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Rhonesha Byng, Award-winning Journalist & Founder of Her Agenda and Brandee Sanders, Founder of Brunch With Brandee.

When Rhonesha Byng was 10-years-old her father asked her if she wanted to make a difference or a dollar when it came to her career. Byng decided that she didn’t want to choose between the two, so she set out to do both. Fast forward years later and she has turned her passion to make a difference into profit through her work in the journalism industry and her award-winning website Her Agenda. Although Byng has received several accolades for her work, including an Emmy award and being recognized by Forbes, getting to where she’s at now in her career was nothing short of an uphill battle. Persistence and perseverance is what allowed Byng to create opportunities for herself. The spring installment of my #BrunchWithBrandee event series featured a candid discussion with Byng about what it takes to build your personal brand, the importance of speaking up and how mentors play an integral role in your career journey. Check out five career tips from Rhonesha Byng below!

On building a successful brand:

“Building a successful brand is all about reputation and identity. First you have to craft a great identity by knowing who you are, what you’re about, and what your goals are. It’s all about putting in the work and developing your craft and learning what it is that you want to do. You can’t create a brand with an image that’s not true to you. You have to really figure out what your goal is, what is your identity is, and then work on creating a good reputation. Creating a brand is about repetition. It’s all about repeating what your reputation is, and repeating what your goals are constantly. Reputation, repetition and identity are the keys to building a successful brand.”

On getting your idea off of the ground:

“I think doing research first and seeing what is out there already that speaks to your passion is essential. If there’s nothing out there then start something. If there is something out there, be willing to reach out and collaborate with that person. I feel like if you have too many people starting stuff and leading and you don’t have any followers or no types of collaboration then it won’t have a larger impact. You don’t want to start something just to start something; you want to start it because you want to make some type of impact. If you collaborate you’ll be able to discover what it is that works and what doesn’t work about what the other person is doing. Then you can determine whether or not there is a lane for you to create for yourself. You’ll meet people and you’ll have experiences along the way that can change your whole direction.”

On consistency:

“You have to really try to find a niche and if you have identified a niche that hasn’t been touched on, then be consistent with that. A lot of people will start something and say that they are going to update every day and then they end up updating only once a week or once every other month. They may feel like no one is watching or no one is listening but there is someone out there that is waiting for you to update and post. If you stay consistent and keep moving forward then you’ll reach who you need to reach.”

On speaking up for what you want in your career:

“The whole mentality of “No one Ever Slows Her Agenda” is what I want every woman’s motto to be. I feel like a lot of times women will wait to be asked or they will wait for permission. That holds us back because women are so talented and they have so much to offer. I don’t care if anyone is offended by me overstepping my role or my boundaries, I’m going to try. There’s nothing against that. The worst thing that can happen is someone saying ‘no.’”

On the importance of mentors:

“I have a lot of mentors. It’s almost like a board of directors of different people that I go to for different things. I have so many from various industries. It’s not people who I sit down with every day or every week for coffee but if something comes up that I feel is relevant to what they do then I go to them for that. I think some of the best advice comes from the questions that they make you ask and consider for yourself. Big Sean said in one of his songs that some of the best lessons are what we learn from ourselves from what we go through. I think having mentors in your life to help you evaluate what you’re going through and ask you certain questions that you wouldn’t ask yourself helps you see things in a different light.”

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Written by Brandee

Brandee Sanders is a Harlem-bred writer and editor. Her work has been well received in the media. She's been featured on MSN.com, The Root, NewsOne and countless other outlets. Brandee is the founder of a Harlem-based blog called Meet Me Uptown. In 2014, she launched Brunch With Brandee a one-stop...
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