Today’s blog post discusses my creative style as an author. Earlier this year, I started collecting pictures from fashion magazines that illustrated what I wanted to look like as an author during my fall and winter Digital Sisterhood book events. I fell in love with gold jewelry, knit dresses with lots of zippers, leather wedge boots, colorful trench coats, and purses with funky side stitching.
Thanks to my incredibly creative and fashion savvy niece, Jordan, I knew I could find my gold jewelry — a funky ring and bangles from Forever 21 during one of my Labor Day sale adventures.
The black knit dress with zippers was a hard one to find. I started looking at my usual spots — Ann Taylor Loft, Macy’s, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx, but had no luck. While I was walking home earlier this week, my inner fashion goddess who lives inside my head whispered, “Drop by Dress Barn to see about the black knit dress.” So I listened (my inner fashion goddess is never wrong!) and found a petite black knit dress with gold zippers for $42. Yes, I said $42!
My Tahari black leather wedge boots were easy to find. I just had to look in my closet and find my boot container with boots I purchased two and three years ago. I had the heels fixed during the summer.
Looking for a trench coat has been a two-year challenge. I finally found one that fit my author creative style requirements (colorful), body size, and budget from Marshalls on a Sunday morning after church. It was love at first sight. Thank goodness Jones New York makes cinnamon double-breasted petite trench coats that end up in Marshalls for $60!
My black leather purse with funky silver side stitching is an oldie but goodie purchase I made at Violet Boutique (one of my favorite places to shop in D.C. — especially for jewelry, purses, coats, and jackets) in 2011.
The piece de resistance of my author creative style is my red tiger glasses by Oliver Goldsmith (OG), a London-based family run business that is synonymous with fashion and style. OG has been in business for the past 80 years. Fashion designers Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Vidal Sassoon, and actors Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Peter Sellers, and Michael Caine embraced OG eyewear early in their careers.
I discovered my red tiger glasses during one of my summer visits to Dupont Optical, the place that has helped me select signature eyewear for over 20 years. Dupont Optical owner and optician Ben Herman recommended my red tiger glasses and another very cool pair of casual glasses I can wear as sunshades.
What are you wearing this fall to express your creativity?
Q: In your writing, you tell stories. How did you become a storyteller?
AKML: I grew up around women who loved to tell stories about their lives. My grandmother, great aunt, and mother shared photo albums, scrapbooks, clothing, jewelry, and memorabilia from events they attended to illustrate their stories. Their stories were told so often I memorized them. Eventually, they were embedded into the tapestry of my life. In high school, college, and law school, I proudly wore their vintage clothing and jewelry with my outfits and told stories about the items to my friends. I still wear these items and share stories. Wearing their things reminds me of who I am and where I come from. It connects me to them at all times.
Q: This book is your second memoir. Who are your favorite memoirists?
AKML: Dr. Maya Angelou is the first memoirist I read in junior high school. I love how Dr. Angelou tells her life stories in a series of books. I adore how Alice Walker and Ntozake Shange have used poetry to tell their personal stories. My friend and activist/artist/scholar Tim’m West’s poetical memoir gave me freedom to write my first memoir. I also enjoy reading memoirs written by feminist scholar and cultural critic bell hooks, artist Faith Ringgold, and yoga teacher Cyndi Lee.
Q: What prompted you to write this book?
AKML: In 2009, a publisher (that was on my dream list of publishers) contacted me to explore the possibility of entering into a book contract about how the Internet has impacted women’s creativity. Thrilled and excited, I entered into a round of discussions with the publisher. She introduced me to two writing mentors who helped me flush out my ideas for a book outline. I shared the Sisterhood the Blog book outline with her and launched a blog, Facebook group, and Twitter account to begin writing the book. A few weeks later, the publisher lost interest. I tried several times to follow up, but did not receive a response. Devastated is the best word to describe how I felt.
My writing mentors encouraged me to write and self-publish the book. So I dived deep into my new blog and distributed its content on my social media sites. A few months later, I added a podcast to the mix. Through my blog, podcast, and social media sites, I was able to interview and profile a diverse group of women in social media and technology. When I attended local and national conferences, events, and meet ups, I used my video camera and audio podcast app to record my interviews. These efforts expanded my understanding of the roles women play in the digital space.
