All Articles Tagged "entrepreneur"
In the beginning stages of your business, managing your funds are extremely important. Outsourcing may not always be a part of your budget, but things still need to be accomplished. Majority of the time, we have to wear several hats to get the job done. Being the accountant, graphic designer and your very own personal assistant all wrapped in one can be a bit overwhelming and tedious. I am a firm believer that in the early stages of growing your company, you should do everything that you can independently before outsourcing and spending money. Only spend money when it’s an absolute must and invest in things that are most important to the core of your business.
Here are 7 budget-friendly online tools that are beneficial to the operation of a small business.
Mint.com is like having your very own personal accountant. It puts all of your financial accounts into one place to help you visualize and keep track of your money. It sets a weekly, monthly, yearly budget plan with a easy to read layout of your income, as well as spending habits. Mint.com is a tool that will encourage you to keep your eye on your financial goal, and as a result will benefit both your business and personal accounts.
When it comes to promoting your business to potential customers/clients, email marketing should be at the top of your list of ways to connect. Mail Chimp is a tool designed to keep all of your email contacts organized and just a click away from your next promotion. It sends out an “email blast” to keep your contacts aware of whatever you wish to share. Sales, newsletters or just a quick update email, can be designed with this easy to use tool!
If you’re in need of a graphic designer, Pic Monkey has you covered. I used this tool to assist me with creating pictures for my blog for many years before I learned how to use Photoshop. It is a photo editing program that helps you create personalized graphics and pictures. If you’re in need of watermarking, creating collages or airbrushing images, this is a great tool to use…for free!
Google Drive is a cloud storage service that allows you to save documents, photos and more online. To sign up for Google Drive, all you’ll need is a Gmail account. It comes in handy when you need to create documents, spreadsheets and slideshows. Somewhat taking the place of Microsoft Office, of course without the hefty price tag and with the bonus of having the easy access of being available from any computer just by logging into your Gmail account.
Hootsuite serves as your social media personal assistant, by sending out scheduled information to your following. It’s a platform used to help you organize and schedule posts/tweets to keep your followers engaged in your business. Hootsuite creates a streamline of communication, without taking you away from doing other daily responsibilities. With a dashboard used to show all notifications from your social media outlets, you’ll be able to stay aware of conversations critical to your business.
Square Up is the perfect tool for the business on the move! You’ll be able to accept all major credit cards while handling transactions with customers. Upon sign up, you’ll receive your card reader by mail, download the Square Up app and can immediately begin accepting payments. It’s an easy process for both the business and the customer!
Fivver offers millions of services to choose from for the entrepreneur on a budget. With services on this site starting at $5, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for and at a great price! From graphic design, photography and business planning, this tool is great for any budding business.
Mom On The Move is a weekly profile of a mom mover and shaker. Women we admire, who inspire us and who have amazing stories to share, oh and they happen to have kids, too! While we love to talk about celebrity moms and their fabulous lives, we also love (and need) to know about real moms who are out here doing it all, just as fabulously. This week we’re profiling fitness enthusiast Angelique Miles.
Mommynoire: When we see you on Instagram and Facebook, like so many other people, I’m so inspired. First of all that you put yourself out there almost every day to share your workouts and tips, but also that you’re doing it, period.
Angelique Miles: Well, thank you. It’s definitely not easy to share everyday.
What are your favorite workouts?
My absolute favorite workouts are barre workouts. I was introduced to them back when I was working in music and started taking classes doing the Lotte Berk method. (Lotte Berk Method is a mélange of strength-training, dance, orthopedic back exercises, and Hatha yoga all rolled into an intense, hour-long mind-body workout to driving rhythms followed by an inspirational cool down.) I love barre classes, like Pure Barre, The Bar Method… I don’t get to do it that often because the classes are very expensive but I like to go back to bar when the weather gets warmer.
What do you like most about it?
It gives you a full body workout in one hour and every muscle that you strengthen you also stretch, so you’re developing elongated muscles. If I can incorporate three-to-four barre classes into my workouts per week, I’m very happy.
Because I went through a period of transition, and with that comes cutting back on finances, I had to figure out how I was going to get into these workout classes, and so I got a gig teaching classes, so I could workout as well. That’s how dedicated I am.
