Three years ago, as the world was shutting down because of the pandemic, God gave me a vision to expand my 11-page newsletter to a full magazine. I had been sending out the newsletter for about a year at the time, but I knew it could be so much more. In February 2020, I sat quietly in my home office thinking about how I was going to make my vision a reality. I had no media knowledge or experience, but after speaking with someone who had years of experience in magazine editing, I realized that this was something I needed to pursue.
At that time, all I had was my newsletter, my vision board, and an assignment from God to create something that would inspire us, Black women ages 40-70. I wanted a magazine to remind us that it is never too late to pursue our dreams courageously and unapologetically. I knew many women felt like I did. After raising the children and supporting my husband through various phases of climbing the corporate ladder, when will it be my turn? Once the children get older, we start our second act. We realize that we can now focus more on ourselves—our careers, dreams, and desires. We realize it’s time to share our gifts with the world.
I placed my goal on my vision board, and I was ready to take the next step. At the time, I was enrolled in the Goldman Sachs Small Business Program. We had to make a stretch goal, and I decided to make my stretch goal expanding my newsletter. This helped me to organize my thoughts and carefully decide on next steps. I knew this was not something I could achieve on my own, so I started thinking about who I would partner with.
Thankfully, I have been blessed with an amazingly talented and resourceful network. It did not take me long to assemble my list of collaborators, affectionately known as ‘The Cheryl Magazine Dream Team.’ I reached out to these phenomenal women and shared my idea. They loved my vision and immediately agreed to help. Together, we brainstormed how to actualize my vision. One thing about a group of Black women, we gon’ accomplish more than a few things—Amen, sis?!
After several conversations with my team, we started fundraising for financial support and ad revenue for the magazine. We received many yes’s but plenty of no’s as well. While they were disappointing, I knew that every ‘no’ was getting me closer to a ‘yes,’ and I persevered. I was so grateful for the people that did agree to take a chance and invest in my vision.
By winter 2021, I had released the first official issue and Cheryl Magazine was born. My little 11-page newsletter had grown up into a 120-page magazine with a double cover featuring two beautiful and successful Black women, Kimberly Bizor Tolbert and Tanya Turner. After the release of the first issue, I was able to get helpful feedback from readers on what they liked, what needed improvement, and what they wanted to see in future issues.
I used that feedback to perfect my process and ensure that the next edition would be even better. I became more intentional and strategic about the content. My vision for every article in the publication was crystal clear, and I was adamant about my main goal of inspiring women ages 40-70 to pursue their dreams. Everything in the magazine needed to be in alignment with that vision, or it would be scrapped.
Shortly after the release of the first issue, I started gaining more exposure and visibility for the magazine by advertising on social media and going to businesses with the debut issue in hand. I knew I would need more financial support and brand recognition for the magazine to grow. Keeping my vision top of mind, I worked to get Cheryl Magazine into as many hands as I could. I remember how I felt holding the first edition in my hands—much like what I felt when I held each of my three children for the first time after they were born. I was completely elated. What started as a thought had led to a simple conversation amongst friends, and it was now a beacon of hope and inspiration for women in their second act. Sis, if you know God, then you know anything is possible!
Cheryl Magazine is my 75 to 120-page love letter to Black women. It is a re-launching pad for women in their second act and has helped these brilliant women realize that they still have gas in the tank! The team behind the dream is comprised of all Black women between the ages of 40 and 70. Together, we created a resource for women who were once like me, women who had given up on their dreams because they’d put their lives on hold to raise their children. Cheryl Magazine was created for us, by us.
My sisters of a certain age who are reading this, please know that you have not been forgotten. You are not alone, and if there is breath in your body, then it is not too late. You can still achieve your dreams. You can still utilize your gifts to inspire and achieve greatness. A dream always starts with a thought, but after that thought, a dream requires action. Do not be discouraged because it has not happened yet. If you have had the thought, that is the first step. Keep taking one step at a time, and your dream will come to pass. Your second act will be your best one! If you know God, you know that anything is possible! You got this!
What does your second act look like?Leave a Comment