3 Things to Do Before Q1 is Over

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

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

How to Prep for Your DIY Photoshoot

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

Why is having professional photography important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Camera

  • Pros
    • Wider angles
    • Multiple settings
    • App on your phone connects to the camera for self-timer
  • Cons
    • Prices vary
    • Learning curve
    • Some accessories aren’t included (i.e. memory disk, multiple lenses)

iPhone

  • Pros
    • You already have one (sorry Android peeps! I don’t know anything about how your cameras work but I still love you!)
    • The portrait setting is already on your phone
    • Easy to use
  • Cons
    • Not great for wide angles
    • Inconvenient to set the timer in the middle of your shoot

Take a look at some examples from my shoot below…

Canon EOS Rebel T17

 

iPhone XS Max (Portrait Mode)


Pick the perfect day
If you don’t have lighting for your shoot, check the weather and pick a day where it’ll be best to maximize natural light. From my experience, working with natural light makes your photos come out amazing and you will need minimal editing if any at all.

Set the stage
You will hate every photo if you don’t set the mood. That means eating a decent breakfast, getting your morning coffee, and choosing a playlist that will keep you hype and energized throughout the shoot.

If you use Tidal, check out my “BOSS MOVES” playlist and put it on shuffle during your next DIY shoot: click here. I am also open to song suggestions!

Do you feel ready for your DIY brand photoshoot? I can’t wait to see your pics! If you need help, just click here and schedule a 15-minute consult today!

XOXO,

Prepare Your Marketing Plan for 2021

Are you preparing for 2021?

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

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

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

Other items to include in your crisis communication plan are:

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

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

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

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 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!

 

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.

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!

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.

How to Conduct a S.W.O.T. Analysis

No matter what industry you work in, a S.W.O.T. Analysis can help you determine your business goals, objectives, and strategic plan. 

What exactly is a S.W.O.T. Analysis?

S.W.O.T. stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. If you’re unable to hire a third party company to conduct this analysis for you, here are some basic tips to do this on your own.

Strengths.
Take a look at your analytics and sales and identify the top 3-5 things your business is doing very well. These are your strengths. Many people, including myself, have a hard time talking about the things we’re doing well. But the numbers don’t lie! Do a deep dive into your stats and celebrate your wins.

Weaknesses.
Here’s the part we’re all good at! Identifying what is not going so well. Take the stats you’ve gathered about your strengths, and look at where there is a need for improvement. You also want to understand the why. Is there a reason you’re performing low in one area of business, but higher in others? Are there numbers behind the failures that can help you turn them into wins?

Opportunities.
This is my favorite part of a S.W.O.T. Analysis. Here is where you can take those strengths and weaknesses, and create a strategic plan to turn them into new opportunities for your business. Look at the silver lining.

For example: If you know your social media stats are performing well, but your website traffic is low, you can find ways to direct traffic from social media to your website by adding your website link at the end of every post, or adding more website content that will make people want to visit.

Threats.
Here is where you have to keep it real with yourself. Even more real than when you had to determine your weaknesses. Threats are more than competitors, these are also areas where you can even be a threat to your own business. How are you hindering yourself? Are you afraid to invest in your business? Are you too scared to take advantage of new opportunities? Threats are worse than weaknesses. A weakness can be improved, a threat could potentially end your business.

We only have 4 more months to close out 2018. As you move through the remainder of the year, I challenge you to perform a S.W.O.T. Analysis and prepare your business for 2019. If you need help with this, please do not hesitate to contact me