Edie Clarke was born in New York but raised on the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. She returned to New York to attend college after graduating from high school in St Thomas but opted to attend a technical school for video production instead.
Today Edie Clarke is a self-taught remote video creator and YouTube channel manager. For the past 6 years she has used video to build her business and other entrepreneurs businesses by providing them with easy to use tools and teaching them the right strategies to success.
You definitely need help in order to get successful. You definitely need to identify what success looks like for you because what it is for you may not be the same that it is for somebody else. And definitely strive to make sure that you are happy and you’re doing the things that you want to do and that you’re contributing in some way, shape or form.
[00:00:00] Paula: Welcome to “Chatting With The Experts”, a podcast for immigrant women from Africa and from the Caribbean who have relocated to the US, to the UK and to Canada and even Australia. In this podcast, we talk about struggles, but we make sure we highlight the triumphs that we have experienced while living abroad. My guest today is extra special. All of my guests are special and every guest is extra special but why she is extra special is because she was born in the US and went back to the Caribbean. Edie Clarke lives and works in New York. You might have heard me say that there is something extra special about her, which is that she was born in New York and then relocated to the West Indies. I’ll let her talk more about that. Welcome Edie to “Chatting With The Experts”. The floor is yours.
[00:01:04] Edie: Thanks Paula, it’s a pleasure to be here and thank you for inviting me to be a part of your podcast. Yes, my name is Edie Clarke and I was born in New York and at the tender age of four, my mother decided that she wanted to go back home and home for her was in the Virgin islands. And so she packed my sister and myself up told her husband it was time for them to go back home, he wasn’t ready yet. So she just packed the two of us up and headed back home. She had decided to do that because she had been mugged one too many times. I mean, to the point where her middle finger was broken and she’d never gotten it fixed, so it was permanently bent. And that was a story that she always told people whenever they asked why her finger looked the way that it did. But her main reason at the time for going back besides the fact that obviously, she had experienced a horrible and horrific experience of being mugged was the fact that, she was born and raised on the island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin islands and it’s a beautiful island. At the time when she left, which was probably in the mid fifties, they did not have a lot of employment opportunities there, so she moved to the States where she was able to work and she met my father who actually, they went to high school together but they didn’t date when they were in high school and they didn’t date until she came to New York. They got married and then they had my sister and I. And she decided to go back to the islands because they were now hiring more people and her siblings who were still on the island said, “you need to come home, cause they’re hiring, you know, a lot of people for government jobs as well as in the private sector”. And she realized that not only could she work there but her way of life and the way that she was going to live and raise her children would be vastly different if she moved back to the islands, as opposed to staying here in New York, where she lived in an apartment in a very congested and, you know, at the time the city was really dirty and stinks and you know, it just was not a really flattering place to live in comparison to- anybody that’s from the Caribbean knows that we have pristine weather, it’s gorgeous all the time, you have fresh clean air to breathe and you know, you’d be crazy to leave it and we all leave for different reasons but it just made more sense for her to be able to go back home and build her own house on her property and be able to raise her kids in a happier environment. So that’s how I ended up going back to St. Thomas.
[00:03:50] Paula: Wow. That’s so interesting. As you said, pristine weather, beaches, you don’t have to fly to get to the beach. It’s right there.
[00:03:58] Edie: Exactly!
[00:03:59] Paula: And as you said, the opportunities for working had opened up there, I mean, there’s so much more job opportunities and she was like, “what am I doing here, in the cold?”
