On an unrelated note, from past holiday gift guides, you seem to be a pretty good gift giver. My boyfriend’s birthday is coming up and it’s a weird time because I’m in the process of moving, so funds are limited but I still wanted to get him something nice or even just do something sweet. Especially since I’m moving to his city so we’ll no longer have to be long distance! So it’s an exciting time. Do you have any gift suggestions? I’d appreciate the help!
Personally, I’d say that’s all the gift he needs! LOL I think thoughtful gifts go a long way… for women. Most men are pretty simple and would be pleased with a sentimental gesture or a small gift. Maybe you can look into how expensive would it be to have a local cook come into his home and prepare dinner for you two? It may be less expensive than what you’d spend at a steakhouse. If you’re in a different city, you could surprise him by mailing him a box of his “favorites”. His favorite snacks (no chocolate, it’ll melt in the mail), mini bottles of his favorite liquor, a record from his favorite artist, a book from his favorite author, etc. with a sweet card. All that for under $100! If you’re just wanting to get a gift, try a record player, a nice bottle of cologne, a card holder, or monogrammed whiskey glasses.
What kind of advice would you give to someone that KNOWS they want to start a business and be their own boss but has no idea where to even start? I moved to Atlanta about a year ago after I graduated with a marketing degree. I have struggled to get a job in my field ever since. I have no friends here so I just work and work. I struggle every single day with trying to find my passion in life. I have no talents or anything of that sort to go off of. I just really need some advice. How did you know what you wanted to do in life? I am only 23 but life is going by so fast and I have been feeling so down and unaccomplished since I graduated. What can of advice can you give me so I can find my passion like you did? Anything would help!
I feel your pain entirely. I had a bit of a quarter-life crisis when I turned 23 about where my life was going to go and what I was going to do with it. The good news is that there truly is no better age than 23 to zone-in on what you feel your passions are and how you can be using them to work for yourself. Here’s a quick blog post on what I went through and how I narrowed in on mine. I would not consider myself particularly talented. I can’t play any instruments, I don’t know graphic design, I’m not overly athletic or well-versed enough in hair and make-up to be a YouTube star. What I knew when I got started was that I was a good writer and I had valuable things to say. It wasn’t until later that I connected brand building from my corporate job, to my personal brand, to doing it for others. One thing about finding your passion is that you have to constantly be looking for it. Every day, around every corner in every convo with every stranger, because you never know what’s going to spark your “aha!” moment. Also, realize that there are still ways to be a “boss” without identifying your passion. Look for holes in the current market to find opportunities. Does Atlanta need more corporate landscape companies? Or maybe you can bake and find a way to provide alcohol infused treats for events around the city. Make a list of 10 things you enjoy doing, then brainstorm a way to make money from each. Shoot me an email if you need help!
I’m a (fairly) recent graduate and just completed a post-grad internship. Since then, I’ve had trouble finding my first full-time permanent position. I’m in the sports industry, which is a grind. I made sure to get professional experience relating to my industry during undergrad, often times having multiple jobs at once and struggling. I’ve built a pretty solid resume and I thought it would pay off but it doesn’t seem that way as I’m still unemployed. From following your blog, I know that you didn’t have much trouble finding a job after graduating but can you give me some help on what I may be doing wrong or tips on how to get noticed through a computer?
You’re experiencing the main reason why I was worried to begin with, I just got “lucky”. So many of my college friends couldn’t find jobs in their fields for months after graduation. Realistically, submitting your resume is often slipping a piece of paper into an entire pile. The problem may not be that you’re not qualified, they might be finding someone who fits the bill before they can even get to your application. If you’re getting impatient, start thinking outside of the box. Would you be willing to move for the perfect job? Start looking for ideal opportunities in other cities and apply for those. What companies or organizations are in your immediate area and who works for them? Research who works for them and find them on LinkedIn. Connect with them and send them an email introducing yourself and see if they’ll respond. Find the HR employees for those companies and ask for the status of those open positions you were inquiring about. Pressing “apply” may not be enough these days. Getting noticed through a computer may require you show-up on more than just a resume, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
What’s your opinion on a man giving women money just for the heck of it? When is the right time to share expenses or determine who should be paying when they go out. These are all things that many people think are commonsense but I’ve noticed that depending on the culture, certain things come as insults so I wanted to ask your opinion. What’s the rule at the end of a date?
