Here’s your 2020 Business Checklist

It’s 2020 which is not only a new year, but a new decade! As we enter onto clean slate, it’s time to do things differently. Take a look at your 2020 business checklist to get your year, and your business, off to a great start.

  1. Review Business Tools – Are your current tools helping or hurting your business? Take a deep dive into the systems you’re using and determine what type of impact they are having on your bottom line. Is the ROI worth it? Are you able to obtain more business, more customers, or more sales with this tool? If the answer is no, then it is time to find new tools. **If a tool is not helping OR hurting, then you should still consider finding a new tool that can improve your business. We want to see consistent and steady growth vs remaining stagnant.
  2. Analyze Reports – From social media, to email marketing, and sales channels, making an effort to review your reports will give you a clear understanding of what is working, and what is not. At that point you’re able to create your 2020 strategy with the proper information to create a successful plan for your business.
  3. Content Planning – Decide the type of content you want to produce in 2020 and consider how much it will take you to produce. If you don’t have the skills or resources to execute your goals, then you need to consider outsourcing and allocate enough time to do so. Plus, we all know content planning is KEY to winning at life and business.
  4. Get Organized – Take your ideas from your mind or your journal and implement them into a real project management system that can hold yourself, and your teams accountable. There are plenty of free tools out there that can help you stay organized which will ultimately help you grow as a business owner.
  5. Find Your Tribe – We know how important it is to have a community who you can grow with and learn from. This is equally important in your personal and professional life. If you don’t already have a community, then take the time to find one! Start online and then move those digital relationships to real, in-person connections.

For more business tips, subscribe to Tonnisha’s Tip of the Month mailing list! Plus, check out 6 Ways to Keep Your Sanity in Entrepreneurship.

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!

17 Tips for Entrepreneurship

This week I’m celebrating 17 months of entrepreneurship! If you would have asked me on April 8, 2019 if I was ready for multiple lessons, challenges, and a worldwide pandemic, I would have said “absolutely not.” Now, here we are! 

I have surely learned and grown A LOT! Check out my 17 tips for aspiring and new entrepreneurs…

1. Make a plan before you quit.
Create a game plan before you walk out of your day job.

2. Get an accountant — seriously. 
Shout out to Touche Financial Solutions!

3. Raise your prices!
Know your worth, then add tax.

4. Create better contracts.
Find a good lawyer to help you create a contract template.

5. Never stop networking.
Your tribe is sooooo important. 

6. Never stop learning.
You don’t know what you don’t know, so stay open-minded.

7. Be open to change.
Sh*t happens.


8. Invest in your professional development.
You have to keep evolving!

9. Create a “fun” budget — you deserve it.
Girls night is crucial to my sanity.

10. Take a vacation!
Yaaaas for San Juan, PR — low key want to live there.

11. Remember your WHY.
This will carry you through the tough days. 

12. Do not overwork yourself. 
You can make yourself physically ill from stress and anxiety. Please, take care of yourself.

13. Create time for your family, friends, and partners. 
Work can wait. Family cannot. 

14. Make smart decisions with your money and time.
Review your business expenses and current project load often. 

15. Cut back on unnecessary expenses. 
Do you really need that new bag? New shoes? New clothes? Abandon cart!

16. Work ON your business often.
Administrative things, building your brand, reviewing your finances, etc.

17. Have fun! 
Because that is why we chose entrepreneurship in the first place!

Sounds easy enough, right? If you’re considering entrepreneurship, or if you are currently an entrepreneur, schedule some time to connect with me and let me know what’s holding  you back/what have been your greatest struggles.

5 Ways to Work On Your Business

COVID-19 has impacted so many of us in different ways. We cannot control the current climate, but we can control how we respond. 

Before you ask, no, it will not be easy. If you remember my new mantra, I’ve told you that entrepreneurship is not sexy and I mean that. But I mean it x100 during this pandemic. 

What we’re not going to do, is let COVID think it can steal our visions we have for our businesses. I hope you don’t take this as me being insensitive to what you’re going through. If you’re having a hard time, I want you to know that I am seriously here for you. My goal in all of this is to help other business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs thrive on their journey.

Here are 5 ways you can work on your business during these times…

1. Create designated time for YOUR brand

When I made the decision to go into full-time entrepreneurship, I decided immediately that working 9-5 was not for me. I wanted to create a life that allowed me to be best mom and woman I can possibly be. So, I decided I would work 35 hours per week for clients, and those last 5 hours would be spent working on ME and/or MY business. 

