The Sustainability of a Business: An inside look at how Ronnie and Lamar Tyler grew BMWK into a media powerhouse and leading the discussion on black wealth
In 2007, the Tyler’s had a vision to highlight the positive aspects of marriage and parenting in the African-American community on a blog named
BlackandMarriedWithKids.com. The simple, yet dynamic title has resonated beyond
its belief reaching millions through valuable content, authentic engagement and has
become the largest African-American marriage and parenting site. Lamar and
Ronnie operate Tyler New Media, Inc. specializing in online branding, digital
consulting and documentary creation. They have been acknowledged in ESSENCE
Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 and 2015 finalists for
Infusionsoft’s Small Business ICON Award. Find out how their passion and purpose
continues to grow their business.
It’s been seven years since you established BlackandMarriedWithKids.com, how do you keep going everyday?
Ronnie: Our excitement comes from our mission to uplift and support marriages in
our community. We get feedback from people that state today I was going to give up
on my marriage, but I read something on your blog or I was able to see one of your
movies and it inspired me to keep trying. That type of feedback really helps to keep
Lamar: This is where our three P’s come in. Passion is what drives us. Purpose is
what keeps us tuned in to the work we are suppose to be doing. Profit sustains the
passion and the purpose. We found our passion and discovered our purpose and the
profit is a byproduct. As we have found our passion, purpose and profit we like to
help others walk into theirs as well.
At what point did you discover the three P’s? Was this before or during the website?
Lamar: During the process, when we started all we had was the passion. We had a
passion for showing an entirely different segment of the African American
population that the media did not show. We had a passion to bring those couples to
the forefront and celebrating them.
Ronnie: It definitely started as a passion and turned into a purpose. This is what we
are meant to do. We need the profit to keep going. It started with a passion, went to
the purpose and needed the profit.
During the Blogging While Conference, you stated that bloggers are entrepreneurs. Which did you setup first, the blog or the business?
Lamar: In 2007, the blog scene wasn’t like what it is now. There were not a lot of
examples like you see now. There weren’t a bunch of conferences with every
different niche or with people making six figures and all the things you can do now.
When we started we structured it right and treated it like a business if it ever
becomes one. But we really didn’t have an idea that it could grow.
Ronnie: We didn’t have processes at first. We decided that this is going to be a
business. We are going to leave our full time jobs and that’s when a lot of the
processes kicked in. We have meetings, meeting minutes, plans, schedules,
financials, etc. A lot of people think I’m an entrepreneur I’m going to wake up and
wing it today. That’s not how it happens, if you want to take your business to a
certain level. You have to be intentional in your processes or sales in order to make
your business grow. Have some basic structures in place.
How did you grow Tyler New Media?
Lamar: We got a system in place. The best and biggest decision we ever made was
purchasing Infusionsoft. It gives us the ability to automate a lot of our processes.
Infusionsoft is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool that gathers all our
leads goes into our system. If this person has watched this video we can make them
this offer. We can offer them something they don’t own that’s complementary to the
first thing they purchased. It’s allowed us to take our customer service fulfillment to
another level. Now we can capture and convert them to customers.
Recently the blogging community was shocked that Necole Bitchie is moving on from her blog. Please share your thoughts on that and what’s your take on an exit strategy for bloggers or as a business owner?
Lamar: She’s built such an amazing brand. What she’s done is extremely impressive.
You can just watch people’s moves and know they’re intelligent. I’m looking forward
to seeing what her next chapter is and I’m sure she has a strategy in place.
What we often don’t do, African-American community, they don’t want you to have
an exit strategy. If you build and have a brand, they want you to keep it forever at all
cost. They may or may not support it. They don’t want you to sell to a large
corporation, sell out, and they don’t financially support you. Entrepreneurs should
think would I ever sell this? How will I grow it and transition it into something else?
Having an established brand with BMWK, why did you write the book The Gatekeepers Are Gone: Hustle + Technology = Success?
Lamar: I really have a heart for business and helping people. I help a lot of bloggers
that want to turn their blog into a business. I help a lot of business owners that want
to do more social media and the web. I pulled the book from our own personal
experience and questions I get the most from bloggers and business owners. I
crafted a story that brought all those different questions together. I talk about what
entrepreneurs, bloggers, authors, and filmmakers can do in the book. The
gatekeepers are gone because of the rise of social media and lowering the cost of
technology. For the first time ever the middleman has been removed. We have the
ability to create amazing content. We live in a very special time. I want people to
take note of that, as it won’t be here forever. This book is a manual to get started.
As an entrepreneur is it possible to separate your personal brand from your company brand?
Ronnie: You can’t entirely. It depends on what industry you are in. We have our
company pages and my personal page, but at the end of the day I’m representing the
company. I’m not going to do something on the personal side that contradicts my
brand. You can draw the line with some boundaries when you’re at home, but when
you’re in public it’s hard to separate. You’re representing your brand you can’t do
anything and not think it’s going to impact your brand in some way, shape or form.
Do you think for women it is harder for women to build and maintain their brand because of professional appearance and we are hard to a higher regard than men in general?
Ronnie: A lot of times women put pressure on themselves. We go through the cycle
worrying about our appearance. Men are going to go out there and get it and I’m
going to wear whatever. Some of it I feel is self-inflicted. Women we judge each
other too. A lot of times we are getting dressed up because of the thoughts of what
others may think. There is some extra pressure that we add to it as women. I think
we put a lot of pressure to accomplish things.
You have a new movie coming out soon, Generation One: The Search for Black Wealth. Why this topic? Why now?
Ronnie: It’s an extension of what we are doing in the community to uplift and
support families. It’s a topic that has been weighing on our hearts; we provide
resources, skills and tools to families to strengthen them. Finances are a huge area
for couples with it being one of the top reasons couples break up. When you look at
our community and ask why now? Look at our community and the things that are
happening to us as African Americans. We need to have that community wealth that
economic wealth in order for us to make the changes happen. Why now? It’s the
perfect time for us to talk about generational wealth and the wealth that is in our
community. We need the financial power behind us to implement changes.
Lamar: If we don’t get that financial power we will still be marching 60 years from
now. When you have economic power your money speaks for you.
I’ve been fortunate to participate in your Facebook group Traffic, Sales & Profits. How did you come up with the title and what are your intentions with the group?
Lamar: Traffic, Sales & Profits is an open group on Facebook. It’s a community for
entrepreneurs. Traffic, Sales & Profits come from the three biggest areas
entrepreneurs have problems when it comes to growing their business and online
They have a great product and service but the issue is traffic.
Maybe they have a flood of traffic, but they have a problem converting readers (leads) to customers.
Whether the problem is traffic or sales people are always looking to make profit.
Entrepreneurs don’t have enough experience when it comes to networking and
sales. We started a tour doing workshops to help entrepreneurs and soon we’re launching self-study system.
What else is in store for Tyler New Media?
Ronnie: Our next movie is on blended families. A topic near and dear to us because
we have a blended family. I had two kids before we got married. It’s a topic that a lot
of families are dealing with because a lot of people are having kids before they get
married. Once they find the one they want to marry or at least they need to know
how to co-parent or date. There are plans to release that in the fall.
How do you define success?
Ronnie: It’s definitely a personal question for everyone. I don’t think if you fail
you’re not successful. It is what you do with it. If you’re able to learn from it and
start again. I define success as growth and moving forward.
Lamar: Success is ever evolving. It evolves with your goals. A large part of success is
freedom and the ability to do things I’m passionate about. Doing things you care
To hear the complete interview tune into the podcast Networking With Michelle available on iTunes & MichelleNgome.com
iTunes: Networking with Michelle Podcast