What It’s Really Like Being a Content Creator, Launching a Product Line, and Prioritizing Yourself with Alexis Barber

being a content creator - alexis barber for balanced black girl podcast

It’s challenging to stay balanced and relevant as a Black woman content creator and business owner with a full-time job. That’s why in today’s episode we’re continuing our discussion of side hustles with Alexis Barber.

Alexis is a full-time tech industry employee, content creator, and owner of Too Collective luxury robes. She’s also the host of the podcast Too Smart for This and lives a bi-coastal lifestyle between New York City and Los Angeles. And even with all that on her plate, she reminds us that it’s imperative to put yourself first.

Join us as we discuss the realities of transitioning from content creator to business owner and how to practice self-care and setting boundaries in the digital realm.

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Episode 161 Topics:

  • The shifts in how content is consumed.
  • Quality vs. Quantity in your follower count.
  • How to get brand deals that are aligned and successful.
  • Launching a physical product as an influencer.

Episode 161 Resources:

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Episode 161 Transcript:

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You for joining me today if we haven't met yet I'm less and I like facilitating conversations that are real.

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Uplifting and encouraging and right now we're talking all about business baby whether you run a business.

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Interested in business or are nosy like me and like seeing what happens behind the scenes with black-owned businesses this series is for you.

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So last week I kicked off our black women in business series talking about side hustling I shared my experiences with it and some of my tips for staying balanced while you build your business on the side

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for our first interview for the series I wanted to keep the side hustle conversation

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going to talk to another black woman in business he was building her business while holding down a 9 to 5 job which is why I invited my girl Alexis Barbara to join me on the Pod today.

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Alexis is a content creator who shares the realities of managing everything from her Tech Career to social life to launching her first product line while living by Coastal splitting her time between New York and l.a.

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She's a host of the you too smart for this podcast which I love listening to you and I've had the pleasure of being a guest on through her content and products she reminds you how important it is to put yourself first.

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In this episode Alexis and I talked about the realities of being a black woman content creator the good the bad the ugly and everything in between we also talked about the transition from content creator to business owner because getting started as a content creator can be a Savvy way to build the foundation of

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business we talked about practicing self care and setting boundaries in the digital realm and so much more this episode is jam-packed so let's get

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into it
so Alexis welcome to balance black girl I'm so excited to have you here because I wanted to have you on the show for so long so

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I'm glad it's time I'm so glad to you know your shows one of my favorites and running into each other at these hostesses of events to is incredible so.

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I love your show and I'm so happy to be here thank you thank you well there's so many things and I'm excited to talk to you about.

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First off I would love to hear how Allah is treating you you are a newly bicoastal batting kind of dividing your time between New York and l.a.

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You're in kind of an l.a. season right now like how is that going.

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It's going well when I keep saying to people is that in New York I had a lot of work I have multiple different like jobs that I'm doing and.

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It was really impossible to relax there and so here I have the same

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amount of work if not more but I feel like I can actually recharge because the city isn't just like attacking me 24/7 there's

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parts of LA that are like annoying and weird but they're not as all-encompassing and consuming as New York and so that's what I love about it so far and having all this space Girl's Crazy I mean you went from having like

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your studio to a full living space with separate rooms and room to breathe.

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It's crazy I have too much room in like I don't know what to do with this corner like there's too much in here and it's like my living room in this apartment is the size of my studio and it's just crazy

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does it be Furnishing and everything but I still feel like it's not mine like I still feel like I don't like it was too.

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Expensive or I shouldn't have done it even though like I can realistically afford it it's like I still have that like imposter syndrome in my own house so.

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We're getting through that yeah and I mean it takes time and those transitions to.

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To get settled in and I think to your point what you were saying about New York and I love New York and I've never lived there but I've spent time there.

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I do think that it is just a place of sensory

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overload where you can have the same amount of things on your plate but just you your senses are on 100 all the time and I what I appreciate about Allah as you can have different sensory experiences you can take space you can get some quiet.

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You can connect with nature you can get some calm to mix it up when you need to precisely like that's exactly what it is because.

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It would be like oh and I'm in New York which I love New York I'm going back for the next month very soon let for me I work from like 7:00 to.

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We either doing content or doing.

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But by 7 p.m. it's like it's screaming outside like their Sirens everywhere if you want to relax.

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You feel like you can't breathe because everyone's on top of each other whereas here it's 7 p.m. and I like.

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Can go on a beautiful walk and smile at seven of my neighbors and run into like three dogs and just enjoy the sunshine like I feel like the sun here isn't real like it's made me really appreciate.

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Not just nature because you know I'm not going to be sitting here like Emma hikinggirl no I'm not I'm not going outside but.

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It's made me appreciate the beauty that is in the world or is New York I think you can get cynical after a while yeah yeah definitely even just being disconnected from things like trees which sounds so simple and so.

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Basic and I think when we think of nature we think we have to go like wild in the wilderness but literally just having access to like shade from trees.

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Changes your whole mood your whole vibe changes just having like grass that you can like put your feet on change exactly

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and the beach I mean I love it I I love that I can do both and

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people always ask me which one do you like better it's like I like both equally and I kind of just want to live a life where I could be in both for the rest of my life because

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I need that balance and I must say I do have a lot of Sagittarius in my chart manifesting generator so I need to have things switch up in order to like be my best yeah yeah and it's amazing that you've been able to create that

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write yourself especially being so young only that's still thank you yeah I mean we'll talk about oh yeah definitely

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so the central question that I initially wanted to explore in our conversation today was around content creation experience being a content creator as a black woman

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the first question that popped in my mind was like our black content creators okay.

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Yeah there you know yeah next question do you want answers

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exactly I think what's really cool about content creation is that it's sort of.

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In some ways levels the playing field for Building Wealth and building an audience and I think that's very obvious and clear like I don't think I would have been able to make.

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As much money in my early career if I hadn't started being a content creator however I do think that the mental side of it.

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Is really hard because.

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For me personally like getting just first it's sheer amount of work just this year amount of you know mental capacity it takes two

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balanced a full-time job and share your life consistently it's fun but it's still you know draining because it's a lot of time but then when you run into any sort of criticism or negativity.

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I think it feels like more of a failure because you're supposed to be the successful one you're supposed to be the strong one and if you let people.

