Gumption: Celebrating Women's History Month

woman working on laptop

Every single day before I type a single word on my laptop, I'm reminded that someone is probably about to criticize me. With women opening businesses left and right every day, there is never any single "perfect" business for every single customer. You'll be too big, too small, too nice, too mean, not nice enough on Tuesdays...You can never please everyone all of the time.


What's worse is the extra set of judging eyes that you tend to get as a woman in business. The moment you open your doors to customers, you are not only opening yourself to professional criticism, but personal criticism as well. You're too light, you're too dark...your too skinny, you're not skinny enough...You're too loud, or maybe you are not loud at all. Somehow, these physical attributes become indicators of your measure of potential success (Legally Blonde anyone?). We walk through boardrooms trying to overcome the horrible experiences of women who literally had to kick the glass ceiling to get it to open up. Their rage, attitude, their gumption is seen all over our faces whether we like it or not.


But who says those nameless faces have to be associated with negativity? What if we wore that with a badge of honor? What if we promised ourselves that we wouldn't care if someone thought our voice was too squeaky or our hips were too big? What if, for once, we just took the plunge and didn't care how much of a splash we made? Being in business for yourself or starting a new career is not for the faint of heart. I've seen even the most successful business owners fail a time or two. It's about sticking to your guns and not being afraid to fail. In fact, failing is actually a badge of honor. Without failure, your story is pretty bland. Failure gives you something to say. It gives you lessons to teach others.

Gumption. Get you some.

 

Holiday Resources for Your Business

Holiday marketing campaigns can make you want to pull your hair out. Each year the ads and sales start earlier than the year before, so it's important to have a clear idea of what your holidays sales and marketing campaign will look like.

If you're lucky, you will be so busy filling orders that you won't have time to do your own marketing campaigns. Here are a couple of resources that help you organize your business, find quick gifts, and still rock out an awesome holiday season.

Fiverr

In the world of busy online entrepreneurs, it's easy to find yourself in a pinch needing help finishing important tasks within a short time frame. When you find yourself in a crunch, Fiverr is your virtual assistant gone wild! The "social" platform allows you to find help for all of your business needs without paying an arm and a leg. With services like graphic design, copywriting, video production, and even last minute gifts, Fiverr can be a life saver in your time of need. With gigs starting at $5, you simply view your seller's portfolio, place your order, and customize your needs. It's a no-brainer for busy entrepreneurs who need a quick turnaround on their Holiday Campaigns.

 

 

Haute Chocolate Graphics

Marketing these days has become more visual these days, so now more than ever it's important to have great graphics as part of your campaign. Haute Chocolate offers a variety of unique and beautifully styled stock photos. They currently have a great selection of holiday inspired festive layouts. Your membership will include access to hundreds of professionally styled photos. If you're unsure about whether or not you want to purchase a membership, subscribe to their mailing list and you'll receive free stock photos each month that will give you a chance to see whats included in the membership packages. Although the site says that they deliver one free image per month, it's not unusual to receive two, three, or even four FREE photos per month that you can customize and use for whatever you'd like.

Billingslea Media Amazon Store

Amazon is one of the largest shopping platforms for the holiday season. The convenience factor in being able to find and purchase anything you need from the comfort of your own home has literally changed the way we shop. There are even certain goods and services that give you the option for automatic renewals; which is perfect for the busy business owner attempting to juggle multiple tasks at once. For added convenience, you can even ship gifts, subscriptions, and gift cards straight to your clients or staff members. Check out the variety of items in the Billingslea Media store and Stay tuned for Daily Deal Alerts.

Small Biz Lady 12 days of Giveaways

Melinda Emerson, America’s #1 Small Business Expert and Forbes’ #1 Influential Woman for Entrepreneurs, is giving back to the heartbeat of America’s economy—small business owners–with “SmallBizLady’s 12 Days of Giveaways,”. The campaign takes place December 1-16, 2016, on Twitter and SmallBizLady’s Facebook fan page. Sign up , and each day, Melinda will give away a product or professional service (valued at $250+) to one lucky small business owner! Perfect for the entrepreneur on a budget.

What are some of your favorite holiday resources? Check out Billingslea Media's annual Small Business Saturday online shopping event on our Facebook page!

Matchmaking for Businesses

business match  

If you're a freelance entrepreneur, then I'm sure at some point you've had some slight anxiety about maintaining a steady flow of clients. Your initial interaction with a potential client could make or break your future business relationship. But just as it's important for you to make a good impression when asked about your work, it's also important to have a client that impresses you as well. Asking the proper questions BEFORE you begin to work with them can save you time, money, and unnecessary stress.
Freelancing can be considered the new "starving artist syndrome". While you may be excited about the possibility of an increase in income, you have to also take into consideration how the business relationship will evolve. It's important to find out whether or not you are a true match, and how you can grow together. One of the most important factors in canvassing for new clients is establishing their niche market. As a service consultant, you may be fully aware of what that niche consists of, however, many business owners have yet to figure out their niche market. An open and honest conversation with a potential client can help discover their niche and determine whether its one in which you see yourself servicing. Be sure that the client's image and branding do not conflict with your own company values. If you discover a conflict early on, go ahead and respectfully sever ties. It is never worth it to sacrifice financial gain over the longevity of your business.
Find out their plan for growth. Each business has its own ideals and unique values. A growing business may include sister companies with plans for short or long term growth. It's important to discuss these goals with your client and determine whether or not you will be a part of their plan for growth. Discussing factors such as budgets, employee expansion, and potential travel are important when figuring out the structure of your working relationship. When discussing any plans for growth, finances, and trade secrets, it is important to build a rapport that includes transparency and trust. A confidentiality agreement between both parties is also a good way to add an extra layer of comfort and security between the client and the service provider.
Another rule of thumb when getting to know a new client is that it is safe to assume that it is NEVER safe to assume. Let me clarify that. One would think that a meeting request to a marketing agency from Starbucks would entail providing marketing services for the coffee giant right? Not so true. Perhaps Starbucks is looking to acquire the marketing company in order to maintain in-house marketing services. Or perhaps they are reaching out because they've found out that the company has committed Trademark infringement. The only way to be sure you know what the client wants is to ask. Ask specific questions about the nature of their contact, as well as the nature of your potential working relationship. Be sure that you are clear of what is expected from both parties, and always follow up with written and/or verbal confirmation of your tasks at hand.
A freelancer's worst nightmare is beginning a client relationship with their dream client only to find out that they are actually going to be taking direction from the client's mean ol' Aunt Ruth, or that the company is being sold to another party. Having your client complete a questionnaire with questions that include management and employee relationships is key to avoiding the unnecessary stress of communication and task execution.
Developing a successful client relationship is much like working on a personal relationship. It takes patience, clarity, and perseverance. But if you follow these steps before establishing the relationship, things may go even better than expected.
Have you ever experienced a matchmaking nightmare? What are your tips for finding the perfect business match?
 

