TikTok Ban: What You Need to Know

Is TikTok soon to be banned in the U.S.? This conversation has been ongoing for the last three years. Until recently, it seemed like a full ban on TikTok would never happen. However, things are starting to look promising for those in favor of shutting down the app in the U.S. for good.

Here’s what you need to know…

  • TikTok has been dubbed a “threat to national security” in the United States.
  • The Trump Administration was the first to call out TikTok and tried to ban the app completely in 2020.
  • The Biden Administration shut down those plans but in 2022, they followed suit and signed an executive order to ban the app from government-issued devices and some college campuses in December 2022.

Why do they want to ban TikTok?

  • After a Buzzfeed journalist obtained leaked audio from 80 internal TiktTok meetings, ByteDance (the owner of TikTok) admitted that four of its employees accessed this journalist’s personal data. This includes her IP address which ultimately led to her home address. The company said they have fired those employees.
  • They also “tracked” many other American journalists from reputable publications who were writing stories about the app.
  • The U.S. government is concerned that TikTok can cause millions of Americans to have their personal data in the hands of a foreign country. This can lead to the spreading of misinformation and propaganda.

Hold on…didn’t Facebook do this, too?

  • Yep! They sure did. Facebook’s action (or non-action) heavily influenced the 2016 election amongst many other elections across the globe by spreading false information and propaganda through paid advertising.

Should we care?

  • Yes. Any time our personal data is being used without our full consent we should care.

Should I quit using TikTok?

  • It depends. I believe this is a personal decision only you can make.
  • What you should do is nurture your relationships with followers on other social media platforms (you should have been doing this anyway frfr).

Bottom line…

  • If you’ve ever used the internet, you have a digital footprint whether you like it or not. As always you should be mindful of what you post online and read the privacy policies of the platforms you’re using.
  • Social media should NOT be the only time you engage with your customers. You should have other marketing efforts in place.

Do you plan to stop using TikTok?

  • I personally will continue to use the app for fun. However, I have no current plans of implementing a TikTok strategy with any of my clients.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23, 2023. He is expected to be asked questions about consumer privacy, data security, and TikTok’s “relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.”

I plan to keep my eyes on this and if you’re a TikTok user, you should, too!


How TikTok Became a Matter of National Security: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/20/podcasts/the-daily/how-tiktok-became-a-matter-of-national-security.html

Leaked Audio From 80 Internal TikTok Meetings Shows That US User Data Has Been Repeatedly Accessed From China: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/emilybakerwhite/tiktok-tapes-us-user-data-china-bytedance-access

Will TikTok Be Banned From The U.S.? Here’s Where It Stands. – https://www.forbes.com/sites/conormurray/2023/02/07/will-tiktok-be-banned-from-the-us-heres-where-it-stands/?sh=53eddb853d2b

3 Things to Consider When Starting Email Marketing

I love email marketing! However, I understand that it can seem intimidating. Especially if it’s something you’ve never done before.

Email marketing can be fundamental to the growth of your business. It has one of the largest ROIs (for every $1 spent, the average return on investment is $36) and gives you a direct line to your consumers.

Here are some other email marketing statistics you should know:

  1. Over 300 billion emails are sent in a day.
  2. 60% of consumers have made a purchase as the result of an email campaign they’ve received.
  3. 61% of consumers enjoy receiving promotional emails weekly.

Statistics via Constant Contact — click here to read more.

As you get started with sending your own emails for your brand or business, take these things into consideration:

📌 Email Platform
While all platforms have the same goal. They are not all built the same. Choose a platform that is compatible with other marketing tools you’re using and a platform that is easy to navigate.

📌 Signup Form
Think of your signup form as your first impression with potential subscribers. Give them some insight into what type of emails they can expect from you.

📌 Email Goals
Are you looking to build brand awareness or sell more products? Set this goal BEFORE you get started. This will make it easier for you to create a strategy.

