Figuring This All Out: Brand, Business, and Marketing

One of the realest things I read so far on this road to entrepreneurship is that THERE IS A LOT OF BAD INFORMATION OUT THERE!

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Now one would think that with 10 years of traditional classroom teaching, six years of active duty military service, and six degrees (2 associates, B.A., MPA, Ed.S. and an Ed.D.), I should be where I want to be. Wrong…Wrong…Wrong! I’m trying to crack the self-publishing market and offer a message to aspiring and new teachers (THAT IS MY PURPOSE—To Inspire!)

When I initially wrote my first book, My Fourth Year In Middle School: The Truth About Teaching, I was and still am completely behind on not doing enough to properly market my book to get it into the hands of the people that I feel could benefit from it the most.

I would attribute writing this book to being just like the formative years of education because in my first three years I learned A LOT.   Mostly through trial and error and faulty circumstances.  But in those first years I found my purpose and knew that I have a lot to offer as an educator.  As an individual.  As a person who is not afraid to make mistakes and take a risk.

Since the release of my book in July 2016, I still want to do more with it.  I am almost desperate to do more with it because I know that there is some really good information embedded inside to keep teachers motivated.  Now I’ll be honest, I have definitely taken some heat for my book but this was about some real stuff that I experienced as a new teacher.  Much like my recollection of a having a teacher tell me I’d never be successful; I never wanted a child to feel that way about themselves in my classroom. I do not want new teachers feeling left out and ostracized unnecessarily… even with the good support of my mentor teacher, I felt alone when I started teaching.  So I ask myself, was I supposed to paint a pretty picture of the people that were hard on me or was I supposed to tell my TRUTH.

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MY BOOK AT A GLANCE

Year One: This was the toughest year ever and I remember feeling like I was being tested to see if I could really hang in there with my high poverty stricken kids.  But the thing about the students is that once I won them over, they were not the problem.  IT WAS THE ADULTS.  I cried a lot that first year because I felt like I was failing miserably at teaching.  During pre-planning I had been whispered about because of a skirt that I thought was appropriate, but clearly it wasn’t.  I felt so embarrassed by my assets…the skirt was long but that wasn’t the problem.  I was body shamed before body shaming was a thing.

Dealing With Divorce: My first marriage fell apart during my second year of teaching.  I was holding on by a thread.  I had had a huge fight with my husband, got a mugshot for bursting out his truck window, separation, and watching the security I once felt in my marriage be shattered.  All of this was going on while my boys were toddlers (Lil Phil-5, Preston-3). I was home alone with my two boys, cooking for them, dropping them off at daycare, working my full-time teaching job—stressing and wondering when my husband was going to come back home.  HE DIDN’T! The divorce was finalized September, 2011!

Is This Really Happening: So many things happened to me in a few short years that I am blown away at the fact that I’m still in the classroom.  I admit my very first administrator was hands down the bomb.  She had very high expectations and as a new teacher  I had no choice but to meet them.  I’m extremely proud of my results after my first year of standardized testing…I can boast that 97% of my students passed the Criterion Referenced Competency  Test (Phased out CRCT).  But I dealt with a different administrator my 3rd, 4th, and 5th years of teaching that was so passive, it was difficult to feel productive under his leadership.  I dealt with my car being stolen from the school campus my 5th year and instead of being sympathetic his reaction was, “It was a simple repossession.”  That made my blood boil, and I knew it was time to GO!

A Different Perspective: Transferring to a different school was what I thought I needed and while I was yet again able to foster relationships with my students…I also had to deal with adults.  I will say that I am brash and unfiltered at times, but I’m committed to my stance on things, and that doesn’t make me wrong; it makes me passionate about my kids.  I respect other people’s opinions, but I think I have run into others not really respecting mine.  In my ten short years, I have dealt with court cases with my now second ex-husband in 2014, the murder of my half-brother in 2015, middle of the year moves from one content/classroom to another in 2016, and truly feeling undervalued for my experience and knowledge. In a one on one conversation about leadership I once told an administrator, “Your perspective is skewed by what you think you know about me.  Until you see me or in action, you have no idea what I’m capable of.  I take my content very seriously.  I’m not changing!  But you’d have to talk to me to know that.”

Even through all of that I have experienced, the nonconstructive criticisms, and being told I’m not qualified or experienced enough to be an academic coach I still forge ahead.  I’ve also been told I’m “social media heavy”, whatever that means.  I mean, is this the wave?!?!?  Criticize others for the moves they are making because you are not making them yourself?!?!?