Now, since I live within walking distance of so much, I do gym workouts, Spin classes, lift weights and I’ve gotten into Bikram yoga in the last few months. I’ve also started running because I signed up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon which takes place in May. I try different things always. I can’t stand monotony. Plus, it takes a variety of workouts to achieve the aesthetic I want. I don’t want a runner’s body but I don’t want a muscular body either.
So are you one of those people that loves the act of working out or how you feel afterwards?
To be honest, I don’t love doing any of it, but I really love the results. I was very thin until I was 40, but if I don’t work out I’ll be out of shape and start to look matronly. So I’m going out scratching and clawing, I’m not going down without a fight. (laughs). Someone once made the comment that they wished they loved working out as much as I do and I said, “I do not love working out. I do what I have to do look a certain way and feel a certain way.”
I don’t like doing it while I’m doing it. I cannot wait until Spin class is over, but I do it because I have goals in mind.
What motivates you most?
For me, I refuse to wear a one-piece bathing suit. I won’t be that 50-year-old, that 60-year-old, in a one-piece because I let myself go. I’m like, bury me in a bikini! because I will look good until they put me in the ground. I just keep those goals in mind. I look at some of my peers like, what is going on? I just want to encourage people to never give up on yourself. I know some people say, “Oh you’re supposed to work out for your heart and health,” but I don’t know one person who goes to the gym for their heart, they want to look good. Be a little vain. It doesn’t have to be everyday, but do something and make that committment to yourself.
Is that commitment costly? You hear people complain about the investment of joining a gym…
I told someone how much I pay for Bikram a month, like $140 and they balked, like that’s too much, but they’ll pay that for two nights for dinner out in New York City. Call me crazy, but I’d rather invest that money in me. You can spend your money on hair and nails and alcohol but your body looks crazy?
So that brings us to the fitness vs. hair debate. What’s your philosophy on taking care of your hair instead of sweating it out?
My thing is I get it–I’ve relaxed my hair, I’ve worn weaves, I absolutely get it. I’m that person that I’d rather workout all week and wear my hair in a ponytail all week, and then get my hair done Friday and wear it out cute all weekend. I had to figure it out–if I had to bring a flat iron and do my edges before going out, that’s what I did.
I never let anything get in the way of my fitness. What’s the point if you’re not fit?
You have to find out what works for you. Right now I’m wearing it really short, so that’s what works for me. It’s liberating because I don’t even think about it. My hair is easily manageable so it can get wet everyday and I can still style it and let it dry naturally and go out at night. I give myself Monday through Friday and maybe get my hair done Friday afternoon. But hair should come secondary to fitness.
How much do you watch what you eat?
I don’t eat as well as I could but that’s a seasonal thing. The winter holidays are what they are…I’m giving myself the chance to eat whatever I want, within reason, for the rest of the month. Like yesterday I had a cinnamon bun because I wanted it. And I’ve had a sweet tooth lately and I think it’s because of the running I’ve been craving carbs.
Once upon a time, every January I’d come out the gate and diet, but then I’d crash. So I give myself the freedom of eating what I want and then about now–as Spring is starting–I get back to eating clean. I have protein shakes and cut back on carbs.
It’s important to treat yourself and watch what you eat, that elusive balance everyone talks about…
Exactly. Everyone should know what their body needs.
That’s why I feel I have so much to share, especially with women. Fitness is a big part of my life, but that’s not all I can speak to because as women and mothers and wives and career women, there’s so many things that take the focus off of us. I can speak to life’s curveballs–I’ve been there and overcame things personally and fitness can help a person get through those times…it did for me.
How do you balance personal life with professional? Is it easier since you have your own business or just as tricky?
Being an entrepreneur, it’s often feast or famine. Sometimes there’s things you can do and sometimes there’s just things you can’t do. I have a great group of friends and family around me that keep me going, and it’s never really an issue.
Coming from a high-profile position and now making this transition, there are people that are no longer in my life and that’s OK because they were there for the position (I held) anyway and not for me. So the people that are in my life now are the people that are supposed to be here.
