This week in the guest chair we have Renae L. Bluitt, a Los Angeles and New York City-based storyteller who serves as an advocate for Black women’s accurate representation in the media. With over a decade of experience, Renae has gained valuable insight into Black women entrepreneurs’ narratives — a passion that she channeled into her first film as Creator and Executive Producer of the documentary, “She Did That.”
In episode 305 Renae shares:
- How she knew when it was time to turn her side hustle into a full time hustle
- Her 4 year journey of producing the She Did That film to premiering it on Netflix in February of 2020
- How she expanded the She Did That brand into a podcast +so much more!
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Guest Social Media Info
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Renae Bluitt: @IAmRenaeBluitt
She Did That: @SheDidThatPodcast
Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:02
You're listening to side hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host Nicaila Matthews Okome. So let's get started. Hey guys, hey, welcome. Welcome back to the show. It's Nicaila here and I am back with another episode of side hustle Pro. Today in the guest chair, I have Renae blue it. Renae is a Los Angeles and New York City based storyteller who serves as an advocate for black woman's accurate representation in the media. She has over a decade of experience, and she has always used her valuable insight into black women entrepreneurs to share their narratives. It's a passion that she channeled into her first film as creator and executive producer of the documentary she did that you may know her best for that the film which streamed on Netflix, and it's currently available on Amazon Prime video offers an up close and personal look at black women in business, and dresses topics like mental wellness, and the funding gap for women of color. The popularity of the documentary inspired Rene's creation of the she did that podcast in 2021, which is now available in partnership with their media, on Apple podcast, Spotify and Google podcasts. Renee and I have so much in common and we actually did a podcast swap. So go out and check out my episode on her show. She did that. And in addition to telling entrepreneurial stories, Renee also produces the she did that holiday bazaar each year featuring over 50 black woman owned brands. The event which brings her annual Holiday Gift Guide to Life is entering its sixth year and has been named the must attend event of the season. Let's get to know even more about Rene. And let's get right into the episode. So welcome to the guest chair Rene. Glad to have you here.
Renae Bluitt 1:55
Thank you so much for having me Nicaila, so excited to be here.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:59
Yeah, so excited for our podcast swap and to finally have this meeting. And because I mean, we are just so divinely connected without even having met before. I can't believe we waited so long to do this. But I'm glad we're doing it now. So you have had a long and successful career in public relations. How did you get your start in PR and what attracted you to public relations.
Renae Bluitt 2:22
So what's funny is my start in PR, really, I got pushed into it by my first boss. I was like working with a nonprofit organization in Chicago. And doing all this work as an assistant, you know, when you're right out of college, you want to be all the things to everyone. I was writing newsletters, I was helping to produce events. And she pointed out to me like, the skills that you have, and the things that you really love doing. Like you could do this for a living doing PR and I'm like really. So you know, and when I thought about PR at the time, it just felt like mostly writing. And of course, that's a huge part of the job. But there's also the engagement marketing piece of it, which I absolutely loved. So that's how I got pushed into it. And when I got my first job at a multicultural ad agency doing PR and then working on initiatives that were like targeting our community, I was in love and never thought I would walk away from it.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 3:26
Wait, so you were at Burrell right Burrell communications. How long were you there before you walked away?
Renae Bluitt 3:33
Oh my gosh. So that was just one of my agency jobs. I did two stents there because I love it so much. And then when I decided to relocate to New York City, I went on the corporate side and worked at Lifetime Television and got an opportunity to do programming that was targeting women. So it really wasn't until I started my own consultancy, that I got to marry all the things I love, which is black women, PR producing events. At the time, natural hair was a new conversation for us. So yes, I was working with a lot of natural haircare brands and I was just obsessed. I was like, Do I really get to do what I love for a living target black women talk about beauty and produce events. And it really was the best thing that I could have done for my career at that time. And
Nicaila Matthews Okome 4:28
you were at Lifetime Television. So did that kind of plant a seed around doing something with actual on screen on screen talent on screen storytelling? Did that even occur to you at that time?
Renae Bluitt 4:41
Not at the time, not at the time and it's funny, I never I've never looked at that part of my career in in thought about how it could possibly have shaped where I am now. So Right. I love that you pointed that out when I was on the corporate communications and He's really just writing about ratings, writing about the shows, I didn't even engage the actual creative team at all. Didn't even think about it. But thanks for pointing that out. I think that, you know, this is a good example of the fact that every single thing we do in our careers is somehow leading us to that. Absolutely.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 5:23
And we don't often see those dots until backwards now. At what point did you decide to start doing your own consultancy and why?