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Bother you or if you have a reaction to any sort of criticism or hate or negativity or even just a frustration that you're not growing fast enough.

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The most frustrating response I get to that is why do you let the haters bother you because you're supposed to be strong and you're not supposed to let people bother you and like I feel like it's really hard as a black Creator to balance like having the weight of

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all black people who want this on your shoulders while also running into

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all these people's opinions about you that your brain is not you know built to here so I think generally it's a lot harder for black content creators out there

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by all means but I do think it's

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one of the only ways to really grow is one of not the only but one of the easiest ways to also grow wealth right now and the accretor economy is only expanding so

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I think like there's a lot of work to be done to support the mental health of black content creators by all means so yeah definitely and I'd love to talk about that a little bit more because I think sometimes people forget.

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The humanity of those that we see online we've all grown up maybe watching TV consuming music consuming what we think are characters but with content that we see online

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I definitely think a lot of content creators can have a bit of persona work but they truly are still people whether or not they show their whole lives they're showing aspects of their life so it's really hard to like rise above the haters all the time right if you

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just are inundated with comments of people just being

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wild right if your name is getting dragged through the mud on Reddit like you're human you're gonna react nobody creating content doesn't give you this magical armor where all of a sudden things like that.

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Don't bother you.

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Yeah but I think people they and I guess when I was a probably it's karma for me because when I was little the Disney stars like Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato and then they would talk about cyber bullying and how bad it was for them.

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And I was like let's just a computer

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I guess no one's saying anything to your face and it's not that hard you'll be okay I guess because you have all this Fame and you have all this money but I think now that I'm on the receiving end of it and my career as a content creator started with so much of that

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there is like trauma there because.

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I feel like every time I check my DMs or something I'm like expecting a negative message which is really unhealthy because.

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I'm never getting them like that that only happens like maybe five percent of the time but I just have a lot of fear around it because when you grow up.

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Black

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you grow up in a survival mindset 24/7 like I need to it could be walking home from school it could be getting into a good college is the way you respond to your situation like you're constantly in survival mode and so to have that like

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on the Internet it's just a whole nother level of like survival mode so I'm just always expecting that something

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that is going to happen which is not healthy and it's not something I like but it is my truth and I

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want to be honest about it but even saying and I'm like people are just going to be like you're so out of touch like you have all this money so you shouldn't care and it's like.

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At the end of the day it's just how I feel yeah and that those those feelings are.

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Are definitely valid have there been any things that have

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helped you in terms of how you navigate that maybe if there are people who are aspiring content creators who are listening and they're like oh wait a minute how do I navigate this if there have there been any things that have helped you yes

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totally so I think in the beginning I cared way too much and I was really really scared which is normal like when you first start getting like.

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Criticism even if like they're like your outfit said especially on Dick Top you're definitely going people say whatever on Tik-Tok yeah

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exactly you're definitely going to feel it more in the beginning but what was cool like I just remember this one time I made a Zara haul video and I talked about how the mediums like the sizing at Zara is all over the place gets crazy and it ended up in like Europe

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I later found out but I was called a size 6 are Hall and they were like I can't believe you dumb bitch

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fat ass thought that you were a size 6 you're obviously not a fucking size 6 like you got a million views and there were like two thousand comments just telling me I was stupid and fat and this was like.

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Maybe four months into creating on Tick-Tock and I was just like I just remember that feeling like was

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so devastating but what made it worse was everyone around me telling me that like I shouldn't let those people bother me because then I felt more guilt for caring you know that was like my first like and the biggest like.

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Hardest one for me and then over time I started talking to other content creators about it and something that really helped me was

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if a negative comment cannot hurt you unless you believed in and in that moment I thought that I

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I was fat like I did think I was like oh my God maybe I am stupid like maybe I have gained weight like I don't know and that's why it was frustrating to me and now if someone calls me

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nasty out-of-touch bitch which is what the saying on Reddit oh your boyfriend is going to leave you because you moved to LA which is my favorite one because it's so funny

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you really thought you knew my man's like you really don't babe but those types of things they don't hurt me because they're not

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true and you can't do anything about that you know like it doesn't bother me because I know where I came from I think I just sometimes need to do a better job of talking about where I came from because people.

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When they see you have a really cool life now they don't

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realize that you worked for it and so their own jealousy in their own frustration often jumps out in that projection that like attack and when you know that because

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I'll be honest like I definitely have been mean to people in my past as in high school or in college or whatever like I'm not a perfect person but I know that every time I

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was acting or doing something - it was because I was hurting I needed attention and so.

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The only reason the only World in which I would create a Reddit account to go talk shit about somebody is if I was really deeply hurting and felt really frustrated so that those two things like it can't hurt you if it's not true and.

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They're projecting most of their own frustrations and insecurities

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those are the two big things that have helped me get through it and it's very possible to get through and like I'm saying this as if it's like the hardest the most thing it's not the majority of my life you know it's like 5% of it

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that is such good advice I loved the you know it can't hurt you if you don't think it's true.

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Because I think that also encourages us to like reflect a little bit on okay what do I believe to be true about myself invites us to just look at okay.

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This is what I'm offended by let me investigate that a little bit deeper and I often find that when people are online trolling.

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They're absolutely projecting and they don't ever expect the person that they're trolling to actually see it and nine times out of 10 when they get called out for it they're like oh my bad didn't think you'd see this they're just truly projecting just too

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spew things and sag is interesting perspective.

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Oh yeah I had a girl you saw this because you're on my close friends but this girl who messaged me calling me like out of touch I did a response on my story being liked

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this is not true and then she got really mad because I like left her name in it and she was like you're such a horrible person like you're leaving my name in the sand like I had like the response was very normal and she did it was very

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chill whatever but she just like went on a rampage for like 3 days a week later I'm so sorry for the way I acted like I shouldn't have done that and it's like

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yeah we know because you had to face consequences for your actions and when your creator you've got to do that on a higher scale and if I fuck up what gives me peace now is like I know.

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That I have enough self-awareness to apologize when I do something wrong and if I did something wrong.

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That's okay I'll apologize and I'll Mend my mistake and move on and I think most humans you know deserve that chance to definitely yeah and it's also like you don't get to be

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nasty to somebody and then have them

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protect your identity like if you're going to say mean stuff say it with your chest let people know that you're mean I think that's what I'm saying like say it with your chest

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please I would love to talk about it sweetie put it in the comments oyy have it be in the DM let everybody see it I mean if that's how you really feel exactly so

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what has been some of your biggest learnings as your platform has grown what have you learned about yourself what have you learned about.

