Today we’d like to introduce you to Deandra James.
Hi Deandra, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
If I go all the way back, then my story truly began when I started college in the Fall of 2013. I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do in life besides help people. I was only pretty familiar with two majors that I felt related to me the most: nursing and psychology. I decided to try nursing first but quickly changed my mind after the first year. Then I switched to Psychology and decided to stick with that but in the end, it turned out to be something I wasn’t 100% interested in either. So, I like to write poetry, and around my senior year of college, I wanted to make a more professional site where I published my work. At the time, I was posting my poetry on Tumblr but I wanted to use a platform of my own. My mind is always coming up with new ideas when it’s something I’m interested in, and I decided that I wanted to post more than just poetry. I wanted to also just express my thoughts in general on different topics. I love giving advice and helping others, and I express my thoughts best in writing than through verbal communication.
Of course, this website I’m creating needed a name, so I thought about The Princess Diaries because I love that movie and I’m expressing my thoughts as if this was my open diary. I needed to put my own twist on it, though, and what better way than to proudly showcase what I am… black. Thus, The Black Princess Diaries was born and I wrote my first post in June 2018. This was right after I graduated, and in that post, I discussed my time in college and the depression that came with it. I was never motivated, I only focused on passing my classes instead of actually trying to learn the information because of not being interested, I didn’t have that super fun college experience, and I graduated with a degree that I wasn’t sure I was going to use.
Even then, I never even thought about becoming a blogger full time. I’m not sure if I even thought that was an option, at least not for me. Fast forward and now I am almost three years into being a blogger and almost two years being a host of The Black Princess Diaries podcast, I have dreams and I’m working towards becoming an entrepreneur with anything and everything having The Black Princess Diaries Label on it, and I just recently started a consultation service for future and current bloggers who need help starting/restarting their blog. I’m so motivated and determined to make my dreams come true, and I’ve never been this driven in my life. I sit for hours in a chair working on my blog and stay up extra late at night, making sure things get done. I never knew what I wanted to be, but once I stepped into this world, I knew there was no other choice or option than this.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road, and it still isn’t as I’m still on this journey. I feel like the struggles of this journey is mostly mentally based. You tend to ask yourself, “Am I good enough?” or “Am I wasting my time?” When I first started, I didn’t have those thoughts in my mind because I didn’t know I wanted this to become my career. Now that I’m further along as a blogger and I know this is what I want to do full-time, the doubt has come in SEVERAL times. Even today, I question myself so much. I know it’s only because I’m so passionate, but my biggest worry is that I’m losing sleep, sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours, and it’ll all have been for nothing.
Along with that, becoming a full-time blogger and entrepreneur isn’t cheap at all. You truly have to spend money to make it. I bought my own domain, and it’s costly to renew. I also would love to take every course and learning opportunity to grow my craft, but I can’t always afford it, and it sucks to miss out on those things. Lastly, I’m a very shy person that typically runs away from a lot of attention. When you’re a blogger or entrepreneur in general, that’s totally different. I’ve had to learn to sell/promote myself or my work, and I’m still learning. It’s a struggle when learning how to grasp the attention of your audience and especially frustrating when you’ve worked so hard on something, but you don’t receive the results you hoped.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a lifestyle blogger, podcaster, and I also started doing consultations for future and current bloggers who need help with starting or restarting their blog. My goal is to just become an overall entrepreneur, but it all started with my blog. I’m most proud of my tenacity. Not only did I find my passion, but it ended up being something that’s probably the hardest thing in the world to achieve, yet I continue to refuse to back down. I think what sets me apart from others is just how honest I really am.
I discuss things in my blog posts that some people may be too scared to share. I’ve had readers comment and tell me how open I am and they appreciate that. I like to be so open because it could help someone. I talk about dealing with my depressive moments because someone out there could think they’re alone, but they’re not. I don’t want to come off as this perfect person. I struggle with so much internally and my life has felt like a battle within myself ever since I turned 18. If I’ve made someone feel better just by letting them know that there’s someone who relates to them, then that’s all that matters.
So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
What matters to me most is what has mattered from the moment I started college… helping people. That includes my readers and the ones I know and love. I want to be able to give my mom what she needs and I want to be able to take my friends out and pay for their meals because that’s what they’ve done for me. Something else that matters is my happiness. I haven’t felt true happiness since childhood, and in the end, I just want true happiness for myself.