Posted on April 21, 2016

My Setback Will Be My Greatest Comeback!

Run the Business

When I think of setbacks, I often think of a quote by fellow entrepreness, Sophia Amoruso “it is she who has enough confidence to define success and failure for herself who succeeds.”

Last week I got some really disappointing news. A client, who I had a contract with for four years decided to change their way of doing business. And as a result, they were not renewing my contract.

Immediately I thought, damn. I can’t believe this. What did I do wrong? I had so many other plans.  How am I going to account for this financial deficit?

And then I realized my biggest mistake: It wasn’t in the work that I delivered to the client. It was my mindset. I was thinking like an employee instead of an entrepreneur. I was thinking of that check for work I’d submitted instead of thinking of how I could use that work to build my business and my brand.

My bad.

I’ve been working since I was 18 years old. Always had a side hustle. Never depended on it to be my bread and butter. But here I am, 20 years later, with a husband and a little girl, and I’m running a freelance writing business as a work at home mom. It is not always easy to get out and network. It (was) is so much easier to get an annual contract, get comfortable and not realize the gravy train at some point will end.

Lesson learned.

How can I overcome this setback? 

  • I’m stepping up my game on the networking front. I know I can’t go to a networking event every week but I can do two per month.
  • I’m getting up early everyday. Early mornings are quiet in my home. This is the best time to write, edit, send emails, write blog posts. It’s also the best time to workout.
  • And I’m going to be reading one business-related book per month. I’ll share my first pick on May 1.

What’s the plan for my comeback? 

I’m spending the rest of April to get myself into gear. I’m going to end my relationship with this client on a high note. I’m going to write some strong content and thank them for their time.

And I’m planning a calendar so I can reach my business related goals. Every week on my Instagram, I’ll be posting my weekly goals. And you should feel free to share yours too.

I look forward to building my business, my brand, and this blog.

Posted on February 7, 2016

Ready to Give Up? Not an Option

Live Your Life
Don't go back to work full-time, live your dream as a business owner

Confession: I recently considered going back to work full-time. Why? If I went back to work,  I’d get a paycheck twice a week and a secure pension. If I went back to work, there’d be no more building a business and networking. I’d work eight hours a day with weekends off. And then, I thought what would be missing from a full-time job: full-time passion and independence.

It’s easy to become discouraged when you are establishing a brand. Everything is on you. You make the decisions. You take the glory. You take the blame. You pay the bills. You might be profitable. You might not.

But giving up your dream, your business, is not an option. Ever. Here’s why: if you give up too soon, your ultimate dream will never be realized. Sometimes, you've got to have a few restless nights before you can wake up and make that dream come true.… Click To Tweet

And as you are enduring those business highs and lows, here are a few ideas to keep you motivated:

Create a network of other business owners.

Notice I did not say join a professional organization or business association. I said create. Do you need a group filled with other business owners where you exchange ideas? Do you need a support group that will help you understand that the “lows” associated with being an entrepreneur will not last forever? Do you need one or two like-minded businesswomen to grab lunch with and just chat? Establish what you need in a network.

Find a hobby. 

Let’s face it: you can’t just run your business. You need some creative outlet that will feed your soul. Maybe once upon a time your business was your hobby and you did it in your spare time as a way to relax after a long day at work. That’s not the case now. Carve out some free time and explore some new activities. These activities just might give you a much-needed recharge.

Develop routines that will keep you organized.

Preparation is key to not only running a business well, but also feeling great as a business owner. Every month, I sit down and plan my family’s meals. I have a cleaning schedule (sometimes it works, sometimes it does not!) I also have a schedule for my business. This way, I can be all that I need to be for my family, my clients, and…I’m even working on myself!

Remember why you began. 

What made you decide to turn a hobby into a business? A side hustle into a full-time enterprise? I don’t have the answer to this question. You do. So when you feel like throwing in the towel and turning on that “closed for business” sign, remember why you started your business. That one thought should be all the motivation you need!

Posted on January 19, 2016

3 Ways to Evaluate Your Website’s Online Presence

Run the Business

Website Evaluation

Consider this: If your business is your body, your marketing is your heart. And your website? Main vein.