Want to chat more about email marketing? Click here to schedule a 15-minute call with me!

5 Tips to Become More Like Iron Man

Yes, I know this may sound a little wild but hear me out…

I’m a huge Marvel fan! No, I have never collected comic books or attended a cool Marvel convention. However, I have seen every single Marvel film multiple times. I have some favorite characters like Black Panther (Wakanda Forever), Captain America, and even a man we all love to hate but I probably love him more than I hate him, Loki. 

Thanks to Disney+, I have watched all of these movies in the timeline order more times than I would like to admit. Most recently I went with my daughter, my Godson, and his mom to the Marvel exhibit at COSI (IT WAS AWESOME—see below!).

Tony Stark is another fan favorite but he is also someone we love to hate at times, too. He can easily be described as selfish, self-centered, egotistical, misogynistic, arrogant…I’m sure you can think of other unkind words.

Mr. Stark may have been a lot of things. But one thing is for sure, he was never afraid to share his tools and resources with his fellow Avengers.

Iron Man was a great superhero because Tony Stark had the financial resources to create the best version of himself. However, you don’t need to be a billionaire to be like him.

Here are 5 tips to become more like Iron Man you can actually start doing TODAY:

📌 Share the knowledge — What do you gain in being a gatekeeper? There’s enough out here for all of us to be successful.

📌 Don’t be a hoarder of resources — Just like what I said before, there’s enough for all of us. If you don’t need it, give it away. By “it” I’m referring to knowledge, tools, or anything that is taking up unnecessary space in your business.

📌 Build your squad — Tony was great but he was not alone. He had a whole team of powerful Avengers with their own special talents that allowed them to become unstoppable. Who is on your team?

📌 Let your guard down…just a little bit — Mr. Stark struggled with this one big time! But once he was able to open up and trust his team, he became a better man.

📌 Be trustworthy — Captain America may have been the team leader. However, Cap almost always looked at Tony for reassurance because he trusted him and his judgment. Be someone that others can count on when it comes down to decision-making. You can do this by always speaking your truth, being honest with others, and being dependable.

If you don’t believe that I was able to come to this conclusion by watching Marvel movies, I highly recommend you download Disney+ and get to watching!

5 Ways to Practice Self Care as a Business Owner

The last two years have been tough for everyone—I know we’re tired of hearing that but it’s so true. 

Throughout the course of our somewhat two-year stay-at-home order, I had gained about 50 pounds, became increasingly stressed about work, developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and my anxiety was through the roof.

I coped in the ways most of us did. Eating amazing, yet greasy fatty foods and drinking my weight in wine.

After being told at 29 that I needed to be on two blood pressure medications, a thyroid medication, and a cholesterol medication, I got serious about making changes in my life. 

Before I quit my corporate job to start my own business, I was extremely active. I worked out 5-6 times per week, ate very healthy, and had reached my “dream” body goals. I assumed that once I left my job, I would have so much time to work out and take care of myself. I was wrong.

The truth is, I became so consumed with work and being a mom that I completely strayed away from my routine. Being stuck at home didn’t make it any better. 

I did try to get things back on track.

I bought a kickboxing stand (it’s still not completely set up after a year of sitting in my garage), a 45LB barbell, resistance bands, and even invested in some weight loss apps. None of this worked.

I had to have a real tough talk with myself…

How can I show up as my best self for my clients if I can’t even show up as my best self for ME!

It has taken time. But I have finally created a routine for myself and I want to share how I did it. Whether you’re a business owner, a side hustler, or a mom trying to figure out how to balance work and family—try doing these three things:

Put it on the calendar.
Admittedly I have a terrible memory. I can get so caught up in working that I’ll forget to do things. I even put on my calendar “pick Tegan up from school” at 3:30 PM every day because I have this fear that I will forget (thankfully I never have but can you imagine???).

