Chrissie Rucker of The White Company Takes Home Veuve Clicquot’s Business Woman Award

LONDON — Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company, has received Veuve Clicquot’s Business Woman Award on Thursday Night at London’s Design Museum.
Rucker is the youngest nominee of the global award since 1996, and has been recognized for her achievements in the retail and style industry.
“I’ve always viewed these awards as the most special, and perhaps the closest thing to an Oscar for businesswomen. It’s fantastic to recognize what women are able to achieve today and I think we have Madame Clicquot to thank for paving the way all those years ago,” said Rucker, who is marking her 25th year in the business.
The news comes at an exciting time for the company, which has just secured a new partnership with Nordstrom and a pop-up in the Hamptons.
“We have a new partnership with Nordstrom, and will be going into all of their stores as one of three major home brands. I think we will have six stores open with them by the end of the year. We are planning to double the size of the business in the next five years, with international expansion a big part of that across the U.S., Europe and Australia as well as continuing the U.K.,”

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Small business confidence remains high, Main Street sees more good times ahead: CNBC survey

Small business confidence remains high, according to the latest CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. Main Street sees more good times ahead, but a tight job market is among business conditions keeping optimism below a 2018 record level.
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Former Banker Finds Success in Synthetic Hair Extensions Business

Tiffini Gatlin—a former corporate bank executive—turned her 20-year side hustle of braiding and protective styling hair into a beauty brand by creating the first pre-curled and looped synthetic crochet hair. With a successful sale of her first synthetic hair brand, Curlkalon Hair Collection, Gatlin expanded her vision for creating safe and affordable synthetic hair extensions with the launch of her second brand, Latched and Hooked Beauty.

Her products are a staple in the synthetic hair industry, catching the attention of celebrities such as Gabrielle Union and mainstream media outlets including Allure, which named her brand one of the best for women of color.

In this interview, Gatlin expands on her career pivot and future plans.

Black Enterprise: Tell us about how you got started in the industry and what was your inspiration?

Gatlin: I actually started in the beauty industry when I was 16-years-old. Ms. Gloria, a popular braider in my neighborhood, asked me if I was interested in learning how to braid and told me how much money I could make, so I decided to give it a try. For a few months on the weekends, I’d walk almost a mile to her home, and she’d teach me different techniques and even allowed me to practice on her clients. Several months later, I started building my own clientele. I used my friend Naima and other popular girls in my high school as models to display my work and attract clients strictly by word of mouth.

I didn’t pick braiding back up as a side hustle until I became an entrepreneur in 2010. I used the money earned from braiding hair to fund my entrepreneurial goals. In 2014, I took notice of girls on Instagram using a century-old method called crochet braiding to create voluminous curls, and I thought the style was amazing and the perfect style hack for girls who were transitioning, unable to grasp the “perfect rod set” or just wanted to switch up her look for a few weeks. I started trying the style on my clients and although I loved the results I hated the process which consisted of using boiling water to form the synthetic hair into a curl. Because synthetic hair is nothing more than a polymer (plastic), the use of hot water makes the style “set” and voila, you have perfect curls for weeks without any additional maintenance.

You created and manufactured a new product overseas. Can you share what that process was like?

As a natural creative, I became interested in how to make the process safer so that women would not be subjected to hot water burns and professional hairstylist would not have to bear the thought of liabilities due to the method. Not to mention, the time commitment was gruesome and unappealing to a stylist who worked to get more bodies in their chair. After searching in beauty supply stores, I realized there were no unwefted, pre-curled, and looped options. From that moment I became inspired to embark on a journey to design and manufacture the first pre-curled and looped crochet hair that matched the texture of black women’s unprocessed hair. In 2015, I launched my first beauty company, Curlkalon Hair Collection, which was acquired in 2018. Since then, I have expanded my vision of offering quality beauty convenience with the launch of Latched and Hooked Beauty.

Creating a product overseas actually wasn’t overly complicated. We found a few candidates, and I interviewed four prospects via Skype and eventually hired a woman based on her experience with locating factories that specialized in OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) development. After signing an NDA with her, we developed a short term contract that outlined her engagement with our business, which included being a liaison and helping us negotiate pricing and finding a factory that could design the prototype and help us break through the language barrier. Once we began production with the factory we chose, we worked directly with the factory, and the liaison relationship ended. I’d say the most challenging part was trusting that what we agreed to would actually show up and not being there in person to observe the process from beginning to end made me feel uneasy.

If someone was interested in inventing a new product, what three things are a must to ensure success and why?

If you are interested in inventing a new product I would recommend these three steps:

  • Research your target market – How do you know your target market needs this product? Have you done a focus group? Have you identified a problem? Just because everyone else is doing it and you may have seen someone else become successful doesn’t make it a good idea.
  • Create a prototype – Creating a prototype can help you determine how to approach the build-out of your product, you can quickly rule out the approaches that don’t work to focus on the ones that do work.
  • Evaluate the manufacturing process for your invention – Can you manufacture in the U.S. or do you need to locate a manufacturer overseas? Knowing your options will help you put costs associated with MOQ’s (minimum order quantity) into perspective as well as give you an idea of how long the process will take to deliver the final goods to your consumer.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The post Former Banker Finds Success in Synthetic Hair Extensions Business appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Fox unveils ‘insanely simple’ business model at Investor Day

Fox Corp. unveiled an “insanely simple” new structure at its first-ever Investor Day Thursday, saying the new company plans to focus its programming almost entirely on live events, like news and sports. Rupert Murdoch first took the stage at the Midtown Manhattan event to explain why the company chose to slim down through the sale…
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Trump administration’s message to the world on Iran: ‘Don’t do business with these people’

President Trump signals the U.S. won't stand for Tehran's "support of terrorism" and threats to restart its nuclear program, Energy Secretary Rick Perry tells CNBC.
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Black-Owned Businesses You Can Support During Small Business Week

It’s National Small Business Week! That’s right, there’s a whole week dedicated to supporting small businesses. There are a ton of events around the week, including a free 2-day online seminar to help small business, Twitter chats, hackathons and more.

According to NIelsen, the Black community has a combined $ 1.2 trillion in buying power which is more than enough to support a lot of #buyingblack. Also, according to a national small business survey, Black-owned businesses are among the fastest-growing in the nation, with a 400% increase in new Black businesses from 2017 to 2018.

Here are some small Black businesses you can support this week:

DETROIT, MI:

Detroit Vegan Soul 

Business: Food

Owned by Chef Erika Boyd and Kirsten Ussery

About: “Detroit Vegan Soul was born out of our desire to make good, healthy food accessible to everyone, and to break the cycle of diet related diseases in our families and community. We started our journey in February 2012 with a meal delivery and catering company which served the greater Downtown Detroit area. The response was overwhelming!” (via their website)

ATLANTA, GA:

Abielle Creations

Business: Apparel

Owned by Melissa Mitchell

Mitchell is self-taught artist who has created over 500 art pieces including 40 murals. In 2016, she turned her art into wearable creations and has since been featured in Vogue and worked with Lupita N’yong’o and reality star Yandy Smith.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. 

Lit Brooklyn 

Business: Home Decor

Owner: Denequa Williams

“Smartest decision I ever made for myself was surrounding myself with goal chasers, hard workers, and people who continue to shock themselves with the accolades and accomplishments that they receive. All of my friends are killing it, in some shape and form, and that encourages me and pushes me to be the best version of myself daily.” (Essence.com)

 

BROOKLYN, N.Y. 

Scotch Porter 

Business: Personal Grooming

Owner: Calvin Quallis

“Transformation is a powerful concept. It’s the feeling you get when the barber finishes a fresh cut, removes the cape, brushes you off and hands you the mirror to reveal the cleanest version of you. Like magic, your swagger soars to 100, and you’re ready to take on the world.

“That feeling is what inspired me to quit my cushy corporate job to follow my passion for making people feel their best. I started small, opening a barber shop in my neighborhood just as my mother had done when I was a kid. From my kitchen, I began experimenting with botanicals and other ingredients that have NOT been clinically shown to be toxic or carcinogenic, creating products to solve the problems our customers talked about.

We’re married to the idea that men should be able to take care of themselves and not have to break the bank. That they shouldn’t have to use products packed with harmful chemicals just to look and feel like a boss,” – Calvin Quallis.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN

Breakfast Bar

Business: Food

Owners: Lamont Bowens, Nijm Boyd

Open since March 2019

“Minnesota has a lot of opportunity for Black entreprenuers, from non-profits to city and state programs. We’ve inspired a lot of people by what we’ve done,” Lamont Bowles, interview.

PHILADELPHIA, PA

Waisted Society

Business: Apparel

Owner: Sharonda Frazier, @WaistedSociety

“I started Waisted Society on July 20th 2018! I never imagined the success I only prayed for it! As we are nearing our first year, I’m feeling an immense amount of gratitude! I have reached people in 10 states including my own Pennsylvania. I have lifted and encouraged complete strangers! I have received countless gifts and blessings along this journey and God keep surprising me! I’m so dedicated to this brand and its growth it comforts me! – Sharonda Frazier via @crownthyselfllc

 

 

LOS ANGELES, CA 

Marathon Clothing Company 

Business: Apparel

Owners:  Ermias Ashegedom, Samiel Ashegedom (and other partners)

If you were angered, saddened, moved, or all three by the murder of Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle, you can still support his mission and his family via his Marathon Clothing Store.

“The best thing you can do for a person is to inspire them. That’s the best currency you can offer: inspiration. So, when a person can rely on you for that, that empowers them in every realm of their life. Being inspired. It empowers them in their relationships, in their business, in their art, in their creativity. It empowers them because without inspiration, you’re dry.” – Nipsey Hussle

NOTE: Understandably, Marathon is currently experiencing a backlog, so if you want to support, please be patient.

