Over the weekend I watched the HBO documentary: Life Is But A Dream – produced, directed, starring and narrated by Beyonce Knowles.
First of all, wow, and second of all, wowww. The woman is basically the most famous person on Earth at the moment, who has also earned a tremendous amount of (well-deserved) respect. I don't think the sometimes god-like worship she inspires is necessarily warranted, but her talent, entrepreneurship and female-empowered message are incredibly inspiring and worthy of praise.
We as independent bloggers can learn a lot from Queen Bey. No, I'm not talking about that hair flip. (Though I would probably pay someone to teach me how to do it.) She represents an incredible success story in both her rise to the forefront of the music industry and pop culture as well as her staying power since her early days with Destiny's Child.
1. Don't demand respect, command it.
Is Beyonce a diva? Absolutely. Here's the thing though: she's also an absolute force. She works hard, sings with soul, dances like nobody's business and runs her own media empire. (Read more about that in her GQ feature.) She's sold 75 million records, graced the cover of Vogue (twice), is married to Jay-Z, and is a new mom preparing to release her fifth solo album and then go on a world tour. The woman is busy.
Beyonce is respected in the industry and she deserves it. She delivers on the image she perpetuates. Her talent, her stage presence, her ability to excite her fans and sell records – that's why she can accept nothing less than the best from those around her. Get her to sing at the Super Bowl and she will blow the roof off. (And perhaps cause a power outage?!)
The lesson here? Show everyone that you're worthy of their time and respect. Earn every success, work hard for what you want. Let your passion for what you do and the people who love you for it shine through.
2. You can manage yourself.
In her documentary, Beyonce mentions that taking over the management of her own career from her father was a really traumatic and difficult experience, but something she needed to do. She had to separate her business and her family.
Sure, Bey has a team around her that keeps all the parts moving, but the big decisions are all her. She's in control and has learned far more beyond the singing, dancing and performing. Do you think she always had business savvy? Probably not. These things can be learned.
What I find so amazing about bloggers (that often goes unappreciated) is that we wear so many hats. You're your own PR agency, your own stylist, the editor-in-chief and the IT department for your blog. We don't know it all right away, but we learn. The control we have is something really special, and part of what makes blogging such a powerful tool and empowering outlet for individual creativity.
3. Be personal, but keep your private business to yourself.
While the HBO documentary is quite revealing, Beyonce does keep some things sacred, most especially her relationship with Jay-Z. As bloggers we fight a battle about what to share and what to keep to ourselves. It's hard to figure out what our readers want, and often it feels like all they want is more, more, more. Your life is yours though, so don't be a afraid to draw the line. One idea? Do like Bey: use Tumblr and Instagram as a peek into your more personal life. Let your blog be your professional domain that you'd proudly include on your resume – and want your parents to read.
4. You can be feminine and strong at the same time.
This is perhaps my favorite and most enviable quality of Beyonce's. She is ultra-feminine, sexy and all about female empowerment. She's got the curves, the voice, the appreciation of romance and loving her man – balanced with a no-nonsense attitude, work ethic and commitment to excellence. Beautiful hair, glamorous clothes – and an office in midtown Manhattan. I think so much about what we all love about Beyonce and try to emulate is the way she's both soft and hard, demanding business mogul and loving wife and mother.
In blogging I think some of us worry about appearing frivolous, vain or self-involved by sharing our thoughts on fashion and posting pictures of our favorite outfits on the Internet. Do you think Beyonce worries that people won't take her seriously because she's pretty much never wearing pants on stage? No. She owns it. Own your blog, be proud of it and do it so well that you too could wear no pants and still command respect.
Do you look up to Beyonce? What pop culture icons inspire your blogging and your business?
[Image credit: Vogue]