It was difficult at first, but now that I’m on the other side of it, I appreciate it. It was a necessary cleansing.
How do you feel about where you are now in life?
I think it’s weird that I’m at this age and I feel like I have to do something on my own. Trying to look for a job at 50 is different. At 35, you think, oh let me go get this job and make these sacrifices. At this point in my life, I want to figure out what I can do and be happy. I want to live this half of my life as happy as possible.
Let’s finish up with a day in your life: How do you start your day?
I make sure to work out in the mornings. I can then I can do my work, have meetings and then do something in the evening if I want to.
What’s for breakfast?
I usually have a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit–blueberries and bananas. Today I had a fried egg and avocado. Monday and Friday I have Bikram and Spin and a bunch of other stuff so I make sure I have a hearty breakfast on those days.
Do you workout with music?
I can’t run without my music. When I’m weight training I have a Flip Belt, it’s so much better than the fitness armbands for me. I listen to a lot of Paradise Garage music and older hip-hop like Big Daddy Kane and then I’ll throw in some Ty Dolla $ign.
What’s after that?
I work from home usually. If I have a lunch meeting, it’s near my home in Harlem anyway. I love the freedom of working from home. It would have to be a really, really good circumstance for me to work in an office again. There’s sacrifices that come with working from home as well, but I enjoy the freedom very much.
What’s your beauty routine?
I’ve been using coconut oil for everything lately, but I’m using it less on my hair because someone told me I should use Jojoba. When I go out, I use this foundation by Becca. Since I work out so much it’s usually shower and coconut oil.
For my hair I like Nairobi Mousse and Moroccan Oil. I like to use faux lashes because my hair is short and it makes my eyes pop. I do them every couple of weeks, so it really makes a difference for my look. I use Josie Maran Lip and Cheek Tint and I’m good.
What about workout gear?
I like cute workout clothes, because you don’t want to look like you’ve been through it even though you have with your workout. Again, invest in yourself and you’ll feel better too.
By now, we all should be familiar with the story of Sophia Amoruso. However, if the name doesn’t quite ring a bell, you’ve possibly bought a book by her and definitely shopped her popular online site for fly clothes.
Amoruso, the author of New York bestseller #Girlboss and CEO of trendy women’s apparel site Nasty Gal, is expanding her global empire for the new year. According to Variety, Netflix has given the green light on flipping her book into a comedy series. Sources also say that the streaming service is teaming up with Kay Cannon and Charlize Theron to fill the roles of pilot script writer and showrunner.
#Girlboss is an autobiography about the life and times about Amoruso’s rise to success that was released in May 2014. Like a true rags-to-riches story, Amoruso details her selling vintage on eBay, building Nasty Gal, and becoming the CEO of a multi-million dollar fashion empire at just 27.
As of now, there have been no details on a slated release date, but Netflix has surely hit a goldmine with Amoruso’s inspiring story of entrepreneurship. And ladies, if you haven’t read #Girlboss, we totally suggest you do. Amoruso is dropping lots of gems!
By Mia Ray
As a mompreneur, working with other entrepreneurs can be extremely beneficial to your endeavors. It can help you to gain more exposure, open doors for new opportunities and even help to gain knowledge from your newfound business partner. Collaborating serves as a great tool to spark creativity and bring new ideas to life. With a surge in entrepreneurship, this topic has been sure to cross every business owner’s path. Successful business owners are often asked to link up on different projects and ideas with others. At times, potential collaborations may sound very enticing and lucrative, but you have to evaluate the situation to be sure that it will be a complete success.
Communication is the most valuable key to business. Upon your potential venture, there should be a meeting and clear discussion amongst both parties. Everything should be laid out and structured so that everyone is on the same page. All aspects of the entire collaboration from beginning to end must be reviewed and evaluated. If the initial stages of the project is not completely agreed upon, it may not be a good idea to move any further. A partnership that does not see eye to eye will most likely be unsuccessful.
When you are approached by another entrepreneur for a possible project, but they’re unsure of what they wish to accomplish with you… that may be an immediate red flag to just say “no.” If their vision is unclear, it is possible that they may not do well in executing ideas and plans. Go with your gut and if that doesn’t sit well with you, do not move forward and risk the chance of regret.
