Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of eating dinner with Jayla Watson, a popular YouTube Vlogger also known as GlamAholic54. We “met” via email a few weeks ago and finally found some time to chat over dinner. I thought we’d probably meet for about 30 minutes or so but the conversation was so good, we ended up chatting for about 2 and a half hours!
Jayla has a flourishing YouTube channel where she talks everything fashion. From hair tutorials to fall fashion inspiration, Jayla keeps her nearly 86,000 subscribers entertained with frequent vlogs about her daily life as a college student, hair reviews, outfits of the day and college advice for high school seniors.
Over the past 4 years Jayla has built an incredible fan base and an impressive online presence and the girl is only 19 years old! When I asked Jayla how she felt about the numbers… having almost 86,000 YouTube subscribers, over 25,000 Instagram followers and an online presence that many young people would pay for… she didn’t seem to be phased by the numbers at all. She’s more concerned about getting paid to do what she loves. It seems that the only numbers she follows, are the digits in her bank account as brands pay her to review their products and as she reaps the benefits of her YouTube partnership.
Below are 7 business tips that I took away from my dinner date with Jayla ,over a hot bowl of crab soup and a grilled turkey panini. Mmmm good!
1. Be Careful Who You Seek Advice From
When you’re passionate about your business and it nearly consumes your life, you’re inclined to ask for input from those closest to you, right? Jayla and I talked about how tempting it is to call our friends or family up about input or advice about a concept or video or even a business idea. We agreed that it’s best to speak to like-minded people in your field who know what you’re going through to get the most useful feedback.
I went through this a lot in the beginning of my blogging journey. I’d call my BFF and ask for her opinion about a post and she ‘d be like “OMG, I love it.” Mind you, she’s my BFF of 10 years and I swear she thinks everything I do is amazing. Though I’m flattered and I appreciate her feedback, I’ve found that connecting with bloggers in my field has been more beneficial for my growth. Often times, the people closest to us mean well but just don’t understand “our work.”
2. Haters Are Unavoidable
When Jayla first started her channel, she had an outpouring of support from her followers and subscribers. Just recently as she’s gained more popularity, the haters have come out the woodwork. She told me about stories of people creating fake pages to send her nasty comments or screen shots of her boyfriend’s online activity. (Craziness, right?) While she has plenty of fans who defend her and have her back, Jayla said that her comments section is sometimes full of hateful, ignorant comments about her race, style or wardrobe.
The more successful you become, the more people will know your name. Some of those people will have opposing views and may not like you and that’s ok. If you don’t have haters, you’re doing something wrong.
3. Grow With Your Market
Jayla doesn’t consider herself to be a hair person. She’d much rather pay someone to hook her hair up than do it herself, however, knowing that hair was “in” when she started vlogging, guess what she vlogged about? Hair! Once she built her audience she transitioned into topics that were more interesting to her.
Right now Jayla is focusing more on fashion but she’s had phases where she’s done make up tutorials, wig installations, weave reviews and life updates from her personal life. She also reads her comments often to see what video requests her subscribers have. Constantly checking the pulse of your market and evolving with them is a surefire way to win die-hard fans.
4. Be Consistent
Consistency is key. Regardless of how often you want to post on social media or promote your products, whatever you do, be consistent. If that means posting 3 blog posts or vlogs a week then stick with that and try not to deviate. Much of Jayla’s success can be attributed to the past two years of her posting a vlog every week (sometimes more at the subscribers request).
Just think about it, if you’re into a season of Scandal or no, let’s use my new favorite show How to Get Away With Murder and all of the sudden mid-season, they end the show without notice and don’t release the next episode until 2 months later…would you still tune in? Absolutely not. I know I wouldn’t. People want someone they can trust and someone who’s predictable when it comes to business, don’t be fickle, be consistent. Communicating with your tribe, clients or followers is a great way to establish a culture of consistency and accountability in your business as well.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Invest in Yourself
Jayla started her channel her junior year of high school so most of her investments came from her parents. Every Christmas she’d beg her dad for more sophisticated cameras and video editing software, she then used the money she did have to purchase props and clothing for her videos. When Jayla finally started making a little cash from YouTube she’d buy more material for her videos to build her channel and diversify her content.
You know what they say, “hard work pays off.” Today, companies from all over the world send Jayla FREE products to review and guess what? They pay her to review their products. The investments she made in her business in the beginning have been paid off in full. You can’t expect someone else to invest in you or your business if you aren’t willing to do the same for yourself.
6. Being in the Spotlight isn’t All Glitz and Glam
Over the past two years Jayla has had to make a conscious decision about the content that she posts online. With such a huge following (that’s growing by the thousands each month) there’s always someone out there with an opinion that isn’t afraid to share it, no matter how mean, hurtful or insensitive it is.
While Jayla is extremely grateful for her fans and supporters she did mention to me that sometimes the hurtful comments get to her. When people who don’t know you or your story “come for you” so carelessly and viciously, it hurts. It hurts to the core. Being in a place of such influence requires a strong mind but more importantly, a devoted support system who can remind you of how important your vision is when others can’t see it.
7. If Mama Can Do it, So Can You
Being raised by a single mother, Jayla has gained much of her inspiration and drive from her mom. Jayla witnessed her mom go through some trying times but despite the obstacles life threw her way, Mama Dukes pursued her Master’s Degree and continues to live a happy life. She supports her two daughters and makes it her business to be very active in their lives. Jayla said that her mom has a huge house and one of her goals is to purchase a house bigger than her mom’s, because if mama can do it, she can too.
No matter what your business goals are, there are so many great role models out there who’ve reached extraordinary heights despite the obstacles they faced. From Oprah’s story of triumph to Steve Jobs story of resilience, anything is possible if you just believe.
It was such a pleasure meeting with Jayla and learning more about her back story. After our dinner, I was more inspired to walk into my greatness because of her energy and zeal for life. If this 19 year old can create her own pathway to success, we certainly can do the same. Stay tuned for more collaborations from Jayla and I!
Jayla and I tried to get a good selfie after dinner but the lighting was horrible :/
Share Your Wisdom. Comment Below!
Did any of the tips above resonate with you or your journey? Which tip is the hardest to grasp? Easiest? Is there any advice that you can offer to entrepreneurs?