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!

Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs

I attended my first networking event when I was 18 (I’m now 27) and I still cringe at the thought of having to talk to strangers. Most people think of networking as a scary/awkward experience, and it’s true that it can be. However, there are a few tips that can help you feel prepared, and make real connections.

Prep your elevator speech

“So, what do you do?” This is a common question I’ve encountered at networking events. What’s more important than answering this question, is your confidence in the answer. Before your next event, practice your elevator speech until you say it with confidence. Your speech should be short, sweet, and authentic.

Dig deeper

Networking can get old real fast when you’re constantly talking about work. Try to dig deeper and ask questions that will spark real conversation. Learn about their family life, their hobbies, and even the “why” behind their business. This information could help you win this person over as a client or customer.

Collect cards with a purpose

There is no prize for collecting the most business cards. The purpose of attending a networking event is to make real connections. If someone offers you their business card, take it. But before you ask for it, think about if connecting with this person outside of this event is truly beneficial for your business.

Don’t forget your cards

Speaking of cards, don’t forget to take your business cards with you! Your business card at minimum should include your company logo, contact information, your name, and title.

Bring a friend

If you’re more of an introvert, have one of your extroverted business friends join you at the event. I personally find it helpful to attend events with friends, even though I’m more of an extrovert in networking environments. Just having a persona to chat with that you already know can help give you some peace of mind. However, it is important not to use this person as a crutch and only talk to them.

Find the wall flower

I always make it a point to go talk to the person who is not talking to anyone. I do this because most likely, they’re more nervous than me and I’m able to help them open up a little bit, too. If you’re unable to bring a friend, you and this person could tag team the event together and provide one another with support.

Check out the guest list

Take a look at the list of attendees and speakers and decide who you want to meet beforehand. Do your research and come to the event with a game plan to connect with them!

Be your own hype man

EVERYONE is nervous! Listen to your favorite hype song in the car, grab a drink from the bar when you get there, and just be yourself.

Are you ready to use these networking tips at #RTHCon19 on September 20 and 21, 2019? Grab your tickets and join us today – click here.

 

Social Media: How to Stay Consistent

Social media marketing in 2019 is filled with noise and ever-changing algorithms. The key to success no matter what you do is consistency.

Yes, that means you can’t post once a week to your social media pages and expect to see any traction. You should be posting a minimum of once per day. If that sounds scary, here are a few simple ways you can stay consistent with posting.

  1. Create a plan – Content planning! As you’ve heard me say before, content planning allows you to be strategic and takes away the stress of not knowing what to post. If you’ve never planned your content before, grab my content calendar and get started!
  2. Set expectations with your audience – Every Tuesday my audience knows that I go Facebook Live. And trust me when I don’t, people ask me about it! When you have set the expectations, you have to give the people what they want, right? Create your staple piece of content that people can look forward to and keep them coming back for more.
  3. Schedule your posts – Do you think I’m sitting around posting on social media in real time? Absolutely not! I use a social media management tool that allows me to schedule my content and it even provides me with recommended posting times for the highest engagement.
  4. Find an accountability partner – You’re not in this alone! There are times when I am so busy I get behind on scheduling my content. Find a buddy that you can check in with when you see them lacking in posting and vise vera.

We’re playing the long game here! Try one, or all 4 of these tips and see which works best for you. While you’re at it, sign up for my 7 days to social media series. In this series you will receive 7 days of prompts and tips to help you post on social media everyday.

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

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 Set Up Facebook Ads

We’re knees deep in the season of holidays sales, deals, and promotions. It’s easy for your customers to become overwhelmed with the overload of emails and mailers coming to their door. If you’re looking to standout, aside from having great content and products to promote, you should consider running Facebook Ads this holiday season. Never done it before? Here’s a step by step guide to creating your first advertisement.
1. Determine the type of ad you want to create

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Facebook breaks their ads down into three main categories:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Conversion

You need to have a clear understanding of your objective with this advertisement before you get started. Having a solidified goal in place will ensure you set up your ad correctly, and receive the best results when the campaign is over. The campaign you create can be new, or you can use a past or existing campaign to run your new ad with.

2. Create your audience

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Once you have your campaign objectives in place, you need to create your audience. The audience is THE most important part of your campaign. Targeting the wrong person for your ads is a sure way to lose money and have a poor ad performance.

It is important to not be too specific, or too vague. If you do not have a clear understanding of your target audience, think back to your campaign objectives. What is the end goal of your campaign and what would intrigue the ideal customer to engage with your ad? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Where do they live?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What is their annual income?
  • Are they married?
  • Do they have children?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • Do they have disposable income?
  • How old are they?
  • What are their political views?

Understanding your target audience is crucial to your business and the advertisement you are producing. If you’re unsure, I would recommend taking a step back and performing some market research to get to know your ideal customer.

3. Determine your budget and schedule

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If you’re doing ads on Facebook for the first time, I recommend setting a budget of a dollar amount you aren’t afraid to lose or are willing to invest into this campaign. You can set up a daily budget or a lifetime budget. The more money you are willing to spend, the more people you will reach. However, I do recommend if it is your first campaign, you should set a lifetime budget or an end date to be safe.
4. Create your ad

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When it comes to creating your ad, you can also decide if you want to start from scratch, or use an existing post. If you decide to use an existing post, please keep in mind that once the ad goes live, you cannot make edits to that post again. Even after the campaign has ended, changes cannot be made. I would recommend creating a new ad that is unique to the campaign you are working on to avoid any issues.
5. Review your ad

Before you confirm, carefully review your campaign set up. Double check the audience you’ve selected, be sure the budget you set matches with your marketing plan, and confirm the “end date” of the campaign aligns with the product or service you are launching. You should also be sure things are spelled correctly and are grammatically correct.
6. Review performance

Once the campaign has ended, your work is far from done! You should review the performance of your ad to see if your original objectives were met. If they were, the next time you create an ad you may want to increase your budget.

