DeLaurian is more than a YouTube star. She is a music artist, an encourager, a motivator, and a woman that makes you feel like you’ve known her for years after speaking to her.
DeLaurian hit the vlogosphere a few years ago, and stunned many with her amazing hair tutorials and bubbly personality. As her channel continued to grow, DeLaurian began adding inspirational videos to her channel, including her More Goals for the Mogul in You series (also known to her followers as MOGO Mondays), which let everyone know that she not only has great hair, but a knack for motivational speaking as well.
Today, DeLaurian has earned about 20,000 subscribers, and has been viewed over 900,000 times. With a nonstop schedule and big plans to enter into the new year, DeLaurian took a moment to chat with Detroit Fashion News to tell us all about her journey and what she’s looking forward to in 2017.
DFN: Can you start by telling me more about yourself?
DeLaurian: I am from Detroit, I was born and raised here. I have a passion for purpose. My personal mission statement is to equip, empower and encourage people using my gifts. One of my gifts is creating content and being creative, and I love it. I love it because it causes other people to stir up the gifts within themselves. That’s kind of how I landed upon becoming an influencer because I have all these things that I wanted to do and that I wanted to share, and I felt like nothing was really happening. I was kind of in a lull, if you will. So I was like, “I’m going to start this channel and I’m going to do what I love.” I’m just really a goofy-at-heart person who is seriously serious about my purpose and helping other people and women pursue theirs as well.
DFN: What inspired you to start a YouTube channel? Was it something that you always wanted to do?
DeLaurian: I started my YouTube channel out of necessity, honestly. I had all of these ideas and I wanted to do motivational speaking and I wanted to do music because I’m also an artist. So, again, I felt like I was in a season where nothing was really happening for me. My thought came to mind that you know, “Nobody’s calling me to come and speak! My phone isn’t ringing! Nothing’s happening!” So I said, “You know what? I’m going to build my own platform where people will come to me.” So that’s where the YouTube channel came about because I felt like I had to get my message out there, I had to get my face out there, I had to start being more vocal about what I’m doing. I just really had to take that step and create a place where people could come. If they enjoy me, then it’ll grow. It’s almost a test, if you will. If people enjoy my personality, and if they connect with me, then cool; I’m on the right path. That’s really what encouraged me to go ahead and give it a try.
DFN: When did you officially start your channel?
DeLaurian: I officially started creating content in April or May of 2014.
DFN: You mentioned that you are also a music artist. Can you talk more about that?
DeLaurian: I am a singer, rapper and hip-hop artist. I have been in the music industry since I was a teenager. I used to be in a group. We were signed to Sony Columbia. The group dispelled a long time ago. I went on with life, and the music wouldn’t let me go. I continued to love it, to dream of it, and to think of it. I want to say about five or six years ago, I decided to again put myself out there as a solo artist and to see if there was something to this here. I told myself, “I don’t want to do music anymore, it’s not for me.” The thing about when you’re born to do something, that thing won’t let you be. It will rise again and pull at your pinky finger until you follow its lead. I actually just completed my debut solo album about a month ago, and it will be released in 2017.
DFN: What makes you stand out from all of the other vloggers out there?
DeLaurian: I think my personality and what I have to offer make me stand out. The way I package and present myself make me stand out. I’m a firm believer that no one can provide the experience of you, the way that you do it. I may do a hair tutorial, but the way that I film it, the way that I present it on camera, the way that I shake my hair, and the goofy quirkiness that I offer is going to provide a different feeling and a different experience to someone else. I truly believe that my personality mixed with my layer of content distinguishes me because my channel is not only about hair tutorials and beauty, but I’m also very passionate about purpose, women’s empowerment and motivational speaking. I have a lot of videos on my channel that talk about relationships, that talk about purpose, that talk about self-esteem, that talk about issues that women write in to me and I answer them on camera.
A lot of my supporters will say, “I found you from a hair tutorial, but I stayed because of this motivational video that I saw.” I have a series called MOGO Mondays, and people will just write me and say they were in tears because they were encouraged, or they had no idea that I offered this kind of content as well.
DFN: Like you said, you have a lot of different aspects to your channel. How do you decide what you’re going to vlog about? Do you have a posting schedule?
DeLaurian: Right now I’m taking a break. I’ve decided to take the month of November off to re-strategize for the upcoming year, regroup, prepare, and take some time to reorganize and refocus my channel and content strategy. Typically I do post every week, at least once a week. Moving forward, my goal is to post at least three times a week. I decide what I’m going to post based on my feelings. I’ve been in phases before where I’m going to be on a schedule, I’m going to be strict, I’m going to do this, and sometimes as a creative, I may not be inspired. What I’ve decided not to do any longer is to create something just to create it.
