Building A Brand With Social Media

Building a business and being the brand takes a commitment. As an image builder, I know how important it is to invest in yourself and your employees. This is that time for me.

Recently I attended Facebook Community Boost during the DMV’s Entrepreneurship Week. The brand behind the business needs to be carefully built and this week we looked at how Facebook and Instagram can help. They fed us a nice lunch, provided snacks, tea and coffee. Finally they topped it all off with a wonderful networking event for women sponsored by She Means Business.

We were given several sessions to choose from. My favorite session was Instagram Story School because it was so interactive.
I asked a staff person if these wonderful features will help me take great Instagram pictures. He said, “no, you do that.” That simple answer opened my eyes and revealed a lie. I was wrong to believe that the tools I have are not good enough. I was wrong to believe that having more would make me better. He looked at my pictures and thought they were very nice. I’m realizing, “all you need is a very good eye.”

Later that night, She Means Business sponsored a networking event for female entrepreneurs. They partnered with Civic Dinner to provide a unique networking experience. We were placed at a table with five to nine other women that we did not know. Businesswomen getting to know one another’s dreams and challenges. We were sharing and building friendships. A room full of lady entrepreneurs cultivating relationships. We are women encouraging women.

One lady encouraged us by giving fiery advice, Angel Rich. She was an honored guest at the networking event that night. What blessed me the most was how she was enjoying the moment, along with all of us, women entrepreneurs. She has been called the next Steve Job, but I think she is more than that. I prefer to call her “One Of A Kind.” I was honored to stand next to her with hopes that she was as encouraged as we were.

Do you have a Facebook or Instagram question that you want answered? Please leave it in the comments.

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Help, I’m Broken

Choices

Some years ago, I walked into a department store looking for that fountain of youth that would help to solve all of my beauty needs. My baby was only a few months old and the oldest was almost 3. You can imagine how the long nights and early days left me feeling sleep deprived and emotionally exhausted. After my second child, physical challenges almost overwhelmed me. My hopes were to recapture the beauty of my younger days and gain the strength I needed to fight.

When I found that throughout the entire store, there was not one concealer that matched my sensitive skin, I broke down in tears. I felt that I lost something important and the raccoon eyes I now sported was a badge of my new reality.  This “Gone With The Wind” moment may have startled the lady helping me. After that, I think she hid every time she saw me coming.

On that day, when no answers were found for a personal need, a shift did take place.  It was my wake up moment and I was  learning an important lesson about myself.  The cliches and slogans only gave me false hopes.  I honestly thought that if I changed my outlook and my outcomes, then a prosperity shift would take place in my life. I really thought you could fake it until you make it, but I now realize that faking confidence is a loosing battle. In the face of fear, you can choose to be courageous but you can not fake confidence and win.

That bokeneness did something for me. It actually gave me freedom to look inside to see the real me.  I received freedom from believing all of those erroneous thoughts and I began a journey of self acceptance.  My eyes were opened to how unhappy I was with myself and the small amount of grace that I gave myself in tough situations. My confidence didn’t just begin to waiver with the new baby, but I struggled with low self esteem before the challenges arose. I didn’t see it because I covered it up with foundation and mascara. Some people cover it with drugs, alcohol or pornography. Either way, the pain I experienced on that day helped me to realize just how broken I was.

It is amazing how God can use ugly situations to bring such freedom. Before I could begin experiencing healing, I had to first recognize I had a problem. My relationships now experience the benefits from the pain felt on that day.  I hope you got some insight on why I say, “embrace the challenge.”

Have you ever experienced a painful situation? Please feel free to share how a painful situation opened your eyes and started you on the road to really living in freedom.

Stress Talk

Choices

Before my oldest daughter left for school this morning,  she handed me a sheet of paper entitled “Stress”. In all of her innocence, she says, “Mom, you can keep it and paste it in your journal.” This child is FUNNY! I can’t even get mad with her for sharing this good information. Was she trying to say that her mom was acting stressed out? No, she was not, but it was still a timely talk.

Stress can be healthy or unhealthy.  Healthy stress can be great for the body. Exercise is a form of healthy stress. It gives us energy, helps us to sleep, and it is a great way to beat off the weight of daily challenges.

