So, now what?

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

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

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

  1. What are you passionate about?

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

  1. Who should you connect with?

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

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

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

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

3 Things to Do Before Q1 is Over

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

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

How to Prep for Your DIY Photoshoot

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

Why is having professional photography important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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,

Prepare Your Marketing Plan for 2021

Are you preparing for 2021?

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

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

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

Other items to include in your crisis communication plan are:

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

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

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

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!

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!

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!