Category Archives: entrepreneurship

Lessons on My Birthday

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GOOD MORNING!!!!! HEYYYY!!! Today is my BIRTHDAY!

(insert a dance move and big smile here)

What better way to spend it than working, right?! Lucky for me what I do does not feel like work. I love what I do.

Today I am in Marrakech, Morocco. It is a beautiful city!! the culture is so intriguing.

I was invited by a group called Freedom Village to represent the United States as we speak at the United Nations Climate Change Conference November 13- 20. I am one of four African Americans (and the ONLY African American female) invited to empower others to sustain themselves in this changing world. I will speak specifically on innovation and the female entrepreneur.

I’ve been awake consistently refining my speech in preparation for my first international speaking engagement. I will stand before Global influencers including 10,000 heads of state plus the 160 United Nations Presidents – yes, including our own President Barack Obama!

I am grateful to be among a delegation of elect Global leaders who will convene in Marrakech, Morocco and speak on an international stage for #COP22 with an emphasis on Climate Change and saving our earth with a focus on Innovation, Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Green Tech & Building Smart-Cities.

Last night I think it all hit me. WOW! I did it! I traveled internationally all by myself. I took two planes, 2 trains and a car…I navigated alone. I am also staying in a riad, a tradition Moroccan home, with the local people in their community.

That’s big for me. When the opportunity presented itself I almost said no.

“I can’t leave my kids for a week!”

“I can’t speak in front of a huge crowd like that!”

“This is over my head!”

“I can’t travel that far alone!”

All those doubts crept in my mind…quickly. I fought to dismiss them and seized this amazing opportunity. I have learned that whenever we step into a new level old doubts and fears show up. It is normal because we become uncomfortable with the change. It is not healthy to let those thoughts take over to the point where we block our own blessings.

Amazing things happen when we allow ourselves to become uncomfortable. We open ourselves up to new experiences, new people and things.

The key is to get passed the uncomfortable feeling and just do it anyway!

For my birthday I would like for you to give me a gift. I don’t want anything tangible. I want you to determine what makes you uncomfortable in your life and in business. Decide to JUST DO IT this week.

It does not have to be getting on a plane and traveling to a foreign country and speaking to national leaders (YIKES..I am still a little nervous..lol). Your uncomfortable thing may be tackling social media, doing a live stream, making a cold call, starting your book…

Do me a favor for my birthday and start it this week. That one thing you are fearing may be the one thing that takes you to the next level. Tackle the unknown with determination. 

Complacency is easyDo something difficult.

Wishing you the best this week,

Lenise

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Why My Hairstylist Impressed Me Today..and Not Because go My Hair

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Yes!! My hair stylist is pretty amaze balls! She impresses me every 2 weeks when I walk away from her styling chair. I walk out each time with my hair on fleek 🙂 and feeling gorge! Today after she whipped off the styling cape and turned my chair around to face the mirror, it was no different. Yep, she did yet another amazing job. Compliments followed from strangers from the time that I stepped up from her seat until I got into my car. As usual I felt pretty darn amazing. However my stylist was the extra amazing one today.

My stylist is a sought out stylist here in Atlanta.  You can see her making many socialites and television stars glamorous on a regular basis. Today a very well-known celebrity called her and requested that she do her hair today at noon.She offered to pay my stylist for her services and also reimburse her the money she would lose due to canceling her  appointments today. I looked at my watch as she was doing my hair and telling me this story. It was 11:45pm. She was doing MY hair instead of racing to get to this celebrity. It made me smile.

“That person is a one time service,” she said. “I did her hair 2 years ago and have not heard from her since then. My clients that come to me every week or every two weeks are more important to me than snapping a pic with a celebrity after I have done her hair.”

That impressed me more than any curl or color or fantastic cut she has provided. It was not only her loyalty that was impressive; it was also her mature business sense that put a smile on my face. Here are two reasons this made me smile:

Respect. She recognized the fact that her skill set should be valued and respected. It should be acknowledged by others by simply respecting her time and her clients. Her work is good. When people want her to do their hair, they schedule an appointment. Since arrangements were not made in advance, my stylist was not willing to push others to the side. This stylist already has established herself in this industry. She is not someone brand new that is seeking opportunities to “make it” in the hair industry. She’s already done that.

Saying “no” allows others to gain more respect for you and your expertise/talents. If this celebrity really wants this stylist to do her hair ever again I bet she will arrange it ahead of time.  Know your worth. You can demand respect without being a   *itch!