If the potential endeavor does not represent who you are and is not a great reflection of your brand, you should immediately decline the offer. You’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into building your brand, you do not want to ruin it by working on a partnership that does not stand true to your brand’s identity. In this position of business, you should definitely consider yourself, your hard work and your brand first.
It is definitely an important idea to do somewhat of a background check on your potential partner. Before entering any legally binding deal, you should first check out a few references to help validate their work ethic and character. It will help you to establish a secure level of comfort towards your partner. If references come back in a negative manner, it would be best to walk away from this opportunity. You do not want to work with anyone that is bad for business.
After evaluating and analyzing the plan, a great question that you should ask yourself is “How will this benefit my business?” Will your audience grow? Will it be profitable? How will your target market receive this project? These are a few things that you should consider. If the proposal will not stand to be beneficial to you and your business, you should reject the deal.
If you’re the type of person that has a hard time trusting people, a partnership may not be something that you should participate in. Working with others causes you to tap into your trust bank and go out on a limb to believe in the actions of others. If you know that this characteristic is a weakness of yours, you do not want to be the person to make the collaboration unsuccessful. It would be best to move forward with all ideas that do not cause you to partner with others.
A joint-venture should consist of equality. An equal amount of time and work devoted to the project from each partner. An equal amount of money invested into the plan. Unless agreed upon otherwise, all parties participating should allocate their portion of the collaboration equally. It is not a great idea to get involved in any situation where you will be doing the majority of the work. All partnerships should be engineered equally.
Are you thinking about starting a business partnership? What are your concerns?
At just 25, Ariana Pierce is taking social media by storm with her trending fashion, travel and business advice. Starting her first business at the age of 17, Ariana is on fire and her positive messaging about achieving your dreams is truly inspirational.
From an early age, Ariana has been creating, living and mentoring with her own experiences and inspirational lifestyle products, blog and online show. This business leader runs the successful nail polish company, Superstar Nail Lacquer, which she launched eight years ago. She also manages a thriving online accessories company, Style Shoppe, and is creating a serious buzz with her travel accessories. She also just released her book, “How to Build Your Blogging Business in a Week,” that offers simple, easy-to-follow steps to make money, grow businesses and sales, and build personal brands.
Whether audiences want to grow businesses, change up their lifestyles or dream fantastic futures, Ariana motivates thousands of business owners, professionals and lifestyle changers to aspire to, build up and really live through her lively, straightforward and actionable recommendations. A much sought-after lifestyle, fashion and brand expert, Ariana continues to inspire and influence her generation and beyond.
We got this busy young lady to chat with us recently from her Orlando, Florida home, and she offered some gems about starting a business and much more!
Mommynoire: I read that you’re a 3rd generation entrepreneur, so being a self-made business woman is in your blood. Tell us about how you grew up.
Ariana Pierce: You’re right, my grandfather was an entrepreneur, my mom was an entrepreneur, and when I was younger my grandfather was a great example to me. He was actually one of the first African American business owners in the Grand Rapids (Michigan) area to do real estate and work on properties and buildings and I would see him do those things. He would also always tell me to carry a pen and paper, make sure you have business cards, make sure you have a camera, and I’m like seven or eight-years-old and I never understood it as a child. But really he was just instilling principles in me to carry on the entrepreneur mindset that he started. So that was awesome. And then I grew up with my mom having a business; she owned a cosmetics line and she had an ice cream shop, so she was doing a lot of things way before having your own makeup line was even popular, back in the ’90s. I would just watch her and watching my grandfather made me say, “ok I want to put my name on something.”
And then what happened?
AP: When I was 13 years old, or maybe younger, my mom had me put on a play for this group of friends that she had. She told me, “You go out there and sell these tickets because I want you to see what it’s like to be a salesperson and sell something in business.” And I thought it was cool. You know, the tickets were only like $5, but it was amazing that I learned those principles and different lessons over the years. So that’s how I got to the place where I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Don’t get me wrong I definitely went through a phase that I heard my grandfather and my mom but still I was like, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah I’m going to do my own thing’. But when I was able to help people live their dream by doing my business, that’s when I said, oh yeah, I’m gonna do my thing.