[00:04:11] Edie: Yeah. For sure. Yeah. So that was an, I have to say being, going back home and I consider myself from the Virgin islands. I very rarely sort of explain, well, I was born in New York and I went back, you know, I very rarely say that if anybody asks me where I’m from, I’m like, I’m from St. Thomas. And that’s because that is my true heart, that’s where I was raised. I lived until I finished high school and even when I came up to the states, I would still go back as often as I could. And that, that is the, a piece of me is in, you know, a piece of that island is in me and will always be within me. I mean, my family is still there. I go back as often as I can. Of late, it hasn’t been as often as I’d like. And you know, it is a place that I want to spend a little bit more time out of the year as I get older, I want to spend more of my time there. But I appreciate, and I’m thankful that I was raised there because I think, when you’re raised in the Caribbean, you’re raised with a different sort of way of living and looking at life and experiencing things and they can be as simple and they’re not necessarily really monumental things that are different, but they’re the little things that really count. And like, I would tell some people, you know, when I go home, I have to get myself back into the routine of when I’m walking down the street saying good morning or good day, because that’s not a normal thing that you do here in New York and I think I can speak for all states. I don’t think that it’s a normal thing when you cross paths with a stranger that you greet them, whereas that’s a natural thing from where I came from. And I remember when I first came back to the states as a teenager and I would do that and people would look at me weird in the street,” like who the hell are you and why are you speaking to me?” And so just little things like that, you kind of miss, you know, in terms of the way that I grew up on the island.
[00:06:12] Paula: I think to give credit to where I lived for 24 years. I lived in Charlotte, north Carolina. There are people say good morning and look in your eyes, you know, cause when my children moved to go to school in Philadelphia, they told me, “mom, it’s so different. You don’t say good morning or hi, how you doing? I’ll speak to the cashier.” But where, where we lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, you can talk to the cashier and say, “how are you doing?” And now I live in Marin and I find myself doing that and though I do get some strange looks, I said I’m here to change the culture.
[00:06:45] Edie: Exactly, exactly!
[00:06:48] Paula: Ah, so that was a personal life. Tell us about your professional life because that’s how you and I connected.
[00:06:54] Edie: Oh, yeah, that is true. Well, professionally I work with entrepreneurs who typically feel stressed and overwhelmed because they are absolutely frustrated by the tech associated with creating videos and managing their own YouTube channels. So by working with me, I help them achieve maximum exposure for their business at an affordable price. So as a remote video creator and YouTube channel manager, I’m interested in connecting with service-based entrepreneurs who want to use video in YouTube to market their businesses without the stress and drain that’s usually associated with doing it themselves because I get that they want to focus on their genius zone, the thing that they do best, and they don’t want to put their energy and effort into something that they feel is draining or stressful or overwhelming. So by outsourcing those services to me, they don’t have to worry about that, they can focus on the things that they do best.
[00:07:55] Paula: Awesome. And she is an expert at that. I can tell you that. So, I mean, what made you go into that? So you, you said you came back to the United States after living in St. Thomas, you finished high school in St Thomas and then came back to the United States.
[00:08:13] Edie: Yeah. And so I came to go to school, which I had stayed in college only a whopping year before I decided I know everything. I don’t need to get a degree because my major was television production and I’d had the fortune of being able to work at the local TV station in St. Thomas. And then before I left, I was able to work on some productions that had come down to the islands to shoot a pilot and commercials. So I’d had at least a solid year and a half of television production and entertainment experience. So when I came up to go to school, I was like, oh yeah, been there, done that. I don’t need to do that anymore. So I immediately started working at a post-production company and then after doing jobs like that, I had a number of jobs in the