What do you do for Full-time work?

I am in the hair industry. I am a cosmetologist, which means I slay hair and I help men and women.  Primarily women feel more beautiful about themselves, especially those who wear their natural kinky, curly textured hair.

What is your passion project and how long has it been in existence?

My passion project is my podcast, which is “the millennial walk podcast, with Miss Shari.”  I have been doing it for one year.

Is it currently monetized?

Not yet; to be honest with you, monetizing it wasn't something that was an actual goal.

What is your project’s origin story: Why did you start this project; what was the passion behind the project.

So it was the fall of 2019? Actually, I was randomly doing questions on Facebook, on my personal page. 

And I will just do a whole bunch of different discussion topics, things that happen in the media or just globally, back home in Jamaica, Caribbean, wherever,whatever it is, especially as it is tied to either being Christian, being a millennial, or dating and relationship. 

So I had quite a few people come to me and message me or text me and say, Hey, you know, based on your Facebook, I think you should start a blog. And I said, “A blog,” do you guys understand how much work goes into a blog post that looks nice and the content and coming up with stuff and the writing and keeping it engaging and being consistent? 

Because with blogs and anything that you do, you have to remain consistent. And I said “no, I don't think a blog is for me. I had other people come in telling me you know, you should write for a radio show, like a column or like asking, answering questions from the crowd or from the audience, or people who write in, and I said, I don't know about that.  I mean me writing, I don't know about writing. I don't know if I have time to do that. 

And then I do an annual fast every year just to start off my year for the month of January. And so January 2020. I prayed and I said I was praying about and I said okay, God, well if this is something that you want me to do, I need some type of confirmation that this is something that you want me to do because I don't want to just step out and start this whole thing and it's not in your plan and it's not something that is going to be fruitful or, or the content or whatever it is, should I do? Should I do something for my Christian millennials, should I do something for our black community in regards to bridging the gap or having the conversations about dating and relationships, and our family dynamics and how all of that ties in for us as millennials.

I kept on getting things that confirmed the Christian millennial part about what it's like being 30 Plus, and being Christian, especially in this current climate when you have so many people having different belief systems and, you know, maybe even walking away from a church having church hurt. How do you feel being Black and Christian in 2020?  That was the big, reigning, overarching topic that kept on coming into my head. And I had somebody come and tell me, you're going to start a podcast, and it's going to be about this.  

I'm not a person who is very big on prophetic words, and you know, looking at prophets, and oh, my god hanging on a Prophet's word or anything, this person is not a prophet it's actually a girlfriend of mine. And she came to me, we were just having a random conversation. And she said, You know, you're gonna have a podcast, I don't know when you're going to start it. And I don't know what it's going to be about. But in the conversations that we've been having, I think it should be about being a Christian millennial. And it was the exact same thing I had been praying to God about, I said, well, there was a confirmation. That was it? You know, because it was too random. It was such a random suggestion for it to be coincidental. And we just have to pay attention to things like that. So I said, Okay, well, this is what this is, this is what, what it's gonna be. And I started  it.

I did 20 episodes for 2020. And I was very inconsistent.  And that was the one thing I learned. I said, Oh, god, how do I come up with this topic? How to, like come up with the content, what do I utilize, who do I utilize, but everything just  started to flow. And I was grateful that it was such a slower time for 2020. And it wasn't such a hustle and bustle, because we were in quarantine and we had time to rest. And we had time to think, for the most part, those who were pretty much, those who were not in distress, more so. And we had time to just kind of relax a little bit, some people got vacation, and some people, were able to do time off or just working from home was less stressful, because they were they didn't have to travel for an hour, hour and a half each day going back to work, simple things like that, that we took advantage of.

And so that was it. As I said, Okay, oh, here we go. Let me figure out what to use. I had a girlfriend of mine who already had a podcast and she was using Anchor.FM, she said, You know, it's really easy. I'm also a co-host for a podcast where we use Anchor. So I said, well, just use Anchor. I'm already familiar with it. And the way that they have the app is very simple. It's very simple to use. It's very user friendly. And that was it started January 2020.

Is there a point where you hesitated to start it?  What got you over that hump?