Renae Bluitt 5:36
So that decision came after so left lifetime, did some freelance work, and then ended up at another PR agency, global agency, leading the multicultural team. And a lot of the accounts at that agency at the time were pharmaceutical. And so when you are spending every single day writing about the drugs that we are basically being marketed in our community, because we index so high in certain diseases like diabetes and things like that, that word got really depressing, to be honest. And it made me feel like there has to be something else. And so that something else came to me through a friend who was leading up marketing for a haircare brand. And she was like, Look, I know you had this in a demanding PR job. But can you moonlight and help me we really need to relaunch this brand. So had the opportunity to do that. And it really opened my eyes to being like I said before, just being able to marry all these things I love was a huge fan of beauty a huge fan of haircare black women PR it was like the perfect mix of the things that brought me joy
Nicaila Matthews Okome 6:54
was that the first time you started to kind of side hustle that moonlighting experience and got the taste of that.
Renae Bluitt 7:01
That was my side hustle. And so I side hustle that until there was no more side hustling to do.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 7:09
Why was there no more side hustling to do? How did you know? Okay, I need to do this full time.
Renae Bluitt 7:14
Yes. So I knew that I needed to focus on a full time when I really didn't have another choice like the I didn't have the bandwidth, because once you know how it is when to take on one client, you know, the other clients come in. And what I have found is that like, I feel like money comes to you when you don't need it. I had a full time job. But I was like getting all these clients organically because of the work I was doing. And obviously, because of the really positive word of mouth that I was getting. So one day I looked up and I was like, you don't really need this job. So like, why are you doing this to yourself, like I realized that enough clients to take that take that leap. And so I did it. But I will say I didn't dive all the way in headfirst, I did it kind of slowly, I stuck my baby foot into the entrepreneurship waters, if you will. So I talked to my manager at my full time job. And I was able to scale back and become a consultant. And so I somehow finagle a three day a week position within as opposed to five days. And I had a couple of things on my side, it was a very lean team. And I knew that they needed me and I had a great relationship there. So I was able to scale back on my full time job to spend more time on my side hustle. And I did that for about a year. And then that's when I realized Sis, you're good. You could do this full time, it is time to walk away from the comforts of this nine to five to see what you can really build on your own.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 8:57
That is amazing. I mean, you're the second person that I've talked to recently that has spoken about this idea of before you make that leap kind of just approaching your boss. I mean, the worst they can do is say No, you were planning to leave anyway. But if you can finagle keeping the job but scaling back, I think that it's so brilliant.
Now, as you were starting up, you talked about how money comes to you when you're not looking for it, and we don't need it. I absolutely agree with you. And that's why I love side hustling because you want to have as much money as possible because when you go out there and you're desperate for money, you just don't want to be in that situation. So how were you able to get your your business up and running though? I mean, was it because it was just you was it low overhead or did you have to invest some early startup cash into your consultancy?
Renae Bluitt 9:57
So the thing about having a service based business To at least a PR service based businesses that the only overhead was really just me, you know, and having Wi Fi to travel when I needed to for my clients, which most of that was covered, if not all of it was covered by my clients because I was traveling on their behalf. So the good thing about that business was that it did not require an investment to get started, you know, obviously, I invested in the tools that I needed to do the job effectively. But it wasn't anything that I couldn't handle on my own.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 10:33
So with crushed media, at what point did you start doing crush media, in addition to the in her shoes blog? How did that come about?
Renae Bluitt 10:44
So in her shoes really came about inspired by crushed media clients, I looked up and I found myself representing black women founders, you know, and women who were really building their own brands and legacies. And so through those relationships, and hearing their stories, and helping them formulate their stories and pitching it to the media, I was just like, more people need to have access to these women's stories beyond. beyond what we were seeing at the time, like this was we're talking about, like 2009, the blogosphere at that time was primarily filled with beauty, you know, beauty bloggers, gossip bloggers, fashion bloggers at the time, there was no one else focusing on entrepreneurship, particularly from a black woman's lens. And so when I realized that there was a void in that space that I felt, I was like, there has to be other people like me who want to read about these founders, and want to read about everyday women who are launching brands, not just the people who are celebrities or connected to celebrities.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 12:00
I know that at that time, because that was around the time, a lot of us started blogging, you know, that was like the blogging boom. And it seems looking back like, Oh, it's so easy. You started a blog, but I know the work that's required of reaching out to guests, and, you know, making sure everything is edited and posted correctly. Now, how did you juggle that with actually being a team of one at your agency?
