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!

 

Here’s Why You Need Content Calendars

By now, you should know that I firmly believe content is the QUEEN and the key to all businesses.

Think about it…

  • Netflix has ENDLESS original content you can consume any time of day
  • If you have cable, you are probably super involved in the lives of more reality tv personalities than you can count
  • Close this browser and head over to YouTube and you will find multiple shows, movies, tutorials, and music than your brain can even handle
  • Social media is full of influencers giving us laughs, cries, and advice about life and business

Everyone is searching for the secret sauce when it’s been right in front of us this whole time. CONTENT!

Here’s why you need a content calendar:

  • Allows for strategic planning
  • Helps track past content
  • Can be used later to understand what’s working, and what is not in your strategy

When I’m talking content, I am NOT only talking about social media. This includes:

  • Social media
  • Email campaigns
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies

And seriously so much more…

The best part about planning content, is that it removes the anxiety that comes with knowing you have to put content out there. By having a plan, you can focus on other aspects of your business. 

If you never had a content calendar or don’t even know what it entails, it only takes 3 major steps.

1. Know the type of content you want to produce and how long it will take to produce.

2. Pick days/time that work best for your audience.

3. Find a scheduling platform that supports your needs.

Simple enough, right?

My goal for 2020 is to create more content! Join me by grabbing your $5 content calendar today. Click here.

Happy content calendar making!

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.

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!

Why You Need to Know Your Target Audience

Can we agree that wasting money is not fun? If you don’t know who your target audience is, that is exactly what you’re doing; wasting money.

There are so many reasons why having a clear understanding of your ideal customer is important. Here are my top 3 reasons that have personally impacted my business.

  1. Attract the right clients – I started by business in 2014 without a clear vision into the services I would offer or who I would offer them to. Once I was able to nail down my offerings, I was able to create a strategy to bring in the right clientele.
  2. Offer the right products and services – When you know who your audience is, you understand what your customer needs. Which is amazing because you’ll know exactly what to offer them! In the beginning I had WAY too many offerings which can be confusing for a customer. Sliming down my offerings and creating sub-categories on an as needed basis has been extremely beneficial for my business.
  3. Intentional marketing – Once you know the customer, you probably know where to find them! This has helped me to be intentional in all of my marketing efforts online and offline. Which has allowed me to make a profit and go into my business full time.

I’m currently in the process of identifying new potential clients and I’m excited to hit my next ‘aha’ moment. If you feel like you’re hitting a brick-wall in your business, it may be time to re-identify your target audience.

Join me for an interactive webinar to learn how to truly understand your customer. Take advantage of the webinar + consult ticket to get the webinar for FREE and a 30-minute business consultation where we can talk more in depth about your business goals.

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

#BlkWomeninBiz: Kay Dupree

Born and raised in the Bronx, by 9 years old, Kay Dupree knew that being a fashion designer was her calling. She grew up around fashionable family members and would often sketch what they were wearing and create her own Barbie clothes.

Kay was destined to become an entrepreneur – it runs through her veins. Her dad owned a construction business for over 30 years. Watching her father run his own company made her realize that being a businesswoman was her calling.

She attended the Art Institute of NYC and graduated with a degree in fashion design in 2006. Every time she went shopping, she knew something was missing. She knew that there were other women out there who felt the same way. That is when she realized that she needed to start her own line of clothing.

Her first business idea was an urban chic fashion line which would include bomber jackets, joggers, and denim on denim everything. Some of her first designs were the “Adore My Curves” and “Heart Soul & Curves” tees.

Kay Dupree is bringing the classic, yet chic and bold flavor that the plus size industry is missing. Many companies try to make a garment bigger and call it “plus size” – but is it really? A true plus size designer, like Kay, designs full pieces for plus size women. She puts her heart and soul into her creations and you can feel it with every stitch. Who better to design for plus size woman, than a plus size woman understands the frustrations of going shopping? She simply decided not to run from her purpose.

There is a lot of challenging work, trials, and tribulations that go into starting a brand like Kay did. There is also a lot of prejudice when it comes to being an indie designer. Most manufacturers charge double the price because she is creating plus size clothing. They prefer smaller sizes because it takes less time and fabric to create. As a result, customers have to pay more – which is not fair. Since the clothes weigh more, she has to pay more to ship to her customers. As an independent company, she is charged extra for nearly every aspect of the process.

One thing Kay has learned during these harsh realities, is that there is nothing else she would rather be doing.

“I overcome these moments by reminding myself to stay in my lane. My moment will come when it’s supposed to and I can’t rush it.”

As a minority, female business owner, adversity is everywhere, but Kay is resilient. Black women in business are breaking barriers and are by the most successful group of entrepreneurs stepping out, pushing fear to the left and following the dream.

One piece of advice Kay has for anyone looking to start their own line – research…and lots of RESEARCH. This business is not for the faint of heart.

“Know your customer and understand them fully. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Stay in your lane and focus on your business.”

Kay, as a fellow black woman in business, I commend you for your dedication to this process. It is because of woman like you, that others to follow will have the opportunity to serve a demographic that is, until recently, overlooked. Thank you for standing up to the industry, and taking the plunge to be amongst #BlkWomeninBiz.

Know another #BlkWomeninBiz killing it in her field? Send your submission below.