My focus for the book changed after I attended the BlogHer annual conference’s closing keynote, “How to Use Your Voice, Your Platform and Your Power,” featuring PBS anchor Alison Stewart, White House Project founder Marie Wilson, author and activist Gloria Feldt, and journalist and environmentalist P. Simran Sethi, in 2010. Listening to these women’s stories convinced me to write a memoir about my online journey and how women have influenced, informed, and inspired my digital experiences.
That same year, I changed the title of the book, blog, podcast, and social media to Digital Sisterhood after I conducted a series of interviews with women bloggers about their relationships with women in social media at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference.
Q: Who did you write this book for?
AKML: I wrote the book for women between the ages of 18 to 76 who spend time in the digital space blogging, building community, chatting, coding, creating webisodes and videos, crowdfunding, developing mobile apps, engaging in commerce, giving back by supporting social good campaigns, hosting online events, liking on Facebook, mentoring, pinning on Pinterest, podcasting, posting photos on Flickr and Instagram, reading blogs, publishing books, running businesses, serving as social media leaders, sharing information, teaching, tweeting 140 characters or less on Twitter, watching videos, and visiting web sites. I also wrote the book for women and girls who need greater access to technology and training.
Q: What do you want readers to gain from this book?
AKML: I want my readers to take what they find useful in the book and use it in a positive way. I hope my women readers are inspired to explore, celebrate, share, and publish their own stories about being online and the Digital Sisterhood connections they have made with other women. I hope they will publish their stories on blogs and in books. I want more women to write and publish books about their online lives, businesses, social good campaigns, and thought leadership.
Q: Did you use any research data to identify your niche audience?
AKML: I used BlogHer’s Social Media Matters Study which reported that 87 million women between the ages of 18 to 76 were online in 2011. The BlogHer study also reported that 69 million women used social media weekly, 80 million women used social media monthly, and 55 million women read blogs monthly. When I read this data, I realized these women have created a powerful digital footprint as communicators, connectors, community builders, tech creators, early adopters, and influencers.
Q: Tell us about your journey in embracing the Internet. How did your digital footprint begin?
AKML: My digital footprint began when I logged onto the LexisNexis research service as a first-year law student at Howard University School of Law in August 1986. It marked the beginning of my Internet geek path. My Internet experiences have been greatly influenced by the social connections women have made online and offline. Through them, I have witnessed the growth and expansion of women’s presence and power on the World Wide Web. Women are making digital herstory with blogs, books, businesses, careers, coding and software development projects, conferences, events, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, live streaming, meet up groups, mobile apps, online communities, online magazines, organizations, Pinterest, podcasts, Twitter, videos, webinars, web sites, and webisodes.
Q: What are your favorite social media tools?
AKML: That’s a hard one. I love so many. Right now, my favorites are all visual: Animoto, Flickr, Google+ Hangout, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
It’s almost October. What are you planning to do next month?
Next month which is really next week — I plan to attend the Blogalicious Weekend Conference. It will be held on October 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. I am really excited because this year marks Blogalicious’ fifth anniversary. I have attended all of the conferences since the first one in 2009!
I am also excited because I’m facilitating creativity coaching sessions for Blogalicious attendees throughout the conference and moderating a crowdfunding panel on October 4 that features the Techturized, Inc. co-founders, Chanel Martin (CSO), Candace Mitchell (CEO), and Jessica Watson (CMO). They are responsible for creating MadameYou.com, an online destination for African-American women to share their hair experiences, and give advice to each other regarding how to tackle hair issues.
If you are headed to the Blogalicious Weekend Conference and want to meet the Techturized co-founders, I hope you will stop by the panel discussion on CrowdFunding: The Financial Backing for Your Project Is at Your Fingertips! that will take place on Friday, October 4 from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. During the panel, you will have a chance to hear the Techturized co-founders share their lessons learned from their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask them questions about your own crowdfunding plans.
If you are a crowdfunding newbie, check out my crowdfunding overview and resources, Kickstarter Journey story, and crowdfunding checklist and tips below. This information is based on excerpts from my new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (October 2013).
