It’s been a while since I updated like I want to, but I shared this on my private FB page last week and got an amazing response. I decided to catalog it; and it here. Writing my story out; one morning – in bed – reminded me of who I am. Hopefully it’ll do something for you too.
Just a little story for you…
I’ve been a tech geek since I can remember.
I was nearly expelled for hacking in 7th grade.
In 8th grade I helped build a TV studio.
In 8th grade I also anchored and produced my first TV show.
I anchored a HS news program for 4 years.
In 2005, I did a radio internship. Everything changed.
In 2005, I was a freshman at Columbus State University.
In 2005, CSU had nothing but a communications program to offer me…
In 2005, I launched cougarradio.com as a way to tap myself into my passion.
In 2005, I started my first business. Made cougarradio a subsidiary.
In 2005, I hosted my first morning show.
In 2005, I started DJing
In 2006, we threw a local-celebrity block party, hosted by cougarradio
In 2006, CSU shut down that block party. Opposition.
In 2007, I moved back to Atlanta. Started a podcast, with my best friend.
In 2007, that podcast turned into a nightly radio show
In 2008, in conjunction with doing what I loved on the side, I kept working. Full time.
In 2008, I tapped into my God-given talents and got my first job making over 100k. I hated it. But it was funding my dreams.
In 2008, our show grew from 3 hrs to 4 hrs, 5 days a week.
I’ve been working since I was 14. Full time hours since I was 16. Forgot to add this. I’ve always wanted my own.
In 2008, the market was tanking and I took a new job. I had to work nearly 60 hours a week – and I was stuck.
In 2009, I realized my voice – was my voice.
In 2009, I renewed my faith. I realized that I needed to know God for myself, not the God of my parents. I needed this.
In 2009, my company moved into its first ‘location’ and out of my living room.
Every living room & dining room I’ve had since 2007, has been community office space. Think-tank style.
In 2009, we did a web reality show. Probably one of the first on YouTube. Remnants of it still live.
In 2009, we moved into new office space and launched 3 radio stations. Three. 3. Nightline 98.1, CityStylez 100 and Urban Cafe 102.5 (UC1025)
In 2009, UC popped. We went from a staff of 4 to 30, in 1 month.
In 2010, we built from the ground up over 8 shows, solid programming and a respected network.
In 2010, we also launched our own news network. Urban Newsroom. This launch was really to supplement the news programming for our stations.
In 2010, things came to a screeching halt. We ran out of money. I was burnt out. We burnt out. The drive was gone. 5 months in, my show ended and all of the shows on our network ended.
In 2010, Urban Newsroom kept breathing. It was an underlying pulse to keeping the company moving.
In 2010, I needed motivation. 5 years. Was I done?
In 2010, we launched another radio station. Vibe 105. We had one show. Me, on Saturdays. 4 hours.
In 2010, we launched a motivational call for young entrepreneurs and young professionals.
In 2010, we renamed the company. Let’s try something different.
In 2011, I met some dope people. I became a young adult pastor. Things in my life changed dramatically. I learned more about myself.
In 2011, I realized the only reason I wanted my own is because I believed that everyone should be able to do what they love without limits.
In 2011, pastoring young adults taught me that I cared about the future of others. People just like me.
In 2011, I watched a group of young adults believe in something, transform their lives and commit themselves to transforming others. I finally got it. I found out I was called to people.
In 2011, I kept doing my show, 4 hours on the weekends.
In 2011, SE7EN, changed my life.
In 2011, July to be exact, I resigned from my full time job. It was time to do what I love. Just that.
In 2011, my best friend did the same. Here we were again.
In 2011, things started to look up and down at the same time.
In 2011, I wasn’t sure if leaving the steady paycheck was the best idea. I did it anyway. Yeah, it wasn’t the best idea.
In 2011, I gave up living by myself, moved back in with my best friend and ugh.. Roommates again. But I had a goal.
In 2012, I became deathly ill. I went into the hospital on Feb 24th and didn’t return home until April 9th.
In 2012, one of the best people I’ve ever met – stayed with me every single day that I was in the hospital. She stayed. She prayed. She made sure I didn’t die. She believed in me.
In 2012, I weighed 109 pounds.
In 2012, doctors told me I would be down for about a year and that I needed to just focus on recovery.
