Nantale Muwonge of Black Girl PR: Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started My Consulting Business

An Interview With Doug Brown

Doug C. Brown
Authority Magazine

--

Separate yourself from all outcomes. All you can do is set your clients up for success, the rest is up to them. Support them, hype them up, help them stay accountable…some of them will be wildly successful, and some of them might not be able to get past what’s going on in their lives in order to show up and do the work. Don’t take any of it personally, just keep striving to be the best that you can be.

As a part of my series called “Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started My Consulting Business ”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nantale Muwonge.

Nantale Muwonge is an award-winning marketing strategist and the founder of Black Girl PR™. She created Black Girl PR™ after a car accident and the pandemic pushed her to get serious about her purpose. So she quit corporate America and switched her focus to supporting Black womxn looking to make an impact beyond what we can conceive.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve always been in media and content in some form or another, storytelling is my first love. But this part of my journey really started with a car wreck that shook me!

Then I started losing the ability to use my right arm for the second time — the first time I was in denial about it and things got really bad, so this time I pulled back. I took a leave of absence from work (eventually quitting), started exploring alternative therapies and did some deep healing.

At around the same time Breonna Taylor was murdered and police violence against Black folk just seemed to be wildly escalating yet totally unchecked, Covid-19 was ripping through the Black community disproportionately and at an alarming rate due to structural racism, Black businesses were staring to shut down because of lack of funding and other challenges they face due to systematic racism, and my own struggles with the healthcare system that had totally failed me really opened my eyes to how deeply destructive structural racism in the healthcare system is.

Honestly, it felt like the world was crumbling around me.

But when I finally got still enough to examine the possibilities, I saw how I could use my privilege to address some of these issues. So I took the skills and expertise that I’ve developed over the years in corporate America, created a program to help Black womxn building legacies centered on impact, and then I went out to find Black womxn looking to amplify their message. And that’s how Black Girl PR™ was born!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?

There was one day when I was just working away and I got a message from Lashawn Dreher, a marketing genius and the founder of BLKWomenHustle. I love BLKWomenHustle! It’s one of the first platforms I followed when I got started, and it’s been a welcoming source of community for me. I didn’t think I was on her radar though, but she sent me the warmest, most affirming message and later on they featured me on BLKWomenHustle’s inaugural Black Women Entrepreneurs To Watch list.

Being recognized by such a formidable womxn and being placed on a list with phenomenal Queens who are pioneers, and all doing trajectory-changing work was such a jolt for me! I’d just been so deep in the weeds that it felt like waking up to the reality of what I’m actually doing. But looking back, I see what a turning point that was because shortly after I was nominated for three awards! I won two of them, including a Business of The Year Award from Buy From A Black Woman. Which again, to be recognized by the womxn who inspire you is just something else!

But what it really made me realize was the fact that you never know who’s watching you. She told me that during our first conversation and it’s stuck with me!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yes definitely, Femi Ibim (aka Raw Vegan Goddess) has been an invaluable mentor, coach and friend to me on this journey. When I had a seed of an idea but I wasn’t quite sure what to do, she helped me conceptualize Black Girl PR™ and she came up with that name!

She gave me the roadmap, recommended tools, coaches for my industry, invited me into her circle and has collaborated with me — she is a true example of what it looks like when womxn support womxn. She was also an early example of an entrepreneur walking in her purpose, doing things her own way rather than following the status quo, and serving her clients to the nth degree. Femi really opened me up to the possibilities and then when I launched, she was right there cheering me on and celebrating my milestones.

She really is a Goddess. I’m forever grateful for the connection. And by the way, Femi is a lifelong entrepreneur. She’s been doing this for over 20 years and actually transitioned from having a brick-and-mortar store in Little Five Points back in the day, to building an online community several years ago. Way before the pandemic prompted this latest e-commerce rush, so her wealth of knowledge is astounding. It still blows my mind that I even have access to her! I’m blessed!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is, “I am because we are.” It’s Ubuntu, an African philosophy centered on community and the idea that we truly experience the depth and power of our humanity through our connection to others. By being invested in their success, invested in their wellness, and in turn having them pour into you, which ends up becoming a complex network of support that nobody can fall through. Everybody is always cared for and nobody carries too much strain.

