All Articles Tagged "entrepreneur"

New To The Hustle? 5 Must-Read Books For Mom Entrepreneurs

February 27th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our new column “Mommy Mogul”! This weekly article will cover issues of importance to moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or are managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

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As a mama entrepreneur I am always on the lookout for things that inspire me to reach for the stars. When you are juggling the hat of being a mother, wife and boss lady things can definitely get a little hectic to say the least which is why it’s good to know you are not alone. There are tons of businesses out there run by mothers that have had their fair share of ups and downs, but that does not stop fabulous women from making the necessary moves to be successful. If you happen to have some time in your schedule, here are five must read books for mom entrepreneurs. Hopefully you will come across something that will dare you to dream big and go after yours.

Maybe If I Grow Another Arm?… Making New Baby & Business Work

February 10th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our new column “Mommy Mogul”! This weekly article will cover issues of importance to moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or are managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

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It has only been a few weeks and I must tip my hat to single mothers and those with multiple children because motherhood is no joke. I seriously don’t know what I would do without the help of my husband! While I did my best to prepare myself and business for the arrival of my son (I talked about that here), nothing really gets you ready for how things will change.

Once out of the hospital after delivery, I gave myself a couple weeks (I work full-time from home) to enjoy my new bundle of joy and just unwind. When I was ready to get back into the swing of things aside from thanking God my “commute” was only a few seconds (there are days I look like an extra from The Walking Dead) I did my best to try and figure out my new role as mommy and how it translates into my daily work demands. Thankfully things like changing diapers and feedings have been extremely manageable as I have developed the new talent of being ambidextrous, rocking my child into his nap while answering work emails. Let’s not get it twisted though — working from home with its perks is no walk in the park when a baby comes into the mix.

I had to learn real quick that daily to-do lists would soon become an ideal. Sure there are things I need to get done, but, oh my, how much pressure instantly came off my shoulders once I accepted the fact that not everything can get done all at once. I am a new mother and that will take much of my time. I have new responsibilities that will take priority over the things I do. As an alternative, setting weekly goals has been a godsend, helping to keep me on track while providing some wiggle room on the deadline. If you think about it, it kinda helps you to plan ahead a little which can be insurance for those days when your little one gives you the business. There will also be days when you are mentally and physically exhausted, which can also prohibit you from accomplishing a ton in your day.

Speaking of exhaustion, I am in awe at how I can even manage to operate during the day on no coffee (hate that stuff) after being up during the night. Here’s a little secret: If you are able, schedule your meetings later in the day opposed to the morning which will give you a buffer should you need more time to sleep in. It helps! You will also find that your “regular schedule” will greatly vary while your child is a newborn. There will be times when you get your second wind to work in the evening which is why you have to be flexible.

The bottom line is there is no set answer on how to juggle a new baby and business, it’s something you just have to wing until you get it right. And don’t be so hard on yourself. This is all a learning process. Be open to change, stay flexible with your schedule and just do the best you can. All of the pieces will eventually fall into place. And never forget that your number one job and priority now is to be a mother.

New Mom Struggle: Preparing for Delivery, A Freelancer’s Journey

January 31st, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our new column “Mommy Mogul”! This weekly article will cover issues of importance to moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or are managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

As I sit here and type with a Boppy around my waist and new baby in my arms, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief for planning ahead. Sure it may sound like I am working now but in reality, I can assure you I’m not. Whether you work on a contractual basis or run your own show, you know that taking time off requires a ton of work. These sorts of workers don’t usually have paid vacation time at their disposal. If something doesn’t get done, you don’t get paid – and when motherhood is on the horizon, that’s just not an option.

When it comes to your business, preparing for delivery does not have to be a super difficult task so long as you plan ahead. Call it the Virgo in me, but I have never been one to just leave things until the last minute. That’s was too much unnecessary stress I really don’t need.

As I knew my due date was in mid-January I used much of my downtime around the holidays to get things ready for my absence. One of the first things I strongly recommend doing is deciding just how much time you want to take off. Is the standard 12-week maternity leave feasible for what you do (most likely it’s not)?

As for myself, about two weeks was good enough time for me; it wasn’t so short that I would be hopping back into the game right off the delivery table, and not so long that I would become antsy (let me point out that I work from home full-time). It’s also important to note that the amount of work I needed to complete for my absence was manageable. I wouldn’t need to kill myself with late nights trying to accomplish both my daily demands and future obligations. You’ll also want to take it easy because you are going to need that energy for the big day!

I gave myself a few weeks to get the additional work done at my own pace, which is the best decision I ever made. Doubling up can be extremely frustrating at times, especially when you are a box of hormones waiting to explode. Yet the feeling of completing what you set out to do is so glorious. In the words of that rotisserie guy, set it and forget it!

