Anwaa Kong is becoming a king of lifestyle, media and nightlife in the Washington, D.C. area. As C.E.O. of Anwaa Kong Enterprises, LLC, he oversees EliteDC Magazine as its Publisher, he owns a clothing line (Blessed Beyond Belief), and serves as D.C.’s Brand Ambassador for Crown Royal liquor. He’s co-sponsored “Fashionably Loud”, which has become a series of fashion events in D.C. that merge dance, music and fashion into one event. He’s also owned his own radio station (WEDC Radio) and also has been very active with his philanthropic work through the D.C. area.
Anwaa was gracious enough to take some time to talk about work/life balance, going from being a one-man team to a leader of many and staying on target to live our dreams
I. EliteDC began as an outlet to showcase photos from DC’s nightlife. Now it’s turned into a lifestyle platform. What are your thoughts on the expansion of EliteDC?
Well, I think it’s only right that we expand into lifestyle. For five years we’ve been DC’s top nightlife website, but our core audience is maturing and they are looking for more than just parties. We need to give them what they are looking for. When you think about it, if you’re 21-35 Young black professional in DC there is no media company dedicated to you.
II. When we met, you told me the story of your experience working with BET. You gave yourself three (3) years to get things done at BET. How important is it for young people to establish and maintain goals?
“Turn your dreams into goals!” For me I always knew I wanted to be self-employed and a media mogul. During my semester seminar class at Morgan State University, we had a guest speaker and he said two things that stood out to me: 1) You will get to where you want to be, but it may take 10-15 years. Just stay focused on your goals and dreams. 2) Get a job when you graduate and use that job to fund your dream.
III. We talked recently about your site contributors and content managers. They’ve reached the point where they don’t want you to contribute content. They want you to remain in an oversight position. Were you offended by that? How have you managed to handle letting talent do what they do best?
I wasn’t offended at all, I loved it. I’m not a micro-manager and I love working with self-starters. I was waiting for the time to come when they would tell me that. When I first met with Imani, our Editorial Content Manager, I explained my vision to her and literally that night she started working on making it happen. There comes a point in any business, you have to let go and let the people better than you take control in order to grow. Growth requires a team, not a one man team.
Hustleman vs Businessman: A hustleman only gets paid when he is hustling. A businessman gets paid even when he isn’t working, because the business is better than him.
IV. For approximately two (2) years, you operated in the radio industry as the Founder of EliteDC Radio. You put a halt to that venture. What were the biggest lessons that came from that experience?
EliteDC Radio, was definitely a lesson learned. I learned that there are people just waiting for a way to get their voice heard and also everyone isn’t going to see your vision. I’m just happy for all the people who used that experience to find their voice. I think of DJ MiM, DJ Stylz, You (Silas), Nadia and a few others who used it in a positive way.
V. Recently, you went on a mission to improve your health and fitness. How has that improved you as a businessman?
Health and fitness is everything to me. When you focus on your overall health, you naturally start focusing on the rest of your life. When I was out of shape at 270 pounds, I couldn’t focus on any task. Now, I’m 225 pounds, in shape, focused, energized and motivated. I feel hungry like I did when I just started EliteDC.
VI. Fans/supporters of the site have the ability to sign up to have EliteDC updates automatically sent out to their followers/friends through their social media pages. What do you think will be the next wave of interactive measures between people and the brands that they support and love?
I think brands are just starting to recognize the power of Instagram. I do think most big brands are always behind when it comes to Social Media. Honestly, I’m not sure what is next. I guess I’ll just wait and see like everyone else.
VII. What’s your business motto?
“ONLY DO IT IF MY HEART’S IN!” Business is about a profit, but I wont do for it a check. I have to believe in it.
VIII. You’ve always got something up your sleeve! What’s next for Anwaa Kong?
Right now, my #1 focus is EliteDCMag.com. We have to get to where we want to be by next summer. Next up is opening up my own lounge. It’s just something that I’ve been thinking about that for years. So over the next 12-18 months, we will see what happens.