Yes my career is teaching but my vision is much bigger than being in a classroom forever.  I refuse to be one dimensional.  Just as I heard today…not everyone wants you to be successful.  I’m building my platform one blog, discussion, experience, post, and video at a time.  I am not a traditional teacher…I have a bit of an edge about me and I’m not afraid to share my experiences.

As I’m figuring this all out I know that the LaTilya Rashon brand and PSB2 Publishing  will rise as I coach myself through the necessities.

To learn more about my self-published titles please check me out here.  Be sure to connect with me on social media.

Be sure to share and leave a comment.  Thanks for reading.cropped-20170110_153240-e14840823819536.png

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LaTilya Rashon🦋

Being self-published and trusting the process takes an extreme amount of clarity, patience, and sacrifice.  I have realized that my “target audience” is not based in my personal relationships but people that actually follow my work in hopes that I inspire them.  If you believe in the LaTilya Rashon brand…purchase your logo series shirt today. Thank you in advance!

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Thing 3: Coaching Myself

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Today I sat, I read, I prayed, and I listened to what my mind, body and spirit was gently preparing me for.  Then in my subconsciousness my body felt the sudden urge to move.  Not move outside of my house but move closer to my chromebook so that I could sit up and write.

It is a new month and I have yet to really type out my focus and present a new blog but I can say that my mind has been very busy with ideas, lists, goals, and timelines that I must crank something out today.  Even though I successfully converted my Brown Sugar Magic book into a more focused Goal Setting and Success Coaching Guide that I want to convert into an email course or something… working on the logistics of that!  I’m doing all of this by myself, so I’m taking my time!

However lately, I have been on a quiet journey of re-centering myself because I’ve needed divine intervention in my thought processes while ultimately working on me.  Ironically light has transcended through me and I have been helping others not really thinking about it in that way.  I only know I’ve been helping because of the messages and encouragement I have received.  But in my readings today, two things stood out and they made my heart race just a little bit…  have I been Believe in your worth.

Release any doubts of your value.Believe in your worth.

Release any doubts of your value.pouring into others when I felt empty? and, am I truly preparing myself for what I want?

I did a live video the other day on my LaTilya Rashon “tilyarealeyes”page and while I got feedback, I said to myself that I was just beginning to scratch the surface of the work that I am doing on myself.  I’m going to do a follow-up to that video on my youtube channel soon but right now I’m just figuring some stuff out.

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FB: LaTilya Rashon “tilyarealeyes”

I KNOW a lot of people, but the reality is I call very few my friends because as the seasons change and we grow individually, we realize that everyone does not nourish your soul in the same way.  We as people make mistakes in general and when we are working through those things, the last thing we want to feel is any type of memory that could reset your feelings towards those things.  This may seem like a ramble…but it’s not!  I’m just clearing the space in my head for the endured journey I am taking.

I wrote a while back about 3 Things I’m Completely Obsessing Over and Thing 3 was finding the BALANCE in my LIFE!  I am still very much my hardest critic.  As I examine my life, it is a canvas for others because I have a story to tell about how even when I block certain things out and jump over hurdles, I have NEVER just given up!  I am a walking billboard for beating statistics…I can’t wait to get that story told.

In the months to come I am going to unveil my life in a series of lessons I’ve learned.  It’s for my healing and for my growth.  I did not get this far because I wasn’t focused.  I got this far because I was driven…  I would be remiss to not mention that two awesome friends Yolanda and Ashley have spoke into my life a shift in careers so I am embracing their genuine sincerity.

There’s plenty of work to do and in by doing the work on myself I hope my transparency continues to transcend.  Some of the things to be tackled are:

  1. Growing up as a only child.
  2. My feelings towards my biological father.
  3. My first attempt at college…The University of Florida (2000-2001)
  4. My failed marriages (2003-2011) and (2014-2017)
  5. Transitioning careers (USAF, Child Support, Teaching, Writing, ____________)
  6. Expunged record of arrest from 2009…
  7. Financial Ruin and the Recovery Process.
  8. Trust and Intuition.
  9. Remaining positive during the storm.

I’m not empty, I’m just cautious.  We can still pour into others without completely tapping out.  I know and recognize my limitations as I work towards and prepare myself for the LIFE and LOVE I want. As I COACH myself, I hope you take away little nuggets along the way.

Isn’t ironic how on August 26, 2016 my thought process was I Don’t Want to Coach, I Just Want to Write but that was more so in the aspect of being a writing coach.  But I’m exploring a different avenue…Life and Success Coaching because my purpose is bigger than I innately realized in the beginning. For faith is substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Research continues… Continue to follow my journey… Leave a nice comment or note and please share!