If your goal was not met, you should take a deep dive into your results to determine what went wrong and create a plan to improve for next time.

Do you plan on running ads during the holidays? They’re not as expensive as you think. You can set a daily budget of $5 or $500+! I encourage you all to set aside a budget for ads in 2019 if you haven’t already. If you want to learn more about Facebook ads for your business, schedule a 30 minute business consultation today!

4 Steps to Prepare for Holiday Emails

‘Tis the season for email holiday prep! If you don’t already have a strategic plan in place, it’s time to get the ball rolling. Here are a few ideas to get you ready to spread some cheer through email marketing.

Create Your Content Calendar

You all know I love a good content calendar! The point of having this calendar is so that you can begin to plan your overall marketing strategy throughout the holiday season. Your calendar should include content, graphics, and which channels those pieces of content will live.

If you are planning to do some boosting/promoting or creating advertisements, include your budget and the channels in which your ads will be placed.

See below for an example of what my content calendar looks like.

I would recommend creating a rough idea of content through the beginning of January. We all know how busy things can get around the holidays. This will help you stay on track.

Clean Your Mailing List

It’s the perfect time to clean your mailing list and reengage inactive subscribers. Start scrubbing your list by removing soft bounces. If you’re using a system that does not automatically remove hard bounces (God forbid), then remove those as well.

Side note..

Hard bounce: This happens when you send an email to an address that does not exist.

Soft bounce: This can happen if a subscribers mailbox is too full, their server is busy, or maybe your message is too large for their inbox.

To get subscribers reengaged, try sending them an offer code for a percentage off their next purchase with you. If they still don’t open your email, you may want to consider to removing them from your list to increase your deliverability and open rates.

Segment Your List

Segmenting your list is just as important as cleaning it. By creating segments, you’re able to truly send targeted messages to your subscribers.

For example: Let’s say you’re a candle maker and you have 100 people on your mailing list. 10 of them have only purchased your cinnamon apple scent. You can send those 10 purchasers an offer to try your other cinnamon apple products such as wax melts or essential oils. Or you can try to entice them by giving a coupon to use on a new scent.

Create Your Drip Campaigns/Email Automations

Now that you have your content calendar planned, and a clean-segmented list, begin setting up your holiday drip campaigns and automations. You should have automations in place for new subscribers and current subscribers. Once the funnels are in place, all you should have to do is plug in your content and let the workflow do it’s thing!

I am excited to introduce new products throughout the holiday season! I have currently created a plan through November and currently working on December. Have you started yet? What are some things you are focusing on? Comment below and let me know!

Pick a side.

It’s 2018 and the tides are changing once more. We can check our history books and speak to our elders for proof that when injustices are brought to the horizon, eventually, you have to pick a side. In some cases, there is a very define line between the right side, and the completely wrong side. While in others, it is not.

Let’s take a look back at a moment that will certainly go down in history…

It’s the 2016 NFL season and Colin Kaepernick begins to take a knee during the national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality and the injustices that people of color face on a daily basis. (Fun fact, he first started sitting during the anthem but was told by a U.S. Veteran that kneeling was more appropriate. I also want to note that Kaepernick is not the first athlete to make a “political stance” but for the sake of my point, we’re going to focus on him.)

I’m sure at this point you’re wondering, “why is this your tip of the month and what does this have to do with my business?”

I’m glad you’ve asked…

Yesterday, it was announced that Colin Kaepernick alongside Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr., and Shaquem Griffin, are the faces of Nike’s 30th Anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. The internet was clearly divided on this and some even threatened to boycott the brand. While others, including myself, applauded them.

Nike has clearly taken a stance on how they feel about Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem. This “decision” has even sparked a statement from the president who has made it clear he is not a fan of Kaepernick or any other athlete who decides to kneel during the anthem.

So what does this mean for Nike?

They have made a very bold move that essentially has divided their customer base. Do I believe they will take a loss? No. Do I believe that they TRULY are riding for Kaepernick? I don’t know.

One thing we can probably agree on, is that they did their did research, pulled numbers, and came to an informed decision where they understand the pros and cons about how this could impact their market share. We can conclude that overall, this was a good business move for the brand that majority of leadership has agreed on.

What does this mean for small businesses?

I’m not saying that you need to shout from the rooftop your political views. However, I am telling you to pick a side.

If someone is wearing your brand and posts a video of themselves kneeling during the anthem, how would you feel? Or what if they were protesting a Planned Parenthood? Or what if they were arrested for a hate crime?

It may sound outrageous to think of all of these scenarios. But let’s remind ourselves what happened to Pepsi and Dove. A small “mishap” could truly become a bad press day for your company.

Why do you need to pick a side?

You shouldn’t need to think too long and hard about what you would do if any of those scenarios were to occur. I know we all want to keep politics a secret and out of business and sports alike, but the reality is, we cannot. You should have a clear understanding of your personal values.

Our customers truly WANT to support businesses that care about them. If you want to play it safe and down the middle then please, be my guest. But you may be involved in a scenario where you will be forced to pick a side and I hope you are ready to do so with pride.

As for me, I’ve chosen a side.

TJE Communications and it’s subsidiaries has not and will never tolerate discrimination or disrespect of any kind amongst its event attendees or clients. TJE Communications also will never support or work with those who believe in the discrimination of others.

I challenge you all to make a list of all of the things you value, and find ways to incorporate it into your business model. If you need help, you know where to find me!

Have a question that needs an answer, email info@tjecommunications.com.