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#BlkWomeninBiz: Juanita Darden-Jones

Being a businesswoman comes second nature to Juanita. Take a look into her journey. #BlkWomeninBiz

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Juanita-Michelle is a wife, mother of 6, grandmother of 9, and self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. The journey has not been easy for Juanita, but she continues to build her business and strives to provide for her family and make a comfortable retirement.

Juanita is a tenured professor of Mathematics at Sinclair Community College. She also teaches a course in marketing. Juanita has multiple degrees from Franklin University, University of Cincinnati, and the University of Dayton.

Being a businesswoman comes second nature to Juanita. Her very first business idea was to sell vegetables out of her family garden to a senior citizen complex across the street.

Today, she is the founder of “the people’s coffeehouse” – Third Perk.

Junaita - Black Women in Biz

Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar offers variety of coffee products, and a boutique wine selection. For Juanita, being a black woman in business gives her the opportunity to walk a challenging path that she hopes will make a way for other women in the future. Capital and finding ways to increase revenue for the business is something that Juanita continues to work through. But with time comes wisdom and experience. Juanita now has a better understanding of planning and has even started a non-profit that will assist others with capital.

Juanita - Black Women in Biz

When asked what advice she would give to other women interested in starting a similar business:

“PLAN-BELIEVE-ACHIEVE Planning has been my greatest asset.  Good planning in the beginning has allowed me to understand possible pitfalls.” 

Juanita, thank you for taking risks and paving the way for future black women in business!

Have you broken barriers in the corporate world? Are you an up and coming entrepreneur? Complete the form below to be featured in the #BlkWomeninBiz series! Follow @blkwomeninbiz on Instagram.

Content Planning: Why & How

We’re one week into 2018 and I hope you are ready to take your content strategy to the next level! First things first, let’s talk about why you should plan content and how you can get started. 

Need someone to handle your content strategy? Let’s connect!

2018 is here and it’s time for you to get your content strategy revamped and ready for the new year. If you do not plan out your content, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to truly measure your success.
As a one-woman shop, we have two major roles to play: we have to work IN the business and ON the business. Planning out your content will give you more time to focus on other major tasks that are going to take your business to the next level.

What exactly is content?

Content is king. It is everything you see from a business including videos, blogs, posts on social media, eCourses, etc.

How do I plan my content?

  1. You need to decide what type of content you want to circulate and how you plan to disseminate every piece of content you produce. For example, if you decide to create videos and you plan to post them on social media, you need to remember you will have to create the blog content in addition to your social media content.
  2. Next, you should think about frequency. How often do you plan to produce content? Too much content may cause people to ignore you if it’s not of quality, not enough content may cause people to forget you. Find your happy medium.
  3. Find the right tools and resources that work for you. From scheduling tools, to editing tools, do your research and find out what works best for your brand, and your budget. There are a lot of free tools out there to help you get started. Keep in mind as you grow, you may want to start to investing in some platforms that will make sure life easier.
  4. Keep track of how long it takes you to work on each piece of content. This will help you understand which projects need to take priority, and which you can hold off on. As your business grows, you may want to start delegating some of these tasks to employees or third parties if it is taking up too much of your time.
  5. If you’re a visual person like me, you should create a content calendar so that you can keep track of which content is going out, and which platforms they are going to. I use a simple Excel Document that is color-coded for each platform I use. Join my mailing list to get your free content calendar template.

To be completely transparent, I fully understand how hard it is to plan your content in advance and sometimes, I don’t. However, when I do, it is completely life changing for my business and allows me to be able to put my time towards other things.

Download my template and get started on planning out the remainder of January and the first few weeks of February.

Happy Planning!

New Year, New Goals, Time to Hustle

Happy New Year! Here’s your reset. Now it’s time to hustle!

This past year has been life-changing for my business. I have grown my network, discovered new interests that I was able to incorporate into my overall strategy, and I have been able to look at my weaknesses and improve on them. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, or someone interested in climbing the corporate ladder, it’s time to move full speed ahead into 2018.

Here are 3 things I plan to do in 2018 and you should, too!

  1. Stop making excuses – We’re all guilty of it. “If your dreams don’t scare you, then they are probably not big enough.” Stop thinking you can’t accomplish things because your thoughts become reality.
  2. Plan content on a monthly basis – Last year there were moments when I didn’t plan content ahead of time and it was nerve-wracking! This year I’m vowing to plan my content on a monthly basis. Not only will this help me keep my sanity, but it will clear my head to be able to create even better events, webinars, and content.
  3. Celebrate my wins – It’s hard for me to celebrate my wins because I always feel like there was something I could have done better. This year I have promised myself that I am going to celebrate my successes, no matter how small they may seem.