Abso-freakin-lutely!  Because the hesitation came from fear and fear of the unknown. Fear of whether it's going to be successful, fear of if people are going to listen to it, fear of how to market it in a sense, because you know, not just going to only put it on anchor, you're going to want people to see it, how are they going to know about the episode?  Am I gonna do it visual, am I just gonna keep it through the app? Am I gonna just gonna do recording.  Fear of feeling like I didn't know what I was doing in regards to having a successful podcast because I listen to other podcasts, or I watch other podcasts, some that my friends have,some that are well known. And I'm like, I want it to look like that. But I have no idea how to get it there. Because I am not a tech savvy graphic designing person at all.  I'm tech savvy with the phone. But when it comes to Photoshop or Final Cut Pro or anything like that, I have no idea. So cutting and chopping and doing all of that type of stuff. It was very intimidating to me. And thankfully, I had a friend of mine who said, Well, you know, I can help you and help you if you want. And I said, you have no idea how much that would, how much that would bless me, because I didn't know what I was doing.  But then also because Anchor, I have to say Anchor, like I said, it's very easy to utilize, it's easy to chop and screw inside of the app if needed.

But the fear is not knowing if it was going to be successful, not knowing if people are gonna listen. And that causes a lot of self doubt for me, naturally, because I psyched myself out of doing things all the time.

All the time. And I have to talk myself, I have to talk to myself to get it done, especially if it involves any type of public speaking. And Funny enough, I said in the beginning of 2020, that I was going to overcome my fear of public speaking, or, and start physically networking so that I can utilize social media all day, but going to networking events, and pitching and all of that kind of marketing tactics and techniques; scared the living daylights out of me. I never knew why. Because I can talk. But it's just talking in front of people. But the podcast is personal, but it's still impersonal. I'm talking to someone, but I don't have to see them. And that allowed me and that made me remember, "but I can do this." And there's an audience of people, especially young people who need to know that you guys are not alone, however it is that you're feeling. And that allowed me to get over the hump and the fear of the hesitation and everything that came along with it.

One of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to starting passion projects is finding time in their already busy lives to do it.  How did you find or make time for your project?

You have to literally make the time, you have to carve it out the same way, you may carve out time to exercise or you carve out time to even eat a meal, which is necessary for life. you carve out time to spend with your kids, if you have them or with your pet, or with your loved one, with your spouse, you have to carve out time to plan and to execute whatever it is that you're doing. And yes, you're gonna be tired. Yes, you're gonna feel like there's not enough time in the day.

But you know, I often think about people like Beyonce. And I think about, you know, people who do have a lot going on, and they make it work. Granted, they have help to make their day go a little bit smoother, but they still have the same 24 hours in a day. And we just have to make the time. Does that mean that some days, you may wake up in the middle of the night, which most creative that I know, we all do the same thing, we end up going to bed early, especially in the 30s. Because you know, our sleep schedules are not the same. We are not spring chickens anymore, and we can't go 18 hours, straight up, and then crash for a few hours. And then get up and do it all over again; our bodies need vitamins. So take your vitamins, our bodies need sleep, get some sleep and drink the water.

 And you have to make the time and if even if it's 30 minutes in the morning, or 15 minutes in the morning and another 30 minutes in the afternoon, make the time to at least plan out what you need to do for the week and make a schedule have a dedicated schedule of the day that you need to work on, or in this case for me to record my podcast. And once I did that I wasn't flustered and doing things all over the place. And I wasn't scheduling days here and scheduling days there. And because I am a hairstylist and because I am a single parent, I have to have the structure because my son needs the structure.

me asking.

He'll be seven in February. So he's still very young. Oh, yeah. Exactly. So you have to make time for them. But he also understands that you know, mommy has to go to work. And then when I have to record, he knows mommy is out is Do Not Disturb for about an hour, hour and a half. But I always make sure I spend time with him before and I try to make my episodes later in the evening, around the time that he just has to bathe and eat and go to bed. And luckily I have help with that. But as long as I get that stuff done, where I get him prepared for bed, he's fine.  He's six, he can put himself to sleep for the most part. But you just have to make the time and you have to schedule.  I am usually a go with the flow type of person. But when it comes to something that you need to be consistent with, you have to have a schedule and you have to make sure that you carve out the time and stick with it. And if there's a change, of course, because if you're having co-hosts or you're having other people work with you, then you guys have to schedule that ahead of time, so that they are also not inconvenienced as well.

Another big challenge faced is fatigue.  You work 9-to-5, it takes up 95% of your energy.  And we are not even talking about family and their needs yet.  What can you share with the listeners about getting energy after all the demands of life?

I honestly take vitamins and just my water. I'm not a coffee person. I'm not a coffee person at all.  Not often do I drink coffee, I can probably say I'll maybe just coffee two or three times in a month, maybe and that's a lot. So it is really taking my vitamins, drinking my water and getting at least five to six hours of sleep. Usually if I do that,I'm A-okay. Because if I go to bed early, like I said with the sleep schedule. If I go to bed early a lot of the time, I wake up at two, three o'clock in the morning and I have ideas in my head and I just wake up to jot them down. I might do a little bit of social media research or internet research, and then I'll go back to bed.

