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Entrepreneurial Journey: My Story – from the Maury Show to Vera Jean Media

April 23, 2024

Hey there lovely souls! I’m over the moon to finally kick off this new adventure with you – the Building Unapologetically podcast. It’s been a long time coming, and honey, I’ve been waiting for that perfect moment to bare it all about my backstory. That moment is NOW! I will be sharing my entrepreneurial journey – the highs, the lows, and everything in between.

Let me break it down for the new people real quick. This podcast is where I get raw and real about all the twists and turns I’ve faced on my personal growth glow-up. 

We’re talking the entire journey from a girl with a dream to a CEO running her own thriving six-figure business! Yup, you read that right. I built this thing from the ground up to do what I was purposed for – empowering others to unapologetically slay on social media. 

Why “Building Unapologetically” you ask? 

Simple, sis. Doing my thing unapologetically and going all in is just how I roll. 

But before we go any further, let me rewind the clock a bit for y’all…I won’t take you all the way back to my birth (although that’s an interesting story for another time), but I do want to revisit my business birth.

Prefer to listen? Click play:

Here’s what I’ll be sharing:

  • Growing up –  Hawaii island girl and finding my storytelling passion  
  • The hustle – from Maury to odd NYC jobs while chasing acting dreams
  • Creating our web series Two Grown that got picked up by BET – major manifestation moment!
  • How pandemic production shutdown low-key ignited launching my biz Vera Jean Media
  • The awkward first steps with zero clients, just making Canva graphics 
  • Investing in myself by hiring a business coach (put that $2,500 payment on a credit card!)
  • Hitting 6-figures in 9 months, then scaling to multi-6-figures by year 2 
  • Where I’m at now in gratitude mode…but also plugging my new raw “Building Unapologetically” podcast!

FROM HAWAII TO OKLAHOMA

I was born and raised soaking up all those island vibes in Honolulu. Hawaii was my entire world until my family’s military ties had us bouncing around like a beach ball! We somehow ended up in Oklahoma for my college days. An ocean baby doing the Boomer Sooner thang – could you imagine? 

I studied broadcast and mass communication to chase my passion for storytelling and content creation. Little did I know that I was planting those storytelling seeds for my future calling.

Now let’s fast forward to that fateful summer when the universe hit me with a major level up opportunity. My dream job as a production assistant on THE Maury Show came calling! Yes, that ratchet, paternity test-filled, talk show goodness that had me glued to the tv as a kid. I was working insane hours fielding off-the-wall stories from folks dying to get on that stage. 

Was it pure chaos? 

You already know! 

But I loved every second of being part of that iconic hot mess. 

Oh, and get this – my name was in the credits, y’all! How’s that for manifesting my Hawaii girl self onto national tv? 

WORKING AT MAURY

When senior year hit, I received an email that changed the whole game. The Maury Show was hiring production assistants for the first time ever. My wildest dreams were coming true! 

I sent them my resume, they called me for an interview, and thought I was just doing a phone chat. But then they hit me with “When can you be in Stanford?” Stanford? As in…Connecticut?! This Hawaii-Oklahoma gal had to hop a flight to NYC and stay in a hostel just to make that interview. 

But you already know your girl had to risk it all for that opportunity. I showed up, they hired me on the spot, and just like that I was living my best talk show life! 

Three years deep into the Maury zone and I was drowning in paternity tests and LIDA tests left and right. I loved being in the middle of all that wild conflict tv drama! 

In the midst of the Maury hustle, I was also working a side gig for a marketing company. A girl’s gotta multi-task and make that money, you feel me? I was the promo girl in grocery stores that would hit you up with “Ayo, wanna try this wine?” Doing beer and spirits tastings on the weekends to stack my coins. Generational wealth building, that’s how we move! 

But then my marketing company offered me a full-time remote gig. This was before “remote work” was even a thing! Perfect timing for me to leave Maury behind and take my talents to the big screen.

THE NYC HUSTLE

Yup, I said it – I was moving to New York City to chase my acting dreams! I hit stringer after audition, booking roles in shows like Power, Master of None, Sistas, you name it. I was getting my glam on shooting commercials for brands like Famous Footwear and Dark and Lovely. 

But through it all, I felt like I kept getting typecasted. Nobody was letting me shine outside of those tired stereotypes like the “side chick” or “angry black woman.” Ugh, I wanted something more diverse than that. 

That’s when my friend from Maury and I decided to say “screw it” and create our own hilarious web series called Too Grown. We went awff self-funding the whole thing, pouring our souls into this show that’s still up on YouTube today! 

TWO  GROWN

Telling our stories as actresses navigating life in NYC – that was our little baby. And you already know we made that thing POP because one day it caught the eye of a friend who moved to BET, and the next thing I knew…they picked up season 2! WE MANIFESTED THAT OPPORTUNITY INTO EXISTENCE, BABY! 

I was oozing with excitement, feeling like a real Hollywood boss developing shows. I had some heat with a scripted series about a young black girl’s life and an unscripted series I was pitching. 

Then…bam. 

The world shut down. 

I went from feeling on top to collecting unemployment checks real quick. 

For so long I had been constantly working since I was 14, so you already know that period of being forced to sit still was a whole spiritual awakening! My purpose wasn’t just on pause…there was a bigger calling for me to answer. 

THE BIRTH OF VERA JEAN MEDIA

That’s when the idea for my business baby Vera Jean Media (named after my grandma) was born. I finally had the space to really lean into where God was guiding me next on this entrepreneurial journey I never saw coming. 

Those first few months of launching though? 

A hot mess express, let me tell you! I was out here making Canva graphics for random Harlem restaurants, shooting my shot anywhere I could to try and get clients. With literally $0 coming in, I was hustling, until one day…

I decided to invest my last $2500 in hiring a business coach. Sis, I maxed out a personal credit card to make that payment because I believed in this vision THAT MUCH. 

But you don’t have to max out your credit card—I have a FREE resource, Social Media that Sells, to get you from $0 to qualified leads begging to give you their money.

Let me tell you – that leap of faith paid off times infinity!

Within just 9 months of starting my biz, I had already hit 6 figures in revenue.

By year 2, I was in the multi-6-figure territory, solidifying that this was far more than a hobby. 

Has it been intense over the last few years? Oh you already know! 

Constant learning curves, messy middles, and pushing through unimaginable grief to show up imperfectly but consistently. I’m talking the real, unfiltered truth! 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the bottom line is always this – if you keep building unapologetically towards what you’re called for, the path will unfold exactly how it’s meant to. Stay ready for those plot twists and trust the process! It WILL happen for you. 

These days, I’m just feeling so grateful for how it’s all come together so far. This little seedling of an idea has fully bloomed into a business that not only lights me up daily, but allows me to serve in such a huge way. And that’s what it’s all about! 

If you’re feeling inspired and ready to take this journey with me, do yourself a favor and subscribe to the Building Unapologetically podcast! I’ll be going wayyyy deeper on all the unfiltered entrepreneurial journey and you def don’t want to miss it. 

You can find us everywhere you listen to shows, like: 

Apple Podcasts LINK

Spotify LINK

I can’t wait to keep sharing my special sauce and building this unapologetic empire together. Get ready for weekly episodes packed with inspiration, laughs, and the real-real on becoming unconquerable in your purpose! 

It’s time to take up space, sis. Let’s get it! 

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P.S. Don’t max out your credit card sis, start with my FREE training Social Media that Sells