Comedian Cocoa Brown | Atlanta | My Craft!!

September 27, 2018

www.cocoabrown4life.com

 A mix of boredom, the overwhelming pressure of creative juices not being released and the desire to do and be something more in this lifetime led me to the business that I am in now. Never in a million years did I think that doing plays, public speaking, and being the center of attention would be my destiny. But it took the belief of one person to thrust me into a business that in spite of all the ups and downs, inconsistencies and rejections, I couldn't fathom doing anything else. My journey is pretty unconventional, mainly because I never wanted to be a comedian. Comedy found me. Sometimes you have to sit still and let your destiny find you. I had graduated college and was working my first corporate job when a friend of mine invited me to a barbecue not knowing it was the home of a very well-known comedian who happened to own a comedy club in the Washington, D.C. area. By the end of the night, this comedian invited me to come to his open-mic night and said my natural funny would be perfect for standup. At the time, I was completely bored and so over my 3x5 cubicle, I decided to give it a try. Not having a clue what I was getting into, I attempted to get on stage and tell jokes. The audience was staring at me like I stole something! But when I began to talk about working for Ringling Bros. and how everyone always hits me up for tickets they began to laugh. That was where I got my first real lesson in stand-up comedy: what is funny is what is real.

What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
 I realized I was a creative person and being somewhere where all I was doing was crunching numbers wasn't for me. Luckily, I had people in my life who saw my potential even before I saw it in myself and pushed me to grow. And since I had a Marketing/PR background, it made it easier for me in the early stages to market myself. I used the resources I had to create my own brand. 

 What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
I think the biggest hurdles I've found is that comedy is a very sexist business. It seems the men are far more threatened by a female who happens to be funny rather than a male counterpart who is just as funny. A lot of the things that tried to block and deter me from pursuing this business were men who were insecure in their own craft. But eventually I learned to just do me. I let my talents and gifts speak for me and everything else just rolled off because everyone realized I was unstoppable.

What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
Right now I am reading "Teach your Child to fish: 5 money habits every child should master," by Holly D. Reid, "You are a badass" by Jen Sincero and I'm taking my time getting through "The Alchemist." (I've been on it for about a year now!). I would absolutely suggest "You are a badass" for any up and coming entrepreneurs because confidence in yourself, your vision, and your business is half the battle. Also "48 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene is a phenomenal book that has sort of turned into a Bible for me because it really teaches you how to deal with human beings and how to protect yourself.

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
 My parents had just spent six figures sending me to college to get a degree when I broke the news that I was planning to be a stand-up comedian. It was a tough pill for them to swallow but they understood that I was my own person. Now my mother was both supportive and skeptical at the same time because at my first performance her response was "Well who told you that you were funny?" Now she can't stop telling people how funny I am! My dad always kind of knew that I was a free spirit, so when I told him he said "Okay so what are you going to do with that?" He made me devise a plan of action and seek an end game for which I will always be grateful. If I had to do something differently I would network and build relationships more. It may be hard to believe, but I'm sort of shy and I make moves based on the energy I feel and in this business a lot of people's energy is off. There's a lot of ulterior motives and for me it's hard to be around people like that. But I think it would be my duty to put aside those personal feelings and really just get out there and learn how to maneuver through and make those connections. 

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
 I never let the negativity of others or conformity of what the business was doing change who I was. I always stayed true to myself even when everyone was not just evolving but completely changing in order to fit in with the popular trend.  I didn't need to get on Instagram and put on wigs and act silly. When I put out posts, it was something that was serious to me and fortunately I'm naturally funny and that makes me relatable. To me it's a hard pill to swallow that the purpose for what we do has shifted from reaching higher goals to showcase our talent to just gaining more followers.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
 It is truly who you know and while I was being so focused on building my craft and perfecting myself, I should've been getting out there and meeting people and building friendships. 

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Write your plan down. Understand that things may change, you may add some things, you may take away some things, but stay true to what makes you happy and fulfills you. Nothing hurts worse than pursuing something that doesn't bring you happiness.

 

 

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