Renae Bluitt 12:26
You know what, it was one of those things where I just loved it, you know, similar to what you were saying about how you juggled NPR with a side hustle Pro, I just love them so much. And it was a lifestyle. For me, it wasn't just a job. You know, like, in my everyday movements in New York City at the time, I was coming in contact with so many incredible women who were building brands. So it was really easy, quite honestly, to find women to feature on the blog, like it didn't require a lot of research. I could just be out minding my business throughout the course of the day and meet someone new and be like, I want to feature you on my blog, and it just came together naturally. You know?
Nicaila Matthews Okome 13:10
Yes. I mean, we're just so inspiring. And there's just so much like you could it's endless black women who are doing amazing things. So I you know, I relate to just that
Renae Bluitt 13:21
until we're like 100 years old. Yeah. We will never not be inspired by my
Nicaila Matthews Okome 13:28
everyday I'm coming across a new business. And I remember reading in her shoes, blogs who and being inspired, you know, that was one of the first blog that I read. And I was like, Oh, this is amazing, like, oh, I want to meet her. Now. When did the seeds for she did that start to form.
Renae Bluitt 13:48
So this seed for she did that. You know, as we mentioned before, everything we're doing is leading us to that next place in our lives. So all of the research that I did through the blog on the topic of black women in entrepreneurship from 2009. Those were seeds that I was planting for being more of an expert in a voice in this space. So after doing I started to produce live events, that's one thing I didn't mention. So did years of blogging, but then actually was like I want to bring the blog to life with these events. So I started producing events in New York City. The Fly female entrepreneur profile was like the bread and butter of that podcast accuse me of that blog. And I wanted to bring it to life through live events. So I started to produce panel events, have these amazing conversations with women, then that turned into having a creating a shopping experience. So added that to one of the events and then eventually that became its own thing with the annual holiday bizarre. And then of course the content that I produced every year surrounding the A Gift Guide for 75 Black women own brands. But one day when I realized I wanted to do something different, I was like, I want to go around New York City and photograph black women in the spaces where they create their magic. So I went around with a really good friend. So slate photograph 25 women, in their spaces in their workplaces, you know, wherever they created what they created. And it was a really beautiful experience. The images were just gorgeous. We did an exhibition in Dumbo in Brooklyn, people loved it. It was like this conversation. The room was packed. Of course, this is pre pandemic. It was just like, oh my gosh, this is everything. How do I tap it? And as a Virgo, you know, I constantly Are you a Virgo too?
Nicaila Matthews Okome 15:54
No, I'm not but you Virgos
Renae Bluitt 15:59
talk about the Virgo like this a lot. Because we are constantly wanting to do something else, you know, and wanting to top the last thing we did end you know, you have Burgos like Beyonce out here, you know, Michael Jackson nine. So many examples of like, the excellence that we try to reach for, which is a beautiful thing. But it can also be we can exhaust ourselves. So I went and
Nicaila Matthews Okome 16:32
also overwhelm ourselves. Well, I'm not vertical, but overwhelm yourself.
Renae Bluitt 16:38
Yes. So at that event, I remember it. So clearly, like it was yesterday, I didn't even have my shoes off. Like I didn't have even switched out into my like flip flops or sneakers to get comfortable, still had to heels on chatting with people. And this woman comes up to me. And she was like, she very well, meaning did not do any harm. But she's like, so what's next? And I'm like, can I live in this moment? Like we turn the lights down? You haven't even taken the photos down? And you're asking me what's next? And so that question coupled with the self induced pressure that I create was, it was interesting. So for the next like few weeks, I was like, What will I do next? Like do I you don't go from this amazing photography exhibition to going back to having panels because that would feel like I'm taking steps backwards, not forwards. So it just hit me like, okay, what are the other mediums that I can explore? I've already done blogging, I've already produced panel events. I've already done a photography exhibition, what is missing? And for me, that was film, I had already started doing a really short like video series at the time going into people's businesses, and like being, you know, woman on the ground conversations. So in my mind, you know, ignorance is bliss. I had no clue what I was embarking upon. But to me, it was just like, what if you've already been doing like the short video series, then you just do a few and bring them together? Like, and then boom, you have a film? I mean, you have? Like,
Nicaila Matthews Okome 18:21
I was always curious about that as well. Like, how did that process even begin coming from a non filmmaker background?
