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

How to Create Your IGTV Channel

If you haven’t heard, long form video has come to Instagram! Why? Well, any person truly invested in digital marketing & SEO could tell you that Google and Facebook have been in competition for YEARS! Facebook wants to be a search engine, Google wants to have a social network. It’s a never ending war, but, those of us who rely on both of these platforms will continue to benefit from all their new innovations.

What is IGTV?

IGTV, or Instagram TV, is just like a having a YouTube channel attached to your Instagram page. You can upload longer videos than the typcial 60 seconds Instagram allows for on a normal post.

Why should I make an IGTV channel?

For starters, I have no doubt in my mind that this will blow up. There are already celebrities like Will Smith taking advantage of IGTV and we know how much he loves YouTube (YT is owned by Google, Instagram is owned by Facebook – see why this is a never ending war?).

In addition, this gives you even more opportunity to bring your followers quality content and to increase engagement.

How do I create my channel?

It’s actually VERY simple!

Step 1. Open your Instagram app and click the orange-ish icon in the top right corner, next to the DM button. When you get there, you’ll see a screen like the one below displaying videos from people you follow.

Step 2. Next you’ll click on the settings button and you’ll get a pop up like the one below that says “Create Channel”.

Step 3. Once you select “Create Channel” you’ll see the following screens. Read through them and select “Create Channel”.

     

Step 4. Once your channel is created, you’ll see a screen like this. Go to your channel and from there you can begin uploading videos. As of now, the video cap is 15 minutes.

Keep in mind the videos have to be vertical. Similar to how an IG Live or Facebook Live video is laid out. I suggest if you have some great lives you want to savor, download them on your computer and send them to yourself to upload.

Don’t forget that titles, tags, and thumbnails matter! It may seem tedious but you want your channel to look good and feel professional.

I’m personally excited for new Instagram feature and will fully take advantage of the war going on between Google and Facebook.

If you’re already on IGTV I would love to know your thoughts on it so far! Reply to this email and let me know.

XOXO