Although she needs little introduction, Necole Kane is a self-made entrepreneur who climbed her way up from humble beginnings in the digital media industry. Now the editor-in-chief of XONecole.com, Necole Kane has evolved from a hungry-for-news entertainment blogger to the proud leader of one of the top lifestyle media brands for black women in America. In this interview with BAUCE, Necole talks to us about the ultimate secret that has led to her success: having a strong BAUCE mindset that allows her to pivot at a moment’s notice. She highlights how resilience, the power of manifestation, and her admirable ability to constantly want more for herself have kept her moving upwards in an industry that has become more challenging to grow in then when she first started out. Keep reading to capture Necole’s gems on adopting a fearless mindset as an ever-evolving entrepreneur!
When you first began your career journey in the media industry, you were the one-woman team behind NecoleBitchie.com. How were you able to build a network for yourself when you first started out?
Necole: Right after launching Necole Bitchie about maybe three weeks to a month later of me doing too much, I got the idea to launch a social community for bloggers and it was called “The Urban Blogger”. A lot of the people that I follow now that are amazing writers were a part of that community, including Jamilah Lemieux. When I launched [my first] site, I didn’t know any bloggers. So, building the community was my way of trying to get us all together in one place. Everybody started inviting everybody else that they knew that might’ve had like a small blog or a big blog and next thing you know, we have like 300 members within like a week or two.
In the beginning, I created this social network because I wanted black bloggers to have a place where they can meet other bloggers. I rounded up maybe a group of other bloggers that had similar audiences and writing styles and built linking partnerships with them. We talked about what ad agencies we were in, you know, what revenue streams we had. Like, we were really sharing a lot of information about blogging that people before joining had no idea about. We would discuss what platforms we were using — all of that! That’s how I was able to grow.
You have evolved so much since you launched your first site. XO Necole was acquired by Will Packer Media a few years ago and you even participated in a few bodybuilding competitions over the lifespan of your career! All of this takes grit, competence, and a steadfast vision. What are the key traits that have helped you execute on your ideas and make your dreams a reality?
Necole: To be honest, I really think the traits that have allowed me to go for a goal or pivot has a lot to do with my survival trait. I feel like my best work and the things that I’ve launched that have been successful occurred when my back has been against the wall and I have been at rock bottom and there was really nowhere to go but up. I think a lot of time I feel like the more resources I have, the slower I am to act on things, you know what I mean? There’s more fear there or there’s more to lose. So, I think it’s that trait of having nothing and feeling like you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
Like when we went into the pandemic. I went into survival mode so quick! I had to pivot so quick. I was like I’ve been here before. You know I think I’ve never gotten comfortable with the idea of certainty ever. Like some people have had the luxury of being certain of their career path or that they would have a job. I just never felt like there was any certainty in my life. Those are the qualities that have helped me succeed.
On social media you talk a lot about the power of manifestation and the law of attraction has transformed your life. Why is that? How often has manifestation shown up positively in your life?
Necole: Oh, all the time. I do a practice now that I like to call “future journaling”. When I went through a very depressive state in 2016, going into 2017, I remember buying a journal and I started waking up every day and writing out my life as if it had already happened. So, I was actually writing what I wanted to happen in my life. I remember the day I wrote “today I will be presented with an amazing opportunity” [in my journal]. That was the day that Will Packer called.
My first practice was just writing out my days, every day. As soon as I woke up, I would write “today, I will…, I will…, I will….” But I had to start changing that “I will” to “I am”. And even now it’s in the present moment. I would write “I am living in such-and-such square foot loft, it is very airy, it has three bedrooms and a kitchen island.” Once I recognized the power of manifestation, I became very specific and very detailed with my life as I saw it. Sometimes you we only reach as far as we can see. And sometimes you got to see it for yourself first to even know that it’s obtainable and that it will happen for you. For me it’s major because mindset is everything. And a lot of times you have to pivot your mindset before you can pivot in any area of your life. When you go through a mindset shift, the universe, God, you know, everything brings the people into your life that are on that same wave wavelength that you are.
Love it! Conversely, how do you manage negative thoughts or comparative thoughts as you evolve in your career journey? The media world can be very difficult to grow in.
Necole: A friend asked me this recently. She was like, “Do you ever find yourself comparing yourself to other people?” And I know she meant like on social media or other people who may be in my field. And I realized the only time I compare myself to other people is when I’m not living a full, happy life.
When you live a “big juicy life” [laughs] I feel like it lessens the comparison vein because you love your life. It’s like I don’t even want to trade my life with yours. I don’t care what you’re doing over there because mine is so great and awesome, you know? So, I have to always do these self-checks with myself. Like I just went through a meltdown in May — I call it “Meltdown May”. And it was serious. Like it was to the point where I had shut off communication from even the people that work with me, my staff, they didn’t hear from me for a week. I had my away message up. Nobody could reach me by phone. I shut off work. I shut off everything.
I needed that quiet time to realize I was not happy with my life. And so, I think it takes constant checking in with ourselves every month, every two months, every three months, and saying “am I happy?” Because a lot of times we’re just dependent on being busy. The pandemic, for a lot of people, took that dependency away. It made us sit down and realize we never really have been happy, but we just kept ourselves distracted. So, I had to pinpoint why I wasn’t happy and what I would have to change in my life to be happy. These “self-checks” are what truly help me balance my mindset and prevent those negative feelings from creeping up.
Many of us have watched how you have embraced “change” through your career journey. You’ve changed brands and even changed locations! Do you feel that change is necessary for growth?
Necole: Absolutely. I feel like there’s just a whole big, broad world outside of the one we’re living in. And for me growing up, the only access I had to that world was books. We didn’t have the internet like that when I was in high school. We didn’t have the internet like that until I went off to college. But when it comes to moving, it was important for me to just get to college because it allowed me to escape my circumstances at home, which weren’t great. And after college, I got addicted to moving. I’ve lived in almost 10 to 15 cities in my lifetime. Every city I ever thought about living in or ever had curiosity I would move to. But every time I’ve moved, I’m introduced to a different culture, a different lifestyle. “Change” helped me evolve and it really helped me acquire the skills I needed to survive as a black woman out here and just give me a fearless mindset. I don’t feel like there’s any situation you can drop me in that I won’t adapt to eventually.
What is the one word you would use to describe your current mental state right now when it comes to your career journey and why?
Necole: Thank, God I’ve done the inner work in terms of the books I’m reading and things like that. I feel blessed to be in the mental space I’m in now. Cause I know the old me and I would have been under my bed in the fetal position if this was a couple years ago! I’ve learned to focus on what I can control. I’m always living in the future and sometimes the stress of all the unknowns caused me to suffer because I was spending so much time in the future I wasn’t enjoying or living in the present. And so, I think that’s why I’m in a better mental mindset now in the midst of a pandemic and protests because I am focusing on the things I can control.
What is your advice for women entrepreneurs that are kind of feeling stuck right now given everything going on? Is now the time to pivot or change?
Necole: I really think that we were all meant to re-analyze our life [during this season]. I think most of us were on a hamster wheel going nowhere fast. Do you know what I mean? I truly think this was a period where we were meant to sit down and figure out first if we are on the path or if we took a detour for any reason and if we are truly happy. So that is what my advice would be really.
I’ve never journaled so much in my life, but I advise writing things down and thinking about what you want for your life. This time is truly an enlightenment period and I think some beautiful things are going to come out of it for different people. And when it comes to business, know your audience, anticipate their mindset, and where they will be mentally when we come out of the pandemic. Think about what their pain points might be so that you can meet them on the other side of this in the best way possible and as your best self possible too.