Renae Bluitt 18:29
Yes. So I, you know, being in New York City, the thing that's so awesome about that market is that you are like one degree of separation from like the best to ever do it. So I started sharing the idea with a couple of people. And they were like, Oh, my husband is a director. He's worked on Netflix projects. My cousin is this, you know, and so I just started piecing together the team. And while I was doing that, I also started doing research, like watching more documentaries that were centering founders and startups and entrepreneurs. And the thing that I saw consistently is that black women were not a full part of the conversation. Every bill may have like sprinkled in a brown or black woman here, there. But as you know, our journey through entrepreneurship is so unique, so nuanced. I was like we deserve a whole film dedicated to is our unique opportunities, our unique struggles, you know, the creativity, we have, you know, the way that we literally are turning water into wine. And so just knowing that that didn't exist, gave me more fuel to keep going even when this was super challenging. But again, I will say there is a special magic to doing something you've never done before, because you don't have the limitations that someone who is seasoned in that space may put on themselves like, Oh, this is supposed to be this way, you know, like, I didn't have those balls, I didn't have those limitations. All that I had was my storytelling experience from PR to the blog, and coupled that with, you know, just my genuine passion for black women entrepreneurs.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 20:19
I love it. I mean, absolutely, I think we, everyone listening to this knows that we have that craving, too, we, we crave the stories, we want to know how someone who looks like us did it, who's someone who faces what we face, someone who can't just go out and quit their job and not think about their responsibilities. Right. And you know, you are also a living testament of this process. It's like you're sharing these stories, but you're also living the life of someone who is building something from the ground up. And it might not look like the traditional brick and mortar business. But it is it's this side hustle that you have brought to life. And now people see it on Netflix. But I know that that was just a four year journey of going from starting filming, to actually going on Netflix and you know, premiering in February 2020. So can you talk to us a little bit about that journey of, you know, producing the film, releasing it independently to premiering on Netflix.
Renae Bluitt 21:26
Yes. So I have to always give thanks and praise to my PR background, that foundation is why I was able to push that project forward the way I did that, of course, with the support of the community, you know, I couldn't do any of that without black women like pushing it forward. One example that I gave before was like if she did that was like a ball blast. Or like keeping it up in the air. Like even to now like the film, we premiered it at Essence festival 2018. We are now in 2022. And this film is still you know, people are reaching out for virtual screening. Yeah, it is evolved into a podcast there event surrounding she did that now. And so it's really just turning into its own movement. But back to your question. So we produce the film, wrapped it up. I was eight when we go back, I was able to fund the production through brand partnerships. And that was a gift that I received from that PR experience. I knew how to write a powerful deck, you know, let people know like what is the offering? What are the benefits of your brand being aligned with this? What would you get in return for this investment and why this audience is one that your brand needs to reach? Like that's a gift to be able to get something like that together when
Nicaila Matthews Okome 22:57
you say brand partnerships. So you were asking them to come in at probably like a tiered level, right? Like $10,000 gets this 20 gets this now, what were some of the things that they received, in addition to visibility, because and I asked this because I know that listeners are trying to get better at this. And they're wondering how to approach a brand. What is it that they can possibly offer a brand? And I'm curious as well, what were some of the things that you were included in that brand partnership?
Renae Bluitt 23:29
Yeah, so I'll give the example. Our fashion partner was a brand Raphaela. And they really did a good job of being a real brand partner, because there were some there was one brand, actually, our automotive partner General Motors, they, you know, they made the investment. But beyond the integration of one of their vehicles in the film, we didn't get to do a lot in terms of like weaving them into the community that was built around. She did that. And that was by choice. But for Raphaela. What we did is our Of course, one of their couple of their looks in the film, we had one of their executives be a voice in the film, and she shared her thoughts on black women entrepreneurs. And then for the screening events, they were the CO hosts of the screening events in several markets. And so we got to do they had like this new denim line at the time. So we would do denim parties by trying one denim and each guest that came for the film left with two pairs of jeans, you know, like it was I servation Especially for women. And so they got to go along on the ride with us until of course it came to a halt with the pandemic. But that was you know, part of the offering not just having product integration in the film itself, but right waiting ways for them to be a part of the conversation at these live events and to really connect with the community that was built through the entire movement
Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:18
and you also launched a crowdfunding campaign, right? How did you decide to do that? And how did that go?