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NATIONWIDE:

Hammer and Nails; 10 locations, 7 on the way

Owner: Mike Eliot

Business: Personal Services

While it may now be a growing success story, Hammer and Nails did begin with one Hollywood location. Owner Mike Eliot envisioned a manicure/pedicure experience for men in an atmosphere they would relate to. They did, and now it’s a nationwide business with franchising options for other potential owners. Eliot started the company in 2013. After appearing on Shark Tank and being rejected, former screenwriter Eliot was able to raise 175K from investors who saw him on the show.

“Part of the motivation is to create opportunities for people like me. I wanted to create a business that could be replicated, and empower other African-Americans and other people to go into business for themselves and devote my time to helping them succeed. You can grow quickly through franchising, but it is also a way to impact other people’s lives.” Mike Eliot, Forbes.com

Click here for a more comprehensive directory of Black-owned businesses nationwide.

PHOTO: Sharonda Frazier for Waisted Society


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5 Critical Business Development Truths Every Black Freelance Writer Ought to Know

Choosing to become a freelance writer and turning your writing talents into a profitable career are two very different stories. You can possess excellent grammar and spelling skills, but if you can’t build a profitable business around your talents, your freelance writing dreams are likely to be nothing more than a mirage. Understanding how to turn your writing yearnings into a revenue-focused business is essential for long-term success as a freelance writer. If this is the year you transition from being a wannabe writer to a writing business owner, remember the following five critical business development truths every freelance writer ought to know.

Evaluate the ROI of Your Writing Clients

Walking away from low-ROI, high-demand freelance writing clients is OK. Not every writing relationship offers a significant return-on-investment for your writing business. Learn early on in your writing career how to evaluate the ROI of your clients. Are they helping you grow your portfolio with a byline in a respected publication? Are they paying you enough to meet your revenue-per-hour goals? Do they request multiple revisions on each project, thereby driving down your revenue-per-hour rate? The sooner you learn how to evaluate the ROI of your writing clients, the sooner you’ll build a revenue-positive writing business you can be proud of.

 

Combine a Niche Specialty with a Format Specialty

Chances are good you have already heard the advice to choose a niche to specialize in. However, did you know that choosing a writing format can also help increase revenues for your freelance writing business? Not only should you specialize in an industry, but you should also consider concentrating on one or two types of content. Offer white papers and case studies for the digital marketing sector. Create blog posts for SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) startups. Also, build a reputation as a sales letter copywriter for the affiliate marketing sector. Once you learn the power of combining a business niche with a content format, you’ll kick yourself for not discovering this exceptional career-development hack sooner.

Network Strategically

Your network has a significant influence on lead generation opportunities for your writing business. Find niche-specific forums via a tool like BoardReader.com and offer helpful insights your target clients can use. Build a knowledge-based reputation within your industry, and you’ll soon have to start turning away clients for your freelance writing business.

Consistent Education Upgrades Equals Business Development Mastery

Continuing your education as a freelance writer is essential if you want to enjoy a long and profitable career as an on-demand wordsmith. Immerse yourself in new industries. Learn new writing formats. Study business sectors experiencing rapid growth. Pay attention to which startup sectors are attracting investment capital. Continually increasing your knowledge base makes good business sense. Not only will you be able to attract more clients to your writing business, but you’ll also build a reputation as an expert who can be depended upon to craft compelling content. Developing a deep knowledge base also helps you to transition your writing business and improve client quality while increasing your writing rates at the same time.

Control Your Clients

How much you charge, how you’re paid, and the revisions you offer are within your control. Professional writers don’t allow clients to tell them what a blog post will cost or how many revisions will be required in an article. Writing is a business, and you’re a business owner. You can’t tell the supermarket manager how much you’re willing to pay for your groceries. Don’t allow clients to tell you how much they’re willing to pay for your writing services. Know how much you charge for your writing services and only work with clients who respect your professionalism and honor your business practices.

Remember these five critical truths for freelance writers, and you’ll improve your odds of building a thriving and profitable writing business. Choosing to be a freelance writer is a decision not to be taken lightly. The sooner you start treating your writing career like a business, the sooner you’ll start living your freelance writing dreams.

The post 5 Critical Business Development Truths Every Black Freelance Writer Ought to Know appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

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ViewSonic monitors are great for both gaming and business — and are 20% off on Amazon

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A new monitor can change everything. 

It can take gaming from a hobby to a lifestyle, change the entire aesthetic of an office, and hell, can get you through the dragging hours of work when you know the rest of your group is at happy hour. 

The best part? Getting a new one doesn’t have to be some huge, bank-breaking purchase. The market is filled with budget-friendly flat screens, curved screens, and gaming monitors that short you on price, not features. One standout affordable brand is ViewSonic, and select monitors and projectors are 20% off on Amazon today.

We’ve pulled out a few of the best deals, but you can shop the whole sale here. Read more…

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How to Advertise Your Small Business

With the influx of businesses
competing in the same market and large companies broadcasting inspiring and
memorable advertisements every other week, creating a marketing strategy that
allows your business to stand out can be difficult. Whether you have a new
business and are looking to create your marketing strategy for the first time
or you have an existing business and you want to try a new strategy to increase
profits, it’s worthwhile to explore the best ways to get noticed by your target
market.

In this post, we lay out some of the ways businesses can
market their products or services to customers and cover a few important
factors you should consider when choosing how to advertise a business.

Preparing to Advertise Your Business

From the expert accountant who relies solely on
word-of-mouth to the e-commerce company that uses a wide range of digital
marketing tactics to reach its customers, nearly all businesses use some form
of advertising and promotion to attract new customers and earn a profit.

Choosing the proper advertising method for your business can
come down to a number of factors, including:

  • Your business needs. Determining what your business needs are will help you choose the right advertising strategy. For instance, an experienced attorney with a long list of potential clients to call back may not need a detailed marketing strategy, but a new startup likely will.
  • Your budget. You may be interested in setting up several methods for promoting your business, but if you don’t have the budget to afford them, you may be out of luck. From radio ads and TV commercials to paid Google ads or billboards, it typically costs money to promote your business, which is why it’s important to review your advertising budget and consider it when forming your marketing strategy.
  • Your target market. This could also be described as your target audience, and it includes knowing details about your customers, such as their age, level of education, relationship status, and more, and how these details impact their shopping practices. It can also include the methods your target audience uses to find information (such as online, by newspaper, word-of-mouth, etc.) or how your product or service may be perceived by your potential customers (like whether it would be considered a necessity or novelty, expensive or cheap, and more). Building your advertising strategy (as well as your branding strategy) around a specific target audience is a common and useful marketing strategy.

For many, it may be ideal to evaluate your marketing strategy by starting with a Business Plan. A Business Plan is a planning document that new or established business owners use to outline their company goals, objectives, internal structure, marketing plan, and more. It helps owners map out their business’ needs and profit strategy in a clear, easy-to-read format, so they can make changes or decisions, secure investor funding, or create a well-rounded marketing strategy.

How Do I Advertise My Business?

There are several methods a business can use to advertise,
for example:

  • Word-of-mouth. When someone tells their mom to try a new detergent or their friend to buy a certain facial moisturizer, this is word-of-mouth marketing (sometimes called WOMM). WOMM is sometimes disregarded or forgotten because of how informal it can seem, but it is still an effective way of publicizing your products to potential consumers. In fact, studies show that nearly 85% of individuals trust recommendations for products from friends and, even more surprising, over 90% of individuals trust endorsements from strangers.
  • Print ads. This can include ads found in a newspaper, brochures or handouts provided at an event, direct mail flyers, and more. The costs for these ads can vary depending on the type of ad you want (visual, text-based, or both) and how you plan on disseminating it to customers (in person, by mail, etc.).
  • Outside ads. This includes billboards, bus shelters, and other advertisements found offline and out in the real world. Although consumers aren’t viewing billboards and bus ads the same as they did before the internet, there are ways (such as using short, impactful phrases and evocative, unobtrusive imagery) to have your outdoor advertisement stand out and be successful.
  • Radio and television commercials. Radio and television advertisements are an effective way of communicating to potential customers at certain times of the day, like on their ride to or from work or while potential consumers are watching an evening news program. However, online (and sometimes ad-free) digital music services and TV and movie streaming sites may mean this form of advertising doesn’t have the reach it once did, and it may be best if business owners supplement radio and television ads with other marketing methods.
  • Social media marketing. Social media marketing involves advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. It can take the shape of a general post or tweet about a product, an overview of your company, or a specific promotion, like a contest, free giveaway, or an event. Keep in mind, engagement on social media posts has dropped over recent years, so using social media marketing as the sole way to promote your business is not recommended. 
  • Paid ads on a search engine platform. CPC (sometimes called PPC) stands for cost-per-click and this refers to a type of advertising provided by search engines like Google and Bing. It involves websites paying for keywords so that their ads will show to users when they search for those words in a search engine. Although CPC is good method for finding new leads, businesses using CPC can end up paying hefty amounts to secure quality, related keywords for their advertisements, and it may not be a good method for those with a smaller budget.
  • Search engine optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) is similar to CPC in that it uses keywords to appear on search engines like Google and Bing and to attract customers. The difference is that SEO is free to those who take the time to learn how to do it. This is a great strategy for many businesses who need to advertise at a lower cost. However, it can be challenging to implement without some understanding of digital marketing best practices.

Choosing a Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Depending on the type of business you own, current market
trends, your target audience, and more, some advertising methods may be more
suitable at promoting your business than others. Choosing the right marketing
and advertising strategy for your business is a delicate balance between
considering your business’ needs, goals, target market, and budget to find the
best combination of methods that work for your business.

The post How to Advertise Your Small Business appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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Get 12-minute summaries of important business books with this app that’s on sale

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When’s the last time you read a book — a whole book? Maybe it was on a recent vacation, when you zipped through a trashy beach read you’d picked up from the airport. Maybe it was in college, but only because you’d fail a class if you didn’t. Or perhaps it was even longer ago still — say, upon your hundredth reread of your favorite Harry Potter novel. (The books *are* way better than the movies, FWIW.)

