So, now what?

Anyone else tired of talking about last year? I’m one of those people who will only let you vent to me twice before I start asking you for solutions. Once we get to the third venting session my question to everyone is always: So, now what?

This is a question I’m sure many of us have been asking ourselves lately. But if you haven’t put much thought into it, this is a sign that it is time. 

If you’re feeling uncertain about your career or business future questions, here are a few steps you can take to start getting some clarity and moving forward. 

  1. What are you passionate about?

This is a loaded question, I know. Start by creating a list of your hobbies or things you enjoy doing and then think about what career paths align with your interests.

  1. Who should you connect with?

There’s an art to networking that many have not mastered. Here are a few things you should NOT do when making a new connection:

    • Do not ask to “pick their brain.” This screams, “I want to meet with you and drain you of all of your knowledge for free—no one will be excited to meet with you if you lead with this.
      • Instead ask: “I am interested in learning more about how to do (insert whatever it is that they do that they want to learn), and I see you are very good at it! Would you mind connecting me with some communities or resources that align with this?”
  • Do not start with an ASK. Reaching out to someone new and automatically asking for them to give you something is a big no. I usually ignore people who I don’t know if they lead with an ask.
    • Instead start with: “Hi, [INSERT NAME], I see that you do [INSERT WHAT THEY DO], and I am a part of an amazing group of professionals who I think could learn from you. Would you mind if I shared your profile in the group?”
  • Do not send generic connection requests. I receive so many connection requests on LinkedIn from people asking me if I’m ready to work for myself part-time or if I want to learn how to start my own business. If they were to just take a glance at my profile, they would know I’m already doing that.
    • Here’s what you can do instead: “I see you used to work at [INSERT COMPANY], that is awesome! I would love to join your LinkedIn Network if you’re interested.”
  1. What are your real money goals?

Money is sadly such a taboo topic in business and it really should not be. You deserve to get paid your worth and you deserve to demand. Whether you’re working for a corporation or for yourself, think about your real money goals and create a game plan to reach them. 

April 8, 2021, I celebrated two years of full-time entrepreneurship and these three questions above are things I had to ask myself (and still ask quarterly) in order to reach my goals. I hope asking yourself these questions helps you to do the same!

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,

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!

How to Manage Mom Life & Business

Let’s cut to the chase. There’s no way in hell anyone can do it all on their own and maintain sanity at all times. I’m often asked “How do you do it all?” Or hear comments like, “Wow, you’re really running your business and mom life so well!”

To be honest, some days I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing; as a mom or as a business owner. Here’s a little back story…

I started my business in 2014 after having trouble finding a full-time job in my field after graduation. I spent that summer doing free-freelance work, working at an eyeglasses shop, and working at a summer internship. After working at a major non-profit, a startup marketing agency, and for a large retail brand, I stepped out on faith and decided to work for myself running TJE Communications full time.

During that time I bought a house, had a baby, and quickly had to learn how to balance my ambitious career goals with a child on my hip.

Our days are not always fun; especially during quarantine. I get frustrated and sad and stressed and anxious. However, I have gotten a better grasp on how to handle momming and marketing pretty well. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, here are a few tips to help you learn how to manage your babies and your businesses.

  1. Establish Boundaries – My daughter has learned that when my computer is open, that means mommy is working. Which also means that she needs to keep her “asks” to a minimum. Keep in mind my daughter is turning 4 next month so it has gotten easier. It was much harder last year when I first quit my job. If possible, try to  set boundaries with your children so they know when mommy is in work mode, and when mommy is ready for cuddles and kisses.
  2. Be Open to Untraditional Business Hours – Momma, you ain’t about to work 9 to 5 with the kids at home. It’ll be more like 7am – 9am, then an intermission for breakfast, then back at it from 10am to 12pm, with another break to feed a “starving” child, followed by a potential temper tantrum that could push you back 2 hours. Now it’s 2pm and you still have work to do. It’s okay. Get used to it! This is the life of every mompreneur. Due to this, I try to schedule my meetings during times I know Tegan will be content. She has also learned that if I’m on the phone or in a meeting that she shouldn’t interrupt. Although, by now people actually enjoy my daughter jumping in on calls to say “hello” to the team.
  3. Stop Trying to Do It All – I have to remind myself this DAILY! I beat myself up over not getting items on my to-do list 100% completed, or when my daughter really wants to cuddle but I really want to get work done. It truly causes me to have so much anxiety. I’m (still) learning that it is OK if items on your to-do list go unchecked–there’s always tomorrow.
  4. Let Yourself Feel – Whether it’s mad, sad, happy, or even angry. Let yourself feel it! Go to your tribe and let it all out when you need to. I used to be afraid to ask for help and advice because I feel moms get so much judgement for being frustrated with their kids. Now when I’m frustrated, I humbly seek counsel through prayer and my community.
  5. Find Your Outlet – I’ve been running again lately and it has helped me so much with my anxiety. I also started on some home outdoor projects and have been playing my clarinet again. Find a new hobby or pick up an old one and use this as a way to relieve stress.

Quarantine life is coming to a close for some of us and I hope all of you have been hanging in there. Managing your anxiety and stress levels will be even more important once we all start getting our lives somewhat back to normal. Try these tips and let me know if they’ve helped!

Be sure to follow TJE Communications on Instagram and Twitter and don’t forget to like us on Facebook and share how you’re raising babies and businesses!

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!