post-production industry and then I fell into sales. And I say fell because I took the job but grudgingly I did not want to, it was for a video company, but I didn’t want to do sales, but the person kind of talked me into doing it. So I ended up doing sales for about, I’d say 10 years, which it was through that job, that it got me to move from New York to California. And so when I was in LA, I was like, this is the best place to really dip my toe back into the entertainment industry, if this is what I want to do. So I worked for director, producers, and assistant. I worked as a production coordinator, production assistant. I worked at a film company working for their visual effects division before then needing to come back to New York because when I was in California, my mother was still in St thomas, and it was really difficult for me to fly from LA there and it not take 24 hours, basically. There was no such thing as a direct flight from LA to St. Thomas and my father was still in New York and both were getting older and I just feared needing to get to them quickly and having to be that far away just wasn’t a good thing. So I moved back to New York, ended up reconnecting with an ex coworker of mine and we ended up getting married. We got a son, and then I dabbled back with the entertainment industry after doing the.com business for, for a minute when it was hot. So I ended up working in the entertainment industry again, when I was here, then I decided I needed to work for myself. And so I started a production company with my husband, where we provided local businesses with TV commercials, for cable vision at the time, which is now known as optimum. So I did that for a while before then going back to St. Thomas and this time I had just been stressed beyond words and I just needed a break. So I moved back to St. Thomas, Stayed there for about two years and then when we came back to the states, I decided to go and work for someone. And I started in the real estate and law area of business and did that for a number of years and then decided, okay, I need to work for myself again. And that’s when I decided to become an entrepreneur and started my business virtually in sync, which provided at the time just video editing services to like speakers or anyone that needed to get a real edited or there, they just needed some light editing for whatever purpose they had, which at the time would be primarily for videos that were on their website. And so that’s kind of how I ended up getting back to New York. And how I started this business. And then over the years, it’s just been tweaked. I added YouTube as a service because I realized that a lot of people were under utilizing it as a tool, namely myself. I did not use YouTube the right way when I first started to use it. And as I started to learn what the power was behind it and the benefit of actually utilizing it and particularly utilizing it as a marketing tool, as opposed to wanting to become a YouTube star or wanting to have a business where it was primarily housed on YouTube. I then decided to target my services to businesses and entrepreneurs who wanted to use YouTube as the marketing brilliant tool that it is. And so I wanted to help them achieve those types of results.
[00:12:47] Paula: Awesome. I always have the best guests. Just listening to your history, I’m looking at, you moved back from St. Thomas, you came up to New York, did one year college and said, you know what? I have been trained and worked, hands-on behind the scenes on video camera. All of that. I don’t need this.
[00:13:06] Edie: Exactly.
[00:13:09] Paula: I mean, that resulted in you going to LA and working, you know, and being able to do what you love. Then you moved back to New York for some time before going back to the St. Thom- you got married, went back to St. Thomas with your husband and son. Did you?
[00:13:26] Edie: Yes.
[00:13:27] Paula: And then decided to come back to New York where you went into real estate and law.
[00:13:31] Edie: Yeah.
[00:13:32] Paula: Then became an entrepreneur and now you’re a successful solopreneur. You own your own business.
[00:13:39] Edie: Yeah.
[00:13:39] Paula: Girl I love it! That’s a great story.
[00:13:45] Edie: Thank you.
[00:13:47] Paula: Now that you go back and forth, between like New York assume and St. Thomas and you told me earlier on, not sure if you said it here or before we actually started recording that you consider yourself as being more from St. Thomas than from New York or from the states. So what do you think that you gained? I mean, there’s some pluses and minuses, so what have been the pluses, you know, like you think you brought to the states from St. Thomas that you hold on to so dearly?
