January 2019 - Natalie Noble

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I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie at the Goddess GALA, we instantly clicked. She is so full of life, and passionate about teaching women how to build powerful Brands. You can't help but admire a woman who is walking in her purpose unapologetically. Check out her interview below!

1. How long have you been an entrepreneur, and how did your journey get started? I have been in entrepreneurship for four years and have been in full-time entrepreneurship for a year. My journey got started by me wanting to start my own clothing line. From me designing my first website and also the social media content for that first business, people began to start asking me about my process as an entrepreneur and how I made a name for myself. 

2. How has having a podcast helped build your Brand? Where can we subscribe? Podcasting has been a great lead generation for my clients in my business because of my podcast talks about my expertise in branding and marketing. Most are listening to get a glimpse of what it means to have a well branded and well-marketed business and once they are ready to take the next step, I am the one they contact. You can subscribe to my podcast by going to www.anchor.fm/ceochatspodcast

3. What advice do you have for the aspiring entrepreneur who's scared to get started? I would tell them to just start! Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. It’s so many people out here who are afraid to live and don’t acfually do what they want because fear is keeping them in that state. If you want to do something do it. Study, research and find a way to do what it is that you want to do with your life and let no one stop you. 

4. What has been your biggest lesson this far in life? My biggest lesson was being nice in business and doing favors for everyone. I learned that i can no longer be able to support myself just by being nice. In order for me to move into full entrepreneurship and business I had to charge my worth and be unapologetic when I recited them 

5. How can we keep up with you and your Brands? You can keep up with me by going to my websites at www.theenatalierochelle.com or for branding go to www.nrmediaagency.com and for social media I am Natalie Rochelle on Facebook and @theenatalierochelle on Instagram. 

November 2018 - Tami Blackshear

We’re super excited about this month’s Entrepreneur of the Month, because she is our very first feature in the event industry! Tami Blackshear the owner of Blackshear’s Berries creates a unique experience for her clients by creating couture dessert tables and candy stations. Her work is absolutely beautiful, and it is evident that she loves what she does. We are super excited about being able to partner with Blackshear’s Berries for this years Brand Party on December 2nd! Check out my interview with Tami below:

1. What exactly is Blackshear's Berries, and how did it get started? 

Only two-years into existence, Blackshear's Berries began by simply creating 2016 Valentine's Day chocolate dipped strawberries for co-workers. Soon after this, I received calls asking for orders for their co workers, family and friends.  Blackshear's Berries specializes in custom, gourmet and couture desserts for all engagements. Dessert tables and candy stations are trending, Blackshear's Berries is able to create a designer-worthy display for your guests to enjoy while celebrating.

2. What has been your biggest lesson from your entrepreneurial journey? 

My biggest lesson from my entrepreneurial journey has been acknowledging and valuing my worth. Once my value was instilled concretely, I confidently approached negotiations with full beliefs in my skills and experience. 

3. How do you juggle being a business owner and working a 9 to 5? What advice do you have for people wanting to do the same thing? 

I am able to successfully juggle being a business owner and also working a 9 to 5pm, by being very well planned, prepping in advance and being consistent with organization. Planning in advance allows me to me to enjoy my passion and to see the reflection of it being displayed.

4. What is one goal you have for 2019? 

My goal for 2019 would be to increase sales and to create an inviting and high energy website where my customers can view calendar availability for Blackshear's Berries and view all new dessert options.

5. How can we keep up with you and your business? 

Keep up with Blackshear's Berries by maintaining a sweets tooth and follow us on

Facebook: Blackshear's Berries

Instagram: Blackshears.Berries

Email: Blackshears.Berries@gmail.com

Website: Coming Soon.

October 2018 - Emerald Sparks

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This month’s Entrepreneur of the Month is a Female Boss who is using her platform to teach financial literacy. From offering one-on-one services, to an amazing financial planner, and through workshops Emerald Sparks has been on the move to educate more people.

Check out her interview below:

1. What is one piece of advice that you wish you had earlier in your entrepreneurial journey? 

One piece of advice, that's all I get. Jesus, keep you a circle of positive, entrepreneurs in your back pocket. I wouldn't even be here without my tribe badass boss women. We vibe off each other. Ultimately, trust the process, protect your energy, get in your own lane and bag, flourish.