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The world around you other people the Creator space anything that comes to mind oh my goodness.

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It's crazy because I also work full time in the Creator space so I work at YouTube

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I'm the global shorts content strategist so one of our biggest priority products at the moment is shorts which is our short form video ecosystem

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and I work to help creators big and small get started and thrive on shorts.

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And so internally I'm working with creators who have tens of millions of subscribers and I've never heard of and I'm like oh my God.

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What is this and in my own life I'm like creating my own content creation like.

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Community Etc the main things I've learned are one this is the future of a lot of our.

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Media consumption and people who say that it's too saturated or people who say that like the Creator economy is dying the numbers do not support that in any way shape or form it's simply going through a.

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Democratization phase that hasn't we haven't had before it was like we went from celebrities where there were the only people we ever talked about.

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Ever and it was always them and they had millions and millions of fans and followers to their being these content creators and we were like oh my God this is crazy and then there's

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Niche content creators and now we sort of have this Middle Ground where it's like there are people who are going to make a living a very good living from content creation for

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five to ten years

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and never hit a million followers that is okay not everything has to be this you don't have to become Logan Paul or Emma Chamberlain

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we will see a lot less of that and happening generally as this ecosystem continues especially because gen Z is very focused on.

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The niche interests so

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the people who you follow because you for some reason love hydrangeas that are in Newport Rhode Island and like that's your favorite content creator ever that's your life fabulous but your boyfriend might be really interested in this one guy who.

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Is obsessed with Lighting in his garage those things show not only that you no matter what your interests are

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you can create a platform a monetizable platform and a living off of that but also that there's room for everyone because

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people watch content a lot more than they watch TV and there's not always as much ads on TV and so this is an expanding industry at the moment it's not one that's Contracting at all

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because it's where eyeballs are as long as eyeballs are there there's going to be influencers and there's going to be ads absolutely actually I think it was yesterday I was on Tick-Tock and I saw this really interesting video

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talking about the future of platforms like Tick-Tock and short form video and how you know obviously we know Instagram in reels is like trying so badly to be Tick-Tock and.

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That basically Tik-Tok is more so likely to compete in the future with a Netflix with the streaming platforms for for how much time and attention people give it.

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And I thought that was such a really interesting perspectives that shows just how much in the past decade the way we approach content and consume content has changed so drastically.

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Well yeah I mean we had this phase at YouTube where our biggest value prop was.

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CTV are connected TV which is when people are watching YouTube on their televisions.

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And that's what we were selling advertisers we're like this is basically TV there for like.

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You should buy and they did and people do watch YouTube as TV people also watch Tick-Tock SUV but gen Z doesn't really care about whether it's what format it's on it's where our brains are like this is where we're consuming information and.

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We spend a lot more time on that and we spend time on it even when we're watching TV at the moment like that's sort of where everything is heading in my opinion.

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I still think that there's room for everyone and I think it's definitely not saturated.

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You can do it it's just takes a lot of consistency and a lot of Direction I think the other thing I've learned like about myself probably is that like it's important.

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To have a y and to be focused but your wide doesn't have to be

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that you want to help people necessarily it could just be because you want to fulfill.

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Something creative within you or to grow something because I always felt this guilt because I have trouble feeling like when someone DMZ and I like Alexis you.

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Like this is so helpful I'm like I'm so glad that it is but I don't always

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put out content just to help people I do it because I love it and because I want to and I guess like that was.

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A big realization for me is that like I can just like fulfill my own little childhood dreams and have fun on the internet and it's really cool that other people get to watch it but the main goal for me is just.

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Continuing to evolve as a human being and that is what.

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Content creation has allowed me to do absolutely and I also think that we as the creators don't necessarily get to determine what is helpful

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to our communities and to people who consume our content they decide whether or not it's helpful so I think the biggest thing creators need to do is like share if they want to share and share what they want to share and the audience will perceive it how.

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Perceive it if it's meant to help people it will but we don't really get to determine that and we shouldn't try to I guess I think audiences can tell when you're trying too hard to show up as like.

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An expert in something and like for me it's like I'm I work full-time as well so a lot of people ask me like.

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About work and stuff like that and helping them or whatever and there's this like group of people who are working at Google and they make their hole.

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Content about like how to get a job at Google but in reality like I would never do that because

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it's very difficult it's very dependent on your experience I'm not going to promise everyone a job at a company that accepts one percent of applicants.

00:22:33.665 --> 00:22:39.402
And so when you start pushing as if you're like the most helpful person in the world and you're saying that like.

00:22:39.480 --> 00:22:48.278
Your goal is to help people get a job at Google I just think that like you can't determine whether or not that's helpful as you said because you can't determine everyone's backgrounds and create.

00:22:48.338 --> 00:23:03.132
Opportunity for them out of thin air audiences can always tell and they start to get frustrated that you kind of lied to them in a way absolutely and I think that's something that we're starting to see more of in the Creator space is audiences are smart and they're they're getting pretty Savvy about

00:23:03.075 --> 00:23:04.788
who's credible who's not.

00:23:04.938 --> 00:23:13.719
I mean scammers are always going to scam but I think it's getting increasingly harder to scam people into scam audiences because they're getting very smart

00:23:13.599 --> 00:23:20.830
they're very smart so you can't you can't get that's why I'm with the launch of my product line I'm just like being honest

00:23:20.800 --> 00:23:31.444
this is what I'm trying to do this from scratch by myself I don't know what the hell I'm doing and if I mess up we're going to mess up together and you're going to learn from it just as much as I did because

00:23:31.432 --> 00:23:36.278
I could pretend so much when you're launching a product and just do it the same way as.

00:23:36.527 --> 00:23:44.065
Millennial or older or seasoned influencers have done in the past when they just have a credible launch that like.

00:23:44.179 --> 00:23:53.176
Seems like it was coming out of Sephora or something like that but that's not what my generation is interested in at the moment they want to know how it happened how yeah.

00:23:53.191 --> 00:24:01.917
And we're definitely going to get more into creating a product because I'm just super excited for you and interested in how you do that.

