28 Days of Black Women in Business

In February we celebrated 28 black women in business who are paving the way for us all. The month may be over, but we’re still celebrating women business leaders who are climbing the corporate ladder, and those branching out into their own businesses. Some of the daily features included our favorite local ladies, Morgan A. Owens, Kelsea Wiggins, and Adrienne Ruff. In addition to our international players, Valeisha Butterfield, Angela Yee, and Oprah Winfrey.

These past 28 days have allowed me to reflect on my own journey. I’ve started to not only think of ways I can improve, but how I can celebrate and support women like these every day of the year. It has been my pleasure to highlight these women and I am grateful for all of you that followed along every day.

It’s so important that we continue to celebrate and support one another. Representation truly matters and when little black girls see us prevailing, they will know that they, too, can be a top executive at a major corporation, or be asked to speak at conferences across the country.

So, how can we continue the celebration? Simply liking, commenting, sharing, and purchasing from the ladies we love can go a long way! If WE don’t, who will?

With that being said, I challenge you to visit the @blkwomeninbiz Instagram and learn more about these amazing women. As we move right along into Women’s History Month, stay tuned for more full Black Women in Biz features right here! Stay in the loop by joining my mailing list.

Want to be the next Blk Women in Biz feature? Send your resume, website, and supporting documents to info@tjecommunications.com.

Content Planning: Why & How

2018 is here and it’s time for you to get your content strategy revamped and ready for the new year. If you do not plan out your content, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to truly measure your success.
As a one-woman shop, we have two major roles to play: we have to work IN the business and ON the business. Planning out your content will give you more time to focus on other major tasks that are going to take your business to the next level.

What exactly is content?

Content is king. It is everything you see from a business including videos, blogs, posts on social media, eCourses, etc.

How do I plan my content?

  1. You need to decide what type of content you want to circulate and how you plan to disseminate every piece of content you produce. For example, if you decide to create videos and you plan to post them on social media, you need to remember you will have to create the blog content in addition to your social media content.
  2. Next, you should think about frequency. How often do you plan to produce content? Too much content may cause people to ignore you if it’s not of quality, not enough content may cause people to forget you. Find your happy medium.
  3. Find the right tools and resources that work for you. From scheduling tools, to editing tools, do your research and find out what works best for your brand, and your budget. There are a lot of free tools out there to help you get started. Keep in mind as you grow, you may want to start to investing in some platforms that will make sure life easier.
  4. Keep track of how long it takes you to work on each piece of content. This will help you understand which projects need to take priority, and which you can hold off on. As your business grows, you may want to start delegating some of these tasks to employees or third parties if it is taking up too much of your time.
  5. If you’re a visual person like me, you should create a content calendar so that you can keep track of which content is going out, and which platforms they are going to. I use a simple Excel Document that is color-coded for each platform I use. Join my mailing list to get your free content calendar template.

To be completely transparent, I fully understand how hard it is to plan your content in advance and sometimes, I don’t. However, when I do, it is completely life changing for my business and allows me to be able to put my time towards other things.

Download my template and get started on planning out the remainder of January and the first few weeks of February.

Happy Planning!

#BlkWomeninBiz: Shanequa J, Owner of Barcode Glam

Shanequa was born in Akron but raised in Cleveland, OH. She always wanted to be a fashion designer but when life happened, plans had to change.

She attended the University of Cincinnati but dropped out after 2 years. Later, she attended Brown Aveda Institute where she became a Licensed Esthetician; specializing in threading and waxing.

Her first business idea was to open up an esthetic shop. However, since she didn’t have a lot of money or capital, so she decided to start something that would be more efficient but ultimately help her reach the end goal. Her love for shoes gave her the idea to open an online shoe boutique. She put her ideas on paper and decided on the name, Barcode Glam. After that, she created her logo, invested in inventory, and began vending at events to build her brand. Her ultimate goal is to merge both Barclode Glam and her esthetician business.

In 2016, she was ready to move forward and found the perfect location in Walnut Hills of Cincinnati, OH. Her heart was set on the space and she event spent $500 on an architect to create the design and floor plan. She submitted the plan to the building owner but they decided they did not want any boutiques in the building. Ironically, during this time there was a lot of gentrification happening in the area. Leaving Shanequa to believe it was not just boutiques they didn’t want, it was her.

Shanequa knows that eventually she will be able to merge these businesses. She believes he denial of the space was a good thing because Barcode Glam is steadily growing. Next time instead of leasing a space, Shanequa plans to buy a building.