Repetition

Its easy to set goals and say that you are ready to turn over "a new leaf". But how do you ensure that you actually do what's necessary to turn that leaf over? I can't tell you how many times I've done a 30 Day Squat Challenge, or 30 Days to Clean Eating, and failed miserably right around around day 11. We all start out with good intentions and high hopes, but those of us who get sidetracked only see the leaf turned over half way.  

The key to completing any new lifestyle change is REPETITION. During all of those 30 Day Challenges I did in the past, I realized that I gave myself too much wiggle room. I allowed myself to think I could indulge in the excuse of being too tired or too busy. But even a 5 minute break to refocus and reevaluate what I was actually avoiding would have done a world of good. You see, repetition in our actions creates habit. And scientists says that on average it takes about 30 days to create a new habit. We usually look at our habits as something negative, and we avoid the possibility of forming new ones. But habits can be positive life changes as well. Cutting yourself off from thinking that you can easily bounce back into your routine is key to accomplishing things within a specific timeframe.

 

My suggestion for staying on track? Become a creature of habit. It's human nature to believe that we have more power than we think we do. We tend to become arrogant in our abilities, and discount the presence of outside forces that prevent us from reaching our potential. Our quest for working out may be affected by a barrage of text messages from people who DON'T work out, or perhaps you are attempting to work out during the same time as your favorite show, or maybe the environment in which you attempt to work out is just too distracting. Make a concerted effort to create the perfect space for your task, and perform that task at the same time every single day. Without the constraints of time, the brain is likely to forget or fall into focusing on another task that's normally performed during that time. I found that forcing myself to write every single night before bed creates a natural rhythm for me. If by chance I attempt to sleep without my daily writing routine I become restless and antsy. It wasn't until I endured a couple of sleepless nights that I realized that it was because I was breaking a routine.

 

So how do we start this path of repetition? Break down your goals into smaller tasks. Put the most difficult tasks at the forefront to be tackled first. You'll find that accomplishing those tasks first will boost your confidence and free up your time that you previously spent worrying about what was lacking. If needed, write the tasks down in several places so that you are constantly reminded of the battle to establish a natural routine. Writing them down the traditional way with paper and a pen will also force your brain to remember it. At the end of your 30 Days you will find that what first started out as a desired task has now turned into a natural way of life.

 

Where will you start with achieving your goals naturally? If you haven't yet established a way to accomplish the goals we set at the beginning of the challenge, try and restart by breaking down those goals and writing them down into actionable tasks to be performed every single day.

 

What goal are you struggling with? What have you done so far to make that goal come to life?

How to Rock Your Monday

  EVERYONE hates Mondays right? That's the running joke on some of the most popular social media Memes and Facebook posts. But Monday doesn't have to be all gloom and doom if you plan things out the right way. When all your ducks are in a row, you can actually learn to love Mondays and all of the brand new possibilities that exist within the week ahead. Here are a few quick tips to conquer Monday like the Boss that you are!

• Change Your Outlook

Things are usually worse in our heads than they are in real life. If you slide into the week with negative thoughts about everything that will go wrong, your week will in fact be as miserable as you make it. Instead of imagining everything that could go wrong, imagine everything going right. Visualize new possibilities, and even a chance to clean up the mistakes of the week before. With this type of mindset, even the most daunting tasks will seem like a walk in the park because you'll realize how much you are clearing out of your path in order to welcome new and exciting possibilities.

 

• Don't Be Afraid of Stressful Situations

Putting off a stressful situation only makes things worse. The fear of the unknown or the repercussions of not handling things can only compound your problem. Handling your most daunting tasks first allows you the chance to create space for more positive things. The sooner you get rid of that problem employee, the sooner you can hire someone new. The quicker you finish that unpleasant phone call, the quicker you can enjoy the rest of your week. Instead of looking at your stressful situation as a huge dark cloud over your week, break it down into smaller problems that can quickly be resolved. If need be, ask for help in tackling smaller tasks within that problem area. You may even find that someone with a different perspective will offer solutions to get it over with quicker than you would.

 

•PLAN, PLAN, PLAN

Say Goodbye to time wasting tasks such as long meetings and micromanagement. Dividing up projects into small tasks can allow you to tackle them in a shorter amount of time than usual. Enlist the help of employees, friends, and family to help take care of problem areas within a specific project. Be clear about the expectations and the actions needed to complete the job. This eliminates the need for "meetings about a meeting" or several individual conversations about a given task. Have everyone make a list of their assigned tasks and create a list of questions to go along with it. This diminishes the likelihood of needing to meet with people several times before a task is done.

 

Before your next group meeting, have everyone submit their questions and feedback in a shared document beforehand. This allows everyone involved to get a head start on developing their responses, or even create an action plan for the group as a whole. You will find that it cuts down on valuable meeting time and gives you more room to take care of other things.