CROWDFUNDING OVERVIEW AND RESOURCES
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a web-based financial model that allows individuals to use social-networking sites to identify and solicit donors who pool their money in community to support creative projects, entrepreneurial endeavors, and social causes.
There are four types of crowdfunding: donation-based, equity-based, lending-based, and reward-based. Donation-based crowdfunding allows you to give a financial contribution to a charitable cause. With reward-based crowdfunding, you invest a certain financial amount and receive a reward which is a tangible item or service in return for your investment. Equity-based crowdfunding offers you a stake in the company when you make a financial investment. Lending-based crowdfunding treats your financial contribution as a loan that will be repaid over a period of time. For purposes of this blog post, the information we are sharing relates primarily to donation and rewards-based crowdfunding.
Three of the most popular rewards-based crowdfunding platforms are GoFundMe, Indiegogo (co-founded by a female entrepreneur Danae Ringelmann), and Kickstarter. PayPal is another web platform people use to collect donations. There are other crowdfunding platforms and online fundraising web sites that support children and youth, ethnic groups, nonprofit organizations, social causes, and women. See the list below.
Children and Youth
Piggybackr.com is a crowdfunding platform that helps children and youth (kindergarten through college-aged kids) to raise money for their specific cause (co-founded by female entrepreneur Andrea Lo).
Aflamnah.com is the first crowdfunding platform dedicated to helping independent filmmakers, artists, geeks, students, innovators, and thinkers in the Arab world raise funds for their projects (co-founded by female entrepreneur Vida Rizq).
BlackStartUp.com is a crowdfunding platform for projects and ideas that will have a positive impact on the African American community.
Crowdismo.com is a Latino crowdfunding platform that Latino entrepreneurs, designers, programmers, marketers, educators, students, community leaders, cause champions, journalists, engineers, inventors, artists, and producers can use to fund their projects.
ShopZAOZAO.com is a crowdfunding platform that allows Asian designers to post projects and receive production funding (founded by female entrepreneurs Ling Cai and Vicky Wu).
Nonprofit Organizations and Social Causes
Crowdrise.com is an online fundraising web site that allows individual fundraisers, nonprofit fundraising, and event fundraising (co-founded by female film producer Shauna Robertson).
Fundly.com is a social fundraising platform that helps individuals and organizations raise money for causes they care about.
GiveForward.com is an online fundraising web site that allows friends and family to donate to patients navigating a medical crisis (co-founded by female entrepreneur Desiree Vargas Wrigley).
Catapalt.org is a crowdfunding site that works for gender justice and equality that only nonprofit and charitable organizations can use (co-founded by female entrepreneur Maz Kessler).
CrowdHelps.com is a crowdfunding platform that helps women. People can help change a woman’s life by donating funds, professional advice, free time, or kind words (co-founded by female entrepreneur Silvia Podubni).
GirlTank.org is a community and crowdfunding platform that helps women and girl changemakers fund and grow their social enterprises (founded by female entrepreneurs Tara Roberts and Sejal Hathis).
Moola-Hoop.com is a crowdfunding platform for women entrepreneurs, owners, and managers (founded by female entrepreneurs Brenda Bazan and Nancy Hayes).
NapTimeStartUps.com is a crowdfunding web site for mom and women entrepreneurs that will launch in December 2013 (founded by female entrepreneurs Catherine Snowman and Jenivieve Elly).
If you are raising money for your film or online television program and looking for an alternative to Indiegogo and Kickstarter (two of the most popular platforms for filmmakers and webisode creators), check out the following platforms.
JuntoBoxFilms.com is a film collaboration and mentoring studio that uses its social platform to empower creators, writers, producers, directors, and actors to develop films with budgets starting at $250,000.
Mobcaster.com is a crowdfunding platform focused on finding, funding, and broadcasting independent online television programs.
SeedandSpark.com is a selective film crowdfunding platform that approves each project (founded by female entrepreneur and filmmaker Emily Seed).
Slated.com is an online film marketplace that connects a network of investors, filmmakers, and industry professionals.
