my tumblr has surpassed my main blog in traffic. That’s when my wheels started turning.

One thing I’ve struggled with this blog is the idea of turning it into my “business” blog where all I do is write about tech. I love tech. I love being a nerd. But that’s not all I am. I like to travel. I like writing. I like media and entertainment. I love documenting and sharing. The idea of turning a site named after me into a blog solely about tech and social media feels like a disservice to who I am. Everyone else does it, but I can’t. It’s not me. I considered opening a new blog, and writing only about tech over there. I thought this was a good idea because then I could be a “founder” of a dotcom, since I see people being listed as founders of dotcoms. But these dotcoms are typically basic blogs (dusty ones, if you ask me). Anyway, I decided against that. I don’t want to segment myself and my audience. The title isn’t worth it, and I think this approach is somewhat obnoxious (for me).

I found a solution. Write about everything I love, and be my authentic self. Here. I’ll have a business site for business/portfolio purposes I can refer people to if I have to. But everything can coexist here, with some fancy organizing. I’ll make re-organizing my content a priority over design tasks, and I’ll work towards pumping out content regularly here. After all, being and writing as my authentic self is what brought me my original clients years ago when I had no idea what being a new media consultant was or would entail.

Hope you can keep up.

Business & Motivation: The Psychology of Drive

This is an excellent presentation (with fun doodles) on the economics and pyschology behind your motivation in business. If you have employees or are thinking about hiring employees, this is a must watch.

My thoughts? I completely agree. I can say for myself, monetary incentives for my creativity and general awesomeness never work in driving me to do better, or output more. And fundamentally, I just want to get better at what I do and feel like I am contributing something to the world. As I have gotten to know some people over the years of this career I’ve cobbled together, a few of these people don’t seem to understand this about me. I know I can’t be bought. I used to think this was a gift and a curse, but I’m glad to know it’s not just me and it’s not just a fluke.

Anyway, I think is a good concept for business owners to think about as they hire people for their companies and devise their company policies.

Dusting this thing off

I know it’s been a while since I last blogged, especially regularly. Most of that has to do with my bright idea that I would wait for the new Movable Type 5 to be released so I could have an excuse to migrate my blog to a new directory (which I did) and set up a new installation of MT. My old installation appeared to be moving pretty slow, and I just wasn’t happy with everything. Anyway, pardon my dust. I did some mod_rewrites of my old URLs, so hopefully everything should be in order. I still have some things to add to the site, but I will fix those later today.

As for me, I literally spent two months in LA (mid Nov – mid Jan) because I was hiding from the weather. I cannot stress how much I do not like snow. I’ve been back in NYC for a week now, and so far we are in the extremely warm (for winter) temps of the mid-40s. Break out the tank tops and shorts. Never one to stick around for possible snow happenings, I am on my way back to LA this weekend for some fun in the sun, medical appointments, and hopefully a week or so in San Francisco with one of my best girlfriends from college. Yes, running your own business online affords you the comfort of last minute, flexible (and cheap) flying, as well as the opportunity to work from anywhere with an internet connection.

I have some exciting things coming up, which I will be writing about later on this week (or later today). More, soon…