Have you ever faced a huge setback that you had to step back and start from scratch? I, Diamond Young, host of the BLK Directory Podcast, know that feeling too well. Kicking off our third season, bear it all – the trials, the tribulations, and the triumphs. When I lost my job at Twitter and our app crashed, I found myself in a whirlwind of uncertainty. Yet, instead of losing hope, it was a journey of reinvention, a dive into entrepreneurship, and a testament to my resilience. So, join me, as I narrate my rollercoaster journey of self-recovery and the pursuit of success in this fresh season.
This season is set to be unlike any other, with guest features that are both unique and insightful. We'll navigate through the aftermath of my job loss, the crash of our app, and the road to re-establishing the mission of the BLK Directory. The importance of allowing yourself to mourn lost dreams and the courage to start back at square one while acknowledging the progress made will be delved into. The Melanated Yoga Tour and the behind-the-scenes tale of how sponsorships came into play will also feature in our conversations. So, gear up for an emotional, educational, and enlightening journey, as we traverse through highs and lows, and turn trials into triumphs, together.
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You're listening to the BLK Directory podcast, where we focus on bringing black entrepreneur experiences to the forefront. Each week, we will discuss the highs, the lows, and everything in between. I'm your host, Diamond Young. Let's dive in. Hello everyone, it's your host, diamond Young, and we are back with not even another episode and another season of the BLK Directory podcast. That's right. We are back with season three and I am so excited. Honestly, this feels like new territory all over again. I feel like I haven't been here in so long. Really, I've been creating episodes all this year, just preparing for season three, but this is my first solo episode and it feels a little weird. I'm not going to lie, but I am just excited to be back. There is so much to catch up on, so much to talk about. When I tell you this season is going to be so good, I'm so serious. Yeah, it's like, if you have been listening to the Black Directory podcast all along, you already know we always put our best foot forward with the guests that we have on the quality of the show. But this season is going to be different because we really took our time with finding guests that we thought like, okay, they would bring something really special to the show, very unique. We want them to leave gyms. We want them to teach you guys how to get to the bag or really just give you even more of an insight into their industry. In case that's something that you want to do, I'm super excited about it. This time we're actually doing a true season. Before we were just doing it weekly and filling it out, but this time we're actually going to do a set amount of episodes, really give it our all and just to create a show that is more streamlined, more structured, more relevant, more fun. I'm just happy about that. Again, if you were listening before, thank you for sticking with us and for supporting us. If you're new, welcome. Welcome to the Black. Oh, see, this thing's happened. We keep all it real over here at the Black Directory podcast. But if you're new, thank you. Thank you for tuning in and just trying to learn more about what we have going on here on the Black Directory podcast show. So first order of business. In FYI, there will be no guests on this episode. I thought it was only right to do a solo episode this time, just to catch you all up on what happened. Where did we go? I feel like we were off the grid. We were off the grid, we were hitting our episodes and then it just went it was crickets. Okay, it was crickets, and guess what? Your girl got laid off. Yes, your girl got laid off and I could have just started this season just acting like nothing happened, going straight into the episode with the guests. But in reality, there are things to talk about and I really wanted to use this first episode to be transparent. There may be some of you who may relate to being laid off in just that journey of having to start over, especially as an entrepreneur. I was one of those people where I had my corporate job, my tech job, and it funded my business. It funded everything and I had that safety net. I knew I got paid every two weeks and it just really created a comfortability, I would say. And when I tell you last, like October, we're going into going into November, everything changed I am not joking Like, not only do we lose our app, which some of you may have downloaded, our app If you're new. We, black Directory, used to have an app where you could find Black home businesses locally and rate and review them, check them out, learn more about what they have going on, use maps, and drive to the locations. It was so cool. I get sad thinking about it. It was so cool. I worked so hard and spent money. I'm sure someone could relate when you just pour so much of yourself into a project. I gave that app my everything. I gave it my everything. I was working with people that I didn't know. I don't code, so it was just such a journey. It was such a journey. It was new territory. It was something that I was proud of and, to be honest, I thought it was something that made Black Directory Black Directory so lost the app bug crashes and things that I couldn't fix and help myself. I didn't trust anyone. I couldn't find a developer that I felt like OK could help us, and I don't know. It was just such a weird time. So I had that going on and then, simultaneously, I got laid off from my job. For those of you who don't know, I was working at Twitter for three years. I was working as a learning and development specialist, so that was my day job after grad school and that was important too, in the sense of that was familiar and your coworkers become your friends and family, and when I started Black Directory. I was living in Oakland at the time, so Twitter has such a special place in my heart. But we did face layoffs last fall, so I lost two things at the same time and I just had to step away. I had to step away. I was overwhelmed. I'm like, okay, I'm living in Houston, I have this apartment, how