At any rate, it might comfort you to know you’re not the only one who’s struggling to make time to read: A Pew Research Center survey found that approximately one in four American adults didn’t read a single book in 2017 — the most recent year for which data’s available — either in whole or in part.  Read more…

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What Are Your Business Travel Must-Haves?

stock photo of woman taking picture out plane window

Readers recently had a great discussion in the comments about their business travel must-haves (you can read it here!), and they shared so many good ones that we decided to compile them for a post today. (Recommendations for specific products included!) How about you? What do you always bring on the plane (or train, etc.) to make traveling more comfortable and enjoyable (or at least bearable)? 

{related: traveling for work: our top tips}

Here are Corporette readers’ business travel must-haves:

Beauty Products To Bring for Work Travel

  • Lip balm (e.g., Fresh)
  • Face wash / facial wipes 
  • Makeup remover/makeup remover wipes 
  • Eye cream (e.g., Kiehl’s)
  • Hand lotion (e.g., L’Occitane lavender hand cream)
  • Cuticle cream
  • Oil stick or rollerball for moisturizing 
  • Facial mist (e.g., Caudalie
  • Nail clipper (also handy for cutting loose threads, etc.!)
  • Nail file

Must-Have Travel Products for Health & Hygiene

  • Sudafed/Claritin/Benadryl 
  • Tylenol/Aleve/Advil
  • Aspirin
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste 
  • Mouthwash
  • Extra contact lenses
  • Eye drops (for contact lenses and/or dry eyes)
  • Ginger pills/candy for motion sickness
  • Nasal spray
  • Travel-sized tissues 
  • Hand sanitizer/wipes 

Tech Travel Must-Haves

  • Lots of podcasts, ebooks, and Netflix downloads (You can store up to 100 Netflix titles on one device!)
  • Noise-canceling headphones/earbuds (e.g., Bose, Sony
  • Phone charger (e.g., Anker PowerCore Fusion, lipstick battery)  
  • Charging cables/adapters (Kat loves this extra long charging cord!)

{related: small purchases that make your life better}

Food, Etc. To Bring When You Travel

  • Gum
  • Mints (e.g., Ice Breakers)
  • Pretzels and other snacks from home 
  • Lozenges/cough drops (e.g., Ricola)
  • A bar of high-end chocolate (Anonymous reader, I salute you.)

Business Travel Must-Haves for Comfort  

  • Ear plugs (e.g., Hearos)
  • Pashmina or other extra layers  
  • Eye mask 

{related: five things you must bring to a conference}

Readers, tell us your business travel must-haves! Do you bring anything different from the lists above?

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Thank you so much for your support! For more details see here.

The post What Are Your Business Travel Must-Haves? appeared first on Corporette.com.

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This Woman Made $1,200 in a Season With a Home Garden Business. Here’s How

Finding myself utterly broke and apparently unemployable a few years ago, I decided that if I wanted to work, I would have to start my own business.

Since I didn’t have any startup money or business experience, I was forced to narrow down my ideas to the bare skeleton and ask myself two questions:

  • What resources do I have already?
  • What do I already know how to do?

Not much. I didn’t have a degree or own anything valuable I could sell.

But I was living with my parents, with a roof over my head, food to eat and a few acres of grass and trees at my disposal.

And I knew how to garden.

How to Sell Plants and Start a Gardening Business

In the Midwest, trees pop out of the ground each spring, just to get mowed over by well-meaning suburbanites, who flock to nurseries and garden centers to pay big bucks for new ones to plant.

I decided to take advantage of this cycle. Armed only with determination, a spade and a wheelbarrow, I began digging and potting.

I made a small profit the first year. It helped pull me out of “brokedom,” but it was nothing to brag about.

However, the realization of money actually can grow on trees inspired me to go full force the next season.

That year, I made $ 1,200.

Think you want to give it a shot? Here’s what to do:

How to Choose Plants

Chances are, if you have any kind of garden or yard, you have perennials growing out of control.

Carefully thin these out and repackage them, and you’ve got your stock.

Pro Tip

Want to give gardening a try before you buy? Hundreds of public libraries across the U.S. have seed-sharing programs free to patrons. Most programs only ask that you return some seeds from your yield.

I can almost guarantee you when friends hear about what you’re doing, they’ll offer you their own overrun gardens, too. Four of my friends did!

You can make small investments, too, such as raising tomatoes from seeds in early spring. Plus, the fruit that demands to be a vegetable also offers some of the biggest bang for your gardening buck — cherry and heirloom tomatoes offer some of the highest ROI among veggies.

Where to Get Compost

I was fortunate that my parents’ yard already had several compost piles in its corners — all I had to do was dig for limitless black soil.

If you don’t have one, here’s how to start a compost pile in your backyard.

How to Create Containers for Your Plants

Like most families who garden, mine had an arsenal of used plastic containers in our garage. I went through those first.

Throughout that first winter, I checked every container in the recycling bin to see if I could cut off the top and poke holes in the bottom.

Pro Tip

Wrap newspaper around containers like coffee canisters to form cheap seed-starter pots. Customers can plant with the pot still on — the paper will gradually break down in the ground.

I broke a knife in the process, but by spring I had enough containers for the entire season. Quite a few customers even brought me their extra containers at no cost.

Capitalize on the fact you’re only using natural methods and reused containers — customers will be happy knowing they’re helping the environment.

Fertilize for Free (Almost)

There’s no need to buy fancy, expensive supplies from a garden center.

An elderly woman taught me this simple hack: Set up an old garbage can under a gutter to catch excess rain water. Throw eggshells in and cover it with a lid.

Pro Tip

Let your fish feed your plants. Use the dirty water from a freshwater aquarium (and the accompanying fish waste, full of beneficial bacteria) to fertilize your plants for free.

Use this to water your plants. The nutrients from the shells provides them with all they need to flourish.

Make Your Presentation Perfect

My setup soon spread from a bench alongside the garage to cover the entire back porch and parking area.

I put the plants in sections and made sure there was space to walk between them so customers would feel comfortable. I set up a tarp for the shade plants.

Keep your “store” looking nice by keeping it clean and weeding out any droopy daisies (or other dying plants).

Be available and friendly to customers — explain what the plants are and how to take care of them. Do your research!

Price to Sell

I kept pricing simple: Most plants were $ 3, or two for $ 5. Large plants were $ 5, and nothing ever went over that price.

If people bought a lot of plants, I’d give them a few for free.

For example, if their total came to $ 70, I’d just ask for $ 60. You’ll be surprised how quickly the money adds up, even at these prices!

Don’t Forget Advertising

I advertised on Craigslist every few days, posting a detailed description of what I had in stock, how to find the store and prices.

I always added nice pictures of my best-looking plants.

Pro Tip

Connect with your customers on picture-heavy social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Include photos of your prize plants as well as gardening tips to create a community of loyal fans.

Be sure to provide a phone number in case customers have questions or can’t find you.

And in case you were wondering, I also hung up some old-fashioned posters around town and looked into newspaper advertising. Neither was effective.

Before You Get Started, Consider These Factors

Potting plants and taking care of your store takes time and muscle, but if you enjoy working outdoors, this could be the business for you.

You’re also at the weather’s mercy. My third year in business, it rained nonstop all spring, and I sold almost nothing.

Running your own business also can be mentally stressful. Frankly, for the number of hours you put in, you might make more money working for minimum wage as a cashier or server. You’ll have to motivate yourself to keep things running and turning a profit.

But at the same time, there’s nothing like the freedom and satisfaction of being your own boss.

Stephanie Spicer is a freelance writer, filmmaker and artist.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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These 11 Tips Will Help You Get Financing to Start a Small Business

For entrepreneurs, obtaining the right amount of funding can mean the difference between success and failure when launching a small business.

But for newbies, knowing how and where to find working capital can be an intimidating process. So, where do you start? There are several ways entrepreneurs can obtain money to fund the launch, expansion of day-to-day operations and cash flow of their small businesses.

Each method comes with its own pros and cons based on several factors, including the age of the business and the financial history of the borrower.

11 Ways to Obtain Small Business Funding

Below is a list of 11 ways entrepreneurs can obtain small-business financing. This ranking is based on ease of access, as some options might not be available to business owners with no prior experience or to people launching startups.

1. Bootstrapping

A woman counts money

With bootstrapping, entrepreneurs launch their businesses using as little external capital, such as loans, as possible. The funds come from either personal finances, such as selling assets, using savings or credit cards or from using revenue from the business once it gets going.

This is a very lean method of running a business, as entrepreneurs find the least expensive way to make a viable product or service. If you do choose to empty your savings or use credit cards to fund your business, be careful because there is no guarantee the business will pan out.

Nikki Larchar and her business partner, Tina Todd, bootstrapped their company by pooling their finances and launching the human resources consulting firm SimplyHR about 2 1/2 years ago. She believes bootstrapping her business instead of getting a loan is a significant reason why she was able to turn a profit within a year after launching.

“For us, it’s been monumental being able to grow the business how we want to grow it and not have a looming loan over our head,” she says.

Pro: Avoids starting your business in debt.
Con: Not an option if you don’t have assets to sell or personal savings to use.

2. Crowdfunding Platforms

Due to the rise in popularity of sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, crowdfunding sites have become a more mainstream way to gain capital for a business, service or product.

Here’s how it works: Entrepreneurs and small business owners create a 30-day fundraising campaign seeking investors in the company or project instead of going to a bank for money.

Usually, business owners reward individual investors with some kind of gift, product discount or, sometimes, equity in the company.

Last year, Larchar used Kickstarter to raise $ 10,200 to fund a comic book that human resources departments could use to teach employees about sexual harassment policies. They met their goal and launched in January 2019.

“[W]e were able to fully jump into the project a lot quicker than we would have otherwise,” she says.

Pro: Can generate buzz for your business while raising funds.
Con: No guarantee of hitting your desired funding goal.   

