HOW TO START



So, you've just had the most amazing vision of what you want to do with your life next. Your excited, your entire body has come alive at the thought of making this dream a reality. You just know that it will be the perfect thing to catapult you into your future. It's getting harder to contain your joy, you just want to scream it at the top of your lungs: "I have found my purpose." This is going to be great. It's going to open so many doors for you. You're going to help so many people. For a few moments, life just falls into place. It's all starting to make sense. But wait...this idea is so good because it's never been done before. Yeah, that person did something similar, but your idea is next level. You're dealing with a game changing idea which is going to require some out of the box execution yet you have no idea where to begin. You can see the finish line, you can see all of the applause, all the rewards, the smiles on the faces of the people you'll help, but you can't figure out how to get there.


Well, here's how I started. Hopefully, this will give you a clue towards your first move.


Spring break of 2014 is when I discovered the three goals for my life. They had come to me while I read through "The Purpose Driven Life".

  1. TO entertain

  2. TO inspire

  3. TO end familial homelessness

I had an idea of how I wanted to tackle the first and last. For the second, though, the only idea that came to mind, was to write a book. I had grown up homeless for the first seventeen years of my life and had made it out alive without going to jail and without a single night of being high or drunk. That, I hoped would be a good start. So, with that, I began to speak out about what I had been through and tell my story. I also began working on one of the first manuscripts for When Life Serves You Lemons.


Fast forward to 2015, life is happening. I graduated from college, but I also gained a huge responsibility as the guardian for my younger brother LeLand. I needed to focus on this challenging new turn my life had took , so I decided to put my dreams and goals on hold and help LeLand pursue his. This worked for about six months or until I realized that I was very much depressed.


I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Saturday night. I just spent the entire day, and most of the night watching the entire eleventh season of Grey's Anatomy. Once I had finished the season, I was left with that sense of dread, longing, and inspiration we all get after a #NetflixBinge. I sat there thinking: "what am I going to do with my life?" There were two major questions I needed to answer and well, that big as life discovery question. I sat down with a pen and paper and prayed to God to help me find an answer.


As soon as I had finished my prayer, my pen touched the paper. My entire life flashed before my eyes that night. I saw exactly how I would fulfill each one of my goals. I saw my husband, my children, and, though it might sound a bit crazy, I saw my death. That night, the idea of Phorbe was conceived.


The very first thing I did was speak to my mentor, Lisa. She is the mentor I can go to whenever I have a spiritual question. I told her what happened and she gave me advice on where to start.


I needed to figure out the specifics for Phorbe, to flush out the idea. I had the big picture, but I needed to see all the tiny pieces that made up the big picture in order to put the puzzle together. I knew I wanted it to be an inspirational blog, that showcased African American women in the best light. I knew I wanted to inspire people to reach past their struggles for their goals and dreams. I knew that I wanted to cover every aspect of what it takes to be a Boss Queen. I knew I wanted my home to start on Instagram and eventually move to my own platform.


Next, I flushed out my "WHY". My why for Phorbe was because I have so many wonderful woman to thank for reaching back and pulling me up towards success. If it weren't for my village, I would probably still be homeless. Now, all I want to do is help others the way that I've been helped.


Having the specifics and the why in mind, I started working on a name. This by far, was the hardest part of the process for me. It needed to be clever, it needed to represent me, it needed to be inspirational. This is my brand. This is my baby that I am bringing into the world and raising up to into an empire. The name needed to be profound. I googled how other brands found their name and looked at how people, who have created similar brands created their empires. Oprah was at the top of that list. Oprah's brand is broken up into things named after her i.e The Oprah Winfrey Show, O Magazine, or OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and things named Harpo, which is just Oprah spelled backwards. Then, I looked to Rihanna. Rihanna had separated her business pursuits from her entertainment personna, by naming everything using her last name Fenty. Hence, Fenty Beauty or SavageXFenty. I looked to Beyonce who chose to name her brands after meaningful people and places from her childhood. The House of Dereon being named after her grandmother and Ivy Park being an actual park she used to play in as a child.


After researching all of this, I sat and thought about what was most important for me to say and convey with my brand. You can do anything you put your mind to. Okay, now how can I put that into a name. The bible verse, Phillipians 4:13 came to mind and I immediately began writing down different variations of this verse's name in order to create my brand. It just so happens, that I accidentally wrote the 1 and 3 in 13 too close together. So close that it looked like a B. The name Forbe was born. I tweaked the spelling a bit, so as not to have people confuse my name with Forbes Magazine, and Phorbe it was.


Once I had a name, all of the other pieces to the puzzle began to fall into place easily. Phorbe would have 4 pillars: Bold, Blessed, Beauty, and Best You. That would make sure that I covered every aspect of what it meant to be a Boss Queen. I would refer to my followers as Queens & Royalty and our community would be called the Queendom. I wanted to help people step into their true purpose, which prompted the Phorbe tagline: "Step into the Queen You're Meant to Be". I created a Phorbe greeting to use for Youtube and Instagram videos.


Then it was time for the technical stuff. I had a name, now I needed a logo. I confided in a good trusted friend that I wanted the logo to include the "4:13" of the verse with the 1 and 3 being so close together they could also resemble a "B". Within minutes, she drew the 4 on top of the 1 and 3 that you see in Phorbe's logo today. She drew that initial concept and then I took it to Fiverr.com where I paid a grand total of...wait for it...$15 to have the Phorbe logo created.

Then I need a website with pictures. I pulled up both wix.com and squarespace.com. Wix was more affordable so I chose Wix. I signed up for my website purchased the domain phorbe.net from GoDaddy. I bribed my younger brother LeLand one Saturday morning to travel with me to the beach and take photos of me. In return, I would buy him breakfast. He used his brand new Iphone to take the photos and send them to me through google drive.


From there, I used Wix's user friendly tools to create Phorbe's website and set up social media accounts for Phorbe.


Next, I began creating and posting announcements for what was to come. By now, it was March 2018 and I was ready to began this new journey. I used canva.com to create all of my social media posts and countdown to the official launch of Phorbe; which was strategically planned for April 13th. I created a social media plan of how often I would post and where I would post and on 4/13/18 my idea was born into reality.


My hope is that those of you out there who are sitting on the next best thing because you are scared or don't know what to do, will read this and understand how so much easier it is to walk in your purpose than it is to deny it. You can do ANYTHING you can conceive. You were destined for much greater than what you are now. Step out on a limb, have faith in yourself, and step into the Queen you're meant to be.


-Queen Maree

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OCTOBER 14, 2020