am I going to pay my bills? What's going to happen? It was just so much uncertainty around me and I was just in a really lost place. I just couldn't see past for one. The app being down, I just felt like it's over, it's a wrap. Who are we without this app? I just couldn't really process. It was hard to get up. I couldn't even talk about it without crying. I couldn't process what happened. I just knew, whoa, everything has changed at one time at the same time. So, anyways, that happened. I started getting into freelance work, contract work, and this was my true like entrepreneurship, like something that I always wanted, and you don't know really what you're asking for until you get it, which is like whoa. This is a high level of uncomfortability and uncertainty and it's scary, and I just knew I didn't want to go back home, I didn't want to move back to North Carolina. I just wanted to figure it out, but I ended up getting into freelance and contract or work with marketing, because I've always been good at marketing. It was always in my heart, I loved it and I'm not going to hold you all. Everything started coming together. It's crazy how sometimes things have to fall apart to come together. Things have to literally like the rug has to get pulled. The rug sometimes has to get pulled in order for you to know, I still have my feet on the ground. It may feel a little bit different because that same rug isn't there, but I'm good, I have what I need in order to crawl, walk again, run again, whatever, you know, I have what I need. So, month after month, I just figured it out, but what it did is it made room for me to focus on Black Directory full time, which was something that I always wanted to do, but that, just that wasn't the dynamic you know. So I had the right idea. Something else to catch you up on is well, actually, I'm going to save that. I'm going to save that. But back to the layoffs. I was laid off on unemployment trying to figure it out, didn't want to go home trying to see if I can be a contractor, freelance or trying to figure out how to really, you know, market myself. But it was hard because sometimes you can market for others. But it's very different when you are in that vulnerable space because you never want to act out in a sense of desperation, because you're just frantic, you're panicking, you're just mentally all over the place and I still just hadn't come to terms with everything that happened to the app and shout out to mom. Mom came to Texas, she came to Houston and we just had a long conversation and she basically told me, like hey, black Directory is still Black Directory, with or without the app. That's never what made it what it was, because as long as the mission is still true, you're still helping people, whether it's through the podcast or social media, in person, then it's being fulfilled. It's just not in the way that you thought and she had to really break it down that this isn't a failure. You accomplish something that you wanted to do, is something that other people may be trying to do If they're on a similar path, and she just explained that it doesn't mean you'll never have an app again. It's just a not right now, and I really had to take that time. This was January. At this point, I had to take that time to mourn the app. I had to really mourn it and make peace with it. And it sounds cheesy, but I had to dream again. I had to really think about Okay, if I have to, my eyes are closed because that's what was happening, but I've had to think to myself Okay, if you had to imagine your business without the app, without the thing that you think makes it it right, what does that look like? And I had to sit with that for a few days of like, okay, maybe we should be a nonprofit, maybe we should do this, maybe we should do that. And, honestly, that was the best thing I could have ever done, because I feel, I felt and feel so you know, my mind is clear, I can think I'm doing more than I ever would have because, really, the app made me feel Comfortable, because I feel like we made it. I feel like, well, that that was the thing that made us stand out and I had to really go back to square one. And if you're listening and you resonate with this at all, something that I want you to take away is that it's okay to pivot, it's okay to go back to square one, but square one doesn't mean, like I know, we said ground zero, but you, the progress that you may isn't erased. You're just saying, okay, what's the different route you know to the same destination? Okay, maybe it's not a going to swim, going that way, long as you get there. That's something to be proud of and it really is so important for us to Embrace the progress that we've made, and a lot of times we're our biggest credit. You know we're the ones that are putting ourselves down more than others sometimes, so I had to really Figure all that out. But I want to fast forward to just where we are today. Since then, I'm still doing contract or work for HR, Learning and Developent space, things like that. You know I gotta pay the bills until we got, you know, monetizing grow. But we are a nonprofit now and that was something that I thought about. But again, having all this spare time, I was able to make those changes of like you know what? Yeah, let's, let's try that, let's, let's. Maybe we should be a nonprofit because we are more for the community and just the things that I e nvisioned us doing, which is having a scholarship fund for HBCU students that we're working on and having interns and giving back and helping the community and giving grants and Wanting to raise funds is it just makes sense that we were in a different Business legal structure. So that was a change that we made. Another change that we made that some of you may already know if you've been following us is we created a yoga tour. We already did the melanated yoga here and there in Houston, but I really wanted to Focus on that a little more this year. So we did a four-city melanated yoga tour. So Raleigh, Austin, Atlanta, and we're going to have two stops in Houston and I'm just so proud, just talking about it out loud. I'm just so happy that I didn't get too stuck on the app thing, because what we've been able to do this year like we got our first sponsor that actually gave us money for the tour, but