Figuring This All Out: Brand, Business, and Marketing

One of the realest things I read so far on this road to entrepreneurship is that THERE IS A LOT OF BAD INFORMATION OUT THERE!

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Now one would think that with 10 years of traditional classroom teaching, six years of active duty military service, and six degrees (2 associates, B.A., MPA, Ed.S. and an Ed.D.), I should be where I want to be. Wrong…Wrong…Wrong! I’m trying to crack the self-publishing market and offer a message to aspiring and new teachers (THAT IS MY PURPOSE—To Inspire!)

When I initially wrote my first book, My Fourth Year In Middle School: The Truth About Teaching, I was and still am completely behind on not doing enough to properly market my book to get it into the hands of the people that I feel could benefit from it the most.

I would attribute writing this book to being just like the formative years of education because in my first three years I learned A LOT.   Mostly through trial and error and faulty circumstances.  But in those first years I found my purpose and knew that I have a lot to offer as an educator.  As an individual.  As a person who is not afraid to make mistakes and take a risk.

Since the release of my book in July 2016, I still want to do more with it.  I am almost desperate to do more with it because I know that there is some really good information embedded inside to keep teachers motivated.  Now I’ll be honest, I have definitely taken some heat for my book but this was about some real stuff that I experienced as a new teacher.  Much like my recollection of a having a teacher tell me I’d never be successful; I never wanted a child to feel that way about themselves in my classroom. I do not want new teachers feeling left out and ostracized unnecessarily… even with the good support of my mentor teacher, I felt alone when I started teaching.  So I ask myself, was I supposed to paint a pretty picture of the people that were hard on me or was I supposed to tell my TRUTH.

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MY BOOK AT A GLANCE

Year One: This was the toughest year ever and I remember feeling like I was being tested to see if I could really hang in there with my high poverty stricken kids.  But the thing about the students is that once I won them over, they were not the problem.  IT WAS THE ADULTS.  I cried a lot that first year because I felt like I was failing miserably at teaching.  During pre-planning I had been whispered about because of a skirt that I thought was appropriate, but clearly it wasn’t.  I felt so embarrassed by my assets…the skirt was long but that wasn’t the problem.  I was body shamed before body shaming was a thing.

Dealing With Divorce: My first marriage fell apart during my second year of teaching.  I was holding on by a thread.  I had had a huge fight with my husband, got a mugshot for bursting out his truck window, separation, and watching the security I once felt in my marriage be shattered.  All of this was going on while my boys were toddlers (Lil Phil-5, Preston-3). I was home alone with my two boys, cooking for them, dropping them off at daycare, working my full-time teaching job—stressing and wondering when my husband was going to come back home.  HE DIDN’T! The divorce was finalized September, 2011!

Is This Really Happening: So many things happened to me in a few short years that I am blown away at the fact that I’m still in the classroom.  I admit my very first administrator was hands down the bomb.  She had very high expectations and as a new teacher  I had no choice but to meet them.  I’m extremely proud of my results after my first year of standardized testing…I can boast that 97% of my students passed the Criterion Referenced Competency  Test (Phased out CRCT).  But I dealt with a different administrator my 3rd, 4th, and 5th years of teaching that was so passive, it was difficult to feel productive under his leadership.  I dealt with my car being stolen from the school campus my 5th year and instead of being sympathetic his reaction was, “It was a simple repossession.”  That made my blood boil, and I knew it was time to GO!

A Different Perspective: Transferring to a different school was what I thought I needed and while I was yet again able to foster relationships with my students…I also had to deal with adults.  I will say that I am brash and unfiltered at times, but I’m committed to my stance on things, and that doesn’t make me wrong; it makes me passionate about my kids.  I respect other people’s opinions, but I think I have run into others not really respecting mine.  In my ten short years, I have dealt with court cases with my now second ex-husband in 2014, the murder of my half-brother in 2015, middle of the year moves from one content/classroom to another in 2016, and truly feeling undervalued for my experience and knowledge. In a one on one conversation about leadership I once told an administrator, “Your perspective is skewed by what you think you know about me.  Until you see me or in action, you have no idea what I’m capable of.  I take my content very seriously.  I’m not changing!  But you’d have to talk to me to know that.”

Even through all of that I have experienced, the nonconstructive criticisms, and being told I’m not qualified or experienced enough to be an academic coach I still forge ahead.  I’ve also been told I’m “social media heavy”, whatever that means.  I mean, is this the wave?!?!?  Criticize others for the moves they are making because you are not making them yourself?!?!?