Unless you’re in a committed relationship, I’m a bit opposed to taking money from men and that’s a complete personal preference. While it’s a nice gesture, I never wanted anyone, especially a man, to feel as if money could sway me or that I needed him for any reason. As far as picking up expenses, everyone has their own theories but I’m a bit more conservative. If a man takes me out, I expect him to pay, even if I decide not to allow him. There are a lot of things to take into account, but I typically base it off of who makes more money. If I was dating a man who made equal to or less than me I’d be more inclined to split things. We have to be realistic and ask ourselves “if I was a man dating a woman, could I afford to?” because dating is pricey! It boils down to what works best for the two people who are dating. Don’t be outrageous with your expectations, but don’t feel guilty setting them.
How long were you putting in work before you saw your personal brand blossom?
I immediately saw a positive response to my blog when I launched. I can’t tell you exactly why, but my assumption is people were already interested in what I had to say before I said it. Once I hit 10K followers, the growth became nonstop. It was months, if not an entire year before things actually started to stick. I think you need to build at something an entire year before you see it grow, and I mean consistently. Not twice a month. Every single day. I was doing something everyday to contribute to my personal brand, whether it was writing a blog post, reaching out to brands, doing research on how to monetize being a blogger or creating the content I needed to build more opportunities. Everyday for 365 days will look like a blur when you look back at it, because that’s how busy you’ll be. Keep going!
How long were you and your fiancé dating before he proposed? And with everything broadcasted on social media these days, how did you manage to keep your relationship private and off of Instagram? I’m such a social media person and my boyfriend doesn’t like his personal business to be on there. It seems as if you don’t constantly post about your relationship it’s deemed invalid these days. How did you find a healthy balance?
Me and my fiance were friends for a year before we started dating, but only dated for six months before he proposed – so do NOT use me as an example LOL. We are a very unconventional couple who met at the perfect time when everything was just “right”. If I’m being completely honest, we could’ve dated for six years and I still would not have pressured him to marry me. Marriage has never been too significant to me, but we knew what we wanted for our future and were both ready to take that step. It was easy to keep my private life off of social media because I mainly use my social media as a form of branding and business and less as a personal outlet. After my last relationship ended five years ago, deleting our photos hurt me deeply so I had vowed to never be loud about my relationship ever again unless I knew it was forever. In a way, I had also grown out of needing to flaunt all of my happiness on social media as well. The reason we feel so compelled to post about our relationships to people we hardly even know is to convince them and ourselves that we’re great, we’re happy, we’re so in love and I’ve got it so good! When I was doing that, it was a lie and that’s why it was so painful to delete. Because so much of my life of public and transparent, he really understood how selective I was with what I was comfortable sharing and never pressed me about it. On the other hand, he posted plenty of us and I didn’t mind it. Balance was what felt comfortable for me, and he respected that – vice versa. If you respect the fact that he doesn’t like to post you, he should respect the fact that you do. If you’re worried that he may not want to be posted for reasons other than what he’s claiming them to be, then you may have a bigger issue.
What are some tips and tricks you use to decorate your office/desk space?
I work in a less than glamorous cubicle that can be pretty drab day after day, week after week so I try and make the space as “me” as possible so that I feel productive and don’t dread sitting in it for 8 hours at a time. The first thing you should do is make it personal. What are your favorite colors? Incorporate them. Bring in framed photos of your family and friends or create a collage of things that motivate you. Add a desk lamp to brighten things up. Target and Homegoods are notorious for cute office decor. I got all of my wall art from those two places. Etsy also has some really great creative items for your work space. I keep a vase on my desk in case I pick up flowers from the grocery store. Bamboo plants are great indoor plants that need little sunlight but add some liveliness to your space. I also like to keep a few motivational books or devotionals that I can easily refer to. My favorites are The Maxwell Daily Reader, Jesus Calling, Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff and One Good Deed a Day.
When building a brand, many want to be able to collaborate with others (big or small) at some point to increase visibility and network. What would you consider are the top three things to focus on to set yourself apart regardless of the industry and niche?
The top three things you can do to set yourself apart in a saturated niche would be in this order, consistency, authenticity and interaction. The issue with an online presence is it’s so day-to-day. Today you post a great picture that gets 500 likes, but tomorrow if you don’t post, we’ve already forgotten about you. You have to consistently be in front of your potential audience if you want to increase visibility. Second, you need to be as you as possible. Don’t attempt to recreate everything you see, don’t hold back on things you believe in, don’t try to design typical “blogger” captions. Inspiration is good, but be yourself. Lastly, interaction is key. Before you ask for anything from anyone, try building a genuine relationship with them. I’ve built many resourceful relationships on the internet with women who were in positions I wanted to be in simply because I interacted with them on a regular basis, instead of sending them a DM telling them I’d love to interview them for a Boss Ladies feature.
Any tips for young moms on how to stay true to their goals and not give in to feeling like we can’t accomplish our dreams because we have a child? I’m finding it hard to stay motivated.
