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!

Social Media Influencers: Ask the Right Questions

Followers, likes, retweets, cute pics with the perfect filter; there’s more to choosing the right social media influencer.

Unfortunately, this surface mindset is why so many people feel like they’re failing and often give up on social media marketing all together. Anyone who is currently working in social media marketing, working with an agency, or plan to, should ask the REAL questions. The surface questions like: “How many followers do we have?” or “How many likes did the post get?” are the exact reason why situations like the below, happen.

Since this blog is meant to educate you, I will not go into detail about who the social media influencer is. My goal is not to ridicule her, but to help you understand why you need think deeper when it comes to social media marketing.

social media influencers tjecommunications.com“Stacy” is a social media influencer and has well over 2.6 million followers on Instagram. She recently launched a clothing line because…duh! You have 2.6 million followers so you’re bound to make money from them, right? All Stacy had to do was sell 36 pieces for the production company to continue to work with her and she failed. Yes. She has 2.6 MILLION followers and could not sell 36 pieces. Now she has to refund all of the customers who did purchase, and go back to the drawing board.

Here’s what you need to ask social media influencers BEFORE you agree to work with them.

What is your Instagram engagement score?

In this case, Stacy has 2.6 million followers, and her most liked post in the last week has 65,800+ likes. This means her engagement score on her best post is a 2.5% – this is a low average/good engagement rate.  Considering some posts range from 16,000+ likes to 45,000+, her score on average is much lower.

When choosing influencers to work with, you should be looking at working with engagement scores of at least 3% or more. The goal should be to work with brands or individuals who have followers interacting with them, not just following.

Have you had experience working with similar brands?

Rapper Kreayshawn recently reminisced on the time she royalty p*ssed off Flat Tummy Tea. The company was not happy that she insinuated that their products could be smoked.

Or how about Scott Disick’s experience with Flat Tummy Tea. I’m almost positive they didn’t want him to copy and past the entire email like this. YIKES!

social media influencers tjecommunications.com

Before you start sending free product to your favorite bloggers, set the standard on how you want your social media influencers to represent your brand. Have them send you sample social media posts of brands they’ve worked with in the past. Plus, in your contract their needs to be a clause in case the influencer violates the terms of the contract – like the above!

In addition, you need to ask for stats on the campaigns they ran with other companies including performance and revenue generated.

Ask for references!

As we know, anyone can fluff numbers. Ask your potential influencer for references – preferably of companies they’ve worked with in the past and their points of contacts during the contract. If an influencer refuses to provide such information, that should be an automatic red flag!

I know it’s easy to get caught up in the social media game. However, if you truly want to grow, you have to think deeper, more strategic, and invest in the right people!

My engagement score last month was a 5.76% which puts me in the high engagement rate category. On average, my clients range from 4% – 7% engagement rate. If you’re looking for ways to increase your engagement score, schedule a 30 minute consultation today!

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.

Yes, PR Matters.

I love social media and the digital world like any other millennial marketer. But before Facebook and iOS Press Releases (only millennials will get this joke, sorry) there was good ol’ fashion public relations – aka PR.

Yes, PR matters and it should still remain a vital piece of your overall business strategy. If you don’t currently have a PR strategy, here are a few things you should think about to get started.

What’s the difference between PR and marketing?

Public relations is EARNED media, marketing is PAID media.

Why should I care about PR when I can pay for media placement?

Sure, you could pay for media placement. But wouldn’t you rather earn your full page article in that top magazine than pay for it? Would you trust a media publication that let you pay for good publicity?

If you want to be authentic, you have to earn your stripes. PR allows you to do that.

What exactly can PR do for my business?

Having a great PR strategy can help you earn media placement on a local, or even national level. This can help you extend your reach and potentially gain new customers.

What are some key items that should be apart of my PR strategy?

There are three keys items that should be apart of your public relations strategy:

    1. Media Kit: This should be updated per product release, new service, or new business venture.
    2. Media Contacts: Don’t abuse your contacts, and don’t be too general. Your pitch should align to the interests of the person you’re reaching out to.
    3. Crisis Communication Plan: If something goes wrong in your business, (i.e. someone gets sick from your product, your product malfunctions, someone slanders you or your company) you should have a plan in place to mitigate potential issues. Your plan should include scenarios that are relevant to your industry. For example, if you own a makeup line, you should have a plan in place for the possibility of someone getting an infection or rash from your products.

Technology will continue to advance and we will gain more and more access to one another. However, the basics are what they are – the foundation. You should find a creative way to incorporate “old school” ideas into your new age strategy.

 

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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3 Things You Can Do Today to Polish Your Digital Presence

According to Moz, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

So what does that mean? 

When someone goes to a search engine, like Google or Bing, and types in: beauty supply stores in Columbus, SEO is the deciding factor in what that person will see on that first page. And let’s be honest, most people are not going to scroll past the first page of results.

If your website or social media pages are not optimized for search engines, how do you expect potential customers to find you online?