I use a tool called Toggl (it’s free check it out) to manage my time and this allows me to hold myself accountable when it comes to working on my business. If you’re one of those people who claim they don’t have the time, that is not true. The time is there, you just have to demand it for yourself.

2. Work on your content strategy

You know I love me some content marketing! I want you to love it for yourself, too. This is the ultimate way to establish yourself as the industry expert in your field and to position yourself as the go-to person for all things <insert whatever it is that you do>.

Do you know how many times I’ve been called “the email girl” or “the content lady”? More times than I can count! That is because I have put myself in position through these emails, posts on social media, live videos, and speaking engagements to be seen as the go-to person when you want to know more about digital. You can do the same for yourself! 

3. Build your tribe

We’ve talked about the importance of having a tribe a few times in these emails. If you don’t believe I practice what I preach, take a look at the lineup for #RTHCon20! I’m blessed to have such a powerful network of business owners. 

How did I meet such amazing people you may ask? Networking! Putting myself out there. Sparking conversations. Attending other people’s event. Them attending mine. Fostering real relationships. 

Building your tribe is NOT a one way street. It’s going to take work on both sides. Put yourself out there and get to work building your community of bosses!

4. Know your numbers

I have some past traumas that have led me to be very afraid of money. I don’t like thinking about it, but I do all the time and it makes me nervous. Since working with Touche Financial Solutions, I have felt more at ease because I know my numbers. I have a clear understanding of how much money my business needs to make in order to thrive. By knowing this number, it helps me make the right business decisions to continue to grow TJE

Spend some time doing a deep dive into your business and personal expenses, and find ways to improve in both of these areas. I’m no expertise in this area. However, I can tell you that doing this has helped me grow tremendously. I highly recommend you reach out to Sierra Thomas of Touche Financial Solutions ASAP!

5. Better tools = better business

Having the right business tools in place is truly amazing. I wish I could explain the feeling of knowing that your business is running properly even when you’re sleeping. 

What are considered business tools? Social media schedulers, email platforms, project management tools, your CRM, etc. I need you to review these tools to make sure they are helping your grow your business. I wrote about this at the beginning of the year, check it out

Spend time going through every tool you are using and make some decisions sooner than later. One recent decision I’ve made is to move 6 years work of email marketing into a brand new platform. This task is not easy (still working on it) but it is necessary if I want to continue to grow my business. 

Now that you have 5 different ways to work on your business, it is time to do the work! If you want to chat, I’m here! Schedule a call today. Click here.

7 Tips for Vacationing as an Entrepreneur

DISCLAIMER: I fully understand that not everyone feels safe to travel during this current climate. The following tip of the month is from my own personal experiences. I highly encourage you all to wear your masks at all times, especially when traveling and in public. 

I recently traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the third time and it was a much needed get away. I don’t know about you, but my anxiety has been almost unmanageable.

Not sure if you know this but I’m a single mom on top of running my business full time. With Tegan being home 24/7 (and if you’re my Facebook friend you know she is eccentric and lively LOL) it has been tough to find peace.

I was initially hesitant about traveling again. But after some discussions with friends, we decided to go for it.

We wore our masks in the airports, Ubers, and when gracing the streets of Old San Juan. We also spent 98% of our time frolocking on the beach to avoid being close to others.

Believe it or not ya girl left her laptop AT HOME! I did have to do minor work things on the trip but for the most part I spent my time enjoying the sun.

On my way back, I was reflecting on the fact that this was my SECOND vacation as a full time boss. Can you believe that? My first time even being on the beach was 2016 and my 2020 I have funded myself, my business, and some vacations to top it off.

While it is important to make a budget for yourself and stick to it, it is also important that you still remember to make time for yourself. If you’re afraid that following your dreams means you won’t be able to have some fun, I’m here to tell you that is 1,000% not true.

Here are my 7 tips to vacationing as an entrepreneur:

1. Travel with Friends – This makes paying for hotels much cheaper! Plus, who wants to vacation alone?
2. Pick Hotels with FREE Breakfast – That’s ONE less meal you have to pay for.
3. Look for Cheap Flights – I flew Spirit for the first time on this last trip and I had a good experience. I’ll most likely fly with them again in the future. Just make sure that bag is 40lbs or less!
4. Pack Smart – Make yourself a checklist so you don’t forget to anything.
5. Buy a Bottle When You Get There – So much cheaper to buy a bottle than buying multiple drinks at every bar! Get your buzz on BEFORE going anywhere.
6. WEAR YOUR MASK! – On the plane, in the airport, and in public! Respect the places you’re traveling to by being safe and following their guidelines.
7. Self-Quarantine – Upon your return, do us all a favor by staying at home to quarantine!

