Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Blog, Who This?!

Hello Starlets! Brandbuilder Lesson 4: Blog Overhauls

Hello Lovebugs! As you can see, I am branching out and expanding the Miss Elisa K. brand. I have learned so much on my own through trial and error about branding. I don't want to be selfish with this information and I don't want others to make the same mistakes. I want your brands, blogs, & businesses to boom! These lessons are based on my opinions and experiences. Hopefully, my BrandBuilder Lessons will provide the information and encouragement that you need.

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know many things have changed. If you are new, how do you like my little space on the internet? Is it warm? Unique? Inviting? Interesting? Informative? Real? I hope so because that's what I was going for. To get here, this blog has gone through several major overhauls, mostly in design, branding, and nomenclature. However, my last blog overhaul was so drastic because I changed my content focus, got rid of over 400 posts, and narrowed it down to about 80.

Oh, I was serious. This is the year of growth for! But how can the blog grow if it doesn't grow with my lifestyle, knowledge, interests, and goals? I am getting more engagements than ever before and that's because I am focusing on what I know and what I want to accomplish. I am only serving up two niches at a time. I want you to do the same and experience even more success than me. Just tell them: Miss Elisa K. Taught Me ;) Here are my 2 Reasons Not to be Afraid of Blog Overhauls. Trust me, I have way more reasons. If you share and tell all your friends about this post, I'll be more inclined to share them later!

1. You have probably changed drastically. As bloggers, we thrive off of authenticity. When you first started your blog, you were just so happy to start blogging that you really shared so much of yourself. As the blog grew and people engaged, you may have drew back on certain topics or even your approach based on feedback. If you didn't draw back, you have had to spend time defending your stance. A few years pass and you go back to those posts. And the posts aren't horrible but the posts are no longer a reflection of your thought process. You can't remember why you wrote it or how it even shows you in the light you now want to be perceived.

If you experience this while trying to determine if your blog needs an overhaul, ask yourself this question about your old posts: Does this post accurately show the progression of the blog and who I have grown to be? If it doesn't and sways too far away from your current niche, just revert to draft. On the other hand, even if you have changed your niche, there are some posts that are just so well written and really show a special part of your heart and who you are. Those posts are significant to your growth as blogger and a person. This should stay. If someone falls in love with your blog, becomes a super fan, and decides to read your blog from start to present, they should be reading a cohesive story line of your blogging career.

2. You may need to curate multiple blogs. At one time, I was blogging about anything I could think of that was interesting. Then I called myself narrowing down my focus because my work fell into several main categories. They were faith, fashion, music, art, culture, and Philly. I literally used that as my tagline, with a bunch of product reviews stuck in between. Then I decided, that wasn't catchy enough and my focus was too broad. So I narrowed my focus down again. During this time, I was growing strong in my life with Christ and I was mainly listening to Christian hip hop. Also I was doing so many #FoodforThoughts about my walk with Christ. The new focus was faith, fashion, hip hop. But then, I got to another level in my relationship with Jesus where I truly knew my purpose and I realized a full time fashion career wasn't it. The reason I even started the blog was no longer my life's work. I still loved to showcase fashionable women of faith and christian hip hop. I still love telling people about products and my experiences. However, it wasn't working cohesively (THIS WORD AGAIN). This time I didn't just narrow my focus but I had to seriously cut some content.

I decided to use product reviews on Girls Like Me, Inc.'s blog because young girls love product reviews. I also decided to create a feminine Christian Hip Hop space for women of faith. The blog had an okay test launch and I may relaunch if I have more time next year. On, I decided to focus on helping others and giving great advice about blogging, business, and living a life of faith and worship unto Jesus Christ. I recently launched an ongoing fictional writing project, because I know the Lord called me to be a writer. It fits perfectly to me and my readers will love the flow. The blog is easier to market and promote because my subjects aren't so broad. My fictional writing, inspirational words, and entrepreneurial advice may not be the average niche, but it is my niche. And for the first time, after nearly 6 years of blogging, I am confident in my blog and content. Your audience can pick that up through the screen.

Writing is what I love to do and it is who I am now. I can't imagine doing any fashion posts on the blog now because it just isn't who I am anymore. If I have a yearning to write about Philly, art, culture, music, or fashion, I know that I can write when I feel passionately about a topic and submit freelance work to magazines and other blogs. Don't be afraid to contribute to other people's spaces on the internet or even create another to clean up your main space, which is the biggest reflection of who you are.

