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!

Camera

  • 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)

iPhone

  • 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!

XOXO,

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!

6 Ways to Keep Your Sanity in Entrepreneurship

I’ve been in the entrepreneur world for a little over 6 months now and there is SO much no one told me. For those who are thinking of going full time soon, take some of this rookie advice and prepare for your new life.

1. Surround Yourself with Positivity

Thankfully for me, my family and friends have remained positive and supportive since I made my decision. I partially think it’s because I had been speaking about going full time for over a year now so they were mentally prepared for the day I finally quit.

2. Save Business Woes for Other Entrepreneurs

While having supportive family and friends are great, try to save your business woes for your business friends if possible. When things aren’t going as planned, sometimes your family’s first reaction may be for you to pick up a part-time job, or consider going back to work. However, a business owner will tell you to stick it out or provide you with tools or tactics to grow your business. If being an entrepreneur is truly what you want, you have to tune out the noise.

3. Invest in Tools to Make Your Life Easier

At some point you may outgrow your current systems and need to invest in tools to make your life easier. From task management, time trackers, to social media management tools — you have to be willing to invest in your growth.

4. Don’t Stay Married to Current Tools

I’ve been in business for 5 years and as I’ve grown, I’ve had to move systems and platforms. I’m not using the same task management tool or social media management tool I started with. I am also in the market for a new e-commerce and email marketing tool. If your current systems can’t grow with you, let them go!

5. Find ways to destress

As much as I love the HUSTLE, I understand the need for rest. For me, I enjoy meditation, going to church with my family and friends, and working out. If you have a hard time recognizing when you need to destress, get yourself an accountability partner! At times, I have good friends who remind me when I need to relax. Overtime, you’ll be able to recognize when your anxiety is high and you’ll be able to keep yourself in check.

6. You’re not alone

All entrepreneurs are stressed, anxious, and feeling like there’s still so much more work to do. You’re not alone! Find your tribe and surround yourself with people who can relate to the hustle.

I hope you found these tips helpful! Did I miss anything? Comment below!

The Power of Mentorship

In May 2014 I graduated college. At this point I had 10 internships, and held the title “President” in two campus organizations, and I was unable to find a job in my field.

Side note: If you’ve never read Let’s face it, your degree isn’t good enough, please do.

I was 22 and I knew I wanted to start my own business. When I applied for all of the great local agency’s that every kid in PRSSA dreamed of working at, no one called me back. I thought: Well if they don’t want to hire me, I’ll become their competition.

I knew nothing about starting a business or what was required to make me look “legit.” I had no idea what I should charge or how I should charge and this led to be being ripped off and unpaid for projects from time to time – YIKES!

Thankfully for me, throughout my time in college I attended every networking event I possibly could. I would stand out because I would be the only 18 year old kid in a room full of business professionals. Throughout my years of networking, I had made some connections I was able to reach out to who helped me begin to shape TJE.

Now at 27, I can keep it real with myself and say I had NO CLUE what I was doing trying to start a business at 22. I am lucky to have some amazing mentors in my life I can call on when I’m need and I encourage you all to do the same.

If you don’t currently have a mentor or two, here’s how to effectively find the right person for you.

1. Seek out local organizations that provide mentorship.

There are so many local organizations that provide mentorship as a perk of being a member. I’m currently a member of The Diva Movement, Black Career Women’s Network, and Women in Digital. If you’re feeling nervous about the thought of having a mentor, starting out in groups like this can help ease you into the idea and help you creative expectations for mentorship.

2. You should have something to give if you’re willing to take.

When I seek information from my mentors, I make it a point to offer something in return. All of the people in my network are bossed up and they should not be providing me with free advice every time I want it. You should be open and willing to give your time and resources to the people who are helping you grow.

3. Seek REAL connections, not people with a lot of connections.

Don’t fall for someone’s social media persona. Before you spend $100+ on a coaching session, you need to do your research. Be sure you are choosing someone REAL, authentic, and someone who aligns with your goals.