3. Product Pre-Sales

An easy way to acquire funds if you’re operating a small business selling products is to hold a pre-sale in which customers pay for goods up-front. The business owner can use the money raised to fund the manufacturing of the initial batch of products.

“Product pre-sales is such a great strategy because you’ve just proven the customers want your product,” says Kedma Ough, the statewide innovation director for America’s Small Business Development Centers in Oregon.

Pro: Can help alleviate some of the upfront costs of making the products.
Con: Not a viable option for service-based businesses.

4. Friends and Family

Friends and family may be a potential source for financial capital for your small business, but be warned: If the business doesn’t make it or falls on hard times, it might destroy the personal relationship.

Ough says she’s witnessed many cases where family members stopped speaking to each other because they went into business and things went south. “It doesn’t mean it can’t work, but I’ve seen enough in my lifetime [that] it’ll break your heart,” she says.

Pro: Easily accessible.
Con: May ruin relationships if the business fails.

5. Partners

Two businessmen hold a meeting.

Taking on a business partner can be a way to secure funding in exchange for equity in your company. Depending on the arrangement, the partner might be an employee, someone not involved with day-to-day operations or just an investor.

If you are considering taking on a partner, write down every detail of the business partnership, preferably with the help of a lawyer. Define clear expectations and boundaries of what each partner can expect while running the business and worst-case scenarios of how the business would dissolve in the case of a partner dying or wanting to be bought out of the business.

“Make sure all that is dialed in before you go into partnership,” Ough says.
Pro: Can offer funding and business support without family connections.
Con: All partners need to have defined roles and expectations to avoid conflicts.

6. Small Business Grants

Small business grants come from a variety of sources, including government agencies, nonprofit and for-profit companies. Government agency grants tend to have the most narrow eligibility requirements, as they often focus on businesses in the science, technology or energy industries that will bring direct growth to the community.

Grants from nonprofits may focus on specific types of business owners, such as women, minorities or veterans. Grants from for-profit companies often have the widest eligibility requirements and may be given out based on merit or by completing an application.

Your local Chamber of Commerce may have information on small business grants available in your area. The only catch is everyone wants free money, so these grants can be hard to come by.

“[Government grants are] definitely not something that most small businesses are able to get funding through,” says Priyanka Prakash, a senior staff writer at Fundera. “But if you think you meet the requirements, definitely spend time putting the application materials together because if you win, you get free money and it’s an amazing way to start out.”

Pro: Who doesn’t love free money?
Con: Highly competitive.

7. Angel Investors

Just as the name suggests, the idea of having a wealthy investor come in and fund a startup can sound like the answer to an entrepreneur’s prayers. Angel investors can be affluent people or groups looking to fund startups.

P. Simon Mahler, a small business mentor with Score, a non-profit that advises small businesses, says people can search for angel investors by industry and by location — one such way is by browsing Angel Capital Association’s national directory of angel investors and firms.

Once you find a potential investor, it’s a long, thorough interview process with the entrepreneur and that person’s entire business team to make sure the business is viable.

“They’re very conservative, very selective as to who and why they invest in certain businesses,” Mahler says. “They want the sure thing.”

Pro: Having a benefactor can alleviate funding headaches.
Con: Can be a slow, difficult process to get the money.

8. Venture Capital

Similar to angel investors, venture capital firms also provide funding to small businesses and startups early on in development. The difference is the speed with which they operate and what they ask for in return. But that speed comes at a price.

Mahler says venture capital firms are very niche in what they invest in and are aggressive once they decide to invest. For example, angels may offer advice with their funding, while venture capitalists may ask for equity in your company and request specific changes in your business model.

“You’re giving away a lot to get a lot,” he says. “That’s what a lot of people struggle with is that it sounds good to have VC [venture capital] money, but you’re giving away a huge chunk of the ownership stake in your business.”

If you think your business may be of interest to such firms, start by asking your network for personal recommendations. You can also opt to make a profile for your business on AngelList — a national platform for job seekers, angel investors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists alike.

Pro: May be quicker than using an angel investor to obtain large amounts of money.
Con: May have to give up a big piece of ownership stake to get the funds.

9. Online Alternative Lenders

Online alternative lenders have become a popular business financing option versus getting capital from traditional bank loans. Online alternative lending companies, such as Kabbage, OnDeck or BlueVine, are a convenient and fast way to get funds. There is no need to go to a bank to apply as everything is done online and funds can be deposited in a couple of business days.

Just like loans, online alternative lenders also offer business lines of credit, where instead of providing one lump sum of money up-front, you can use as much or as little as you need within your limit.

But the downside to using one of these lenders is that doing so can be an expensive way to borrow money. Prakash says the interest rate of a bank loan may be 7%-8% while these online lenders may charge up to 60%-70% in interests.

“It’s definitely a trade-off between how quickly or badly you need the capital versus how much you’re willing to pay for it,” she says.

Pros: Easy application process, faster way to get funds.
Con: High-interest rates.

10. SBA Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration has a program to help business people get financing after they demonstrate success for a few years. SBA loans come with a guarantee that the loan will be repaid to the lender. If the business fails to pay back the loan, the government will pay the lender, which could be, for example, a traditional bank.

“It’s a way to take some of the risk off the lender, and it encourages banks to lend to more small businesses,” Prakash says.

The only catch is these loans are rather difficult to obtain for startups. “If your business is a couple of years old and generating good revenue and is close to a profit, then it’s a much more viable option for a small business loan,” she says. You can go to SBA.gov to find out if you qualify for an SBA loan.

Pro: Takes the pressure off the small business if the loan can’t be repaid.
Con: Not easy to get for startups.

11. Banks

Buildings with bank names are pictured

For entrepreneurs with not much experience under their belts, the most obvious place to obtain a business loan might not be the place to go.

Traditional banks want to make sure they’ll get their money back, so they’ll only work with what they’d consider a sure thing. This means unless you’ve been in business for a few years or have a track record of successfully starting small businesses, banks may not consider you for a loan.

Pro: Lower interest rates than online lenders.
Con: May not lend to newer businesses or startups.

What if You Have Bad Credit?

For people with a not-so-stellar credit score, there is still hope for launching a small business.

Funding options such as bootstrapping, loans from family and friends, crowdfunding and online alternative lenders might be the route you have to take because bank and SBA loans could be off the table initially.

You may have to pay more now, which is the case when using an alternative online lender with a high interest rate, but more affordable options may become available in the future.

Matt Reinstetle is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Adam Hardy contributed to this post.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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How this café owner is creating space for Black women in the coffee business

How this café owner is creating space for Black women in the coffee business


How this café owner is creating space for Black women in the coffee business

In “Doing The Work,” a four-part series from HG contributor Tiffany Lashai Curtis, four Black women who work in different industries tell us their stories. During Black Women’s History Month, we hope this series uplifts and amplifies the work of Black women in spaces where they are underrepresented or rendered invisible.

Coffee has solidified its role in many of our lives. In fact, a 2018 study commissioned by the National Coffee Association found that Americans are enjoying more coffee on a daily basis now than in previous years. An entire culture exists around coffee, whether you’re quietly preparing and drinking coffee at home as a small act of self-care, meeting up with a friend at a local coffee joint, or showing your face at Starbucks so much that the baristas know your daily order by heart.

And while a steaming cup of instant Folgers at home is fine (and cost-effective), sometimes the lure of a $ 5 oat milk latte is enough to make us head over to a café. While national coffee chains are convenient, independently owned coffee businesses can offer a more unique experience.


I had one such experience at Bushwick Grind, a Black-owned, full-service café located in Brooklyn, New York. I was looking for somewhere to try my first iced dirty chai on my last day in East Williamsburg. Not only did I end up having a bomb French Toast Benedict and latte, I ended up chatting with the cafe’s co-owner, Kymme Williams-Davis, who owns the establishment with her husband, Raymond Davis.

We ended up talking briefly about her experiences as a Black woman in the coffee industry, and by the time our conversation ended, I felt like I had just spoken with a long-time friend. I began considering how we never really see or even think of Black people when we envision coffee culture. I knew Kymme’s story needed to be told.

For the second profile in this series, I spoke with Kymme about the highs and lows of co-owning a cafe, and the work she is doing to transform the relationship between Black people and coffee. Get into our conversation below.

Photograph of Kymme Williams-Davis and Raymond Davis in front of Bushwick Grind
Courtesy of Kymme Williams-Davis

HelloGiggles (HG): You’re a coffee brewer who is trained in “third-wave coffee.” How long have you been a coffee brewer, and can you explain what “third-wave” means for folks who may be coffee novices?

Kymme Williams-Davis (KWD):  So, first-wave coffee references a time when people (in the U.S.) mostly got their coffee from grocery stores, flea markets…the big box names were Folgers, etc. Second-wave is what really made coffee popular in the U.S. with stores like Peet’s Coffee and Starbucks making coffee a social activity. Third-wave refers to smaller independent cafes like mine who purchase coffee from sustainable sources—usually directly from farmers (direct trade) or a coalition/collective of farmers (fair trade), which ensures that the people who grow, harvest, and process green coffee get a fair wage.

HG: You’re also a café owner. How long have you been running your own business, and what do you feel Bushwick Grind offers that mainstream coffee shops don’t?

KWD: Yes, my husband Raymond Davis and I are the proud owners.  We started three years ago as a coffee shop but we have evolved into a full café in that we have a full kitchen offering healthy breakfast, lunch, and brunch. Nowadays, great food and beverage is “table stakes”—anyone can offer that. Our market differentiator is our service delivery; it is of utmost importance that we get to know our guests. We say that we don’t have customers, we have guests—guests who just happen to have to pay before leaving.  

When guests pay, they are not just paying for their food, they are paying for our time. Even if that is just a warm smile or full ‘counter therapy.’ Also, we are one of the few shops in the area offering healthier food options with organic, farm-to-table ingredients. Our vendors (we like to consider them partners) are mostly farmers or distributors of farmers.  So our produce purchases are actually helping the New York farmers in a small way. Last, we are very community-oriented. We try our best and do our part to donate time and resources locally when we can. As we grow, we hope to do more and/or start a nonprofit arm of the business to help support our community children.