 

•Say NO!

If its not on your To-Do list, DON'T DO IT. Before you dive all the way into your week, create a list of goals and important tasks that MUST be done. Create a hierarchy of what's most important, and continue to work until everything is done. Establish clear boundaries for yourself and everyone around you, and stick to your guns. Don't allow anyone to sway you to move items off of your list, or move to a different task before you finish the first one. Don't allow anything new to rear its ugly head and distract you from finishing your list.

Ways to Kick Your Fears

Michael John Bobak You accomplished the task of pinpointing your goals for April, and mapped out a game plan for achieving success. But putting your plan into action is the tough part. Don’t get paralyzed by the fear of the unknown. It’s time to your plan into action. Here are a few tips to help you kick fear to the curb!

Write down your fears

The first step with goal setting was to write down your fears. This exercise proves fruitful for addressing your fears as well. When you write things down, they take on a new life. In this case, writing down your fears makes them a little less threatening. Your fears become smaller, and easier to attack. Write down SPECIFIC fears that you want to dominate and get rid of for good.

Put thought into WHY those fears exist

We all have fears. But if we never address them, they will never go away. You have to go back to the root of the problem, and figure out WHY those fears exist. Perhaps your fear is a fear of public speaking. Where exactly did that particular fear come from? Maybe it stemmed from something that occurred early on in your professional career. Or perhaps even from childhood. Getting down to the root of the problem may help you realize the unlikely possibility of that debilitating incident occurring again. If the incident is no longer likely to occur, then most likely you don’t have anything to be worried about.  Pinpointing the source of the problem just may eliminate the fear altogether.

Make a Game Plan

Combating your fears is much like attacking your goals. Mapping out a strategy for eliminating your fears can help you overcome your fears quicker than you realize.  Sometimes our attempts at achieving certain goals or getting rid of certain fears are less fruitful because we need to approach them in a certain order. You wouldn’t attempt to run a marathon before you healed your broken ankle would you? You need a timeline that lays out the proper steps in proper order before you take things to the next level.

Share Your Fear

Regardless of whether your fear applies to your personal or professional life, sharing your fear with someone gives you a support system to get to the next level. If your fear is more personal in nature, sharing with a friend who can offer encouragement can be a huge stepping stone for you. If your fear has more to do with your professional life, then perhaps getting a mentor or a coach is the answer to your problem. A great mentor or coach can pinpoint the areas where you need help, and assist you in getting stronger in those areas where you need help.

 

The answer to eliminating certain fears may be right underneath your nose. As you move through this journey of setting your goals and conquering your fears, don’t forget to celebrate the small victories that you achieve along the way. You will be surprised at how conquering small things can help you diminish your larger fears.

What fear do you have that is holding you back? What steps do you think you take to get rid of that fear for good?

embracingvulnerability Vulnerability is often looked at as a negative emotion. It’s considered an ugly word; one that people tend to avoid like the plague. Common misconception looks at vulnerability as a sign of weakness or incompetence, but in reality we all have vulnerabilities. We just have to learn how to manage them appropriately.

Western society suggests that people present themselves as Superheroes with complete control over their emotions. This couldn’t be further from the truth. How many times have you had a boss lash out at you when they are having a bad day, or seen a parent lose their patience with their child? Those emotions stem from a lack a patience, but also a sense of vulnerability. A sense of fear that something isn’t going right. A feeling of discomfort when something doesn’t go  as planned. Educator and Researcher Brene Brown discusses vulnerability in a positive way. Ever since her infamous Ted Talk, Brown has done countless talks in regards to vulnerability and how we manage the emotion. Her research shows how vulnerability can help open new doors in life. It changes the way we think about our everyday tasks, and how we interact with people. It makes us think about their roles in our lives, as well as how our actions may affect them.

Vulnerability can help us tap into our sense of empathy. Without empathy, our interactions with others can become less fruitful. Lacking empathy robs us of the chance to form relationships beyond our robotic tasks of the day. It gives us a chance to explore what we have to offer the world, and what the world has to offer us.

Tapping into this emotion can also lead to creativity and innovation. Empathy allows us to see what is lacking in the world. The desire to change and transform what is lacking can lead to a myriad of opportunities for us to create systems, products, and services that the world needs. The widespread use of smartphones and social media stem from a need to connect with others. It taps into our human instinct of being connected with people who we know and love, as well as the desire to search for new connections. If you’ve never thought of smartphones as being connected to vulnerability, then you’ve probably never had your smartphone die unexpectedly. That sinking feeling of losing your data and all of your connections reminds you that we are all privy to the “ugly” emotion of vulnerability. Every CEO has had to face vulnerability as they climbed the corporate ladder. Every high school student waiting for a college acceptance letter has had to succumb to vulnerability. And as we age throughout our lives and become dependent on tools such as walkers and eyeglasses, our vulnerability is sometimes at an all-time high. So why not embrace vulnerability before it embraces you in a chokehold? Examine what vulnerability means to you, and what you can do with it. Some of the best innovations in the world were born out of extreme necessity. Embracing your vulnerability just may improve your life in ways you never thought possible.

If we let go of our attempts to be perfect all of the time, there is no telling what we will tap into. We may uncover an arsenal of new skills and abilities, and create something that the world will be grateful for.

Take a look at Brene Brown’s Ted Talk where she discussed the power of vulnerability. What are your thoughts on the video? What vulnerabilities are you holding on to?

Click HERE for video

 

The 30 Day Challenge

30 Days Bliss  

Last year my readers participated in a 30 Day Challenge to achieve personal and professional bliss. In the spirit of Spring Cleaning, I decided to bring the challenge back again this year. It's important to take periodic breaks to reevaluate where you are, and what your goals look like. This 'challenge' will consist of blog posts, videos, and testimonials that will help you break down your goals and create a life that you love.