My work for the day is probably done. Because I did it at three o'clock in the morning. But I can also go back to sleep that may not work for someone who, once they wake up, they're up. And now they're sleep deprived for the rest of the day. So my suggestion is for everybody, especially if you're 30, and over, take your vitamins, find the supplements that you need and take them daily consistently. drink your water as it helps to revitalize your body and flesh everything out and exercise, eat healthy and exercise. Even if you're just doing something at home, and or you need to switch off your diet just a little bit so that you can have the natural energy to do the things that you need to do because being fatigued especially; well, I was I was going to say coming out of a quarantine, but we're still spiking, and we're in Florida, so. But being in quarantine, a lot of us have put on weight, which has now made us a little bit less energetic or more fatigue. So we have to work around that.  We may not be able to take off the weight as quickly as we thought because our kids are home now. So we have to figure out ways to figure out ways to work around the new life that we have. And if taking your vitamins or eating a little healthier is going to help you do that, then you have to do what you have to do. Because aside from your passion project, you have your regular responsibilities of life as well that need your physical attention and have to figure out how to do that.

I have heard about passion projects providing renewed confidence and new skills when it comes to people’s day jobs.  How has your passion project impacted the way you show up at your day job?

Actually, yes, I'm going to say yes. Because it has kind of convicted me and being consistent about sharing the knowledge that I have. And making sure that my clients understand how important their health is that I speak about it all the time, but really drilling it into their head, that hair health is important, you're being consistent, because it's just like I have to be consistent with my podcasts, they have to be consistent with the hair regimen, whether in the salon or at home. If you're not coming to see me then you need to make sure that, if you're not coming to see me regularly, as we have already decided per client, then you have to make sure that you're keeping up with your with your hair at home because it doesn't make sense for you to come to the salon, I spruced you up, give you all the treatments and get your hair healthy, or on the path to being healthy. And then I don't see you for the next two to three months, you have now depleted everything I did and that you paid for. So consistency. And of course loving yourself and loving your hair and being nice to yourself and speaking good things to yourself. For me, showing up physically and being alert and awake and just social has also transitioned into how I operate with the podcast. And reaching out to people meeting new people and finding people to be a co-host for a certain topic. It has all come around full circle.

There is someone out there listening to this recording who has something they are passionate about but they are on-the-fence when it comes to starting.  What bit of guidance would you provide to them?

Just do it like Nike. Just do it. Don't worry about Do not worry about the naysayers. Do not worry about the support that you think you may get from your friends and your family because it may not come.  It does make you realize that some of your supporters and some of your biggest supporters are not going to be your friends and your family. It may be strangers, and that's okay. Because the point is to reach out to strangers in the first place. The point is to reach people that you don't have access to normally. So it's okay.  

To not allow what you think could happen meaning the failures that you are going to have, because revamping and rebranding and new ideas and new techniques and new marketing they're all going to happen. They may not happen now. But they're going to happen. And it's okay. Failure is a part of success. 

The thing that we look at about celebrities or people who we think are successful, we oftentimes just see the good stories, especially if you're looking at social media, you see the good, very rarely do people talk about the struggles and the times when they were in their valleys and when they felt alone, and when they were exhausted. And when they did quit, or when they felt like they were going to quit. Or when they said, screw all this crap, I'm done. I don't want to do it anymore. It's not yielding any money.  I'm not reaching the people that I thought I would. 

But it was just on the other side of that breaking point that you are going to get that. So keep it pushing. Every great person that we know, had a breaking point, they had a point where they almost quit, or where they did quit. And they brush themselves off and try it again. And they kept on trying. And they kept on pushing. And they kept on doing and they kept on reaching out to different people. And they kept on researching. They kept on looking for people who were like them, or looking for people who were doing the things that they wanted to do and study those individuals. 

What is it that I need to do to get me where I need to be. And that could be something that you're doing for your face. That could be beauty that can be farming, that can be business, that can be fashion, because especially for fashion, there's so many people who are in the fashion world, that you may not think you need to be a fashion designer, you may not think that you need to be a fashion stylist, but there's a group of people who would absolutely love your work. So do it. 

Like Nike, just do it honestly. Do not allow fear to take you and hold you hostage. Right free from the shackles of that. And I have a quote I came up with last year. And it's

“May your dreams never die because you were too afraid to live them.”

Lastly, are there any particular books that you have found helpful along the passion project journey?  Please share 1 to 3 of them if any come to mind.

Where can the people learn more about your passion project and the dope work you are putting out into the world. 

Instagram: @TheMillennialWalkPod [https://www.instagram.com/themillennialwalkpod/] 

Podcast: Is on major podcasting platforms - Spotify, Google, Apple, and you can find “The Millennial Walk with Miss Shari”