Your website plays an important role in the building and maintenance of your marketing plan and overall business. If you’ve got compelling design coupled with engaging content, your website is constantly helping you build a strong business brand. Got wonky web design that looks like a sixth grader developed it along with drab descriptions of your services? You aren’t on the winning team.

If your business is your body, your marketing is your heart. And your website? Main vein. #entrepreneurship… Click To Tweet

According to Faith Rothberg, CEO of College Recruiter, the purpose of a website has changed drastically in the last twenty years. “In 1996, the purpose of websites was little more than an electronic brochure,” says Rothberg. “In 2016, business website are evolving platforms that encourage interaction and engagements between business owners, vendors and customers.”

Your website needs to do more than merely display information about your business. So how do you know if your website is a strong vein pumping blood through your business?

Here are three questions to ask yourself as you check your website:

 Can potential customers easily find your business online?

Google and type in your business’ name. Where does it land in the search ranking? If it’s not at the very top, you need to fix that. ASAP.

Think about this: your website has the potential to be seen by people around the corner and across the Atlantic Ocean. While many might not be business prospects, you don’t know who might be. This is your opportunity for people in your community, your city, your state, the country, the world…to see your business.

If people can’t find your business, that means you’ve got no visitors, no leads and no new customers.… Click To Tweet

For people to find your business you’ve got to have Search Engine Optimization (SEO) working overtime. This means you’ve got to show the importance of your products or services, find where you are located, your operating hours and contact information on your website.

Is your website engaging?

Content is king and a picture is worth one thousand words.  The purpose of your website is to turn visitors into leads and leads into customers. Whether you are selling a product or service, you have to develop a website that is visually compelling with powerful content.

 

Are people who find you online contacting you?

One of the biggest reasons your website needs to be a marketing asset is because it’s a great way to turn visitors into prospects. But to turn your prospect into clients, you’ve got to create a call to action on your website.

What are you willing to offer at a discount or for free to entice prospects to use your product or service? Whether it’s a free 10-minute consultation, a discount on a product or a newsletter sign-up, you’ve got to create a way for your prospects to contact you via your website.

If your answer is no to any of these questions, it’s time to invigorate your website. Remember: a strong website will strengthen your marketing plan and in turn, will keep your business successful.

 

Ready to improve your website’s online presence? These three books can help!

Posted on January 15, 2016

5 Marketing Tools You Must Tackle to Win Prospects

Run the Business

If you want to run a successful and profitable business, effective marketing tools are key. Since you’ll spend a considerable amount of time marketing your business, make sure that the tools you use are assets to your company and not liabilities.

Make sure your marketing tools are assets and not liabilities. #entrepreness #smallbusiness #entrepreneur Click To Tweet

Website

It’s not enough to say that you’ve purchased a domain and have a website online. Is your website working for you or against you?

An excellent site will entice your prospects to check out your product or service. An excellent website will also serve as space for current customers to find valuable information about your business.

Online Business Office Chs

Email List

How are you keeping in touch with your present clients and prospects? Collecting emails and sending newsletters periodically is a cost-effective marketing tool that will pique the interest of potential customers and keep long-term customers informed of your product or services.

Blog Posts

A website and a blog? Absolutely. Consider this: your website is your online brochure. Your blog shows your ability through how-to posts, reviews as well as tips and tricks. Not to mention, the conversational tone of blogs can help business owners build strong relationships with clients and prospects.

Social Media Accounts

Did you know that having social media accounts is great for SEO? Like your blog, social media accounts allow to you connect with prospects and even your present customers in a casual way.

camera

Visual Content

Remember the adage, a picture is worth one thousand words? Ditto. Visual content will spark the interest of prospects and current customers even quicker than the content of an email newsletter or blog post ever will. However, if you pair great photos and videos with stellar content, you’ve got a certified marketing tool.

What’s your marketing goal for this month? How will you turn your marketing tools into assets that bring potential clients to your business?

Posted on January 10, 2016

5 Important Facts You Need to Remember About Potential Customers

Run the Business
meeting

Attracting customers is a certified labor of love. At times, the customers will just come to you. And at other times, you just might wonder, “why am I even running this business?”