I am not perfect but I will use my voice to do what I do best…Teach Others How to Cope!

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Don’t Be Polarized By Criticism

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“Well behaved women seldom make history.”

I will definitely be the first to admit that when it comes to writing I am extremely protective of my words and the last thing I want to have happen is someone dislike my point of view.  But guess what…it happens and it is what it is.

However, as I continue to move forward with writing and exposure I understand that I must keep writing to getting better as I work on other projects (specifically books) that I hope to engage a greater following.

Diving into what’s socially acceptable or not is a slippery slope and being too careful can make you boring.  But the realistic goal at the end of the day is to create a spark around your name.  I have heard the questions about why I write about the things I post and how my content shifts from branding to personal, but in reality this is my style.  I am working on staging my work to show my progress as a writer/blogger and self-published author because I am my brand.  I want to do things myself (have complete creative control), so as I take my time to get some things done behind the scenes, please understand that this is indeed a massive process.

Some of the blogging experts suggest pushing for tasty content…

What are you trying to teach someone?  What expertise do you bring to the issue and trending topic?  How will your insight transform the minds of those that follow your action steps and why they should listen to you?  I learned the need to be tasty while tuned into a live session one night with one of the notables.  On the other hand there is another expert that simply says all authors should have a blog because it sharpens your skills.  I have negated my ideas of me being my brand…and just when I was supposed to have a photo shoot to do some promo shots for my website and do what I thought was best for my website and image those plans fell through… It Simply Was Not Time!

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I’m glad I’ve taken the time to regroup and reconsider what I need to do for me.  My social media platforms garner attention in several ways and the whispers have spread into full out conversations about my uncensorship in some areas and my overly outright spoken feelings in other areas.  Just yesterday a colleague laughed with me about my snapchat (@tilyarealeyes) diaries.  I use it to vent, to laugh, and to BS my way through the day sometimes.  It’s all in fun.  And as us creatives, business-minded, entrepreneurs work out our niches it is easy to be “polarized by the criticism of others”.  We see it day after day from everyday people like me that create with care on up to celebrities that post a simple picture because they are living their life that keeps us all highly entertained.

I am sure that as I continue to share my voice, my thoughts, my concerns, and my journey there will be someone standing on the sideline with a sign that reads…”Not a fan!”  But I can’t be concerned with the negative questions and thoughts of others because they are not in my shoes running this race.   It would be too easy to just scroll pass what someone dislikes because they feel that their opinion is needed and justified.

I have played around on my platforms and while it’s a process to build my presence online it’s not the people that I don’t know with the questions and fake concern, it’s the ones close by that I know personally that have the most to say about what I’m writing.  I write about my real life and real experiences.  So hearing that I’m “heavy” on social media made me chuckle a little and damn near put me on the defense.  Who are these people to question what I’m doing?  And just to be clear I am too busy building my name to worry about what others don’t understand about what I’m doing.  I have sparked a conversation so evidently I’m doing something RIGHT!

I completely separate my personal life and my blogging life.  What I write about may be influenced by my day to day but my LaTilya Rashon blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will depict what I want to have.  This hat as a writer and continuously improving author is completely different than my everyday job as a teacher.  I can teach people about life (love, relationships, parenting, coping, and simply LIVING) on my blog and how to cope with shit on a regular basis.

The struggle is real when no one understands your vision and what plans you have for your career.   My being socially acceptable on my platforms is for me to decide without the negative criticism of others.  I said a long time ago that people find favor in you when they like what you have to say and represent.  But I’ve also learned the lesson that my friends are not my target audience so I’m never surprised by the local feedback or lack thereof.

I am constantly thinking of ways to be impactful with my writing and the out pour I receive from inbox messages, reshares of my blog post, and new followers edges me along. I appreciate all of the support and encouragement I receive!

I welcome all feedback because I have made up in my mind that nothing will deter me and I will not stop because others think that I should.

If you would like to keep up with me on Facebook please follow me here atimg_4830 LaTilya Rashon “TilyaRealEyes” 

Connect with me!

My First Year In High School

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I have not neglected my teacher hat by focusing on self-care and writing more consistently in other areas of interest, so today I will chat about my transition to high school.  I’m undecided about writing a book about this experience.  Maybe after a couple a years I may do a follow-up to my debut book.