In 2012, I did not die.
In 2012, May 16th, I snuck back to work. Did a phone interview – and against all odds and everyone’s recommendation, put myself back in the game.
In 2012, I moved back on my own. Got back on the air.
In 2012, Urban Newsroom was still breathing. Vibe 105 lived on with 90k regular listeners.
In 2012, we got serious again. We started planning.
In 2013, we had a Vision Board Brunch. It all started to make sense again. This was it. People need to know who they are, and why they’re here.
In 2013, we tried to make sense of everything. What did we have? What were we using? What should we stop doing?
In 2013, I kept working. Hell, I had bills to pay. I kept doing my show on Saturday mornings. It was my only breather.
In 2013, me and my best friend kicked off another show on Sunday nights. It was short-lived. 8 weeks. Blah.
In 2014, I decided enough was enough. We decided enough was enough. We called two old heads from the UC era — you keeping up? We strategized for 6 months.
In 2014, 6 months of strategizing created BossFM.
In 2014, May 26th. BossFM launched. A shitty app. Mediocre website. We had 3 stations (now channels). Vibe. The Flow. And the new “Hashtag”
In 2014, we argued for months over what the name of this new network should be. The Hashtag was everyone’s last choice for a channel name. Blah again.
In 2014, June, I brought my Saturday show to BossFM. I changed the name of it. The ShakeUP was born.
In 2014, July we moved into our official studios for BossFM. Dingy. Old. Dirty. Ours. These days we call it ‘the trap.’ Not much happened, but we’d done it again.
In 2014, September, we started holding auditions. If we’re gonna do it, let’s do it. I was working again. We were all working again, but this is in us. So let’s do it.
In 2014, Sept/Oct a friend of mine came to one of the auditions and he brought this crazy chick with him. They auditioned on The ShakeUP, I thanked them – and they told me they’d be back, the next week.
In 2014, they came back. Every week. The ShakeUP became ours. A few others started showing up and before we knew it, we had a team. Yikes.
In 2014, we decided we could, indeed do this. We.
In 2015, January 26 – The ShakeUP moved to weekday mornings. 6 days a week. 4 hours a day.
In 2015, we added more shows to BossFM, more channels (stations) and built out an additional studio in our office space. Coincidentally, all of this had been on my vision board. That Vision Brunch, has become a yearly thing.
In 2015, we moved into a newer space that we thought was more conducive to our needs. Wrong. 10 years and we’re still making mistakes.
In 2015, BossFM – just one portion of this amazing company that we’ve built achieved amazing brand recognition and has recruited some of the best talent.
In 2015, we broke digital barriers that terrestrial networks still haven’t broken – and won’t break.
In 2015, we ended with 7 channels.
In 2016, we moved to downtown Atlanta, yet another risk. We’re doing things different now – but our staff is beginning to swell.
In 2016, I feel steady. I feel experienced. Sometimes, I still don’t feel like I can.
In 2016, I still have to make decisions, many of them are difficult and they now impact more than just me, or us.
In 2016, The ShakeUP is still here. Everyday I talk to someone that thinks I just walked into this opportunity. They think that I didn’t fight or work for my dreams. They fail to realize that talent will open a door, but it can’t do the work.
In 2016, our company is starting to thrive in more ways than one, and we are committed to doing the work. We’re not haughty or arrogant, and only link with team members that can join the dream.
In 2016, I understand that it’s more rewarding to give…
In 2016, I want you to realize that not only are you called to something… You were born for something.
I know this is long. I wrote it this way so that you can see that it takes time. Don’t rush the process. Enjoy the struggle. You will struggle. I left things out, evictions, negative balances, people… But hopefully you get the point. Thank you for being a part of my process.
One of the most significant pieces of this story, is the WE. You’re always stronger with a team. Get one. Get on the same page. Change the world.
Listen to your heart.
“Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.” Proverbs 18:13
It’s 2016, and I’m not going to stop. There are so many people that were a part of this journey. So many people that have helped me — with conversation and prayer. There are people that have similar stories in parallel and identify. I can’t tag everyone, but you know if you were a part of this. You know your own story. Don’t give up. Clear your calendar. Make room for your destiny. Be great. #TodayIsGreater!