That’s how it goes in theory! I’ve definitely stretched and broken the philosophy practicing it with people who don’t have the same values as me, but I’ve also learnt so much along the way and know that being in community is integral to my own happiness. It’s what I was raised on, it’s how I live my life, and it’s a core value of my business.

Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. We’d love to learn a bit about your company. What is the pain point that your company is helping to address?

A lot of small businesses struggle with their reach, actually getting their brands in front of the right people on a large enough scale to convert into meaningful sales is a challenge. And on top of that, creating an online presence that shows that they’re credible, can be trusted and are safe to shop with is another pain point.

I help them curate an online experience of their brand that boosts their brand awareness so they reach more people, leverages trusted platforms to build their credibility, and that allows people to fall more deeply in love with their brand and essentially follow the breadcrumbs that we place all over the internet back to their website.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Black Girl PR™ stands out for a number of reasons, but I think mainly because it lifts up an incredibly talented, yet invisible segment of the population. These womxn are brilliant, inspired and working hard but typically unrecognized and also used to working without any kind of recognition. So going for brand recognition in a world that thrives on making Black womxn feel small isn’t considered a priority because they don’t think they’re even big enough for PR. Meanwhile, PR can seriously boost their growth and amplify their efforts.

Black Girl PR™ also makes PR accessible by breaking down what it really is. I spend a lot of time on education, in particular sharing how to get publicity, and how to leverage visibility to build relationships, create opportunities and help meet your brand goals.

And finally, Black Girl PR™ is a safe space for Black womxn on this entrepreneurial journey to be seen and celebrated, regardless of their choices and circumstances. We are fully in a pandemic, so the fact that we’re running businesses on top of showing up for ourselves is major. I don’t gloss over that fact.

When you first started the business, what drove you, what was your primary motivation?

When I first started the business, my primary motivation was helping as many people as possible. But a couple of months in and I learned that this wasn’t sustainable and also that I needed to get more specific about the type of womxn who could truly benefit from my expertise, as well as the type of womxn I actually wanted to work with.

And when I did that, when I started partnering with purpose-driven, action-oriented trailblazers, things really started to take off.

What drives you now? Is it the same? Did it change? Can you explain what you mean?

What drives me now is impact. It didn’t necessarily change, but as I developed my business knowledge and got very clear on what success looks like for my clients, impact became the clear winner. My clients want to have a positive impact on their environment. They want to create jobs, they want to build up their communities, they want to change the narrative and show that there’s a better way to be. And they’re creating a world where their kids have more power and won’t be subject to the same pressures that we’ve struggled with.

They’re literally changing their trajectories and building generational wealth, setting themselves up for a future where their time is their own and they can spend it as they wish! Whether that’s traveling, with their families (not having to miss out on their children’s events!), or resting and enjoying their time. Their end-goal is impact and the freedom that comes with it.

This is where I come in because I’m an Impact Amplifier. I help them curate content that gets publicity and media coverage, so they reach more people and have a bigger impact. And honestly, it’s the most satisfying thing to watch!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes! I’m working on The Brand Impact Program™ right now. It’s a 6-week program for business owners looking to generate publicity and press features consistently, so they reach more people and have a bigger impact. It’s specifically designed for womxn who want to increase their market share, build credibility and consistently place their brands in front of their ideal customers in a way that attracts them to the brand.

I’ve been using the same strategy from the beginning and the results have been crazy. A swimwear brand that I worked with managed to increase their website traffic and sales by 60%. A natural skincare company got 10 media features in 6½ months, including a TV spot and a feature in the most popular newsstand women’s magazine in the country — walking into the store and picking it off the newsstand was a highlight! And then getting messages from her afterwards about the back-to-back orders and inquiries was wild.

