How to own your spaces, audience, and attention

Last night the hashtag #DeleteFacebook generated over 20K tweets (as of 1am – yes, I’m a night owl) following a development that Mark Zuckerberg had a “secret dinner” with Trump in October. The best part is, he refuses to share details about the dinner.

When it comes to political advertisement, Zuckerberg believes that whether the content is accurate or false, consumers should,  “…see for themselves what politicians are saying so they can make their own judgements.”

Why does this matter?

As business owners we are on these platforms for one thing: attention. We want everyone in the world to know who we are, consume our content, and buy our products or services. Society is evolving into a very conscious ecosystem. People want to consume content/products that come from an ethical place and make them feel good. As society evolves, so will the platforms we use.

Do you remember…Myspace? Xenga? Vine?

Facebook doubling down on not wanting to remove political ads regardless of content, has caused me to think…”if they don’t care about displaying political ads with false content to billions of users knowing that this has impacted political elections across the globe, then do they really care about my privacy and data and all of the other life events I share on their platform?”

The answer: probably not.

So now what?

It’s time to take a serious look at how well you own your spaces, audience, and attention.

Space: This is the place your content lives.

Audience: These are your customers and prospects.

Attention: This is how you get your audience to see what you’re selling/talking about.

If you don’t own these spaces, here’s how to get started on it:

  1. Grow your mailing list
  2. Build your website
  3. Share content daily
  4. Create your tribe/community

To answer the question “should we #DeleteFacebook?” My answer is: no. However, we should be ready to jump on the next thing as early adaptors to obtain as much organic reach as possible before it becomes saturated; like Facebook.

How do you feel about Facebook’s stance on this? Comment and share your thoughts!

 

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!

Shoot Your Shot

So much has changed in my life over the last month. One big win I’ve had is securing my conference keynote speaker, Dawn W. Dickson!

Dawn is a trailblazer in the tech community and has been featured in many publications including Black EnterpriseForbes, and most recently, The Breakfast Club.

When I first had the idea for a conference my mindset was “go big or just forget about it.” I’m a risk taker and I knew if I wanted this to work, I had to solidify a big speaker.

This brings to my tip this month: shoot your shot.

If you really want to reach your greatest potential, you have to fearlessly chase your goals. You cannot be scared to go after that big speaker or big sponsor.

With that being said, it’s also important that you have your sh*t together, too.

Before you go sliding in the DM’s of every business owner you know, make sure to ask yourself these few questions:

1. Is my branding on point?
If a big sponsor/speaker saw your website and social media, would they feel comfortable letting you use their likeness to promote an event?

2. Do I have the budget?
We all want to secure that big speaker or that dream venue. But be honest with yourself about your budget and how much your return on investment will be.

3. Do I have any typos in my proposal?
Believe it or not, having a type in your proposal can cause someone to not want to work with you.

4. Is my elevator speech prepared?
Get to the point. Avoid sending a lengthy email or message. Simply give your pitch in a few sentences and request a meeting/conversation that will allow you to go into more details.

Have you ever shot your shot at a potential sponsor or speaker for an event? What did you learn from the experience? Send an email to info@tjecommunications.com to share your story!

XOXO

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!

How to Conduct a S.W.O.T. Analysis

No matter what industry you work in, a S.W.O.T. Analysis can help you determine your business goals, objectives, and strategic plan. 

What exactly is a S.W.O.T. Analysis?

S.W.O.T. stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. If you’re unable to hire a third party company to conduct this analysis for you, here are some basic tips to do this on your own.

Strengths.
Take a look at your analytics and sales and identify the top 3-5 things your business is doing very well. These are your strengths. Many people, including myself, have a hard time talking about the things we’re doing well. But the numbers don’t lie! Do a deep dive into your stats and celebrate your wins.

Weaknesses.
Here’s the part we’re all good at! Identifying what is not going so well. Take the stats you’ve gathered about your strengths, and look at where there is a need for improvement. You also want to understand the why. Is there a reason you’re performing low in one area of business, but higher in others? Are there numbers behind the failures that can help you turn them into wins?

Opportunities.
This is my favorite part of a S.W.O.T. Analysis. Here is where you can take those strengths and weaknesses, and create a strategic plan to turn them into new opportunities for your business. Look at the silver lining.

For example: If you know your social media stats are performing well, but your website traffic is low, you can find ways to direct traffic from social media to your website by adding your website link at the end of every post, or adding more website content that will make people want to visit.