we also had many sponsors that gave us products for the giveaway bags and just how everything came together it was such a Beautiful experience that I don't know if I would have Experienced it if I didn't get out of my own way and out of my own head and I didn't say it has to be like this, we have to go down this path. That's detrimental, and I'm just so Happy that I let myself reimagine and rethink and repurpose, you know, refocus, all all the re's. We had to re, re and get back together. That's so corny, but we had to get get back on track and it's just been so rewarding. So we've been able to take Black Directory on the road and meet people that we wouldn't have really met any any other way, you know. And we're getting back into our happy hours now. We've hosted a few in Houston and just creating those social mixers in a way to connect with the more people. And I'm telling you all it's been. It's been rewarding. So we have went deeper into events, but it's really helped us grow a lot. We always kept the social media going as far as where we're on pretty much everything, but TikTok is really just showed up and showed out. We're now at 18K, but and it's not about numbers, but it's just more so if you've been following us, you know when we were like not there, we were trying to find our voice online and find people that resonated with us and could connect to our mission, and it's just really beautiful to see, just in a year, all that's changed and all that's happened and I'm just super proud. I'm super proud of where we're headed. I'm super proud of what we've accomplished so far. And we're just getting started. When I tell you HBCU scholarships are coming, that's coming. Internships and volunteer opportunities are coming Super excited about that. We're hosting our monthly community mixers here in Houston and we're just getting prepared to create membership because we want to have impact everywhere, not just Houston. I get that question the most is is this just a Houston thing? We're based out of Houston. Because I live in Houston, it's easier for me to do things here. But best believe, we want to reach everywhere, you know, anywhere where people want to grow and celebrate black owned businesses, especially if you're an entrepreneur. We definitely have some amazing things coming down the pipeline. We will be creating workshops. We really want to focus on giving tools and resources and helping the development side when it comes to black businesses. Everyone's not an entrepreneur. Some people they have a business but they're still trying to figure out how to grow and how to scale. And we want to position ourselves to be a resource, not just hey, we're promoting you on TikTok. It's like, okay, we're not just a promo page, I'm just excited. And again, I'm super excited about this podcast and the stories that you're going to hear, the gems that you're going to receive, all the nuggets, all the cool things, and we're just getting started. I think that's the best part. This year we turned three, but I feel like we're just getting started and I feel just that exciting feeling that I felt when I first started Black Directory. And this is back and I feel good, and it feels good even to be talking to you all recording this episode, because it's been a journey since October, November last year. It's been a journey. I'm telling you just for more insight. I didn't even want to get back on the microphone Like it just felt like not an identity crisis, but I was just lost within the business and real life and what they say life be lifeing. You know, if you know, you know, but I'm just excited. I feel more like myself, I feel more fulfilled. I'm just ready to pour, you know, pour into others. I want to connect with others. I want people to feel like we are a resource and we're making a difference. But that's enough of what's happened. I just wanted to update you all. This episode isn't too long, but I thought it would be so weird to start this season without bringing you all on that journey of what's going on. They dropped all these episodes. They disappeared. We are back, rest assured. We're back Better than ever. I'm just super excited for you all to see what's in store, and, of course, we always include a lot of good information in the show notes. But if you're new to this podcast or maybe you just haven't listened in a long time be sure to follow us. Check out our website, which is blkdirectory. com. Check out our TikTok. We're on other social media as well as Instagram, and TikTok, and we're a Directory across the board. But definitely check out our TikTok, because we have so many cool things going on there, just giving you all updates on what's going on in the Black community and just things that we should be celebrating more often. Those are the things that we promote and that we create. And something else that's new is we have a Discord channel. So if you are someone where you're looking to build community and meet like-minded individuals and celebrate Black businesses and get together, join our Discord group. It is amazing. It's a great way to connect. I'll be sure to give you those details as well and be sure to subscribe. Tell your friends, and your family, tell everyone about this podcast. It's so amazing and I'm not just saying that because I'm hosting it but you really get to hear from Black people telling their stories and it doesn't get any better than that, in my humble opinion. So catch up on some episodes. If this is your first time, or maybe you missed some, it will be worth it, trust me, trust me. Trust me, but that is it for this episode. You all. I can't wait to talk to you all again. I can't wait to see what you think about the rest of the episodes this season. Let us know your thoughts too. If there's you would like to be a guest on the show, or if you know someone that would be a great guest, I'll include information as well on that and the show notes. And, yeah, if you just want to support, this is a great way to support. If you're trying to figure out how to get involved, share the podcast with someone this week. And, yeah, I can't wait for you all to tune into the next one. Bye, thank you for spending some time with us Enjoying the show. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a rating and review Until next time.