What are your business goals for 2018? Comment below to share!

P.S. Here are some things I hope you left in 2017!

3 Things Creators Should Leave in 2017


Surprise! Respect the Hustle is growing and coming to a city near you! Follow Respect the Hustle on Instagram for upcoming events. New events will be announced soon!

Respect the Hustle

The Black Women in Business Series is also growing and I have some new amazing women to be featured in 2018! Catch up on past features and complete the form below to be featured yourself! Follow the Black Women in Business Series on Instagram.

Black Women in Business

 

3 Steps to Build Your Social Media Strategy

Just because you’re a one-woman shop, doesn’t mean you cannot achieve a social media presence that makes you look like you have an entire social team behind you.

Just because you’re a one-woman shop, doesn’t mean you cannot achieve a social media presence that makes you look like you have an entire social team behind you. At the recent Respect the Hustle event, Kelsea Wiggins taught us the ins and out of the top social media platforms out there. I would recommend downloading her presentation so that you can decide on the right platform for you and your business.

Once you decide which platform works for you, it’s time to create a real social media strategy. Here are 3 steps to get started:

  1. Plan Content – You can use an excel sheet, word document, or even hand-written notes if you prefer. In your plan, decide how often you want to post (I would recommend 1-3 times per week), what days you want to post, and the purpose of each post. For example: If you’re a motivation speaker, maybe you will decide Monday is Motivational Monday, Wednesday is Wellness Wednesday, etc. By creating a formula for yourself, your audience will know what to expect and will begin to look forward to those posts. Note: This strategy can also be used for email marketing. Join me for an interactive webinar on December 28th.
  2. Measure Your Success – Before you can measure success, you must know what you want your return on investment to be. Honestly, social media is not going to significantly increase revenue for your business – unless you plan to spend money on advertising. However, it will increase brand awareness, connect you to prospects, and then you can turn those prospects into customers.
  3. Analyze and Tweak – So, what are you measuring? Impressions? Reach? Engagement? Followers? If you’re not hitting your benchmarks, it’s time for you to reevaluate your strategy and make changes. You should do this at the end of quarter.

Ready to build your strategy? You can use Kelsea’s presentation as a baseline to get started. Not sure you can do this on your own? You can always connect with me and I can either handle all your social media, or I can help you build your strategy.

Do you already have your social media strategy in place? Comment below and share what you’re doing in 2018!

3 Things You Can Do Today to Polish Your Digital Presence

You cannot wave a magic wand and become perfectly optimized for search engines and ranking number one on Google by tomorrow. This takes a lot of work and a lot of consistency.

According to Moz, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

So what does that mean? 

When someone goes to a search engine, like Google or Bing, and types in: beauty supply stores in Columbus, SEO is the deciding factor in what that person will see on that first page. And let’s be honest, most people are not going to scroll past the first page of results.

If your website or social media pages are not optimized for search engines, how do you expect potential customers to find you online?

You cannot wave a magic wand and become perfectly optimized for search engines and ranking number one on Google by tomorrow. This takes a lot of work and a lot of consistency; it could be 6 months to a year before you see significant movement. However, if you put in the work in the beginning, it will pay off in the end.

Here are 3 things you can do today to begin your journey of being completely optimized for search engines:

1. Clean Up Your Local Listings
Surprise! You probably have a Google+, Yelp, and Bing floating through cyber space and most likely you have not claimed them. Not only does leaving these listings unclaimed leave it open for strangers to edit your business information, it also means you can’t make updates when needed.

Moz Local for Small Businesses can give you a free local listing score. If you have listings out there that are not verified, it will show you exactly where those listings are and from there, you can start claiming them and ensuring the information is correct.

Keep in mind Facebook now works very similar to a search engine and local listing. You need to make sure your address is accurate on your Facebook business page as well.

2. Update Your Website
Don’t let your website site dormant for months, or years. At least once a quarter, you should be updating your site in some way. This could mean adding pictures from events, creating a blog, or adding testimonials. If search engines see you are actively updating, this will help you with rankings.

3. Backlink to Your Friends and Vice Versa
A backlink is a link that links back (hence, backlink…) to your website from another source. This is a great way to build website authority. The key is to have credible websites link back to you. If you’re involved with local community organizations, or if you have partnerships with other businesses in your area, don’t be afraid to ask them if there is a way for them to mention you on their website. In turn, you should do the same for them!