The first step to participating in the challenge is to assess your goals. What exactly do you want to get out of this challenge? What areas of your life need improvement? Is your business suffering? Or perhaps you are one of those business owners who is overworked and underpaid....Whatever the case may be, this Spring Cleaning Challenge will help you get back on track before the start of the summer season.

Second, you MUST write down your goals. Nothing is more important in goal  setting than written affirmations. Be clear and realistic about your long and short term goals,and be very specific. Include things such as dates, times, and locations whenever possible, then track your results. Each day may not yield positive results, but tracking both positive and negative results will allow you to think more clearly about the path ahead.

The infographic below lays out a couple of quick tips to help guide you through the challenge.

What goals are you looking forward to accomplishing this month? What are some of the distractions that need to be eliminated before you reach those goals?

30 day bliss infographic

The Cyber Monday Sale

It's that time of year again folks! Around the holidays, things can get really hectic for small businesses. In order to help my fellow entrepreneurs free up some time and keep their momentum going, I've put together a couple of offers for Cyber Monday. These offers are created to help you streamline your marketing efforts and continue to create a great buzz during the holiday season. As an added bonus to all of my readers, I also want to share my 5 Point Entrepreneur Checklist. It's a FREE download to help you take actionable steps to create and launch your business. Take a look at the Cyber Monday offers, and email us at billingsleamedia@gmail.com to take advantage of these AWESOME deals.

*Cyber Monday specials are valid until 12am EST on Dec. 1st, 2015*

CYBER MONDAY SM Post

5 Quick Ways to Create More Content

image

Coming up with great content can sometimes be a chore. During months when you are swamped with your work-life balance, or perhaps in need of a vacation, making sure you are continuing to deliver content is something that most of us struggle with. When there’s a monkey wrench thrown into your existing plans, you can most certainly roll with it and continue to crank out content for your followers. Here are a couple of quick tips to keep the content stream flowing.

1-      Throwback Posts Unless you’re someone like Gary Vaynerchuk, it is probably likely that most people haven’t read ALL of your content. Even if they are a loyal reader, chances are that they’ve probably missed a post or two. Posting a “throwback post” is a great way to repurpose content while ensuring that your readers get what they missed. Go back into the archives and look at some of your best performing posts, and repost them for your current reader stream. You can even go so far as to rewrite those posts, or do an intro as to why you chose to share that particular post. Add in some new graphics (or not…your choice), and you are good to go.

2-      Quotes Instagram is easily one of the biggest platforms in which you can find quotes.  Some people have even created accounts that are based solely on posting quotes. Take a cue from these wildly successful accounts and post your own quotes. There are tons of apps and programs that allow you to create your own background and use text overlays to achieve this same effect. For added value, it’s an even better idea to use your own quotes from blog posts, magazine articles, or interviews. Take a couple of lines from one of your blog posts and type in your URL on the bottom of the graphic. If that doesn’t work, maybe share a quote from one of your favorite books. Just make sure to give the author proper credit, and even tag them if they’re on social media.

3-      Video vs Written Content Your audience will vary on each platform. You may find that your blog followers don’t necessarily convert into Periscope followers, and vice versa. To ensure that all of your followers across all of your platforms have access to all of your amazing content, convert the content across all platforms. If you’re a person who writes out notes for your Periscope broadcasts, you are already halfway there. Add a little bit more text, and even some great points from comments during your broadcast, and you’ve got another great blog post. The same can be said for converting blog posts. Take the main points of your post and discuss them with your Periscope followers for a quick information packed broadcast.

4-      ‘Best Of’ Posts Blog posts, even when written a year ago, can always be repurposed. Perhaps you have a blog post that did exceptionally well and created tons of traffic to your site last year. You’d want a creative way to re-share that post right? Why not take your posts and compile them in a ‘Best Of’ post? It’s a great way to offer comprehensive information in a specific niche from within your blog. Take a look at your most popular meta tags, and share the top five performing posts with that particular keyword. It will not only serve as a great way to recycle existing content, but also offer convenience to readers who are looking for a complete set of posts on a specific topic.

5-      Guest Bloggers Need a break from cranking out those awesome ideas? Well, you can always hand off the baton to someone else. Having a guest blogger is a great way to show a diverse side to your blog or website. It also allows you to expand your audience with the readers that particular guest blogger may bring. Take a look at some of the experts in your niche that you communicate with and look into collaborating. Just be sure that your collaboration is with someone relevant to your audience.

Creating great content on a regular basis is not always easy, but it doesn’t have to be very difficult either. Step outside the box in terms of content creation, and you’ll soon find that new and amazing content is usually right under your nose.

Do you have a hard time creating and sharing new content? What are some creative ways you share new content?

Throwback Thursday: Achieving Personal & Professional Bliss

billingsleamedia.com Last year I did a 30 day challenge on my blog. It was entitled '30 Days to Personal & Professional Bliss'. It was a great way to engage with my Facebook followers and challenge them to take charge of their lives and get "unstuck". Throughout the month I posted blog posts, videos, and links to other articles that would implore my audience to ask the pertinent questions about the direction of their lives, and provide options for inspirational action steps to improve their quality of life.  For today's "Throwback Thursday" I am sharing one of my favorite blog posts from the series. Take a minute to filter through this post, and hopefully be inspired. You can also find the other posts in the series under the tagline '30 Days to Personal and Professional Bliss'.

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Get Ready To Live A Life Of Bliss!