Based on my experience in high school and having the deep rooted thought that I would be a high school teacher, it took me nine years in middle school before I leveled up to high school.  I must admit that I LOVE IT!  Even as I’m asked how do I feel about being at my school I tell people that’s not a fair question because I have been in my particular zone for 10 years, so these are MY KIDS!

I admit it’s a different world teaching in my area because I live 30 minutes south of my zone and it’s like night and day.  But I often say that if I was anywhere else I would be bored out of my mind because my kids are very entertaining.  Now much like with my  first book, My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching, there have been some bumps in the road, but these minor detours have been more manageable than they were when I initially began teaching in 2008.  I think it’s safe to say that I have reached VETERAN status…LOL!

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I didn’t know what I was embarking on when I decided to step up but I see from the whispers, uncertainty, questionable approaches, relationships, and sticking true to who I am and I how I teach…I’m Good!

Now in 2008 when I took the steps to get certified to teach through the old Georgia Teacher Alternative Preparation Program (GaTapp) I thought I wanted to start off at high school, but I’m so glad that I took my time getting here.

For starters, in my sixth year of teaching, the current seniors in my building were my 8th grade babies the 2013-2014 school term.  The current juniors in my building were my 8th grade babies the 2014-2015 school term and we packed up and shut down the old middle school at the end of that year.  Recombining middle schools the 2015-2016 school term, I taught some of the 8th graders through my reading connections class, then the 2016-2017 academic year I taught half of the 8th graders after abruptly being moved from the reading connections class into the English/Language Arts classroom.  But that is another story for another day.  It turned out to be a good move even though the way I was moved was not handled the best way in my opinion.

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I knew that when I graduated from Nova Southeastern University with my Doctor of Education degree in 2016, it was only going to be a matter of time before it was time to move on.  I thought that my interview went fairly easy, but to move up with my kids was a big blessing for me.  I was ready for the challenge and to be a familiar face for my students that gave me a greater feeling.  To be honest to see the students that have made it to their senior year warms my heart because so many students get lost along the way.

My classroom management has not been an issue since my first year of teaching so that was the least of my concerns.  But building relationships and reestablishing relationships with my previous students has been so much fun.  The junior class of students have a very special place in my heart. So stepping back into their lives daily even though they are not in my actual class, seeing them, and having them visit my class as often as they can has been the warm welcome that I needed for high school.  It’s also safe to say that building relationships has not been an issue for me in the least bit.

This is year 10 and there is still a lot for me to learn.  I enjoy being an English teacher, and adjusting to the curriculum was more of a matter of the content versus the standards.  The great thing about my content is that the standards are the same, but I admit I have enjoyed the stories we read in class and the dialogue that was created.  “The Gift of the Magi” and “Everyday Use” have been my absolute favorites.  Aside from teaching though the only thing that blows my mind is where colleagues place their value when it comes to teaching the kids.

There is no denying the fact that I have favorite students, but what teacher after years of building relationships don’t?  There are children that seek genuine support while in school and that very often misunderstood connection students establish with certain teachers is shamed.  Everything is not always fair and as a teacher my only conversation majority of the time is what can I do to better myself?

Now I had a mentor teacher when my journey began and she was absolutely the best and very supportive.  I have been lucky enough to work across the hall from a “football mom” and friend that I’ve known for years and she has been my rock.  We truly have a safe place in her room as we “debrief” from the daily shenanigans and goings-on in the building.

The take away I have for this year is that I must continue to always take care of me first.  Students are still going to twist the events of the day.  Some adults around me will question, “Why I’m still the favorite?”, “Why do kids like to come to my room?”, and a multitude of other things but that will not deter my purpose for my classroom and why I love doing what I do.

I’m still trying to figure out my next move beyond the high school classroom and ultimately would love to be a Dean of Student Affairs because my strength lies in being among people.  I don’t ever want to lose touch with what is going on in the classroom and trending in education period.  It only takes one child to show you that you are doing something right.  But when I look around at all of  my students at my high school I have reached a lot and I’m glad to have had partial impact on their educational journey.

This is only year one with a few in me left to go.  High school has been a hoot with 12 days left until graduation.

Check On Your Strong Friend

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In a world of cliches’ it is very easy to get caught up in what’s trending?  Conversations about loyalty. Ideas about authenticity. And the thought that everyone around you is fighting a battle so practice being kind.  However being kind and turning a blind eye often gets you looked over, underappreciated, and becomes overwhelming to a fault.

Even when you practice the pause, you still have to show up for yourself and let others know just who the hell you really truly are.  I wrote this quick note to all of the strong people I know.  I’m checking for you!