My crowdfunding journey began with a challenge from my Ameriprise Financial financial advisor Judy Weathers during our first quarter meeting in 2010. We were reviewing my self-publishing expenses for two books published in 2007 and 2009, and estimating the expenses for a third book. Judy asked me if I could find investors or alternative funding for the book. At first, I thought she was asking me to do the impossible, but a small voice inside convinced mer to be open and pursue alternative funding.
Months passed without me lifting a finger to identify alternative funding. Then, it happened. The light bulb went off during an episode of Digital Sisterhood Radio. I was moderating a panel of creative women in social media when Abiola Abrams, author and founder of AbiolaTV.com, referenced an Essence article that discussed the power of using Kickstarter to fund books and films. After the show, I visited Kickstarter.com and learned about several authors who used it to raise money for their books. Their success inspired me to take the plunge.
Here’s what happened: I created two Kickstarter campaigns for my self-publishing package and photography fees to support my Digital Sisterhoodbook. Using video was a must for me. So I recorded an eight-minute video with my laptop’s web cam that was very simple and shared my reasons for writing the book and using Kickstarter. I included the same information in the description section of my campaign page. I also offered seven pledge options ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and $200) with rewards that included:
$1 Pledge: Donors names will be published in the book as supporters.
$5 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and access to the behind-the-scenes video & audio updates that will document the creation of the book.
$10 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and access to a live author chat on UStream.tv during the book writing and publishing process.
$20 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above, a personal thank-you note with book logo and signed by author, and an invitation to participate in the online book release party via UStream.tv.
$50 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above, an invitation to vote on the book cover design, and a Digital Sisterhood mug.
$100 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and an autographed copy of the book.
$200 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and a private one-hour author chat via Skype or telephone with the author.
With the support of my generous donors (backers is the Kickstarter term), my first campaign raised $1,159 in 2010. My second campaign raised $701 in 2011. I also received donations via PayPal and from friends who gave cash and check donations.
My funding goals were very conservative. I wanted to make sure I received every dollar I raised because Kickstarter only offers fixed funding, an all-or-nothing approach. That means if you don’t reach your funding goal, you don’t receive any of the money you raised.
The biggest challenges I faced with my campaigns were writing a book while I was conducting two fundraisers and underestimating the time it would actually take to publish the book. My underestimation caused a three-year delay in my delivery of rewards to my donors (I am in the process of delivering rewards over the next two months). To maintain communication with my donors, I posted regular updates about my writing process in 2011 and part of 2012. I slacked off in 2013. Fortunately, my donors have not complained. They are a great group of people who have a lot of compassion and patience. They taught me that crowdfunding is rooted in generosity. For that, I am truly grateful.
As a result of my experience, I believe crowdfunding is rooted in:
Passion for a cause, project, or venture;
The experience of connection, relationship building, and social capital within a community;
The power of asking;
The act of generosity; and
The practice of gratitude.
CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN CHECKLIST & TIPS
Now that you know more about crowdfunding and my Kickstarter journey, I thought you might like a checklist and tips to help guide you through the process of developing your own crowdfunding campaign.
Campaign Checklist & Tips
1) PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Describe your crowdfunding project in 140 characters or less. Give it a name that sparks interest. You will be able to use this short description as a springboard for writing your full campaign description (narrative or story).
2) FUNDING GOAL: How much money do you want to raise?
3) FUNDING PLEDGES: What types of pledges are you seeking to receive from donors ($1, $5, $10, $20, $30, $40, $50, $75, $100, $200 or more)?
4) CROWDFUNDING MODEL: What type of crowdfunding model works best for your project: fixed funding or flexible funding?
5) CROWDFUNDING PLATFORM: What crowdfunding platforms are best suited for your project (GoFundMe, Indiegogo, Kickstarter or others)?
6) CROWDFUNDING PROJECT BEST PRACTICES: Identify five or more examples of similar crowdfunding projects. Watch the campaign videos. Read the campaign descriptions. Check out the pledge amounts and types of rewards. Review any updates that were sent to donors. Take notes on what you like or dislike.
7) CAMPAIGN LAUNCH DATE: When will you launch the crowdfunding campaign?
-Can your launch date be tied to a major awareness event or during a month when you think your audience will be more interested in supporting you?