00:24:01.941 --> 00:24:10.550
But I also love what you had shared just now especially when you were talking about your work at YouTube about finding ways to find opportunities for creators and.

00:24:10.619 --> 00:24:19.840
The fact that the space isn't saturated and I'd love to talk about what that means specifically for black content creators for aspiring black content creators

00:24:19.747 --> 00:24:29.914
there's been a lot of conversation around the like if everyone's influence or no one's an influencer kind of conversation and Emma Chamberlain had I mean I have lots of thoughts about that

00:24:29.857 --> 00:24:39.312
love to hear more of your thoughts about that and ways why that's not true specifically for black content creators

00:24:39.219 --> 00:24:41.302
for sure I mean.

00:24:41.398 --> 00:24:50.520
The a Chamberlain discussion which I meant listen to the whole thing because I just couldn't do that to myself but I feel like there are.

00:24:50.769 --> 00:24:58.325
Not Mega influencers anymore no you can't just be a quirky girl vlogging and.

00:24:58.511 --> 00:25:05.248
Become the face of Louis Vuitton as easily as you could in the past no

00:25:05.218 --> 00:25:16.176
you can't so much went into Emma's career and there aren't going to be 75 Emma's but this concept of like no one's an influencer and everyone's an influencer.

00:25:16.282 --> 00:25:20.434
I think that this is a confusion as to like.

00:25:20.549 --> 00:25:33.875
What makes a superstar and what makes a Creator and what makes an influencer because if it's follower count then yeah there's a lot more people with over 10 million followers on the internet right now 100%.

00:25:33.881 --> 00:25:43.777
Are those people still relevant is another question because on YouTube used to be you get to like a million subscribers something you can stay relevant for years you can make a

00:25:43.630 --> 00:25:48.521
transition into mainstream TV and that's because your audience since they've spent

00:25:48.465 --> 00:25:55.525
hours a day with you and your life understand you love your personality or connected to you a lot more deeply than they are

00:25:55.351 --> 00:26:15.024
to your 60-second dance on Tick Tock where you didn't even say three words and so we had Charlie we had Addison these huge creators who had all of these numbers but are they going to stay famous forever not in the same way so that is the conversation of everyone's an influencer oh no one's an influencer

00:26:14.805 --> 00:26:23.684
yes you can grow a lot more quickly and have a lot more followers behind you but the question is actually about longevity and I think that a lot of influencers

00:26:23.465 --> 00:26:32.362
and a lot of people who are want to be influencers optimized for followers but if your followers are not engaged in there they're not going to stay for years

00:26:32.234 --> 00:26:33.893
they're worthless

00:26:33.854 --> 00:26:42.382
objectively worthless like it does not matter if they are not going to convert for you and if they're not going to show up for you and you have to go to another platform.

00:26:42.433 --> 00:26:47.234
So the way that this applies to Black creators specifically is that

00:26:47.123 --> 00:26:54.139
we now have more of an opportunity to grow those followings and have the legitimacy of those numbers but

00:26:53.956 --> 00:27:04.104
again we're sort of at a loss because how do you monetize that long-term how do you create that longevity a lot of black Tik-Tok creators I think get

00:27:04.003 --> 00:27:12.864
scammed into these like predatory Tick-Tock agencies who are like give us 30 percent which is.

00:27:12.987 --> 00:27:17.833
Absolutely out of control never give someone thirty percent as your.

00:27:17.866 --> 00:27:26.340
Twenty percent is the maximum fifteen percent is the industry standard they just don't know a lot about this industry so it's harder for them to.

00:27:26.481 --> 00:27:30.328
Grow this into what it can be which is a.

00:27:30.469 --> 00:27:45.101
Place where you can grow a business long term and so that's where the conversation needs to go now because black people are funny black people are stylish black people can dance black people make these platforms go round but they don't get as much

00:27:45.044 --> 00:27:51.276
credit for it and when they do it's harder for them to keep it forever 100% I

00:27:51.148 --> 00:28:05.302
absolutely absolutely agree and I think a big part of the like everyone's an influencer or no one's an influencer conversation that really frustrates me is a lot of these very privileged largely white creators have

00:28:05.218 --> 00:28:08.489
dominated the space extracted all they want from it.

00:28:08.504 --> 00:28:18.886
And now that they see more of Us coming in and taking pieces of it now they're claiming it's over and it doesn't matter anymore I feel that even with the brand peace

00:28:18.820 --> 00:28:27.150
I just know in the next six months we're going to have this Tik-Tok conversation of is the influencer brand dead and it's going to be because.

00:28:27.166 --> 00:28:34.838
Oh Jackie I launched the line like there's going to be all of these black creators who do that and they're like oh I don't like an influencer product and it's like.

00:28:35.187 --> 00:28:39.898
It's because once you they sort of have everything they wanted out of it.

00:28:40.021 --> 00:28:47.226
We it's not it's no longer prestigious you know and that's what's so frustrating it is it is.

00:28:47.349 --> 00:28:55.832
I think super power that that we could have and I think a way that black content creators and

00:28:55.829 --> 00:28:58.316
POC content creators specifically.

00:28:58.719 --> 00:29:08.291
Can really benefit is I think we're going to do incredibly well in this increasing shift towards Community oh yeah people of color we are

00:29:08.135 --> 00:29:23.063
more communal like we tend to move through life in community we tend to be more energetic racional with our families we tend to look out for one another more and as audiences are also sick of being extracted from

00:29:23.061 --> 00:29:32.084
right they don't want to just be extracted from and to just use people's codes and links and make people Rich they want to be a part of something and I think that we as black people

00:29:32.054 --> 00:29:34.973
do a good job of being a part of something

00:29:34.944 --> 00:29:45.821
together and I think that that could be a really interesting opportunity for us as entrepreneurs and content creators 100% because you cannot start a brand today without starting a community.

00:29:45.890 --> 00:29:50.755
One like million percent like I see plenty of black creators who.

00:29:51.112 --> 00:30:01.035
Are doing something and have a million followers because they're just fucking hilarious and the community of people around them is so strong what I want to see more of is people.

00:30:01.095 --> 00:30:02.250
Who.

00:30:02.644 --> 00:30:16.294
I don't want to say capitalized because whatever like I'm capitalism critical 100% but you cannot be alive and not participate in capitalism at the moment like I would like to see more black people take back the wealth that was extracted from our.