Unhealthy stress comes in the form of worry and fears. We beat ourselves up trying to conquer different challenges.  Matters are only compounded as we try to control the narrative of our lives. Instead of seeing the good that may even exist in a tough situation, we try to “make” things happen. Don’t get me wrong, that was once me. I use to walk around saying, “if it is to be, it is up to me.” It was an unhealthy statement that I now use to explain how I was missing the simple blessings right in front of me. I was so focused on the “to be” and “me” that I was missing the now.

The best tip I can give to fight stress, is to enjoy the now. Here are some additional tips I shared last week:

Stress Talk
Sleep is so important in fighting stress.

Turn off the phone 1 hour before going to bed. The blue light keeps you awake.

Ivan Hernandez said something powerful. He makes 2 hours for self care every day. That is self care without guilt or apology.

What was most helpful about today’s topic? Please subscribe and share. We would love to hear from you.

#MomLife

I must be honest, I am still fighting to establish healthy boundaries for my family. All over the network, we hear of the delimas moms are having. Working moms that may feel guilty and stay at home moms that feel judged, but nothing changes the fact that a mom is a mom. It is not about labels, but it is about how we navigate.

Whether you are a Momprenuer, Stay at Home Mom, or a Working Mom, you will need a team. A team that include baby sitters, people who can walk beside the family and people to encourage the mom. Having money to invest in getting the right people in the right position to do the things you don’t do well would help, but not always possible. It takes a village for any mom and with a business it takes a huge village. Nicole Parker, an actress and business owner found the help. Her helper took care of her to make sure that she was eating. Parker then stressed how she took care of the person who helps her by paying her what she asked for. Rewarding because that same person care for her kids and is still with her today.

Allow your family to help. One business lady shared that the kids, her mother, and her in-laws work for the business. In our home, the girls have chores and receive commission with completed tasks. I am learning how to communicate my needs because one person can not be and do all things perfectly.

Resist fear because it paralyzes. You must have the courage to establish healthy boundaries and healthy goals for your family. I use to be afraid of making mistakes and worse of people getting angry with me. Learn to trust yourself again. You’ve made it this far, you must be ok.  Don’t give up on yourself. In your personal life and in business,  resist fear. Parker said that with her, she fought fear with this thought of “She already had the no, so go get the yes.”

In managing stress, you must take the initiative to set healthy boundaries.
Realize what you can and can not do. For example, if you need to get up early, don’t overextend yourself by making obligations that will get you home too late or in bed too late.

Sleep is so important in fighting stress.
Turn off the phone and other media 1 hour before going to bed. The blue light keeps you awake.

Don’t forget to take time to take care of yourself. Ivan Hernandez said something powerful and profound to me. He makes 2 hours for self care every day. That is self care without guilt or apology. That may or may not include going to the gym, but no matter what, he makes sure to get it in. Do you make time for yourself?  Please share with the group how you arrange your schedule to fit self care.

My Real Boss

I once had a job that I dreaded because it was so boring. I prayed to be delivered from that job. I got my answer and it was not what I expected. I read in the Bible that I was to do my work like I was working for the Lord. I knew God was speaking to my heart.

It was a nice place to work and I was glad to have a job. The problem was that I felt a mental restraint. My boss had me filing what they called white stuff. It was a massive pile of papers with very little information written on them and these one liners all had to be filed. Later, they decided that it was unnecessary and threw most of it in the trash. The other employees had the job of filing the serious documents and I was able to join them after the white stuff was eradicated. They really had a bond and whenever the boss was away they would sit around and swap stories. I remember how they laughed and divulged secrets. I rarely joined them because I realized that being accepted by them was not more important than being faithful to my real boss. When our supervisor would return, the group would disperse and look fully committed to the work. I continued filing at the same pace and tried to block out the feeling of nervousness I felt by her presence. I still thought of her as a tough boss.

I was only a freshman in college when I started that job. By my sophomore year, it was apparent that I was different. My faith had grown and my innocence seemed to be preserved. My supervisor seemed to dislike my obscurities and decided to make things more awkward when she gave me lewd lingerie for my birthday. A few chuckles by my colleagues only confused the matter further. I could only conclude that my stand on sexual purity was the talk of the office.

Not much longer, she approached me like she didn’t believe I worked hard enough. I did not try to defend myself, but I honored God by choosing to show nothing but respect. She did not see that I was commitment when she was away. I made sure that I had a consistent pace whether she was around or absent. Integrity is so important and I wasn’t consistent just to make her happy but to make God happy. One morning she decided she was going to push me harder and harder. She pushed until my fingers were bleeding. She looked proud of the accomplishments, but a few days later I was fired.