Now it’s time to get to it! I challenge you as we close out the year to do ONE of these 5 things every week. Let’s get 2018 off to a great start!

Want to talk more in depth about making sure your digital presence is in tact? Schedule a 30-90 minute business consultation today. Click here to learn more >>

#BlkWomeninBiz: Shanequa J, Owner of Barcode Glam

Shanequa was born in Akron but raised in Cleveland, OH. She always wanted to be a fashion designer but when life happened, plans had to change.

She attended the University of Cincinnati but dropped out after 2 years. Later, she attended Brown Aveda Institute where she became a Licensed Esthetician; specializing in threading and waxing.

Her first business idea was to open up an esthetic shop. However, since she didn’t have a lot of money or capital, so she decided to start something that would be more efficient but ultimately help her reach the end goal. Her love for shoes gave her the idea to open an online shoe boutique. She put her ideas on paper and decided on the name, Barcode Glam. After that, she created her logo, invested in inventory, and began vending at events to build her brand. Her ultimate goal is to merge both Barclode Glam and her esthetician business.

In 2016, she was ready to move forward and found the perfect location in Walnut Hills of Cincinnati, OH. Her heart was set on the space and she event spent $500 on an architect to create the design and floor plan. She submitted the plan to the building owner but they decided they did not want any boutiques in the building. Ironically, during this time there was a lot of gentrification happening in the area. Leaving Shanequa to believe it was not just boutiques they didn’t want, it was her.

Shanequa knows that eventually she will be able to merge these businesses. She believes he denial of the space was a good thing because Barcode Glam is steadily growing. Next time instead of leasing a space, Shanequa plans to buy a building.

Being a black woman in business makes Shanequa feel empowered, especially when she gets to network with like-minded women. Her advice for anyone considering to take the leap and become a business owner themselves: “Pay for what you need to grow your business.”

She also suggests you truly understand your target market and what they would want to purchase; not what you think they would want to purchase.

Shanequa, thank you for your resilience and stepping out on faith to become a black woman in business!

Head over to barcodeglam.com to shop and learn more!

Know a woman who should be featured in the #BlkWomeninBiz series? Complete the form below.

#BlkWomeninBiz: Emerald Sparks

Emerald Sparks solves misconceptions about money and can help you get financially lit!

The idea of working for 40 years, at set hours, with minimal personal time was never in the cards for Emerald. She knew she wanted more, but initially did not think entrepreneurship would be her calling.

Emerald is from Dayton, OH and received her Bachelor’s of Administration with a specialization in Accounting from The Ohio State University. After accepting the fact that she could never live her life the way she wanted in the corporate world, she ventured out and started her first business; an online clothing and shoe boutique.

Unfortunately, the business ended quickly because she was not ready to step out of her comfort zone and promote herself or the business. On top of that, it just was not her passion.

After this came a lot of soul searching. She read Steve Harvey’s book, Act Like A Success, Think Like A Success, and consulted with some of her friends and family. She asked them to give her a list of what they thought she was good at, and it all led back to finances. She always loved money – not in a materialistic way, but more like, “Hey, I’m good at this!”

She started researching other professionals in the industry to create her pricing structure. In addition, she researched techniques, procedures, systems, and began to develop her own unique style financial planning and consulting style. After working in her “business” for months unofficially, she applied for her LLC and began to launch her brand.

Emerald now offers a variety of courses that focus on financial review and strategy, financial planning, coaching, and credit restoration. She is even a published author and wrote the book Vision. Future. Reality: How to Budget Like a Boss; a quick read, self-help book geared towards helping you achieve your financial vision and goals.

As many entrepreneurs know, the journey is far from easy.

“From the lack of funds and the lack of support sometimes, you just want to give up and apply for jobs! And I have! I have applied for jobs and haven’t heard anything back. They say rejection is God’s biggest blessing so I remain patient and prayed up.”

Emerald has managed to stay faithful and resilient throughout her journey as a black woman in business. She recognizes that while we are not yet equal, it is still an amazing, and necessary, opportunity to “have a seat at the entrepreneurial table.” 

When asked her advice to others who may be interested in pursuing a similar career path:

“Entrepreneurship is more time and dedication than it is money. So don’t do it if you only want to make money, do it because you actually want to change lives. Be genuine in that and everything will fall into place.”

Emerald, thank you for being a black woman in business! You refused to accept the typical lifestyle and walked out on faith. For that, I applaud you!

Are you or someone you know a black woman in business? Complete the form below to be featured.