We had the good fortune of connecting with Vernetta R. Freeney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vernetta, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
There comes a time when this question will cross everyone’s mind. It has crossed mine plenty of times. But we have to rethink what this question means. We’re not giving up when we quit, stop or distance ourselves from the business or creative endeavor we were building. We are just repositioning ourselves to be better aligned with the new focus to continue to work towards our goal. I normally know when the spark is gone that it’s time to sit down, reflect and decide whether to keep going or to leave it alone. I’ve blogged since 2009. This is the longest professional commitment I’ve had. And there were numerous moments I wanted to quit due to exhaustion, frustration or doubting myself. Yet, I continue. I’m resilient. I’m determined. Having those two attributes helps me stay focused on why I blog. I blog because my words will make a positive impact on others. This is the way I express my thoughts, knowledge, experience and share information. Directions have changed throughout my blogging journey but making an impact has stayed the underlying driving motivation. It’s not giving up if you change direction or stop doing whatever you’re doing all together. You’re just going forward doing something else. I’m still blogging but I am moving forward as a blogger doing something else. Something that nourishes my soul and gives me the opportunity to do impactful work with clients that I’m proud to do. If I can leave one piece of advice it’s not to look at giving up as a failure. But as a way to move you in a more efficient direction to continue to work towards your goals.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art comes in the form of a written blog. Words are the expression I share with the world. With more of the blogging world leaning into influencing, it can be hard to set oneself apart. However, I do. I blog from a transparent, vulnerable, authentic place. When you read my blog it’s as if you’re reading the thoughts in my private journal. Being this open and honest has created a bond with my readers that I wouldn’t have otherwise. People expect my blog to be a place they can feel connected and they are able to leave reassured that there is a viable solution out there. Not hiding my flaws or “failures” but openly sharing them and showing how I turned them into accomplishments sets my blog apart from others. I’m most proud of the recognition I receive from my blog. The past year I stayed out of the limelight and yet people still refer or seek out my blog. Or tell others how great of a blogger I am. Knowing that my integrity, commitment and determination played a key role in this feels me with immense pride. I’m most excited about the content I’ve been creating the past year. It’s the type of content I started creating in 2009 but strayed away from. Now I’m back creating it and it gives me such a rush because I want my community to gain value from reading my words. It was not easy to get where I am today. While I had many supporters there were people who sought to take what I built. From the outside looking in, it seemed easy. Yet, people don’t see the amount of work that I put in to be known as a blogger. To be able to walk into a room and other people had already heard about me. To be top of people’s mind when someone ask for a blogger. I spent the past 9 years doing the grunt work that most people overlook. That work is what builds a sustainable foundation. I was able to walk away from being “out there” in the public for a year and yet the moment I decided to come, I receive this out of the blue invitation to share with the readers of Voyage Houston. If it wasn’t for my consistency, commitment, determination and resiliency I don’t think I would have stayed with blogging. In reality, there’s not enough perks to keep one here if that’s what you’re chasing. I love blogging. I love it so much that I can’t see myself doing anything else. There’s too many lessons to share. But I will say this. Being a blogger is not for those looking for fame, a quick buck or to feel validation. Fame comes and goes way to quick in this industry. The money is not guaranteed. Especially if you don’t know how to do the work to position yourself to bring it in. And this is probably one of the most criticized industries. So, your feelings will get hurt a lot if you take what other people say personally. To be a blogger means you have to be able to define your own success and have a reason to stick with it beyond the fame, money or validation. I want my words to impact lives and stimulate people’s souls. I want people to come to my blog and be challenged to dig deep and be their best self. I want people to go out and do something great because they read my blog. That is the reason I’ve stayed in blogging since 2009. If the world can know anything about me, it’s that I’m an introvert who loves chocolate, reading, binge watching Netflix and cheering on my beloved Dallas Mavericks. That I’m witty and funny. That I can’t stand seeing other people hurt, in pain or in need of help and not want to jump in. I’m a realist dreamer who knows what’s in front of me yet dreams of a better society. Most importantly, I am a Christian who wants to share my story of why I left the church for 15 years and then decided to return to help improve the reputation of the Black Church. That is the mission of my blog moving forward.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is hilarious because my friends know I’m a homebody. But I will show them a good time when they come to town. There is no visiting Houston and not checking out The Funnel Bar food truck. OMG they have the best funnel cakes I’ve ever tasted. Definitely a nice weekend treat. The Houston Museum of African American Culture is a place I enjoy because I get to see artists who otherwise wouldn’t get any recognition. A hidden gem is my friend, Christopher Allen’s Shoot Your Shot event. It’s a fun photography event that’s hosted quarterly. It’s a great, relaxed and fun way to network, learn how to use your phone to take better photos and place to hang out with other millennials. As far as shopping, I would take you to boutiques that provide the personal hands-on customer service such as RW Couture. Everyone is treated as a VIP and get to shop for fun, colorful clothes. She also hosts fun events at her boutique.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people who’ve supported me along my journey. There isn’t enough room to celebrate them all. But I do want to shoutout my family and close friends. My family has supported me from the beginning. From helping me setup my events to helping me create business cards (because I couldn’t afford to get them made in the beginning, lol) to financially supporting my blog endeavors over the years. Without their unconditional support my journey would not be what it is today. My close friends have prayed with and for me. They have shown up to my events or speaking engagements to assist or support whenever they could. They have been my sounding board for ideas and solutions to challenges. They send leads my way. My close friends check up on me to make sure I’m okay. Without their support I would be and feel lonely out here doing what I was put on this Earth to do. Last is my bestie Vannessa. She prays for and with me. She has shown up for most of my events just to make sure I had someone there to emotionally support me. She is my accountability partner. She is the world’s greatest encourager. Most importantly, she doesn’t let me stay in a pity party. She helps me to refocus so I can move forward. Vannessa is the type of friend I pray everyone in this world gets to have. Someone who stands by you but does hold you accountable to be your best self at all times.