And in those moments, when you feel like giving up, say a quick affirmation and get to work.

Here’s why: finding new clients is the lifeline of your business. While your loyal customer base is essential, building relationships with new clients will help your business to grow.

And to attract prospects, you’ve got to have an understanding of not only their needs but also who they are. So before trying to build a business relationship, remember the following:

  1. Potential clients need your business. The idea that a prospect does not need your product or service is FALSE!  Even if your prospect is using your competition or has not considered what you have to offer, you can identify what makes your business different.
  2. Potential clients don’t want to do any extra work. We might live in the Age of DIY, but that does not mean that everyone wants to DIY. Some people don’t want to do anything. Some people want their lives as easy as possible. Understanding this, you should make your service or product as accessible to potential customers as possible.
  3. Potential clients are building their own brands. Just like you, your prospects are in the business of building their brands. Their goal: look good and make money. Your goal: help them look good, help them make money and build a working relationship in the process.
  4. Potential clients are busy. Don’t waste their time. If they’ve made an appointment to view your presentation, be prepared. If they return your tenth phone call, make every second count.
  5. Potential clients are people. Seems like a no-brainer? It really truly isn’t, though. You’ve got to remember that your prospects all come to the table with their own experiences, needs, and dreams. Find out who they are so that you can build a relationship with a person. It’ll take your business far.
Posted on January 3, 2016

7 Positive Affirmations to Empower Your Business in 2016

Live Your Life

c29

 

It’s a new year and of course, we’ve already made resolutions. But how can we make these resolutions come true? Of course, preparation, organization and follow-through are a must.

And so are affirmations.

Affirmations are powerful tools that help you to envision your greatness. I’ve often found, that when I am feeling down or like I can’t achieve a goal that is within reach, I have to take a deep breath and say an affirmation.

Affirmations are powerful tools that help you envision your greatness. #entrepreneurship #wahm #womeninbusness Click To Tweet Once I’ve firmly stated who I am and what I can achieve, my mood begins to change.

I’ve come up with a few new ones for 2016 that I plan to recite. In the past, I’ve always focused on saying affirmations to change my mood. But in 2016, I’m going to recite these daily.

 

  1. I experience new people and new ideas so that I can grow.
  2. Opportunities and advantages will come at every turn.
  3. I am celebrating all of my successes—no matter how big or small.
  4. My business is useful to others and makes me happy.
  5. I am fearless and courageous.
  6. The strength of my faith is making it possible for me to be successful.
  7. I am amazing. Always.

So what are your affirmations? When will you plan on reciting them to yourself?

Posted on January 1, 2016

Self Published Author Earth Watts-Hicks Strikes Big with “Love Changes”

The Entrepreness
earthawattshicks

Author Eartha Watts-Hicks with her first novel, Love Changes

More than ten years ago, Eartha Watts-Hicks began writing Love Changes, a novel about a young woman in search of love.

By 2008, the novel was completed. It had been critiqued at several writer’s workshops, and it had gone through five rounds of editing.

And Eartha was ready to find a publisher for her novel that infused song lyrics of the late 1990s with a young woman’s quest to understand adulthood.

She never received any offers from publishing companies.

Eartha decided by that she would self-publish her novel using her skills as a writer, an editor, designer and public relations maven.

Self-publishing is not only costly, but it is also a saturated market. According to Bowker, an estimated 450,000 books were self-published in 2013. I-Universe also notes that the average self-published author sells 25 books a year.

“I get mixed responses because it is self-published,” Eartha admits. “Yet they are always taken by the quality of the book. People are hooked on the content.”

Eartha sold 350 books in her first year of business. And she has not looked back since.

“The market is flooded with options,” she said. “I had to differentiate and push myself to the forefront.”

Today, when Eartha is not writing press releases for businesses through her venture, Earthatone Enterprises, she is pounding the pavement and selling her novel. She vends at events such as the Harlem Book Fair and has even traveled to Washington DC to attend the Congressional Black Caucus. Eartha also participates in readings at local bookstores.

Her novel can be borrowed from the public library and is available not only through Amazon, but is featured at major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble. And let’s not even talk about her social media hustle.