00:30:16.345 --> 00:30:28.132
Hilarity our fashion our everything and do that through the communities that we build and then support the people who are creating those things because when.

00:30:28.237 --> 00:30:37.305
It's just so funny I mean the de Mille owes the Addison re all those dances are created by black people and now they are multi millionaires.

00:30:37.410 --> 00:30:48.333
And we didn't get a revenue splitting and you know that's not fair and so I think that I would like to see us use our communities to uplift more of each other but we have to do that with.

00:30:48.465 --> 00:30:58.244
A lot of support and that's probably the biggest thing I've learned in the last year at two years as a Creator and in the last year as like a founder.

00:30:58.251 --> 00:31:06.103
Is I cannot do it alone and a lot of black women although we're in community we still feel like we have to do it alone and.

00:31:06.389 --> 00:31:15.115
When it comes to capitalizing and building these businesses I think that's what we need to do is support each other and just give as much information as possible because.

00:31:15.328 --> 00:31:23.982
There's no play we all need to win together we're creating culture absolutely and I think the more of us that can get together and

00:31:23.952 --> 00:31:29.032
organize and strategize together while we leverage that innate.

00:31:29.065 --> 00:31:41.870
Creativity that we have black people are so creative it blows my mind sometimes like how creative we are as a community that when we organized a little bit and strategize it's going to be amazing.

00:31:42.128 --> 00:31:46.389
Absolutely mean you said it Beth agreed so

00:31:46.296 --> 00:31:55.175
as we kind of wrap up our content creation kind of portion of the conversation because I absolutely need to talk more about your next business venture

00:31:55.100 --> 00:32:05.122
you know are there any emerging Trends or things that you foresee kind of happening being really big being really important in the Creator space that you think we should get ahead of.

00:32:05.147 --> 00:32:13.891
Totally the first is it's not just because I work there but because I work there and see the back end and the numbers YouTube shorts

00:32:13.888 --> 00:32:20.381
I don't care if you're just really uploading your tick-tocks definitely take the watermark off but it doesn't matter.

00:32:20.558 --> 00:32:32.183
We have 1.5 billion monthly logged-in users that's not a market to ignore start posting your content on YouTube shorts it's the easiest way to grow a YouTube channel to start.

00:32:32.378 --> 00:32:38.377
The second place I think that you can capitalize on is by connecting with your audience directly.

00:32:38.473 --> 00:32:51.304
And a lot of people don't do this but I don't know if you all remember November 2020 when we thought Tik-Tok was going to be banned but that was a crazy time and there's still chances that can happen simply because of the.

00:32:51.490 --> 00:33:01.080
Yes but you know I would say that connecting with your audience directly building an email list building an SMS list even if you're not using it.

00:33:01.159 --> 00:33:14.674
You want to be doing that in a great tool to do that is actually nor B which is a black-owned founded company but actually founded by my friend who also into Northwestern and it's funny I didn't know that he had found today

00:33:14.518 --> 00:33:19.517
because my brand designer was like you should we should use nor be for your.

00:33:19.523 --> 00:33:29.177
Part of your product launch and I was like cool and then I was at a party at my boyfriend's house and he is his name is Steven and he was there and Jeff is like

00:33:29.138 --> 00:33:38.458
give you literally use this product I'm like well here's all my practice here's all my thoughts but we went to school together into Northwestern and so it's a great.

00:33:38.626 --> 00:33:45.309
Great product you literally it's basically like a customizable Lincoln by O'Toole where Pete you can also

00:33:45.279 --> 00:33:55.238
collect emails and SMS they give you a number and you can basically text your audience you can email them right from that link so they don't have to go to another website and sign up

00:33:55.199 --> 00:34:02.467
you can do it right in that link and that's what I've been using to collect emails for pre-orders for my robes so

00:34:02.392 --> 00:34:16.006
that is something that I would encourage all creators to get started with is build out that professional back-end ecosystem where you have your own website where you have an email list and you have an SMS list because

00:34:15.877 --> 00:34:18.041
the people who have that and who don't

00:34:18.002 --> 00:34:26.296
it's going to come down to that long-term you know like you've got to be as professional as possible with it so shorts and Norby you sign up

00:34:26.293 --> 00:34:32.922
immediate those are amazing tips I and I love that nor Beast black-owned actually recently signed up for Nora be and and.

00:34:33.009 --> 00:34:41.195
I started using it and I didn't even know it was black on that makes me even more excited to use it yeah he found it with a partner I don't know if the partner is also black but

00:34:41.192 --> 00:34:55.931
he's black so I know you got enough good enough and I also just have to Echo the importance like you said of starting an email list starting an SMS list having a portion of the internet or of your content that you.

00:34:55.947 --> 00:35:00.460
Own not relying solely on social media platforms.

00:35:00.655 --> 00:35:13.648
I cannot stress it enough like creating a website does not have to be expensive you can create an inexpensive Squarespace WordPress whatever starting an email list not expensive the software I use is like $19 a month like.

00:35:13.690 --> 00:35:25.396
Having a way to connect directly with your audience having something that you own is in valuable because these platforms are not where you should put all of your time and resources into.

00:35:25.429 --> 00:35:40.240
Never that 100% And also I think another tip that I will give black creators is not all money is good money there I worked with batches and I love bitches I love their content I loved working with that I loved

00:35:40.193 --> 00:35:48.199
the founders and I loved my podcast co-host but at the same time I took that opportunity because

00:35:48.097 --> 00:35:58.164
I felt like I couldn't get as big of a community on my own and I wanted to be attached to that name and it ended up feeling like very

00:35:58.062 --> 00:36:00.505
it was hard for me because.

00:36:00.556 --> 00:36:15.025
What I learned from that experience like I didn't need that and I felt like I did because I feel like it wasn't legit enough because they didn't have the numbers but something Simone Alyssa recently told me and she learned this from another woman Chelsea she's great she's incredible

00:36:14.977 --> 00:36:22.047
is that a hundred thousand followers for a black person is equivalent to 500 thousand followers for a white person

00:36:21.999 --> 00:36:31.446
you cannot compare yourself to white people and that's what I was doing when I took this bet just contract and I was like I'm going to work with them and it ended up being okay and like

00:36:31.425 --> 00:36:41.726
I had a great experience and still have a wonderful relationship with everyone there but I did feel like I was doing it from a place of insecurity as opposed to a place of wanting

00:36:41.678 --> 00:36:48.820
to evolve as a person and support my community and so a lot of creators do that whether it's through

00:36:48.799 --> 00:36:56.544
the agency that they choose even though they don't have any history of working with black creators a lot of people do that in.