Now that I am on the other side of labor and delivery, I can’t tell you how good it feels to rest with my new bundle of joy knowing business is taking care of itself in the background. And trust me when I say after giving birth, the last thing you’ll want to do is think about work, let alone do it. There are times when I check in to see how things are going, but for the most part I am indulging in a life on cruise control — at least for the time being.

Are you expecting a child and need to make preparations in your business for your temporary absence? If so, what are some things you can do ahead? And don’t forget to give the proper heads up to clients and employers about your pending absence as they too may need to make their own provisions while you are gone.

How The Founder Of Divas and Dorks, Christen Rochon, Learned To Master Consistency & Become Profitable

December 23rd, 2013 - By Rhonesha Byng
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Christen Rochon

Christen Rochon couldn’t find a site that combined her interests in tech, lifestyle and fashion so she created it.

Inspired by her inner dork, and disguised within her fashion-forward looks and very “un-dorky” lifestyle, she decided to name the site Divas and Dorks. “Every woman has a little bit of geek in them, just as they have a little bit of vixen in them as well. The concept behind DivasandDorks.com is to celebrate the duality in all women,” she told MadameNoire Business.

Bringing together lifestyle, technology and style news, Rochon launched the site in 2009 while working full time at CBS Radio in New York. But in 2011, she was able to officially transition into running Divas and Dorks on a full-time basis.

From broadcast media to new media, the Divas and Dorks founder brings the work ethic she credits to her Detroit roots to continue to churn out content and build her brand.

Featured as one of the ‘Blogosphere’s Best in 2012′ by Black Enterprise and one of the ‘Top Black Bloggers You Should Know’ by The Root, Rochon reveals to us the secret to blogging, how she made the transition from her day job to entrepreneurship and how to make blogging a profitable pursuit.

MadameNoire: You launched in 2009 when there were already quite a few popular online brands and blogs. How did you stand out among the brands that were already established?

Christen Rochon: I created DivasandDorks.com after discovering that of all the brands and blogs online, there were no sites that spoke about stylish technology from a female’s perspective. There were tons of tech sites that talked about the latest gadgets and technologies, but often they used unnecessary tech jargon and geek speak. If you’re a woman that wants to learn the difference between upgrading to one smartphone over another, wouldn’t you want to get details from someone who look like and spoke like you?

MN: Did you ever have to juggle both your day job and your passion?

CR: Absolutely. Early on, your passion doesn’t provide a paycheck. After 10-plus successful years in radio, my career hit a crossroads in June 2010 once I realized that I could no longer juggle my blog travel schedule while maintaining my time working at CBS Radio New York. I knew that I found a passion that could potentially provide paychecks and that I could apply all the skills learned throughout the years to building a website brand. During my last six months in radio, I saved money and prepared my exit strategy from broadcast media and in January 2011, I became a full time publisher of Divas and Dorks.

MN: What about that concept of “divas and dorks” inspired you?

CR: I’ve always been a little diva and a little dork. I’m talking braces, marching band, video games and more. Since childhood I’ve always been intrigued by technology, computer programming and more. So creating the concept was simply birthed out of a passion for technology and style that I had since childhood.

MN: When did blogging become profitable for you?

CR: Blogging became a profitable business when companies realized that my opinion and voice carried influence to consumers. The same consumers that influence 80 percent of auto sales and $90 billion of the consumer electronic purchases since 2007. I’ve consulted businesses on marketing to the new millennia female consumer and have even worked with brands like Ford, General Motors, Samsung, Verizon to highlight and share what’s important to women like me.

Recap Of Our Twitter Chat With Duafe Hair Care Owner Syreeta Scott

November 15th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Syreeta Scott

Syreeta Scott

We hosted our latest Twitter chat with Syreeta Scott, founder of Duafe Hair Care in Philadelphia, a discussion that touched on topics from hair care to entrepreneurism. We have a recap here in case you were unable to join in the conversation.

Keep an eye out for our future chats, using the hashtag #MNBizchats. And if there’s a topic you’d like to  discuss, feel free to let us know in the comments, or email MN Business at tgarcia@madamenoire.com.

You can read more about Scott and her business here.

Real Talk: Being An Entrepreneur Is No Picnic

November 11th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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This column is an MN Business special by hair expert and entrepreneur Syreeta Scott.

 

This wayward economy has sparked lots of budding entrepreneurs. And let’s be clear: you don’t know what hard work is until you work for yourself! The sacrifices, risks, and pure dedication that’s required, not to mention the staffing issues, and hours of work at times without pay… These ongoing challenges persist. And while all of this is happening, there’s a good chance you don’t know who to talk to about the many ups and downs you’re experiencing. It’s inevitable that losing the passion for your business happens.

