31 Days of Dreamers & Doers | JoAnna LeFlore
Meet JoAnna LeFlore. Small Business owner of LeFlore Creative where she serves clients in the capacity of communications consulting. She offers services like copywriting, event planning and digital marketing. She also works part-time as the Assistant Editor at The Reader Magazine here in Omaha.
JL: I didnt necessarily know how to create my own lane doing what I was passionate about, but I knew I had plenty of skills and I just needed to make something happen. I was tired of making excuses. I reached out to former advisors and internship bosses; I kept in touch with people and I asked for more experience or references from all of them. I sent thank you notes just because. I volunteered even more just to get my feet wet. Every time I gave more of my time and remained disciplined with my craft, I was always rewarded. Whether with a check or a great connection. The day I realized that I would do this for free was the day I knew that it was worth it for me to invest in myself and establish a business of my own.
"I could have given up on communications a long time ago when I graduated and could not find a job within the field. I could have also given up when I looked around and saw that people of color were rarely hired in communications (at least not in Nebraska). Then one day I realized that I was still passionate about the idea of helping people of color achieve success through creativity and exposure."
Ten years ago would you have pictured yourself in this position?
Ten years ago, I barely knew how to keep my head above water! I was constantly struggling with balancing school, work and family /community involvement. As an undergrad student, all I knew was how to not quit. I guess that’s what kept me going all this time! I’m happy that I remain diligent to this day even if I don’t know how the next chapter of my life is going to unfold. I have faith that I belong here and that I have a purpose!
JL: I remember my first check with a comma on it, that was definitely a highlight! The client trusted me to take their website/communications and run with it and I really appreciated the trust. I remember getting about half a dozen trips paid for in the past 2 years to network with other creatives and just learn more about my industry. That’s a perk that can never be replaced because I absolutely LOVE to travel. I remember seeing a few of my project proposals get declined and getting double that number of proposals accepted. I also remember feeling grateful the entire ride through.
If I should get more specific, I remember being really proud of myself when I graduated from grad school back in 2014. I was also happy to be featured in a couple of local magazines the year after for my involvement in the Arts and social justice efforts here in Omaha. Last year is when the paid trips started rolling in and I went to Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, plus a few more cities in the Midwest. 2017 rolled around and I got accepted into the New Leaders Council fellowship program which heightened my ambition even more.
So I guess that means I have to boss up even more in 2018?
When it comes to advice, Miss Jo has plenty to give:
"Stay committed to the passion and the money WILL FOLLOW."
"Stay genuine to your passion and don’t allow others to redirect you simply because they want to make themselves look good."
"It’s okay to say NO! Or, “I’m not interested”, or, “not right now.” And just leave it at that."
"Surround yourself with people who actually care about your growth and feed into your spirit and support you. Point blank, Period, the end!"
An incredibly inspiring and determined woman, JoAnna LeFlore continues to serve her community while promoting the importance of Self care as well. You can subscribe and check out her last issue of her bi-weekly Newsletter here.