Meet Nicole Clark

Name and Location: Nicole Clark, New York City

1. What is your passion in life? : My passion centers around educating, including, affirming, and empowering women of color (women who identify as Black, Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Indigenous) to becoming change agents in their lives around sexual and reproductive health. I work to make sure that women of color have equal access to medically accurate throughout the spectrums of sexual and reproductive wellness.
2. What is your current job? : I currently work as a social worker at a national advocacy organization that serves people affected with and by HIV/AIDS and homelessness.

3. Do you own your own business? If so, what is the name and the mission? : I recently began my consulting business called Nicole Clark Consulting, where my mission is “Infusing Passion & Creativity to Improve the Health and Lives of Women & Girls of Color”. I share my experiences and expertise on sexual health, reproductive justice, advocacy, images of women of color in the media, street harassment, HIV prevention, community organizing, gender-based violence, and self care.

4. Did you have any fears when first starting your business? : My initial fear was wondering if I had anything to add to this particular field of activism, followed by if I could ever fully get to the point where I can make a substantial living writing, consulting, and speaking on these issues.

5. Did you have any insecurities when first starting your own business? : As I got more into my blogging and started back conducting workshops and speaking engagements (I took some time off between 2008-2010 to attend graduate school for social work), I started to worry more about my personal brand and how I can strategically set myself apart from others in order to generate better opportunities.

6. Describe your brand in one word. : Empowerment

7. Do you have any past failures that you can tell what you did to learn from them? : I haven’t been in my consulting business for very long, so I don’t have any marked failures yet. I guess one ongoing problem I have is over-extending myself and taking on too many opportunities, which has led to burn-out on occasion. Also, trying to balance my 9-5 with my consulting business is always a challenge.

8. Who are your target consumers? Would you want to change this?: My target audience is women and girls who indentify as Black, Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Indigenous.

9. Who inspires you? : I often get inspiration from women of color who have decided to live life on their own terms. On my blog, I’ve created the Women Making Moves! series, where I interview women of color in various fields who have found passion in their lives and work. I initially began the series as a way to encourage myself, but I’ve found from many of my readers that the interview series is a favorite of theirs as well.

10. What is always at the back of your mind? : I’m always thinking of how I can be more effective in my blogging style and how I can interact with my social media followers to increase their trust in me. I also think about my family a lot. I’m originally from Georgia and the majority of my family is still in the south. While I’m grateful for the chosen family I’ve developed in New York City, there’s nothing like being with the people who make you…you. I try to go home as often as I can.

11. What do you want to change about your job or career right now? : The biggest change I am making in my career is getting everything in place to fully transition into full-time consulting.

12. What advice do you have for others? : One biggest piece of advice I have comes from a song called “Open Your Eyes (You Can Fly)” by Vanessa Williams and Me’shell Ndegeocello . The lyrics are “You can’t wait for others to applaud what you do. So just congratulate yourself and start something new.” Receiving recognition is always nice, but when we rely heavily on it to the point where it affects our sense of self, it can become problematic. We should also be striving to grow better and to strive higher, and to help others along the way.

13. How do you motivate yourself?: I motivate myself by surrounding myself with friends and family that love me for me. I also create communities that are reflective of who I am as a personal and professional.. Since I am a social worker, activist, and college/graduate school graduate, I try to keep strong ties with people I’ve met that fall into these communities for me.

14. Did you have any obstacles that you overcame to get to where you are now?: The biggest obstacle I’ve ever faced (and continue to face) are the self-defeating thoughts and negative self-talk. Perception is reality, and how you feel about yourself ultimately manifest itself into your surroundings, how you interact with others, and how they respond to you.

15. Where can we find you on the web? You can find me at my website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Pitching Your Services

When you are a speaker and no one really knows who you are, getting your name out in a positive way is hard at first.  Yes, you send out emails and might get a response or two but you are not getting the responses you hope for.  You are putting yourself on the line for  your business and if you are a starving entrepreneur then you are REALLY praying for someone to respond to you.  After all you are not sending out pitch emails and proposals for fun or your health.  If you have sent out 5+ emails and no one has responded to you, there is someone wrong.  Maybe they feel that they don’t need the service, or  you have not sold yourself, and there are typos in your emails. Something!

When I would send out pitch emails and proposals I would either not get a response, or I would get something like “Javania, we would love to have you come and speak to our students but there is no money in the budget to pay you”.  Now maybe some schools, NPOs, or churches really  do not have money to pay but EVERY response should not be like that.

And then I would send “I am still willing to come and speak because I need the experience” (wrong move)

I went deep and figured out what I was doing wrong.

1. I talk too much.

2. What I thought was a proposal was NOT a proposal.

3. I did not make them feel as if they needed my services over all the other people who sent pitch/proposal emails.

4. I spoke about money first.

If this is you also, it’s time to make some changes and only you know those changes, or find an editor who can help you.  They are a life saver.

The changes I made are

1. Found a editor to edit what I was sending out.

2. Stopped pressuring myself to feel as if someone needed to respond to me. (They now know where to find me)

3. Left a lasting impression so that they will feel compelled to respond.

4. Let go and Let God.

When you have a service that is needed you breathe and live for your work, and people will come.  As long as you are authentic and real in your approach, they will feel like they just have to have someone from you. So put on your thinking cap and figure out how to change your approach and you will be amazed as how many people come knocking down your door.