Like my mom always says. “Successful people leave clues.” They’re leaving clues in their message, they’re leaving clues in their books, they’re leaving clues in interviews.
More information on Charlene Dance:
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How Do you Turn Social Media Into a Career? “She’s The Boss” Season 2 Episode 1 – Karen Civil, Founder & CEO of Always Civil Enterprises
Meet Karen Civil, Social Media Maven, and Founder of Always Civil Enterprise. After crafting social media campaigns for artists and brands, including Lil’ Wayne and Beats by Dre, this entertainment powerhouse leveraged her connections and name to create a strong lifestyle brand that is slowly becoming a household name. Find out why She’s The Boss.
Do you have any questions for Karen? Let us know in the comment section below. We will be doing a live Twitterchat with Karen on 10/6 @ 1pm PST/4pm EST.
More information on Karen Civil.
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Yesterday, we posed a serious question on our Facebook page asking, “Do you feel like there is enough positive representation of Black women in the media?” Of course, most of you said no, pointing to the need for more spotlight on the achievements in our community and we want you to know we have a solution. We’re bringing back She’s the Boss!
She’s the Boss captures the business savvy, style and spirit of America’s most successful Black businesswomen. Created specifically to cater to the unique environment of online television viewing, the series features intimate one-on-one interviews with four of the most influential and inspiring women in the United States. She’s the Boss offers practical advice and inspiration to the largely female demographic among fans. Sponsored by African Pride, this season we will be highlighting amazing entrepreneurs such as Karen Civil, AJ Johnson, Angela Benton, and Charlene Dance.
For the month of October, tune in every Monday at 9am to hear their stories.
Click here to watch the amazing women who were featured in Season 1.
For more of our BOSS movement, don’t forget to enter our Be The Boss contest for a chance to be featured in a docu-series as well as win a makeover courtesy of African Pride.
A woman of many talents, Eboyne’ Jackson is a mogul in the making with an arsenal of talent as a brand strategist, lifestyle journalist, and creative visionary. As CEO/brand strategist for her boutique PR firm, Divine Influence PR, Eboyne’ found her niche in the beauty/entertainment industry, and has worked with many viable brands such as Echelon Hair, Lyfe Jennings, Jazmine Sullivan, Victoria Monet, Bethany “Queen B.” Bell, and Rodney Jon, scoring credible media placements for her clients in top outlets such as The REAL, Essence Magazine, Lucky Magazine, Fox, Arise TV, Ebony Magazine, and the Source. From producing shows during New York Fashion Week, to rubbing elbows with some of the industry’s elite such as Beyonce’, Rihanna, Kimora Lee Simmons, Vera Wang, Tracey Reese, Beat Face Honey, and Sam Fine, Eboyne’ Jackson is a woman on the move.
Check out her video entry above and for more info on how you can nominate a woman you know to “Be the Boss” and win a makeover courtesy of African Pride, click here.
If you’re anything like most women today, you are looking for an easy way to maintain your tresses. Typically, hair extensions are the easiest way to protect your hair, but how many hair extension companies offer the versatility us women truly yearn for? We are usually limited in the styling that can be done with our extensions and even the textures that they offer. Enter Ericka Rochelle, founder of Valley Girl Hair Collection. Ericka started Valley Girl Hair Collection with hopes of filling the void of quality hair in her hometown of Southfield, Michigan and has since provided women nationwide with quality, luxury hair extensions that can’t be found elsewhere. Ericka spoke with MadameNoire about Valley Girl Hair Collection (VGHC) and their rapid success in the industry through their unique texture blends and versatile styling abilities.
MadameNoire: What inspired you to start VGHC?
Ericka Rochelle: Originally, I didn’t know anything about hair when I first came into this. I did start with a business partner who did hair for 16 years. She was supposed to be more of the brains behind the hair, but then we broke up, so I went off on my own. Initially, I started because I’m a business woman I see an opportunity in making money in the hair world. This is a billion dollar business so I was like, “I want a piece of this pie.” I knew that I have very strong selling skills, I have great customer service skills and with a strong business mind I knew that I could do this. Through researching manufactures, trying hair for over a year, we found the perfect manufacture that fit us the best, that will work with us through everything and that’s how it came about.