I plan my workouts, massages, lash appointments, etc. at least 2-4 weeks in advance and I block the time off on my calendar. This way, I don’t have to worry about anyone scheduling meetings over my “me” time and I also am able to hold myself accountable to show up for myself.

Set a goal.
I have found my love of working out again so I have a goal to work out at least 4-5 times per week. I encourage you to set a realistic goal with yourself. 

Start off with 1 to 2 days per week and work your way up—IF you want to. Do what feels best for you and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

Create some variety.
I have started and stopped and started again so many times on my fitness journey. One of my main reasons for stopping was boredom.

I love running, I love riding my Peloton Bike, and I especially love my OrangeTheory classes, but who wants to do the same workout every single day? It’s so easy to quit when you’re bored and unmotivated.

While setting a goal and creating your schedule, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try new things. Test out different types of workouts and find which ones are the best fit for you.

Now that you’ve done all that, here are some of my favorite ways to practice self-care…

1. Break a sweat!
If I get a good sweat in, I know I’ve just accomplished a great workout. As I mentioned above, OrangeTheory and my Peloton Bike are two of my favorite ways to get some cardio in. I highly recommend you try them out!

2. Meditate + Stretch.
Lately, I’ve been waking up a little earlier so that I have time to meditate and stretch before I start my day. Doing them both at the same time is a great way to multitask if you’re busy. 

3. Get a massage.
If you’re going to be stepping up your workout regime, you definitely need to take care of your body. Not only is a massage relaxing, but it also helps to loosen up your muscles so that you’re able to keep your routine going. 

4. Get some solitude.
I love taking solo trips, even if it’s just for a few days. Kick your family out of the house for a few hours, book a hotel in a new city, go for a drive—whatever works for you. Find a way to get some alone time at least once a month. And put those phones on DND!

5. Set focus features on your smartphone.
Speaking of DND (do not disturb), I loveeeee putting my phone on silent. If you have an iPhone you’re now able to create different “Focus” features to make sure you’re not disturbed when you don’t want to be. I highly recommend doing this when you want solitude or to keep yourself on track during your workday. 

Take my word for it—practicing self-care is imperative no matter who you are. Even if it’s just a small moment, take time for yourself often. Keep yourself healthy so we can keep our businesses thriving!

So, now what?

Anyone else tired of talking about last year? I’m one of those people who will only let you vent to me twice before I start asking you for solutions. Once we get to the third venting session my question to everyone is always: So, now what?

This is a question I’m sure many of us have been asking ourselves lately. But if you haven’t put much thought into it, this is a sign that it is time. 

If you’re feeling uncertain about your career or business future questions, here are a few steps you can take to start getting some clarity and moving forward. 

  1. What are you passionate about?

This is a loaded question, I know. Start by creating a list of your hobbies or things you enjoy doing and then think about what career paths align with your interests.

  1. Who should you connect with?

There’s an art to networking that many have not mastered. Here are a few things you should NOT do when making a new connection:

    • Do not ask to “pick their brain.” This screams, “I want to meet with you and drain you of all of your knowledge for free—no one will be excited to meet with you if you lead with this.
      • Instead ask: “I am interested in learning more about how to do (insert whatever it is that they do that they want to learn), and I see you are very good at it! Would you mind connecting me with some communities or resources that align with this?”
  • Do not start with an ASK. Reaching out to someone new and automatically asking for them to give you something is a big no. I usually ignore people who I don’t know if they lead with an ask.
    • Instead start with: “Hi, [INSERT NAME], I see that you do [INSERT WHAT THEY DO], and I am a part of an amazing group of professionals who I think could learn from you. Would you mind if I shared your profile in the group?”
  • Do not send generic connection requests. I receive so many connection requests on LinkedIn from people asking me if I’m ready to work for myself part-time or if I want to learn how to start my own business. If they were to just take a glance at my profile, they would know I’m already doing that.
    • Here’s what you can do instead: “I see you used to work at [INSERT COMPANY], that is awesome! I would love to join your LinkedIn Network if you’re interested.”
  1. What are your real money goals?

