To let Johnica Reed tell it, her personal travel website JohnicaReed.com was never designed to be a place of business. Launched in 2004, it was simply a place where she could curate her self-described “charmed life” as a jetsetter. After managing her blog on a part-time basis, the 28-year-old decided to quit her job as a director of development for the largest domestic violence non-profit in Washington, DC when a friend offered her a chance to cover the Cape Town Jazz Festival in South Africa.
The results have proven her decision a worthwhile one. By simply blogging about doing the thing she loves to do the mostâ€”travelâ€”Reed has made herself a destination of sorts for companies looking to expand their brand online. As a consultant, whose thoughts and ideas hold serious cachet, the world traveler has established partnerships with companies like American Airlines, and Windham Hotels, while also contributing to publications like The Huffington Post and Jetsetter.com. Generating an estimated 70k in annual revenue from her various ventures, Reed shares her social media expertise with BlackEnterprise.com as part of our first annual Black Blogger Month. â€”Jozen Cummings
People trust my brand becauseâ€¦
My brand is me. I’ve been traveling internationally without my parents since I was 12. I’ve always been a jetsetter. I’ve always been a person who lived globally so I was that before I ever started a blog. I didn’t start a blog to become a jetsetter; I already was one.
The biggest mistake I ever made in business wasâ€¦
Taking on too much at one time. Be careful what you wish for and be mindful of managing scale. There was a time in my life when I was traveling too much and not [doing] enough work.
What I learned from that was…
I have to find a balance between living the fly life and bringing that to actual products and actually form a business model, so time management is major.
I realized blogging was a business whenâ€¦
I was a business. When I started blogging, it was always an extension of myself. I never intended for my site to actually have a monetization model within the site but I knew it would be a platform that would bring me other projects, whether it was consulting opportunities, teaching opportunities, design opportunities, or freelance writing opportunities.
My biggest influence isâ€¦
The Sartorialist because he’s visually driven in covering travel. He’s inspired me to really work on my photography. Most of my blogging influences have nothing to do with blogging. I’m more inspired by interior designers, architects. I draw a lot of inspiration from the tech world, so I’m more likely to go to design conferences or tech conferences, than I am blogging conferences because a lot of what I do is bring industries that may not be represented on a blogging platform to the web.
Building a brand is important because…
I look it as the same way you cultivate your personality and what you’re about. It’s curating yourself. I knew there were areas of my life I wanted to refine and that I wanted to build. Being global, having knowledge of design, art history, the tech scene, being an early adopter, those were always things I was interested in cultivating in myself so that is now my personal brand.
The best piece of business advice I ever got wasâ€¦
Under promise and over deliver.
I measure my success byâ€¦
How much I’m enjoying life. What I do is just live.
None of my success would be possible if not forâ€¦
My parents, who have indulged every whim since birth, luckily my whims are kind of outlandish and there was a purpose to the madness.
If I werenâ€™t blogging Iâ€™d beâ€¦
Traveling, all the other things I do outside of blogging. But if I had just a random other career I would be a conflict photographer.
Anyone that wants to follow in my footsteps shouldâ€¦
Hop on a plane, see the world, and read a lot of books.
If my passport only had room for one more stamp Iâ€™d go toâ€¦
The only continent I have not been to is Antarctica and it will be happening in 2012, for my 30th birthday.
Red eye flights are better when youâ€™reâ€¦
In first class, in silk pajamas.
Not being able to see the world would be likeâ€¦
Dying. I couldn’t imagine it.
Be sure to check out the rest of the digital thought leaders as they’re revealed each day by logging on to BlackEnterprise.com/BlackBloggerMonth.
Videographer: Melissa Johnson; Video shot on location at The Inn at Irving Place & Lady Mendel’s, New York City