When I set out in my entrepreneurial journey as a writer/blogger and the CEO of Media Maven Consulting, LLC, I was taken aback when I realized that the most established business women were unwilling to share what they had already learned with a newbie. I vowed to be a giver and to find ways to share what I had learned with others. After over 3 1/2 years in business, I’ve not only learned enough to share, but I’ve been fortunate enough to finally meet some other business women who are givers as well.
On October 9, 2016 we hosted our first seminar, The “Empower HER Business” Seminar, geared towards assisting women entrepreneurs and business owners in building, enhancing and expanding their businesses.
I served as the moderator of the Empower HER Panel which consisted of some of the most successful and influential businesswomen in the DC Area including finance expert to the millennials and Founder of Finances Demystified, LLC, Dominique Broadway; the award winning President & CEO of DC Media Connection, LLC, Angel Livas; Publicist and CEO of Candice Nicole Public Relations, Candice Nicole, who has worked with some of the industry’s top talents; Toni Patterson, Partner and Creative Director at Skye Media Group Design, LLC who is responsible for the successful launch and enhancement of dozens of brands; Publicist and seasoned vet, Reva Caldwell-Johnson, who is the CEO of Milan Media Group, LLC; and self taught fashion and accessories designer and fashion consultant and owner of New Vintage By Sam, LLC, Sam Smith.
First up was Toni Patterson. She drilled in quickly on what a brand actually is and rattled off tips that everyone starting their own business should know about making your mark on the web.
“Your brand is what people think about you, not what you think about you because you’re not buying from you. They’re buying from you so it’s very important that you create your brand with a mission, vision and intention. The first thing you want to do is identify your mission. Why are you in business? What do you have to say? Who are you trying to help? Your mission is really going to dictate everything you do. It’s going to dictate who you work for; who you work with. So the questions that you want to ask yourself is what’s your mission? Are you sharing it? And is it a part of your brand story?”
Angel Livas talked about why every business should be using social media to set themselves apart from their counterparts.
“Everything comes down to are you providing compelling content? Your content is key. That is what is gonna set you apart from other people; your design, your layout, your strategy behind everything that you’re doing; that’s your differientiator.”
Establishing your brand identity and creating your online/social media footprint costs money. Dominique Broadway shared tips on managing your business finances and creating a budget.
“When creating a budget, whether personal or business, there are only really two things you need to know. How much you’re bringing in. Once you know how much you’re bringing in, you need to know how much it’s actually costing to run your business every single month. Now this seems simple, these two magic numbers, but nobody ever knows…so many people are out there just running their businesses and have no idea what it’s doing financially. Make sure you have enough [money] to make it work. Doing this activity [business budget worksheet] for some people is like ‘whoa this business is costing me way more than I thought'”.
Now that you know your business budget, maybe you can afford that publicist that you’ve been chatting with right? Not necessarily. Reva Caldwell-Johnson dished on what publicists really do and how to know if you’re ready to hire one.
“PR is not marketing. PR and marketing are two different things. These campaigns and projects take time. We don’t just write press releases.”
“Your website should be together, your branding, your should have some type of consistent messaging. You should be pretty well packaged before you approach a publicist because we are not cheap. It does take a lot of hard work and effort so you want to come to the table as together as you can.”
Reva also talked about how the relationship between clients and publicists are nurtured. Candice Nicole expanded on the importance of relationship building and networking when trying to push your business forward.
“Don’t just go the events without a purpose. Your girlfriend said let’s go to this event and you’re just like okay. Going to events cost money; the outfit you wear costs money, it’s costs to take the Metro. Going to events with no purpose is a waste of money. Go with goals in mind and be ready to talk about your business.”
So now that you’ve got your mission established and you’re ready to share it with the world, be sure you’re dressing the part as well. Sam Smith gave the ladies some tips for choosing your look for that business meeting or networking event.
“Sex sells and it’s okay to be sexy but the most important thing is looking professional.”
“Be honest with yourself about your body type and buy pieces that work for you. Those bodycon dresses aren’t for everyone.”
“Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.”
The seminar ended with a social hour that allowed the attendees to network with each other and chat with the panelists. Every woman left with tools to start or enhance their business…myself included. Let’s just say we’re all ready to slay.