If you’ve followed me for awhile, then you know I started my first “serious” blog in 2010. I created the blog to document my natural hair journey, but I quickly developed the desire to create content that showcased natural hair and black women in a positive light. This is also around the time when I gained an interest in learning graphic design and social media marketing so I could learn how to brand and promote myself to build my online audience. Needless to say, I’ve come a long way since then.
When I think about what has helped me progress as a content creator, a couple things come to mind, and they’re not “luck” or talent—talent is useless if you don’t apply yourself and luck? Who really has time to wait around for something to happen? To get what you want in your life, you must:
1. Pay Attention & Act Accordingly
I can’t stress how important it is to pay attention. Paying attention sounds like such an elementary concept, but with social media and plenty of other distractions, paying attention isn’t always easy. So what does paying attention really look like? For me, it’s being mindful of my goals and being aware of how to use available resources to make me stand out.
For example, I first learned how to use Photoshop in a college course.
During this time, I became pretty good at graphic design, but all of that knowledge went out the window once I graduated—and I wasn’t able to use the software my college provided (for free) anymore. Some time after this, I started using Canva to do some design work, but I realized that if I truly wanted to take my design work to the next level, I’d have to buy Photoshop for my own computer. Not only did I buy Photoshop, but I also bought a membership to Skillshare so I could have access to tons of clear and credible graphic design tutorials.
This brings me to my next point.
As Canva became more popular, more bloggers and businesses used it. This was great because now anyone could create clean and professional images for their websites and brands. The problem? Most people used Canva’s free graphic templates, so everyone’s visuals looked the same. This is when you pay attention and use a paid Canva template that will make you stand out because most people are reluctant to spend an extra dollar on their business. Want to take it to the next level? Invest in learning the elements of good graphic design or hire a professional.
The key: Always ask yourself what will take you to the next level… and find a way to do it.
Ready for another common mistake?
Let’s say someone you follow on Twitter posts that they need a photographer and you just so happen to be a photographer. The last thing you want to do is tweet or DM the person telling them you’re interested. If you pay attention, you’ll learn that most other photographers who see this person’s tweet will do the same thing—they’ll tweet the person saying they’re interested and qualified.
So what do you do instead? You email the person. This makes you stand out because most people aren’t going to take the initiative to find someone’s email address on their website and email them. It’s just that simple. Really, I could go on and on with examples, but I’m sure you get it by now. When you pay attention, you learn and accomplish things quicker.
2. Trust the Process
Trusting the process of getting what you want in life forces you to do two things:
Be honest and be consistent.
The process of getting what you want for your life can be very discouraging. There will be times when you feel straight-up stupid or lost and there will be times when you want to give up. It’s during this time that you find the motivation to keep pushing forward or you decide that whatever you initially wanted isn’t worth your effort anymore. When you’re clear on what you want, you’re able to put all of your energy into getting it. Throughout the process you’ll fail frequently—I think of failure more as lessons. Either way, fail fast, learn your lessons, and keep moving.
The key: Do not let failure prevent you from taking further action because often times, success is right around the corner. Actress Uzo Aduba said it best:
“I’ve never heard of absolutely nothing coming from hard work.”
3. Do it Your Way
Another thing that helps with the process is staying true to yourself. Plenty of people are creating online businesses now, and it’s easy to get caught up in how someone else is doing something. I’ve learned that you’re more likely to give up on a goal when you attempt it in a way that doesn’t feel like yourself.
The key: Learn the basics of whatever it is that will help you improve your life or business. Then, use that knowledge to create your own path. Don’t be afraid that people will find you weird or won’t understand what you’re all about, because as I’ve said many times in other posts, there are plenty of people on this Earth who can relate to you and your story, but you won’t know that until you put your true self out there.
What’s one thing that has helped you get what you want in your life?
Share in a comment below.