At the moment she fired me, I was very upset.  I was going to confront her, so I got dressed and headed out, but I stopped myself at the bottom of the steps.  My original thoughts were to bust into that office and challenge them…crazy right. But I stopped myself at the bottom of the steps.  I sat on the steps at my dorm and began to melt. I spoke to God saying “I did what you said and I honored you in my work. How could this happen?”

That broken state I was in only lasted a moment because at that very moment something miraculous happened. My dorm director walked up to me and said, “I need help around here, could you work for me?” I had not spoken with anyone about the conversation I just had with my supervisor.   I knew it was my real boss that sent her. Immediately, I accepted her offer. God was faithful and I was glad that I trusted Him while working in a tough position. He turned things around. That new job was gift the best  because it was one of the best jobs that I ever had.

Have your plans ever clashed with an employer’s? How do you work through difficult situation?

Problem Solving

The previous topics, finding your why and asking questions, are not only important for planning but also for problem solving. We must make decisions everyday of our lives. A perfect example of how my “why” helped me to press forward. At the end if my freshman year of college, I made two “C”s. I felt so sad and I walked around looking pitiful. My friends did everything but laugh at me as I sat in despair thinking I was doomed. They did not understand the damage two “C”s had on a GPA. I had an academic scholarship that was dependent on me maintaining a 3.0 at all times. I felt lost and did not know what to do.

I gave myself a few weeks to recover, but once I refocused, I was able to make additional plans. Let me be honest with you, it was hard to stop myself from fearing the worse. I actually had to spend long hours in bible readings and prayer before I could realize new plans that would compensate for the loss of revenue. It was going to be hard work but I was finally ready. The summer before my college sophomore year, I worked and saved most of the money for the purpose of registering for the new school year.  Unfortunately, I did not have anyone to help me with paying for college. All of the financial and emotional pressures were on my shoulders to carry alone, but in the planning process, I realized this would be one of the challenges. I was already committed to persevering. Quitting was not an option.

First semester was the focus and I was going to tackle second semester after I had jumped that hurdle of first semester. I asked financial aid questions and their answers helped me toThe registrar accepted what I had as a deposit and I signed a written agreement regarding the monthly payments. Work study earnings were all saved and it paid the remaining semester balance.  I finished the semester debt free and regained my scholarship for the second semester when my GPA hit above the 3.0 requirements. It was a year full of excitement, heartache, and a beautiful victory.  Doing the homework during the planning process helps us to consider options that are available. Remember, you always have choices. I asked financial aid questions and asked for arrangements. This process of problem solving has helped me to push through many tough situations.

Why Finale

We have reached our finale for why do we plan. This third and final part will conclude the questions we need to ask ourselves when making realistic and accomplishable tasks.  Planning is a very personable thing. It can be frustrating at times or even overwhelming, but it also can be a most helpful tool. Since my family growing up used planners on a limited basis, I never viewed planning as a chore. I did not HAVE to do it, but I chose to. Today, I still see it as a choice and an opportunity for self reflection.

The last questions will challenge us to think of our goals as being important. A challenge to see them as bigger than a thing to accomplish by ourselves. Accomplishing our goals will require support. We must remember that true success is best achieved with helping hands. This support can come from simple words of encouragement to someone actually working beside you to help you win in this game of life. Let’s take a look at our last few questions.

Where do I go to get help in achieving this goal?
(This all depends on the goal. There are associations and groups for just about every interest. There are also Conferences of various types that bring ideas and products together to help with one general type of need. For further direction, you can test your knowledge on topics you need to know. Then, think about who can answer those questions. If it is a fitness goal, the “where” for you may be the gym to speak with personal trainers.)

When do I want to complete this goal?
(This is your timeline. Does this goal have a deadline? Is this a long term goal?)

How will I accomplish this goal?
(Review all of the questions and your answers from the “Why” series. All of the previous questions will help to make this part easier. When you pull all the answers together, you get an idea of how. The how serves as the outline for your plans.)

I think we all would like the satisfaction of feeling complete peace and celebratory praise after accomplishing a goal. The best way to WIN is to make sure your goals and plans are a honest reflection of you. You are unique and complex and so are your goals and plans. Don’t let fear of failing or success snatch your dream. Please be patient with the process of reaching goals because surprises can still manage to pop up here and there. It is your “why” that will help you to maintain focus and keep moving forward.