I’m pleased to announce that The Feisty House is today’s stop on Tyece Wilkins’ Womanhood, Writing and Relativity Blog Tour. To celebrate, we’re speaking with Tyece herself on writing, becoming a part-time entrepreneur and doing it all for the love of creativity. Tyece is the creator and editor-in-chief of Twenties Unscripted and author of Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity, available for purchase on Amazon now. If you’re interested in becoming a writer and turning your passion into a career, keep reading to learn more about Tyece and her journey to entrepreneurship.
Dream Job Interview //
Tyece Wilkins of Twenties Unscripted
Tyece Wilkins // Founder // Year Launched: 2012
Can you tell us a little bit about your company?
Twenties Unscripted started out of some combination of passion, boredom and homesickness. When I started the blog in 2012, I was living in Texas for a work assignment and wanted a way to get back into writing because it has always been a passion of mine. Since then, Twenties Unscripted has evolved from a personal blog to a brand and business centered on sparking women to connect to the best, bravest and boldest parts of themselves. From seasonal events to monthly snail mail, and everything in between, I always aim to create work that resonates with smart, unconventional and observant women.
How did you start writing? How did you know this was what you wanted to do?
I started writing when I was really young and it has been a part of my DNA ever since. I’ve always been a writer whether that meant being on my high school’s newspaper staff, performing spoken word in college or blogging. On some level, I’ve always known it is what I wanted to do.
What were you doing before you launched Twenties Unscripted?
The same thing I’m still doing–working in corporate communications. But, when I started Twenties Unscripted, I did not have as much focus or sense of purpose. I had blogged on different platforms before launching the site, but I got serious about my craft with Twenties Unscripted. I met Melinda Emerson at the 2012 Blogging While Brown conference, and when she saw my business card with “.tumblr.com” still attached to the end of my blog’s URL, she told me, “Get a dot com stat.” That was something that pushed me to make more of an investment in my writing.
How are you making the transition to entrepreneur?
I’m not a full-time entrepreneur, so my life is all about balancing two jobs and prioritizing my time.
How have you funded your business? How long has it taken you to see a profit?
This year is the first year I’ve received a profit from Twenties Unscripted, and it has not been a consistent stream of income at all. In fact, last month after I published my book was the first time I really sat down and tracked my expenses. That was a sobering experience! I am in that awkward, tough, inevitable and important phase of starting to truly see Twenties Unscripted as a business, which is difficult for someone who has been accustomed to marketing free content. The process of going from personal blogger to entrepreneur is not easy because you’re conditioned to underestimate the worth of your words and knowledge.
What do you enjoy the most about owning your own business?
I love the freedom of coming up with an idea and seeing it through to fruition. When you work for yourself, there is not a huge amount of red tape around what you can do if you have the means and drive to do so.
What do you enjoy the least about owning your own business?
I’m not crazy about the business side of business (expense reports, budgeting, etc.) But, I am certainly learning the importance of being vigilant on the financial end.
Was there ever a point when you wanted to give up?
There wasn’t a point where I wanted to give up per se, but last summer into early fall was my toughest and most precarious time to date. I hit a wall creatively, canceled an event that I had invested a lot of time and money in, and took time off from blogging. In short, I just burned out. But, that time taught me that you have to take care of yourself and nurture other parts of your life. Too much of my identity was wrapped up in Twenties Unscripted at the time, and I now realize how unhealthy that is.
How are you getting the word out about Twenties Unscripted? How have you established your social media presence?
Social media and word of mouth have been my best marketing tools. It’s amazing how many people will read the blog, tell a friend and then I get a new reader from that friend who they told. When it comes to social media, I believe in a few things: respond to positivity, reach out and show love, ignore negativity, and get on social media when you are mentally and emotionally in a place to digest whatever may come your way. Those social media core values as I call them have helped me establish and build an online community.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I wake up somewhere between 6:15 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. I’ll typically knock something out for Twenties Unscripted before getting ready for work—anything ranging from ordering new postcards for that month’s snail mail to responding to emails. I head to my full-time job and work from about 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. I get home, make dinner and then work on Twenties Unscripted from about 8 p.m. to midnight. Usually sometime in the evening, I’ll watch one of my favorite television shows, either while I’m eating dinner or at another time. Again, I believe in carving out some sort of time to do something that’s just for me.
How do you use creativity in your business? When are you most creative?
My business is built on creativity. I am always conjuring up new ideas, whether that means blog posts, events or ways to engage readers. I am at my best creatively between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m, which is tough because I usually don’t have the luxury to stay up that late on weeknights. But, I am definitely a night owl. That’s when I get my best ideas.
What’s been the most amazing moment for Twenties Unscripted so far?
Phew, that’s a tough one. There have been so many amazing moments, both big and small. A moment that always sticks out for me as having been pivotal for Twenties Unscripted was when journalist Evette Dionne included Twenties Unscripted in a Clutch Magazine feature highlighting “The Five Most Underrated Blogs You Should Read.” That moment changed things for Twenties Unscripted. It was the catalyst for many other amazing opportunities that surfaced after.
What’s on the horizon for your business? Where do you see Twenties Unscripted in the next 3-5 years?
I recently told a friend that if 2015 was the year of the book, 2016 is the year of the business. Within the next 3-5 years, I see Twenties Unscripted making the full transition from blog to business. I will always be a writer and blogger. I will always sit down a few times a week and write a personal essay onmy blog that I hope reaches the right person. That won’t change; the blog will always be the hub. But, I want to continue to find authentic ways to monetize, ways that I feel are true to myself and to what would resonate with my readers.
A few things coming up for Twenties Unscripted are the Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity book brunch tour that will take place in D.C. and NYC this October and November. I’m also working on a multimedia project centered on the different dimensions of black womanhood that will launch later this year, with an exhibit taking place in D.C. in December.
What advice do you have for those who aspire to make a living writing and self-publishing their work?
Nothing happens overnight and Rome was not built in a day. Because of how popular blogging has become, I see a lot of people who are looking to have 10,000 followers their first day. This thing takes time, patience and a consistent work ethic. Be ready to put in the work. Be prepared to go unnoticed for awhile. But, if you are in it for the passion and not the paycheck, you’ll reap the fruits of your labor.