"An Investment in Knowledge Pays the Best Interest."
As a young professional I have a responsibility to be knowledgeable about matters that not only pertain to my field but also in subject matters that can help me advance in my field. When Simply Ari Media was created in 2014, all I had was a word from the Lord and the downloaded vision that He imparted to me. I wasn't sure how all of the pieces would come together nor was I aware of how much work it would take to get it off the ground. The adventure on which the Lord has me is truly Holy Spirit led. He has connected me with people who have been willing to seed into the vision of this digital-media ministry and have supported the strides that we have made over the last four years. Now, we are transitioning into a new season and a new phase of the process. I have been prompted by the Lord to invest my time in reading self-help books that pertain to financing and budgeting, becoming more learned about the fields of Communication, Journalism, Public Relations and Social Media, and attending events that celebrate, educate and elevate young entrepreneurs in and around the Washington DC Metropolitan area.
The most recent of these events was the Wine and Wealth Soiree hosted by Ashley Johnson, founder and Chief Executive Officer of ANJPR Consulting LLC. She and I met at a business brunch a few months prior and kept in contact over social media. Ashley reached back out and invited me to be apart of her event's press room. I was humbled by the invitation and kindly and willingly obliged her request. What a wonderful opportunity to be able to delve into community journalism on an even larger scale! On Sunday, April 15th I arrived at Potomac Shores Golf Club in Dumfries, Virginia with my press pass around my neck, a fresh coat of Milani "Red Label" lipstick on my lips, a notepad in my attaché, and confidence in my stride. I was ready to work. I started off how I do all things, in prayer; asking the Lord to give me fluidity of thought and speech and to anoint the work of my hands. He met me in a tremendous way! When I was escorted into the press room I was kindly greeted by other men and women who were setting up their cameras and microphones. We exchanged pleasantries and we all shared in the excitement of the afternoon. I had the opportunity to interview a number of people: sponsors of the event, artists and entrepreneurs.
I asked the questions that I came in with, but as I listened more intently to the questions that the other press members were asking, I was inspired to go deeper. I asked the Holy Spirit to give me unique questions that were specific to the Simply Ari audience. Almost instantaneously the questions began to roll off of my tongue (God is so faithful!). Being that we were all gathered together to celebrate Financial Literacy Month I thought it fitting to ask "what the three top things were that young adults can do to invest in their futures and in their network?" I got so many good answers. Here are just a few:
"Always try to minimize debt. Whatever debt you have, pay it down. Live empty while you're young (you don't need a whole lot.) Have a clean lifestyle. By that I mean spiritually, health wise, and your space; sometimes too much clutter can cloud the mind. Lastly, no matter who you are, always have a silent partner, and that silent partner is God."
- Dr. Marvette Thomas, DDS
"Study your craft whatever that is. You need to study all facets of it. Understand that you have to spend money to make money. If you want your brand to be big and well known, you do have to invest in it yourself. You have to be the first investor. Lastly, stay away from credit cards. If you can pay cash, get an extra job, have somewhere where you can use that income to support your dream."
- Shannon "Shannie" Cosby, Makeup Artist
"Invest in yourself every single day, build up your skills and invest financially as."
Michell C. Clark, Social Entrepreneur
"First and foremost, get the knowledge. You need to start reading, seeking wise council, and start planning today for a better future. Things you need to start looking into are: emergency funds (3 to 6 months of your income). Second, get out of debt. Third, you need to have a plan. You need to have financial guidance. You need to have someone to help you build a strategy that's going to help you get from point A to point B. Seek mentors, look for people who are in a better position than you are and ask them how they got there."
- Jonathan Wright, Financial Coach
Another question is I asked was, "How do you think social media has changed the game for entrepreneurs?"
"Social media has changed everything; because now you have the ability to brand yourself. You can populate Twitter, Instagram, Facebook as much as you choose to instead of paying someone else to do it." and I loved this part, "as an entrepreneur, I can appreciate the we don't all have big budgets for marketing. The "do it yourself" aspect is empowering."
- Summer Pearson, Recording Artist
"Having a brand on social is so vital for small business owners because you're able to organically connect with the right people and receive clientele. Being engaged, promoting your services, responding right way those little things make a small business, especially when it's growing."
- Ashley Johnson, CEO of ANJPR Consulting
The common threads throughout the afternoon were: to believe in your "why", be knowledgeable about the aspects of your business, move in the direction of your passion and invest in your dream.
I am so grateful for the insights that I received. As a solopreneur and social media enthusiast, I was dazzled with the depth of knowledge that each of the people I spoke with were able to share. I appreciated their candor and their encouragement. Most of all, I was appreciative and inspired by the people with whom I was able to network. I am very much looking forward to collaborating with the amazing creatives in the near future!
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