Money. My stylist recognized the fact that she has clients that pay her faithfully every week or every two weeks. Although the celebrity would have compensated her for the money she would have lost today, the money would not be enough. The money would not repair her relationship with clients that were depending on her today. That one decision to cancel her appointments today would could have been detrimental to her clientele. Some may have felt pushed to the side. It may have caused some to no longer want to do business with her. Once that happens and she develops a reputation for pushing clients to the side for celebrities which causes her to lose money. It’s just not worth it.

In business you can not think about the temporary gain. You must focus on the bigger picture. Will the notoriety you are seeking today have a negative impact your business tomorrow? In making decisions that affect your personal brand consider the implications it will have next week, next month and even next year.

What are your thoughts? What would you have done if you were this stylist?

How Homeschooling Improved My Business

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Homeschooling? Ummmmm…..no it’s not for me. I am not an educator, I am quite busy, kids are supposed to be at school and I lack patience. Yes, these were honestly my thoughts. Well, at least until about 3 weeks ago.

I started considering homeschooling my 3rd grader because of a few issues I had with his teachers, administration, his behavior and performance. Let me give you a little background on my little man: as a toddler I started to learn of severe behavior issues at school. The daycare would call me just about every single day because of something he was doing.  Hitting teachers, running away, tearing up work that he did not want to do. Craziness, right?!?!? It was odd because he would not exhibit these behaviors at home. It was pretty bad for YEARS! I was a single mom trying to be the best mom I could, but I was in tears and stressed out every . single . day.

I disciplined him, was always picking him up from the school/daycare midday, it was a nightmare.My family, my ex husband, teachers….everyone pointed the finger at me! I was a bad mom, blah, blah, blah. I had him tested, screened, poked and probed and NOTHING. Psychologists said his IQ was off the charts, he was a sweet boy, there weren’t any issues, he was fine. This went on until 1st grade. My son had an amazing teacher that worked well with him. Second grade same thing; great kid. This year in third grade around Thanksgiving time I had that same child from the toddler years return. Acting out at school once again.

It did not make sense. I know my son has very little self control and a very short fuse. But, what was making this fuse suddenly fire again? After about 2 months of him repeatedly being suspended I started to consider homeschooling. Mostly because he was home a lot anyway and not learning at school. What was really the point of going, right? At least at home I could ensure he was learning. My son’s teacher learned that he may possibly be withdrawing and cheered. Yep, she cheered. My son witnessed her cheer and came home hurt and in tears. At that moment (after I envisioned the perfect fantasy of poking her in her eyes) I decided that he needed to be out. No more considering it as a viable option. It then became the only option. I could not send him to face her again. Nor could I imagine trusting my son with her! It was awful. I am sure when he is 40 he will still remember that day!

I decided to not only withdraw my 3rd grader, but to also withdraw my 5th grader from the same school. I had a very displeasing taste for the entire school at this point. LOL. The day I withdrew them I sat in my car in the parking lot of the school and cried. I have businesses to run, I have meetings to attend, I have stuff to do! How was I going to do this? But here’s the thing…I had to do this. Why? Because as mothers we do what we have to do for our kids. No matter what we make it work.

My kids are more important than a meeting, than hosting a radio show (yep, I walked away from Business Radio X), more important than anything. I have made it work and see such progress. I see so much progress especially in my 3rd grader. He is like a totally different child! In a few short weeks I have helped him catch up on some fundamentals that he missed this year.

I can’t work outside of the house as much and can’t travel like I did, but here is what I learned throughout this ordeal: as entrepreneurs our goal should be to work smarter and not harder. I was working HARD 4 weeks ago before homeschooling caused me to slow down.  However slowing down should not mean that the income has to slow down! On my website I have placed more virtual products and programs for sale, I have launched a book that’s for sale, I have a branding home study kit for sale and more. I have actually made more money this month than last month when I was working HARDER.

As moms we need flexibility. We need to have the option to pull our kids from a school if we feel the education system is not working for them. We need to be able to decide that we are going to take our kids on a trip, but still be able to work from our cell and computer. We deserve to be mobile moguls!

Whether you are a mommy, an aunt, a Godmother or a mom to fur babies, I urge you to take control of your life and stop working so hard. The internet is your friend. Putting your products and services for sale on the internet can be your first step in becoming a mobile mommy mogul!

What steps can you take to work smarter and not harder? Comment below!