Being a black woman in business makes Shanequa feel empowered, especially when she gets to network with like-minded women. Her advice for anyone considering to take the leap and become a business owner themselves: “Pay for what you need to grow your business.”

She also suggests you truly understand your target market and what they would want to purchase; not what you think they would want to purchase.

Shanequa, thank you for your resilience and stepping out on faith to become a black woman in business!

Head over to barcodeglam.com to shop and learn more!

Know a woman who should be featured in the #BlkWomeninBiz series? Complete the form below.

#BlkWomeninBiz: Adrienne Ruff

Adrienne has always had a passion for fashion, but her creativity and love for design is used in what some may consider a nontraditional way.

Originally from Central New Jersey, Adrienne’s family relocated to Columbus where she spent majority of her childhood. She attended Northland High School and after graduation, she briefly attended Columbus State Community College (CSCC) and later transferred to University of Cincinnati (UC). She studied business marketing, but after three years, she knew that fashion was her purpose. After spending so much time in her major, she was hesitant to change it so she chose to stick it through.

During her junior year of college, she decided to take some time off as she was preparing for one of her biggest challenges; becoming a mother. Later, she pursued a career in real estate and successfully obtained her license.

Adrienne always knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur. She had come up with a lot of business ideas, but had to figure out how to monetize them. Her first idea in 2001, was a mobile spa party business for young girls. A great idea that was short lived.

Her current business, Adrienne Ruff Event Co,, was right under her nose all along. Adrienne’s family has been in the catering business for over 20 years. She would always work at the events assisting in any way she could; from serving food, to rearranging and offering suggestions on the set up. One day it clicked! She could use her passion for fashion and design, to create extravagant event set ups. Adrienne would become an event designer.

The first thing she did was research and practice. Secondly, she started volunteering her services to friends and families to gain experience, display her talents, and build her portfolio. Then, she created a website and started booking a few events throughout the year. At first it was a hobby, but she knew that corporate America was not where she wanted to spend her life. Eventually she started networking and forming relationships with other event planners to gain exposure. She also had a mentor who would tell her the ins and outs of the industry and helped her think strategically about her business.

Some of the challenges that Adrienne had to face were within. She had to be more comfortable networking and creating relationships that were outside her inner circle. When she first started, naturally she was intimidated by those who had been in the industry for some time.

“I was intimidated by the veterans who’d been doing this for years. I never thought I would get hired for an event because there were so many that were better than me, who had more exposure than me, and more experience.”

She soon realized that was far from true. She began to study some of the successful people in the industry and created her own niche.

Seeing other female minority business owners be successful lets Adrienne know that she can do it too. She also wants to become that example for those coming after her. Whether she believes it or not, she is already doing that flawlessly.

One dose of advice from Adrienne for those looking to launch their own event planning business:

“Just do it! Don’t be afraid to ask to volunteer for the experience. It’s never too late to start, and my number one piece of advice is: network!”

Adrienne, thank you for setting an example and being amongst a beautiful tribe of #BlkWomeninBiz. Your resilience and positivity is what drives and motivate many young entrepreneurs, like myself, to keep pushing until we reach the top!

Know another #BlkWomeninBiz killing it in her field? Send your submission below.

Practice What You Preach

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If I told you that people who wore yellow in the rain were more likely to get struck by lighting than others, but then you saw me moments later in a yellow shirt during a thunderstorm, would you still believe my theory? Probably not.

I attended a webinar recently where the company hosting did not have ONE employee live tweeting along with the viewers. I instantly became disengaged because it was clear to me that the people of that organization did not find the information that was being shared valuable. So why should I?

This made me think about a simple saying I learned as a child, “Practice what you preach.” If the saying isn’t already self explanatory, it simply means that if you talk the talk, you better walk the walk, too.

As a business owner, you should embody all that it is you are selling. You cannot expect your customers to believe in your brand if you or your employees clearly display that you don’t.

Speaking of employees, as the boss, you have to remain on your A-game at all times to keep the morale of your team up. If your team sees the boss slacking, missing deadlines, showing up late to meetings, your team will do the same. Eventually you will get to the point of no return because your word no longer holds value.

This is the same for your customers. Due to this sole experience I had with this company I will probably never register for any upcoming events.

No one is perfect. I can recount multiple instances where I have had opportunities slip right through my finger tips because I was talking, but I surely was not walking the walk. The important part is that you learn from your mistakes and apply them to your plan moving forward.

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