Small Business Interview: Clarissa Bannor, This Afropolitan Life
Introducing Clarissa Bannor, a marketing strategist and owner of This Afropolitan Life, a podcast and blog that teaches audiences worldwide about cultural heritage, pop culture, and the everyday observations of living a Western life with African roots. She is also the founder of AfriGen Media & Communications; a strategic branding, marketing, and PR agency that elevates voices and brands in the AfroDiaspora. In this interview, Clarissa shares how she prices her products and services, her money tips, why you don’t need red bottoms to prove that you’re about your business and more. Clarissa is living her purpose and being paid to do what she loves - the perfect combination. I hope you will enjoy her story as much as I have!
"Beyond finding my purpose, being paid to do what I love⎯-as varied as it seems sometimes⎯-is even better! Through my work, I’ve networked and worked with some incredible companies and people while still being able to make time for my own interests and my family."
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what services products do you offer?
My name is Clarissa Bannor I’m the voice behind This Afropolitan Life Podcast and ThisAfropolitanLife.com where I engage with AfriGen audiences worldwide about cultural heritage, pop culture, and the everyday observations of living a Western life with African roots. In 2015, I leveraged my marketing background with my writing and podcasting career to form AfriGen Media & Communications; a strategic branding, marketing, and PR agency that elevates voices and brands in the AfroDiaspora.
Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
Marketing and PR for brands from the AfroDiaspora made sense because as a blogger I encountered many startups and brands that remixed African culture with a modern twist. I’m drawn to this aesthetic. But as a marketing strategist, I noticed how challenging it was for such brands to get out there and be noticed. So I decided to use my knack for marketing strategy to do just that--bring brands up to standard with effective branding and marketing ⎯-then use my platforms to tell the world about these amazing brands.
Do you have any special training?
My masters degree is in Arts Marketing and Publicity. My writing is a gift.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishments as a business owner is figuring out a way to merge everything I love to do together into one entity. Beyond finding my purpose, being paid to do what I love⎯-as varied as it seems sometimes⎯-is even better! Through my work, I’ve networked and worked with some incredible companies and people while still being able to make time for my own interests and my family.
How soon after you started did you start seeing profits? Or when do you project to begin earning a profit?
I didn’t start to see profits until I started added marketing consulting to my mix of offerings in 2015. I didn’t see any earning initially, but because my overhead is pretty low and I have a body of work through my blog that has been going since 2009⎯making a profit wasn’t as difficult as it may be for other businesses.
How did you decide how to price your services? How did you determine what your services were worth?
Oh man! Pricing is still tough for me as it is for lots of other people. I think the best strategy for me is having an hourly rate. And having an idea of how much I want to make per project. If those two numbers match up for a given project, even better!
What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful business?
In my line of business the most important elements are being super organized, so you’re productive and efficient. Second is being as economical with money as you can since you aren’t guaranteed a steady stream of income.
Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
Just start where you are, with what you have. And once you do start, keep pecking away…be consistent and don't give up. Victory always goes to those who stick with it.
Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
1. Find a way to simplify finances that makes sense for you. I use an app to get paid and stay on top of expenses.
2. Avoid the “boss babe” trappings; stay humble and stay simple by keeping your expenses low. You don’t need red bottoms to prove that you’re about your business.
3. Try to have a nice balance in your business account and don’t go below it…there’s something about having money in your account that keeps you going. And check your account balances often!
How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
Balance? What’s that? When you start out, you dream, eat and breathe your business. Always trying to figure out what your next move is going to be. The best balance I have is a supportive family, an uplifting network of friends.
Please share a fun fact about yourself
I’m an introvert. I like to hang out with the girls, but my best days are spent curled up with good African Literature, yummy chocolate--with my laptop within reach in case I need to shoot a quick email. lol
How can readers find you?
You can find me at www.thisAfropolitanLife.com
Thank you so much Clarissa. We have really enjoyed getting to know you and your mission with This Afropolitan Life.