2014 in Review. Setting the standard for greatness!

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I've never been one to embrace change. But over the past couple of years I have learned to love the changes that have emerged in my life. Looking back on the past year has given me a chance to reflect on all of the positive changes that have happened as I continued to  build my company. Billingslea Media has enjoyed tremendous growth; and the changes in the marketing and technology field are opening up new doors for endless possibilities.

A huge part of this business involves going out and building relationships. I strive to maintain my visibility in the community in order to promote my clients, learn new processes, and create opportunities to link my clients with individuals that will help their businesses grow. I've met some amazing people along the way; and even created opportunities for others outside of my industry. I enjoy seeing the look on people's faces when they realize that their dream is closer than they expected. It's the motivating force behind my company, and it drives me to dream bigger.

Here are a couple of highlights from 2014:

Substantial Magazine

In October of 2014 I was featured in Substantial Magazine. The article highlighted my journey as a businesswoman, and shed light on some of the motivating factors that led me to start Billingslea Media. Aside from being able to express my goals and achievements in the magazine article, we also held an engaging and fun filled photo shoot that captured all of the facets of my personality.

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A month later I found myself engrossed in the mission and potential in the magazine, and published my first article as a Substantial Magazine staff writer. Joining the team has been a perfect marriage of passion, humility, innovation, creativity, and fun. In September we produced our very first awards show in which we honored the contributions of significant leaders in our community. The event garnered the support of hundreds of people across Eastern NC; including university staff members, government officials, and our very own Mayor Allen Thomas. In the coming year, Substantial Magazine will be unveiling a host of new projects and amazing content for our readers. I look forward to applying my experience as a Public Relations professional to the growth of the entire Substantial brand.

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•LinkedIn•

Just as Snapchat is the quintessential marketing tool for the teenage beauty queen, LinkedIn is a necessary tool for the modern day professional who is looking to establish themselves and further their career. Beginning in mid 2014, I decided to increase my activity on the social networking site. I utilized the Premium features of the platform that would allow me to expand my reach.

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Once establishing new connections, I made sure to extend the relationships beyond the home page. I engaged in conversations with my contacts to exchange ideas, establish my expertise, and even make other introductions. My complete LinkedIn profile and publishing page has resulted in connecting like-minded individuals, fine tuning my personal and professional brand, and landing a seat on the board of a local charter school.

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•Tweet Chats•

For years I frowned upon engaging in the "senseless" activity of Tweet Chats. To me, it was a waste of time to sit and look at what other people had to say in response to a professional who was leading the conversation. I didn't have time to filter through their comments, nor did I see the benefit in talking to strangers online.

Little did I know that talking to strangers would be beneficial to furthering my career. Of course it felt a little odd at first, but once I warmed up to the idea of exchanging ideas with others who were seeking more information within my industry, the process became an enjoyable and profitable activity.

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One of my favorite Tweet Chat series this year was the Black Enterprise Corner Office series. The series featured a wide variety of special guests who engaged with the participants and shared information about their areas of expertise. Guests ranged from Actor & Community Activist Lamann Rucker to Entrepreneur and former Apprentice superstar Randall Pinkett. Over the life of the series, Black Enterprise introduced a wide variety of experts who provided an amazing array of pertinent business and community leadership information, and even aided in the introduction of various professionals all over the country. My personal experience with the Black Enterprise Corner Office series has introduced me to several thought leaders who have challenged and encouraged me to grow my business, as well as offer resources to maximize my potential.

•Small Business Saturday

The annual American Express Small Business Saturday provided an opportunity for me to end my year with a bang! Each year, the movement grows larger and larger, and provides free resources for small business owners across the country. Their site offers articles and quick tips to allow merchants to maximize their reach and increase sales. The company also offers FREE marketing materials that are shipped to you free of charge within days. This year's goods were shipped via American Express partner FedEx, and included branded canvas shopping bags, pens, balloons, welcome mats, banners, and extra signage. Business Owners were encouraged to share their ideas and show how they used the promotional materials in their marketing efforts.

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Because Billingslea Media is not a brick and mortar business, being creative in my marketing activities is essential. As I watched other companies and other clients engage in Small Business Saturday activities, I did not want to let the day go by without participating myself. My virtual Small Business Saturday Shopping Spree not only managed to pair several small businesses with one another and allow businesses to increase their weekend sales, but it also caught the attention of CAN Capital. I entered the CAN Capital Small Business Saturday competition, and was one of two businesses who were awarded as the winners amongst hundreds of contestants. As a winner in the competition, I was awarded a $100 Amazon gift card and a one hour consulting session with Entrepreneur, Author, and Consultant Gene Marks.

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The achievements of 2014 set the standard for my company's vision for the coming year. As my network increases in size, I find inspiration not only to continue to service my clients, but also to expand my services and scope of influence. I look forward to the smiles on my client's faces when I show them just how wonderful their dreams can be when they trust their vision to Billingslea Media.