Sounds cliché, but the way you think about yourself and situations can indeed shape your thoughts. On the hit show ‘Being Mary Jane’, the series’ main character is known for her infamous Post-It notes in which she writes down positive affirmations. She posts the messages on every window and mirror in her house, so that she is surrounded by constant motivation. Although it may seem a little far-fetched, it is a process that works specifically for her. And we all have a duty to figure out what method of positive reinforcement works best for us. Separating the types of thoughts you have is the first step in determining how you can shape your destiny. Thoughts of self-doubt and worry can be processed and understood before being pushed away in order to ensure that those thoughts never take over again. We must be certain to separate learned behaviors and situational thoughts from reality. Masking where your thoughts come from only runs the risk that those thoughts may pop up in the future. Negative thoughts and experiences not only affect our personal lives, but our professional lives as well. A bad experience as a child may lead one to remain extra sensitive about certain things; leaving us unable to determine the intention of one’s behavior towards us. It is easy to misconstrue someone’s intention with us when we are carrying around pain and hurt from the past. A person who was stripped of their power and independence as a child may feel as though they have to be overly powerful and extremely independent at work, and in turn end up offending their employees and coworkers. It can also lead to being overworked and underpaid, which leads to more undue stress. When you mask your true emotions, you may also miss out on certain strengths that you didn’t realize you had. Being rigid with your routine doesn’t allow for growth. There have been tons of people who have realized after many years that they have indeed gone into the wrong career field once they learned to embrace the things that really made their heart tick. All of the moving parts of any organization require people with many different talents and backgrounds. Just because you are in the accounting department doesn’t mean you can’t be interested in the legal workings of the company. And who says that a lawyer can’t be interested in graphic design? It all goes back to embracing what makes your heart beat a little bit faster. Staying rigid in your normal routine doesn’t allow you to give yourself the chance to explore new and exciting options. Take your time and ease into new projects that will allow you to embrace your talents and passions. What thoughts are you struggling with today? Take the time to figure out whether or not those deeply ingrained thoughts have helped or hindered you, and where those thoughts lead you in your everyday life.

The Ultimate List of Periscope Rockstars

periscope rockstars
Periscope is the newest social media platform to drive the masses wild. Although still in it's beginning stages, the Platform boasts over 10 Million Users, and continues to grow daily. With the increase in popularity of video content, Periscope is allowing users to increase their scope of influence and reach audiences all over the world. Here are a couple of the Rockstars that are providing superior content on the new platform.
Chalene Johnson
@ChaleneJohnson
 
Who she is: Not only is she super cute and always stylish, but Chalene Johnson is a Motivational speaker, New York Times Best Selling author, fitness celebrity, and the 1st female to host TWO #1 infomercials. She has built and sold several multi million-dollar fitness and lifestyle companies, and is the epitome of the mantra "I'm every woman". Although she has enjoyed monumental success and sports THE perfect body, she still has that girl next door appeal that makes you want to invite her over for a cup of tea.
Her tagline is "Happy Life, Smarter Business".
Why she's awesome: She is committed to helping people live a full life on their own terms. She is super helpful on every single one of her scopes. She gives fun and engaging content, and challenges her viewers to PUSH harder. She gives tutorials, fun inspiring conversation, and even gets her family involved. An added bonus to her scopes: She often features "guest appearances" from her daughter Sierra, and her husband Brett, who is now known as the 'Hangry Chef'.
Nicole Walters
@napturalnicole
Who she is: A monetization strategist with an extremely infectious laugh, and a loyal following. She offers tips of creating revenue generation in EVERY area of your life. She first stepped into the viral social media stream as a natural hair and beauty blogger, and has since kicked in the door to coaching and consulting.
Why she's awesome: Nicole Walters is extremely extroverted, and watching her for the first time you would think that she was munching on chocolate covered coffee beans! However, her energy is natural and genuine. She takes her followers step by step teaching them how to find ways to increase their net worth by taking advantage of things we often overlook. She challenges her followers to step out of their comfort zone and think "RICH". Her coveted "rich friends list" is full of people who've taken her advice and increased their revenue. She is bold, fearless, and she is changing the face of social media. Her most memorable moment to date: Quitting her day job LIVE on Periscope
ReginaAnaejionu
@byreginatv
 
Who she is: Regina, aka The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is the girl you wished you had met BEFORE you started your business. She is a huge wealth of information, and her approach to business will leave you hungering for more. She makes the grueling confusion of building your business a much more pleasant ride.
Why she is awesome: She not only shares tips and tricks to getting things done, but she shares her info step by step with worksheets, checklists, and podcasts. Her info products range from introducing new platforms, implementing new elements to your sites, to learning how to create products to create a much larger stream of income. Her tribe is comprised of creative entrepreneurs who are not afraid to take chances in product development. With Regina, your tech projects suddenly no longer look like that big scary monster that hides under the bed. She single-handedly transforms those projects into fluffy little clouds of joy that you can boast about on your web pages. But the very best thing about Regina is that she is a self proclaimed NINJA. In fact, she is so much of a ninja that real ninjas probably don't even see her...BAM!
 
Mattie James
@mattieologie
 
Who she is: The magic that is Mattie James is easily akin to finding a $20 bill in an old coat pocket. She is that extra surprise that you didn't even know you needed. Disguised as a style guru, Mattie offers amazing tips on living the life you love, and developing a brand that reflects that wonderful life. I initially discovered Mattie on Instagram where I coveted her awesome style posts and overall layout of all things pretty.
Why she is awesome: However, Mattie is NOT just another pretty face. She is a business powerhouse that has developed her personal brand and now gives golden advice to women who want to take that extra step and really make money by implementing their passion. She combines her experience in the corporate world with her style tips and family life to deliver a product that cannot be duplicated. Her Periscope broadcasts are transparent, informative, and fun. She often gives a peak into her personal life and shares information on her life handling her beautiful daughter "Babyologie" and her husband Chris. Mattie recently spoke at the national Blogalicious conference in Baltimore, MD and shared some amazing tips on the power of consistency in your business practices. Cool Mattie fact: She was just recently named one of BuzzFeed's '25 Fabulous and Fly Moms You Need to Follow on Instagram'.

