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.

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!

3 Simple Ways to Support Black Businesses

Do you talk the talk and walk the walk?

Everyone is speaking up during this time and that is fine and dandy. However, I like to consider myself a woman of ACTION. It’s time to put your words in motion.

I have decided to stop focusing on the world at large and instead, focus on my community which ideally, would impact the globe if every person I touch, shares these thoughts and ideas with someone else, and so forth.

For starters, as a black-woman and business owner, I have faced microagression and implicit bias since the day I stepped foot into my professional career. My goal is to now begin to educate my peers when I witness them displaying acts of microagression and implicit bias to others.

What does microagression mean?
A microagresion is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.⠀

For example: If someone says, “Wow you’re so articulate!” OR “I never would have expected that from a woman with your background!” ⠀

What is implicit bias?
This refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

While I believe that some people truly do not understand they are being offensive at times, it is 2020. So…..excuses are running out and patience is running thin.

If you want to support the black community but you’re not sure where to start, here are 3 simple ways you can support black businesses today.

1. Use your platform to amplify black voices and businesses.
If you’re hosting a conference, a podcast, or special event, consider putting black people in the speaker line up.

2. Choose black-owned venues and spaces for your events.
There are PLENTY of amazing ones. Do your research and at best, consider these spaces for your next event.

3. Pay full price for products and services.
Do not expect discounts! Pay full price like you would any other business.

Also, let’s stop the narrative that black businesses lack in customer service. That is not true. I’ve had great and terrible service from all types of businesses. General statements like this put a negative connotation on black businesses and is harmful to the community.

We all have to be willing and open to learn and grow. Try these 3 very simple ways to support today!

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!

 

How to Make the Most of Your Day When Working from Home

If you’ve never worked from home before, it is probably more difficult than you can imagine. Our homes are supposed to be our sanctuary, not a place to stress about work!

With the recent circumstances, many of us don’t have a choice but to ditch the office and create a productive work environment in the comfort of our homes.

Why is working from home difficult?

Many people have this false idea that people who work from home are just sitting in their pajamas all day and binging their favorite series. That is far from the truth.

Those us who have the privilege to work from home on a daily basis are aware of the distractions your home causes when work needs to be done. It’s hard to see the laundry that needs doing, or the dishes in the sink, and the dog giving you the sweetest eyes begging for a belly rub and NOT want to give all of these things your time. This is why I choose to pay a membership to a co-working space so I can set some of those boundaries.

Here’s how you can maximize your productivity while working from home…

Whether it’s your first time working from home, or if you’ve tried to in the past and felt like a failure, here are 5 tips to help you maximize your productivity while working from home.

  1. Do not work in bed! Sounds like a good time, but you’ll end up napping/scrolling IG.⠀
  2. Create a designated work space. If you don’t have an office, your kitchen table may work. ⠀
  3. Find a good podcast to tune into. This is much better than watching tv because it’s hard to NOT look at the screen while working. Podcasts are great and all you have to do is tune in!⠀
  4. Set work hours! Whether it’s 9-5 or 10-6, find a time that works for you but stick to it!⠀
  5. Create a to-do list. This will help you stay on task and be mindful of your productivity. ⠀

If you follow the above five steps, I promise you will be able to successfully make it through these next few weeks. If you’re a mompreneur, check out one of my recent #TonnishasTuesdayTip that discusses how to work from home with toddlers.

Do you have any other tips for working from home? Comment below and share!

3 Ways to Turn Your Passion into Content

I’ve posed the question many times and still can’t find the answer….why is content marketing so hard? 

What makes content so important?

  • Content is the QUEEN of digital marketing
  • It helps to build credibility
  • Gives customers another entry point to your website or store front

We know the landscape of social media is changing so we can no longer just rely on these platforms to attract new customers. We have to leverage our experience and expertise in other ways to take our brands and businesses to the next level.

So again, why is content marketing so hard? It is because you are overthinking it. Content marketing sounds like something that is more intricate than it really is.

If we break it down…

Content = your knowledge.

Marketing = the place you decide to distribute your content (social media, email marketing, whitepapers, videos, blogging, etc.).

Here are 3 ways to turn your passion into content:

  1. Keep it basic. The first thing you have to understand is that you have knowledge about your industry that the average person does not. This means that there is no need to go into too much detail over things your audience may never understand. Think about the surface level knowledge you can share with your audience and find ways to translate that information in layman’s terms.
  2. PLAN. You know how I feel about planning. That doesn’t change here. Pull your calendar out and begin thinking about the content pieces you want to put out into the world.
  3. Distribute in a way that makes you feel comfortable. If you enjoy writing, distribute your content through writing. If you’re not scared of video, press record on your phone and get your content out to the world that way. Where people fail at content marketing, is being afraid to just do it – this is partially because they are scared of how they will distribute. Yes, it is important to evolve and push your limits. However, in the beginning, I encourage you to do what makes you feel comfortable.

Ready to turn your passion into content? It’s time to get started!

Need help? Schedule a FREE 15-minute call – let’s connect!

 

How to Determine KPIs

There’s no cookie cutter plan or strategy for your business. Every company model relies on a major key element to keep the brand moving forward.

For social influencers, it may be followers and engagement. For someone who makes candles, it may be conversions and sales. As a business owner, it is up to you to determine what KPIs matter for your business.

What are KPIs?

KPIs = key performance indicators.

According to KPI.org, “Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result. KPIs help provide a focus for strategic and operational improvement, create an analytical basis for decision making and help focus attention on what matters most.”

Why do KPIs matter?

When you have a clear understanding of your goals, you’re able to create a real strategy to reach them. You’re also able to better articulate your message to potential partners and customers.

How do I determine KPIs?

First, you need to have a clear intended result. If you’re running a sale and your goal is to make X amount of dollars, there should be an expected revenue or sales goal in place as you’re building your campaign.

Secondly, you need to consider what drives the bottom line for your business. If sales and revenue move the needle for your brand, then focusing on followers and engagement is a waste of time and resources.

Lastly, you need to be realistic with your KPIs. If you’re unsure about what your goals should be, consider performing an audit on your business to understand the trends of your business before putting KPIs in place. Check out out audits here!

What are some common KPIs?

Here are some common KPIs to help you get started:

Likes/Reactions – The amount of times people have interacted with your post on social media. On Facebook, people are able to react with your post with a ‘Like’, ‘Love’, ‘Wow’, ‘Sad’, or ‘Angry’.

Followers/Page Likes – These are the people who  have decided to stay in the know about your brand or business by agreeing to receive updates on their timeline about you.

Reach – The amount of people who have seen your social post or advertisement.

Impressions – The amount of times your post or advertisement has been seen. This is very similar to ‘Reach’. Here’s how it is different: if three people have seen your post, but you have ten impressions, that means between those three people (reach), your post has been seen ten times (impression).

Engagement – This combines the amount of likes/reactions and comments on a social post. Do you know your engagement score? Find out here.

Conversions – Typically this is when someone takes a desired action such as making a purchase or providing you with their email address or contact information.

Need help setting KPIs for your business? Schedule a 15-minute discovery call to walk us through your concerns. We would be happy to help! Click here to schedule today.