Tag Archives: how to be an entrepreneur

My Top 3 Mistakes as an Entrepreneur

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I am addicted to making my own money. When a first time entrepreneur earns their first 50 bucks ON THEIR OWN WITHOUT A BOSS the feeling is empowering. Well, I can only speak for myself. 🙂
I have been a business owner in some capacity for eleven years. I absolutely love it and would not have it any other way. However in buying businesses, starting businesses and growing businesses I have learned so much. Many of the things I have learned I learned by making mistakes…plenty of them. I want to share the top three mistakes I made as an entrepreneur with you. Hopefully you can learn from them. Here are a few more tips on budgeting.

1. Don’t think every opportunity is the best opportunity.
In the beginning I thought everyone that reached out to help me or support me were all “Team Lenise”. Guess what? Many of them were not. People that I thought were “Team Lenise” would present to me what I thought are opportunities. I would jump at them without hesitation. After getting burned several times I realized that some (not all) get close to you because they want to see you fall. Some disguise that with what looks like an opportunity that you just can’t pass up. Do me a favor: investigate, investigate and investigate again. Trust your intuition. If it seems too good to be true it very well may be too good to be true!

2. Create a budget and stick to it.
Whether you have created a budget for the year or for the month try your hardest to stick to it. Troubled financials is one of the biggest reasons that small businesses close. Every dollar counts…it all adds up! Don’t be scared to switch vendors and price search. If you are going over budget research other vendors and make sure that you are getting the best price possible. I had an office supply vendor that I worked with for years; however I had to stop doing business with them after finding lower prices elsewhere. Loyalty is great, but business is business!

3. Don’t ever get comfortable.
Business is booming. All that marketing you did has really paid off. Here is my tip: DO NOT STOP! Keep marketing and keep working hard like you did before anyone knew anything about you or your products/services. It is that same hunger that will keep you afloat. I remember when my phone in my first business (my law office) never rang. I did some effective marketing and for 2 months straight the phone rang off the hook. I got comfortable and way too confident. I stopped airing commercials as often. I figured I did not need it. Needless to say my phone did stop ringing and I had a drought for awhile. Once I started marketing again it picked back up. However had I kept the momentum going I wouldn’t have experienced that drought.

There are so many other things that I have learned. However these stand out the most. Take the time to listen to stories from others. You can learn so much and avoid so many pitfalls if you just take the time to listen. I did not have the privilege of having a mentor when I started my first business. It was so competitive that everyone feared that the other person would take their clients. Silly, I know. Back then I did not know that business coaches, consultants, etc even existed. Had I known I could have saved myself lots of time, headache and money. But then again if I had known then I wouldn’t be able to share with you!

What is your biggest lesson learned? Share below.

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When It Is Time To Fire Yourself!

When You’re CEO Sometimes You Have to Fire Yourself!I found this article written by Toni Jones Dixon on www.AwesomelyTechie.com and I thought about you and all that you try to achieve by yourself in your business! There are some great tips in this article. Enjoy!

I was sitting back looking at my mobile workspace (otherwise known as my car) and wondering who was going to do all the “must do” items on my list, while I sat, filling up already crowded spaces in my calendar? The answer is usually ME, but I didn’t have time for that.

Business is going relatively well. Steady and moving forward. When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s ideal to create a name for yourself, own a piece of this here American pie, write your own schedule, sign your own paychecks, deliver some goods and services to the world and all of that.

Sounds simple and sounds like a bit of fun, right?

However, there is one thing you have to keep in mind: you may be gifted in that “thing” that made you start a business in the first place, but that does NOT mean you can do all of the jobs the company has to offer. I was doing business, earning business, learning business, growing business, presenting business, putting business online, selling business, publicizing business, and whatever else was needed to make it all work. Yeah, things were going well… until they weren’t.

You see, I had been contemplating firing a couple of my employees for a while. Their butts needed to go! I had one employee who thought she could do everything, thus not doing most things well at all. She thought she was the master of all trades, picking up every job our company offered. And I let her. Though, she was fierce at the things she was most gifted in, eventually she was overwhelmed and tired and I bounced her. She was me! And she had to go. I was doing an adequate job, and that’s how one ends up defining one’s work and company, as simply adequate. Ugh!!!

I couldn’t afford to keep jeopardizing the company I built and its brand by presenting it in such an amateur way. I did a reorganization of the company and made the smart decision to fire myself.

Operating as the owner, ceo, president and everything else of your business, is something that most of us do because we must.