 

Maya Elious
@mayaelious
 
Who she is: Not to be outdone by uber fabulous older sister Mattie James, Maya Elious emerged on Periscope and broadcasted her way into the hearts of over 3,000 followers in what seemed like a New York minute. The thing that I ADORE about Maya is that she is relatable. She shares the details of her journey as an entrepreneur as she transitions from Graphic Designer to full time business coach.
Why she is awesome: Every single Periscope session with Maya is inspirational and informative. The amount of resources and instruction that she gives to her Periscope followers is a true testament to the value of her paid products. She has been known to give branding strategy sessions and strategic rebranding advice to her followers on the spot. She also gives live tutorials on products and services that she uses in her business. At only 25 years old, she is giving new life to the way people structure their businesses, and breaking down the ways that they can increase their confidence in building their products and services without making it look scary and hard to swallow. The super stylish branding guru also recently presented at the Blogalicious conference in Baltimore and shared a bit of her journey on Periscope. Aside from all of the amazingly wonderful advice she gives to her followers, she also has a super cute alter ego that only her TRUE Periscope stans will recognize!
Black Biz Scope
@blackbizscope
Who they are: Black Biz Scope is an initiative created by Pamela Booker (Koils By Nature), Adeea Rogers (Trendy Socialite) and Christine St.Vil (Moms N Charge™) to support and build a community for black owned businesses. Booker, Rogers, and St. Vil saw the potential of this great platform, and what it could do for black businesses, if they were able to come together and to support one another.
 
Why they are awesome: The goal is to get more dollars to stay within the black community. So with that in mind, Booker, Rogers, and St. Vil give black businesses the opportunity to share their business via live broadcasts on Periscope, with a combination of everyone's followers and communities. Every Friday, from 10-11 AM EST and 6-8 PM EST black businesses are featured on Periscope. The network of businesses provide a free platform for people to connect, share their products and services, and even collaborate with others. It has become sort of a directory of businesses that pledge to support and encourage one another, and most importantly stress the importance of economic empowerment within the black community.
Fun Fact: The Black Biz Scope was actually created organically during a conversation on a Periscope broadcast. The movement officially launched the very next day, and now has people waiting in the wings to get a slot on the Black Biz Scope schedule. They've since been featured on Huffington Post, The Atlanta Star Journal, and Madame Noire.
Have you joined Periscope yet? What's your favorite feature on the platform?
Find me on Periscope at @BMedia

 

The Branding Diaries: How to Avoid major mistakes in the branding spectrum

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Developing your perfect brand takes time, effort, and even money. The planning process for developing your brand does not always stay the same from start to finish. You have to be able to go with the flow and pay attention to the changing environment of your specific industry. My approach to branding changes from one client to the next, as does the branding for my business. As a part of my new series, 'The Branding Diaries', we will go over the peaks and valleys associated with building your perfect brand.

Here are a couple of quick tips to keep in mind when going through the branding process:
Know your position-Be realistic about your starting point. When you're first starting out, you will not know everything there is to know about branding yourself as an expert. Sure you can get a lot from a textbook or two, but there is nothing like implementing those tactics in the real world. Don’t emerge onto the scene as the end all, be all to everyone’s branding issues. Every business is different. And if you want to consider yourself an expert in the branding field, you will need to embrace that. You are NOT going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But you are someone’s cup of tea. Find that SOMEONE and make it work. Make that cup of tea much BETTER than it was a month before you found it.

Embrace your current state-Being new to business is not always a bad thing. A startup actually has an advantage over an existing business because it’s fresh, new, and you have room to grow. You can always add employees or new services. You can tweak your message and REBRAND. Some days will be a headache; and some days will be fun. But learn from the headaches as you go, and don’t expect the fun to last every day of the week. Your journey to building the perfect brand will also teach you things about other areas of your business. And once you have learned to  perfect the process, you can brag about the amount of resiliency you had when others threw in the towel and gave up.

Be Flexible- Even with a solid educational base for your specific industry, there are always changes taking place. If you are not flexible with your methods, you will easily get lost in the dust. In a digitally enhanced world, we have to be ready to play, and knowledgeable about new platforms. Even if you are not a tech guru, your team must have at least one tech guru. The right combination of traditional vs modern methods of client acquisition and service are essential in today’s fast paced world. Do yourself a favor and develop a diverse team.

Study the Greats- In the quest to build your perfect brand, let's not forget the obvious; Learning from experts is one of the easiest ways to develop a solid brand that will propel your business towards greater success. Never get too full of yourself that you forget to learn from others. You may be overlooking some very simple tips that can cause you to miss out on hidden opportunities.
Remember, it's always the toughest right before your big breakthrough. If you give up now, you will never know what could've been. Keep your toes on the ground, and go back to the beginning if necessary. Your inner self will thank you  for it later.
What is your biggest branding challenge? What experts do you go to for branding help?

Pop Culture hashtags for business: Expanding your reach and getting noticed

Creat Something beautiful  

Social media can very easily become cheesy, over saturated, and  sometimes unprofessional. Small business owners today are well aware that using social media for your business can either go very wrong or very right. Although a successful social media campaign must be very rigid in structure and approach, at  times taking a chance allows you to expand your reach and broaden your audience.

Adopting trends in social media is a definitely a traffic booster. Brands like Arby's, and IHOP have made headlines in the past year for jumping on the bandwagon and using phrases and hashtags that are popular with mainstream social media users. Although most people associate certain phrases and hashtags with personal profile pages, these phrases and hashtags can very easily be incorporated into your business' social media campaign.