Renae Bluitt 25:27
funding campaign. It's, it's like one of those things like, we had to do that. So I'll be honest. And this is actually something that we talked about in the film. And I'm sure something that you hear repeatedly through the guests on your podcast, a lot of women do not like to ask for help. Black women specifically deal with the Superwoman syndrome, which is I can do it all myself. And so we talked about it in the film, but it's funny how, you know, art imitates life, because it is also a challenge I have asking for help is not the most comfortable thing for me to do. And so what I found out through production of this film is that the funding that we had was cute, but it wasn't enough to get us to the finish line. And so through that, I really had to step back and go back to the drawing board in terms of reconnecting with brands that I had reached out to that, you know, we didn't quite get a deal signed. But then when those things weren't coming to fruition quickly enough, I was like, I have to tap into my community, like, what's the point of having a community if you aren't able to tap into it when you need it? Right, right. And so the message that I kept getting, was get out of your own way. I was literally getting in the way of the production of this film by not wanting to do the crowdsourcing campaign. So what's beautiful is I did it. I didn't do it willfully. Like it was like just screaming along the way. And it was even like, even the time that I posted the very first like, post where I felt like I was begging for money. Of course, I'm not begging, but that's just what it felt like. I think I posted it at some ungodly hour like 6am. When I say, like, I'm just gonna get it out there and hoping no one sees it. Just so I could say that I did it right. And literally, before 738 o'clock, I had a text from a woman that I know who has a marketing agency there in New York, she's like, I didn't even realize that you were still in production for your film. I have a client that may be perfect for this. Let's talk. And so literally through that one post, I was able to secure not only, you know, funding to get it to the finish line, but we were able to exceed the GoFundMe go through that one brand partnership so that me, yeah, that GoFundMe for me, because I didn't. And that's a whole different conversation. Like crowdsourcing is a job within itself. I didn't know how intense it was, I didn't know that I needed to be pushing that message out 567 times a day on 100 Different platforms to get like $5 Key getting that message out, I think there was a step back then that like people need to see something that message like seven times before they even decide to act on it. And so for someone like me, who wasn't really comfortable asking for help, that felt like a lot. And it reflected in the amount that we got for the GoFundMe, I would say I don't even think we made $7,000 on that GoFundMe. But what we did do is get a five figure sponsorship that literally got us to the finish line. And I'm quite certain That's amazing. Yeah, that partnership would not have happened if the GoFundMe wasn't out there. So I know.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 29:12
Lots of Lady listening needed to hear that, that that there's so many lessons right there somebody listening, I know you needed to hear that because we've talked about crowdfunding on this show before we had Olivia of I found women of color on the show. And we talked about that how for many, you know people, they there's this misconception that crowdfunding is like begging. Or it's, they're worried that people will think they're, you know, they're not serious. And that's why they have to ask for help. But it's actually it's a family and friends round, essentially. That's what you tap into for your network. It's raising capital, and the family and friends round. And you know, there are many different things that you can do incentive wise or what have you to do it and I'm so glad that you touched on that because not only did you see that how much you talked about it affected how much you raise. But it also shows that it's more than about money. It's the awareness piece. It's the awareness. People don't know what you're doing unless you tell them what you're doing
Renae Bluitt 30:17
about it. So yeah, so fun to me was like a mini PR campaign for the project.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 30:24
Yes. And it's interesting, because I think of you as someone who does such a good job at talking about what she's doing, you know, taking us along the journey and the path of here's what I'm creating. So to hear you say that it's actually really surprising. Now, once you had your funding, you know, you're able to complete the project. What happened next?
Renae Bluitt 30:46
So next is still had her PR hat on? Yeah, yes, I looked at that film as like, this is this film she did that is now across media client. What do we do now. It's like a product launch. So we need to be going to all the major markets and even the secondary and smaller markets around the country where black women are where your audience is, you need to be doing screening events, you need to be having conversations, you need to be unpacking what it means to be a black woman entrepreneur in the cities, because the pain points and the opportunities for a founder in New York versus someone in Charlotte, North Carolina is totally different. And so let's do screenings all over the country and have these really honest conversations with black women about what their journey looks like and what it feels like. And what's next. So did that. And we were in South Carolina. And I remember so clearly, we did. We did the screening people loved it, we're having the post discussion, and an older sister stood up. And it was just I would have never God speak to you through so many different so many different people, and usually the ones that you would least expect to deliver a particular message. So she stands up and she's like, Great job love this film, you know, just praised it, you know, had all these beautiful things to say. And she's like, so are you just going to be traveling like just all over the country and all over the world? Just doing these screenings? Like Wait, like, when can a larger audience see this? Like, I want to share this with my nieces? I want to share this with you know, my people, like if they can't make a screening, does that mean they can't see it? When I put you on the spot. She's matched all my edges a bit of judgment in the question, but it was delivered in in with love, you know, but it was like your auntie asking you something. It's like