Well first, you’ve got to do away with the thought that you can’t accomplish your dreams because you have a child. Think of all the other women who have! Cathy Hughes was a teen mom and both her and her son have been named Entrepreneur of The Year. You simply have to want it bad enough and your child should be your biggest motivating factor. Listen to her full-story on “How I Built This” for some major inspiration.
You guys, this week has been mind blowing. From not being able to stay in my own house because of the hurricane, to losing power, to having to find routes to get back home and finally making it into the office today – I’m mentally and emotionally drained, but so so ready to get back to work. You really take everything for granted when things are running smoothly but I can’t remember the last time I wanted to get back to my normal routine so badly. I have another video going up next week with some good content and am finalizing the slides for my upcoming webinar, so I will keep you all posted! Have a great weekend Labor Day weekend babes!
I don’t know about you, but even as a child I knew that God did not put me here to live a mediocre life. He reminds me of that in tiny ways each day. I had a great childhood, but it was very simple and lacked the luxury that many kids get to experience. The only reason why I ever step foot in the Galleria mall was because my best friends older sister took us when I was in middle school. I was never exposed to Starbucks, or sushi. I didn’t even go downtown until I was 16, for a girls night out with my older sister and a fake ID. Had I not been exposed to certain things outside of my household, I would’ve never known how differently people were living than me. I’m not sure if I’d watched too much HBO on our bootleg cable, but I was always made fun of for having “champagne taste on a beer budget”, as my mom would say. Things I had never gotten to see with my own two eyes were still dead set in my mind for how I envisioned my future. Some people may be content with comfortable, and that’s wonderful for them but I always knew more was in store for me. Some of us aren’t okay with accepting only what’s offered to us and will find a way to create it for themselves.
I always had dreams of a corporate career and it wasn’t until I actually began one that I realized that too wouldn’t be enough for me. Working five days a week to collect the same amount of money every payday easily became redundant for the simple fact that I don’t like limits placed on myself. As much as I enjoy my career, I was very uncomfortable with the idea of growth within corporate. While it’s available and accessible, it would’ve never happened at the rate I saw fit for myself. I was comfortable, but I was not fulfilled. Before I had the guts to take anything into my own hands I was watching a friend live the life he designed for himself and remember him vividly telling me “comfortable isn’t good, it’s the worst”, when he asked why I wasn’t doing what I felt like I should be. He was right. I had to take the time out to think deep about what I needed to be doing and how to align that with the life I wanted to live, so I started The B Werd.
You truly can not stay where you’re comfortable. It actually got to the point where I was uncomfortable with my comfortability and was anxious to branch out into the unknown. After the conversation of a corporate promotion lingered too long for my liking, I decided to launch a blog built off of transparency that would allow me to build a consistent online community of Alpha Females. That turned into me creating the Brand Beginnings Werkbook to help them do the same and in 72 hours after its launch, I had made my monthly salary. Releasing that workbook, led to me working with over three dozen entrepreneurs directly with brand audits to help them strategically build their brands. It wasn’t about the money, it was about the freedom. The ability to live life the way you imagined it before realities of real life made you feel limited. I had created something that matched what my vision was as a child; something that allows me to be employed as long as I have wifi; something that helps so many others. I could not believe I had spent week after week in a cubicle waiting for a job to increase my life.
Had I gotten that promotion when I wanted it, I would’ve never felt the pressure to be doing more. It would’ve made the seat I was sitting in even more cozy. I know I look comfy in that picture up above, but it took If you’re comfortable, move on, move up. So much better is waiting for you and don’t wait for anyone else to make it happen for you. You’re not meant to remain, you’re meant to get better, be better, do more. And God put that on my heart to share. Go get what you’ve been wanting!
As transparent as I am, I’m pretty selective about what I openly share in regards to my personal life but what occurred this past weekend is by far way too monumental to not share with you all. On Friday, August 18th, I got engaged! Before I go into detail I want you all to know my previous thoughts on marriage. I have never been the kind of girl who daydreamed about her perfect wedding day or envisioned how I’d react to my dream proposal. I had never once Googled wedding dresses or rings for fun. Nothing bridal catches my attention. Although I knew I wanted to be a wife eventually, marriage never excited me the way it does most women. In fact, I had even made peace with the idea that marriage may not happen for me and I was perfectly okay with that. The last thing I wanted for myself was to welcome marriage simply because of the idea of it and not because I had genuinely found someone I wanted to do life alongside forever.