00:36:56.685 --> 00:37:04.079
A myriad of ways taking deals that just think they seem legitimate because there's like white people behind it but don't compare yourself.

00:37:04.256 --> 00:37:08.220
All the time two white people because they don't have the same.

00:37:08.307 --> 00:37:19.329
Community Building skills they don't have the same experiences and you don't need that to be on your own in your own right and incredible create absolutely and.

00:37:19.677 --> 00:37:21.444
To that point I think

00:37:21.441 --> 00:37:30.644
even if you do have an audience that is a little bit smaller but it's the right people that is so much more valuable than millions of people who are not your people I think the last.

00:37:30.840 --> 00:37:39.070
Few weeks of like launching my product has taught me that the most because I was I just always felt like I wasn't good enough because I didn't have a million on Tik Tok.

00:37:39.140 --> 00:37:46.128
And like the truth is it does not matter because I have ambitious incredible women who follow me and I'd rather.

00:37:46.170 --> 00:37:55.509
Have those people feel empowered and like they can do whatever they want with their life than to have a million people who just want to know where black T-shirt was from

00:37:55.470 --> 00:38:04.340
and I don't even care about the outfit I'm wearing you know like I think it's so important to just know that and always remind yourself that when you're stressed out to.

00:38:04.679 --> 00:38:09.984
This is so good I like have been in the content creation game 4

00:38:09.963 --> 00:38:16.484
a very long time and I wish that conversations like this even existed back when I started.

00:38:16.499 --> 00:38:23.236
They definitely didn't but seriously if anyone is interested in content in any way like.

00:38:23.377 --> 00:38:29.906
Take notes during this conversation precisely one hundred percent and I have to YouTube videos about it.

00:38:29.975 --> 00:38:34.327
About like how to get brand deals and get paid and stuff on my YouTube channel

00:38:34.261 --> 00:38:49.207
if you want more I don't consider myself like an influencer expert by any means but I'm just transparent and so check those out as well if you want to get started with contact make sure that those are linked in the show notes so they're super easy for people to find.

00:38:49.303 --> 00:39:00.334
So recently you shifted your content a little bit where you started taking us behind the scenes as you get ready to launch your first product which we've mentioned a little bit earlier in the conversation but I'm

00:39:00.196 --> 00:39:06.113
so excited to get into because launching a physical product is no.

00:39:06.147 --> 00:39:15.215
Easy feet there's so much that goes into it so first can you tell us more about what you're launching and how that experience has been

00:39:15.167 --> 00:39:24.703
of course so I'm launching for my first product a super cozy robe it's called the too cozy robe my brand which sort of.

00:39:24.799 --> 00:39:31.104
Grew out of my podcast too smart for this is called to Collective and so this is the too cozy robe

00:39:31.056 --> 00:39:44.148
the idea for it came when I had covid on Christmas and December and I was shopping to make myself feel better and try to get through my first and only like holiday alone.

00:39:44.244 --> 00:39:54.060
And I wanted something that was going to make me feel cozy and luxurious because I was supposed to be in Paris with my boyfriend on a romantic fun trip.

00:39:54.237 --> 00:40:00.793
And obviously like robes just sort of signify that luxury and I'm also a naked sleeper I do.

00:40:00.934 --> 00:40:11.740
Pajamas so I was looking for a really nice robes and none were like standing out to me none more interesting I ended up buying a few of them and like.

00:40:11.872 --> 00:40:14.323
They all had the same frustrating.

00:40:14.366 --> 00:40:28.718
Lack of functionality that I was like why was this two hundred dollars if you have to be kidding me again supposed to change my life and so I just started thinking about how I did some research I was like there's nobody doing this and it doesn't make sense because robes are.

00:40:28.733 --> 00:40:42.131
Genderless which I soon found out because my boyfriend stole them and wanted one for Valentine's Day they're ageless I got my grandma a row I've gotten my cousin a robe who was like only 18 like everyone loves her robe.

00:40:42.210 --> 00:40:50.342
And they're seasonless you wear a robe all year no matter what like maybe it's not the same one but every day you need it when you wake up and when you go to bed.

00:40:50.438 --> 00:40:55.986
So I was just shocked and I kept it in the back of my head and for a few months I was.

00:40:56.064 --> 00:41:02.225
Working on other projects but everytime I would mention it to someone their eyes would light up and they were so so excited.

00:41:02.321 --> 00:41:08.886
So I finally took the plunge and trying to figure out how to do it and that's what I'm taking my audience through.

00:41:09.037 --> 00:41:16.205
How I figured that out and I do plan on expanding to other product categories but this one is most important to me because

00:41:16.175 --> 00:41:30.753
it signifies taking care of yourself and it signifies allowing yourself to relax at the end of the day and create a ritual which I love your shows and your series on rituals and resetting that

00:41:30.732 --> 00:41:41.844
just really it sort of signifies to your mind like you deserve a moment for yourself and that's something I had only learned in the last two years and even being a Creator and so

00:41:41.787 --> 00:41:48.586
it means a lot to me and I'm really excited that other people get to experience it too absolutely I

00:41:48.466 --> 00:41:58.336
don't know if you know this I'm a big rope girl a big rope girl like I have several although the one that I wear the most is the same ink kind of Ratty old one that my grandma got me but

00:41:58.216 --> 00:42:04.547
with love and elevated robe experience and I feel like this process is so deeded.

00:42:04.842 --> 00:42:18.789
When we think about a lot of the common barriers that black entrepreneurs and black women in particular face when they're launching something like a physical product to begin with is usually Capital like watching a physical product takes a lot of capital.

00:42:19.074 --> 00:42:30.501
That's really hard you do not come from having like generational wealth and a silver spoon in your mouth and I appreciate all of your honesty around that and so you are truly building something

00:42:30.399 --> 00:42:36.163
kind of thrum Llorona Foundation what has that process been like for you.

00:42:36.179 --> 00:42:42.438
Zoe I think it's like the two things that have given me the capital are not necessarily the money but.