now you know better. You she was like, No, you know that this is not sustainable, or you really just like so every time somebody needs to see this film, you have to travel and produce the event and be in the room. So when she said that, I was like, you're, you know, good. Put me on the spot. But I needed it. I think that that message resonated with me immediately, actually, to the point where when I was at the airport, headed back to New York, there was a layover. And I had started asking people in the industry like, Hey, how did you get your film distributed. And I remember one person giving me some information about a particular distribution agency. So during that layover, and with the spirit of this woman, like on my shoulder, I decided to look up that distribution agency submitted the film and like went on about my business and kept doing all these screenings, and really wearing myself out in the process. Those events are beautiful, but it's a lot to go from city to city and have all these sometimes emotional conversations because entrepreneurship for us is a is such a personal journey. So I look up four months later, I get an email from this distribution agency congratulating me on the film and saying that they would love to partner with me to distribute this film far and wide. And I was like, like, I had to do a double take because I almost forgotten that I submitted it because I did it. And I just kept doing the work. And I think that that's you know, something I'd like to point out to your listeners. You can plant seeds for whatever it is that you're creating to grow and blossom but you plant the seed. You can't sit there and watch and wait for it to happen. You have to still be out there doing the work and planting more seeds. And so the beautiful thing was by the time we got distribution for this project I had already built up like this beautiful community, all over the country of women who were rallying for this film who, you know, had seen it and wanted to see it again and wanted to see it, you know, be shared with the masses. And so when we got our first round of distribution, it was through cable networks. So you could see it on demand on Comcast spectrum, you know, all these Verizon all these places. And then the second level was with Netflix, and the timing of that partnership was just God engineered because it leads that come
Nicaila Matthews Okome 35:37
through the same distribution agency, or at that point, okay.
Renae Bluitt 35:42
Yes, it came through that relationship. And it launched on Netflix, February of 2020. You know, we did you know, I came out here to La did this whole who plied you know, celebration for the line. People were excited, and then boom, the pandemic hit. And initially, I'll be honest, I think we all you know, when we got that news, the first thing we thought of was like, Oh, my God, what does that mean for my career, I have to stop, you know, moving around the world safely the way I did. But there really could not have been a better time to have content on the world's largest streaming platform that anyone was at home just watching TV.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 36:25
That is so true.
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Now, I'm curious, in all of this as multi passionate people, sometimes we start working on a passion project. And I actually advise people to start working on a passion project, even before you know how it's going to make you money, because you're not going to make money for a while. So that shouldn't be your incentive to get started. But this as you're talking, I'm just thinking like, wow, this takes a lot of time this has taken this a whole college career of your life before it even got to Netflix. Right. And so and your brand partnerships are for the film itself. What is the revenue model when it comes to this film? What What was your goal with it in terms of how would it profit you?
Renae Bluitt 38:48
So what's interesting is that I didn't go into this because I had my PR career. I didn't create this looking to monetize it. I knew that it would be a way to generate supplemental income. But I wasn't calculating what the possibilities could be. Quite honestly, I was most interested in telling our stories because no one had ever created an entire film centering black women entrepreneurs. And I felt like I was the woman to do it simply because I had been blogging about us and just telling our stories for so many years. So to be quite honest, Michaela, I didn't go into this looking to monetize it. What happened is, of course, there was you know, a deal made with the distribution agency. But then what I found out through this journey was the film Further positioned me as an expert in the space so I started getting requests for all these speaking opportunities and of course the price goes up when you have so what was happening? At that time with the PR career was one it was too much to juggle, like, there's no way I could potentially pour all the love and energy that needed to be poured into. She did that while also nurturing my clients brands. And so because I like to be able to finance my lifestyle, it took a while for me to let go of the PR business. In fact, I didn't let go of it. It's like, God pulled it away from me, essentially, I was trying to do it all I was trying to hire hell to manage the day to day with these PR clients while I was out, you know, working on the film promoting the film. And one by one clients were starting to say, you know, we don't have the budget to renew our agreement or your retainer for this year, or I would get new clients. And they would be like, you know, for whatever reason, all those clients like we're slowly one by one disappearing. And so I think that, you know, when that's happening for me, I was still like, Okay, I'm gonna find another PR client. And it wasn't hard to do, because I had all of this experience. But one day, it just hit me like, Girl, the message is, this chapter of your career is over, it is time to focus 100% of your time to she did that. Why don't you see this? One to this PR career, saying no, this is where I want you to focus your attention.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:37
I'm so glad you shared that. Because as a multi passionate person, there can sometimes be a shift in mindset that needs to happen, where you let go of having a title that you feel is one that brings more acknowledgement validation, understanding, and allowing yourself the freedom to go into this unconquered territory, where it's a little harder to explain, but you trust that it's where you're supposed to be, was any of that happening for you?