But before you tank your business and ruin your brand and reputation, know that you cannot do ALL things and expect to do them all well.

Professional Photographer – Stop taking sub-par pictures your and posting them on your company’s website. These pictures are your representative. Get yourself a good photographer and have them take some sharp, clean shots of you, your product and whatever else your business is about. As I saw it, I took all my pictures with a good camera and good lighting (a lamp) and like I said earlier… it was adequate. But adequate is not enough. It is not excellence.

Publicist/Public Relations – Find a good business writer to shout your praises. You’ll need a solid press release, brand statement, mission statement, value statement and an “about you” write-up. Most of us won’t even talk about ourselves enough to write a good enough statement that explains what we do. Let the professionals be your bullhorn. Plus, it won’t break the bank as much as you think it would. And it is absolutely worth it.

Website Designer – I was being schooled by Awesomely Luvvie on a few changes that needed to be made and didn’t even realize I had done my website a disservice with an antiquated looking website. She said, “you’ve got to get a proper About Page” and I looked up from taking notes and didn’t even realize I had wiped out the About page with my jacked website building skills. Double Ugh!!!

I needed a fresh pair of eyes to tell me what the rest of the world sees when they look at our company’s website. Yikes! And I thought I was the bomb dot com, like really. One thing she was adamant about was the font Comic Sans. If someone uses or suggests using this, you’re supposed to punch them in the throat. Yeah, I’m not sure that was supposed to be the take away from our session, but I’m ready.

Logo – Get one! A good one! Make sure it pops. Make sure it represents you well. I was appalled at the logo I created in MS Word (yeah, I said it… MS Word). It was cute, but it did not cut it. I gasped with disappointment and embarrassment when I saw my own logo in a publication. That is when I really knew I needed a change.

Bottom Line: Don’t be so impressed with yourself that you don’t allow the pros to do what they do to really pull together a well-rounded presentation of you and your company – YOUR BRAND. When you fire yourself and only work the jobs of your calling, essentially, you’re able to operate in your gifts full on and with excellence. Additionally, you WILL drive more traffic to your business, thus, seeing more cash flow your way.

I just recently fired myself and my business is undergoing a rebranding because of it. Hand yourself a pink slip so you can prosper.

What are your thoughts? Is it time to fire yourself?? Let me know below:

Business Radio X Interview

I had a great interview on Business Radio X on Monday

So yes, this is a pretty bad pic. I told you in my previous blog post that I had a rough 10 days!! lol If you missed it, check it out here. My interview starts around the 17 minute mark 😉

Confession: When I woke up Mondaymorning I was dreading the fact that I had to go into the studio for an on air interview. I was drained! However, I got myself together and sat through the interview. Guess what the result was? THEY GAVE ME MY OWN SHOW!! Crazy, right?! My interview was conducted by the owners of the Radio X and they support what I am doing for the female entrepreneur. They offered me an opportunity to speak about entrepreneurship on their tour next year and to also host a new show about Mompreneurs! You can check out my first episode on December 5 at 10am ET. I will remind you closer to the date

Tips For a BANGIN 2015

Soon enough the end of 2014 will be here. Regardless of the goals you have accomplished, every business has room for improvement. Whether you need to restructure, restrategize or just rejuvenate your business it is time to start getting a great plan of attack underway. Here are a few “resolutions” to get you started:

Improve Marketing Efforts: What worked for you this year? Do that again in 2015, but better! What did not work? Figure out why it did not work and determine how to fix it! This will also be helpful so that you can determine your marketing budget for the 1st quarter of 2015.

Take a Course: You can never know enough about your industry, marketing or business in general. Be sure to google upcoming courses, either before the close of 2014 or the beginning of 2015 and BOOK IT NOW! Start the year with the mindset of “student” regardless of your success level.

Social Media Focus: Determine which social media outlets were the most effective for you. Also take a little scroll down memory lane! Look at your posts and see which posts got the most attention. Duplicate them in 2015 and do less of the stuff that didn’t get attention.

Customer Service: I hope you have been collecting testimonials or saving all the wonderful remarks people have shared about your business. If so now is the time to look over all of them. Read and reflect on what made those customers happy. After you figure it out get a plan together on how you can take their “happy” to a new level. How can you not just hit a home run with the particular attribute they discuss; but how can you knock it out the park in 2015?

Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t where you planned to be at the end of 2014. Now is not the time to feel sorry for yourself- you have too much to do! If you are exactly where you want to be or beyond- You Go Girl! But don’t get so comfortable with where you are now. If you fail to continue to work the way you have worked or improve the way you have improved you may find yourself back at square one! YIKES!!

What are you going to jumpstart your efforts for 2015?? I want to know..comment below!

4 Ways to Get More Value From a Conference Ticket

My name is Lenise Williams and I am an addict. Yes, I am an addict. I am officially addicted to business conferences! I absolutely LOVE them; I can’t get enough I had the pleasure of presenting at the Moms as Entrepreneurs Conference at Morgan State University in Baltimore last weekend. I got back in town and the following day attended the Atlanta Business League Super Tuesday Conference. Both conferences had break- out sessions in which an expert in a particular area spoke. Here are a few reasons why my addiction is strong and how you can get the MOST out of conferences

1. I love to learn
I was able to walk way with little nuggets from each break out session. At the conference in Baltimore I was invited as a speaker; however I see it more as an opportunity to travel and get access to great information from other speakers without having to buy a ticket! HA! Before and after I speak I am typically the person in the front row with my pen and paper ready! Although I am a business consultant and I eat, sleep and dream business and entrepreneurship I never feel as if I know everything. Hearing different perspectives, different techniques and strategies is a method to learn a new style or it confirms that your way works best for you. Regardless of how much an individual may feel that they know; it is always advantageous to be a student.

2. The networking/netweaving is better than the food
Well the food was pretty darn amazing at both conferences, but if I had to pick networking/netweaving (see this posting for explanation of netweaving) over the yummy grilled chicken or the delicious grilled salmon I ate, I’d definitely forego the food! Most times I eat before I go to events. I eat so that I allow myself more time to talk to others. If I am so busy stuffing my mouth with food it makes it very difficult to connect with others. It is so very important to take advantage of so many like-minded people being in the same space. It is the best time to chat with some you may have been wanting to meet or an opportunity to reconnect with others.

I like to look at the list of speakers before the event and decide which sessions I will attend before I even purchase my ticket. If someone that I have been wanting to connect with is speaking I make sure to attend that session and sit front and center! Front and center is the easiest path to enable you to speak with them after their session concludes. I already know what questions I want to ask, I already know what I want to tell them. I don’t like wasting anyone’s time for I don’t like for anyone to waste mine. If you do not go to a conference to open up and meet prospective clients, prospective joint venture partners or marketing partners, you should save your money and just attend a virtual seminar. MAXIMIZE the value of that ticket you purchased!

3. I Run Out of Content Ideas
As a person that likes to provide great blogs, webinars, etc I sometimes run out of good stuff to write/talk about! That has no measure on how much I really know. That just lets me know that I need to get out and learn more about what people want. Many times the conference organizers research what the hot topics are; they know what the people want to know about. I will be honest, I often have so many trademarks to register and so many deadlines to meet that I honestly go brain dead when it is time for me to give you all great content. The organizers eliminate the hard work associated with research. Why reinvent the wheel, right?! Seminar titles, tips that the speakers share or even just a quote that they recite triggers my brain and gives me an idea for something amazing to provide to my readers/listeners. That is why my pen and paper or sometimes even my iPhone notepad is a MUST! I jot my ideas and refer to them later. Ha… now you know my secret for maintaining good content 😉

4. I just need to get out (sad, i know…lol)
I spend a lot of time behind my computer drafting documents, emailing and assisting my clients. The other part of my day is spent on the phone. When I imagined my life as an entrepreneur I imagined a bit more excitement! Yes, it gets lonely sometimes. I learned a few years back that it is important to make an effort to be around people other than your clients and your team. It is great to get out and socialize with an entire conference room of people that actually are like me and like to talk about business. I am so “business obsessed” that I even like to talk about it when I am not even paid to do so. It is exciting to be in a room full of people that are just as eager to talk about the same things for which I have an interest… I am a bit of a nerd lol

I encourage you to invest in yourself and attend as many Conferences as possible. It is said that many deals happen on the golf course. However I can say the same for the deals made at conferences. Maximize your experience! That way even if the conference provides poor content you won’t feel regret! As for myself, I do not plan to rehabilitate myself from my addiction. I have 2 more events on my October calendar!

XO,

Lenise

For more info on Moms as Entrepreneurs visit: www.maeentreprenur.com (Launch Oct 15)
For more info on Altanta Business League visit: www.atlantabusinessleague.org