2. How has being an entrepreneur shaped who you are today? 

Whew chile, the struggle. I could write a dissertation about being an entrepreneur and all the lessons I have been taught. You can work your butt off and still not be where you want to be because it is just not your time. Your time is your time, your lane is your lane, no one can be you but you. It has definitely made me emotional, vulnerable, spiritual, and resilient. I can't give up, I have to see what God has for me because I believe he wouldn't give me these aspirations and lay them on my heart for no reason.

3. What is your favorite part about being your own boss?

I set my hours, who I work with, my prices, I don't have to be a morning person if I don't want to be, and I get to be creative and offer my potential clients services and products that I want to. Most importantly, I get to inspire and motivate people.


4. What advice would you give a new business owner looking to get their finances in order? What products and services do you offer that assist with that?

Personal finances plays a huge role into managing your business finances. If you are afraid of money, do not understand money, do like talking about money, your business finances are going to suffer drastically. It is my advice to get your personal financial house in order (eliminating debt, reducing expenses, etc) and get a trusted accountant and tax strategist, who can speak with you about saving money, profit allocation, and tax saving strategies to make sure you are optimizing your profits.
Hour Power Session (emeraldsparks.com/downloads)

Business Strategy Package (Customized Bookkeeping Packages) Schedule an uncovering session to understand business needs.Pick My Brain Session (emeraldsparks.com/downloads


5. Where can we keep up with the Emerald Sparks Brand? 

Facebook - Emerald Sparks or esparks10

Instagram - shzagem

Twitter - EmeraldSparksES

LinkedIn - Emerald Sparks or EmeraldSparks

September 2018 - Diana Mundkowsky

This month’s entrepreneur of the month is Diana Mundowsky! We had the pleasure of connecting on Facebook, and she was a guest expert in my Facebook group! Diana is a Mom Boss passionate about design, and helping women all over brand their businesses!

Check out her interview below!

1.) What kickstarted your entrepreneurial journey?

Having my son put a huge kickstart into my entrepreneurial journey. I craved the desire to stay at home and spend those precious moments with him, but I’ve always been proud of being a hard worker, and so I decided I should not limit myself to one or the other. I became capable of both with my mindset and dove in.

2.) how do you balance motherhood and full time entrepreneurship?

I keep a detailed list. Trello makes this super easy! I create a checklist of the week including personal and business tasks I need to complete and I can drag and reorder them per their urgency. This makes sure that if I NEED to get dog food, I dont get wrapped up in 3 logos and forget until last minute. I can sit down and easily breakdown what needs to happen now, and what needs to happen later in the week. I also have this set up quarterly. If I have someone who wants me to contact them in a month, I can go in and add that reminder now, and not need to worry about it becoming lost.

3.) What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since being an entrepreneur?

Failure is IMPORTANT. I’ve always allowed myself to get caught up in my failures until I became an entrepreneur and realized that without failing, I cannot grow as an individual or improve my work. There are days where I nail everything on my task list, and there are days where it takes me multiple revisions to figure out what I am doing. Allow failure to empower you and you will be launched forward as a result, not held back.

4.) What is your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?

The flexibility. This month (and any moment) I am due with my second son. I can take time where I need it to take care of my personal needs without having to cover my shift or call and report that to another person. Once I have my son, I alone determine the amount of time that I need to become comfortable with our new life and adjust as a family. Being able to make those calls I believe is an important factor that drives an individual to become an entrepreneur. The flexibility instills a new freedom.

5.) Where and how can we keep up with you and your brand?

On Facebook, you can find me at https://www.facebook.com/SimplyBeeDesign/ and on instagram I am at @simplybeedesign
My website will be launching soon and announced on my Facebook page!

August 2018 - Jauntel Taffe

It always a pleasure to see women I have met on my journey excelling on their entrepreneurial journey. I had the pleasure of meeting this month's Entrepreneur of the Month, Jauntel Taffe my freshman year of college at Georgia Southern University. Watching her launch and grow her brands has been so amazing to witness, and I am so happy that she accepted this feature! Check out Jauntel's interview below: 

1. How did your entrepreneurial journey get started? 

My entrepreneurial journey started my last semester of my undergraduate degree in 2014 with the creation of my lifestyle blog www.Sweetyville.com.

