One of the most important factors behind a successful business is the content that the business puts out. Multimedia Entrepreneur Vanessa James talks about the key to creating great content and the advantages your brand gives you with consistency and dedication.
What inspired you to become a multimedia entrepreneur?
VJ: “A sheer desire to succeed in the entertainment industry was the initial reason I took the entrepreneurial route. Once my radio career pivoted and when faced with the choice of moving to a new market or exploring other options, I knew it was time to jump. At that same time, live streaming, blogging and content creation were just starting to bubble. I jumped into that realm because it was new and untapped. I used all that I learned in radio from management to storytelling on-air, to create a new career path for others and myself. It has been very rewarding thus far!”
In your experience, what is the key to creating excellent content?
VJ: “Belief in what you are putting out is the essential first step to creating excellent content. You have to be excited about what you’re putting out and excited about telling that story. It’s about making something that resonates with people because it authentically resonates with you first. That’s the reason you see so many creators drop out or lose interest. Behind the perceived glitz and glam of creating content or being an influencer, the business side of things can throw many for a loop. That’s when your passion for the content or project helps to push through those moments. “
You recently did a project with Google and YouTube. What was that experience like and what did you learn?
VJ: “The Google experience was exciting and unexpected. It taught me that we are often create our biggest hurdles and how important it is to step out of our own way. The opportunity was an initial conversation about my brand VJMedia being the conduit to foster conversation with multicultural creators like myself. I’m excited to see how the partnership grows in the coming year and ready for the magic we will create together.”
What are the peaks about being a business owner? Least favorite parts?
VJ: “The peaks of being a business owner are definitely the planning and completion of projects months in the making. Take for instance, VJMedia Mixology, my annual gathering of fellow creators and media professionals. So much thought and detail goes into executing that event. From brand partnerships to the guest list and decor, the details are what I’ve come to love and respect about the process. My least favorite part are definitely the legal aspects. Although crucial, permits and licenses can be tedious and take away from the creative process, hence why I now have my accountant and lawyer handle.”
How did your radio career transform you into all the ventures you’re doing now?
VJ: “Radio is one of the most fascinating industries I’ve worked in to date. As a programmer, I was constantly navigating the market to best adapt and deliver a quality product to my audience. Being live on-air everyday groomed me in so many ways too. Having to practice being malleable to breaking news and master storytelling helped to groom me in my current role as a content creator. I loved the voice-over aspects of the job because it gave me the ability to play different roles and characters and share the many sides of my personality with millions of people everyday. I’ll always respect and appreciate the many opportunities that radio granted me, the incredible people that I had the pleasure of working with, and the knowledge I gained for the business side of the industry that I continue to use to this day.”
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
VJ: “Honestly, I don’t believe in mistakes, only lessons. Early on as an entrepreneur, I was dabbling with the idea of an entertainment show with a fellow colleague and media team in Miami. After filming a series of episodes for the show and helping to secure a brand partnership, the producer didn’t want to pay me for my work. I knew then that scenario wouldn’t work and that it would be more advantageous to develop my own brand, content and relationships on the strength of my own skills versus with a collective. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made.”
Tell us more about your platform VJ Media.
VJ: “VJMedia is a 360° platform of which all of my content is housed and distributed. From voice-over services for stations and companies around the country to event hosting, content creation and brand strategy, all of that is imagined and curated under the VJMedia umbrella. What started as a voice- over company has transformed into a platform that fosters and develops content and opportunities for future entrepreneurs; all of which I’m very proud.”
Your platforms require you to travel a lot! What are some of your favorite places in the world and why?
VJ: “Well Trinidad of course! It’s my birthplace, the land of the greatest carnival on earth and one of the most diverse places in the Caribbean. I love that you can easily connect with over ten cultures, ethnicity and religions in one meal. Cuba, New Orleans, London and New York are still in my top five for various reasons. Mainly because they offer so much culturally and are home to some of the most ingenious hustlers in the world. I plan on crossing the pond more in the years to come so I’m quite sure that list will evolve.”
What are your biggest highlights in your career?
VJ: “There are so many points of my career thus far that I look back on and smile. I’m truly grateful for the experiences that have shaped me personally and professionally. A few that stand out: serving as the voice for campaigns with ESPN, Jetblue, Palace Resorts and more, curating two annual events including the annual VJMedia Mixology and the VJMedia Women of Impact Dinner series. I also truly love connecting with people and the interview process. Some of the most career fun has been serving as a correspondent for Essence Music Festival and hosting the Jamaica Jazz and Blues music festival. Every opportunity allowed me to draw on my creative skills, foster relationships and polished my on-air presentation.”
What can we expect from you in 2019?
VJ: “2019 will definitely be a transformational year for my brand. I have a podcast in the making as well as a series of national events geared at helping female entrepreneurs and creators craft their ideas, message and develop their skill sets. The give back for me has become a passion point that I look forward to developing and sharing more of soon.”