[00:14:18] Edie: Right. Well, I think overall, I am a very fortunate and blessed person because I happen to be born in New York, but I happened to be raised on an island that is a possession of the US, so as Islanders, we don’t have the same roadblocks that other Caribbean Islanders have, that whether it’s our closest neighbors, the British Virgin islands, or, you know, any down island, island. The only exception that can sort of relate to us is Puerto Rico cause we’re both sort of in the same realm. We are considered citizens of the US although we can’t vote, but we’re citizens of the US. So I do recognize that that’s a plus, and that definitely is something that is a benefit to me but I think I really appreciate the way in which I was raised and that obviously is a tribute to my mother. But being on the island, as opposed to being in the states at the time that I grew up and so I am a product of, you know, I’m a seventies child. And in the seventies and eighties, it was not necessarily the safest place to be growing up here in New York. And I often have looked at my life and said you know, how different would my life have been had I stayed, had my mother not made that decision to come back to St. Thomas and I really, to my core believe that I, it, it would have had an imprint on me in a negative way and I’m not, you know, I don’t want to get any haters who were born and raised in New York saying, you know, “I’m fine and it doesn’t bother me and how dare you say that?” This is just based on me living, you know, I’ve lived a number of decades here in New York and I grew up in St. Thomas, so I know I’ve straddled that fence. I know what it’s like to live in both places. I just don’t know what it’s like to have lived here in New York as a teenager. But I just think that there was a lot that I benefited from as a result of growing up in the islands and the fact that it’s a small island. Pretty much everybody knew each other. My family was well-known on that island and I used to tell, I tell this to my son to this day that I could never do something on that island and my mother didn’t know before the end of that day. And I’m sure that a lot of people who are from small towns can probably relate to that. And so I guess that’s the best way that I can equate what it was like growing up in St. Thomas as to equate it to a small town. And I liked that and I’m happy that that was my experience, as opposed to being raised in a city that you could easily get lost in. And that, you know, you could do things and your parents didn’t have a clue as to what was going on with you. And I think I love the, the closeness of that. I love the fact that my mother had three other siblings, two of which were still on the island and we’re raising their kids there. The other one was in high school. So I was able to be raised around all of my cousins. They were like siblings to me. We were that close. And so I appreciate that because I can see through my son’s eyes now he’s an only child. He’s not, you know, he has two cousins that he’s closest to, that he is and has been raised around but the rest of his cousins, he has not been able to see on the regularity that I was able to see mine. So there, there were a lot of things more from the family connection, also just being on the island and just, you know, experiencing what it was like to grow up and to be a part of the history cause that island is historical. You know, we still have ruins from back during slavery time and so I get to see that every day and you get to drive past it. So you see what the history was on the island and you’re a part of it on a regular basis. So I appreciated that, didn’t at the time, but I certainly appreciate it now as adult.
[00:18:48] Paula: I love that answer, I do. And especially as you said, you know, that you’re blessed to have been born on that particular island at US, but in the US Virgin islands because you’ve got the island experience, but also you have access to, you know, the United States and so many people love and would love to come to the United States. And it’s not easy, if you’re not, you know, you didn’t have that privilege.
[00:19:13] Edie: Yeah.
[00:19:14] Paula: So what would you say to a woman in particular, probably between the ages of 20 and 50, who is probably thinking of coming to the United States and they’re not from the, from the US Virgin Islands? Would you tell them it’s worth it or would you tell them, you know, “you got to stay where you are”?
[00:19:36] Edie: Oh, I could never tell them what they could or should do. You know, the states is a little bit different now than when I first came. I came in 1982 is when I, yeah, when I left to come up to go to school and it’s a completely different atmosphere and I totally get why people want to immigrate here and it all depends on where you’re coming from, depending on what your personal situation is and what is going on with whatever’s happening in the country that you’re in and what your intention is when you come here. I think that is all going to be the thing that you need to think about in terms of deciding whether or not this is a country that you want to bring your skillset to cause obviously that’s part of why you’re going to be coming, is because you have something to offer that the US probably desperately needs. But it’s, it’s a personal choice and I could never put myself in a position to tell somebody what they should do and what they shouldn’t do. So that, that I think is, is up to you and your personal situation.
[00:20:56] Paula: Good answer. Good answer. But I’m looking at you, not but, I am looking at you and I’m seeing a very successful woman, young woman.
[00:21:06] Edie: Thank you.
[00:21:08] Paula: That you are a young woman!
[00:21:11] Edie: Not that young.
[00:21:12] Paula: My favorite phrase for me is that “some of us are older than we look”, take it which whichever way.
[00:21:21] Edie: Exactly.
[00:21:23] Paula: Yeah. I was gonna ask you, ” What would you say that you attribute your success to? Some people say luck, some people say God, some people say hard work. I get a variety of answers. What would you attribute your success to?