-Will you launch the campaign with a special online event (Google+ Hangout video chat or Twitter chat) or offline event (meet up)?
8) DURATION OF CAMPAIGN: How long will you run the campaign (number of days you will use to raise the funding)?
9) CAMPAIGN TEAM: Who will help you manage the campaign (interns, social media enthusiasts, marketing/PR professionals or volunteers, family members, and friends).
10) CAMPAIGN COMMUNITY (AMBASSADORS AND DONORS): Who are the members of your campaign community?
-Make a list (use an Excel spreadsheet) of your blog readers, email list members, e-newsletter subscribers, Facebook fans, friends, and group members, Google+ friends, Instagram followers, LinkedIn members, Pinterest followers, Twitter followers, and YouTube and Vimeo subscribers, and other social networking site friends.
-What organizations and groups do you belong to? Do you have the contact information for the organizers and the group members?
-What conferences or events do you regularly attend? Do you have the contact information for the organizers and the people you have met at the events?
-What groups of people will be interested in your campaign? Do you have the contact information for the groups (web site, email address, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other sites)?
-Your campaign community members are your donor base. Ask them to donate to your campaign.
-Your campaign community members are also your potential ambassadors for your campaign. Ask them to share your campaign information, social media, and video with people in their online, email, and offline networks.
11) YOUR CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN FULL DESCRIPTION: Why is your campaign project needed? How will your campaign project make the world better? What makes you the person to lead your campaign project? How do you plan to spend the money once you have raised it?
12) CAMPAIGN REWARDS: How will you thank your ambassadors and donors for supporting your campaign? What rewards will you offer your donors?
-Research the rewards offered by other crowdfunding campaigns.
-Develop a list of 10 creative and personal rewards you can offer.
-How much money will it cost you to deliver the rewards (factor in shipping and packaging fees)?
13) CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH STRATEGIES: What tools will you use to communicate with your audience? Are you going to create a video or use any photos (I say DO BOTH!)?
-Identify where your audience members spend their time online. Hopefully, you have established an online presence on the sites.
-Use Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest (create a board for your campaign), Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube to promote your campaign, drum up positive media coverage from bloggers/e-zines/magazines/newspapers, and recruit new campaign community members (ambassadors and donors).
-Brainstorm ideas for your videos. How will you make your videos (web cam flip camera, phone camera)? Where will you record the videos? Who will help you make the videos? Will you use any music or photos in the videos?
You may want to do three short videos (one to three minutes) during the campaign. The first video could be used as your pitch video (two to three minutes). Your pitch video tells your story. Watch five to seven pitch videos created for successful campaigns. Make note of why you like them. Try to incorporate some of their best features in your video.
The second video (one to two minutes) could be a status update about the campaign which includes shout outs to campaign ambassadors and donors (one to two minutes).
The third video could be a final thank you to your supporters.
-You may want to prepare a short script for your videos. Keep your script simple and easy to understand. Practice what you will say several times. Record three sample videos and ask several people to critique your presentation.
-When you record your video, make sure you wear clothing (and hairstyle and make up) that compliments you. You want to look relaxed, down-to-earth, and friendly. Have fun!
-Create an editorial calendar and sample posts that you will use throughout the campaign. Include dates for submitting press releases about the campaign (status updates with any successes).
-To make the lives of your campaign ambassadors easier, send them sample posts or tweets that they can share with their networks.
14) ADDITIONAL CAMPAIGN FUNDING SOURCES: Will you use PayPal.com to collect donations from donors who may not want to use your crowdfunding platform? Will you accept cash and personal checks from donors who may not want to use PayPal.com or your crowdfunding platform?
15) CELEBRATING YOUR CAMPAIGN SUCCESS: How will you celebrate your campaign’s success? Will you host an online event (Twitter chat or Google+ Hangout) or a local event (open house, meet up or happy hour) in your city or town? Will you send a video thank you, email thank-you notes, or mail personalized thank you notes?
16) POST CAMPAIGN OUTREACH: How will you keep in touch with your campaign community of ambassadors, donors, and supporters? Will you send them monthly or quarterly updates via email or an e-newsletter? Will you post a series of updates on your campaign update page, blog, or Facebook page?