To learn more about me visit LeniseWilliams.com

The Most Important Factor in Your Marketing Plan

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Marketing is a very important part of your business. I would go as far as to say that it is crucial. If you have a great product, but no one knows about it you won’t make much money! You must market. However, you must do it the right way. I have noticed that many people forget about one key component. They focus on the wrong aspect of marketing.

 So here are three keys to your marketing plan and what I feel is the most important:

  1. Leads: The first part of marketing is getting new leads. Leads, leads, leads. You want to get as many leads as you can because the more leads you get, the more potential clients you have and the more potential clients you get, the more clients you have. Potential clients turn into clients. Here is an example. If you are in the online sector you will need about 1,000 leads to generate ONE SALE! So, how are you going to attract people to your business? How are you getting the leads?

  2. Experiences: What type of experiences are you going to create for your customers? Give them a great experience. WOW them! Even though you make think your idea or business is original, you are most likely not the only person doing what you are doing. The customer can choose you or 25 others in the same industry. Therefore, it’s essential to create an experience for your clients that will have people walking away from your services raving about you and your business!

  3. Current Customers: How are you going to appreciate your current clients/loyal customers? These are the people who are currently using and enjoying your services. They are the people that are going to be able to provide word of mouth marketing for you, telling their friends how much they enjoyed your services. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT!

Most people focus on number 1 and not number 3… The majority of people lose money in the long run by not focusing on developing and nurturing relationships with current clients. When you spend all your time on number 1, the people in the third category  3 are getting left out. So, how are you going to ‘wow’ them? How are going to go above and beyond to nurture and appreciate your current customers?

The existing customers will be the walking mouthpiece for your business. They will tell a friend that will tell a friend that will tell a friend.People tend to trust a direct referral before they trust a stranger in their email inbox! In addition the existing clients can grow to be the most loyal clients. They can be the clients that support you and hire you for years to come. Many of your future clients may be your existing clients. Therefore you have to treat them right.

Let me know below how you will nurture your existing clients.

 

3 Reasons Why I Prefer Personal Brand vs.Business Branding

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Often I am asked by entrepreneurs whether they should focus on branding their business or branding themselves. A personal brand is typically a business that is built around a person and their name. A business brand is an identity (fictitious or not) that is created for a business. It promotes the brand name of the business as opposed the the specific talents/expertise of the owner of the brand.

Many think that personal branding is only for actors, artists and those that want to be famous. Guess what? It’s not! Personal branding  is for those who wish to improve their career, climb the social ladder and improve the brand equity along the way. Personal branding is also critically important for leadership.

Business branding may be preferred by some. There are many companies that do very well without their founder having a strong personal brand. It is definitely not a requirement.  Many purchase products simply because they like them and what the company is all about without knowing anything about the face behind the business.

However, I see so much earning potential behind creating a personal brand. It is a method that has worked for me and countless clients. It is a method that helps entrepreneurs create multiple streams of income through product endorsements, their own products, services, public speaking, personal seminars, books and more.

Here are three reasons why I prefer creating a personal brand over a business brand:

1. Never Run Out of Customers: Yes, the customers know that you exist. They know that SOMEONE created this business. They know that someone is behind that logo. If people are raging fans of your product/services they can also become raving fans of YOU as an individual. That allows you to build an audience that will support your new endeavors such as writing a book, public speaking, a clothing line, a new enterprise you want to start, etc.

2. Your Business May Change: As you learn more in your business and expound you may change your mind about some things. You may decide that you no longer want to offer a particular service, product, etc. One of the things I like about your using own name & creating a personal brand is just that: you can evolve with it.  You’ll learn new things, start new companies or websites. And when you do, why would you want to leave all the amazing work ,followers, readership behind? Creating a business brand makes it difficult for a business owner to evolve into doing new things under the business brand.

3. Builds Loyalty: When you work on creating a personal brand you are choosing to show others parts of your life and/or your personality. Building a personal brand encourages you to become transparent about some things in your life and/or your business. This transparency and the sharing allows people to personally connect with you. More and more people want to do business with people..with PERSONALITIES not large businesses. Once a consumer feels that connection with you, your journey and your story they will feel that you are the only person in your particular industry that can solve their problem. Allow people to know you and to like you. That will eventually build the trust. The trust will lead to them referring others and much more loyalty to your business.

In conclusion personal branding has its pros and cons. One “con” you may have to face through personal branding is criticism. When you brand yourself as opposed to your business you will be looked at with much more scrutiny. People watch your every move very closely and your privacy may take a hit. In addition, if you make a mistake you will have to answer tough questions and bail yourself out. I think we all learned this through Tiger Woods.

