“The women in this room are who everybody is marketing to. We have more power than we think” ~ Karen Civil
Hearing Karen Civil share her journey last week empowered me to see my own life in a new light. Her demeanor towards taking risks revealed the importance of getting out of my comfort zone. Once again, she is not the only emerging leader and woman entrepreneur I follow who has relayed a similar experience. Evita Robinson, Myleik Teele & Shanel Cooper have said it too in so many words – You have to push yourself and be willing to be uncomfortable in order to grow. I can’t imagine these women could experience happiness while pursuing their passions without this level of audacity towards achieving their dreams! Before I left that talk with Karen Civil, I was reminded of how much devotion and drive it takes to reach any plateau of desired success. Here are some of those inspiring words straight from Karen’s mouth.
Some quick highlights and advice:
- Living past your fears.
- See yourself living beyond a regular lifestyle.
- Not settling for anything less than your dreams.
- Surrounding yourself with people who encourage you not belittle your passions.
- Exude so much excellence that you cannot be ignored.
- Moving on when you realize you’re not growing anymore.
Throughout the talk Karen shared how she used her web design & marketing skills to build successful digital entertainment platforms for music lovers. Whether she was building a fan page for her favorite band (back in the age of MySpace and AOL Dail Up days) or building the fasted growing fan page for Lil’ Wayne to promote his eighth studio album while incarcerated – once it launched, the website literally shut down after being live for only one hour and receiving one million hits.
As she continued to peel back the history of her life, Karen also talked about pushing herself to grow her personal brand and website in order to get out of her comfort zone. If she wasn’t able to grow at a certain position, she tried something new. When she didn’t know how to do something, she taught herself how and secured transferable skills along the way. Constantly, she built an effort to take affordable risks and dream bigger.
She recalls her first unofficial client was Tyga, the Young Money Artist creating an itinerary for a site visit. Through her connections from being an intern with Funk Master Flex to building creative integrated marketing campaigns & websites, Karen’s skillset quickly grew into a full-service Public Relations & Digital Marketing business, operating since 2008. Slowly I realize that this journey was about accepting new opportunities regardless of her fears.
“You’ve got to believe in your own ideas even if others don’t,” Karen proclaimed. She remembers trying to relay her expertise to friends and family who couldn’t understand what she was doing. “I always felt like I was ahead of my time.”
Karen talked about personal trials like losing a best friend to violence and finding out that life will often demonstrate the benefits of determination or being stagnant in your purpose. We all have to make a decision on which path we want to take.
Meanwhile, this woman was constantly weighing her options and eliminating excuses. After she worked with Flex for a couple of years, had a stint on Wall Street, and worked w/ Beats by Dre for four years, she realized it was time to seriously build her own company. Based on the results of the #LiveCivilTour I can tell that business is going exceptionally well.
Quotable Advice from Karen:
- You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic.
- The only thing to compete with is my yesterday.
- Be motivated not envious. Be inspired not jealous.
- Start small with getting out of your comfort zone – Create a personal ritual or activity once a month that stretches you to talk to people or learn something new.
Karen’s suggested reads:
Lean In: Women, Work & the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Unlabeled: Selling Without Selling Out by Marc Ecko
Black Enterprise Magazine