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NECOLE BITCHIE: OUR FAVORITE AMERICAN GOSSIP GIRL!



Happy Saturday y’all!!!

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It’s no secret that Necole Bitchie is a media-mogul-in-making, one blog-post at a time!

I first met Necole “Bitchie” Kane in Detroit, Michigan at an event that Rolling Out Magazine was sponsoring on women in entertainment. Also on the panel with Necole was Chrisette Michelle *side-bar, lurve me some Chrisette!*. Anyway I remember Necole being super cool, warm, approachable with a constant smile (Necole stays smiling *lol*) As I was launching my own blog (on lifestyle, entertainment, music, fashion & celeb scoop) with a focus on Africans in the diaspora and on the continent, she was so obliging and gave me some really great tips!

Necole Bitchie

I have always loved that Necole’s personal story is inspirational but also very relatable. Something like *rags to riches*. Her parents and grandmother had passed away while she was in college (Morgan State University & Towson University), she lost her job in radio and ended up on her aunt’s couch in Cambridge, Maryland. Tinkering around on the internet (her aunt thought she was looking for a job), Necole started her blog December 2007 as a way to remain sane! But her aunt kicked her out and Necole found herself in Atlanta where she broke some *eye-popping* stories (Chris Stokes, B2K et cetera, et cetera, et cetera) a la Perez Hilton style and the rest is blog-history….

Today, Necole has turned her blog into a full-blown brand. The blog, Necole Bitchie has generated a monthly audience of 1.2 million and its Founder & Editor-In-Chief has made herself a pillar in the entertainment industry.

Very nice!

Her interview with Black Enterprise:

Since launching in 2007, the site now draws upwards of 1.2 million unique visitors per month and stands as the hub of the Necole Bitchie brand, which has grown to include a web channel (Bitchie TV), lifestyle site (Bitchie Life), T-shirt line (Born Bitchie) and another online property on the horizon (IAmNecole.com). For her mastery of the digital space and branding power, Necole Bitchie joins BlackEnterprise.com’s esteemed list of online thought leaders as part of our first annual Black Blogger Month.

I started blogging because…

I wanted to create my own opportunities… [Initially] I had wanted to work in the music industry and doors kept slamming in my face. Every time I would send out resumes or get interviewed I would never get hired and it came to a point in 2007 where I said I’d never send out another resume and I haven’t.

I realized blogging was a business when…

I was doing research and I wandered on to Perez Hilton’s site. I wasn’t even into blogs like that and I just happened to land on his site and I saw the ad space and I clicked on it. At the time it was like $10,000 for a sidebar ad for like a week and I was like, “What part of the game is this?” I Googled him and I saw how he started his site like in the living room or something and how it grew and I studied his story and I felt like it was something I could possibly get into, so it started from there. Just seeing somebody was actually selling ad space for a week for $10,000. That just got my mind going like, “How could I flip this? How could I make this into a business?”

My biggest influences are…

Will Smith. I read all of Will’s old interviews and watch all of his interviews that he’s done on television and I think one of the things that really got me is that he said, “I will not be overworked. If I get on a treadmill with you and we’re running, two things will happen. I’m either going to outrun you or I’m going to die.” I think that you have to have that mentality to make it because it’s about not just getting comfortable. Once you reach a certain level you always have to think about getting to the next level. That’s also why Oprah is someone else that influenced me because she beat out everybody. So she was like, “What am I going to do? I’m going to go to the next step and that’s own my own network.” Those type of people inspire me to keep going.

The best piece of business advice I ever got was…

To know your target audience. Like, every time a new blogger comes to me and asks that’s one of the first things I say. You have to sit down and define your target audience. Like me I would look at a piece of paper and I would have my picture on it and I would say, “She’s a 24 year old female, African American, she goes to the nail shop twice a week, she reads Vibe magazine, she likes this movie…” I would have her whole profile down because once you know your target then you know what appeals to them like I was doing celebrity gossip at first, but then I thought my target audience was me, well I like nails and different kinds of designs, so I started posting some stuff on nails and the [audience] went crazy…. If you don’t have a target then you’ll try to appeal to everyone and that’s when you’ll get lost and it’ll be very hard for you to brand yourself and your site when you don’t have a specific person in mind that you’re appealing to.

The biggest mistakes I ever made in business have…

All been financial. Not planning. Not setting budgets. Just spending money, like if you told me, “I think you need this,” and it sounds okay I used to not even look to see if we have a budget for that. I really wasn’t money managing. You know, money would come, money would go. It’s not until you sit down and all of the numbers are pulled together and someone tells you you spent three-fourths of your money on expenses and that could’ve been cut in half that you’re like, okay, I need to get it together. So definitely the biggest mistake is not setting budgets and not money managing.

What I learned from that was…

That going through every year, even every month, you should definitely make a budget. I only want to spend this much on graphics. I want to spend this much on supplies or marketing or whatever. It’s just very hard to have a successful business and not have a good business structure and cash flow; knowing what money is coming in and going out, especially when it’s time to look into investors or other partnerships and then they want to know how have you been spending your money in the past.

I measure my success by…

How many people I inspire and motivate everyday. When I first started working with my publicist Christina one of my main things was even if I did interviews and get in magazines I don’t want to get into them just to say, “Hey, look what I did with my blog.” I really wanted the person reading to know the back story and the struggle and the obstacles I had to overcome to even get here in three years, so every time someone comes on Twitter and says, “Girl, I just read your story and you inspire and motivate me,” that’s how I measure my success, not by how much money I make or how many people read the site.