I hope if you do decide to travel, you do it smart and keep the health and safety of yourself, and others, at the top of mind.

Safe travels!

3 Simple Ways to Support Black Businesses

Do you talk the talk and walk the walk?

Everyone is speaking up during this time and that is fine and dandy. However, I like to consider myself a woman of ACTION. It’s time to put your words in motion.

I have decided to stop focusing on the world at large and instead, focus on my community which ideally, would impact the globe if every person I touch, shares these thoughts and ideas with someone else, and so forth.

For starters, as a black-woman and business owner, I have faced microagression and implicit bias since the day I stepped foot into my professional career. My goal is to now begin to educate my peers when I witness them displaying acts of microagression and implicit bias to others.

What does microagression mean?
A microagresion is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.⠀

For example: If someone says, “Wow you’re so articulate!” OR “I never would have expected that from a woman with your background!” ⠀

What is implicit bias?
This refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

While I believe that some people truly do not understand they are being offensive at times, it is 2020. So…..excuses are running out and patience is running thin.

If you want to support the black community but you’re not sure where to start, here are 3 simple ways you can support black businesses today.

1. Use your platform to amplify black voices and businesses.
If you’re hosting a conference, a podcast, or special event, consider putting black people in the speaker line up.

2. Choose black-owned venues and spaces for your events.
There are PLENTY of amazing ones. Do your research and at best, consider these spaces for your next event.

3. Pay full price for products and services.
Do not expect discounts! Pay full price like you would any other business.

Also, let’s stop the narrative that black businesses lack in customer service. That is not true. I’ve had great and terrible service from all types of businesses. General statements like this put a negative connotation on black businesses and is harmful to the community.

We all have to be willing and open to learn and grow. Try these 3 very simple ways to support today!

How to Manage Mom Life & Business

Let’s cut to the chase. There’s no way in hell anyone can do it all on their own and maintain sanity at all times. I’m often asked “How do you do it all?” Or hear comments like, “Wow, you’re really running your business and mom life so well!”

To be honest, some days I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing; as a mom or as a business owner. Here’s a little back story…

I started my business in 2014 after having trouble finding a full-time job in my field after graduation. I spent that summer doing free-freelance work, working at an eyeglasses shop, and working at a summer internship. After working at a major non-profit, a startup marketing agency, and for a large retail brand, I stepped out on faith and decided to work for myself running TJE Communications full time.

During that time I bought a house, had a baby, and quickly had to learn how to balance my ambitious career goals with a child on my hip.

Our days are not always fun; especially during quarantine. I get frustrated and sad and stressed and anxious. However, I have gotten a better grasp on how to handle momming and marketing pretty well. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, here are a few tips to help you learn how to manage your babies and your businesses.

  1. Establish Boundaries – My daughter has learned that when my computer is open, that means mommy is working. Which also means that she needs to keep her “asks” to a minimum. Keep in mind my daughter is turning 4 next month so it has gotten easier. It was much harder last year when I first quit my job. If possible, try to  set boundaries with your children so they know when mommy is in work mode, and when mommy is ready for cuddles and kisses.
  2. Be Open to Untraditional Business Hours – Momma, you ain’t about to work 9 to 5 with the kids at home. It’ll be more like 7am – 9am, then an intermission for breakfast, then back at it from 10am to 12pm, with another break to feed a “starving” child, followed by a potential temper tantrum that could push you back 2 hours. Now it’s 2pm and you still have work to do. It’s okay. Get used to it! This is the life of every mompreneur. Due to this, I try to schedule my meetings during times I know Tegan will be content. She has also learned that if I’m on the phone or in a meeting that she shouldn’t interrupt. Although, by now people actually enjoy my daughter jumping in on calls to say “hello” to the team.
  3. Stop Trying to Do It All – I have to remind myself this DAILY! I beat myself up over not getting items on my to-do list 100% completed, or when my daughter really wants to cuddle but I really want to get work done. It truly causes me to have so much anxiety. I’m (still) learning that it is OK if items on your to-do list go unchecked–there’s always tomorrow.
  4. Let Yourself Feel – Whether it’s mad, sad, happy, or even angry. Let yourself feel it! Go to your tribe and let it all out when you need to. I used to be afraid to ask for help and advice because I feel moms get so much judgement for being frustrated with their kids. Now when I’m frustrated, I humbly seek counsel through prayer and my community.
  5. Find Your Outlet – I’ve been running again lately and it has helped me so much with my anxiety. I also started on some home outdoor projects and have been playing my clarinet again. Find a new hobby or pick up an old one and use this as a way to relieve stress.

