Lenzy's Business Blog

Lenzy Ruffin is a family portrait photographer in Washington, DC. This blog focuses on topics related to running a business of any type, including a photography business.

OWN Your Stuff! OWN Your Business! OWN Your Way!

Ultimate Icon, indeed

I'm a huge fan of Tyler Perry.

I'm not really of fan of his work, per se. I've probably seen two or three of his movies, including the one where he played Alex Cross. The Madea-based stuff doesn't suit my taste.

But I am a HUGE fan of Tyler Perry the businessman. I remember all the buzz he used to generate with his plays back in the day.

That was back when the commercial Internet was still in its infancy. So he was building buzz back when there was no social media to help.

He just went around the country putting on his plays and laying the groundwork for much larger things to come. Maybe he always envisioned being where he is now, but I'm sure nobody else did.

His studio in Atlanta is effectively Hollywood on the east coast. He can and does literally make his own movies. Instead of having to deal with Hollywood and having to compromise his vision at every turn, he built his own production facility. He doesn't need to ask anyone “may I?”

We are all empowered to do the same

That's a message I've been preaching and will continue to preach on LinkedIn.

The Internet is the great equalizer. It gives each of us the opportunity to reach and engage the entire world. Instead of waiting for our version of Hollywood to discover us or give us a shot, we can create our own platform to showcase ourselves.

We can build our own house and prosper in it, rather than constantly hoping for a shot at a seat at someone else's table.

I've been working in earnest to build my own marketing house for a couple of years now. I've grown weary of and wise to all the “we can help you grow your business” organizations out there. I've paid to join a lot of things and did a lot of hustling as a member only to achieve unacceptable results.

So I decided I'd build my own

I'm a stills photographer, but I decided to learn how to record video to be able to leverage it as a marketing tool. My early videos were comically bad. And I'm okay with that. I had to go through comically bad on the path towards becoming damn good.

My early videos were comically bad. And I’m okay with that. I had to go through comically bad on the path towards becoming damn good.

I've launched and shut down a number of video series. The first was my Women's History Month project in 2018. It was an interview series featuring women business owners that ended up being 20 videos like this one:

That project led to me creating my Small Business Spotlight series, another 34 videos featuring small business owners in the DC area.

Through the Small Business Spotlight, I met a superstar chef who saved her own life by learning how to cook with CBD to send her Crohn's disease into remission for ten years and counting!

I knew I had to do a cooking show with this lady.

You can click here to see lots more from Chef Jazz.

I also took the opportunity to use this new skill I'd developed to create a video series to help get the word out about a very special new business that's trying to save lives and make an impact in the breast cancer community.

Here are a couple of companion episodes that illustrate what that show is about:

What's Happening Now

My latest series is one I just launched a few days ago with some powerhouse lady bosses in the family services industry.

I am really excited about this show. It's called District Family and I just feel like this one is going to be the one. I feel like all the lessons I learned through all my previous failures were the prerequisites for District Family to succeed.

I have an incredible team. District Family is a show that will succeed based on leveraging the power of strategic partnerships and cooperative marketing, which are two marketing strategies I really believe in.

It's taken me a couple of years to find the right strategic partners to create the cooperative marketing platform I've envisioned, but I think I've finally found them.

Here they are in our premiere episode:

If we're able to build the house of marketing I envision, we will be in the position that Tyler Perry has put himself in.

We won't need to ask for a seat at the table. We won't need to ask to be featured on someone else's platform. We won't need to pay ridiculous advertising rates to put ourselves in front of our target audience.

We will own our stuff. We will own our business. We will own our way.

And if I don't get there with this video series, I'll get there with the next one.

We can all control our destiny if we're willing to put in the work

Tyler Perry is the embodiment of that. And he didn't have LinkedIn to give him a stage to the world.

You do.

I encourage anyone who's still reading to do as Tyler Perry admonishes:

OWN your stuff!

OWN your business!

OWN your way!

You can use LinkedIn to do those things, but you have to be willing to do the work.

And do yourself a favor and think about building a team, like I describe in these two videos:

Failure is not fatal

And it's not permanent. The regret of not trying, however, is something you can find yourself having to live with for the rest of your life.

One regret I will never have is the regret of failing to try to build my own table.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
— Helen Keller

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