Candice VanWye is the founder of a Brown Girl Bloggers, a community where female bloggers of color go for support and advice. We conducted a short interview via email, here is what she had to say about the challenges of being an entrepreneur.
Jasmine: Tell us a little about your company. What inspired you to start Brown Girl Bloggers?
I was inspired to start Brown Girl Bloggers in June 2014 because I wanted to find more minority women who blogged. I had been blogging for about a year and although I knew plenty of white bloggers I felt like it was harder to find bloggers of color. It originally started off as a blog roll. I searched every social media site and Google to find bloggers and added them. Slowly bloggers noticed BGB on social media and told their friends about it and they started to add themselves to the blog roll.
Jasmine: What does your service provide to the average blogger?
We offer the average blogger tips and education on the blogging process, a community of bloggers similar to themselves and in the very near future the opportunity to work with brands. We will also be having meet ups soon and hopefully our very own conference.
Jasmine: There are a lot of bloggers and writers out there who are just getting started and would love to know the secret to your success. Tell us a little about how you got started.
I graduated from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. I got a degree in Communication. I had a ton of internships and jobs. I started my sophomore year. I interned with the American Lung Association, The Modern Connection, Femfessionals and I worked as the Publicity Chair for homecoming at my school as well as on my school’s activities board. I also worked for The Charleston Area Conventions Bureau for two years in college which provided me with a lot of connections and opportunities. It’s all about strategically choosing things that will give you the skills you need after college.
I got started as a freelancer fairly easily. I made business cards and a website and then went to a few networking events. I got my first client within a week and he introduced me to his friends who owned businesses. I got lucky that my first client was well connected. I have always worked for myself but I did break down and get a “real job” twice. It didn’t work out because I can’t sit in someone’s office for 8 hours a day for little pay.
Jasmine: Freelancers and bloggers usually have the option of working from home. How do you stay focused when working from home? Tell us about your work space.
I have a home office which helps a lot. I’ve found that I can’t focus when I try to work in bed so I always wake up, go to the gym, take a shower and then get ready to work. As long as my desk is clear and I can look out of my window I’m fine. My workspace also doubles as my closet so there are a lot of clothing racks and accessories. It keeps me motivated because if I make more money I can go shopping!
Jasmine: As an entrepreneur, has there ever been a time when you wanted to quit? What are the biggest challenges associated with being an entrepreneur?
Yes! It’s so hard not to feel fear. At a job with co-workers you can bounce ideas off of people and while I have that to some degree it’s not the same. I can always ask my husband or family but they just don’t understand. My biggest challenge is to not let self-doubt get in my way when I’m ready to launch new things.
Jasmine: What has been your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement to date has been making enough money so that I don’t need to work for someone else. It’s so liberating.
Jasmine: Where do you see yourself in five years, personally?
In 5 years, I see myself living in the South again. I see myself owning a house with my husband, having a few paid off cars and having a nice little savings nest with no debt. I see myself and my husband traveling as I will have a location independent business.
Jasmine: There has been a huge boom in entrepreneurship and small businesses lately. Do you think everyone is capable of being a successful entrepreneur?
I don’t think everyone has the drive to be an entrepreneur and it’s ok to realize that about yourself
Jasmine: Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to go into business for themselves?
The advice I’d give to a future entrepreneur is to study other people that do what you want to do. See what mistakes they’ve made and how you can avoid them. Also, put some time into being the best that you can be at your craft before investing a ton of money into it. I just jumped in without a bunch of thought and while it’s worked out in the end it has been a very bumpy road.
Jasmine: We always ask a few personal questions to get a better picture of our interviewee so here goes. What’s your favorite movie?
The Lion King
Jasmine: What is your favorite TV show of all time?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Jasmine: Favorite musical artist?
Too hard to decide.
Jasmine: Love or money?
Love. Always. How can you enjoy your money if you don’t have loved ones to share it with?