You’re invited to attend an author talk and book signing for my third book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online on Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery located at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, 1632 U Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. (three blocks from the Green Line U Street/Cardozo Metro Station). The book will be available for sale ($23.95) during the book signing. Click here to register on Eventbrite.
About the Book
Ananda Kiamsha Madelyn Leeke became a pioneer in the digital universe twenty-seven years ago, when she logged in to the LexisNexis research service as a first-year law student at Howard University School of Law. She was immediately smitten with what the World Wide Web could do. Later, while attending the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995, Leeke found herself in an Internet café, where she experienced an interaction that changed her life.
Over time, through interactions and conversations both online and in-person, Leeke developed the concept of “digital sisterhood.” Embracing this revolutionary concept led to a complete career reinvention that finally allowed her to embrace her enormous creative spirit. She found in her digital sisters true “sheroes” and virtual mentors. Her blogging and social media adventures highlight the lessons she learned in the process, the reasons she launched the Digital Sisterhood Network, and the experiences that caused her to adopt what she terms the “fierce living” commitments.
In her memoir, Digital Sisterhood, Leeke details her journey, sharing experiences and insights helped her and her digital sisters use the Internet as a self-discovery tool and identifying leadership archetypes that shaped her role as a social media leader.
11 Things You Can Do Before October 19th Book Reading
If you are in the D.C. area, register yourself and invite five friends to the October 19th book reading.
Share this notice on your social media networks or blog.
I’ve got some great news to kick off this new month. Last week, I submitted the final manuscript for my book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online to my publisher. See a description of the book below. The next steps include me reviewing the proofs (manuscript in book form) and approving the book cover design. My book should be available on Amazon.com in early October (paperback and Kindle). So get ready for a great autumn read!
Book Description: Digital Sisterhood provides insight and inspiration for any woman seeking to celebrate, express, or reinvent how the Internet, social media, and technology impact her life. Ananda Kiamsha Madelyn Leeke became a pioneer in the digital space when she first logged into the LexisNexis research service as a first-year law student at Howard University School of Law 27 years ago. She was immediately smitten with what the World Wide Web could do and in this compelling memoir, we follow her on her journey as she finds herself in an Internet café in Beijing, China and has an interaction that changes her life.
Leeke begins to embrace and define the concept of “digital sisterhood” and through interactions and conversations both on-line and in-person, she embraces a complete career reinvention (spoiler alert, she leaves the legal field) and finally embraces her enormous creative spirit. We get to know the digital sisters in her life as true sheroes and virtual mentors. Their experiences and insights helped her use the Internet as a self-discovery tool and identify leadership archetypes that shaped her role as a social media leader.
Her blogging and social media adventures will highlight the lessons she learned while tapping into the power of her leadership archetypes, the reasons she launched the Digital Sisterhood Network, and the experiences that caused her to adopt what she terms the “fierce living” commitments. At the end of each chapter, you’ll have an opportunity to explore aspects of your own Digital Sisterhood journey through a series of interactive exercises.
In honor of this major accomplishment, I thought I would share a photo of artwork that appears on the book cover. Dariela Cruz, an amazing graphic designer and co-founder of Dari Design Studio, and I worked together on the design concept. Dariela created the final product. I think she did a fabulous job. What do you think?
Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my writing journey. I am deeply grateful for your positive energy and prayers.
Last week, I attended the 9th Annual BlogHer Conference held at the McCormick Place and Sheraton Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. What a time I had! It was intense, inspiring, and informative. That’s why I decided to write several blog recaps.
I read Sandberg’s book earlier this year. It took me a full weekend to inhale her words and wisdom. Her book was filled with many golden nuggets I have used in my life and shared with other women. It also inspired me to write and submit a case study entitled “Lean In and Listen to Yourself” for the Hot Mommas Project. As a result, I was recently named a 2012-2013 author for the Hot Mommas Project case study library.
When I learned Sandberg would be a BlogHer keynote, I was thrilled! Here are the key takeaways I received from her interview with Stone.
Believe in yourself.
I am unapologetically a feminist (inspired by Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments and one of my virtual mentors from the 1990s).