If you would like for me to share more information about this topic, please comment and share this post on your social media networks. Hey, I'm Building a Brand Here, too! SMOOCHES XOXO

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Chapter 1: Four, The Hard Way

My name is Keisha. I am a writer... Well, a journalist. I interchange between the two titles dependent upon my mood and which freelance jobs I am trying to get. I grew up in West Philadelphia; Wynnefield, to be exact. Philadelphia is dirty, grimy, and boring. But I love it. Philly is home.

I am starting this blog because I need to write about something other than old people. My current job is the Executive Public Relations Representative for the geriatric department of the largest hospital in the city. The geriatric department is becoming very innovative in its approach to caring for their elderly patients. With that, my team and I are staying very busy. From monthly events to family interviews, there is always something new to report. The department head raves about my team and how we have made the department much more "spunky and edgy" with our "wit and young sensibility" (her words, not mine). She has ensured me that I will always have a job and that whatever request I make within reason, they will be fulfilled. I should feel honored, blessed, and humbled. But instead, I feel trapped.

When I got out of college in 2010, I wanted to finally be free from everything. I trekked overseas for 3 years. Met a beautiful man, who I didn't quite tell my parents about. Together, we traveled to Polignano a Mare, Paro Valley, Burma, Lord Howe Island, and so many more places. I traveled the world and wrote a book about my travels. I just knew it was the perfect way to merge my two favorite things: writing and travel. Everyone told me to start a blog. I was in a rebellious stage. Plus, I just thought a book would be a better way to portray the story I wanted to tell. Stupid me. If I would have listened, I would probably still be traveling off blog ad revenue. At first, I funded my trip with my trust fund since I had a full scholarship for college. When my money started to run low, I somehow convinced my parents to invest in this venture. Let's just say they were ready to see a return on their investment. The book flopped. The beautiful man left me when I was no longer able to support our travel expenses. Since I couldn't get a publisher after months of trying, I self-published. I spent so much money trying to garner support and I didn't make many sales from the book itself. On top of feeling defeated, my parents sent me an ultimatum via email.

"Keisha, you are coming home tomorrow. Your economy ticket information is attached. The day after that you have a job interview for an executive position where you will be able to write and travel on the dime of the company. You can stay here for 1 month but you need to start looking for an apartment. Prepare your mind. These aren't suggestions. See you tomorrow."

I didn't stay with them. I stayed with my little sister, Kassidy. Her and our friends, Lachay and Madison, were very supportive during this transition back to life in Philly. I've been home for a year now. I was so depressed but I had to keep moving, get a job, get an apartment, and start life over. I was operating through life like a robot. Slowly, my friends brought me back to human form. My depression didn't derail them from sharing their lives with me. I needed to be around growth. I wasn't a hater either. I guess because I know where they have come from. I had no choice but to celebrate them. We used to be so hard-headed. We all had to learn stuff the hard way. But we learned together. I was so proud of them, even though I felt so low.

My Kassidy is slaying the Philly hair game right now. In high school, Kassidy used to keep all of our weaves and duby wraps fly in between being the rebellious life of the party. I never would have imagined that she would open up her own salon and become one of the most in demand stylists in the industry. She has overcame many obstacles which left a promise of a bright future bleak for her. But she succeeded anyway. She is a loving mother to my nephew Lil' Harry and she is married to the most understanding brother-in-law a girl could have, Chris. Knowing that my Kassidy could've given up when life hit her like a high speed train as a teen makes me even more proud to call her sister and friend.

Madison, my day one, is following her heart and true passion. This good girl who used to keep our teenage butts in church decided not to follow in her parents footsteps of full time ministry. Instead, she decided to go to culinary school. She just opened up her own bakery this year and business is really booming. Her cakes, pies, and pastries are constantly getting press and rave reviews. To add the perfect cherry to her sweet life, her boyfriend and associate youth pastor at her parents' church just proposed to her. Growing up, she never judged and always cared for others. Hearts like hers don't come around anymore. She deserves all the love and admiration coming her way.

Lachay has really turned her life around. She has built her fashion brand Voleur from the ground up. She turned her vice for getting her hands on the latest trends and staying fashionable at all times into a lucrative business. She only buys the latest and most exclusive clothing  for her boutique. When she can't find exactly what she is looking for, she designs and creates it herself. Lachay has always been good at making a way out of no way. She is single by choice and loving it. After a string of dysfunctional relationships, Voleur has become Lachay's one and only bae. Although she hasn't been apart of our circle as long, it is refreshing to have a real woman in your corner who is always ready to ride or die at anytime.