Yes my career is teaching but my vision is much bigger than being in a classroom forever.  I refuse to be one dimensional.  Just as I heard today…not everyone wants you to be successful.  I’m building my platform one blog, discussion, experience, post, and video at a time.  I am not a traditional teacher…I have a bit of an edge about me and I’m not afraid to share my experiences.

As I’m figuring this all out I know that the LaTilya Rashon brand and PSB2 Publishing  will rise as I coach myself through the necessities.

To learn more about my self-published titles please check me out here.  Be sure to connect with me on social media.

Be sure to share and leave a comment.  Thanks for reading.cropped-20170110_153240-e14840823819536.png

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LaTilya Rashon🦋

Being self-published and trusting the process takes an extreme amount of clarity, patience, and sacrifice.  I have realized that my “target audience” is not based in my personal relationships but people that actually follow my work in hopes that I inspire them.  If you believe in the LaTilya Rashon brand…purchase your logo series shirt today. Thank you in advance!

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Why Personal Branding Is Great For Your Career

March is a new month for new beginnings, new goals, and new focuses.  I’m challenging myself to focus on one thing this month and that is my personal branding.  To be honest I cringe at that word because it is thrown around so much online and on reality shows that I’m literally confused every time I hear a different person say it.  Nonetheless, my goal this month is to set myself aside and become more identifiable and produce quality work.  That’s what BRANDING is all about right!?!

At one point when I began this writing journey I was on blogspot because I was using my blog as an online journal.  I wasn’t really focusing on the big picture.  All I wanted to do was share my experiences while entertaining the idea of writing a book.  I was second guessing myself!

I switched over to wordpress as I was completing my doctoral program with Nova Southeastern University and my blog then took on a life of its own.  While my education and credentials would have me considered an expert in the field of education: Dr. LaTilya Williams—Doctor of Education: Higher Education Leadership and  Master’s in Public Administration; I find myself coming up short in the blogging/self-published/writing industry.  Oh to be an expert in this field would be a dream come true!

So what must I do?  Yea, you got it! WORK ON MY BRAND!

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I have read so many blogs from the experts and they all have this one tagline or statement in common: “I AM MY BRAND!”

Well there you have it!  But not so fast.

While I sit and read, subscribe to mail listings myself, subscribe and listen to podcasts, and emulate the things I see, I know I am closer to hitting my mark and finding my sweet spot.

This journey has been eye-opening because in my research and studying some of the experts say that there is not definite formula to success and making a big impact.  Others say develop a plan and work the plan.  I still stand my truths about blogging because there are some things you discover.  Go check out my epic blog, What No One Tells You About Blogging.  It is one of my favorite blogs and one that I see lasting for years to come as new trends arise.

Now reexamining all do the Dos for content creation and personalizing your brand, all of us side hustlers are told to FIRST BE CLEAR.  I can’t any clearer about wanting to make an impact on new teachers with my book,

My Fourth Year in Middle School; The Truth About Teaching

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I truly want to help change the narrative about teaching so that the newbies learn that in order to truly be successful in the classroom there must be a complete understanding that what you learn in traditional training is helpful.  But what you do in the classroom from day today is what’s going to shape your approach, career, and style of teaching.  Now if only I could attract the right audience and individuals invested in my book, I could really make gains as an educational expert.

DRAW PEOPLE TO YOU: It is difficult to create a consistent buzz as a newbie blogger and collecting emails is a task.  Build your brand! Create the leads! Magnetize your audience!  That is a lot easier said than done.  As I look at my social media networks…

I have learned that my friends are not my target audience and I actually get more feedback from people that don’t know me personally.  Now I do have some friends that purchased my book, left a review on Amazon, or told me personally what they thought of my work but I’m hungry!  I want to grow in my efforts and reach the masses that I know could benefit from my experiences.

I want to see my follower numbers convert to sales.  Another one of the DOs that we must be mindful of is CONTENT CREATION.

Visiting my blog is rich and full of experiences that I feel provide knowledge and inspiration.  I think about the goals I have set for myself and reflect on my progress over the years.

Content creation is one thing but the focus must shift to…QUALITY CONTENT in the form of books (Check Me Out On Amazon), videos especially if you are on youtube: check my sidebar 🙂 (Subscribe to me @ LaTilya Rashon), and of course while you’re here browse around read my blogs, comment on what you like and most importantly

Subscribe to the LaTilya Rashon mailing list

Brand clarity is an ongoing process!  Content creation takes a lot of work. I have only been serious about this for the past two years because I know I have message of inspiration.  I’m sure my audience will change by the day but I plan to be authentic and transparent in my approach.  I don’t have it all figured out but I’m figuring it out.

