Tuesday, June 7, 2011

PLPT GEMS: Meet Joi-Marie

PLPT GEMS Presents
Editor. Blogger. Innovator.
Tell us about your background and how you came to start The Fab Empire.

The Fab Empire started when I was working as an assistant in a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. I was pretty bored at my day job and decided randomly to start a blog. I brainstormed and even created a failed blog called "Fab! University" as I had recently graduated from University of Maryland. Still, I knew I wanted to create something that didn't just regurgitate what I saw on The YBF or Concrete Loop. I wanted to create something that was original and different. So I focused my scope on covering nightlife and events in Washington, D.C. With the help of my friend Rida, she said, "Why don't you call your blog DC Fab!" and the name stuck.

Months later after the site took off, my friend in New York said “I would love to replicate this in New York”. And then another friend said “why don't we start Bmore Fab?” Next, we recruited someone in Boston to create a sister site there. Thus, The Fab Empire was born.

Please share with us the first five steps you took when you decided to start your own website. How did you know you had found your niche?

The first five steps were:

1. Committing to the idea that I was going to produce something different in the Web space.

2. I had to find my niche. I studied the sites that I visited daily (this was back in 2007), The YBF and Concrete Loop, and asked what do I love about these sites? I loved that they focused on the African-American experience in entertainment. I also loved that they had information that no one else seemed to have. I wanted to replicate that user experience with my site. At the time, no one in Washington, D.C. was covering the social scene for young urban professionals. So, I started doing it.

3. I had to make sure there was a need. I didn't invest in a glitzy site. I just worked with what I had. I used Blogger, a free content management system and began doing the work. Soon people noticed, which led me to step four.

4. I invested in my site. After the investment of creating a better site on an improved platform, I knew I was onto something.

5. I began self-promotion using free Web tools like social networking to get the word out about my site and create brand awareness.

Is managing The Fab Empire your full-time occupation? If not, how do you balance it with your other responsibilities?

The Fab Empire is not my full-time occupation yet. Right now, I am the assistant entertainment editor for The Loop 21 (www.theloop21.com), covering celebrities, entertainment and society. That's my full-time job and it's really an extension of what I created. Before starting The Fab Empire, I had no editing experience. I didn't know how to find great writers and photographers, and work with them to create a shared vision or product. After I created the site, and it became notable, I was able to fulfill one of my goals in life, which was to become an entertainment editor for a major publication.

How would you describe a day in the life of Joi-Marie? What is your favorite part of what you do?

A day in the life of Joi-Marie. Hmmm, let's see. I wake up, bring my laptop to bed and try to put up the majority of my stories (6-10 posts at 100-200 words each) before 11 a.m. As you probably guessed, I work from home. Then, at 11 a.m., I watch The View. I love their "Hot Topics" segment and sometimes they chat about news of the day that I should post. I blog during the commercial breaks. By 1 p.m., I usually have a conference call. By 2 p.m., I break for lunch. By 3 p.m., I'm emailing writers or publicists to work on stories for the next day or the next week. By 6 p.m., I give it a rest to relax, make dinner and do some chores. By 9 p.m. I'm watching reality shows or perhaps an award show...there might be a story there that I'll need to post for the next day. By 10 p.m., I'm blogging or surfing the Web that I think should be posted the next day. By 1 a.m., I'm hitting the sack!

The favorite part of my day is curating entertainment content for my readers. I love doing my job! 

How do you stay motivated and overcome doubt, fear and negative thinking?

My friends and family continually motivate me. Everyone is on their grind. Everyone is becoming more educated, either getting PhD's or Master's Degrees, everyone is creating a family for themselves, everyone is getting better positions at their workplace or in their extra-curricular activities.

With my inner circle and my family at the top of their game, I have no choice but to grind...or be left behind. Opportunities will come regardless. And if you don't take advantage, someone else will. I want to make sure I'm always available to take advantage of an opportunity. With all of the grinding that I'm doing, negative thinking doesn't have space to exist.

What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose or are afraid to take the first step towards their dreams?

For those of you in search of your purpose, become in tune with yourself. Become your true self. You can't understand or hear what God has called you to do, whether it be a writer, doctor, community advocate, whatever, if you're pretending to be someone else. I learned a long time ago that I can only be my best self. And to have enough grace to let go of everything that I can't be. And have enough sense to hire someone who is more skilled and more connected than me.

Also, many people who are starting their journey to becoming an entrepreneur don't understand the need to fail. Many entrepreneurs will tell you that they've had many failures before they hit big. Be willing to fail and fail fabulously. At least you're on your way to figuring out what works.

Name someone who has inspired you and why.

If there was any one person who has had the greatest impact on my life it would by my Grandmother Ida Murphy Peters. I watched her as she sat at her typewriter, read books, took photos and was out serving her community as the Entertainment Editor for the Afro American Newspaper. Since I was young, I was fascinated with reading and looked up to her tremendously. Looking back, she has had the most profound impact on my curiosity. She's also the only person I know who did what she loved to do until the very day she died. When she passed away she was working a booth for the Afro at For Sister's Only, a community convention for women, in Baltimore. My grandmother passed away inside that convention center working. She loved serving the community and I loved her for that.

How can people connect with you?

Hit me at joimarie.com. Follow me at @dcfab and friend me at facebook.com/joimarie.


Post a Comment

RSS Feed Like us in Facebook follow me!