Money is sadly such a taboo topic in business and it really should not be. You deserve to get paid your worth and you deserve to demand. Whether you’re working for a corporation or for yourself, think about your real money goals and create a game plan to reach them. 

April 8, 2021, I celebrated two years of full-time entrepreneurship and these three questions above are things I had to ask myself (and still ask quarterly) in order to reach my goals. I hope asking yourself these questions helps you to do the same!

3 Things to Do Before Q1 is Over

Believe it or not, we are almost a quarter of the way through 2021! As we move forward, here are 3 things you should be working on:
  1. Setting/Updating Goals
If you set 2021 goals, now is the time to see if you’re on track to meet them. Take a moment to review what those goals were and make adjustments if needed.
  1. Clean Your Office
IDK about you, but my office is a DISASTER! Between me working in here daily, my niece occasionally doing virtual school, and Tegan just being her messy self…it looks crazy in here. And quite frankly it’s messing with my vibes! This weekend I’ll be spending time doing spring cleaning!
  1. Relax…we’re still in a pandemic
Please, do not get hard on yourself. We are still very much battling a global pandemic and the world is still not “back to normal.” This is not a time to beat yourself up for not reaching goals or having a messy office. We are all doing the best we can!
With that being said, we will soon be launching our Respect the Hustle Community where you will receive weekly resources to help you:
  • Grow Your Business
  • Build Your Brand
  • Practice Self-Care as a Business Owner
And soooo much more! From exclusive webinars to discounts on events, our tribe is genuinely here to help you become your best self AND to excel as an entrepreneur!

Click here to join the #RespecttheHustle mailing list and to stay in the know of when the community will officially launch!

How to Prep for Your DIY Photoshoot

There’s a lot of different pieces that go into the branding puzzle. We mostly hear people talking about the perfect colors, the right logo, and building a website. However, something that doesn’t get discussed enough is brand photography!

Why is having professional photography important?

We all love a good selfie! However, if you’re serious about growing your brand, a selfie just won’t cut it when it comes to posting to your business’ social media. When people see you investing in your brand and taking yourself seriously with quality photos, they will begin to take you seriously, too.

I was able to do a brand photoshoot in the past and it was such a great experience! Plus, I was able to use the photos and videos across my social media for a few months.

While doing the shoot was fun, it’s not cost-effective for me to set up monthly shoots for my business; especially during our current circumstances. So, I decided to invest in a good camera and get to work on learning how to do photoshoots for my business on my own!

Thinking about doing the same? Here are a few ways I prepped myself for my DIY shoot and tips on how you can do the same!

Pick your location
My location was my home because 1) it’s where I’m working these days thanks to COVID-19 and 2) I wanted to save myself the embarrassment of doing a DIY shoot in public!

As you’re planning your shoot, think about what location makes the most sense for your brand. If you’re a fitness instructor, your photoshoot should be in a gym or outside. For hairstylists, it should in your salon or work station.

The location should be on brand and in tune with who you are as a business owner.

Mix it up with multiple outfits
As someone who is committed to posting to social media at least 5 times per week (10 times if you include the stories), I run through about 20-30 photos per month! Even though we plan ahead with our social media, we still want it to look real and fresh. That means making sure you have a few outfit changes during your shoot.

Canon vs. iPhone
I have taken great photos with my iPhone and I am not opposed to doing full-blown photoshoots with your phone in portrait mode. There are pros and cons to both using a real camera or your smartphone!