4. Ask your network.

Reach out to your network for a recommendation on a mentor or for any mentoring groups they are members of.

5. Your mentor doesn’t have to be in the same field as you.

Having a mentor in a different industry could provide you with a new business perspective. Broaden your horizon! Find someone who has a teaching style you can learn from.

Mentorship is truly powerful and I hope you all take the time to seek out mentors or become one yourself. If you have a mentor, what is some of the best advice they’ve given you? Comment below!

#BlkWomeninBiz: Rae The Realtor

Rae The REALTOR is originally from the city of Chicago. She moved to Las Vegas, NV with a specific goal in mind; to be the real estate queen. She has many years of experience in commercial property management, and a love for people. All of this helped influence her to become a full-time REALTOR.

Real estate is not an easy job and make certainly not for the faint of heart. Especially in a major city like Las Vegas! Despite the odds, Rae is determined to find solutions for her clients. She understands that this the largest financial decision that most people ever make. She does her best make that process as smooth as possible.

In her free time she enjoys spending time with family & friends and volunteers with an outreach committee setting time aside to give back to the community. Her ultimate goal is to increase home ownership, which is why is why she has home buyer seminars once every 2 months, to introduce FREE down payment grants. I loves the city of Las Vegas because it is growing and there is still an advantage to own real estate. Interest rates are still at an all time low, and even though prices are on a rise affordable housing still exists.

Looking to own a own in Las Vegas? You know who to call! Follow Rae on social media and connect with her today.

rae.seelasvegasproperties.com

facebook.com/raetherealtorlv

Instagram.com/raetherealtorlv

Rae, thank you for joining our tribe of #BlkWomeninBiz!

#BlkWomeninBiz: Tyler Townsend

Tyler Townsend is a 26 years old Cincinnati Ohio native and mother of two. She is also the proud owner of Cincy Sweet Pot. Cincy Sweet Pot provides hemp and cbd infused edibles, oils, soaps and ingredients geared to improve the quality of life.

Tyler has been in the medical field as a lab technician and a phlebotomist for the past 6 years. In 2015, she realized she wanted to be her own boss, but she wanted to make sure that whatever she did, helped others.

She began reading and researching the different ways people use cannabis. When she discovered the different foods that can be made with cannabis, she felt it was perfect fit as she was already an avid cooker; so she began creating her own edibles!

One of the first steps she took to truly explore this new venture, was attending the Mortar Cincinnati Entrepreneur program in 2016. During that program she was able to make connections and learn how to start her own business. From there things seemed to take off!

After Tyler completed the program, she had all the tools and knowledge to turn her business into reality. She got her LLC, a lawyer, a vendors license and a social media page. Many people are unaware that medical Marijuana became legal in the state of Ohio in September of 2016, so at this point she was a step above the competition.

Once it was considered legal, she began traveling to California to meet entrepreneurs and business owners in the cannabis industry. She gained hands on experience and was able to create her own products.

Producing products became easy, but the negative connotation that surrounds cannabis created some hard moments. Tyler had to really educate her peers on the benefits and the components of cannabis. The more she educated others on cannabis, the more the negative connotations subsided.

One of her business goals is to be a WOSB (Women-Owned Small Business). The cannabis industry will be new to Ohio and she’s aiming to be one of the First Leading women in the Industry.

Tyler, thank you for taking the leap to become a leading woman in this new and vastly growing industry. Welcome to our tribe of #BlkWomeninBiz

Visit www.cincysweetpot.com to learn more about Tyler and her business!

#BlkWomeninBiz: Sharima “Rima” Diaz

Reigning from St. Croix US Virgin Islands, Sharima “Rima” Diaz is a Certified Life Coach, wife, and mother. She is the Visionary behind She is Destined, offering Women’s Empowerment Networking and Consulting organization whose purpose is to Educate, Empower, and Enlighten Women Entrepreneurs and Women in Business.

