Photo Courtesy of Rhea Whitney Photography
The earliest memories of my being completely obsessed with hair were around the 4th grade. There I stood in front of the mirror for hours trying to get the perfect ponytail ensuring my edges laid perfectly flat before I even knew there was a such thing as edge control. Fast forward a couple of hot-comb presses, relaxers, weaves, box braids and years later to my second career as a freelance writer and editor-in-chief of my very own natural hair blog and a store owner. To some, it may have happened overnight, but I have always known I would be in the business of helping others. Hair care has always been the thing I can talk about all day, hence my blog’s name Textured Talk, so a career educating women about the very thing that captivated my attention at 9 years old came quite naturally. Here are five ways I turned my hobby into a lucrative second career. 
Truthfully, I never expected to be compensated as a freelance writer, because I thought I needed a journalism degree.

Passion rules everything

Truthfully, I never expected anyone to compensate me to be a freelance writer.  My main goal was to write simply because I loved to do so and because I wanted to share hair care advice and information to others. Because I didn’t hold a journalism degree, I assumed my contribution would be on a voluntary basis and I was perfectly fine with that. Naive yes, but passion is the #1 factor that allowed me to kick-start being able to freelance for NaturallyCurly, book speaking engagements, and produce quality content. If you’re attempting to pursue a secondary career, make sure it is something you are passionate about versus being driven by money.

Consistency

Once I nailed down the content piece, I made a personal goal to myself to be consistent to my readers. I needed to let others know I was serious about healthy hair education and I wanted readers to see me as a go-to resource. Consistency not only allowed me to develop self-discipline for my craft, it also provided a way for readers to know what to expect from my platform. Vowing to write a new article every week, quickly turned into two articles a week and so forth. As a result, each week readers knew they would learn something new from me about natural hair that would be waiting in their inboxes. Once I could make the connection between my current blogging audience and show proof of my current following, it was easier for brands to believe in my idea for a store and really understand my passion for hair care. I wasn’t just a random person on the street wanting to buy and resell products for the heck of it. They could tell this is something I truly love and work hard doing everyday to spread natural hair education as much as possible.

Continuing education

Living in the information age where everything is easily accessible via a Google search, it is very easy to get caught up just repeating what everyone else has already written. In order to position myself as a subject matter expert, I decided to go above and beyond. Since I’m not a licensed stylist I’ve always felt the importance of seeking the counsel of professionals or site professional publications for complex subjects. In the past I’ve referenced medical journals from the National Institute of Health and purchased cosmetology books to make sure I’m providing the most honest information. Outside of writing, to become a successful blogger and boutique store owner, webinars and conferences have served as my “graduate school” for both industries. Never let the fact you do not know something hold you back from fulfilling your purpose. Chances are there are a couple of YouTube videos, e-books and podcasts out there to help get you started.

Developed organic relationships & supporting others 

Developing organic relationships is by far one of the most influential parts to my being able to start a second career in the natural hair care industry. The people and women I’ve met along the way have helped me in so many ways. Someone I met at natural hair event introduced me to my editor at here at NaturallyCurly. Attending other natural hair events gave me to opportunity to met directly with CEOs, stylists, social media managers, etc. But aside from networking, supporting others bloggers, writers, and helping new bloggers along the way helped too. This allowed me to establish relationships and get to know others outside of social media.  Networking is more than swapping business cards. Connect with people you have a genuine interest in and do not expect to automatically receive something in return.

What’s holding you back from being an entrepreneur?