I’d definitely like to keep my MOGO Mondays and my motivational videos up consistently. As of late, I have ventured into new levels and layers of content, so I’ll do lookbooks or I’ll do vlogging. It has really been inspired by what I want to share with my audience. As my channel has grown, I’ve allowed myself the freedom to be a little more creative and motivated by what I am inspired by at the time. I grounded my channel on hair tutorials and motivation, but I wanted to allow myself the space to venture off and to do other things.
DFN: What are some of your favorite things about being a YouTube vlogger?
DeLaurian: I love, first and foremost, connecting with people. I call my supporters “The Lifers” because I’m a firm believer in living life to the fullest. I talk a lot on my channel about speaking life over yourself. It’s a term of positivity and one of life. I have been so pleasantly surprised by how much people will open up to you socially on social media, and how much people will find a point of connectivity and it will encourage them to share their story with you as well as the community. I really like to think of my channel as a community of people who can come to be entertained, to be encouraged, to be equipped, and maybe even be called out on your stuff … Reading comments and getting emails from people who say they’re in tears watching the video or that they watch a video when they’re going to work, or that they will turn on one of the playlists and just let it roll to encourage them — that is the most important thing to me; that’s why I started the channel. It makes me feel fulfilled.
The second thing I love about it, is the creativity. I am a creative being at heart. I love that feeling when I’m editing and it all comes together. When I press that “Publish” button and it goes up, I get a rush every time. I love that creative energy that I get in this way. This is a new creative outlet that I never thought I would enjoy. All my life I’ve just been doing music or other things, but being able to learn how to edit and to express myself creatively in this way is a joy for me. It’s therapeutic for me. I am a motivational person at heart. I have a heart for encouraging people. I love hearing people’s stories and knowing that I’m able to share what I love and also stir up that gift in someone else.
DFN: You were recently a panelist at the 2016 Posh & Popular Fashion and Beauty Summit, and you said that you left your full-time job to pursue vlogging as your main career. Can you talk more about this transition?
DeLaurian: I was actually kicked into this position. I was laid off from my corporate job. I had been miserable for the past six months at work. It’s not that my job situation was so terrible that I couldn’t lift my head every morning, but it was my inner man knowing that my time was coming. I do a video every year called “Vision Board Party.” At the “2015 Vision Board Party” I spoke in that video that I would be fully entrepreneurial in 2017. I had been speaking that over my life. It was something that I wanted. I knew that I needed more time to put into growing my business so that I can make it better, so I can offer better work to my audience, and have that time and space to move in it to take opportunities that come. So here we are, I’ve been working very hard, and I’m appreciative of the career and the jobs that I’ve had because that has allowed me to invest in my business, to buy better equipment, to attract better deals with brands, etc.
This year, being honest, I was miserable. I was crying driving to work. I was making very great money, but I was just unhappy. I was in constant prayer saying, “Lord, I need you to do something. I need more time to build on my business because I’m going to work, I’m working constantly, I’m coming home, I’m working on my business until two and three o’clock in the morning, and then I’m getting up and doing it all over again.” I was becoming drained all the way around, and I was just kind of unhappy in that space. One day, I got up and I went to work, and they told me I had been laid off due to budget, cutbacks, etc. I knew in that moment, that I was being kicked into this position because it was time.
You have situations where you strategize, and you set money aside, and you’re building your business, and when you’re in the position financially, when you can do without the job because your business is bringing in the funds to fund your life, you’re able to make that transition. There are a lot of people who have done it that way, and that was my plan. It didn’t happen that way, it happened much sooner than I had expected or planned. But now that I’m in this position, I’m taking it by the horns and I’m not letting go of it.
My advice to anyone who wants to be full-time in their passion is to be serious about your money and be strategic with it. Do what you need to do to while you have the job that you have to get whatever you need to get to invest in your business. Whatever you need to set yourself up for success, use this time to invest in yourself.
DFN: How have you evolved from when you first started your channel to now?
DeLaurian: I started my channel with a Sony Handycam, and no knowledge or experience of what I was doing. All I knew was that I wanted to get this bad boy off the ground. I taught myself everything. I researched, I used YouTube, I searched everything that I needed to know. As time went on, my desire to be better increased. I was researching other YouTubers and seeing the quality of their content and I was like, “OK, we’ve got work to do.”