Throughout this journey, it has been crucial for Rima to stay grounded in God. She heard a lot of “no’s” which initially discouraged her. She realized overtime that the no’s were just God’s way of telling her she was seeking guidance from the wrong person. She knew she needed to completely trust Him and seek His guidance only. The no’s quickly became “YES.” And although she may still receive a “no” every now and then, she knows it’s God ways of telling her, “not right now.”

Black Women in Business - Sharima Diaz

“Being a minority female business owner helps me to understand that within every struggle comes success. Not everyone will be there to assist us but the legacy that we are striving to leave behind is worth every struggle we endure.”

With a growing marketing of business coaches, Rima knows that her authenticity, transparency, and foundation in God ensures she will continue to reach great heights in her career. She has had many amazing accomplishments in her business, including her Chic Print selling out all 100 copies within two weeks of its soft launch – TWICE!

Rima’s advice for a woman wanting to pursue a similar career: just do it! She encourages us all to take the risk and never give up. “Use the fear as your fuel.”

Let’s completely welcome Rima into our tribe of #BlkWomeninBiz by visiting her website and following her on social media!

#BlkWomeninBiz: Leah Williams

Originally from Cheltenham, MD, Leah Williams made history when she graduated from Delaware State University (DSU) in 2015 as the first person to ever be awarded both the Presidential Academic Award for her 4.0 GPA all eight semesters, and the Presidential Leadership Award for her leadership throughout campus. Leah returned the following year to pursue her Masters of Business Administration degree, which she completed in just one year.

During her MBA, Leah was selected by the White House to serve as an HBCU All-Star, supporting President Obama’s Initiative to promote the excellence, innovation, and sustainability of HBCU’s. Leah represented DSU at the HBCU Conference where she had the opportunity of introducing Vice President Biden. Leah has also been featured on numerous communication platforms including AspireTV network and the The HBCU Nation Radio Show radio show.

During her time at DSU, she founded two organizations on campus, which are still active today, and served as a supplemental instructor for multiple classes, tutored many students, and mentored freshmen.

Outside of her many academic accomplishments, Leah plays nine instruments and was a dedicated member of the marching, concert, jazz, and pep bands. When available, Leah continues to provide assistance to the band program who still play some of her arrangements.

Leah has always had a business mindset and even created a student-run Christian Organization on the campus of Delaware State University. Alongside her best friend, they created F.O.R.C.E Ministry (Focusing On Renewing Christ-like Existence) in order to provide students with an opportunity to fellowship in Christ. The organization is continuing to grow and flourish on DSU’s campus today.

Leah’s accomplishments did not come easy. In 2015, one month into her MBA, Leah thought she was just sick, but ended up being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Her battle with this disease has been an extremely tough one but she strives to overcome it and be an inspiration to others.

Today, Leah is an employee of Northrop Grumman, an American global aerospace and defense technology company. She has received several company awards, and plans to continue to climb up the corporate ladder in her career, while also making an impact in her community.

Being a minority female in the aerospace defense industry holds a special meaning for Leah. She wants to represent herself and others who look like her, and show the world that race, background, and gender do not determine worth. It is the heart of a person that really makes you who you are.

Leah’s advice for other minority women considering joining the aerospace industry:

Go for it! Don’t hold back, dream big, be true to yourself , and strive to do everything with a spirit of excellence.

Leah has an impeccable work ethic and puts her all into everything she does. She is a humble, hardworking, and ambitious young professional working to leave her mark on the world.

Leah, thank you for continuing to push yourself to be an amazing representation of what a black woman in business looks like. It is because of women like you who push through adversity everyday that inspire others to keep working towards their dreams. Thank you for joining our tribe of #BlkWomeninBiz!

Do you know an amazing black woman in business climbing the corporate ladder? Send her information to info@tjecommunications.com.