 

Billingslea Media Client Next Level Fight Club's Hashtag Day campaign

The social media trend of "Throwback Thursday" or "#TBT" is a great example of using  pop culture hashtags to promote your business. Participating in #TBT when it comes to your business not only allows you to increase your visibility, but it is also an excellent way for you to evaluate your business, and take a look at how much you've grown. The personal accountability with looking at your "throwbacks" in your business not only helps you and your staff grow, but it can also serve as a great way to show other budding entrepreneurs what you've done to make your business work. This positions you as an expert in your field, and shows potential clients that you've got the chops to make it happen in your industry. I recently dug up an old blog post that I did at the end of 2014 that talked about all of my accomplishments for the year. Reading back through that post reminded me of how much I grown, and how much I poured into certain projects that were at once just a distant memory. It definitely pushes me to follow through and create more amazing projects that I can be proud of in 2016.  Take a look at my 2014 year end blog post, and if you have a 2014 year end blog post be sure to share yours in the comments section.

What pop culture trends have you incorporated into your marketing structure? Do you have a great #tbt story? Share your story with the rest of our readers!

 

Business is part War & part Sport

Business is part war & part sport. www.billingslea media.com

I came across this business quote that really resonated with me. And as we all know, if something has the power to stick out in your head for hours amongst all the other clutter inside your brain, it MUST be worth exploring. As much as I attempted to move past the "insignificant little quote" that I ran across on the internet, my brain would not let it go. I immediately began to dissect each word.

Owning and operating your own business is not for the faint of heart. There are peaks and valleys, and moments of confusion. I've learned that in business you have to be adaptable. The main thing that I wish I had known before I started my business was that you need to be willing to "expect the unexpected". For someone who is not comfortable with change, this has been a little difficult for me. I had to actually retrain my brain to think like a business owner instead of a woman with a plan. Plans are for wussies who obviously haven't run a successful business before!

 

The "sport" part of business is comprised of the part of you that enjoys the game itself...it is the joy of sweating while running around with your "friends" in the game. Its why you started in the first place-because you liked it!....it is also a goal setting tool for you, as you engage in the challenge of improving your record. Every great athlete likes to boost about their records; and a serious business mogul will too. If I had a dollar for every time I heard Donald Trump brag about his business acumen I would be able to quit my own entrepreneurial journey and live off of 'Sir Bragness of York'. Regardless of your industry, it will always be highly competitive. There is NO business owner who can rightfully say that they have NO competition. The competition is what makes it business instead of a hobby. In order to succeed, its important for you to stay at your "fighting weight" at all times. And that means reading, researching, reflecting, and learning from others. You can learn a lot from your own competitors. They show you what to do, and what not to do to be successful in business. Team X may be your competitor, but if they have a different end goal than Team Y, attention to their best practices is still a good way to learn the tricks of the trade. Because Team Y has a different end goal, Team X is the perfect example of what NOT to do. Where Team Y may make a mistake however, is underestimating Team X because of the differences in company culture, approach, or existing clientele. One of the first rules in sports is that you never underestimate the playing field. From the outside looking in, you may think that your journey to beat out your competitor will be a piece of cake. That's because you haven't witnessed their training routines. You haven't been aware of what makes them tick, and why they are passionate about what they do. Oftentimes in the sport of business, the better your competitors are, the better you will become. The "war" part is the blood, sweat, and tears that comes along with learning and perfecting your craft...It is also the part of the game where you fight for your space in the atmosphere. You are constantly pushing trying to knock that door down that will allow you to emerge as the expert in your field, or the business that delivers the best products and services in that industry. And sometimes, (hopefully not too often) the war part also means defending your space once you've stepped into that realm. In a sea of small business owners, it is not unlikely that there is usually someone who is waiting in the wings to take your spot. And sometimes they are willing to resort to less than ethical means of doing so. Sources say that 85% of new businesses fail. Furthermore, many successful business owners will tell you that they've started 3-4 businesses before they became successful. To say that your business may fail is actually more realistic than you may think. But we all know that it's not necessarily the battle that is important, but the war itself. The outcome of the entire experience is the fuel and focus that will allow you to learn from the wounds of business and emerge victoriously. Many people start out with a product or service that  they are passionate about, but have little to no idea on how to make that product or service pop. This is especially true for creative types who are focused on the product itself, but not necessarily the cost-benefit analysis or the methods needed to use to market their product. It's trial and error, and sometimes we get burned during the process. Having a team of reliable soldiers to be there to pick you up when you are falling short in the mission is an excellent way to bounce back quickly in moments of failure.

 

No business success story is without its blemishes. A great business story has drama, fear, and maybe even some ugly scars. But it's the journey of it all that allows us to see the big picture much more clearly. It is without a doubt a journey that is reserved for a select few. And if done correctly, those select few enjoy etching their name into the battlefield of success. What is your business war story? How do you remain at your "fighting weight"?

Periscope and Facebook Live change the scope of social media

Periscope As if technology couldn't advance anymore, the world is now introduced to live streaming over social media. Periscope, which was purchased by Twitter in March has taken the world by storm and is using up data minutes all over the globe. Periscope takes social media video sharing to a new level by allowing viewers to interact with with the person who is broadcasting in real time. Viewers can log on and type in their questions and comments as the person is broadcasting. It's awesome for getting a better idea of exactly what your customer base is looking for. It's also a great way for people to gain more insight into events and promotions from brands and media personalities. The "new" app boasts about 7.2 Million Users, and the amount of content shared every day is equivalent to about 10 years worth of video content! With a global reach, it is safe to say that even in its early adoption phase, Periscope has officially changed the way we do social media.

Not to be outdone, Facebook just announced that it is now rolling out its own live streaming service called "Live". At the moment it is offered only to VIP users, such as celebrities and public figures. It is also limited to streaming only on Facebook, as opposed to Periscope which can be shared on Twitter, as well as saved on your personal device for uploading to multiple platforms. What also sets Periscope apart from Facebook is that Periscope users can search for broadcasters who publicize their streams on Twitter. Broadcasters can send out a Tweet that will say "LIVE on Periscope", that allows them to be found by specific keyword topics. Viewers can also share what they are viewing on Periscope with their Twitter followers.