[00:21:40] Edie: I think luck definitely plays a role in, in one’s success but, and then success looks different to everybody. But a lot of us and I can speak for myself, had a really long, difficult road to get to where we are. And a lot of that has to deal with adjusting your mindset because I know that with me, when I first started my business, I had a lot of mindset issues where it was really difficult for me to believe in myself and to even call myself an expert with something that was, my coach would always get mad at me because I didn’t consider myself an expert. And so you definitely need help in order to get successful. You definitely need to identify what success looks like for you because what it is for you may not be the same that it is for somebody else. And definitely strive to make sure that you are happy and you’re doing the things that you want to do and that you’re contributing in some way, shape or form. You know, I give back as much as I can. I’m not at the point where in my business, which I do plan on doing where I’m guaranteeing a certain percentage of my profits to charities, but I do personally give back from my own funds as well as I donate my time. And I want to get more into that as I grow my business and continue to grow my business.
[00:23:24] Edie: So I think it looks different for everyone and I think that the one advantage that I think a lot of people that are immigrants that come to the US come with is that tenacity to be, to become successful. And so that’s one thing that I think that they have that will guarantee them success, is to be tenacious, is definitely one of the major important things that you need in order to become successful.
[00:23:55] Edie: So, I wish everyone the best of luck when, when they’re coming here and starting their business cause it’s, starting your business is not an easy process and it takes a lot of chutzpah as they say. And so I take my hat off to everyone that has done this because this is, I didn’t start off with the intention of,” I want to work for myself” I ended up doing this because when I was working for someone else and multiple someone else’s. I realized A, they were taking advantage of me, B, they were causing me unnecessary stress that I truly thought was going to drive me to a heart attack. And I was at their mercy for when I took time off for how much money I earned and I needed to be in control of that.
[00:24:46] Edie: So that was, that took a process for me to recognize before I decided that I wanted to work for myself and I know that there are a lot of women that are probably going to be listening to this and saying either that, that’s where I am, or I would never allow that to happen before I started my own business, I’m just naturally an entrepreneur. And for those of you, I totally take my hat off to you and you will be successful and I have no doubt in my mind at all, if that’s how you’re going at this but if you’ve been a nine to fiver, it is a hard transition to make from nine to five to being an entrepreneur.
[00:25:30] Paula: 100% agree.
[00:25:32] Edie: Yeah.
[00:25:33] Paula: And I know exactly what you mean because if you’re a nine to fiver, you’re used to having your benefits, you probably have tech support. You’ve got everything that you need to leave well in those days, I mean now, I mean, after 2020 with COVID sometimes work and personal life, you know, intersected but for the most part, my nine to five, when you left work, you left work. You know, you didn’t have to think about it but as a solopreneur work never ends. You’re always there, you’re always thinking of, you know, how can I make something better, how can I make better? Best or best even better? Yeah, well said. So thank you Edie. All good things have to come to an end but where can we find you online? I mean, I’m sure a lot of people are listening to this and said, I need her.
[00:26:26] Edie: Well, my website is edieclarke.com. So that’s fairly simple. E D I E C L A R K E.com. And I’m also on LinkedIn. And I’m on LinkedIn, under my business name, which is virtually in sync. And it’s all one word. It’s V I R T U A L L Y I N S as in Sam, Y N C. And I’d love to connect with each and every one of you.
[00:27:00] Paula: Thank you. Thank you so much. And so to my awesome listeners, that was Edie Clarke. So if you have enjoyed what you just heard from Edie Clarke, please head over to apple podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts and click subscribe. I’d also ask you to follow us. And if you’re an immigrant woman from Africa or the Caribbean, and have found these stories on successful immigrant women that I have been showcasing, please let us know in your reviews. And if you’d like to be a guest on my show, “chatting with experts” please head over to my website that is chattingwithexperts.com spelled exactly as I pronounced it forward slash contact us and let’s chat. Thanks again Edie.
[00:27:57] Edie: You’re welcome, Paula.