None of my success would be possible if not for…

My aunt. By kicking me out of her house she took the crutch from underneath of me that I wouldn’t get comfortable, so without her I wouldn’t be here.

Her interview with The Tip Online:

What inspired you to start your blog?

To be honest, I tried to start it a few times and each time was a different motivation. But, when I really really started it was because I was in a situation where I had to move back home to live with an aunt of mine and it was in a very small town. There wasn’t anything in the entertainment industry and [the blog] started as a way to pass time. I was supposed to be looking for a job but I knew I didn’t want to work in any of the places that were near where she lived so I basically started it as a way to pass time and as therapy while I was going through that really rough point in my life.

Given that you blog about the entertainment industry, what would you say separates you from the masses?

I think the main thing that separates mine – especially in the entertainment and gossip arena is the fact that my image is very out there. When I first started, a lot of bloggers weren’t putting their image out there so you would go to websites but you had no idea what the person who was writing this stuff looked like. I feel like the fact that I put my image out there, I’ve done videos and released pictures of myself, people feel like they can relate a little more because a lot of my audience looks like me. They’re around the same age and they like the same things I like so it’s almost like they’re coming to my site and seeing me as a friend in their head.

Did you find it difficult putting yourself out there like that?

Yes of course because even now, me moving to New York [to aid career progression], I’m more affected by it than anywhere else because I had a bigger fan base in New York more than anywhere else so when I got here, I could be going into Victoria Secrets to buy something and someone would say “you look like this girl, her name’s Necole”. People recognise me wherever I go so it’s kinda’ strange and hard to get used to. It’s a bit weird because it can become a security issue and I’m very used to going places and not having to look over my shoulder – I just like being on the low. So I can definitely see why people decide not to [share their image] because they can live their lives normally. It’s been hard for me.

How do you deal with negative criticism and constant scrutiny?

Well I always use Oprah as an example. What I do in my free time, which a lot of people don’t know, is I read interviews from people that I look up to and admire. I spend a lot of time reading old interviews from Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith and those types of people. What I did notice about Oprah is that in the early part of her career she was very caught up with what people had to say about her, the negative things that people had to say, it just really hurt her. There was a lot of criticism on everything from her weight to the way she looked, the guy she was dating and it wasn’t until she realised that all of the pain and destruction that was going on in her life was because she cared so much about what people thought of her. She stopped caring and that’s how she became the person she is today. When I first started I read everything – every negative thing people had to say about me. I got a lot of criticism because people thought I hung out with celebrities because they would see me in pictures with them which was never true. I got a lot of criticism because people were under the impression that I wanted to be a celebrity and that was never my intention. I was very hurt by it. One day I just stopped [looking for negative comments]. I’m just numb to it now. It takes a while. As long as you care about what people have to say about you, you’ll never reach your full potential.

Did you ever think that Necole Bitchie would get so big?

It’s funny because I remember at the end of 2008, I was asking this guy if he could help me because he had a lot of industry connects and he asked me “what’s your traffic?” and I said about 500,000 page reads a month and he said “well, when you get a million hits a week then come back and talk to me.” I was so offended and so hurt because I felt like first of all he didn’t believe in me and second of all, a million page reads a week was an impossible goal for him to give me. But six months later I reached that goal! I thought a million page reads a week was unheard of for me, so for me to go past that and I’m still growing is amazing. I never would have thought.

What’s been the highlight of your blogging career so far?

Appearing on 106 and Park [who have never featured a blogger before] because I’m very camera shy. That’s what’s been really holding me back to really go to the next level and be as big as I really can be because I freeze up around cameras and I always said I don’t want to do TV. When they asked me I couldn’t tell them no because I didn’t want to look like a slacker or someone who can’t or someone whose incapable. So when they asked me I told them yes even though I was scared out of my mind. I didn’t even promote it to my blog readers or talk about it on Twitter. I didn’t mention it until afterward because I was just that scared. I think one of my [other] highlights is when I got a private message from Prez Hilton on Twitter and he was basically saying keep up the good work, I’m proud of you. When I first started my blog, I looked at him as the Opera of blogging. I modeled my business strategy and the way that I branded myself after him because he was so successful and I was very intrigued by that. When I got the private message on Twitter, that meant the world to me because I didn’t even know he knew I existed like that.

Considering you’ve been doing this for quite some time now, what important lessons have you learnt along the way?

I learnt that your network is your net worth so you need to get out there and meet people. And not just that, you need to be nice to people and not burn bridges because you never know who you might need.

What’s the main misconception people have about Necole Bitchie that you’d like to clear up?

That I’m a rock star with this super poppin’ life and a lot of celebrity friends. I’m actually quite boring!

Finally, where do you see Necole Bitchie in the future?

I would love to continue to expand my brand into clothing, beauty and things of that nature but I am also interested in branding who I am as a person outside of my online persona. I want to connect with my readers more on a personal level and inspire. I’m all for female empowerment and I hope to motivate others to take risks and go hard for what they want out of life. Will Smith once said to me “99% is the same as 0, if you are going to do 99%, stay home” and I will never forget that. I don’t measure my success by the number of hits I get a month or how much money I make, I measure it by the number of people I can inspire every day. My story is proof that anything is possible.

* This piece appeared originally in The Tip Online (Assumpta Ozua)

Love us some Necole Bitchie!

Love that Necole is all about the pink *our fave color here at FaraiToday*!

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Hope You Are Inspired To Stay Grinding Like

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Necole Bitchie!

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Love ya for it!

Photo: Necole Bitchie

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.


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