Quarantine life is coming to a close for some of us and I hope all of you have been hanging in there. Managing your anxiety and stress levels will be even more important once we all start getting our lives somewhat back to normal. Try these tips and let me know if they’ve helped!

Be sure to follow TJE Communications on Instagram and Twitter and don’t forget to like us on Facebook and share how you’re raising babies and businesses!

3 Things to Do Before Outsourcing Marketing

TJE Communications has officially turn 6 years old and as a company, we have experienced some ups and downs when it comes to business and clients. I say “we” because I’ve had my fair share of interns and strategic partnerships who have helped me move the needle along the way.

I took another look at my target customer as I was preparing to step into full-time entrepreneurship, and I realized some of the clients I had worked with were truly not ready to outsource their marketing services. Which ultimately contributed to some of those partnerships ending; on a good note for the most part.

Before you decide to outsource your marketing efforts, here are three things you should try first:

1. Try to DIY One (of the many) mistakes I have made in business is not asking a prospective client if they’ve tried to handle their digital marketing on their own or with another marketer in the past. If I were to ask you this question, would you say “yes” – or would you say something like, “I would, but I don’t know how.” If the answer is the latter, you should not outsource marketing. What you should do instead is invest in gaining marketing knowledge through webinars, conferences, seminars, and trainings. Then, try to do it yourself. Once you’ve done this for a minimum of 6-12 months, if you still feel like you need help….check out steps 2 & 3.

I’m sure you’re thinking…”why does it matter if I’ve tried it myself?” What I’ve learned over the last 6 years is that until you have tried it yourself, or had someone else before me, you truly will not understand or value having a marketing consultant on your team.

Digital marketing is more than just posting aesthetically pleasing photos to Instagram. It takes consistency, strategy, and advertising dollars to build real campaigns to drive revenue for your business. On top of that, digital marketing does not equal social media marketing. Digital marketing also encompasses email, content, vlogging, and so much more.

2. Ensure you can pay for marketing services for at least 3 months — If you’re planning to outsource marketing services, make sure you can pay for them even when business is down. Most marketers require a retainer and a contract where you are committing to pay for their services for an agreed upon time. Just because business is down for you, doesn’t mean you get to forgo your contracts.

I get it, if business is down, you can’t take care of your family. But guess what…marketing professionals have a family to take care of, too! When you pay your invoices late, or not at all (both have happen to me), it is a poor reflection of business.

To avoid this issue, make sure your money is in order so that you can be certain you can fulfill your contract before signing on the dotted line.

**Also keep in mind if you do have issues paying your invoices, just communicate! Most people are willing to be somewhat flexible when life happens. 

3. Have a clear understanding of your business goals — You can’t bring someone in to help you promote your business if you don’t understand your business either. When you bring in a marketing professional, we’re there to help you take your brand to the next level. But if you don’t have the foundational pieces in place, then we don’t have a solid ground to stand on.

Yes, the marketing consultant you hire can help you with the foundational aspects of your business. However, you must keep in mind that by doing this, you are taking time away from them doing actual digital marketing strategy. So you can’t fault them if you’re “seeing no results.”

If you’re unsure if you have your business goals and messaging in place, instead of hiring someone to help you with digital marketing, hire someone to help you with business strategy and then try implementing some DIY digital marketing strategies. Or, if you can get your business strategist and marketing professional to work hand-in-hand, that’s even better! Both of these people are equally important and need each other to produce great work!

Now that you’ve read through this, do you still think you’re ready to outsource your marketing efforts? If yes, then go for it! Having a skilled digital marketing professional on your team can help grow your brand tremendously – especially if you’re willing to spend a few dollars on ads.

If you read this and realized you’re not quite ready, that is awesome! It is better to know now than to get yourself caught up.

Need help deciding either way? Schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me today. Click here to schedule.