2. What made you choose Public Relations as an area of study and for a business?

I actually was a History major when I first entered Georgia Southern University. But I quickly changed my mind after realizing the amount of research papers associated with the major as well as the bleak career opportunities. I stumbled upon PR while looking for opportunities within the business realm. Once I embarked on my first PR course, I was immediately intrigued and knew this was the right opportunity for me. As I have a true passion for interacting with people and helping businesses reach their full potential. 

3. What is Love Sweetyville? Sweetyville is a lifestyle brand that has now evolved into having its own on-line boutique.

Sweetyville is based on the premise that Pretty doesn’t mean bitchie. And is here to encourage young women to help learn, grown and love themselves in all aspects of life. 

4. What advice would you give someone who's just finishing school and would like to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey? 

Start NOW. One of my previous internships taught me that you will never get more support than when you are in school or just finishing school. And I have truly found this to be true. Pay attention to all of the resources your school and classmates provides you and utilize them!! Utilize your professors, your classmates, textbooks everything! But do not hesitate on starting. Whether your business continues to evolve or you get it right on the first try, it doesn’t matter. The goal will always be to first start and to ALWAYS keep going. It will be hard but self-motivation and A strong spiritual foundation will help you get through it! 

5. How can we keep up with you and your brands? My personal social media is @Sweeterthanuu my business social media are @LoveSweetyville and @NVRCHCO. My websites are www.Sweetyville.com and www.nvrchpr.com I can also be reached via email at info@Sweetyville.com

June 2018 - Candace Jackson

This month's Entrepreneur of the Month is very special for me because I get to feature my mom! I've watched her turn a hobby and a passion into a business, and it has been so inspirational. Not only is she my mom, but she's also a mentor. She is constantly challenging me, and helping me make logical decisions for my business. I am so honored to feature my mom as June's Entrepreneur of the Month, check out her interview below! 

 

1. What started your entrepreneurial journey?

Nine years ago a dear invited me to her home to learn to crochet. I sort of laughed it off, because she and I both knew I have a short attention span and I don’t sit long enough to do anything. She had this nature about her that I simply loved spending time with her and she knew I wouldn’t tell her “no”. So we sat on her front porch that spring morning and here we are. Who knew?! And I still have a short attention span and don’t like sitting for long periods of time……..unless I’m crocheting. 😉

2. You’ve been crocheting for years, what made you decide to jump and turn it into a business? 

I have met some amazing, inspiring women that God brought into my life. I didn’t come to the decision on my own. I was constantly asked how much I charge for a piece and I would immediately say no, but then another friend, at another location, and who happened to own her own small business, encouraged me to just do it. And again, I did. And here we are three years later

3. Not only are you the owner of CandyJax Crochet Shop, but you recently became a certified yoga instructor! Congratulations by the way! What was the process like, and how has it benefited you?

Thank you so much!!! It is truly a blessing. The third time is the charm, haha… Another friend, at another location, opened a yoga studio where we live and I was intrigued. I just wanted to be a student. And she was hosting the first Yoga Teacher Training at her studio and she  relentlessly with love kept encouraging me to do the training. The process was long and hard. Not physically, but emotionally. I spent a lifetime caring for others; my husband, children, grandmother, family, friends, military spouses, the military unit we were a part of, and I can go on and on. Yoga challenged that and showed me there was no true caring for others, until I learned to care for myself. The greatest benefit is I allowed God to love on me through Yoga and He gave me Yoga so I can I learn to extend grace to others. It’s still mind-blowing. I now have the opportunity to share this beautiful practice of Yoga with others. And mind you, after hours spent each day crocheting, Yoga heals and prevents any lifelong injuries I have acquired over the years.

4. What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue two different business paths at the same time? 

My advice is to purely be open and be present. Don’t worry about the details and get caught up in the ‘what ifs’, ‘I don’t have’, ‘I can’t’, etc. If you feel called or led, step out on faith. And maybe you have experienced beautiful friends, at different locations or stages of your life that see that fire or zeal in you. That’s God whispering confirmation. Listen! Be obedient. And have faith. 

5. Where can we keep up with your crochet creations? 

You can follow my progress, from beginning to end, for every piece I create through the CandyJax Crochet Shop Facebook page. Or you can visit the store at www.mkt.com/candyjaxcrochetshop

 

May 2018 - Morgan Owens

This month's Entrepreneur of the Month is a branding POWERHOUSE! Morgan Owens is someone that every entrepreneur can learn a thing or two from. Owner of The Morgan A Owens brand, Curvy Cardio, and Creator of the Professional Pretty Conference, Morgan is constantly uplifting women and inspiring us to not be afraid to go after what you want. Check out Morgan's interview below!