  • Pros
    • Wider angles
    • Multiple settings
    • App on your phone connects to the camera for self-timer
  • Cons
    • Prices vary
    • Learning curve
    • Some accessories aren’t included (i.e. memory disk, multiple lenses)


  • Pros
    • You already have one (sorry Android peeps! I don’t know anything about how your cameras work but I still love you!)
    • The portrait setting is already on your phone
    • Easy to use
  • Cons
    • Not great for wide angles
    • Inconvenient to set the timer in the middle of your shoot

Take a look at some examples from my shoot below…

Canon EOS Rebel T17


iPhone XS Max (Portrait Mode)

Pick the perfect day
If you don’t have lighting for your shoot, check the weather and pick a day where it’ll be best to maximize natural light. From my experience, working with natural light makes your photos come out amazing and you will need minimal editing if any at all.

Set the stage
You will hate every photo if you don’t set the mood. That means eating a decent breakfast, getting your morning coffee, and choosing a playlist that will keep you hype and energized throughout the shoot.

If you use Tidal, check out my “BOSS MOVES” playlist and put it on shuffle during your next DIY shoot: click here. I am also open to song suggestions!

Do you feel ready for your DIY brand photoshoot? I can’t wait to see your pics! If you need help, just click here and schedule a 15-minute consult today!


Prepare Your Marketing Plan for 2021

Are you preparing for 2021?

There’s still so much uncertainty in regards to how our future will look, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to plan as best as possible. Here are a few things you should consider adding to your 2021 business plans…

Business Goals
If you were unable to reach your 2020 goals, you’re about to get a chance to start over. Create your list of business goals and think about how you will execute them. Some common goals might include revenue goals, increasing social media following, or growing your email list.

Crisis Communication Plan
One thing you should have learned from 2020, as a business owner, you need a crisis communication plan. This should include how you plan to communicate to your team and stakeholders about any new protocols or changes due to a crisis…like a global pandemic.

Other items to include in your crisis communication plan are:

  • Press Release Templates
  • Media Contacts
  • Phone Tree
  • List of Stakeholders

Professional Growth Plan
Yes, you should be thinking about your own professional growth going into 2021! Regardless of if we’ll be back to a new normal, or if we’re still in a virtual space, there are still lots of things you can do to work on your professional growth.
Here is a list of things you can do FOR FREE to grow professionally:

  • Listen to an industry podcast
  • Attend free virtual events
  • Connect with new professionals on LinkedIn
  • Subscribe to industry-related newsletters
Ready to start planning? We’re just a little over one month away from 2021! This year has been wild, but I’m ready to look towards a positive future.If you need help, I’m always here! Visit tjecommunications.com/connect to schedule a call.

2020 Holiday Sales: What You Need to Know

Let’s cut to the chase, …

The holiday season is coming and businesses throughout the country are preparing to start their sales EARLY. Despite what is going on in the world, experts are predicting that Black Friday sales this year will spike 1%-1.5%. This may sound small, but those little percentages total out to about $1.147 trillion to $1.152 trillion during the November-to-January time frame.

Finances are limited to many American families, which means people are going to be very particular about who they shop with, so you need to have a game plan in place to win their dollars over.

This month you can expect to see deals coming up with Amazon Prime Day (October 13th to October 14th) and Best Buy. And yes, both companies are still planning to run promotions through Thanksgiving Weekend.

So what does that mean for small businesses?

1. You need to decide NOW if you’re planning to participate in sales for Thanksgiving weekend.
2. You should create contingency plans, in the event that you will need to pivot any promotions due to shipping issues, selling out of inventory, or being unable to restock in time for the holidays.
3. You need to come up with a complete marketing strategy for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

PLEASE NOTE: For the last 3 years, Instagram has shut down on Thanksgiving due to the excessive amount of users on the app at the same time. PLEASE do not let social media be your only source of holiday sale promotion.

If you’re feeling anxious, relax. The best part about being a small business is that we are agile. We don’t have to go through corporate loops to get things done. But that does not mean we should procrastinate. Let’s come up with a plan to execute successfully!

Want to talk more about Black Friday sales? Sign up for our next webinar taking place on October 23rd from 12 pm to 1 pm. This $5 webinar will walk you through the ultimate Black Friday checklist to make sure your sales and marketing plan is ready to GO!