Are you bold and fearless?
Julian Kiganda certainly is and she seeks to help women everywhere live boldly and fearlessly everyday!
Of Ugandan heritage, she is an author and the founder of the Pan-African online magazine boldandfearless.me, a chic lifestyle brand focused on inspiring professional women of Africa and the Diaspora to walk in their purpose. Co-mingling purpose, faith, women and Africa, Julian states, “It is my responsibility to be an ambassador for the continent and use my voice to help change the stereotypes about Africa and Africans.”
In this interview she answers the question, ‘Can anyone truly experience Africa via the internet?’. She also gives us a peek into the life of Julian Kiganda and generously gives tips for anyone who would venture into the world of online magazines. Welcome!
KA: Julian Kiganda in five sentences…or less!
I am of Ugandan and Rwandese heritage. My entire immediate family (parents and six siblings, as well as nieces nephews and in-laws) are based in the United States. I have an 11-year-old daughter, and I am currently single. I have lived in the U.S. for most of my life and like to say that every year, I am celebrating the anniversary of my 22nd birthday!
KA: Bold and Fearless: What’s in a name?
In African culture, children are given names that hold meaning. My middle name: Batyaliwawe, was my great-grandmother’s name. It wasn’t until I launched Bold & Fearless in 2013, that I realized just how symbolic my given name was. Batyaliwawe in Luganda means “They fear the woman who is in her own home/space.”
I named the company/site Bold & Fearless because:
1) It would force me to live up to my own name;
2) I wanted to create something that would empower other women to live up to their own potential.
KA: Vision, mission and goals of the Bold and Fearless project. Is it woman-centred?
Bold & Fearless is an online magazine and chic lifestyle brand focused on inspiring professional women of Africa and the Diaspora to walk in their purpose.
KA: Celebrating Africans: What is in it for you?
My culture is everything. Aside from my faith, it’s a huge part of what makes me who I am. As an African, it’s my responsibility to be an ambassador for the continent and use my voice to help change the stereotypes about Africa and Africans. That’s why you’ll see a number of stories referencing Africa on the site, including our popular annual “30 Most Notable Africans” series.
KA: 10-year Projection: What will the Bold and Fearless brand stand for?
My vision is to build a global multi-media company—online and offline—which remains true to its original mission, while continuing to expand into other arenas including: events, publications, online video, and inspirational products with an African flair.
KA: Emigrating…Reasons; any plans to relocate to Africa?
I love my country, and I love the continent. I am itching to get back just to be surrounded by the sights and sounds of my people. It’s a completely different lifestyle; much more laid back than the States. I especially love the food! At some point, I would love to retire back home—home being Uganda.
KA: Can one truly experience Africa via the internet?
No. I don’t think you can truly experience anything without actually being surrounded by the energy of that place; however, the internet has been a phenomenal tool for opening up Africa and its numerous opportunities, cultures, and peoples to the rest of the world.
KA: There are possibly a trillion and one websites out there: what makes yours stand out?
I’ve consistently heard from visitors that Bold & Fearless is a great place to go for inspiration. In fact, just today, someone told me that they love how I’ve developed a brand that’s contemporary, chic and faith-based. The faith has got to be there; without it, I would have no purpose. I think additionally, the fact that I am a ‘Pan-Africanist’ at heart and have always looked for ways to unify Africa with its Diaspora. The site is a great way to do that, with contributors from the United States, East and West Africa, as well as the Caribbean. Those various voices give it a global flavor.
KA: Funding and revenue generation: How many people can live off the internet really?
We just re-launched a month ago and in that month, we were able to grow our traffic by more than 1300%. So the goal is to continue growing aggressively, while providing quality inspirational content that people will want to come back for. Our primary funding will come from sponsorships, advertising and products. There are a number of companies doing very well through leveraging the traffic from their sites.
I decided to re-launch the site to be able to reach a broader audience and to provide a more well-rounded experience for visitors by adding content from other voices.
KA: Toughest challenges encountered thus far, and how it was overcome.
The toughest challenge is monetizing the site; although I’m confident that as we grow, we’ll have a number of partners who will want to grow with us. My focus is to develop and leverage those partnerships and continue seeking out opportunities to obtain funding to grow the site.
Julian the author: kindly tell us about your book,”Whose Shoes are you Wearing?’
Whose Shoes was born out of a conversation that my sister and I had about what we could develop to help women transform their lives. From that conversation came a book, and now we’ve developed it into a movement to help women uncover their purpose and walk in the shoes God made just for them.
KA: Where can copies be purchased on and offline in Africa?
The book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, while a digital version can be purchased from: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/450168
KA: Are there any plans in the pipeline for more books?
Absolutely! We will be turning Whose Shoes into a series of books and plan on starting the next one later this year.
KA: Most challenging part of writing a book, and writing tips for aspiring inspirational authors?
The most challenging part of writing a book is cultivating the discipline to write at a set time every day. Whenever I write, I give myself a goal (i.e. 3000 words per day) and then try to set aside a set time to write. It also helped having a co-author because we were accountable to each other.
KA: How are you leveraging on social media to create awareness for your brand and book?
I am on social media every day. You really have to be if you’re going to remain relevant. The platforms I use the most are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but I am also on Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn and now Periscope. The key is managing your time while on each platform and knowing what type of content works best with each one.
KA: Education and career path…
I received my degree in graphic design and focused on design, marketing and branding for 15 years. Although I don’t do as much design and marketing for others as I used to, that foundation gave me extremely valuable insights into how to build a global brand, communicate with different audiences and create experiences that inspire people.
From your vast experience, do share 5 things to consider before creating an online magazine?
1. Be very clear about who your audience is and cater to them.
2. Build a team that is passionate and vested in your mission.
3. Make sure you’re incorporating a strong social media strategy.
4. Develop partnerships with others in your niche/market.
5. Have a plan so that you can be consistent with great content!
Kindly inspire a young African in one sentence.
When deciding how to start living out your purpose, remember that God doesn’t ask us to be perfect; He asks us to be WILLING.
Many thanks for sharing with us, Batyaliwawe. God bless you.
You are welcome.