1. What does branding mean to you? 

Branding is EVERYTHING. Definitely more than just a logo. It is a feeling you give to others, an experience and ultimately an impact you make on someone's life. What I mean by that is, you want your brand to be the first thing they think of for a service or product. You want your potential customer/client see your business or branding and know automatically that is you and what their experience is going to be, on a consistent basis.

2. How did you transition into coaching, what caused this shift? 

I wanted to help other women succeed because other women have helped me. I have bigger goals for myself so I won't always be taking on clients but right now, while I can I want to help as many others get their foundations off to the right start.

3. What is it like juggling more than one business? How do you do it? 

It can be hectic, for sure! I am only one person. I've learned in order to grow, I have to grow and have a team. Although, very small I have some help managing social media, graphics and with events. I am very protective over my two businesses because I've worked so hard building them. I have also been burned before letting people into my business life - you have to be very discerning and cautious. Not everyone is going to grind like you do!

4. CONGRATULATIONS on leaving your corporate job! That is something many people aspire to do! How did you prepare to take that huge step? 

Thank you :) I made an exit strategy! I was mentally ready to leave 8 months ago but my bank account wasn't :) I made a plan to have so much saved by a certain date. If I hadn't hit that mark by then I was humble enough to tell myself - Morgan you're still going to be working for a couple more weeks! Luckily, i made my deadline. I also prayed about it and really thought it through.

5. What advice would you give to the corporate women who is anxious to quit her job to pursue her business full time? 

Don't rush it. You can't build your brand/business while trying to worry about paying your bills. 

6. Where can we keep up with you and your brands?

You can keep up at www.morganaowens.com, IG miss_morgan86 FB Morgan A Owens Brand and www.curvycardio.com, IG & FB curvycardio

 

March 2018 - Sofia Bailey

It's always amazing to see people that I personally know go after their dreams and start their own businesses. I met this month's entrepreneur of the month my senior year of high school in Baumholder, Germany. Sofia is such a an inspiring person, and she is another example that you can create your own opportunities and live the life you want to live. Check Sofia's interview below!

How did you start crocheting?

I first learned to crochet in 4 th Grade. I grew up in Gerolzhofen, Germany, and it was part of the German curriculum (still is now, according to my little brother). That’s where I learned the basics. After school we always went to my Oma and Opa’s house (German for grandparents,  and it was more of an apartment than a house), when my Oma saw me crocheting, she then taught me another stitch, the double crochet. For the next five years, all I knew was how to do a slip stitch, chain, single and double crochet. And for five years that’s all I did. We didn’t have a lot of money, so I couldn’t always get yarn, so I remember using that same ball of yarn over and over again. Every time I got to the end, I would just frog the whole thing and start over. You’d think it get boring, but it never did. I was getting better every time, and I loved seeing the progress.

What made you turn your crochet hobby into a business?

When we found out I was pregnant, my husband and I decided that I could stay at home with our son. I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at- home mom and my husband supported that. A few months after he was born, I was craving something of my own. I absolutely love being a wife and mother, but I didn’t want to feel as though I was giving up my individuality. Crochet makes me happy and I’m good at it. I’ve had multiple people approach me about making a purchase. I’ve always toyed with the idea of opening an Etsy shop, and this time I didn’t let anything hold me back. Opening the shop and creating my first listings was a big deal for me. Once I sold my first product it almost became an obsession and now I’m constantly thinking about different things to create, promote, and give back.

Do you have any advice for moms wanting to turn their hobby into a business?

Yes! The Present Is Perfect. It’s something I remind myself of constantly. Dreams, goals,

aspiration are awesome, they are what motivate you to put yourself in uncomfortable positions, but it’s so easy to get caught up in where you want to be, that you forget where you are. If you don’t learn to appreciate where you are now and take the time to reflect on how far you have come, you will forever chase the carrot dangling in front of your nose. Because no matter how far you go, it’ll never be enough. The present is absolutely perfect.

What has Entrepreneurship taught you so far?