00:42:42.462 --> 00:42:53.322
Two main things are just stability and delusion so the my my stability comes from my full-time job which I have not quit and don't plan to quit

00:42:53.283 --> 00:43:01.072
until I hit a certain very high number that I've set for myself but having that job helps me know that.

00:43:01.169 --> 00:43:10.102
I'm a bills are going to be paid so I'm going to be able to put my interest in a friend of I have multiple friends of mine who also work in Tech who

00:43:10.081 --> 00:43:15.080
half full million dollar businesses outside of work and.

00:43:15.266 --> 00:43:20.149
They still keep their full-time jobs and I used to think that that was like.

00:43:20.272 --> 00:43:29.619
Not what was possible at all for anybody and it's not if you're raising Venture Capital because you know you need to put your whole life into it

00:43:29.571 --> 00:43:43.707
but they're not gonna give you know Venture Capital over here you're black so I'm just kidding but you know like that you're not only thing this ads are not encouraging so no like having my full-time job is one of the main reasons because I know I'm going to have a roof over my head

00:43:43.705 --> 00:43:51.990
the other two areas that stability comes for me are my influencer side hustle so all the money I've gotten from this I've either invested into.

00:43:52.014 --> 00:44:00.767
My influence like I haven't made profit I haven't peed myself like I have a cool lifestyle and I get to share that but it's business like it's a business expense it's not just.

00:44:00.818 --> 00:44:04.440
Me personally like if I had made all this money and kept it for myself I would have.

00:44:04.599 --> 00:44:14.081
But my family houses and you know but you have to put money into things to help them grow the other stability is my boyfriend that man is a rock he is.

00:44:14.096 --> 00:44:22.669
My opposite in many ways and he's a software engineer and he's incredible with finances and

00:44:22.648 --> 00:44:30.357
I absolutely couldn't do this without him and it's just I just want to give like him his flowers but I also just want to say like

00:44:30.345 --> 00:44:35.236
it's people around you especially if you are hyper independent black woman like myself.

00:44:35.252 --> 00:44:41.547
He had to beg me to let him help me and like still does and I think that.

00:44:42.039 --> 00:44:52.008
Having that support is really important the other part is pure delusion and I didn't realize how delusional I was that I felt like I could start a business and.

00:44:52.113 --> 00:45:01.838
Have it become this major thing which it hasn't yet because I haven't even launched yet but you know like I to believe it you can do that it's a lot and

00:45:01.754 --> 00:45:13.910
when I talk to other Founders seeing how delusional they are about their businesses when you're like I don't know if it's going to be huge but they believe it will be that's how you know like you are an entrepreneur is when you have that

00:45:13.835 --> 00:45:21.148
crazy belief in yourself and I think that just comes from trusting and realizing that where you are is always where you're meant to be

00:45:21.145 --> 00:45:29.556
my grandma definitely instilled that into me and I'm glad that she did and that I've grown up to keep it with me oh absolutely I think you

00:45:29.553 --> 00:45:35.047
can only be but so realistic if you want to create something new

00:45:35.027 --> 00:45:41.340
yeah or if you even if you want to be happy that you can't think about you can't think about how.

00:45:41.346 --> 00:45:49.073
Horrible the world is 24/7 if you want to bring more good into it you have to just think about the good and try to create more of that

00:45:49.043 --> 00:45:57.409
yeah it's delusional maybe it's out of touch but it is going to save your life and your business and bring happiness to other people 100%.

00:45:57.496 --> 00:46:06.141
And something that I want to touch on that I think is really interesting here that you're kind of doing it something that has also been the model that I've.

00:46:06.165 --> 00:46:19.078
Followed in my head though I don't yet have a product I would love to one day whenever I get you know the inspiration or the idea that I wanted to lose not only follow his seeing content creation almost as like.

00:46:19.237 --> 00:46:30.168
The fundraising portion like that's how I treat it I also still work full-time and then you know have been grateful enough to surpass my salary from creating content but I don't

00:46:30.165 --> 00:46:36.866
pay myself that like that is an investment in the business and creating something in the future and so.

00:46:36.953 --> 00:46:51.270
Seeing that as a blueprint of like okay maybe instead of spending one to two years trying to get VC's to give you money what if you spend one to two years really honing in on a community figuring out a sweet spot to monetize content and then using that to launch something

00:46:51.114 --> 00:47:02.919
even greater and then you already have the built-in audience and Community who trust you who like you who's going to be ready to buy from you and support you I think that that's an approach that I would love to see more black entrepreneurs take

00:47:02.844 --> 00:47:11.939
100% I think because we've talked about at the numbers for black VC are very low but more importantly.

00:47:12.179 --> 00:47:21.913
Everyone I've talked to you about raising because I've had a lot of have a great community of fellow entrepreneurial women and everyone I've talked to you about raising talks about how.

00:47:22.325 --> 00:47:31.672
When you raise money you give up equity in your company which means that you're beholden to other people's opinions and most of those people who are giving you that money

00:47:31.597 --> 00:47:42.861
our don't look like you and don't have the same experiences as you so you're getting unsolicited or now you solicited it you're getting solicited advice from people who don't understand you

00:47:42.805 --> 00:47:49.460
and that to me my biggest inspiration when starting a company are people like

00:47:49.430 --> 00:47:54.312
Sara Blakely who bootstrapped the whole thing and became a billionaire

00:47:54.220 --> 00:48:00.335
easily because she owned everything and that to me is much more

00:48:00.206 --> 00:48:14.792
groundbreaking especially for black people because you may grow a billion-dollar business and you own three percent of it at the end of the day what does that do for black people other than give them representation that there are black Founders like it doesn't create generational wealth it doesn't

00:48:14.727 --> 00:48:17.376
redistribute wealth in any way because you know.

00:48:17.635 --> 00:48:27.846
You literally are just making white men richer and so I'm not saying I'll never raise because in the perfect world I would be able to make this my full-time job

00:48:27.834 --> 00:48:31.951
but I am saying that it's way more.

00:48:31.957 --> 00:48:38.037
Efficient to build a community and to grow it and then transition that into a product.

00:48:38.160 --> 00:48:45.607
And you can do that even if you don't like content creation and I think that's extremely important because another person I follow and

00:48:45.587 --> 00:48:50.892
love her her business model is Grace Beverly I watched her YouTube videos

00:48:50.862 --> 00:48:57.571
and I just liked her because she was another woman going to an elite school at the same time as me she went to Oxford and she would do college vlogs.