HG: Coffee culture has rarely been associated with Black people. Between the cost of specialty coffee and the overwhelming whiteness of many coffee establishments, sipping and learning about coffee can be inaccessible to us. How do you think your work as a coffee professional has helped to shift the way Black people relate to coffee?

KWD: That is a very true statement. I had two sisters of color tell me, inside our shop, “This place isn’t for ‘us.’” They didn’t realize my husband and I were the owners. We are in Bushwick, which is historically a Brooklyn community of Black and brown people, but 80% of our guests are not people of color. Now that we have a full kitchen, we are seeing an increase in people of color clientele, but still not so much for the coffee. In terms of cost, coffee is a very manual process, whereby a farmer is picking a fruit from a tree to get to the seed, then process it—which is a “process” in itself. This is done in most countries with people of color, and speciality coffee shops help ensure those people are given a fair wage for the work they do.

I think if more people of color truly understood the supply chain of coffee, they would feel more attached to it and would feel more aligned with the culture—even the “Americanized” version of it.

HG: Why does it matter that we have Black women in the coffee brewing industry and Black women-owned cafés?

KWD:  I think, like in every industry, diversity is important. Exclusion is absence and creates a void. Black women’s talents and experiences in coffee can help fill voids, as well as lend to the advancement of the industry. Black Girl Magic is impactful.

HG: What highs and lows have you experienced as a Black woman working with coffee? 

KWD: Opening this shop with my husband has been the joy of my life. The highs, hands down, include the community we have built. Our guests truly give us life.  We have met and engaged with people from all over the world, people  local to Brooklyn, and people traveling or working in the area. Their stories, conversations, and vibes fuel each of us. Everyone on the team, except our newest team member, has been with us since the day we opened three years ago, so they are family.

The lows, without a doubt, are the costs to run this business. With workers’ comp insurance, licensing fees, professional services fees, N.Y.C. rate utilities, private sanitation, etc. and the rising lease cost, it is so expensive to operate a retail store. Revenue does not equal profit if you cannot decrease expenses. We have to hustle seriously hard and find creative ways to generate multiple revenue streams for the business to be profitable, like catering services, hosting events, pop-up concessions, etc.

HG: How would you like to see more Black women flourish in the coffee industry?

KWD: When we started our research about five years ago, we listed about 15 coffee roasters who we wanted to interview as a potential source to buy our coffee from. So many said we were the first people to do that. Anyway, in visiting the big popular roasters to the smaller ones, we discovered there were little to no people of color in the back of the house.  Black women should know that there is an extensive career path in the profession and science of coffee. There are positions as coffee trainers, equipment repair persons, salespersons, Q-Graders, buyers, etc. But I almost NEVER see Black women [in this industry], and if there are one or two, they are typically not American Black women—they are from a coffee-producing country and likely grew up with coffee their entire lives.

There are two very well known sistas in the U.S. with national notoriety and respect in the coffee industry; they are at every Coffee Fest and SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) and BGA (Barista Guild of America) event and other noteworthy coffee event. They are always making a case for more women of color to join this industry.  

HG: Why is it important that Black people have spaces that feel like home—even when we’re doing something as mundane as drinking coffee?

KWD: Our core values are written on an easel right near the door when you walk in the shop. It has been there since the day we opened, so our team as well as our guests are reminded of our purpose for the day. In short, it says that we strive to make our guests leave a little better than how they came. That is what is important about us having spaces. When we walk into a room, we add to the energy and vibe of that space. When we leave, we take some of that energy and vibe with us. If you are sitting in a space for five minutes or two hours, you must feel welcomed, at home, and comfortable to be yourself.

HG: What’s next for you and coffee?

KWD: We have invested in advanced paid training for one of our baristas who is a woman of color. She is a few course hours away from earning a highly recognized coffee industry certification. She will be one of the very few baristas on the east coast who is certified. This will ‘socially legitimize’ our shop as one that is serious about speciality coffee practices. The vision is to have the Bushwick Grind team out at latte art competitions and coffee festivals and cuppings.  My husband and I will focus on running the business, and our team will grow in their skill, talents, and knowledge, which will help elevate our brand. In short, we are contributing to more Black women working and being respected in the industry.

Kymme Williams-Davis at Bushwick Grind
Courtesy of Kymme Williams-Davis

HG: Who is another Black woman in this industry that we should know about?

KWD: The two women I referred to earlier, one is Michelle Jonson, known as the Chocolate Barista. I have been following her for a few years now. Her work focuses on the promotion of racial diversity and inclusion in the specialty coffee industry. In fact, there is a huge, if not the biggest, coffee event this week in Boston hosted by the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) that I will be attending. She partnered with big-name sponsors to host a mixer for the limited people of color at this event so they will not feel isolated and excluded. She does a ton for the advancement in coffee industry; she is def Google worthy.  

The post How this café owner is creating space for Black women in the coffee business appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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Get Your New Small Business Noticed With These 13 Marketing Tips

So you’re in the early stages of launching a small business. You’ve got a great product or service and obtained funding to get the company off the ground, but what about marketing? Do people know your business will be opening soon?

Getting noticed is one of the biggest challenges facing new small business owners. There are many different ways to market your business, such as using internet ads, social media pages, content marketing, in-person networking and more.

Some methods may be more effective than others, depending on your industry. But two areas all businesses need to excel in are internet-based marketing and in-person networking.

We’ve compiled a list of small business marketing tips, strategies and ideas that will help get your business noticed before, during and after opening.

13 Small Business Marketing Tips, Ideas and Strategies

Below is a breakdown of different tips, strategies and approaches on small business marketing. These tips and ideas are ranked based on when you should consider implementing them during pre-launch or in the early days of your business.

1. Create a Marketing Budget

For small businesses operating on a shoestring budget, it can be tempting to save money by not setting aside funds for marketing. But if your marketing strategy is to rely on word of mouth to promote your business, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Josh Rubin, CEO of Post Modern Marketing, tells small business owners they have to create a marketing budget, and the value of that budget can’t be an amount that will break the company if it doesn’t produce immediate results.

In the early days, you’re going to be spending time determining your company’s identity and figuring out what messaging connects with new customers. Be prepared for a lot of trial and error. “So set a budget that you’re willing to lose,” Rubin says.

2. Secure Your Company Name

You have an idea of what to name your small business and think it will connect with your target audience, but is that name available online?

“I see a lot of business owners that think of the name of their company but then don’t think about reserving a URL with [that name],” says Sherry Bonelli, owner of Early Bird Digital Marketing. She is also a small business mentor with Score, a volunteer group supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration that connects business owners with mentors from similar fields.

Having a website address that matches your company name is important, as people are doing more business online. It might be difficult for potential customers to find your website if they don’t match.

Once you have a business name in mind, go to a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy or Google Domains, to see if the web address is available. Prices start at $ 12 per year to reserve a domain name using Google Domains.

3. Create a Logo and Brand

If you want to be taken seriously as a business, you’re going to need to look the part. It might be tempting to create a generic logo and use a website template or stock photos when launching, but that isn’t necessarily good in the long run.

“I think many small business owners skimp on this step, and that’s a big mistake because if you don’t look like a real company, customers and clients are not going to trust you,” Bonelli says. Freelance websites such as Fiverr, Upwork and 99designs connect business owners with graphic designers who can create a custom logo, color palette, business cards and overall design for your business. This can cost anywhere between $ 300 and $ 500.

4. Build a User-Friendly Website

Once you have your logo ready, it’s time to build your website.

The way people search online has created many changes to website design. Having a site that looks good on smartphones and tablets is more vital than ever.

Website builders like WordPress.com, Squarespace and Wix, come with mobile-friendly features. They offer multiple templates, customization options and support for a monthly fee. Think like a potential consumer when building your site and make sure it has all the features and information you’d want to see.

5. Make Your Website SEO Friendly

Now that you’ve built your website, you should make it as easy as possible for people to find it when searching the web. Search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, is the process of getting web traffic from search engine results. SEO plays a crucial role in helping local and small businesses get discovered online.

Several factors determine a website’s search engine ranking. These include posting well-written blog pages that establish your topic credibility on a regular basis and using correct keywords associated with your business. To learn more about best SEO practices, check out free resources on sites such as Moz, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.

If you’re planning on opening a physical location such as a restaurant, store or office, don’t forget to create a business profile on Google My Business, a free business listing service, that provides your essential info,such as a street address, phone number, hours of operation and business description.

One of the primary benefits of Google My Business is that it drives the “Map Pack” on Google search results, which may increase your visibility, in-store visits or calls This service is only available for local businesses with a physical address, not internet-only companies.

6. Create Social Media Pages

A woman with curly hair and glasses types on a computer in her office.

Now it’s time to create social media pages on platforms your audience uses.  You can count on using the major platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn — to promote business news and engage with your customer base.

At all stages of your company’s life, you should also keep an eye on what your competitors are doing with their social media platforms. “If a competitor is using Pinterest and it seems like they’re gaining a lot of engagement, then Pinterest might be a place you want to go,” says Kim Randall, owner of KiMedia Strategies, a small business marketing firm.

7. Find Free or Low-Cost Business Services

Money is going to be tight in the early days of starting your small business, so it helps to use free or low-cost services to help your marketing. Below is a list of programs that can help you save money running your business.

  • Buffer is a social media tool that allows users to schedule posts in advance or post the same content to different platforms at once. It has free and paid versions, starting at $ 15 per month.
  • Google Alerts are free and will help you keep up with what people are saying online about your business or keep up with specific keywords.
  • KeywordTool.io is a free service that allows business owners to do keyword research for their website and ads.
  • Apps such as Grammarly and the Hemingway Editor can be useful when writing blogs or content on your website. These will help you write more succinctly and catch grammatical errors. Grammarly has a free version and a premium version that includes features such as a plagiarism detector, vocabulary enhancement and genre-specific writing-style suggestions. The premium versions costs $ 29.95 per month (or a discounted rate of $ 139.95 when paid annually).