You cannot wave a magic wand and become perfectly optimized for search engines and ranking number one on Google by tomorrow. This takes a lot of work and a lot of consistency; it could be 6 months to a year before you see significant movement. However, if you put in the work in the beginning, it will pay off in the end.

Here are 3 things you can do today to begin your journey of being completely optimized for search engines:

1. Clean Up Your Local Listings
Surprise! You probably have a Google+, Yelp, and Bing floating through cyber space and most likely you have not claimed them. Not only does leaving these listings unclaimed leave it open for strangers to edit your business information, it also means you can’t make updates when needed.

Moz Local for Small Businesses can give you a free local listing score. If you have listings out there that are not verified, it will show you exactly where those listings are and from there, you can start claiming them and ensuring the information is correct.

Keep in mind Facebook now works very similar to a search engine and local listing. You need to make sure your address is accurate on your Facebook business page as well.

2. Update Your Website
Don’t let your website site dormant for months, or years. At least once a quarter, you should be updating your site in some way. This could mean adding pictures from events, creating a blog, or adding testimonials. If search engines see you are actively updating, this will help you with rankings.

3. Backlink to Your Friends and Vice Versa
A backlink is a link that links back (hence, backlink…) to your website from another source. This is a great way to build website authority. The key is to have credible websites link back to you. If you’re involved with local community organizations, or if you have partnerships with other businesses in your area, don’t be afraid to ask them if there is a way for them to mention you on their website. In turn, you should do the same for them!

Now it’s time to get to it! I challenge you as we close out the year to do ONE of these 5 things every week. Let’s get 2018 off to a great start!

Want to talk more in depth about making sure your digital presence is in tact? Schedule a 30-90 minute business consultation today. Click here to learn more >>

3 Reasons Why You Have to Keep Hustlin’

Monday I hosted my first TJE event titled, Respect the Hustle. The purpose of the event was to bring like-minded women together for an evening of wine and networking. 100 women entrepreneurs registered for this event and nearly 60% of attendees showed up. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that.

The responses I’ve received thus far have reminded me WHY I need to keep the hustle alive and here’s why you should too:

1. You don’t know who’s watching. While you’re looking in the mirror thinking of all the things you could have done better, there’s someone watching you who believes in you. They believe in your dream and your hustle and they want to see you win!

2. You got shit to do. And goals to reach! You might be closer than you think to the finish line. Sure, there are going to be rough times. That is what builds our character. But you have to push past them and stay resilient to reap the rewards.

3. I need you. Watching the women I’ve build connections to succeed makes me feel like I’m winning, too. I love celebrating your wins! I need you to keep hustlin’ because you motivate me to do the same.

We’re in this together, girl! I know it get hurts but when you want to give up, think about these three things and remind yourself why you started. If you need an accountability, let’s connect and keep each other motivated.

I look forward to seeing you at the next TJE event! Until then, keep hustlin’!

Check out some pictures from the first #RespecttheHustlepictures by Jen Lyttle.

Sponsors:

Wine on High – www.wineonhigh.com

Stella & Dot by Michelle Vroom – http://www.stelladot.com/sites/MichelleVroom

Damsel in Defense by Trina D. Harris – www.youdeservesafety.com

Fulcio – https://www.fulcio.life/

Dalisay is Pure – dalisayispure@gmail.com

Bonbons by Linda – bonbonsbylinda@gmail.com

Pure Romance by Tonnisha – pureromance.com/tonnishaenglish

Email marketing has the larger ROI than any other form of marketing. Register today for the first TJE webinar and learn how you can boost for business for nearly, free! Click here to learn more. 

3 Types of Emails Your Business Should Send

As we countdown to Using Email Marketing to Boost Your Business, I’ve had a lot of business owners ask me, “Is email marketing truly something my type of business should invest in?” My short answer: Yes.

If you check the stats from my previous post, you should completely understand the WHY. For those that are still unsure, put yourself in your consumers shoes as you continue to read.

  1. Welcome Email – The first email campaign you should send is a welcome email. This email should let the subscriber know the types of emails they will be receiving and the frequency. The true purpose of this email is to set the tone. When you do that from the beginning, subscribers will know what to expect and are more likely to open future emails.
  2. Newsletter – Many marketers make the mistake of only emailing subscribers when they are trying to sell or promote something. You should have at least one monthly touchpoint that encompasses things happening in the industry, in your business, or even in the community that is relevant.
  3. Follow Up – If you’ve had a recent event, webinar, or meeting with a prospective client, you should send a follow up email to attendees. This should include a recap of the event or conversation you’ve had, and your company information. You should also ask their permission to add them to your mailing list for future communication.

If you think about it, you probably receive these type of messages on a daily basis. That is why content is important. It is what keeps readers coming back. Register for Using Email Marketing to Boost Your Business to learn more about how you can take your brand to the next level.

Want to talk to me directly about how email marketing can help your business? Click here to schedule a one-on-one consultation.