Monday, February 27, 2012

Motivational Monday- 2.27.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"As soon as you truly commit to making something happen, the "how" will reveal itself."

- Tony Robbins

Friday, February 24, 2012

Laws of Social Media Marketing

By leveraging the power of content and social media marketing, you can help elevate your customer base and audience in a big way. However, getting started with no previous experience or insight could be difficult.

It's important to understand the fundamentals of social media marketing. Abiding by the following laws will help you build a foundation that will serve your customers/clients, your brand and -- probably most importantly -- your bottom line. 

The Law of Listening. If you want success with social media and content marketing, you're going to have to do more listening and less talking. Read your target audience's online content, and join in on discussions so you can find out what's important to them. Only then can you produce content and begin conversations that add value instead of cluttering their lives.

The Law of Focus. It's better for you to specialize than be a 'jack-of-all-trades.' Having a highly-focused social media and content marketing strategy with the intention of developing a strong brand has a greater chance for success than a wide-ranging strategy that attempts to be all things to all people.

The Law of Quality. Quality is better than quantity. "It's better to have 1,000 online connections who read, share and talk about your content with their own audiences than 10,000 connections who disappear after connecting with you the first time."

For the seven other laws, check out my source, 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Motivational Monday- 2.20.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"Whatever you do, you have to put the time in and be willing to get in the trenches. You can't just leave it up to someone else to fulfill your vision."

- Tracey Edmonds

Friday, February 17, 2012

Expect Success!

{Originally posted on my blog,}

February is International Expect Success Month! I'm sure you've heard that success is a journey, not a destination, and it's the attitude you have on the path. With that said, make sure you enjoy the process. When you expect to succeed and see the journey as fun, you're more likely to get there. I'm a firm believer in the saying, "You get what you expect."

So, how do you learn to expect success?

  • Recognize the small successes that occur in the process. Did you make a call to a prospect? Start researching your business idea? Begin outlining your ebook? Although it may be small, it's still a success because you took action toward achieving a goal!
  • Smile. The simple act of smiling enhances your well-being, which improves your outlook, and that gets you ready for all the fabulous things you're expecting to happen.
  • Keep your success attitude in your body. This means standing up straight, lifting up your chin, keeping your shoulders back and feet placed firmly. You should feel the energy of personal success in every fiber of your being. 
  • Form a compelling success image in your head. After you begin expecting success, see it. Imagine it vibrantly, exactly how you want it to be -- where are you, what are you doing, how does it feel? By making your success look and feel as real as possible in your mind, you make your expectation stronger, and as a result, take even bigger actions. 
  • Create affirmations and intentions. It's important that you constantly tell yourself what you plan to do and intend to create.
  • Feel it. As mentioned above, not only do you need to see success in your mind, you also need to feel it. Get excited, and make yourself sense how it will feel to accomplish and realize your goals and dreams. 
  • Be bold. Start doing the things you know you'll do when you become more successful. That's how you'll create the success you desire in your life.

Remember: You won't be more successful than you expect to be. So, always expect success!

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[Source; Photo Credit]

Monday, February 13, 2012

Motivational Monday- 2.13.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

- Henry David Thoreau

Friday, February 10, 2012

Starting a Business: Five Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

By Ali Brown

According to the U.S. Government Small Business Administration's home page, about 50 percent of small businesses fail within the first five years. I'd bet the number one reason is the entrepreneur did not take the time to learn what he or she should!

Whether you're a corporate refuge, a recent grad or a mom re-entering the workforce, you'll want to avoid the pitfalls that others just starting out have experienced. You know you can be on the successful side of the statistic, and here are some mistakes you'll want to avoid:

Mistake 1. Not Planning Enough.
You need a business plan, and although it doesn't need to be the length of War and Peace, you do need to strategize your mission, goals and objectives, marketing plan and financial forecasts. Going through the process forces you to look at the total picture to ensure your business idea is viable.

One of the most important parts of your business plan is your marketing plan. No matter how brilliant your product or service is, without an effective, comprehensive strategy to spread the word about your offerings over time, your business may languish. Exploit the many free or low-cost marketing channels out there such as social media marketing and blogs as well as friends, colleagues and family who will talk you up.

Even thinking about where your home office will be physically located is important to ensure that you have the privacy and quiet you need to focus, think and work.

Mistake 2. Underestimating the Necessary Commitment. 
Even though you want a small business for the freedom it will bring, it does take attention in the beginning to get traction. Since you've chosen to do something that you are passionate about, that probably won't be a problem, but you may have competing interests such as your family.

Many home-based moms, for example, work a split shift: working in the morning when the children are in school, attending to them in the afternoon and evening and then working again in the evening after they've gone to bed.

Plan to spend most of your time marketing your business in the beginning, accessing every avenue available to you online and in person. Being consistent is vital: get your ezine out regularly, update your blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts and attend that local networking group without fail.

Mistake 3. Overspending.
Spend enough money to look like you're serious but not too much so that you break the bank before your first sale. With a home-based business, you'll need to have a reliable computer, a professional web presence, an excellent phone setup, a printer and a fax, and you're good to go. Instead of buying absolutely everything that you'll need upfront, consider rewarding yourself with acquisitions as the sales come in (e.g., "My launch was a success, so it's time to get that new smart phone.").

Mistake 4. Underpricing.
In the beginning, determining what to charge may confound you. As you can guess, you want to charge enough to be taken seriously and not too much to price people out of the market.

