Keep growing, keep changing, keep family first:
A fashion icon, a mother, an actress, and journalist, Veronica Webb has been dubbed by the New York Times as being firmly rooted in “the upper echelon of supermodel strata.” She is also a digital entrepreneur, having founded a lifestyle blog, WebbOnTheFly.com. We asked Veronica how she applies lessons learned from various chapters in both her professional and personal lives to her current journey as a business owner.
What lessons from your earlier career in fashion have you applied to your new role as a founder of digital business?
Move with technology. Keep it modern. Keep it moving and stay in step with technology. The two biggest advances in fashion in the last 10 years are moisture wicking fabric and the Internet. Fashion makes its biggest advances due to technology. That's why I started my blog WebbOnTheFly.com.
What advice do you have for women who may be afraid to build a digital business, or even to market a non—web—based enterprise online?
I was terrified of failing when I started my blog because I literally had no idea how to do it. My four kids gave me courage. The all do the majority of their school work on Google classroom. Watching them showed me my future. If you don't know where to start, start with getting help to create the services you need to get your digital business up and running. I used the site Fiverr.com to build my web site and to source on—going creative and administrative services. It's a gig site with work starting at $5.00 p/hr for coders, graphic artists, writers and business people. I work with women of all ages around the around the world on my blog.
Your professional brand and new business are so tied to your personal narrative. Can you advise women without the recognizable personal brand on how to create an authentic personal and professional story?
One of the best tools for telling your story in an authentic way is to use the little microphone button on your phone! You don't have to be a great writer or a talented speaker in order to get your story across. Dictate your ideas in your own words on your phone and make little videos of yourself speaking from the heart about yourself and your business. I have to say that my blog is the best thing I've done to promote my business in the last ten years. It lets journalists from Vogue and the Wall Street Journal pick up the stories and ideas that I want to put out. Instead of giving a link to a quote from another publication on my social media, I give my own quotes that link back to my site and drives business directly to me instead of another site.
When did you know you wanted to start your own venture? And why did you decide to go for it?
I got re—married nine years ago and my family doubled in size. I didn't want to travel incessantly or be on a constant diet in order to meet the needs of my clients in the fashion industry. I wanted to work from home. I wanted to be the boss. I wanted to call the shots. Also, raise your hand if you're 45 years old or beyond if you feel like you don't see enough women in our age group depicted in fashion magazines! That's the need I saw in the market that made me start my blog WebbOnTheFly.com. It speaks to my passions for fashion, food, fitness and family and the fact that women who are 45 and beyond don't "still have it"—we've always had it and we go out and crush it everyday with strength and wisdom. That's the conversation!
What is the most valuable lesson you can teach your kids from your experience of building a business while raising a family?
The same thing that my mother taught me. She was a nurse and a lieutenant colonel in the Army. She said, keep learning. She got a master’s degree at 55 years old. She said, "Keep growing, keep changing and keep family first." There's a great quote from the mathematician Grandmaster Kevin Horsley, who's a dyslexic like me: "If you keep doing what you've always, done you will get what you've gotten. You need to do different to get different." And that means learning new systems of thought. The digital world is just a new way of thinking about business.
Veronica Webb was one of the first Black models to gain a major cosmetics contract (with Revlon), has appeared in numerous films, has authored articles for magazines, and has taught at New York University. She is the founder of webbonthefly.com . She uses Google tools to run her business.
You can try out Google's tools for small businesses, too:
Photography by Gary Williams Creative Theory Agency