Here’s some exciting news about KYH and the great ways we are infusing cultural beauty traditions around the world.
I Paid the Cost to be The Boss!
I paid the cost to be the boss! B. B. King played it. James Brown sang it. I am living it.
In other words, I made many strategic investments to pivot into becoming a multi award winning author, Know Your Hairitage consultant, and celebrity stylist. The investment in myself prepared me for bigger opportunities. Let me explain.
It all started in 2020, when I made the decision to self-publish my children’s book Zara’s Wash Day. Initially, Zara’s Wash Day was set to be a one-and-done passion project. However, the minute I finished my last edit, I knew that celebrating hairstyles of the African diaspora and Indigenous communities was a topic that had depth and could (and should) be sustainable as a series. This meant that my investment into an author profile, book editing, book design, and illustrations would expand into website design, attorney fees, paid ads, LLC establishment, and a host of other costs to start a full-fledged business.
I even paid a fee for every single book award contest I entered. Participating in the literary award process was one of my ah ha moments. It made me realize that, in most cases, you don’t get discovered and rewarded for being or doing something awesome. You actually have to believe in your awesomeness, fill out an application, and pay a fee to be considered. And while placing in any contest is a great boost to an individual’s brand and confidence, the cost ranged from $60-$400 per event.
Let’s not forget about all the applications and tools needed for brand continuity such as professional versions of art applications, social media profiles, website plugins, virtual assistants, post office box, vending set up, etc. I even had to budget for wardrobe, make-up, and a photographer to level up on my personal branding.
Starting out, I remember being told countless times how to cut corners and launch cheap. I was even criticized by a book coach on the investment I made to launch my book. I began to feel defeated and questioned all my decisions. But when my finished product came off the press and my graphics began posting online, my book essentially became my business card. The effort and quality I put into the presentation and content allowed me to enter rooms as an authority and be paid as such. Prioritizing your spend is important but accepting that you have to spend money to make money, is a psychological shift that many of us who did not grow up with money, have to work on. In other words, being the boss will also cost you time and your comfort zone.
I invested close to $17,000 and my return on investment was monumental. I laugh now when I think about how in December of 2020, I had to decide whether to pay my mortgage or buy my first order of books after hitting the publish button. Three years later, I have tripled my annual income and there is no cap on my earning potential. The best part is that even though I gave up my nine-to-five corporate job to work twenty-four-seven, I get to be a happy and present mom for my daughter, Zara. And that my friends, is priceless.
Zenda Walker is the award winning author of Zara’s Wash Day and CEO of Know Your Hairitage,LLC-a business consulting firm. Zara’s Wash Day and her second book, Zion’s Crown will be published globally under Running Press Kids in 2024. Visit www.knowyourhairitage.com for more information and booking inquiries.