8. Buy Online Ads

Once your business has opened, it’s time to start advertising. Google Ads, which appear when you search on Google, is an obvious place to start because of the search engine’s popularity. According to Google, businesses generally make an average of $ 2 in revenue for every $ 1 they spend on Google Ads.

Bonelli says the problem with Google Ads for new small-business owners is that it can be expensive. To make it effective, she says to include your ad the information that users seek when they search on Google.

For example, if someone is searching for “wedding gown alterations,” the web page your ad sends users to must emphasize that your business specializes in wedding gown alterations.

9. Set Up Email Marketing

People who sign up to your email marketing program tend to be the most engaged members of your audience. These members generally read more articles after opening the email and are more likely to buy your products or services. That’s why it’s important to provide content and information your audience cares about in every email blast you send.

“If you’re mailing out to a random [email subscription] list you didn’t build, that’s where you’re not going to be effective. But if you mail out information that people are interested in, that’s where it’s really effective,” Bonelli says.

Include a button on your website that allows people to sign up for your email campaigns. A free version of MailChimp can help build your email list — it allows you to send up to 12,000 emails a month to up to 2,000 subscribers. The paid version allows you to send an unlimited number of emails to an unlimited number of subscribers. The cost of the membership increases based on the number of subscribers.

10. Craft an Elevator Pitch

Before you start meeting potential customers and attending networking events, do you have your elevator pitch ready? An elevator pitch is a speech lasing 30 to 45 seconds that tells the listener who you are, what you do and how your business will be better than the competition. With some practice, it may lead to a potential customer. Learn more on how to develop a great elevator pitch.

11. Become a ‘Thought Leader” in Your Field

A woman listens as a man asks a question.

When your business is off the ground, think about establishing yourself as a thought leader. A “thought leader” is a marketing term for a recognized authority in a field who is sought after as an expert.

Every business owner is a thought leader without knowing it yet; there is a reason you started your business, so let people know what you know. For example, if you’re a photographer, write blogs offering tips and tricks on how to take better iPhone photos or suggest “three things to look for in a wedding photographer.”

Randall used this strategy in the early days of social media marketing. “When I gave my thoughts, tips and everything else away and became a thought leader within the social media space, I gained a lot more clients,” she says.

Early on when people are not yet visiting your site, consider becoming a guest contributor on another established website in your field so you can promote your knowledge on the subject and point people in the direction of your website to learn more.

Another way to become a recognized expert is by meeting your target audience. Meetup.com is a great way to find local groups who are interested in topics related to your business. For example, if you run a knitting or sewing store, you might look to see whether any knitting or sewing events are happening in your area and offer to give a free demonstration.

12. Get Involved With Your Chamber of Commerce

Not all marketing is done online. Getting involved with your local Chamber of Commerce will enable you to meet fellow business owners during in-person networking events and other chamber functions. Over time, you’ll expand your professional network and be able to utilize their resources.

Rubin says his Chamber helped his company get featured on a local news segment. Once you start to support other businesses, they’ll do the same when you have a big event or project.

“All it takes is your time and your energy,” he says.

13. Find a Business Mentor and Continue Learning

As a new small business owner or entrepreneur, it’s never a bad thing to seek guidance from people who have been in your shoes. There are both local and national nonprofits devoted to helping business owners.

Score offers their mentoring service free of charge. Rubin, a Score volunteer, says if you want to know more about marketing, Score can connect you with retired marketing executives or other knowledgeable people who can help you grow your business.

“I’ll scream their praises from every rooftop because everyone always thinks that you have to pay for this kind of business support, and it’s out there for free,” he says.

As you progress and figure out what marketing material connects with your audience, don’t stop learning new things. Small business marketing is a topic that is difficult to master because strategies that work now will change and marketing fads come and go.

Luckily, there are a lot of free blog posts, courses and resources out there to teach business owners about SEO, social media marketing, internet advertising and more.

You can sign up for a massive open online course (MOOCs), keep up with the SEO sites listed above or follow marketing professionals you admire on LinkedIn or other social media.

“There’s so much information out there now that if business owners spend an hour a night just searching the web and teaching themselves how to do small business marketing, they’ll be successful at it,” Bonelli says.

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Anna Delvey, Felicity Huffman, and Lori Loughlin Show the Serious Business of Dressing for Court

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It was around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the fifth day of the trial of Anna Sorokin, and the alleged “Soho Grifter”—accused of scamming friends, luxury hotels, and banks out of over $ 275,000—was M.I.A. from New York State Supreme Court.

Last week, GQ’s Rachel Tashjian reported that Sorokin—better known as Anna Delvey—had hired stylist Anastasia Walker to dress her for court appearances.

Delvey isn’t alone in being a public figure dressing for the dock right now: Felicity Huffman (channeling suburban drab rather than Hollywood star) and Lori Loughlin (fabulous coat, autograph signing) were both in court this week, charged in the college admissions-fraud scandal, showcasing divergent courtroom styles.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Tapped to Sit on Fed Board, Herman Cain Straddles Fence Between Business Success and Political Controversy

Perhaps no other black business person stirs up more polarizing debate than Herman Cain. The former head of Godfather’s Pizza, stepped into the political limelight in 2011 when he announced his candidacy as the Republican presidential nominee. That effort was thwarted by a series of sexual harassment allegations against Cain. Yet, he has re-emerged on the national stage as a proposed pick by President Trump to sit on the Federal Reserve Board. A success in business, yet, a failure in politics—is now the time for Herman Cain to rise to political prominence?

Herman Cain’s Business Backstory

Cain was named president of the then-failing Godfather’s Pizza chain in 1986. In an article from Black Enterprise in 1988 on Cain: “Fresh from rejuvenating Pillsbury’s Burger King chain in the Philadelphia region, the energetic, enthusiastic new president of Godfather’s went immediately to work closing weak outlets, strengthening the company’s advertising thrust, repairing relations with franchisees and swiftly resolving legal conflicts.”

Herman Cain

Black Enterprise Magazine

Without question, Cain has proven he possesses sharp business acumen. Under his leadership, Godfather’s Pizza saw a reversal in sales decline and generated $ 260 million in sales.

He demonstrated business savvy early on. The Morehouse College graduate served a short period in the Navy and then went on to complete a master’s degree in Computer Science at Purdue University. His first corporate position was as a business analyst at Coca-Cola.

Cain’s business talents came to light during his next gig at Pillsbury where he advanced to vice president status within five years.

Entrepreneurial Mindset

Although he quickly ascended the corporate ladder, Cain also had an entrepreneurial spirit. He set his sights on the fast food business—even becoming a member of a Burger King kitchen crew to learn the ins and outs of the hamburger business. Within seven months, he was promoted to regional vice president.

“You’ve got to have a passion for that business, followed by a desire to make it to the top,” he said in an interview with Black Enterprise in 1988. “Then you will do whatever you need to do in order to get there.”

He eventually bought the Godfather’s Pizza chain from its parent company, Pillsbury for an estimated $ 50 million. The transaction was the first leveraged buyout of a major fast-food company by a black executive in business history.

Political Ambitions

Cain’s political ambitions were made clear when he ran as a Republican presidential nominee. Plagued by scandal, his campaign fell flat—perhaps one of the rare failures for the businessman.

Now, with the blessings of Donald Trump, it seems that Cain is poised to assume a prominent political and economic position at the Federal Reserve. How likely is his appointment and is he the person for the job?

No, says Catherine Rampell, a columnist for The Washington Post. And it isn’t just about the troubling sexual harassment allegations that took down his presidential run, she says.

“When it comes to understanding pretty basic policy issues, Cain isn’t able,” writes Rampell.

“Most people who remember anything about Cain’s brief political career might know him for the “9-9-9” tax rate plan. Unfortunately, neither did that plan have rates that were actually 9 percent nor did it turn out to be particularly strong in its arithmetic,” she continues.

A fellow Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney, also cast doubt about Cain’s fitness for the Fed. “I doubt that will be a nomination. But if it were a nomination, you can bet [what] the interest rates he would be pushing for,” Romney said in an interview.

“If Herman Cain were on the Fed, you’d know the interest rate would soon be 9-9-9.”

Some Republicans are more optimistic. Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, said about Cain; “He’s a business guy. He’s got a great background for it. I know him personally. I think personally he’d be a great addition,” according to Fortune.

Cain’s businesses successes have seemed to elude his success in politics. Is his appointment a serious consideration or another one of the mercurial President’s whims? And if appointed to the Fed, how effective can he be? That all remains to be seen.

Related: THE BLACK CONSERVATIVE WOMAN IN THE RUNNING TO LEAD MICHIGAN’S REPUBLICAN PARTY

 

The post Tapped to Sit on Fed Board, Herman Cain Straddles Fence Between Business Success and Political Controversy appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Hey, small business owners: These tax software programs make filing (almost) painless

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As a small business owner (SBO), you can handle the occasional hiccup or headache like it ain’t no thang. It’s basically part of your job description. In fact, the thrill of it all is probably part of the reason why you decided to pursue entrepreneurship in the first place. You relish the challenge of doing it all yourself. You’re not just a businessman (or woman) — you’re a business, man.

There’s an impressive amount of gutsiness that’s associated with small business ownership, one that’s essential to your company’s growth. But research has shown that if there’s one aspect of the gig that intimidates you, it’s getting your shit together come tax season. Read more…

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Inside the Lawsuit Threatening Rent the Runway’s $1 Billion Business

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Getty

When CEO Brittany Johnson heard that fashion brands were refusing to sell to her clothing rental startup FashionPass because they had entered into exclusive agreements with Rent the Runway, she felt “almost flattered.”