Threats.
Here is where you have to keep it real with yourself. Even more real than when you had to determine your weaknesses. Threats are more than competitors, these are also areas where you can even be a threat to your own business. How are you hindering yourself? Are you afraid to invest in your business? Are you too scared to take advantage of new opportunities? Threats are worse than weaknesses. A weakness can be improved, a threat could potentially end your business.

We only have 4 more months to close out 2018. As you move through the remainder of the year, I challenge you to perform a S.W.O.T. Analysis and prepare your business for 2019. If you need help with this, please do not hesitate to contact me

Spring Clean Your Website

When was the last time you looked at your website? Or did you forget you have a website? It is so important that you keep up with trends in SEO (search engine optimizations), Google’s algorithm, updates within your industry, and transfer that knowledge into updating your website at least once per quarter.

Spring is here and it’s time to clean house! We briefly touched on the significance of updating your website in 3 Things You Can Do Today to Polish Your Digital Presence, but now it’s time to dive deeper. Follow these 5 steps to begin optimizing your website today.

1. Remove or hide unused pages.

If you have pages on your site that no longer fit your brand goals or serve a purpose, remove or hide them from your website navigation. There’s no reason for you to have pages on your website that don’t make sense for your business or that you don’t plan to update.

2. Update your website content.

Make some updates to your homepage or about us content, add more blog posts, put your pictures in your gallery, or add new testimonials. Every page on your website should have a purpose and a clear call to action. Put yourself in the customers shoes and think, “if someone landed on this page, would they understand what I want them to do?” If the answer is no, it’s time to make some changes.

3. Add your favicon.

This may seem trivial, but this simple fix is all about the customer experience. Not only does it help website visitors know they’re in the right place, it allows them to browse the web and easily get back to your site if they have multiple tabs open. Your favicon should be simple – preferably your logo. The space is limited so choose wisely. See below for examples of favicons from Facebook, MailChimp, WordPress, and yours truly.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 11.03.06 PM

4. Make it pretty.

We have all left a website because of aesthetics. If your pictures are blurry, fonts are hard to read, colors too loud, you are increasing your chances to have a low site time and a higher bounce rate. I am a stickler for ugly websites. When I see a website that is not up to par, I assume this person doesn’t care about their brand image. If a business doesn’t I’m trying to work with doesn’t care how about how they look, how can I expect them to care about me?! Whether you’re completely coding your website, or using a platform with built-in templates, pay attention to readability and be mindful of the customer experience.

5. If you can’t do it right, find someone who does.

There are some things we just have to leave to experts; website development should be one of them. If you’re unable to make the necessary updates to your site to make it beautiful, functional, and SEO friendly, then you may want to pay someone who does. There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing the work. I always use the example, “would you fix your own roof?” I would hope not! If the changes you want to make are too difficult to make on your own, there’s are tons of people out there who can help.

We put a lot into building our websites and they should return the favor! Shannon Mattern, your WordPress BFF, helps people build their website, build their audience, and build their income. We will have the pleasure of hearing from her on April 26th to discuss how to begin monetizing our websites. Grab your ticket today and visit her website to learn more.

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Make Your Seat Unique

I had a conversation with a friend recently about her business idea and she was feeling discouraged because there are so many people doing what she wants to do. I have seen other people have this same complaint.

“I can’t do ____ because _____ is already doing that!”

“I won’t succeed in ____ because there’s too many of those!”

Karl Benz created Mercedes-Benz in 1883, Henry Ford founded Ford in 1903, and Messrs Rolls and Royce came shortly after in 1906.

What if Toyota, Volkswagen, and Honda thought it was too late for them because three companies had already been established? See where I’m going with this?

There’s a seat for all of us at the table, you just have to determine what makes your seat unique. Here’s how to do it:

1. Who is your product for?
Sure, Ralph Lauren sells Sunglasses, and so does Oakley. It’s clear that their target audience is two very different people. Understand the WHO, so you can properly market the WHY!

2. Branding. BRANDING. Branding.
Yes, branding. If you don’t know by now, branding is EVERYTHING! Branding is the difference between something being high-fashion, and sold in your local Wal-Mart. Both can be equally great! However, you have to determine what image you want to put out into the world.

3. Get your marketing together!
The way you market your product, will determine who buys it. If you’re target audience are affluent persons, but you’re marketing is not on point, how can you expect those persons to purchase your product? From packaging, to product placement, and advertising, this all goes into what sets your brand apart from someone else’s.

Paint your seat gold, pink, or throw glitter on it! Whatever you do, make it unique and make it yours. There’s a sit at the table for all us to win!

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Content Planning: Why & How

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

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