Renae Bluitt 42:12
It wasn't so much about titles and what that meant. It was about consistency, familiarity and comfort. You know, like with those PR clients, for example, if I signed a one year retainer agreement with someone, I knew that in my bank account, I would have a certain number of coins at the top of every month, which is important, especially living in an expensive city like New York or anywhere now for that matter. And so that was the part for me that was hardest to let go of. And then of course, just knowing that this is what I've been doing for so many years, and this is, this is the space that I am the expert in. I am no longer the expert in filmmaking, you know, in storytelling and everything that comes with it. I am the visionary, but I'm not the expert. You know, I have to rely on my team, and the people that I'm hiring and trusting to help to bring the vision to life. So there was a lot that went into it. But I think that when you try not to lead with ego and and try not to make fear based decisions, that is when you're able to let go of what is familiar and do that thing that's calling your spirit.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 43:40
Now you've entered a space where you don't have that guaranteed, you know, every first of the month that retainer is dropping, so how have you structured your business such that you can at least anticipate your revenue a bit.
Renae Bluitt 43:55
So it's hard like it's there still, especially now that we are like, the world is just opening back up, you know, elder is just starting to fill up more quickly with speaking engagements. And so because of speaking engagements, put it like this now I am working in a space where it's quality over quantity like us, I think the pandemic helped me to realize that, you know, as CES in South Carolina pointed out like some of this is not sustainable. So me just running around and doing all the things. It's it feels cute, but you're just busy more than you're productive. And so now the way that I work is you know if it's brand partnerships if the speaking engagements, I'm just making sure that one it really ties into my long term vision for my brand, but financially, it just makes sense. So the way that I'm working now, compared to the PR days, like the checks may be fewer because they're not you know, the consistent flow that I had before, but they're bigger. So it allows me to just manage my money in a different way, put money aside in a different way and still feel safe. You know,
Nicaila Matthews Okome 45:12
that is very relatable. Yeah, I completely understand. I completely understand. So you mentioned your long term vision for your brand. And a part of that long term vision includes expanding what you've been doing, you've now launched a she did that podcast? How did that come about? You know, when did you decide to create the audio arm of the she did that brand?
Renae Bluitt 45:34
So the podcast was truly a gift from the pandemic, you know, I wasn't able to get out and do the screening events. The same way. We were doing some were filming for she did that, but obviously couldn't do it as consistently. And I just knew that I had to keep these conversations going, particularly during the pandemic because this was a transformative time for us as individuals and as business owners and I felt like I there is no way that I could be this woman that's, you know, whose work is centering black women entrepreneurs and not be talking to us through one of the craziest experiences hopefully we'll ever have in our lifetimes. So that is where the podcast was born. I remember really clearly doing a one year anniversary celebration of the film on Netflix on clubhouse, and so I brought back Lavie LISA PRICE, Melissa Butler, Tonya Rapley, and we were all, you know, having this beautiful conversation and clubhouse, and drew that I shared out loud that like, I miss this energy, you're not miss coming together and being in conversation with everyone. And I mentioned the podcast. And when I mentioned it, I mentioned the idea of it. Everyone was so supportive, everyone was like, it's about time. rooting me on. And so I would say that from that conversation, I would say like, I started recording the podcast conversations, like within a couple of weeks. And so that is how the podcast was born. I produced the very first season independently, which as you know, is no small feat. So that was it. Like that was the beginning of the podcast, it really gives me a beautiful opportunity to keep these conversations going in the audio space and connect with women that I may not be able to connect with in person because now I'm just talking to women all over the country and even all over the world.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 47:47
Yes. And it's just I just love podcasting, just because of this intimate nature of literally being in someone's home with them having a conversation people getting to know your voice. How many people know your voice, who are not your family and friends, you know, that is just such a powerful tool. And one of my favorite episodes you guys should definitely check out she did that podcast but your episode with Tia Williams, I just love her. I was searching for conversations with her and yours was the first pop up so just love the network you have and the conversations that unique conversations that you're able to bring on your podcast. So I'm curious to know before we jump into the lightning round, what are you working on focusing on bringing to the world next?