The use of live streaming video is considered to be a new age way of branding for companies and media personalities. People want an inside look into what their favorite brands are doing, and Periscope's interactive platform allows for the public to engage in what some have even dubbed as "brand voyeurism". The updated version of Periscope even has an interactive map view so users can search for people's live scopes in their area. Users can see and select from live feeds as pins on a map. Once the app is opened, the map gives a worldview, and users will see a variety of streams taking place in each country. Users can then zoom in to select specific feeds. It's cool for exploring new cities, checking out events, and connecting with different cultures. Some of the most popular scoping sites are Paris and Hong Kong.

@BMedia Periscope profile

With any new app, of course there is a learning curve and a few kinks to work out. Here are a couple of tips to get you started on the platform:

1- Get a tripod or other supporting device. Depending on how long you plan to talk, holding a cell phone in front of you for an extended period of time can tire you out. Before you know it, your hands will be shaking and your viewers will be watching a bumpy scope.

2- Make sure your phone is fully charged. Running out of battery life and shutting in the middle of a scope is a broadcaster's nightmare.

3- Title your Scopes appropriately. This allows you to attract better viewers and build a following. It also saves people time when they are searching for new scopes to watch.

4-Turn on your share settings (and encourage followers to share). Geotagging on the app allows more people (other than just your followers) to find you. Private scope broadcasts are limited to only those who are already following you.

5-If possible, schedule and announce your scopes. Use your social media platforms (using your Periscope channel) to announce upcoming Scopes and topics. This will allow your existing followers to find you better, and even schedule time to listen to you.

6-Engage with your audience. People are on platforms like Periscope in order to increase their connection with you. Try as much as you can to read the comments and answer questions as you scope.

Drawbacks 1-The playback is limited. Broadcasted scopes are only avail for 24 hrs. If you miss your favorite broadcaster or if people miss your scope, there are only 24  hours to make that connection again before it's gone. (There is a feature that allows you to save scopes to your mobile phone so you can upload them to your website or social media pages later)

2-Random spam. As with any public platform, there is bound to be a sea of spammers. The drawback to Periscope is that spammers will often jump in and annoy you during your scope. But don't be discouraged. There is a built in blocking feature that allows you to get rid of spamming distractions and focus on the genuine viewers.

3- The app tends to freeze a lot; especially during peak times. I am by no means a technology buff, but the word on the social media streets is that a larger  network server by Periscope is the key to solving this problem.

4-It does not support a landscape view. Videos must be broadcasted vertically in order for optimum view and the ability to read comments.

5-Legal and Privacy issues. Here comes the tricky part....Many people are skeptical about using the platform due to privacy concerns. The geotagging feature allows people to view your geographical area, which presents security issues for some people. According to online reviews, viewers can pinpoint your location within a couple of blocks.

There are also legal concerns for people who may be broadcasting at certain events where people have paid to attend.

6- Its LIVE! Anything can happen on a live platform. There is no editing or multiple takes. What you see is what you get. Trip and fall while doing a tour, and the entire world sees it. In this instance, the power of bounce back is key. Be prepared for anything, and you will be able to master your scopes in no time.

The folks at Periscope have addressed a few concerns from the public, and agree that the platform needs a couple of tweaks. However, even in the early stages, users have boasted favorable results and an increase in their following. It will be interesting to see what new features are added, and how many new users jump on the site.

Find me on Periscope at @BMedia!

Hashtag Day with NLFC3!

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Next Level Fight Club is giving away a ticket to the hottest sporting event to hit Eastern NC! Enter for a chance to win a seat at the Sept 19th event at the Greenville Convention Center by reposting the photo above and using the hashtag #NLFC3 . The winner will be chosen at random and announced on the Next Level Fight Club Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. Good luck! Hope to see you beside the ring!

For more information on tickets and promotional opportunities with Next Level visit their website www.nextlevelfightclub.com

Musician Dalton Cyr to Give Concert at Local Children's Hospital

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The Dream Factory of Eastern North Carolina announces that L.A. recording artist, songwriter, actor, & National Ambassador of the Dream Factory, Dalton Cyr will be joining the Dream Factory of Eastern North Carolina in their efforts to bring joy into the lives of chronically and critically ill children. Cyr, who just finished filming a new movie, “Time Toys” in L.A. and stars in the new Amazon Studios musical comedy TV show, “A History of Radness”, is currently touring the East Coast. Even with a very busy filming and touring schedule, he makes time to visit local children’s hospitals along the way and he uses his musical talent to bring excitement into the lives of children who are facing difficult daily challenges. While Dalton is on his East Coast tour, he will be visiting the James & Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center, in Greenville, NC and giving a private concert for the kids. For the kids whose medical condition will restrict their ability to attend, Vidant Medical Center will have a live video stream through the hospital television channel so no one is left out. The concert takes place on Tuesday July 14th. Visit the Dream Factory of ENC Facebook page for more information on the charity and its events.

Social Media Day 2015

Social Media Day "Wait....There's a day for that?" Funny, given the fact that most of us can't go a day without some form of social media interaction. But the tech geniuses at Mashable started the "holiday" in 2010 as a way to show the huge impact of social media across the globe. It has since grown (through social media of course) to encompass meetups and information sessions all over the world. Mashable cited that meetups were scheduled as far away as Egypt and Spain.

For more information Social Media Day 2015 check out the Mashable site, and follow @MashableEvents and #SMDay on Twitter.

For an even better #SMDay Tweet this post! (Bribes not accepted...)

Audacity Launch & 1st Annual Community Shark Tank

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Exciting things are happening in Greenville NC, and this weekend Eveangel Savage is turning up the heat! Ms Savage, a longtime motivating fixture in her community is launching the Audacity Social Enterprise this weekend at the Pitt County Boys & Girls Club. The event will feature speakers and community leaders, as well as a Mock Shark Tank.

The event is Free to the public, and vendor space is available. Come join us for an inspirational afternoon!