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By Naimah Sams
May 17, 2019

Dear Entrepreneurs,

I am very passionate about branding. The complexity and the thought that goes into bringing a visual identity to life is very exciting to me. I also like educating and guiding people in the process as well, through questions asked of me or through consultations.

About a month ago, on April 20th, I got the opportunity to present my knowledge with the MORTAR design team on the subject to an attentive crowd of approximately 20 people at MORTAR’s “Build A Better Brand” workshop. An entire workshop! Leading up to the day, I took my time planning my presentation and putting together a powerpoint that I hoped would clearly visually represent my words. I wanted everyone who attended to understand not only how serious having a dope brand identity is, but also the different pieces that you have to work on to bring it all together.

I couldn’t help but think back to my days as a design student while deciding what I would speak on. I had grown so much, and yet I still had so far to go. The roles had switched, I was now in a position where I was being seen as the professional, and I would be teaching.  This twenty-something year old designer was expected to know what she’s talking about. I was so nervous about that. Did I know enough? Is my own knowledge and personal experiences valid? This workshop was a huge opportunity, a goal, really, something I’ve wanted to do. Was I ready?

The experience of being a workshop presenter for the first time has taught me many things. The main lesson I learned is that presenters are human, even myself, as a presenter. I was so hard on my presentation and how I was speaking. My nervousness got the best of me so badly that I had to turn off my brain and put myself on autopilot until I was finished. I was so focused on being perfect at the time that I didn’t realize that no matter how long I, or anyone, had been in the industry, everyone has something that they can share with others. And if you’re sharing with a crowd that doesn’t know what you know, you are greatly appreciated and they accept the information. They expect you to be human, they expect you to stutter, make mistakes, and forget notes.  It happens to everyone.

You have to know a little before you can know a lot. You have to do something before you can do everything. You have to present at one workshop before you can build up to present at more. In the process of building a business and growing as an entrepreneur or in your career, it really doesn’t matter where you come from as long as you have the tools to get to where you’re going. Take what you know, use your passion as fuel, and always have an open mind. You’ll win every time no matter the experience.

Best of luck!