Renae Bluitt 48:33
So right now I am in the fit of preparing for my very first la she did that shopping experience. I have partnered with a couple of incredible women, Tori of Mason black and Frenchie of the black fashion network. They are a part of an initiative called Emerging color. And so we are taking over this beautiful retail space here in LA at the Beverly Center. I will be doing my she did that experience. June 22 and 23rd from AZ and APM and it will be kind of like Tinder Bearnaise favorite things. I've handpick 10 Black women own brands, and we're going to be popping up at the Beverly Center and then also on the 23rd at 11am. We'll be doing a special screening of she did that short stories, which is the new film project that I just produced in partnership with JPMorgan Chase advancing black pathways so just really excited to be back in community with with these women you know like podcasting is beautiful, you know filmmaking is beautiful, but there is nothing like being able to touch and feel people and to experience their energy in person and have these like just really authentic and In honest conversations.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 50:02
Absolutely. I'm with you on that. This is so exciting. You guys, if you go make sure to tell Rene that you heard about it through Saito sopro say hi for me, because, you know, I wish I could go and I am just I love that you do events like it's nothing. You You will throw it away, you will do pop it up. Do it this events are so like, overwhelming to me. So I admire you for that. So now we're gonna brown background. All right, well, we have to talk before my next event. Let's do a quick lightning round. You know the deal? You just answered the very first thing that comes to mind. All right. So number one, what is a resource that has really helped you in building that she did that empire that you can share with a side hustle pro audience?
Renae Bluitt 50:53
Oh my gosh, there's so many resources, one that comes to mind because I literally was just in it this morning is Canva. Like, I am always pitching something you know, like whether it's pitching the podcast to a brand partner or pitching the film project or pitching any event Canva. Like I don't have time to be trying to figure out the design. Canva gives you all these like really dope options and just takes that designer piece out and let you focus on the content.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 51:26
Love it. Number two, so you have interviewed so many black woman entrepreneurs, I'm curious who you would switch places with for a day and why?
Renae Bluitt 51:36
Oh, that question is I'll be honest, this is someone that I haven't interviewed. But if I can switch places, I'm kind of cheating on this. But if I can switch places with Oprah for a day, because she is one of my legs, she's on my wish list for women to speak to. But if I could switch places with her and just feel she has to feel so amazing every day when she wakes up. And when she lays her head on her pillow at night, knowing that her work is literally changing lives. Like if she because I've had plenty of women on the show who've talked about like, my product got on, you know, Oprah's Favorite Things list and how that one plug literally changed the trajectory of their careers and in their businesses. So I want to be in Oprah shoes for a minute and see like what it feels like to have that type of impact on on the
Nicaila Matthews Okome 52:37
world. Number three, what's a non negotiable part of your day? Food
Renae Bluitt 52:46
just gonna keep it like. And I have not had food. I feel like it is like downhill from there. There are some who are able to like, look up at two o'clock. And they're like, casually, like, I haven't had lunch yet. I haven't had a morsel. And I'm like, Girl, I'm one meal number two, like, I have to eat. It is that is my non negotiable.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 53:12
Number four, what is a personal habit that has helped you significantly in your business?
Renae Bluitt 53:17
The one we just talked about just wanting to do all the things like being a busybody. Yeah, it has been a blessing. And I don't want to say curse. Because that's such a strong word, it has been a blessing, but it is also one of those blessings that I have to manage. Because you can't always be on, you know, like you do have to recharge your battery.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 53:38
And then finally, number five, what's your parting advice for our listeners today who want to be their own boss one day, or want to just grow their side hustle more invest in themselves and you know, really build it out. But they're they're worried about losing that steady paycheck.
Renae Bluitt 53:57
I've been there, I would say this. Whatever you are doing now that is generating this steady paycheck. And I think we talked about this briefly in the conversation for my podcast, that skill, that background that you built over the years, that experience you have does not go away. When you decide to take a leap into something else, it will always be there for you to go back and revisit and tap into if you have to. My thing is you don't want to ever have this what if and you also don't want to look up and you see someone executing the idea that you had and sat on for so many years. So I would say you know, I'm definitely not telling like just do it just you know, just leave your job. But know that like your gift that has gotten you to this place in life is your gift no one else is and so you can tap into it and leverage it whenever you want to You know,
Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:01
amen I think that's just the perfect note to end today's episode on so where can people connect with you? And she did that film after this episode?
Renae Bluitt 55:11
Yes so you can find me on social I am Rene blue it and that is I am RENAEBLU itt the podcast can be found at she did that podcast the film is at she did that film and for all things she did that you can visit she did that got code.
Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:31
Alright guys, and there you have it. Guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six bullet Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro, that CO slash newsletter. When you sign up, you will receive weekly nuggets from me including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business tip of the week. Again that side hustle pro.co/newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon
Transcribed by https://otter.ai