Entrepreneurship has taught me that every day is Saturday. I don’t have a set time where I get

up (I do have a set bedtime, though), but when I get up, I get to work. Unless I have an appointment or deadline to meet, I have absolute freedom to manage my own time. Similar to Saturdays when you’re working a 9-5 job or are going to school. I don’t know about you, but I always spent my Saturdays cleaning, organizing, running errands, etc. with no particular order, and no particular schedule. Now I live my days like that every day.

Where can we follow you on social media?

You can find me everywhere (facebook, Instagram, pinterest) @SunnySunflowerCrafts. You can

also check out my shop at www.SunnySunflowerCrafts.Etsy.com and read my blog at

www.SunnySunflowerCrafts.com.

 

January 2018 - Mercedes Glasgow

Mercedes Glasgow is the perfect example of a "mompreneur." From homeschooling her little ones and running a household to starting and running her own business her story is nothing short of inspiring. When I first met her I knew I wanted to feature her as Entrepreneur of the Month, and I am so happy she accepted the offer!

Check out Mercedes' interview below: 

What made you decide to start your own business?

Even as a child I was business minded. I guess you can say I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I remember making neat key chains by hand, using beads by the bucket from craft stores and selling them at my mom’s nail salon in a flea mall. I made animals, flags, and cute little creations. I also made jewelry sets using jewelry kits from craft stores and sold them from my mom’s salon as an add-on to the purchased service.

I began working legally as an employee as early as I could while in high school. From my very first job, I always had a strong work ethic and took every job I had very seriously. I saw my jobs as a way to build myself and whatever company I was working for at the time. As I grew older, I found myself wearing multiple hats albeit with one title, doing all I could to add to the businesses I worked for.

As much as I enjoyed building others and helping others fulfill their own business endeavors, I realized if I used my gifts and acquired skills to build myself up in the same way I would no longer have to work for someone else, but could instead be my fully creative self, continue helping others, and still get paid for it in the process. 

How did you get started making hair and skin products?

Honestly, it was a complete accident. I have operated service-based businesses in the past. However, I never really saw myself starting a product-based business before IXXI was born, let alone creating hair care and skin care products.

My husband and two year-old son suffer from eczema. My son’s eczema began to worsen and his flare-ups were turning red. We tried different store-bought creams, from Aveeno and other baby creams especially made for eczema to hydrocortisone, and you name it. None of it worked.

I began to research natural remedies and found that Shea Butter has great healing properties for dry skin and eczema, among other natural oils and butters I currently use in my products. I started playing with recipes and eventually perfected a formula, making sure to keep all the butters unrefined for the best results. I loved the end product, even for myself and I don’t happen to suffer from dry skin. A little under a month of consistent exclusive usage, I noticed I could no longer even find my son’s eczema. It was invisible. I could not feel it either. The same occurred with my husband. His eczema just went away.

At this point, it made sense to replace my family’s store-bought lotions with my body butter. It’s all we used – my husband, two kids, and I. I felt much more comfortable knowing every single ingredient that went into what we were putting on our bodies than not even being able to pronounce many of the ingredients on our former creams and lotions. After about three months of making this change for my own family, I noticed my skin was so soft and silky. It literally felt like a baby’s bottom and I started to get compliments from friends and family.

I really enjoyed the scent, as well. My first blends included coconut and vanilla essential oils. I started thinking, “If my friends and family are giving me compliments and they want to try it, then I should make it available to others, as well.” And so began the birth of IXXI.

Just this week, we added Luxe Natural Hair Butter to our online shop. It was a natural next step to take, as we are all about promoting self-care here at IXXI. It only seemed right to add hair care to our skin care products. Still, it began in much the same way as my creation of our Luxe Natural Whipped Body Butter. I figured if I was able to create an all-natural product to make my skin glow and feel silky smooth, surely I could do the same for my hair and my daughter’s hair.

Additionally, a few customers sent me messages about how well our body butter worked on their hair, as well as their skin. This pushed me to do some research on what oils and butters are great for moisturizing the hair, are rich in vitamins, promote hair growth and are great for the scalp, as well as making the hair feel silky smooth. My research resulted in the perfect combination of butters and oils, and so became Luxe Natural Hair Butter.