00:48:57.650 --> 00:49:07.771
And I just liked being able to relate to someone because most of the college YouTubers went to State schools which no hate to State schools at all it's just a different experience than a private institution and

00:49:07.768 --> 00:49:17.520
I wanted to see someone else who was a really ambitious on the internet and she was that and she said in a recent interview she's like.

00:49:17.572 --> 00:49:19.474
I don't make great content

00:49:19.462 --> 00:49:28.530
but I have a community and like she's monetize that and I don't personally make great content I don't mean like I feel like just keep showing this.

00:49:28.572 --> 00:49:34.958
But exactly you keep showing up and you being you is enough you do not need to make a.

00:49:35.036 --> 00:49:41.664
Cinematic look if you want to cool but you don't need to be a movie director to build a community online.

00:49:41.833 --> 00:49:50.991
It does not matter what you want to sell but if you want to be an entrepreneur you have to build a community and it's much smarter to start doing that while you have a full-time job.

00:49:51.033 --> 00:49:55.069
And then turn it into a business then it is to like.

00:49:55.363 --> 00:50:01.677
Go to these VCS where you're not even going to own what you create by the end of the day and you're still going to have to build a community.

00:50:01.998 --> 00:50:11.246
Yeah you're just doing it in a different order and I think sometimes when we get really hung up on like what money people won't give us where.

00:50:11.396 --> 00:50:24.975
Stopping at the first obstacle instead of saying okay maybe is there a different path to get here can I change directions can I take a different way okay if a car is not working let me take a plane if a plane is not working let me take a train like let me figure out another way to make this happen

00:50:24.846 --> 00:50:27.378
yeah and like with money.

00:50:27.762 --> 00:50:35.957
I have in this current moment like drained everything and have a personal loan riding on this and like that's.

00:50:35.963 --> 00:50:45.643
Scary but at the same time like there's ways around it like I'm doing a pre-order model which means before I place that huge inventory order that's really hard to make

00:50:45.623 --> 00:50:53.430
I have the money from the people who are buying the product to actually place that order and that way if I can

00:50:53.419 --> 00:51:04.657
still get them what they want yes they have to wait but I can still get them what they want without me having to suffer or give up part of my company or give up part of my like.

00:51:04.690 --> 00:51:16.314
Future wealth or whatever you know it just means that you have to be really customer-centric and transparent with your community and I think being honest is the best thing you can do like.

00:51:16.474 --> 00:51:28.206
I was always so ashamed growing up that I like came from a low-income background or that I like didn't have what other people had but that's kind of my superpower now that I'm older is that like.

00:51:28.276 --> 00:51:40.008
Did come from that and that's why people can trust me more I think oh yeah I think people people want to see us when when we bring them along the journey and so that's what I really love about this approach you're taking and launching.

00:51:40.060 --> 00:51:44.366
The road wine is like taking us behind the scenes to see each part of the process.

00:51:44.426 --> 00:51:51.117
Thank you it's fine it's scary as hell it's scary but such a cool thing to do so

00:51:51.096 --> 00:52:00.318
what's next for you how can we support you how can we get our robes and put our pre-orders in yes so what's really cool about this robe is that

00:52:00.243 --> 00:52:11.705
it has a really functional design so the Belt doesn't come off there are buttons to where you can adjust the sleeves because you don't want to getting your sleeves in when you're cooking and stuff like that

00:52:11.657 --> 00:52:18.178
and it's a really functional material that you know withstands its softness after it's been lost.

00:52:18.310 --> 00:52:27.468
So that robe the too cozy robe is available for pre-order as of now and I believe I'll keep it open for pre-orders people just have to.

00:52:27.546 --> 00:52:36.731
Know when it's going to drop and if it's not available at the time this episode comes up it will be at some point so just subscribe to that email newsletter.

00:52:36.756 --> 00:52:47.219
Wink the newsletter but the other thing is this rope design comes in multiple Fabrics so in January will launch the classic terry cloth version

00:52:47.117 --> 00:52:55.096
and then later down the line will launch it in different fabrics and lengths and colors so you'll have opportunity there and so just.

00:52:55.138 --> 00:53:08.888
Keep following at to Collective on Instagram follow me at Alexis Barber and that's where you can support there as the and I'll be letting you in on the process because there's just we're at the very beginning there is so much more.

00:53:09.002 --> 00:53:19.519
That is coming after this and how I even decide what to launch and what inventory orders I need to place if you guys are coming with me because I have no fucking

00:53:19.382 --> 00:53:28.360
house will be will be cheering you on each step of the way and I'll make sure that we have all of your links in the show notes so that people can order so that people can follow sign up for us

00:53:28.357 --> 00:53:30.907
it's on make it super easy

00:53:30.796 --> 00:53:43.276
Barry Alexis thank you so much for joining me today I feel like this conversation was so jam-packed I feel inspired I hope the listeners feel inspired and thank you for sharing with us.

00:53:43.382 --> 00:53:50.613
Of course I love it this is so fun and I love your show it does amazing thing so thank you for having me

00:53:50.403 --> 00:54:06.475
Q
huge thanks to Alexis for joining me on the show today I love getting to talk to other content creators and hear their experiences because it can be really isolating and it's still such

00:54:06.373 --> 00:54:13.956
a new fields and I really appreciated our conversation and her sharing her expertise and experiences with us

00:54:13.935 --> 00:54:25.587
head to the show notes so you can give Alexis to follow check out her podcast too smart for this and order your 2 Co 0 which is perfect for winter I am so excited to get mine.

00:54:25.647 --> 00:54:36.813
Want to give a huge shout out to our sponsors for today's episode or hooking you up with amazing discount codes and offers to help you find your balance make sure you head to the show notes and check them out.

00:54:36.918 --> 00:54:42.385
Next week we're talking about what it looks like to bootstrap a startup as a millennial black woman.

00:54:42.400 --> 00:54:53.359
I'll be joined by my friend and Nisha Anya founder of kids table it is such an inspiring episode for anyone who has ever wanted to go and unconventional route and create something totally new.

00:54:53.419 --> 00:54:56.384
So make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss it see you.

00:54:56.240 --> 00:55:10.804
Music.

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