So now, I am taking everyone's advice and blogging. Not for money or relevancy though. But as a release for my soul. This is an Ode to My Girls. My life savers. All of the stories that make us laugh, cry, and fight. The things we've been through are too coincidental and magnificently life-changing to not be documented.

Since, this is told from my point-of-view, I am going to call the blog "Keisha." The name is fitting. While I am telling the stories of those who have a piece of my heart, I am undoubtedly showing you all my life and repairing my heart simultaneously. I hope you like us.


Share, Comment, Like, & Follow. This chapter needs 500 views before the next chapter is released.

Artwork: Digital Designs

To read more chapters from Keisha, CLICK HERE.

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For updates, previews, and more about Keisha, visit the dedicated page HERE.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Holidays! Seasonal Blogging Tips

Hello Candy Canes! Brandbuilder Lesson 3: Blogging Tips for the Holiday Season

Hello Lovebugs! As you can see, I am branching out and expanding the Miss Elisa K. brand. I have learned so much on my own through trial and error about branding. I don't want to be selfish with this information and I don't want others to make the same mistakes. I want your brands, blogs, & businesses to boom! These lessons are based on my opinions and experiences. Hopefully, my BrandBuilder Lessons will provide the information and encouragement that you need.

Yes, it is that time of year again! The Holiday Season is a wonderful time for family, food, fun, sharing, love, hope, and peace. Such warmth and purity of the holiday season has drawn heavy commercialization of these intangible qualities. I was once a Cindy Lou Who for the holidays and all it had to offer. So I understand if you now feel like the Grinch because every business is almost pressured to conform to get those holiday sales and numbers. I know you want to be a Scrooge, but if you are in business, you have to join in on the holiday cheer in some way. Today, I am talking specifically about the blogger business. Even if blogging is still a hobby for you, you should still produce content that will keep your supporters engaged. Check out my 3 Blogging Tips for the Holiday Season. I had way more, but I promise to save them for later if you share and comment on this post!

1. Themes Help Always. Some may call it an objective or something else. I keep it simple. When I say THEME, I am referring to a general idea that ties in the mission statement of a business with current efforts, promotions, marketing, and/or events to draw in new customers. And plus, themes are fun! Themes keep you somewhat organized and away from randomness. Just think of themed parties. Ugly Christmas Sweaters, anyone? For instance, this year's theme for Girls Like Me, Inc.'s mentoring program is GLM Prep. All of the marketing and images are inspired by plaid, Clueless, and all things preppy. Our mentoring events this program year are all themed and named to reflect classes they would take if Girls Like Me was an actual prep school. The theme and events tie back to our mission of encouraging all girls to Go & Dream. We are preparing our girls with quality life skills they may not learn in school but need to know in life in order for them to be successful while they chase dreams. As far as blogging themes, I used to do the 25 days of Christmas where I blogged everyday leading to Christmas. The 25 Days of Christmas posts were hard. Yet, it's always fun to flex your creative muscles while utilizing the structure of a theme.

2. Be Uniquely You. You may not celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving. You may celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or other culture specific holidays during this time. No need to feel left out by or begrudgingly toward other bloggers who are all covering the same holidays. Differentiate and personalize your content by posting about your traditions. This is a great way to tap into new readers who celebrate the same holidays. Your current readers will love learning more about you and your culture. Some may even connect more with you, engage in comments, and share your posts. This only happens when your audience and people they know can fully relate. If people unfollow you for your culture, that's not a view you want in my opinion. I believe wholeheartedly, even in the blogging game of numbers, that what is for you will come. No need to pretend to celebrate Christmas for likes when you can just be yourself.