As was the case with our body butter, our hair butter is currently the sole product I use in my daughter’s and my hair for styling. After receiving tons of compliments about how healthy our hair looks and how soft it feels, I knew it would be the perfect addition to our online shop. After all, confidence is beautiful, and our products definitely add to our customer’s confidence and self-care regimens. 

What motivates you?

My number one motivation is my faith. It motivates and drives me knowing that a greater purpose was placed in me and I am called to bring that to fruition. Everything I do is grounded in my understanding of that and my desire to carry it out.

My family certainly motivates me, as well. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who is and always has been a great provider and works tirelessly to make sure our family has all we could want and need. I would love nothing more than to be able to say to him one day, “Relax, take a month off. I’ve got this.” My children look up to me. They’re with me all day long. For those who do not know, I am a homeschooling mom. As a firm believer of leading by example, I want to show them there are no limits to what we can achieve other than the limits we place on ourselves.

Last but most certainly not least, my customers motivate me. Knowing there’s a need that I fulfill every time someone purchases a product that I’ve created brings me joy, whether it’s something a bit more serious like eczema or simply the need to indulge in luxe skin care to feel good after a long hot bath at the end of a long work day. I have learned that every gift given to me by my Creator is not for me to keep to myself, but to share with others. If only one person found value in my products and benefited from it, I’d be happy knowing I contributed to that and that I found joy in doing so.

What is one thing you’ve learned so far on your entrepreneurial journey?

LOL. I have to laugh because the learning curve has been so real that I could write a book in answer to this question, and maybe I will one day soon. *Insert wink* For the sake of choosing one to discuss here today, I’d have to say my most important lesson thus far has been to get out of my own way. Just do it; just take that leap!

I stopped myself for years, talking in circles in my own head about how X, Y, Z was not yet where I wanted it to be. Another thing I’ve experienced since a young child is perfectionism. It’s both my strength and my weakness, depending on how I choose to apply it and when. In this case, I let it hold me back for far too long because I kept telling myself I could not do this or that or launch this business without the perfect website and the perfect marketing strategy and the best social media strategies in place, and perfect to-die-for labels and packaging, and so on and so forth.

Let me tell you what made me snap out of that one, besides my older sister who stayed on top of me and kept pushing me to just begin. I realized one of my own qualities I’ve always admired about myself was my transparency. It has aided me in being relatable to others, and it is oftentimes what makes others feel comfortable to be themselves around me, which often leads to them confiding in me and eventually seeking advice from me.

I should add that I am a writer, and I have a personal blog that touches on various different topics from lifestyle to business, etc. My blog is titled Take a Ride in My Mercedes. I came up with this title as an obvious play on my name, but even more so because I wanted to bring my followers along with me on my journey in life, as well as in business. I felt it extremely important, in order for anyone to understand my heart and to find value in whatever I share with them, that they would also have to witness my growth firsthand.

That cannot happen if you only show the pretty angles and the victories, but are too afraid to show the speed bumps and obstacles you may have had to overcome to get where you are now, not to mention the ones still ahead. So I chose to adopt this mindset with IXXI, as well. I decided if I was waiting for everything to be perfect before beginning, I was never going to begin.

It is important to me that my current customers and future customers be able to witness the growth of IXXI in real-time. Let everyone see that it was more important for me to make our products available to them and provide a seamless shopping experience, rather than getting hung up on all the bells and whistles and eventually losing sight of IXXI altogether. There’s a high chance if I had gone that route, IXXI would have never been.

What is one goal you have set for 2018?

My goal for 2018 is to acquire wholesale contracts with a few retail stores, raise awareness about the importance of self-care and confidence in today’s world, and to continue creating without thinking twice, from new products to my writing. If nothing else, I can say I put my best foot forward and did not stand in my own way. I can only go forward from there.

Links to website and social media sites:

www.ixxibody.com

FB: www.facebook.com/ixxiluxebodybutter

IG: @ixxiluxebodybutter

Personal Blog: http://mercedesglas.wixsite.com/blog

 

December 2017 - India Lindsey

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I was super excited when I asked India to be December's Entrepreneur of the Month and she accepted. I am not afraid to say that India is someone I truly look up to in this world of entrepreneurs and business owners. It's not often that you meet someone on social media and they're willing to give you advice and help you get started on your own journey. Words can't express how appreciative I am of India! Not only is she a great person, but she is an AMAZING writer.