Here’s Why Tracking Your Time Matters

It’s easy to believe that since you’re working for yourself, or working from home, that you have to be on at all times. I am so guilty of staying up well past my bed time to finish work (or start work), complete a project, or read blogs or articles to gain new digital marketing insights.

Regardless of your reasoning for feeling like you need to work around the clock, I am here to tell you that is not true.

If you’re not currently tracking your time, here’s why you need to start as soon as possible…

Accepting (or Not Accepting) New Business Opportunities

When I first started my business 6 years old, I accepted every opportunity that came my way. I did not have a great vetting process to decide which opportunities were worthwhile, and which were not aligned with my business or business goals. After two years of this, I decided to get more serious about my prices, packages, and how many hours I wanted to spend on my business.

Today, I use project managements tools and time trackers that help me understand where I am putting my energy on a daily basis.

By understanding how much time is being spent on each client, I’ve been able to:

  1. Ensure I am being properly compensated for my time
  2. Decide if I have enough hours to bring in new clients

Better understanding of which services bring in the most revenue

Since tracking my time, I now know which of my services bring in the most revenue for my business on a monthly basis. With this information I am able to ensure I am marketing this service through all appropriate channels to bring in new business opportunities.

On the other hand, if this is a service I no longer want to offer, I know that I need to pivot my content strategy to avoid speaking to this service too much.

For your own business, take a look at your top products and services and see which items are in your top three. Once you have this list think about…

  1. How much time it takes to products these products or services?
  2. What is your net profit from this product or service?

**Net profit is the actual profit made on a business transaction, sale, etc., or during a specific period of business activity, after deducting all costs from gross receipts.

If the costs don’t add up, then you need to give your business a complete audit to reassess your goals and create a business strategy to meet them.

Need help with your business strategy? Book your 1-hr business strategy session today! Click here to book today.

Don’t Burn Yourself Out

I recognized I was doing the most when my three year old daughter begins to tell me I need stop working and “give [me] attention.” Talk about a reality check!” The whole point of me pushing for full time entrepreneurship was so that I could have more time with her, not make her feel neglected.

Some weeks I would work so much I would get physically ill from the lack of sleep I was getting.

This is NOT normal.

Whether you work in corporate or if you’re a full time entrepreneur, tracking your time is crucial to ensuring you do not burn yourself out. Decide how many hours you want to spend on projects, keep track of how much time you’re spending with clients, make time for your own business, and turn it off when it’s time to turn it off.

**I recently started turning my email and social media notifications off from 5pm to 9am – best decision of my life!

So, now you do understand why you should track your time? Give it a try this week and let me know how it works out!

 

How to Make the Most of Your Day When Working from Home

If you’ve never worked from home before, it is probably more difficult than you can imagine. Our homes are supposed to be our sanctuary, not a place to stress about work!

With the recent circumstances, many of us don’t have a choice but to ditch the office and create a productive work environment in the comfort of our homes.

Why is working from home difficult?

Many people have this false idea that people who work from home are just sitting in their pajamas all day and binging their favorite series. That is far from the truth.

Those us who have the privilege to work from home on a daily basis are aware of the distractions your home causes when work needs to be done. It’s hard to see the laundry that needs doing, or the dishes in the sink, and the dog giving you the sweetest eyes begging for a belly rub and NOT want to give all of these things your time. This is why I choose to pay a membership to a co-working space so I can set some of those boundaries.

Here’s how you can maximize your productivity while working from home…

Whether it’s your first time working from home, or if you’ve tried to in the past and felt like a failure, here are 5 tips to help you maximize your productivity while working from home.

  1. Do not work in bed! Sounds like a good time, but you’ll end up napping/scrolling IG.⠀
  2. Create a designated work space. If you don’t have an office, your kitchen table may work. ⠀
  3. Find a good podcast to tune into. This is much better than watching tv because it’s hard to NOT look at the screen while working. Podcasts are great and all you have to do is tune in!⠀
  4. Set work hours! Whether it’s 9-5 or 10-6, find a time that works for you but stick to it!⠀
  5. Create a to-do list. This will help you stay on task and be mindful of your productivity. ⠀

If you follow the above five steps, I promise you will be able to successfully make it through these next few weeks. If you’re a mompreneur, check out one of my recent #TonnishasTuesdayTip that discusses how to work from home with toddlers.

Do you have any other tips for working from home? Comment below and share!