MadameNoire: Who is the VG woman?
Ericka Rochelle: It’s every woman. I think when we first came out it started to sound like we weregoing toward that suburban girl, that valley girl, that California girl, but now it’s everybody. So whether you come from the east side or the west side, or you’re coming from Detroit or you stay in the suburbs of Michigan, everybody can wear Valley Girl. The name makes people very excited. They want to be a Valley Girl. They want to be what everybody thinks is this California surfboard girl or something like that. One of my customer’s favorite line to say when leaving the store is “Now I’m a Valley Girl.”
MadameNoire: In what ways is VGHC improving the application method of hair extensions?
Ericka Rochelle: We are the inventors of the back closure piece, which is a patent-pending piece. We invented that piece because we wanted to think outside of the box. I do not want to stay in the realm of whatever my manufacturer offers that’s all that I can sell. I tell them what I want. I’m a person who, if I have a sew-in, and I want to put a ponytail in my head then that’s just what I want to do; but every time you get a sew-in and you put it up in a ponytail, you’ll see tracks on the side and you have to maneuver around this ponytail to get it right because if not it’s going to look tacky. So the invention of the back closure piece came from that. We wanted to invent a piece that you could just take a brush and you could comb the hair straight up as if it was your own hair and it was that seamless ponytail.
We’re always thinking about the next wave of hair. I invent five different curls every single year. I bring out five new curls that I actually invent myself. Right now we have a curl out called Barbie Wave. The Barbie Wave curl is a curl that is a curl and a crinkle together. Putting those two beautiful textures together it made this wave and it looks amazing and it’s selling like crazy right now. I don’t even have the stock for it, it selling so crazy.
MadameNoire: How does VGHC improve/accommodate its consumer’s lifestyle?
Ericka Rochelle: I sell twelve different types of hair, so that’s one thing that’s good because most hair companies that are out right now they may sell one, or two, or three; I sell twelve. That in itself will accommodate. One thing I definitely think that Valley Girl Hair offers is a variety of hair, whether it be the region where the hair comes from or that I have eight different curls right here in my showroom in Detroit.
In Detroit, everybody either sells body wave, straight, deep wave, and maybe a loose wave, but I have eight different curls that you can pick from when you walk into my door. That accommodates everybody too because now you have a lot of choices. If you’re that workout lady and you sweat a lot and you’re like “I want this certain type of curl,” I probably have that certain type of curl right in the store. It doesn’t have to be ordered or anything. It’s right there for you.
MadameNoire: You recently made a deal with Wal-Mart, what can we expect from that?
Ericka Rochelle: Wal-Mart has gotten into hair. What caught their eye was that I was definitely thinking outside of the box. I wear frontals myself and every time I would wear the 30 second glue, if I went swimming or was on vacation, my frontal was definitely coming up. I wanted to create glue that I could go swimming in and it won’t come up. Wal-Mart picked it up because they want to make Wal-Mart a one-stop shop. They actually want to make a beauty supply within Wal-Mart. I can go to Wal-Mart, I can go shopping, grocery shopping, get my beauty supplies; I can go get my hair. That’s their goal. So, I think putting it in Wal-Mart was making it reachable to every single client. No matter where you are.
MadameNoire: What sets VGHC apart from other hair vendors?
Ericka Rochelle: Being innovative and thinking outside of the box is what’s going to keep Valley Girl going because like I said, I don’t stick with the norm, I’m always thinking outside of the box. Where they’re just selling the same old body waves, I’m thinking of the new wave of hair. Another thing that I think that everybody knows about Valley Girl is that I invest in a lot of education to educate stylists. I think of different closures, seminar classes that I can have for stylists. Giving back is something that a lot of companies don’t do. I have so many different relationships with stylists this year, where I know a lot of companies here don’t have a lot of relationships with different stylists.
Our showroom alone is a little bit different. A hair showroom, that’s not really heard of. A lot of people are trying to do storefronts and things like that. I made my showroom look more like an LA buying/fashion showroom. Just thinking outside of the box is what’s going to keep us going. Don’t stay inside the realm.