Starting a business may well bring up personal issues that you weren't even aware of, and putting a value on what your time is worth may go to the heart of that. Remember that it is less about you and more about: a) what the marketplace is changing; b) what alternatives people have; c) convenience; d) how much risk people feel; e) how much benefit people perceive. See how it's more about them?

Do your homework like any customer would and compare what's available. Ask colleagues what they might spend for what you are offering. Pick a number that you can confidently promote, yet not feel like you are underselling yourself. Pricing has little to do with costs except that you have to cover them and have something left over for a profit. Assign value to what you're offering, and don't sell yourself short.

Mistake 5. Dismissing Legal Considerations.
There's no shortage of government websites that are eager to help you get started on the right foot. The easiest way is to key "starting a business [Your State Here]" into your favorite search engine. Additionally, there's helpful information at the IRS website, Small Business Administration and Business.Gov site.

To keep your records clean from the beginning, keep your personal and business funds separate. Even though it is tempting to start out as a sole proprietor, you'll save time and hassle later by starting out with a legal structure that protects your assets from the start, such as an LLC. Consult your CPA for the best choice for you.

Throughout this process of starting your business, you'll need to balance between "preparing" and "dawdling" -- get your ducks in a row, but don't procrastinate to the point that you never take action. Do your homework so that you have a plan, and you're well informed about the sphere you're entering. Price yourself intelligently, and spend wisely in the beginning with just the "must haves" and reward yourself with the "want to haves" later. Be aware of the legal considerations and make thoughtful choices from the onset. Bring passion to your business and willingness to devote the necessary time in the beginning to make an impression in the marketplace.

Self-made entrepreneur and Inc. 500-ranked CEO Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE weekly articles and advice at

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Motivational Monday- 2.6.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"Believe Big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success. Remember this, too! Big ideas and big plans are often easier -- certainly no more difficult -- than small ideas and small plans."

- David J. Schwartz 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rockstar Business: Vivid Designs, Inc.

Rockstar Business is an interview series featuring businesses that rock! 

Akesha Scott, Owner of Vivid Designs, Inc.

Mocha Writer: What is Vivid Designs?
Akesha Scott:
Vivid Designs is a full-service graphic design company. We can create just about anything, including logos, websites, signage, marketing materials, etc. to fit the needs and image of our clients.

MW: When and why did you start your business?
Akesha: I created the business August 2008, and it was sort of on a whim. I knew I wanted to start a business, but I didn't line things up the way I should've. I had my papers filled out and ready to go in my car for weeks. One day, I finally got the nerve to go in and register.

I've had fantastic career positions with great bosses, but I was never really satisfied. The worst feeling is dreading going somewhere and knowing you have to be there for eight hours...yikes! Even after I started my business, I still worked full-time and did freelance work here and there. I didn't take it as seriously as I should have. Having that biweekly paycheck is a crutch. But in January, 2009, I was laid off. Albeit a shocker, it was also a blessing in disguise. The unemployment rate was getting worse every day and marketing wasn't on any employers priority list.

With a certified business and bills to pay, I got my p's and q's together. I don't believe in burning bridges, so I reached out to all my former employers to let them know about my business. I talked with friends and family members. I was also in grad school at the time, so my classmates and professors were also aware of my situation. My career positions were all in marketing, but since I was a budding graphic designer (without even knowing it), my previous employers were aware of my talents.

MW: Who is your target market?
Akesha: My target market are serious small and start-up businesses. I also work with individuals and non-profits. I feel most small and start-up businesses don't understand that your image is your first impression. Sometimes, it can get you in the door. Most of us can't walk into a meeting with shorts and flip-flops, and when your business image is lacking, that's exactly what you're doing.

MW: How did you become interested in graphic design?
Graphic design made/makes me happy. I think it's amazing how particular colors, fonts or images can intrigue a mind to do something. As a kid, I didn't realize graphic design was a career option. I knew of marketing, advertising, photography, public relations, but graphic design never came to mind. In undergrad, I had a graphic design class, and I loved it, but I didn't see how it could apply to my career goals. Over time, I created and dabbled more and grew to love and appreciate it.

MW: What are some of your future goals?
Akesha: I want Vivid Designs to be the go-to company for small and start-up businesses. My goal is to also have office space that will allow image training for businesses.

MW: Who and what inspires you?
My clients inspire me everyday. The hard work and determination I see in all my clients encourage me to work harder. It's exciting working with companies and individuals who have so much drive and commitment.

MW: What do you love most about owning your own business?
Akesha: Having the right to say NO. "No" is such a dirty word when you're working for someone else. Although I don't say no often, it's good to know that I can.

MW: What is your favorite inspirational quote/saying?
Akesha: "I'll Find a Way or Make One." It's my alma mater's Clark Atlanta University's, motto. It's so perfect when you know that going backwards is never an option.

MW: What tips/advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business?
Akesha: If it's not your expertise, don't do it. Meaning, you want things done right, so make sure you acquire the expertise that can do it right! Whether it's an accountant, lawyer, photographer, graphic designer, etc.

MW: How can people reach you?
Akesha: I'm very easy to find by website:; email: akesh[at]; Facebook, Twitter or phone 443.255.4105.

Do you have a Rockstar business? You could be featured on Mocha Writes! Send me information about your business for consideration: jamiefleming [at] mochawriter [dot] com. 

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