Eartha is an astute businesswoman who is always willing to take chances and learn from her experiences. She’s also always willing to help a fellow entrepreneur!

eartha1

Besides selling so many books, what would you consider some great successes in your business? In October 2015, I won the Capital One Bank Columbia University Project. They were really drawn to my project because I’m publishing books that portray people of color in life-affirming roles.

I assisted another author, Miriam Kelly Ferguson, self-publish her novel, Weaver through my imprint, Earthatone Books. I essentially did the work of I-Universe and guided her steps as an author. Weaver as well as Love Changes has received accolades from poet Nikki Giovanni.

And in 2013, I won the Just Read Literary Game Changers Award from the NYCHA Branch of the NAACP.

What advice can you provide for women interested in self-publishing? Focus on marketing and packaging your book. I did the following:

  • Before the book was even published, I was handing out sample chapters at book fairs.
  • I had an up and running website and accepted pre-publication sales.
  • I established a social media presence.
  • I ordered all of my marketing materials in advance so that when my book finally came out, I was ready to start vending.
  • I networked and did a whole lot of handshaking.
  • I participate in readings.
  • I give credit where credit is due. I try to spread and share the love.

 What lessons did you learn along the way?

Stop second guessing myself. I wanted Love Changes to be perfect and did not believe it was strong enough to be published. But it was. However, I could not have imagined that it would be where it is right now. I can take my books, hit the library, and it’s loved.

I also couldn’t have anticipated the digital shift nor its speed. I followed an old book publishing plan initially. I send out the books for reviews. But the younger generation of readers loves bloggers and YouTube videos, not magazines and newspapers.

How do you find a way to relax?

This is most definitely a work in progress. I’m actually terrible. I’m still writing a New Year’s resolution and penciling in sleep. I want to organize to stay ahead.

What advice can you offer other businesswomen?

Surround yourself with people you can trust. Women entrepreneurs need sisters who can help them along the… Click To Tweet

Write down your vision. You can’t see the vision if it’s not down on paper.

Link Up with Eartha Watts-Hicks

Website: http://www.earthatone.com/

Facebook: Earthatone

YouTube: Earthatone

Instagram: @earthatone

Amazon: Buy Love Changes

Posted on January 1, 2016

Theresa Brewster of Purplelicious Treats

The Entrepreness
tbrewster

Theresa Brewster, owner of Purplelicious Treats

 One of the biggest accents to any party is the cake table. Whether it’s a three-tiered Elsa cake for your favorite six-year-old surrounded by clusters of cupcakes or featuring a cake shaped like a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, customized treats are all the rage.

Bronx-based Purplelicious Treats might be one of many confectioners that are able to offer such edible artwork. But the owner’s story of how she began her business is quite unique.

Theresa Brewster always loved baking for her three children and husband. By her own admission, Theresa says that the business “started by accident.” Since she loved baking, she’d been encouraged by friends and family to start a business. Although she says it was not a real interest, Theresa decided to host a tasting for her friends and family. The tasting was successful.

“It was like an outer body experience,” Theresa said. “Wow! I’m onto something.”

That was October of 2013.

Today, Theresa is running a full-fledged business out of her home. Not only does she bake cookies and whisk together a savory banana pudding, she now customizes cakes for her customers.

Theresa describes herself not only as a baker but a cake artist.

ekascake

“Everyone should be able to have a nice cake,” Theresa said. “And you also need a little bit of love in each bite.”

In the future, Theresa sees herself opening a small establishment where she will sell desserts. But in the meantime, Theresa is focusing her energy on producing a new line of mason jar filled goodies such as a no bake cheesecake.

“People like things that are easy to grab and go,” she said. “So I’m thinking of what I can sell that will be convenient and tasty.”

Theresa’s belief in customer convenience and tastiness has taken her far. Marketing her business through social media networks such as Facebook and Instagram has brought her customers throughout the tristate area. And because she focuses on customer service, word-of-mouth has helped her clientele grow significantly.

If you’re interested in trying out Purplelicious Treats, here’s the best way to contact this Entrepreness:

Website: http://www.purplelicioustreats.com/

Instagram: @purplelicioustreats

Facebook: Purplelicious Treats

 

Back to top