Reach for any ambition.
Ask yourself what would you do if you weren’t afraid, and then reach for those ambitions.
At the end of her interview, she challenged audience members to write what they would do if they weren’t afraid on paper signs her LeanIn.org provided, take photos with the signs, and tweet and post the photos on LeanIn.org Tumblr. I loved the challenge. Check out the statements I wrote below.
Writing these statements helped me get clearer on what I really want to do with my passion, gifts, energy, and time. My next step is to lean in and publish my Digital Sisterhood book (you know the one I have been writing since 2009 — what a journey!), create space in my life to write more books and create art, and plan when I will cut my locs and grow my Angela Davis afro (will probably happen during my 50th year on earth which is fast approaching in 2014 — maybe even 2015).
The women I meet online are some of the most brilliant, creative, entrepreneurial, and generous people in the universe. Alli Worthington is one of these women. Alli is the founder of Blissfully Domestic, a women’s e-zine, that helped spark the creativity she used to launch and co-found BlissDom and BlissDom Canada with Barbara Jones, CEO/Founder of Blissful Media Group and One2One Network in 2008. She is also a business consultant, coach, speaker, and strategist who has worked with and advised Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, from tech companies to your favorite household brands.
I first discovered her online presence and BlissDom during a conversation I had with women bloggers at the BlogHer conference in 2009. After the conference, I started following her on Twitter and reading about BlissDom. Her tweets introduced me to her brilliance, community building efforts, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and generosity. She quickly became one of my digital sister diva sheroes.
I met Alli in person while attending and speaking at the BlissDom 2012 Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Her positive energy and spirit were the first things I noticed and felt. She was in fact blissful from the inside out. Her commitment to sharing the best ideas, information, and inspiration with the BlissDom community was readily apparent.
Recently, Alli relaunched her web site AlliWorthington.com and changed the focus of her business so that it helps individuals realize they have what it takes to build their own business. Through her web site, she is offering several resources (see below).
As a part of my research and writing journey for my upcoming book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online, I read MacNeil’s She Takes on the World. It was a quick and energizing read filled with soulful affirmations and mantras, brilliant and bold ideas, wisdom, authentic conversations with women entrepreneurs who shared their lessons learned, and a heavy dose of inspiration that moved me to adopt and use the “I AM ready” affirmation discussed in Chapter Three on a daily basis. Here it is: “I am ready. I am open to guidance and I am ready to achieve greatness. I AM ready.” This affirmation appealed to my new thought spiritual practices and use of similar affirmations. It is helping me move past my fear of finishing my memoir this summer.
The Lessons and Confessions session in each chapter that features insights and wisdom from female entrepreneurs was PRICELESS. When I read their words, I could hear their voices. They spoke directly from their hearts about their challenges and successes. RareFunk.ca founder Tamara Minns’ lessons learned was soul medicine: “Keep your mind focused on your dreams, follow your gut, and keep those who truly believe in you close by for encouraging reminders that one doesn’t need everyone’s approval to move forward.”
Chapter Four offered me a better understanding of my personal brand and how it should reflect who I am from the inside out. My takeaway was about valuing and telling my own story. Here’s what MacNeil had to say: “People buy into a person, a story, an idea – not merely a trinket. A story is better than any mission statement you could craft for your brand. Your story is social currency. What do I mean by that? I mean that people like to talk, and if you give them something entertaining to talk about, they will unconsciously perceive it as valuable. That’s currency. Give your customers that currency, and they will buy from over and over again.” I love the phrase social currency. It reminded me of my feminine currency phrase I use to describe Digital Sisterhood.
Chapter Five’s gold nugget was wrapped in a five-step mantra for achieving goals and tasks: “Today I get five steps closer to reaching my goal.” The practice of focusing only on five goals per day helped me take a deep breath of release and ease into the final stages of writing my book.
Chapter Nine’s branding and marketing advice and resources were invaluable. They helped me develop a plan to strengthen my online presence. That’s exactly what I need as I move forward with my book PR and marketing efforts.
To learn more about MacNeil and her amazing work, click here to watch her video. And if you are a revolutionary woman, join She Takes on the World. Go on and do it. I did!