V13. The Collective (of Us): BOLD Broads *Brooke Saxon-Spencer of Belong Magazine*

Bold Broads highlights women founders and creative [read: BADASS] small business owners about how they really deal with the ups and downs of running a BOLD business. These women share honest wisdom and tough lessons to support you in collectively making good shit happen in your own women-led startup or small business. Meet Brooke Saxon-Spencer of Belong Magazine, a quarterly digital and print magazine celebrating the art and community of blogging, social media, and entrepreneurship.

Let's meet her, shall we? 

1. STARTING A BUSINESS IS HARD AND SOMETIMES LONELY. WHAT THE F*CK MOTIVATED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

As a creative introvert, I began blogging a few years back looking for “my people” and “my place”. I have to admit that it was a failure. Blogging didn’t bring me instant friends and the cozy comfort of community just by having an existence on the internet. In fact, it made me feel even more lost and alone. I was dumbfounded as to where to go to find my place in the insane massiveness of the internet. Just as I wanted it—and still do want it—for myself, I have a heart for community. I have a desire to encourage people in using their voice and for being confident in their value. I have a desire for people to use the screen in front of them to connect beyond that screen. To discover “their place” and find “their people". And having a background in creative writing, photography and graphic design, a magazine seemed like an ideal way to accomplish this.

2. HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED TO KEEP THRIVING IN A CREATIVE SPACE WHERE EVERYONE SEEMS TO ONE-UP EACH OTHER?

I love the phrase, "Keep your eyes on your own paper." The popularity game is a tough one to play--and I don't want to. I have to come back to my mission and vision and remind myself why I started to begin with. I also look at notes and emails from women sharing how Belong has inspired them or pushed them to start their business. That's huge. And, sometimes, I have to reach out to women who know what my journey is and ask them for a pep talk. And I'm amazed at how humbling this process is--but so good for me to keep me going.

3. SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES ARE OFTEN QUIETLY SUPPORTED BY A COLLECTIVE OF WOMEN MENTORS, FRIENDS AND BUSINESS OWNERS. WHAT COMMUNITIES AND RESOURCES HAVE BEEN MOST PIVOTAL TO YOUR OWN BUSINESS SUCCESS?

Going to conferences has been really helpful in meeting women in real life which really makes a difference. ALT, BLINK, Create & Cultivate and smaller conferences have been great (I have a blog post on my favorites). The ladies over at Think Creative Collective have provided an insane amount of resources to up level business--automation and even just their pep-talks (webinars). These girls bare it all and it's been very influential for me. I've also made friends that have been wonderful cheerleaders for me--these have been the biggest game changers, in my opinion. How did I meet them? I answered emails when people reached out, I scheduled coffee chats when women asked me, and I just tried to be aware of opportunities and grabbed hold (metaphorically) of the ladies whose passions seemed to be in line with mine and who I could support as well as knowing they could support me too.

4. NO BULLSH*T; WHAT'S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS? AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT; HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO OVERCOME THIS?

MAKING MONEY! And the reason that this is a challenge is due to...ADVERTISING! I mean, I feel like I say this ALL. THE. TIME. It's currently a challenge. BUT! I continue to work at it--consistently. I am not a "sales girl" and this does not come naturally to me, but I just keep putting myself out there via individual emails to companies I think would be a good fit. Meeting companies at conferences has helped establish a relationship that I can come back to in the future, even if they are not interested now. Persistence. That's how I'm overcoming. OH! And as Cyndie says, "ASK!" You have to ask what you want for or you won't get it.

5. SHARE THE MOST HELPFUL PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN.

Faith over fear. The whole magazine has been a journey of trusting that this is what I was meant to be doing. If I let fear lead, I would never have started the magazine and I'd never have had the chance to meet so many amazing women and reach so many women.

I UNAPOLOGETICALLY OWN MY BOLD BROAD BADASSERY BECAUSE...

The world wide web is exactly that - a gigantic, messy mass of roads through which it is incredibly hard to find any destination, especially if you don't know what you're looking for. It's my hope that Belong Magazine can be the map - or at least the navigation system. To create, connect, encourage and inspire. So that women can find a place where they belong. The curated content Belong offers has been influential for so many women in getting their business dreams started or pushing things to the next level. And it's just so pretty to look at! There is something to be said about creating a quality piece of work, right?!

BOLD BROAD BONUS***FAVE APP?

I'm currently loving Dubsado because it's allowing me to automate a lot of processes such as advertising, sponsorship and wholesale inquiries which is super important as I work another job! Automation is a beautiful thing.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brooke Saxon-Spencer is the founder and editor of Belong Magazine, a quarterly digital and print magazine celebrating the art and community of blogging, social media and entrepreneurship. Brooke is an introvert, Starbucks addict, M&M fiend, wife to her college sweetheart, mother of three, work-from-homer, midwestern girl at heart living in SoCal, and super multi-tasker. She founded Belong Magazine out of her desire for community--a desire to encourage women to use their voices and be confident in their value, a hope for women to use the screen in front of them to connect beyond that screen, to discover “their place” and find “their people”. She hopes Belong will serve as a map directing women to one another, connecting them in life-giving ways.