TheBlackManCan is back in the Big Apple of New York City. We bring to you a Black Man who has a passion for writing. This brotha has a passion of helping people improve their lives professionally and personally. We proudly present to you Slim Jackson the mind behind www.singleblackmale.org. Slim sits down with TheBlackManCan to discuss being a web mogul, Black Men working together, steps to build a successful blog and advice for young Black Males of today.
TheBlackManCan: Slim, when did you realize you had a love of writing?
SJ: I realized I loved writing my freshman year of high school. English was my favorite subject, and I enjoyed any class where I had the chance to write essays. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the creative side of writing until college when I started a website to journal my random thoughts. That was followed by Facebook notes and a Myspace blog.
TheBlackManCan: You have a goal of becoming a web mogul. Can you tell us more about that goal and what do you mean by web mogul?
SJ: I’m an operations machine.lol. I could spend all day looking at web stats, best practices and strategies, and new technologies without getting bored. I also know what it takes to run a successful website, and I can see myself running a few of them. With that said, I’d love to run a media group (portfolio of websites). I’ve already started the process and now it’s just a matter of hitting the milestones along the way. That’s the dream. To do something I love that I’m also good at.
TheBlackManCan: You write about a variety of topics. If you had to choose your favorite two topics what would they be and why?
SJ: Personal and career development. They aren’t the highest trafficked subjects on this side of the blogosphere, but they’re the topics I spend the most time reading about. They’re also the areas where I think I can have the greatest impact. I use my personal experience — insecurities and all — to connect with readers and get them to introspect and see where they can make improvements in the many facets of their lives (health, fitness, general inspiration, and so on.) I’m also a certified Professional in Human Resources by day and have helped a good number of people secure interviews and jobs. I’ve been blessed with the ability to effectively advise people on their careers and I don’t want to let that talent go to waste.
SJ: I actually didn’t start the website. It began as a personal blog (2007) on which the founder shared his thoughts on whatever came to mind. Then it morphed over time into a sex and relationship blog with a hefty female (said with love) audience. I took over the site in early 2011 and realized there’s so much more to being a black male than sex and relationships. So I’ve focused a lot over the last year on figuring out how we can transition out of the sex and relationship niche to more of a lifestyle and opinion site.
And with the help of the team, we recently rebranded to SBM to get away from the immediate dating connotation of “single black male” and refreshed our mission, which now is to be the source for urban male perspective on topics men find interesting and questions women want answered. Our goal with our audience going forward is to inform, entertain, and engage. We inform our readers by covering current and relevant topics that resonate with them. We also highlight products and services they may find useful. We entertain by providing thought-provoking, poignant, and often humorous content that fosters discussion. We engage by responding to our readers questions and comments, interacting with fans and followers on social media, and by hosting offline events that create dialogue between the sexes.
Clearly, I’ve been thinking about this a lot.
SJ: There are a few things I’d recommend, particularly if you’re going the group blog route. And even if you’re not, eventually you’re going to need some help. Anyway…
1. Know your end goal. It may take you some time to figure it out. But the sooner you know it, the sooner you can start putting your plan in place to get you there. Do you want to write a book? Do you want to turn your site into a profitable standalone business? Do you want to get acquired? Once you’ve chosen, focus your attention on the things that will get there and not all the other random noise. It’s easy to get distracted by what everybody else is doing.
2. If you can afford it, pay for it. Your energy is best spent on the things you’re good at. So you need to think the same when spending your money. Pay someone to design your website and handle some of the technical problems that come up along the way. Or if you know someone reliable that will help for free or in exchange for a mention here and there, engage them. I’ve spent a lot of hours in code that could’ve been spent setting up meetings and developing strategy. You know. The stuff that actually makes money.
3. Pick a niche and define your brand. You don’t have to talk about the same exact thing day in and day out, but your audience should know what to expect from you. They should also be able to succinctly describe what your site is about to potential readers. A good way to figure out how you want to define your brand is to ask yourself “What words or phrases do I want people to say when they hear my website’s name?”
4. Network. You have to get out and meet people, or at the very least interact with them online. A lot of the exposure SBM has gotten over the last year is because we’ve supported and participated in other influencers’ events and established ourselves as trustworthy and accountable contacts. Personally, I’ve attended conferences, spoken on panels, live-tweeted events, and have even been to a few birthday parties. People remember that type of stuff.
5. Build a solid team. I can’t express how important it is to build a team of hungry and reliable people that share your vision. It makes life a lot easier.
SJ: We discuss current events, sports, pop culture and entertainment, health and fitness, politics, fashion, relationships and a myriad of other subjects. The diversity of perspective on the site is what keeps things interesting. We have six core staff writers and could have six different opinions on the same topic. Add in the guest contributors and imagine the array of perspective. It keeps us away from the status quo. Admittedly, we also get a steady stream of readers from our relationship content that folks are discovering every day and sharing with their networks. That’s how we initially built our name, so it only makes sense.
TheBlackManCan: You have won several awards and have been mentioned in several prominent magazines. Tell us about how it feels to receive accolades for following your passion and helping others?
SJ: It’s awesome. Like unicorns and sh*t. I’ve been in the mix for over four years now and my efforts are just starting to pay off. People are finally seeing that I’m more than just a relationship blogger, which is not something I ever aspired to be. It just kinda happened. My goal has always been to help people, so I’m loving everything that’s coming my way. As for SBM overall, it’s even better. People peep the potential and are starting to sense that we have bigger plans in mind than being a collective of internet personalities.
TheBlackManCan: If you had to describe yourself in three words what would they be and why?
SJ: Candid, helpful, and hard-working. Candid because I’m very honest in my writing. I don’t just talk about my successes and how I’m winning in the game. I also write about my failures and insecurities.
Helpful because that’s my goal in just about everything I do online. That includes sharing links to positive or resourceful content, write articles of value, answer reader questions, and making people laugh. Laughter helps a lot.
Hard-working because I put a lot of effort into this while also balancing my day job as an HR professional. People who read my personal blog (http://www.therealslimjackson) know about all the stuff I’m involved in and the hours spent behind the scenes. I’ve had to sacrifice part of my social life, but the results of the hard work are both tangible and worth it.
SJ: I see myself having a book out, working as a Career and Personal Development Coach, and running a portfolio of websites. As far as SBM, I have to pull the card of confidentiality. I won’t front like we don’t see this as a business venture. All I’ll say is that I see us being profitable…very profitable.
TheBlackManCan: People often speak about how Black Men can not come together but singleblackmale.org demystifies such a thought . What advice can you with Black Men on how to come together to work together and how important it is to do so?
SJ: There’s enough food for everybody that’s hungry to eat. Everybody that looks like you isn’t competition. Seek to understand then to help. In turn, people will be more willing to help you. The most successful Black Men I know are the ones that work with and support other Black Men…particularly in the same field. It’s not just important for us to work together, it’s critical. Shed the ego and reach out to congratulate a job well done and/or to build a group of like-minded gentlemen. You’ll appreciate the result.
TheBlackManCan: Why is it important for black men and boys to see positive images of themselves?
SJ: The better the images they see, the better they think they can be.
TheBlackManCan: What words of advice do you have for young black males?
SJ: Don’t be reluctant to ask questions. More people are willing to help you than you think. The sooner you realize the power of asking questions, the sooner you’ll succeed. Don’t drown in your pride.
Follow Slim on Twitter–> @slimjackson
Read Slim’s website–> http://www.therealslimjackson.com/
Check out SBM–> http://www.singleblackmale.org/
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