She has published an ebook (which actually helped me get started in my entrepreneurial journey), and she published two novels! She is also the owner of The Write Touch which offers services like academic writing and editing, creative writing, and resume and cover letting writing. She also offers a ghostwriting services, and even launched a Ghostwriting 101 course you can take! 

India is full of knowledge with so much to offer. Check out her interview below: 

1.) What sparked your interest in starting your own business? 

I started my first business out of need. I was an unemployed postgraduate looking for a way to pay my rent and piling student loans. Writing had always been something I was good at, so I turned my hobby into a business. 

2.) What was your biggest struggle as an entrepreneur? 

As an entrepreneur, my biggest struggle has been finding a work-life balance. I put all of my energy into my art and making my business work. There's not one day where I am not working on my business, and it often leads to me neglecting some other area of my life. However, making time for other things outside of business is something I want to work on this upcoming year. 

3.) When did you start writing, and what motivated you to publish ebooks and novels? 

I started writing in 2012 however,  I didn't publish my first book until 2015. Writing a book was a goal I've had for myself since I was ten years old. After working with a writing coach, I finally dared to move forward with publishing my books. Her course cost me a pretty penny; I promised myself I would make this writing thing work. 

4.) A lot of people have been interested in ghostwriting lately; is there one tip that you would give them? Where can people learn about ghostwriting? 

Ghostwriting entirely changed my business. Not everyone is skilled at writing. For those who are skilled in writing, leveraging that talent to the right crowd can change your life. 

5.) Where can we keep up with India Lindsey, your projects, and business? 

You can follow me on all platforms under @IndiaLindsey or facebook.com/IndiaLindsey. I am on Goodreads as well!

July 2017 - Sierra Jackson

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It is such an honor to be able to feature Sierra and her business Fab & Frugal Women's Boutique as this month's Entrepreneur of the Month, because she is inspiring women all over to follow their dreams, and never give up. 

Sierra Jackson is the Founder/Head Fashionista of Fab & Frugal Women’s Boutique, an affordable clothing boutique for fashionable women with curves. Her company has evolved quite a bit since it first got its start in a Jackson State University dorm, to now being an international online fashion retailer.

Sierra didn’t originally intend to open a plus size boutique, “it kind of just happened,” she says. She initially started hand sewing and dyeing denim for herself, and people on campus would ask could she make items for them as well. Her being a penniless college student, she said “Sure why not,” for a few extra bucks. Her hobby turned business quickly grew bigger than ever, and more people were finding out about her brand.

Reality TV stars like Tiara Hodges (Bad Girls Club) and Kaylin Garcia (Love & Hip-Hop New York), were spotted on social media shouting out her clothing in pictures. Though her clothing was available in a variety of sizes, ranging from 0-26, plus size women were her most frequent and returning customers. Her email inbox would get bombarded with “thank you’s,” from plus size women thanking her for creating stylish denim in their size.

Sierra says she started to fall more in love with the idea of boosting women’s confidence while they wore her clothing, than actually creating the clothing. After three years she discontinued her shop because it was no longer her passion.

Fast forward to 2016, she was motivated to spark the idea of a clothing store back up. Her initial motivation came from God, as she was reading her Bible one night and He told her she was going to be the “new age Lydia.” Lydia was a great businesswoman and reseller of the purple cloth in the Bible. “Though my industry is fashion, my purpose is that I love helping and serving others. I want to give people who have been incarcerated a second chance after incarceration, like Lydia did with Paul & Silas. I want to hire them in my clothing warehouse when the time comes, to give them a second chance at being a great citizen in society,” Sierra states.

In August 2016, Fab & Frugal Women’s Boutique was (re)born. With less than a year of her online shop being open, Sierra says she is happy to be back in the fashion industry and thriving like never before. “It is the mission of Fab & Frugal Women's Boutique to provide fashionable minimalist clothing at an affordable price to plus size women. We strive to be the ultimate problem solvers when it comes to plus size fashion by empowering and educating our customers; creating the most enjoyable shopping experience possible for them.”

What is a Fab & Frugal woman you ask? A bubbly free spirit, who loves fashionable clothes that she doesn’t have to break the bank for. She’s sometimes late for class or work, because she’s trying to find something to wear. She’s the fashionable go-getter, the dreamer, and the doer. 

Check out Sierra Jackson's interview below: 

1.) What sparked your interested to start a clothing boutique?