A wellness brand that I’m working with has secured national TV spots, a regular show on national radio, and has become a hot commodity! She’s currently in talks for future projects that came her way because of her increased visibility, which is another component of the program too. Leveraging your visibility to open doors is key.

So the program is helping them boost their visibility, drive traffic and open doors.

In your specific industry what methods have you found to be most effective in order to find and attract the right customers? Can you share any stories or examples?

I’ve found using a lead magnet most effective, especially since this is a good way to qualify leads. I spent a lot of time talking to unqualified leads in the beginning, and that’s just an unnecessary time suck.

Then the first lead magnet I created was so generic (even though when I converted it into a blog post it ended up being one of my top-performing pages), it didn’t speak directly to my expertise. But when I created a lead magnet that provided a solution while demonstrating my value, my leads went up and my calendar filled up. Then the next thing I learned that I needed to refine was my pre-qualifying questions prior to the call, and once I did that I ended up having more high quality conversations because potential clients were coming to calls with a better understanding of what I do.

It was an interesting learning curve because in my life as a content marketer I created lead magnets without having a deep understanding of the sales process, but once I wrapped my head around it, I did what needed to be done.

Also, when I got really serious about lead nurture and producing content that speaks to all stages of the customer journey, the right customers started showing up heavy.

Based on your experience, can you share a few strategies to give your customers the best possible user experience and customer service?

Keep things as simple as possible, the last thing you want to do is overwhelm your customers because then they might freeze and do nothing. And if they don’t take action they won’t get the transformation they came for.

Listen very carefully to what they say and what they don’t say, you can gather a lot of information from the way people ask questions and what they ask.

Strive to be as responsive as possible, but do so without running yourself ragged or disregarding your own time boundaries.

Always ask for feedback on how you can improve the experience for them. My performance coach taught me that I should always be asking, “How can I better serve you?” And the wonderful thing about thinking this way is it creates a lot of opportunities for you to consistently surprise and delight your customer.

And finally, over-serve and over-deliver. But once again, do it in a way that doesn’t overwhelm otherwise it can stop progress in its tracks.

Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started My Consulting Business”. Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Build business credit from the beginning: Speak to a financial advisor or a business finance specialist and find out what you need to do to start building business credit so that you can leverage it, rather than spending your own cash.
  2. Get a coach in your niche: An experienced business coach in your niche will know all the best strategies, tools and practices for your field. They’ve probably made all the mistakes that you could possibly make, and they’re probably a wealth of knowledge when it comes to creative solutions. An unspecialized business coach may not have this same depth of knowledge of your field.
  3. Be picky about who you work with. Set your standards and stick to them. If you try to help everybody, you’ll be doing both yourself and people who aren’t a good fit a disservice.
  4. Set and stick to office hours. Burnout is real, as is the desire to just keep going when you really enjoy what you do. But you can’t over-serve and over-deliver when you’re tapped out, so get the rest you need so you can be the best for both you and your clients.
  5. Separate yourself from all outcomes. All you can do is set your clients up for success, the rest is up to them. Support them, hype them up, help them stay accountable…some of them will be wildly successful, and some of them might not be able to get past what’s going on in their lives in order to show up and do the work. Don’t take any of it personally, just keep striving to be the best that you can be.

Wonderful. We are nearly done. Here are the final “meaty” questions of our discussion. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I’m actually working on this right now, it’s what occupies my time when I’m not doing Black Girl PR™ things. It’s too soon for me to speak about it, but I will say that it’s centered on love and the fact that we are love. I’m looking forward to a time when this is commonly understood and reflected in the way we treat each other.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

I’d love to share a meal with our Indigenous elders around the world, especially Africa. I’d just love to hear their stories and thoughts on life, to be honest. I used to love sitting at my grandparents feet, I still remember the fables and jokes they used to tell us. It’s interesting to discover the wisdom in those stories as an adult, and to actually get the jokes that went over my head, so I’d love to be able to have this experience and now that I’m a little older and wiser.

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!

--

--

Doug C. Brown
Authority Magazine

Sales Revenue Growth Expert | CEO and Business Consultant at Business Success Factors | Author