3. GIVE. During the holidays, people are dishing out money. It can be difficult to convince people that their dollars belongs with your charity or business. However, it can be done. I know I talk about Girls Like Me, Inc. all the time, but it is the Pink Purple & Blue Print ;) GLM is on it's 4th Annual Doll Drive where we solicit donations to help families with gifts for the Christmas. Every year, it is a struggle to get donations. But I get more every year. It's an honor to give back and to have supporters follow our example of giving. As a blogger, you may sell products. You may want to do a holiday sale (that won't hurt you too much financially) to say thank you to your readers and to bring in new customers. If you aren't selling products yet, you may want to make a donation and blog about why you chose that charity. Positive promotion for you and a charity you believe in never hurt anybody. Last but certainly not least, you could do a giveaway. From my experience, giveaways do work best when you have a larger following. Do a product review for a product you love and that would make the perfect Christmas Gift. Then give one away to a supporter. You could even get the product company to sponsor the giveaway. Disclaimer: Give because you care. Don't give to get back.

If you would like for me to share more information about this topic, please comment and share this post on your social media networks. Hey, I'm Building a Brand Here, too! SMOOCHES XOXO

Learn more about my BrandBuilder One-On-One Sessions!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Flick of the Wrist

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6 KJV)

Hello Gorgeous! You see the title, right? I know but stay with me and let me explain. Everyday, I wake up to my life. The routine: Work, School, Girls Like Me, Church, Family, Nonexistent Me-Time, and everything in between. Just knowing all that I have to do and all that I may have to encounter in a day is sometimes overwhelming. I put all of the pressure and responsibility of my life on myself. While this should be a good thing not to blame others for my problems, the anticipation of all that could go wrong makes me pick myself apart. "I could handle this if I had more free time. I don't understand why this person doesn't like me. Why do I always have to be the one to do it. Why can't I just get this done. I procrastinate too much. They said I'm too sensitive; maybe I am. I shouldn't have said that about that person; it wasn't right. I don't want to be mean but when I'm nice people walk over me. I'm a push over. Why can't I balance and handle all of this. I bit off more than I can chew. I'm just a horrible person."

Before my day has even started, I have tore myself to shreds. I am focusing on each and every negative piece or attribute of my personality. In some strange way, I used these negative thoughts to keep me focused or to keep me grounded. I've realized that reflection is important for growth but you don't want to beat yourself down to a pulp. I have struggled with low self-esteem for years and I am glad I have learned to love myself. I can't let the pressures of life reverse the work that God has done in me.

This morning, as things just started not to go my way and I thought about all I had to do, I just began to beat myself up in my head. I was angry and irritable. And all I could think was, "I don't want to feel this way about myself." I heard the Lord say "Stir yourself up." At that moment I realized, every little thing I don't like about myself or my life, God put it in me and in my life for a reason. Separate, these pieces of me aren't appealing to those who dwell on those individual unpleasant pieces. However, when I gave my life to Christ, He made me whole. He doesn't see my pieces. All He sees is that everything He put in me and in my life is supposed to be used to give Him glory. There is a reason for every attribute, good and bad, that I have. I am not saying this to give you an opportunity to not better yourself and to not become more Christlike. I am saying this to make you understand that some things in your life and in your personality, were put in your life for you to work with and around. Instead of beating yourself up, use your quirks as a stepping stool to push closer to Jesus. To keep my procrastination to a minimum, I have to work as unto the Lord. To not say mean things, I need to edify and uplift people with my words. To not be so mean and passive, I have to have healthy confrontation. To not take things personal, I have to act like Jesus and love people despite what they do or say. To balance my life better, I have to give all of my cares and worries to God.

So all of the pieces of you and your life that are separately horrible, put it all in a bowl, add Jesus, and stir vigorously in the Holy Spirit. Stir your pieces together until you recognize who you are. You are a child of God. While you may be imperfect, you are an heir to the Kingdom of Heaven. Nothing can stop you from who God called you to be and to do. Not even your own negative thinking can change God's mind and plans for you. Dwelling on your negative attributes only hinders you and stops you from progressing. Learn your lessons, but keep living this awesome life.

So look at the flick of your wrist. Are you stirring yourself up fast enough or are you letting the pieces affect your progress? Are you mixing it all well so that the pieces won't separate from Jesus? Stir yourself daily in the spirit and in the Word of God. Jesus will hold all of your pieces together. Flick of Da Wrist. SMOOCHES XOXO

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Tips for Networking

Hellos Doves! BrandBuilder Lesson 2: When Networking Isn't Your Strong Suit

Hello Lovebugs! As you can see, I am branching out and expanding the Miss Elisa K. brand. I have learned so much on my own through trial and error about branding. I don't want to be selfish with this information and I don't want others to make the same mistakes. I want your brands, blogs, & businesses to boom! These lessons are based on my opinions and experiences. Hopefully, my BrandBuilder Lessons will provide the information and encouragement that you need.