A lot of the STRONG PEOPLE are:

  1. Dealing with life one day at a time because they have finally realized that trying to do too much at once is tiresome.
  2. Thinking of ways to better themselves so that they can continue to bless others even when their effort goes unnoticed.
  3. Face each day with greater expectations of being blessed by the small things because the little details are what matter the most.
  4. Suffer in silence because they would rather mask their disappointments than share with other people that really are glad to see them in turmoil.
  5. Deeply bothered by the lack of compassion and instead of lashing out; they cry tears that are washed away then face the world without a trace of sadness.
  6. Really just want to be asked if they are okay and if they say “No”; have someone who will listen to them without judging and say, “Good, I’m glad you got that off of your chest.”

Take Care Of Your Tribe!

3 Things I’m Completely Obsessing Over

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In the second quarter of 2018, I find that I am more centered and focused on my holistic existence.  In a round about conversation with my mom this morning on my way to work I laid these words upon her ears, “If it does not feed my soul, I’m not interested.”

My mom is more than just the person I lean on most of the time, but she is truly my closest and most relied upon friend in my life.  Every time I talk to her I get life just by her listening to me and pouring her love and encouragement into me. And after last week I am completely obsessed with a couple of things in my life as I work towards accomplishing these new goals and tasks.

So here’s a little of the back story before I focus on those three things.  A teacher friend of mine down in Coastal Georgia purchased both of my books last week and left me with glowing reviews on her social media.  I am forever grateful because it’s not that I didn’t think that I had the power to be influential, I just had to let my presence be felt through my blog.  Being told, “Baby you gave me my fire and spark back!”, was right on time.

I was totally surprised when I checked my instagram (@tilyarealeyes) and realized that I had been tagged in a couple of post.  My work being acknowledged by one of my peers and someone I’ve know for a long time has me pumped about other things that I want to venture out and do.  So with that being said, now that it’s May here are the 3 things that I’m completely obsessing over in no particular order…

Thing 1:  I have been toying with the idea of a fictional book and while the story line is clear in my head, I don’t want to rush it.  I hear the characters speaking to me all of the time and I know that they cannot wait to continue telling their story.  Just understand that Lauren, Black, Kira, and Zamir are a trip!  However, the only reason this is a pressing matter for me is because I overthink every single thing I plan out for myself and really truly just want every thing to be perfect.  Then I have to remind myself that the first draft does not have to be perfect, it just has to get done.  There are some other pieces I’m working on simultaneously, but getting this fictional story out first is my priority.  I’m sure that through discipline and time management I can get this story out mid summer… WOOSAH!  No pressure, but I will get it done.

Thing 2:  I have been pinning my life away on pinterest as I sort through my feelings about life, love, friendship, and business.  It’s no secret that I like to have a cocktail or two and the liquor, beer, and partying industry is only flourishing.  I want to learn how to be a bartender.  For one, I think that it would be fun to learn how to do and secondly, I want to make extra cash on the side just to be honest.  I have a vision about bar-tending in my mind, that just like with anything else I set out to do… I WANT TO BE GOOD AT IT!  I’m also learning to that a lot of people are doing the same thing I’m doing— 1)perusing pinterest for ideas then 2) adding their own little twist to concoctions that basically have the same ingredients.  What can I say—bar-tending, story telling, and then blogging about would add the spice I want to add to my blog.

Thing 3: I am completely obsessed with maintaining balance in my life.  Ever since I decided to block out the noise and take inventory of myself, I’m much more at peace.  Placing my energy and focus into self-caring my way through this year has me centered and not focusing on the many things that can occur in a day that are out of my control.  I have taken charge of my life and plan to be my own hero when  need be.  I have to pour into myself more, encourage myself more, because as the strong person I am—I have neglected my peace of mind at times.  If I want consistency in all areas of my life, then I have to be consistent with myself.  Having balance in my life protects me from situations that are detrimental to my growth…I have to safeguard my heart, my intentions, and my conversations because my path in life thus far has been very enlightening and I just want to restore my well-being and be the best me that I know how to be.  I’m learning to dig deeper, listen to my intuition and trust my process.  I have never had an issue with self-love, but right now due to what I need in my life, what I’m allowing around me looks different.

As I continue to listen to my intuition more, I recognize what is real in my life.  I ran from one of my strongest attributes for a while.  I’m taking back my power each and every day and choosing me.  I’m glad that the lessons in my life have helped me to arrive here at a place of gratefulness.  I may be obsessing about things, but I’m focused and driven towards my personal victories and success.