“[I thought] ‘Whoa, Rent the Runway actually sees us as a competitor? This is crazy!” Johnson told The Daily Beast.

After all, Rent the Runway is a heavyweight in the fledgling industry of clothing subscription services. The model allows customers to book an outfit for a day at a fraction of the retail cost, and return the piece after wearing it once. Just this week, Forbes reported that Rent the Runway, which was founded 10 years ago, had hit $ 1 billion in valuation.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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3 Healthy Business Lunch Ideas

You’ve been on point with your workout routing. You’ve been prepping your own healthy lunches and dinners. You are all set to lose those extra pounds gained this winter. Then, you get invited to a business lunch (or dinner, or networking event). You don’t want to be that person who everyone at the table side-eyes for asking too many questions about how a dish is prepared, and you don’t want to make your fellow diners feel awkward by eating too little Here are three tips to make a business lunch healthy.

How to Have a Healthy Business Lunch

Cut Down on the Liquor

Studies have linked moderate consumption of alcoholic drinks–especially mixed cocktails–to weight gain. Most of this is due to the calorie content of sugary mixes and juices added to cocktails. For example, one margarita can have more than 150 calories, compared with a white wine spritzer, which has less than 100.

If you just can’t get through that lunch or dinner without a stronger spirit, experts recommend nixing the chasers altogether and going with a top-shelf option on the rocks. For example, an ounce of 80-proof vodka, gin, rum, or scotch contains 64 calories and the same amount in 100 proof varieties has 80 calories. The average neat cocktail contains 1.5 ounces of liquor, so you’re still keeping the calories lower than if you’d gotten that Bloody Mary or Long Island Iced Tea.

Look Up Menu Options and Plan Ahead

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends researching the meal options at restaurants and checking online menus if available for nutrition information before a business lunch. If you’re being invited to a business dinner or lunch, request a particular restaurant that has a diversity of healthy options.

If you’re at a conference, nutrition buffs recommend skipping the donuts and muffins and going for fresh fruit or juices. You can also ask if vegetarian or non-meat options are available.

If All Else Fails, Doggy-bag Half Your Meal

We know; this can seem like an obnoxious and annoying request, but some restaurants will oblige a request for a doggy-bag. If you can discretely ask a server to take half your meal from the start and put it aside for taking home, do it. If that’s not a possibility–or you just cringe at the thought–the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests visualizing how your portion should be and eating accordingly.

 

The post 3 Healthy Business Lunch Ideas appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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The colossal failure that was the Fyre Festival is a cautionary tale about what NOT to do when planning, well, anything.

Just because it sounds good in your head and looks good on Instagram, doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed to go as planned. Two documentaries and a spate of defeated tweets later, we can all be pretty sure of that.

To make sure that your business doesn’t suffer the same fate, you need a carefully constructed plan to make all stakeholders and customers happy. Bizplan is an app that will help you outline and organize a strategy so that you can (hopefully) achieve business success. We already covered this powerful tool before, but we’re dropping the cost down to its lowest price point yet — only $ 36.75 at the Mashable Shop if you use the code DOWNLOADIT at checkout. Read more…

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Business Casual Men’s Attire & Dress Code Explained

Business casual is a dress code men are confronted with everywhere, but what does it really mean? In this Business Casual Guide for men, we answer this question in detail, share DO’s and DON’Ts and provide specific advice on what you can wear so you are dressed to the T.

Business Casual Video

Please watch the video & read the guide for the best explanation of Business Casual. If you enjoy this guide, please subscribe for free on youtube and sign up to our complimentary email newsletter here.

History of Business Casual

Until recently, the Business Casual attire dress code did not exist. There was simply daywear and evening wear. During the day, men would wear a stroller coat or a morning coat for business. In the evening they would change into a tailcoat for dinner and events. Once retiring for bed, pajamas would be donned as would a dressing gown, but the chance of anyone seeing them wear them (besides their spouse and perhaps a valet) was slim to none. The most casual attire a gentleman might wear would have perhaps been a tweed suit while shooting or for a walk in the park.

Around the turn of the century, black tie made its mark and the tuxedo overtook the white tie dress code in popularity. Business suits became the standard daywear for decades.

Solid options for casual Friday

Business Casual for Men Changes with the Office Environment and the Job

Aloha Friday Paved the Way for Business Casual

Then came 1966. Until then, casual wear was worn on the weekends at home, but if you worked in an office, you wore a suit and a tie. There was no debate about what was appropriate office attire. Then, a company that made Hawaiian shirts began to strategize how they could increase their profits and a brilliant ad agency in Hawaii came up with the idea of “Aloha Fridays”.

They began petitioning local businesses to allow their employees to wear the Hawaiian shirt on Fridays. Initially penned as a way of showing local pride, it ended up quickly becoming a trend and a popular way of avoiding the rat race of corporate America. The fad began to catch on and soon it hopped off the Islands and made its way to the mainland.

Vintage Hawaii Shirt by Penney's

Vintage Hawaii Shirt by Penney’s

Dockers Ad Campaign Brings Khakis To The Office

By the early 1990s, Levis began to notice the trend on the mainland and many of its customers in upper management began complaining that their employees were too casual, wearing shorts and t-shirts to work. The sale of jeans was in decline and so they took it as a chance to market their new brand called ‘Dockers’ to the corporate community.

They began to launch expensive ad campaigns for their khaki pants and it took off. Employers looked at it as a fair compromise between shorts and suits and the employees agreed. As this was occurring, television shows like Saved by the Bell and movies about wealthy country clubs began showing the Preppy, Ivy and Trad styles to those outside the Northeastern United States. Companies like Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and J.Crew jumped on the opportunity to increase the sale of their casual wear. They began marketing polo shirts, sports jackets, shirts and chinos as perfect options that worked flawlessly or better than the Levi Dockers brand. It was a revolution of sorts.

How is Business Casual Defined Today for Men?

Business Casual Outfit by Hogtownrake - Single Breasted Blazer with popover shirt, cotton pocket square, khakis and brown tassel loafers

Business Casual Outfit by Hogtownrake – Single Breasted Blazer with popover shirt, cotton pocket square, khakis, and brown tassel loafers

Business Casual in a Nutshell = No Suit, But Also No Jeans

Obviously, that is just a general guideline but in order to nail the business casual look, you have to adapt to your specific company culture. Also, your age is important and the older you are, the more formal your business casual outfit should be.

Business Casual in Traditional White Collar Jobs: Law Firms, Banks, Accounting Firms

If business casual attire is allowed in this kind of work environment it is the most formal of all business casual dress codes and it consists of the following items:

1. Blazer or Sport Coat

The blazer is an essential part of a business casual wardrobe. Avoid gold buttons and stick with dark colors. Navy is the most classic color and your best bet. Single breasted is the standard while a double-breasted navy blazer can look more powerful.  To learn more about the blazer in general, check out our blazer guide.

If you wear a sports coat, opt for something subdued with a subtle pattern and avoid loud summery colors.

Oxford Cloth Shirt - A Business Casual Staple

Oxford Cloth Shirt Button-down shirt – A Business Casual Staple

2. Long Sleeved Dress Shirt

Wear a cotton dress shirt in light blue or pastel colors. An Oxford dress shirt is absolutely appropriate for business casual wear and can be worn in a relaxed state by keeping the top button undone or wearing a more casual knit tie with it. A simple white oxford shirt is the ideal shirt for business casual wear as it can be elevated to business attire for a last minute meeting with the addition of a tie kept in your desk drawer and a blazer thrown over the top.

Business Casual Outfit with silk knit tie for fall

Business Casual Outfit with silk knit tie for fall

3. Neckwear

Neckwear is optional but it certainly elevates your outfit. Ideal ties include grenadine ties or knit ties because they perfectly underline the business casual character. Bow ties certainly make a  statement, and when in doubt stick with the tie.

In case you decide against neckwear, make sure that your undershirt is not visible.

4. Trousers

Jeans should not be worn but the jacket and shirt are ideal

Jeans should not be worn but the jacket and shirt are ideal

5. Dress Pants

A pair of solid navy, grey or even charcoal dress pants pleated or flat front are the perfect choice for business casual wear. With a dress shirt neatly tucked into it, and a blazer or sports jacket you are good to go.

Small Houndstooth pattern ideal for Business Casual

Small Houndstooth pattern ideal for Business Casual

6. Chinos / Khakis

Chinos are appropriate in many casual work environments, but should ideally be paired with a contrasting blazer to elevate their casual heritage.

7. Corduroy Pants

Cords can also be worn in lieu of chinos during the colder months of the year. The same rules apply to corduroys as they do to chinos.

Business Casual Mens by hogtownrake - Cardigan Madder inspired tie that extends beyond the waistband with suspenders, and vintage watch

Business Casual Mens by hogtownrake – Cardigan Madder inspired tie that extends beyond the waistband with suspenders, and vintage watch

8. Sweaters

A sweater vest, cardigan or turtle neck works well during the colder days in addition to your sports coat or blazer. Simply worn over a collared shirt it is only appropriate for Casual Friday. In general, a knitted vest will always make a formal garment more casual.

9. Accessories

Accessories are a great way to distinguish yourself from the pack. Choosing a knit tie or pocket square for your blazer pocket will make you look very dapper. Depending on your environment, a boutonniere or a collar pin may work as well, but when in doubt, skip it.

You could also consider a more casual wristwatch with a more formal outfit or pairing a dress watch with a more casual outfit to add a touch of elegance.

Cufflinks are also a good way to enhance your outfit, just like tie bars.

Wrist bands are a bit too casual and when in doubt, skip them.

Full Brogue Oxford with a beautiful chestnut brown patina

Full Brogue Oxford with a beautiful chestnut brown patina

10. Shoes & Boots

This is where you can have a bit more fun. Rather than sticking with the classic oxfords and derbies, you can get creative with unique colors like oxblood or wearing more casual dress shoes and boots like monk straps, loafers or chukka boots, Chelsea boots or balmoral boots. For an in-depth rundown on business casual shoes, click here.