I've never been good at networking. Engaging strangers in conversation to learn more about them but to also sell myself is frightening and overwhelming. However, when given advice on how to get that great job or how to expand your business, the suggestion always includes networking and getting to know the right people. While I tried to avoid networking in college, it became inevitable when I moved from North Carolina to Philadelphia. I had a large network in North Carolina because I grew up there and I went to college there (networking heaven). Starting over in Philadelphia has been difficult because not really knowing the right people or any for that matter has made it more difficult to garner support for my businesses (yes, even after 3 years). So I had to quickly grasp the networking skills I learned but never used. Below are 4 things I learned when I started networking and putting myself out there. I had a total of 7 Tips. If you want the rest, please comment and share this post.

1. Go to the event anyway. I prefer to be alone. I don't like to talk or be around many people at certain times. During many of those certain times, someone is hosting a networking mixer in which I have been invited. I don't make it out all the time; I've always tried to honor every event invite and now I know my limits. However, I occasionally make myself go to these events. I push myself. I don't think I've ever regretted going to an event in the last three years that I made myself attend. My board member and mentor insisted that I attend a networking mixer over the summer. And on the day of the event, it was raining cats and dogs. I didn't really want to go at first but I pushed myself to go anyway. In the end, I met some awesome young ladies from Au'loni Magazine and they featured Girls Like Me, Inc. a few months ago. This may be bad to say, but my low morale and low expectations to actually make connections made it easy for me to go to the event and talk to people when I didn't feel like being there. I wasn't expecting to get a job, a business partner, a customer, a man (lol that's why some of y'all go though), or anything else. I was just going because it was the antithesis of my original thought process. And you can't grow and get better unless you change your thought process, do things differently, and think outside the box. Push yourself out of your mental box and go to the next networking event in your area with no expectations.

2. Be yourself. This should be a given but we are very interesting people. We tend to change due to our environment like chameleons. I know in certain settings, it is best to conduct yourself accordingly. However, conduct has nothing to do with personality. Don't change yourself to fit in or to mesh with certain people. Even if you all connect, it won't last. Honestly, how long can you go on being fake and lying to yourself. It's easier to be yourself and let the right people come into your life. Find kindred spirits, as Susan Cain would say.

3. Don't be too personal. I struggle with this and I have had a few embarrassing moments. Not being too personal is difficult for me because I am really honest. Most times, I just want feedback or confirmation. However, I have learned where to take my cares. I have also realized that while you may feel connected to someone after first meeting them or in a casual work setting, they don't know you like that yet. Don't talk about sex, religion, money, parenting, politics, race, or anything that could make people uncomfortable. You may be thinking, "Umm, Elisa... anything can make people uncomfortable." And you are exactly right my friend. So just use your best judgement and know that there is no fool proof way to save yourself from a faux pas moment. Try to recover by changing the subject once you realize it. Just don't beat yourself up about it or let it dampen your confidence. People are temperamental and effective networking is a learning process.

4. Strategically Random. Lately, I've been going out and just living my normal life without the intent and pressure of networking. I've run into people I have met once before or people who I don't know at all who want to hold conversations or just say hello. I am proud of myself because I have learned to be real and sociable while managing to turn the focus back to my business during these conversations. For instance, I recognized a lady I took a homeowners class with at the dentist with her daughter. I wasn't feeling great and my mouth was hurting. Yet, I felt like I shouldn't waste a moment to be kind and connect with someone. I just spoke to her, said hello, and told her where I remember her from. While asking her about her home buying journey after the class, I realized she had a daughter. She asked me about my home buying journey. I told her I have been focusing on building my business, Girls Like Me, Inc. and told her about the services I provide. I gave her a card and I saw her talking to her daughter about it. I don't know what will come of it but at least one more person knows about Girls Like Me, Inc. Don't let even the smallest opportunities to talk to someone pass you by. You never know what you have to offer or what someone has to offer you. So many times I let my appearance or my mood stop me from taking opportunities to connect with people. Sometimes, you should take heed of those things as they can put people off. However, most times we are being overly critical of ourselves. If you have an opportunity to meet someone new or further connect, take it.

If you would like for me to share more information about this topic, please comment and share this post on your social media networks. Hey, I'm Building a Brand Here, too! SMOOCHES XOXO

Learn more about my BrandBuilder One-On-One Sessions!