Business brands are less likely to fall under the microscope and can rebound more easily from negative publicity because the relationship with their followers is less personal.

I’d love to help you with building a personal brand. Check out my new book. It can help you on your journey! Click here  to order your copy. To learn more about me and what I offer visit www.LeniseWilliams.com

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Business On A Budget

 

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10 Legitimate Businesses You Can Start for Under $20

I found this article a great read! #1 and #2 are my favorite! I help people build a very lucrative career in those areas. For more info on how I can help check out these services here. Enjoy this great article!

 

Whether you’re starting a business on the side while still employed elsewhere, a student or homemaker looking for extra income, or unemployed and trying to figure out what to do, there are plenty of opportunities for you to start up a side business inexpensively. It’s unlikely any of these will make you a living in the first few months, but they all have the potential to grow into full-time businesses.

We’ll take a look at 10 such opportunities and, most importantly, tell you what to do with the $20!

1. Webpreneur

It’s what everyone who’s ever surfed the Web dreams of-just stick a web site up there and watch the cash roll in! Well, that just doesn’t happen overnight, but the fact of the matter is it’s really not very hard to do.

To do it right, start by picking a subject matter you know a lot about. Then get a domain and create a web site. It doesn’t even matter what technology you use-just be totally anal-retentive about it looking good and provide plenty of original content. Now find some appropriate affiliate programs-that’s where your revenues are going to come from. Next, learn everything you can about search engine marketing and promote the heck out of your site. Last of all, set aside time every week to put new content on the site, delete dead links, and other maintenance. Now do this three or four times, and you’ve chosen your topics well, you might actually have some decent income from it.

Spend the $20 on: $8 or less for a domain (see our Online Business Guide’s list of cheap domain name registrars) and $12 for a year of hosting (search for “$1 hosting”).

2. Consultant

Getting into consulting is relatively simple. All you have to do is know how to do something better than most people do, and be able to either teach people how to do it or be willing to do it for them. Networking is the key to success in this business, so start by making a list of everyone you know and giving them all a call.

Spend the $20 on: $14 on a box of clean-edge laser or inkjet business cards and $6 buying your first prospect a cup of coffee one morning.

3. Housesitter / Petsitter

Particularly since 9/11, people feel an increased need for security, and housesitting gives them some reassurance while they’re out of town. This one’s great because it basically requires no particular skills, just trustworthiness and reliability. Be sure to have personal references available, and you’ll also need reliable transportation. If you’re an animal lover, petsitting is an easy add-on.

Spend the $20 on: $2 on flyers to put up on bulletin boards, and the rest on classified ads in your local neighborhood paper (not a big city-wide one).

4. Professional Organizer

People these days are simply overwhelmed by their “stuff”. While there is an ever-growing trend of people wanting to simplify their lives, most of us haven’t done it yet. It’s not that people really have no clue how to get organized, it just keeps moving to the bottom of the stack, both figuratively and literally. There’s a prime opportunity for people to come in at a reasonable rate and get houses organized. And while there is a National Association of Professional Organizers that you can join when you’re ready, mostly it takes common sense, organizational skills, and a familiarity with what can be had at your local office supply and The Container Store.

Spend the $20 on: Classified ads.

5. Avon Independent Sales Representative

Cosmetics is a virtually recession-proof business, because it’s an inexpensive way for people to feel good about themselves. Avon is the largest consumer direct sales company in the world, with annual sales of nearly $6 billion. In business for well over 100 years, they have both a highly reputable product line and one of the few highly reputable multi-level marketing structures (in fact, they invented it). They also offer fashion and wellness products in addition to their beauty products. And while they bill themselves as “The Company for Women”, a fairly substantial number of men have actually been very successful as Avon reps. The secret to making a living at it rather than just a little extra spending money? Build your downline-just like with any other network marketing or direct selling business.

Spend the $20 on: $10 signup fee, and $10 on brochures and a few samples.

6. Personal Services – Shopping & Errands

This is a great one going into the holiday season. Believe it or not, there are people who wouldn’t be caught dead going anywhere near a mall, but they’re not comfortable with buying certain items online, either. Again, trustworthiness and dependability are the key traits for this. If your car’s not reliable, pick something else. Also, you won’t need cash, but you’ll need available credit on your credit cards, since you really can’t use theirs.

