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ESSENCE Network: Tara Pringle Jefferson, How She Built a Global Community with a Blog

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When Tara Pringle Jefferson had her daughter while in college, she realized how few resources there were for young mothers. So she created the community she craved and launched a blog which provides content and hosts events for women. See how she created a global resource while juggling motherhood and marriage.

Name: Tara Pringle Jefferson

Age: 28

Title: President, Jefferson Consulting and creator of TheYoungMommyLife.com

Location: Akron, Ohio

Twitter: @TheYoungMommy

Relationship status: Married

The gig: I am a digital publisher and communications strategist who uses technology to advance young women’s lives, particularly those who are in their first few years of motherhood.

The journey: I had my daughter while in college and it struck me how out-of-place I felt and how difficult it was to find other women who had walked in my shoes. I began a website for young mothers and soon found a community of women who could relate to my story. One day, I got two emails from readers: one from a 15-year-old mom in the U.K. and the other from a 24-year-old South African woman. It struck me how technology can make anything possible; it can certainly make motherhood a little easier. I knew then that I wanted to do this full-time.

Her career highlight: Self-publishing my first book. I had just gotten laid off from my day job and was trying to make my side hustle of blogging and social media work for me. I sold a decent amount of copies and was able to use the money to keep me afloat while I worked on building my business.

In her younger days: When I was younger, I used to write these long, Vibe magazine-type profiles on...myself. I’m talking 6,000 words on how I had a hit single and Puff Daddy was dying to sign me to Bad Boy. Never mind the fact that I can’t sing. I just knew I was going to be famous!

Confessions of a Black woman in media: I’m grateful to provide another voice. A lot of Black bloggers have started their sites precisely because mainstream media didn’t cover our stories. Now I don’t have to wait for anyone else to speak for me. I speak for myself and the many others who don’t see their stories represented anywhere else.

Her networking tip: I’m an introvert and I find that it helps me with networking. Because I’m bad at small talk, I tend to get to the “good stuff” quickly and within 5-10 minutes of meeting someone, we’ve connected on a true level. The key to networking is about sowing seeds and doing favors for people before you ask for a favor.

Her student loans status: I was fortunate to have a few scholarships so my student loans are very manageable. I’m almost done paying them off which is unheard of among my friends.

How she balances personal and professional: For me, the personal and professional line is blurred. My career is based off my personal life and so I find that it doesn’t really help to separate the two. If I have a meeting, more than likely my kids will come with me. My main thing is that I don’t make myself feel guilty for being an ambitious woman. My kids see how hard I work and I hope it motivates them to do great things.

Her best timesaving tip: I love cooking but it takes a long time to cook dinner every night. Recently, I began freeing up time in my evenings by cooking 3-4 meals on Sunday and Wednesdays. That way, I can just reheat dinner and have more time with my kids after school and husband after work.

Her biggest lesson learned: For so long I was courting clients rather than creating my own opportunities. I would depend on landing contracts versus thinking about creating revenue streams that didn’t depend on me spending all my time building someone else’s brand. I want something to pass on to my children and if I’m giving 25 hours a week to this other company, there won’t be anything for my kids to sustain.

Her stress relievers: I’m trying this new thing called “exercise” to help me manage stress. I used to reach for sweets when I got overwhelmed, but now I call my elliptical my therapist. There’s nothing like that first 20 minutes after a workout when my mind is completely clear.

Her tech fix: As a small business owner, I love Shoeboxed for managing my expenses and mileage. Can’t live without it.\

Her beauty must-have: Water. I don’t wear a ton of make-up and I tend to keep it low-maintenance with my beauty routine. However, no matter what I do, if I’m not drinking my water, my skin won’t look as good.

Her power accessory: A fitted blazer. It instantly makes any outfit look more polished.

Her secret superpower: I can hold entire conversations in Beyoncé lyrics.

Her theme song: “Diva” by Beyoncé.

Filed Under: Money and Power
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