Me and my now fiance (wow, that’s weird) began as genuine friends which was actually perfect. I had the chance to get to know who he truly was without expectation and he did the same. We were able to do this without judgment, disappointment or any of the other negative emotions that you may experience when dating. We simply liked one another for who we were. I got to witness first hand how fun and carefree he was, how kind and caring he was and how dependable he was. Based off the genuine conversations our friendship had allowed us to have, I knew what he was looking for, what his faults were and how great of a man he could be if he really wanted to be. He never crossed any boundaries, never pressured me, and always supported me. As a matter of fact, I think the first time I was able to imagine him as mine was when he volunteered to learn how to shoot me so that I could do a Style Guide for the blog. This one to be exact. It got to a point where we could and would do everything together; party, work-out, grocery shop, or even nothing. If we were already doing everything together, why not share our lives together? So we did. Since the moment I’ve let him in my life he has not disappointed.
The day of the proposal, I was under the impression it would be a regular date night. Nate told me he’d made dinner plans for us at Steak48 for 8 pm, which was nothing out of the ordinary for us. I was in an exceptionally good mood because all my friends were in town and I had made plans to see my friends here in town too. I showed up at his place and he looked so nice! We took a shot and left the house. I’m still so surprised at how calm he was throughout all of this. On the way to the restaurant we’re singing our hearts out to old Jagged Edge and Jon B, so the mood was set without me even realizing it. Once we arrive he told the hostess that we had a reservation. She says OK and then tells us we’ll be up on the terrace. Me, being me, instantly asks “is that outside?”. It was a good 101 degrees that day and the humidity was intense. She replies yes and I ask if it’s possible to be seated inside. She says “you all are with the large party upstairs” and I still didn’t get it. I insist we aren’t with a party while Nate is behind me signaling the waitress to tell me no to whatever I ask. I can see the hostesses eyes quickly switching between me and Nate and just figured my personality was coming off a bit too strong. Finally she says “give us a few moments to get a table ready for you down here and we’ll come and get you when it’s ready.” I’m annoyed at this point, but go upstairs anyway.
The stairs are paved with glass so as I’m walking up I see Kandace, my best friend Farran’s girlfriend on the terrace with a camera. I turn to Nate and say “babe, Kandace is here! They must be outside taking photos!” since Farran is a photographer. I was so excited thinking this was going to be the start of a fun night since I’d randomly ran into one of my best friends. The door to the terrace opens and I walk outside to see Farran and Kandace with cameras, but they don’t move or speak. I look to the left and there are no table settings on the tables. No plates, no napkins, so I ask “what’s going on?” in complete confusion. He grabs my hand turns me toward the right where I see our family and closest friends waiting in silence with their cameras up. WHOA! I literally had to take a step back and gasp for air. I was in complete shock. My heart was pounding at this point and I blurt out “you’re fucking with me” in natural Courtney fashion. All I recall him saying is “no, I’m not. Listen to me.” and I went deaf after that. He got on one knee and all I could hear were my own thoughts. “He isn’t doing this. Oh my God he’s doing this. He’s doing this”. He pulled the ring box out of his back pocket and I said yes ten times in my own head before I could actually get the word out. I thought that I would cry when it finally happened but honestly, my brain could not process my emotions quickly enough for me to be able to shed a tear.
Before he put the ring on my finger I yell out “wait, wait, wait” like I needed more time to really get a grip on what was going on. He slipped the stunning ring onto my trembling hand and that was that. Our family and friends started cheering and walking towards us for hugs and I was so overwhelmed with love. Everyone close to me had been lying to me about their plans, why they were in town, what they were doing that evening and the surprise could not have been more perfect. Did I mention that damn ring?!? That boy has good taste.
Me and Nate discussed marriage comfortably and openly, so I knew we both had plans to be with one another in that way, but he blew my mind with this proposal. They say when you know, you know and for the first time I had built an open, honest and transparent relationship with someone I adored. Anyone who has seen us together can attest to the fact that we’re the perfect pair for one another. I didn’t realize how many times I’ve said something close to “what did I do to deserve all this?” since last Friday until Nate pointed it out and I had to check myself. I’ve done everything to deserve this kind of happiness, friendship and unwavering love. So often we condition ourselves into thinking and believing we don’t deserve all things good, but here I am, living proof that you can have even more than what you hope for. I’m still so blown away that he orchestrated all that he did last weekend without me finding out. I’m so nosey! We’re so so grateful to all of our friends and family who took the time out to celebrate with us and express their happiness for our love.
Watch it all unfold below:
I’ll have these kind of videos up and running much more than before, so feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel. Next up, I’ll share all the photos and footage from the surprise engagement party. If y’all think of some clever wedding hashtags, please share them with me! I appreciate all of you being patient with the time I decided to take away from the blog to soak all of this up. Things will be up and running as normal next week. Thank you all for watching!