She spoke with us about how she started freelancing, and how she finally decided to make it official by registering her business last year.
Sit back and enjoy this interview!
1. Can you introduce yourself to us?
My name is Clarissa Bannor, I’m a Ghanaian-American writer who does PR & Branding Consulting on the side. Although the latter is what pays the bills, I identify as a writer first.
2. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since middle school, around the time that I realized how therapeutic writing was for my curiosity and preteen angst.
3. How long have you been a freelancer?
I’ve been freelancing for a long time, but I got serious about it and registered my business in April of last year. So AfriGen Media will be a year old in April.
4. What made you go into freelancing?
A lot of things came together and made me realize I had a passion for helping African-inspired brands present well for the American market place. It started with Runway Africa, the African-inspired fashion exhibit I produced in 2007 right after college. It was such a smashing success and it solidified my commitment to showcasing and helping African brands thrive. But I also learned that I preferred to work one-on-one with clients and not necessarily keep producing events as a business model—it made use of my penchant for writing and teaching better. So consulting with businesses and brands continued until I finally decided to make it official last year.
5. Can you tell us about your blog http://www.thisafropolitanlife.com/?
This Afropolitan Life is my first baby. It started as an outlet to write my way through my experience as a young Ghanaian woman living in the West. I couldn’t find blogs or writers that resonated with me on this level so I just decided to create my own space. And that’s what I did. The blog, like myself, has grown and evolved so much, but it stays true to who I am and what I experience which hopefully inspires other women like me to live their best, balanced, lives.
6. What motivated you to start AfriGen Media?
AfriGen Media is my solution for African-inspired brands who want branding, marketing and PR solutions to reach the American Afrodiaspora audience. As an Afrodiasporan, I saw the need for better branding and positioning for African brands struggling to make an impact or meet sales targets in the U.S. consumer market. It takes the understanding of African consumer habits in the West, preferences, and pitch-perfect messaging. It’s not enough to just have a website up and a PayPal account to collect, it takes strategy, authenticity and understanding what need your product fills. So I started AfriGen Media to fill the need African-inspired businesses have to connect, resonate, and present seamlessly—which in turn fulfills my personal mission to see African creativity take over the world.
7. What are your favourite tools for working?
My laptop, my phone, and my personality are my top three. But WordPress, CoSchedule, BaseCamp and Wave (for getting paid) keep me productive.
8. How do you motivate yourself to write?
That’s a tough one. Every writer struggles with this but makes it a point to write every day anyway. The key is to just commit to writing every day, even if it’s nonsense.
9. What is something you’ve learnt about writing and freelancing that others can also learn from?
I’ve learned that comparison is the thief of joy. Just mind your businesses (because everyone does business differently) and keep it moving. Keep doing things you enjoy and decline projects you don’t care for because you won’t be motivated to keep going… and you can see how that can be a detrimental cycle?
10. Tell us about one of your works you consider as a favourite.
This Afropolitan Life is definitely one of my favourite projects, followed by my podcast because I get to talk to some pretty interesting people do pretty cool things.
11. What is your best writing tip?
Write every day and read incessantly!
12. What does your typical day look like?
No two days look the same for me. But I try to hustle hardest Tuesday through Thursdays. So on those days, I’m glued to my computer in my office. Nothing glamorous at all. The only thing that’s typical is dropping off my kids at school in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon which is when I shut down for the day.What advice would you give to a budding freelancer or writer?
13. What advice would you give to a budding freelancer or writer?
There’s no greater feeling than the freedom to make the rules up as you go and work by your own conduct and principles. But the key to keep going is to celebrate your success big and small and to learn the art of patting yourself on the back because no one else is there to do that for you, which can make this world a lonely and doubtful one. So make it a habit to write, to keep a daily journal on what went well, what didn’t, what lessons you learned and how to change things you don’t like.