I was very limited with my Sony Handycam. I had always wanted to do lookbooks and fashion videos, but I didn’t start doing that until I invested in my DSLR because I wanted it to look a certain way. I will say that [my channel] has evolved because the quality from my first video to now, has increased exponentially. I went from having no knowledge, to learning how to create content, how to edit very well, and how to tell a story with content. I believe my personality has evolved even more in the sense that I’ve become much more comfortable in front of the camera, and I’ve allowed myself the freedom to be exactly who I am. You’ll find me in makeup looks, or you’ll find me on my vlog with no makeup. You’ll see ranges of DeLaurian.
DFN: What kind of other opportunities has your career opened for you?
DeLaurian: The last corporate job that I had actually was because of my YouTube channel. Someone saw my channel and they loved the content that I created, so I was hired in at an agency to do social media work for brands. It has afforded me career opportunities, it has afforded me opportunities to speak, which again, is something that is a part of my ultimate vision for myself. It’s afforded me the opportunity to work with brands, for them to pay me to either share my opinion, or for us to do a barter for barter situation. It’s afforded me those opportunities to get in front of brands, to increase my streams of income, and it’s also afforded me the opportunity to build my consulting business because [people have] seen the content I’ve created for myself, and that’s landed me the opportunity to create content for them. It has opened a lot of doors for me. Every time something great happens for me, I know that I’m on the right track.
DFN: When you’re doing a sponsored or collaborative post, do you have a set of rules or guidelines that you stick to?
DeLaurian: I have to have a genuine interest in the product. I don’t ever want to do anything that I’m not interested in. There are not a whole lot of collaborations on my channel because I want to do them as I really feel excited about it and inspired by it. When hair companies reach out, if it’s a product that I’m excited about trying and I feel that my audience will benefit from the learnings of, then absolutely. If it’s something that I would try anyway, then nine times out of 10, I’ll go for it. If not, then I won’t.
DFN: What is the ultimate goal that you try to achieve with each video you put out?
DeLaurian: Excellence and connecting. I always am wondering if this is going to connect with someone. Yes, I am a creative being and I live to create, but I also want to connect to my audience. I look to really produce great content, and that’s why I have become more of a quality over quantity person. One of my favorite videos I did was a denim lookbook. I’m so proud of the editing that I did in the video. It’s one of my least viewed videos, but because I know it’s an excellent video, I feel so good about it. I know that the work that I put into that video is going to inspire someone, and it did — and it got me a job! A brand reached out to me because they appreciated the quality of it.
When you are doing this as a business, you always have to be thinking of the professional and the personal aspects of it. Yes, I want to connect to my audience, but I also have to do excellent work because everything I do speaks for me as a business. You never know who’s landing on your channel. It’s my goal to give my audience great work because they deserve it, and they’ve supported me for the last few years. It’s also my goal to connect with them through that great work, and not lose them. Sometimes you see channels that grow and they lose that connection because the audience feels like they can’t connect to them anymore. That was one of the reasons why I started “My Dream Life,” which is the name of my vlog series, because I don’t want to lose that connection with them. I wanted them to see me and the realistic things that I’m going through as somebody that is only here chasing her dreams.
DFN: In addition to your “Dream Life” series and making sure that you acknowledge all of your viewers, how do you plan to stay connected with your viewers as you channel continues to grow?
DeLaurian: I think continuing to be transparent with them and showing them the real side of pursuing your purpose. As I go through next year, I’ll be creating promo, I’ll be preparing for the release of an album, and the ups and downs that come with that. It’s really important to me to continue to connect with them by doing my MOGO Monday videos and my motivational videos because that’s where they have the opportunity to email me their questions and I answer them on camera. I also have many emails that don’t even see the camera, where I just talk to them behind the scenes.
DFN: What are three pieces of advice that you would give to someone wanting to start a YouTube channel?
DeLaurian: The first thing is: consider your purpose. What is your purpose in life? Consider this channel into that. If your channel can fit into your overall purpose, then you’ll always have inspiration to draw from. When you’re doing something that’s fabricated just to get views, your inspiration will be limited, and people will see through it. Two: consistency. Once you decide your channel and what the direction is, you’ve got to strategize and be consistent. Consistency is what helped me build my channel … It’s not going to grow overnight. If you are really in it for business purposes, or even personal, just know that it’s going to take time to build. My third thing is value. Sit down and think about the value that you are going to offer. Whether it’s on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, what value is someone going to get from going to your channel? Create content that’s based around that value to keep people coming back.
DFN: Was there anything else that you wanted to add?
DeLaurian: I would say if I could offer encouragement to anyone reading this, to chase your purpose. I have a saying, “Men come and go, people come and go, friends come and go, but your purpose lasts forever.” It offers a fulfillment that no one else can replace.
Written by Evann Webb
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