"If your marketing is mismatched with your ideal client audience, you're going to struggle." [Interview 10 - Michell]
"Don't read my Instagram captions," he warns, leaving us all to wonder what exactly we'll find there. We soon discover that these captions -- the profitable, treasured online real estate of his -- also serve as his personal playground for foolery, but with a captivating purpose.
Next thing you know, you're scrolling through dozens of posts chuckling as you wonder what kind of wit he'll hit you with next.
Who is he, exactly? Michell Clark -- a talented writer, social media branding expert, and tastemaker with a reach of over 70k millennials whose interests are rooted in hip-hop, business, and personal development.
It's clear Michell has fun shaping his online narratives and social micro-stories. But more than just humor, there's honesty. There's humility. There's no sugar coating what it takes to successfully pave your own lane as a modern-day influencer. And across his platforms, he's narrating his highs, lows, and lessons learned along the way.
In Michell's words:
"I am a Washington, D.C.-based social entrepreneur, cultural curator, and content creator. I exercise the privilege of sharing my gifts with millennials looking to grow their brands, businesses, and overall public image. Quitting my job in 2016 changed my life, and so did Jay-Z's verse on "Shiny Suit Theory." When I was four years old, I ran into a fence so hard that I had to get braces for four years - so I'm used to pushing through setbacks and smiling through the pain. I prioritize growth over comfort every day. I overcame my darkest days and discovered my purpose in the process. I'm working to help others do the same."
Michell's been chasing success on his own terms as a full-time entrepreneur for just over a year and a half now. Check out the why and how he's out to make his mark on the world below:
KW: In 1 minute or less, what led you to this point and where you are you headed from here?
MC: I experienced low points in my life due to insufficient knowledge of self. I was trying to chase other peoples' dreams, because I didn't believe that my own were possible. I got to a point where God literally forced me to chase my own dreams. I was told that the "safe" job with healthcare and a steady paycheck might be taken away from me. That revelatory moment lit a fire in me. It made me realize that I would have been better off taking risks on my own terms all along. I've been actively fighting to assemble my own dreams as a social entrepreneur and cultural curator since then, and that process makes me a better person every day.
What are the biggest mental and/or financial shifts you made to tap into your passion as a full-time entrepreneur?
I had to learn to be more agile with my methods. I have always been a hard worker, and I have always seen things through. Entrepreneurism is not something that progresses in a straight line - there are countless ups and downs and twists and turns.
You have to constantly reassess the way that you operate in order to win. The world is constantly changing. Technology, social media trends, customer habits and preferences - none of those things are static, but all of those things are important to take into account when navigating the course as a self-sustaining entrepreneur. You have to be just as fluid as the world around you.
I thought I was going to make one social media coaching offering available, market that offering, and make enough money to sustain myself on a monthly basis. That didn't even last for the first thirty days of my entrepreneurial journey. I had to revise my course, sales page, and marketing plan multiple times. I also had to find a ton of additional income streams, because coaching alone wasn't paying my bills. Merchandise, freelance writing, events - the list goes on.
I was more stubborn about my entrepreneurial plans before I quit my job, but once that safety net was removed, I got into the mindset of doing whatever it would take to stay afloat.
What's the most rewarding thing you've experienced since building your own brand? The most challenging?
The most rewarding things that I've experienced in over eight years of brand building have all happened within the past six months. These rewarding experiences and opportunities are the culmination of everything that I've built so far. I'd have to say that the singular most rewarding experience I've enjoyed thus far was an all expense paid trip to Toronto to cover the beautiful Delta Hotel and tour the city.
Because of my ability to tell authentic stories to my audience on social media, I was able to travel to another country and live the dream for 48 hours - and get paid for it. I anticipate having even bigger opportunities, as I continue to work on my brand.
The most challenging obstacle I've moved past is lack of clarity about my direction. I have a lot of different interests and talents, and if I'm not careful, I can lose track of what I actually want my brand to be about. I had to take a more methodical, cohesive approach to planning my business goals so that I could move forward with confidence.
What's your most valuable tip you'd offer budding, purpose-based entrepreneurs who are looking for their ideal clients?
Keep your purpose at the forefront of your mind, and use your natural gifts to bring that purpose to fruition. Remembering your purpose allows you to gain clarity about who you're trying to help, and how you want to help them. Once you have that clearly defined, you can market to those specific people in a way that will appeal to what they're looking for. If your marketing is mismatched with your ideal client audience, or you are unclear about exactly what you're providing to these people, you're going to struggle to reach anybody relevant to your purpose.
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