Syreeta Scott

Syreeta Scott

I’ve experienced it over the 10 years I’ve owned Duafe Holistic Hair Care, a natural hair salon. Our clientele list ranges from Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, and Marsha Ambrosius to Bill Cosby and Smokey Robinson. Our work has been featured in countless magazines like Vogue, Essence, O magazine and Ebony. We’ve been fortunate to do the hair for every awards show you can name. Even with these accomplishments, I went through stints of losing the passion for my business and fought to regain it.

How did I lose the passion you ask? Years of not eating well, ignoring myself, not following my gut, being a complete workaholic that was so goal orientated that I never took time to enjoy the journey. I isolated myself and did not having a trusted sounding board.  Staffing was a significant issue. I had a stylist compromise my database and cut deals with other stylists for a higher percentage with a competing business. At one point, half of my stylists left. I felt so betrayed and had the same number of bills with less income. It wasn’t long after that I lost my steam and passion, which negatively affected everything in my personal and business lives. I created unhealthy interpersonal relationships; I felt horrible and treated people likewise. This quickly affected my finances. I couldn’t sleep without drowning out voices of self-doubt and soothed myself with food, wine, and sex. (Boy did the pounds pile on.)

I knew that if I didn’t change, I would lose everything I worked so hard to obtain. I had to come to grips and do some soul searching.  First I got back into my body. I stopped medicating myself with wine, men and food and started exercising. I got back into church, morning meditation, and journaling. For the business, I invested in a coach, improved my brand, paid myself, built business core values and used them in my hiring practices.  I tapped back into my gut and started trusting myself again.

A cost analysis was essential! Some entrepreneurs think undercutting their competitors can help sustain growth, but that’s not always true. If you don’t know your P&Ls, how can you price your service? I suggest building relationships with similar businesses in different markets to learn their pitfalls and how they overcame them. If a cancer develops in your staff don’t allow it to spread. Fire, dismiss, do whatever you need to protect your brand, whether friend or family. Lastly, have an open line of communication with your clients and build your infrastructure.

Syreeta Scott is the owner of Duafe Hair Care in Philadelphia. Follow Scott on Twitter @Duafe _Hair_Care.

Please join MN Business and Syreeta Scott this Thursday at 2pm ET for a Twitter chat about the rigors of being an entrepreneur and the hair salon business. You can read more about Scott and her business in the profile story we published here. And join us @MadameNoireBiz, #MNBizchats.

Staying Motivated: 10 Inspiring Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

November 8th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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Whether you are an accomplished business owner or just starting the initial stages of creating a business, nothing can be quite as exciting as pursuing the American dream. Who wouldn’t want a shot at being their own boss or turning a vision into profit? It does sound nice.

One thing that all entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs need is encouragement as the road to success is never guaranteed or perfectly laid out. Some may turn to various media for the necessary motivation to keep going. Here are 10 inspiring books every entrepreneur should read.

Salon Owner Syreeta Scott On Holistic Hair Care & Being A Healthy Entrepreneur

November 6th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Syreeta Scott

Syreeta Scott

Time and again, we’ve reported on the hard work that goes into launching a business. Entrepreneur after entrepreneur has told us about the effort, the money, and the schedule juggling that goes into making a business work. By the time they come to MadameNoire Business with their stories, these businesses have gotten their footing and are on the path to new heights.

But that doesn’t mean the hard work is over. Nor does it mean that you’re always going to be thrilled with your career as a business owner. Just like any other job, being an entrepreneur is one that can wear you down on some days, making you wonder why you didn’t take the career path of least resistance when you had the chance.

“If you’ve been in business as long as I have, there’s an ebb and flow,” Syreeta Scott, founder of Duafe Holistic Hair Care and P.S. (Pure Style) by Syreeta Scott told us. A salon owner for more than a decade and a hair care expert for 15 years, Scott has put in the work to get her business to where it is.

“It’s a selfless job. I would spend seven days a week, Christmas and New Year’s Eve working. I would never take any time off. So I burned out,” she told us. “You lose sight of what your ultimate goal is, what your passion is. I started disliking my passion.”

At that point, Scott told us, you have to start weighing the options and, even more, take actions so that you “regain your life.” That’s when she realized that she was so focused on the ideas of growth and success, that she wasn’t paying attention to the path that would lead her there.

“I can control my growth by making better business decisions,” she concluded. It’s those conclusions that got her back on the path to balancing her domestic life (she the mom of a little girl with another baby on the way) and her thriving business. Among them, she says she paces herself, she’s more realistic with her goals, and she’s staffing up with better people.