I have always loved fashion and creating things. When I was a little girl, I would sneak and cut up my shirts, and sew and remake them into something new. Before I knew how to sew, I would just cut them up and add beads to them. My mom would fuss at me for messing up my clothes! Lol

2.) What advice would you give to moms wanting to start a business?

The piece of advice I would share with mompreneurs is, keep your mental healthy and stable no matter what. What I mean by that is: I had my daughter one month after to starting my business. As it got closer to my delivery date, it all started to get overwhelming and I was depressed BEFORE I even had my child so tacking on postpartum depression made it worse. My mental health was not in the place it needed to be for me to be running a business AND taking care of a child at the same time. It was all so overwhelming for me. However, through lots of prayer, mindset changes, affirmations, and constantly remembering my dreams and the thing I wanted to achieve..I got through it. Also, do not allow yourself to feel guilty about spending time away from your child to achieve your dreams. I had this problem bad. I have to remind myself the sacrifices I'm making now are for her future, and she'll appreciate them SO much more when we can spend time together whenever she wants because of my entrepreneurial freedom instead of being tied down to a gruesome schedule.

3.) From your experience, what was the most challenging part about starting a business?

Being disciplined enough to push through and do what I said I was going to do is the most challenging part about starting (and sustaining) a business. I know most people think its funds (or lack there of) but honestly, it takes more discipline than it does funds. Unlike people who have a corporate job, you don't have anybody to answer to. It's up to you whether you're going to get up and put some work in everyday. That alone, is harder than answering to someone simply because the responsibility all falls back on you, no one else.

4.) If you had to give one piece of advice to entrepreneurs and/or business owners what would it be?

No matter what, push through and be consistent in whatever it is that you are doing. Consistency wins ALWAYS. Even if you don't see immediate sales, a bunch of followers and likes on social media, lots of people raving over your product/service, keep going. Eventually it will pay off...but ONLY if you're consistent.

5.) Where can we keep up with you and your business?!

You can keep up with all things Fab & Frugal Women's Boutique at: linktr.ee/shopfabandfrugal

Instagram: @shopfabandfrugal

Facebook: Fab & Frugal Women's Boutique

 

June 2017 - Courtney Cheatham

Briana has had the pleasure of knowing Courtney Cheatham, also known as CoThePhotographer, since high school. Based out of Fayetteville, NC, Courtney is your go to girl for family portraits, maternity shoots, outdoor portraits, graduation pictures, special events, and more! She is literally a one stop shop for all of your photography needs. Her passion for her art shows in every shoot she does. Here is an interview she did with our CEO Briana Ross:

1.) How did you get into photography?

    “When I lived in Texas I met a woman I went to the same church as, and she would take me to events she photographed. One day she just handed me the camera and told me to take pictures. Although I didn’t know everything I fell in love immediately. She was so helpful, and answered all of my questions. When she looked at the pictures she told me,  “you take better pictures than me." After that she took me to a wedding that I got to shoot, then she ended up letting me use her camera over the course of a year. Most of everything was self taught and she was there if I had any questions.” Kinda weird how it happened, but it is definitely worth it. “

2.) What do you love most about what you do? 

    “I love being creative, and coming up with new ideas to shoot with. I like meeting new people and being able to edit their pictures, and seeing them love their pictures. This past weekend I had a shoot with a stylist I had previously shot with, we took pictures for her birthday at a carnival, and she fell in love with the pictures. She was so happy, and that’s what I love. I love making people happy with what they pay for.” 

    So you came up with the carnival concept?

     “Yea she mentioned that their was a carnival coming into town, and I was like oh yea lets go there and she loved the idea!” 

3.) What advice would you give women wanting to start their own business? 

    “I would just say go for whatever you’re passionate about. Don’t let people stop you from doing what you want to do. There will always be people who will make you feel unworthy about your passions, but just go for it. Keep working, there will be seasons when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, and I was once that person. Don’t give up. That’s what keeps me going, God is in control, and I know that I can accomplish anything. 

4.) What motivates you?

    “What motivates me is my boyfriend and this girl I used to talked to every monday morning. I was in a place where I didn’t know what to do, and she gave me guidance. I got lost, and with having Xavier around he really pushed me to get back started.” 

 

To view more of Courtney's work you can find her on Instagram @CoThePhotographer