We met Ms. Rhonesha Byng, founder of HerAgenda.com, at our Boss Moves Networking Mixer in December and were just loved the energy and drive that was packed in a petite 5-foot-2 inches. HerAgenda.com was inspired by the personal motto of the founder, Rhonesha Byng, of “No one Ever Slows Her Agenda.” The site serves as an information and inspiration hub for millennial women. With experience in magazines, TV, radio, and fashion, she's working towards growing as a multi-platform journalist in addition to developing her entrepreneurial endeavors. She's won awards from The Associated Press, Youth Venture, The Kauffman Foundation, Hewlett Packard, Clutch Magazine and Seventeen Magazine. Meet Nesha at the Her Agenda Mentors, Milestones and Motivations Panel in NYC on January 31, 2013.
Describe your personal brand in three words: positive, motivating, determined
When did you begin deliberately building your brand?I began building my brand once I discovered my passion for journalism -- at 16 years old. I created an acronym and motto around my name and used it to filter everything I did from that point on. It stuck because I was super young and able to secure interviews with celebrities and local politicians. I devoted my time to journalism programs and workshops trying to meet people, learn, and build my craft. I even invested in a set of business cards and everything!
How much time, money and energy do you invest to continue building a solid brand?
I don’t even know if I can measure that at this point! Time is something that is definitely invested because no one else is going to craft your brand for you. You need to spend the time creating your bio, crafting the right images, and making sure you have the proper presence across social channels. A major part of building a brand is also connecting with people in your industry -- beyond the internet. So it’s important to invest the time to meet with people.
Working in media is a 24/7 job, so I always feel I need to be doing something whether it’s updating a website, replying to emails, updating a logo or simply catching up on the news of the day. Money is also definitely something I’ve invested a lot of. When I created an LLC I learned running a business requires a lot of personal investment in the beginning.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have been offered? Wow, there’s so many! I honestly feel like my greatest opportunity is yet to come. I also feel like my opportunities were never exactly offered to me persay, I’ve always gone out and made them happen.
How did you get started? I was just always a nosey girl who asked a lot of questions, was kind of pushy and liked to write. I was lucky enough to end up with the right circle of mentors, and the opportunity to take the right classes to put me on the path I am now. I always reflect on my high school days when telling my story. That's where I got my first real taste of the journalism world. That's when everything started for me. I joined my school newspaper and by senior year I was editor in chief. I also participated in NYABJ’s high school journalism workshop and NYU’s urban journalism workshop. I started my own blog in 2007 and I got the chance to join a teen publication called HarlemLive, while also interning for a journalist and radio host named Raqiyah Mays. That was so long ago, but to this day, those opportunities have laid the foundation for where I am today.
What keeps you going? God, and the possibilities of what is to come!
What is your typical day like? It depends on the day. I wake up around 7:30am and try to set my intentions for the day and check my to do list. I check my calendar to see what’s on the agenda that day (not to sound cliche). It could be anything from meetings, to interviews, to research for an interview. Then I try and get a yoga workout in before I leave the house. I try to get into the office by 10am. After work I make sure I spend at least a couple of nights a week at home to work, do research, or just take a little break before the next day. Other nights I make a point to have a dinner meeting with someone from my network or someone new that I am hoping to connect with, or attend a panel or some kind of event that will help me to meet people or spark new ideas.
How did you garner press coverage and media attention? Again, it goes back to developing a strong brand, doing the work, and also developing authentic relationships with people. Behind every publication, corporation, and media outlet are people. I took a lot of risks by starting a company and launching HerAgenda.com while still in college. People took notice and wanted to shine a little light on what I was doing. I try not to just broadcast what I’m doing, but I really aim to bring people along on my journey and give people a behind the scenes look of how a story gets put together or how a website gets launched.
What were the steps you took in college to help get you into the position you are in now? College is when I got bit with the entrepreneurial bug. I already had a blog called SocietyandStyle and was active within the journalism community, but after a conversation with my friend, now brand manager [Creative Kraft], it lead to the creation of something bigger than me. My brand manager suggested I start a site for girls to universalize the No one Ever Slows Her Agenda motto for all young women. From that day, my idea came alive. I formed N.E.S.H.A. LLC in 2007 and launched a beta version of HerAgenda.com. Along with my site, while in college I created a show called Dorm Room Diaries where I addressed the issues of millennials, as well as a campus radio show addressing similar issues. I spent every summer and school break interning at NBC and even did a semester abroad while interning at the NBC London bureau. I also did some freelancing for AOL, and Interactive One (HelloBeautiful.com) while still in college. Again, it's been quite a journey.
Personal Branding Ah-ha moment: Every time someone else recognizes my brand before I can tell them about it brings an ahamoment in my life. I always ask people where they hear of me and those stories help me learn what works for my brand. It’s always interesting to hear the interpretation of your brand told by others. For example, I was privileged enough to get a mention from former Interscope Records artist Charles Hamilton in his 2008 song Brooklyn Girls. He slipped my name and slogan; No One Ever Slows Her Agenda in one of his verses. That was a complete surprise, but it was a great experience. As a creator your creations always make sense in your mind, but when building a brand it needs to really make sense to your audience.
Essential Business Tip: Trust your gut.
For more visit about.me/neshasagenda