“It took my daughter to change my mind,” she says. “Not all money is good money. Having my daughter and being pregnant drives me to make more healthy decisions.”

Scott suggests that all business owners determine what financial wealth means to them. And at that point, hire people who are competent, capable, and have some skin in the game.

“They have just as much to lose as you do,” Scott said, a factor that drives people to do their best work. “Don’t hire your friends. Make sure you hire the people who can facilitate your needs. When you have good people, you don’t leave money on the table.”

It’s interesting that Scott has so much to say about being a healthy business owner since her business is all about healthy hair.

Will The Real Olivia Pope Please Stop Making Unhealthy Sacrifices To Be Successful?

October 1st, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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This is special column written exclusively for MN Business by Tia T. Gordon, M.A. Join us on Thursday at 2pm ET when we will have a one-hour Twitter chat with Gordon, discussing the PR industry, entrepreneurship, and diversity in marketing. Bring your questions to @MadameNoireBiz.

FayesVision/WENN.com

FayesVision/WENN.com

With the fall TV shows beginning to roll in, all of us Scandal fans are waiting with bated breath for the return of actress Kerry Washington in her Emmy-nominated role as Olivia Pope, the uniquely flawed character of the hit television series. For those of you who may not know, the show follows Pope’s crisis management firm and its staff as they all dedicate their lives to protecting the public images of the nation’s elite.

The show has risen to unprecedented popularity over the past two seasons. And, Washington’s character has put the job of those like me—public relations professionals/entrepreneurs or “fixers”—on the map. Like the Pope character, many of my firm’s clients, consider my team and I to be trusted confidants and go-getters. They know we will fight on their behalf, willing to always go above and beyond like Pope’s team of “gladiators.”

And while it is fun to see the PR world get the Hollywood treatment, watching Olivia Pope give so much of herself, to the point of being unable to have a healthy personal life outside of work is a stinging reminder of the struggle that I and many other black women entrepreneurs face on a daily basis: Just how much of ourselves are we willing to give in order to find success?

Although a career in PR oftentimes may seem to be glamorous and full of rubbing elbows with influential people, the business of running a PR firm in today’s world is much more complicated. You must be a strategic thinker who possesses the skills, experience, academic training, and tech savvy to effectively deliver clients’ messages and to successfully meet 24-hour, on-call demands. The challenges are even greater for black women who seek to both own and manage a PR firm.

Drawing on my own journey, the most difficult (and, at times frightening) requirement of being a black female entrepreneur is to remember that I must lead through patience and vulnerability. I must trust that everything will always work out in time, understanding what will be is supposed to be. And I’m charged with openly sharing who I am with others without fear of judgment or rejection.

It’s what some may call a daring approach, but the lessons I’ve learned along the way allow me to continue making meaningful contributions in life without being a martyr to my own dreams. Here are a few:

1. Always bring a strong, unique point of view. Your perspective drives and undergirds who you are as a person—it’s your unique gift. Do not be afraid to share it with others because it will help set you apart.

2. Liberate yourself from other people’s expectations. Be free from the opinions of others because their expectations can only influence your success if you allow it.

3. Have faith and stand on it. The hard work is takes to start a successful career (and business) is nothing compared to the deep faith it takes to maintain it.

4. Live fearlessly. Living through fear produces a negative approach toward life that spurs loss and defeat. Choose to live unbound and with assurance.

5. Know your worth.

To aspiring PR professionals and entrepreneurs, remember your dreams for success never have to be sacrificed. Achieving your goals as well as using your unique gifts and talents can inspire others who are also looking to make their mark in the world.

Tia T. Gordon, M.A., is the founder and CEO of TTG+Partners, a creative communications consultancy specializing in starting thoughtful conversations on race, ethnicity, and diversity in higher education. Follow her on Twitter @TiaTGordon and @ttgpartners.

What Successful People Do Before Their Week Is Through

September 27th, 2013 - By Candace Smith
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Successful people are spending their weekends getting a little more shut eye and sharing more quality time with family. But setting priorities for your time isn’t just a weekend activity. Part of enjoying your days off is maximizing your time during the week. There are even more things that you can do to remain both a success at work and with peace of mind throughout the weekend.

CEO and founder of Tofutti Brands, David Mintz, is a living example of how to separate your work from your home life so that the two may live in harmony. According to the pitch we received, Mintz is a “serial entrepreneur” who has launched a number of businesses over the years. Tofutti, the dairy-free dessert treats you’ve probably seen at the grocery store, has been around for 32 years. With a little help from Mintz, we’ve compiled nine ideas to help you keep work from ruining your weekend.

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