March is not the month for stagnation! New goals! New insights! New material!

Stay Tuned!

 

 

I Define Who I Am

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WRITER:  I am who I am!  I am unapologetically crafty with words.  It is the very essence of my being the way I move words across the screen effortlessly.  I am in awe of others that do the same whether it is to freely express their feelings into written form just to share or even as those write with the ultimate purpose to make money.  Writer is only one title that defines who I am.  I am defined by my talent because I push it into the atmosphere.  As I constantly define my life and redefine who I am, I am not deterred by setbacks.  To no end I am pleased with the steps I have taken to set myself up to share my thoughts and inspiration for those to grab hold of.  As I keep prioritizing my goals and dreams, I urge anyone to obtain a copy of Brown Sugar Magic as a guide to help you in the right direction.

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Now this is not a just a plug about my last book even as I continue to work on my writing and do some educational consults and writing.  This blog is about the titles that define me.  Unless you walk a day in my shoes you have no idea how much of a blessing my life really truly has been.  I do not dwell of what I cannot change.  I have changed myself from within and I am HEALED from my PAST because it does not DEFINE me!

DAUGHTER:  My mom worked too hard for me not to be GREAT!  Growing up as a “latch-key” kid and becoming independent at a very young age has carried well over into adulthood.  The amount of love and respect I have for my mom spills over into how I love and nurture my children.  As a daughter I have become my moms confidant and I continue to learn so much from her about resiliency and not allowing your troubles to last.  I’m the daughter that my biological father misses out on because I have exceeded expectations thrown on me by society as a “Fatherless Daughter”.  Everyday has not been a walk in the park.  As with anyone if you lose a companion, friend, or spouse you have moments of doubt and utter confusion.  I am the daughter of King who knows that is has been nothing but the grace of God that has walked with me through troubled waters.  Be careful about who you judge!  I have favor over my life, I know where my help comes from.

MOTHER:  I cannot get enough of my sons.  They are everything!  That says so much in such few words.  I love and take care of my sons the way my mother took care of me. Watching my babies grow up over the past few years from elementary to them both being in middle school next year I am emotional.  It has not been easy finding balance, co-parenting, and accepting things that are out of my control.  I certainly did not like experiencing my family being torn apart when they were younger, but they have ADJUSTED extremely well.  I am the ONLY mother they have and they know I will give my life to save them from any dangers.  I’m selfless when it comes to my SONSHINES!  They will definitely remember the tough lessons, mistakes, and decisions that have been made in their best interest.  Spare the rod, spoil the child (Proverbs 13:24).

TEACHER:  I interviewed in May 2008 and walked into my first pre-planning session July 2008.  I have told the story before about one teacher telling me I’d never have a job because of my attitude when I was 13 years old.  Well here I am now, 35 years old with 16 years of VALUABLE work experience that is a mixture of my career choices and education.  I am so glad to be moving up to high school after nine years at the middle school level.  I think sometimes people think that my profession defines all areas of my life, but let me tell you a secret…IT DOES NOT!  I have a REAL life outside of school and the kids are the worst sometimes because they tend to think that we have been adults our whole lives.  That’s until I tell them some of my childhood stories to show my HUMAN side.  Yes I’m a teacher that builds relationships with my students and that’s why I LOVE what I do.  CAREER and EDUCATION choices MATTER!

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FRIEND:  The title of friend I hold close to my heart because I either fool with someone or I don’t.  I am never swayed by what someone thinks of me or other people that matter to me.  One of my good friends has opened my eyes to just living in the NOW.  Too bad some people don’t know how to leave some things alone and let people LIVE.  When you go looking for problems with people to report to your friends, that says more about YOU the investigator and instigator than it could ever say about the other person.  My TRUE friends know that I have a heart of gold and I rarely hold back my thoughts. I have learned to drop the rope and not engage. I am NOT going to be liked by everybody and that is okay.  I ACCEPT that!  See I am not what or who other people say I am.  I am a friend to those who show me genuine adoration and respect because I give them that of me in return.  I am a friend to those who seek my guidance and honest help because the truth is the truth.  I have learned how to be more vulnerable in my friendships and not be so STRONG because I have a life full of AWESOME things to be THANKFUL for.  The ability to have friends that SUPPORT you in good times and in bad times is admirable.  I am one of those that stand by in good times, bad decisions, confusing moments until WE get it back right!

I am defined by my actions.  I am not defined by the chapter of my life that you walked in on.

~LaTilya Rashon