Writing Her Story: How Freelance Writer Yanique Taylor Was Empowered to Take Her Business Full-Time
Growing up, Yanique Taylor always had her head in a book. “I was a huge ‘Nancy Drew’ fan,” she said. “I had the whole collection growing up!”
It wasn’t just the adventures of the young detective that captivated her as a child growing up in Spanish Town, Jamaica. “I don’t know if I had a specific genre I was really drawn to. Just, books, books, books.”
Her love of reading turned into a passion for writing. After studying journalism overseas in Rutgers University, in New Jersey, she worked in several different jobs in the United States and Jamaica before she realized she was missing the creative expression that came with writing. That’s when Yanique started Taylored For You Consulting, offering her expertise in writing and proofreading as a side gig. However, she realized after the initial burst of “startup energy” that she’d need some support to grow.
She applied and was selected for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s “Mentoring Women in Business”
program, which pairs women entrepreneurs from low- and middle-income countries with business professionals elsewhere in the world as their mentors. Yanique was paired with Ben Adams, a vice president on PayPal’s legal team in California’s Bay Area and PayPal’s Executive Sponsor of Skills-based Volunteering.
Giving back through mentorship
Signing up to be a mentor for the program was an easy choice for Ben to make.
“For me, volunteering and mentorship really started in the three years I spent in the Peace Corps [in Cameroon,]” he said. “That experience taught me that each of us brings a very unique perspective based on our own personal experiences and drove home the sense that we can all learn from each other.”
Ben came across details on PayPal’s partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and after hearing about other colleagues’ positive experiences with the program, he signed up to be a mentor.
“These women entrepreneurs face historical gender inequality, legal, regulatory, and social headwinds to building their businesses,” said Ben. “By partnering these entrepreneurs with folks who have a set of business experiences and a different perspective, we can help them grow their business and empower them.”
Once the two were paired together in June 2020, they spent a few sessions speaking via videoconference, getting to know each other, exploring similarities and differences, and assessing how to make the most out of the relationship.
Building a connection and taking on challenges
“It was clear Yanique had already been thoughtful about what she wanted to achieve and what she wanted to get out of this,” said Ben. “She’d already begun Taylored For You Consulting, and she wanted to turn what was a side-hustle into a full-time gig. She knew where she wanted to go—it was then a question of ‘how do we get there’.”
For Yanique, this meant talking through with Ben how to achieve specific goals: Building a website for potential customers to find her, developing an onboarding process for clients, and coming up with specific prices and fees for her services.
“He helped un-crowd my brain, and really got me to focus on what I needed to focus on for each specific goal,” said Yanique. This meant breaking down each goal into smaller, achievable steps. For example, to build a website, Yanique had to think about where it should be hosted and how should it look. Ben used his legal background to offer up advice on how to phrase different sections of the website. By September, just a few months into the mentorship, Yanique had her site up and running.
The conversations also provided her some accountability, as well as overall support. “Ben was a very, very, very strong cheerleader,” said Yanique. Since the mentorship concluded, business for Taylored For You Consulting has been “steadily growing,” and she decided to turn it into her full-time job.
Ben takes no credit in her success, though. “I was able to be a mirror for her and help her see the strength and passion that she brings to everything she does and to her business,” he said. “Self-belief is a powerful force, and I hope I was able to help her unlock that and truly see her power.”
One of the biggest things Yanique is proud of is simply having had the courage to take the risk and start her own business. “I think, especially as a woman, that taking risks isn’t something that’s really encouraged,” she says. “I’m glad that the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and that companies like PayPal make the time to really support these dreams and goals that women have in establishing themselves as entrepreneurs.”