Consider an American Express or a Diner’s Club that don’t have preset spending limits. Or use a card that gives cash back reward or frequent flyer miles, and you’ll make a nice little bonus for yourself.

Spend the $20 on: $1 on flyers and the rest on classified ads.

7. Desktop Publishing

It’s amazing how many people have a computer and still don’t know how to make a decent flyer! If you’ve got a good design sense, are extremely familiar with your word processor, and already have a laser or high-quality inkjet printer, you can get into desktop publishing. Create a really great-looking portfolio for yourself and go door-to-door.

Spend the $20 on: Some high-quality paper to create your samples on.

8. Tutoring

With the growing dissatisfaction with our education system and the huge growth in homeschooling, there’s an unprecedented need for tutors these days for kids of all ages-even adults! If you’ve got a topic you can tutor in, contact the local schools, particularly private ones, and local homeschool groups, and offer your services. Don’t be concerned if your topic is highly specialized-even those are in demand.

Spend the $20 on: $14 on a box of clean-edge laser or inkjet business cards and $6 on flyers.

9. eBay Seller

Yes, there really are people who make a decent living buying things at garage sales and flea markets and selling them on eBay.

The big secrets? Stick to products you know (or learn before you start) extremely well, package your goods carefully, and provide impeccable customer service. It helps to have a digital camera or a scanner, but it’s not required.

Spend the $20 on: Your first inventory at a garage sale.

10. Secretarial Service – Typing / Transcription / Proofreading

Many small businesses and individuals have a need for these services, but not enough need to hire a temp through an agency.

Assuming you’ve got a computer, a printer, and e-mail (and the necessary skills), you’re all set. Be prepared to charge by the job, not by the hour.

Spend the $20 on: $14 on a box of clean-edge laser or inkjet business cards and $6 on flyers.

One last thing-beware of home-based business scams that require a substantial buy-in, such as envelope-stuffing or craft item assembly. You may not lose money on it if you stick with it long enough to get really fast at it, but you’ll probably never make the kind of money you’re expecting to. Better to do something on your own.

 

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4 Traits That Are Vital To Your Success

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So many are on the quest to find success in their business and ultimately in life. They study the big brands, they go to every seminar and know more about branding than they know about their proclaimed area of personal expertise. However, they aren’t reaching the level of success they’d like. The problem may not lie in their branding or in their marketing. The problem may lie in the individual. I have determined that it is not so much about the things that you do, but it is about who you are. Your habits may be preventing you from reaching the level of success you desire.

There are so many traits that I know are vital for success in any industry. Here are 4 traits essential for lasting success:

VISION: A vision is your goals and your aspirations. It defines the optimal desired future state. The problem is that many people in business do not have a vision. Without a vision you have no idea of where you are going. If you do not know where you are going you definitely don’t have a clue of how to get there. Without a vision you will find yourself on a mission to achieve something, but you won’t even know what that “something” really is. Lack of vision causes lack of direction. Lack of direction causes confusion and frustration. Confusion and frustration typically causes a person to give up. Giving up does not yield success. Get a vision and make it clear!

ACTION:So you have a vision..GOOD FOR YOU! You know what you want to do and have clearly defined how you are going to accomplish it. The question that many entrepreneurs face is to actually get started. Having a great vision, strategy , a phenomenal team in place, etc is all great. However if the plan just sits and collects dust and there isn’t any action coupled with the plan it all becomes a waste of time. Wasting time does not yield success! Couple your vision with action!

COURAGE: All great entrepreneurs have courage.. Most people will tolerate just about anything—a bad marriage, a job they hate, a horrible boss only because it makes them feel secure. Not enough people are comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. True entrepreneurs are not like that. It takes courage to forego the comfort of a steady paycheck from a 9-5. It takes courage to take the risk of failure. It takes true courage to work to make your dreams a reality. It takes courage to step into the unknown and pursue something despite the possibility of obstacles. Courage is standing up and not crawling into a hole when things get rough. Crawling in a hole and hiding does not yield success. Act in the face of fear!

CONFIDENCE Confidence is a key ingredient to success. Truly confident people keep their heads high, give straight answers and use a firm tone of voice. Truly successful people don’t just act confident; they are confident. They know that they are good at what they do, they know that their product/ service can make a difference. That confidence and the delivery of good work/products leads the entrepreneur to success. Get out of that muddy puddle of doubt and acquire the kind of confidence that comes from being a master at what you do. Self- doubt and insecurities will not lead to success. Believe in yourself and what you offer.