In terms of color, brown shoes are a great companion for Business Casual, and so are burgundy and Oxblood. Click here to learn how to wear and combine them. 

a-leather-bag-is-always-preferable-to-a-backpack

a-leather-bag-is-always-preferable-to-a-backpack

11. Bags

Sometimes you see grown men wearing backpacks with their business casual outfits. That’s a faux pas and it makes you look like a little school boy. Instead, go with a leather bag in brown or black that works for you. Whether it’s classic, functional or sleek, clean and modern you can find hundreds of leather bags in various price ranges.

Business Casual in the Service Industry

If you work in the service industry, in sales, trade positions or a job where you interact with the public, you should adapt the business casual standard above.

If you are just at the office and you don’t have customer contact, your employer will most likely have a more relaxed attitude when it comes to business casual.

Hogtownrake in combination of light sport coat with charcoal pants and brown wool knit tie, blue shirt and cream pocket square

Hogtownrake combines a light sports coat with charcoal pants and a brown wool knit tie, a blue shirt, and a cream pocket square

1. Jackets

It’s likely that wearing a jacket is optional. So if you don’t want to go with just a dress shirt and a blazer would be too much, consider wearing a vest or a cardigan instead.

2. Shirts

The button-down collar shirt is another classic shirt that is acceptable for business casual wear. Alternatively, a long-sleeved polo shirt is acceptable too, if others wear it in the office as well. You don’t want to be the only one wearing polos though.

In this scenario, business casual does not mean wearing t-shirts, casual sweaters without a collared shirt underneath, hoodies, pullovers or any other style of shirt.

Checked Shirt Fabric - Ideal for Business Casual

Checked Shirt Fabric – Ideal for Business Casual

3. Neckwear

Neckties and bow ties are completely optional, yet they look great with vests, jackets and cardigans.

4. Pants

While dress pants are ok, chinos, khakis, and corduroys are the best choice. Dark colors such as navy and grey are versatile, although lighter colors are preferable for the warmer months of the year.

Pants such as denim jeans, athletic wear, sweatpants, draw-string pants, shorts, and cargo pants should not be worn, nor should any pant with a camouflage print or large visible logo.

Navy pants, burgundy vest and tweed jacket - business casual in the fall

Navy pants, burgundy vest, and tweed jacket – business casual in the fall

5. Sweaters & Accessories

If you decide not to wear a jacket, sweaters and knit vests or cardigans become your best friends. Not only will they keep you warm, but they also look stylish all while adding that casual note to your outfit. Accessorize your outfit as you please but try not to add too many accents, otherwise, people don’t know where to look.

6. Shoes & Boots

Skip sneakers and tennis shoes but you can choose from a wide range of classic shoes in various materials such as leather, suede, and fabric.

7. Bags

Leather bags are best but if you want a canvas-leather or all canvas bag may work as well. You can be more daring with your color choice and go with green, yellow, blue or red if you want.

Chinos are acceptable making this a great business casual outfit

In young start-ups, this would be an appropriate business casual outfit

Business Casual in Startups

Startups are generally much more casual than traditional jobs. They will likely also not have a company dress code but the hierarchies are typically low and often people can wear whatever they want, especially in a tech related environment.

1. Jackets

In most places a jacket is probably too overdressed. Is your startup that place? You’ll figure it out pretty soon. At the same time, startups often have a very accepting culture so if you enjoy dressing up, wearing a jacket the way you like it is a good thing.

2. Shirts, Sweaters & Neckwear

While most startups would consider a t-shirt to be just fine, a nice trim cut polo shirt looks much smarter. Sweaters are perfectly acceptable and neckwear is definitely not the norm but again, if you like it, go for it.

Bold sport coats are too much for business casual

Bold sport coats are too much for traditional business casual but in start-ups they are fine

3. Pants & Shorts

While it’s totally fine to wear denim at most startups, and you can even find people wearing cargo shorts, you are probably better off wearing lightweight summer slacks such as seersucker because no matter what you do in life, people will at least subconsciously judge you based on what you look like. Being perceived as being well put together will never hurt you, but being a slob can. Consider wearing a sports coat with jeans for a polished casual look.

Appropriate business casual attire for young men

Appropriate business casual attire for young men in a start-up

4. Shoes & Boots

A nice pair of boots or shoes will always make you look more dapper than wearing sneakers. Instead of just going with brown, you can be more playful and wear stone, red, green or blue suede loafers, driving mocs or spectators. Of course, sneakers or stylish canvas shoes can be acceptable too, and even though some coworker may wear tennis shoes, you will look better without them.

5. Bags

A portfolio or a leather/canvas bag is your best bet. In terms of colors, anything goes, even though a bright pink bag with pokemon on it may not reflect positively on you. If you are into tech, bags with built-in chargers, cables and camera compartments will satisfy your needs but please, skip the backpack.

A great business casual outfit with outerwear and accessories

A great business casual outfit with button-up shirt outerwear and accessories

Business Casual Outerwear & Accessories

When your job means being on the move, it’s a great idea to ensure your outerwear matches your indoor attire because that active jacket you wear skiing or hiking does not go well with your sports coat.

Quilted Jackets

Lightweight, warm and classic the quilted jacket is slightly longer than your blazer and makes you look instantly well put together. At the same time, it is easy to care for, wrinkles easily and can be machine washed.

Trench Coat

During the fall and spring season, a trench coat will look very dapper. To learn all about this garment, check out our trench coat guide. For a more youthful look, with a trench coat, that is shorter than your knees.

Peacoat with double sided scarf, Jodhpur boots and Chinos - Business Casual

Peacoat with a double-sided scarf, Jodhpur boots, and Chinos – Business Casual

Peacoat

For the cold winters, a pea coat is the perfect business casual companion because it is less formal than a full-fledged overcoat yet still warm, stylish and functional due to its many pockets. To learn more about peacoats click here

Scarves & Gloves

A gorgeous paisley scarf or a nice pair of gloves will add the finishing touches to your business casual look.

This is too casual for business casual unless you work in a young tech company

Jeans & sports coat: This is too casual for business casual unless you work in a young startup office or tech environment

Business Casual DON’Ts: When in Doubt, Dress Up

Jeans should be avoided unless approved by management

Jeans should be avoided in a traditional office or service environment unless approved by management

If you are unsure of whether business casual is allowed in your workplace or not, it is best to err on the side of caution and to be overdressed rather than underdressed. Wear a suit and tie the first day. Then you can see how people dress around you and adapt. If you are still unsure about what is appropriate, ask your coworker or superior.

Business Casual DON’Ts to Avoid

Even for the most casual workplaces, there are times where business casual simply isn’t appropriate. Here are a few of the times you will want to wear a more conservative outfit such as a business suit:

  • When you have an important meeting with clients or customers outside your normal range of duties
  • When you have a meeting with a manager or executive in the organization
  • When you will be attending a board or committee meeting
  • During work-related events, conferences, and symposiums
  • When representing your company in the media or speaking at an event
  • When interviewing for a position or negotiating a raise with your employer
  • When you work for a firm with a policy that does not permit the regular wearing of business casual attire
  • Don’t wear business casual to a  job interview – to learn more about what to wear to an interview, check out this guide
Wonderful business casual outfit for fall with brown suede double monks and green turtleneck

Works for most offices. Wonderful business casual outfit for fall with brown suede double monks and green turtleneck

What about Casual Friday? It Depends

Some companies do not support business casual attire but they will allow it on Fridays, others even allow very casual clothing on Fridays. Talk to your coworkers and your boss to find out how your company handles Friday dress codes.

In case there is a more casual dress code for Fridays, but you notice that senior management doesn’t dress that way, you should consider following their lead. It’s more advantageous for you to dress for the job you want, rather than the job you have.

Conclusion

Business Casual for men is not easy to master because it means different things at different offices and events. Using our guidelines will give you a good place to start.

Finally, remember to use this rule of thumb: if you’re unsure whether it’s appropriate, chances are it’s not! Dress up a notch because it is always best to be slightly overdressed rather than slightly underdressed.


Gentleman’s Gazette

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Business Accelerator Tomorrow Unveils Conceptual Showroom in Paris

PARIS — Business accelerator Tomorrow is expanding its business in Paris, with the opening of a showroom that will focus on highlighting gender-fluid, women’s wear and “conceptual streetwear” brands.
The space, which is called Tomorrow Le Palais and situated in Paris’ Left Bank, opened its doors with an event Saturday night during Paris Fashion Week.
For fall 2019, the showroom will represent brands including Ottolinger, Mister IT, Akiko Aoki, Aalto, Pyer Moss, Afterhomework and Situationist. It has also partnered with the likes of Ambush, the jewelry label by Dior’s Yoon Ahn, Colville, Coperni and Diesel Red Tag x GR-Uniforma, who will all create installations that will be showcased across the new space, an 18th-century mansion built by renown architect Germain Boffrand.

The Colville installation at Tomorrow Le Palais. 
Courtesy Photo

“We work for, and service, many different communities and it was important at this point in the development of our platform to be able to showcase our projects in different locations. This has become more apparent, as we are very involved with the brands, and support them across all aspects of their businesses — from investment to product development, to launch,” said Stefano Martinetto, the platform’s chief executive officer.
He added that the aim of the

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Workplace Wellness: You Are The Most Valuable Asset of Your Business

Foggy mind in the morning. Mindless consumption of caffeinated beverages. Racing heart rates. A general feeling of being overwhelmed and feeling fatigued. These are all symptomatic of burnout that occurs in the workplace. Whether you are a C-suite executive or an entrepreneur fighting to get your business off the ground—workplace wellness and health mindfulness are vital to keeping a business thriving.

As a CEO or founder, deterioration of health can negatively impact how you run your business day-to-day; and may even run it into ruin. As the founder and CEO of your business, your company is dependent on you. The stress of being an entrepreneur requires endurance, strength, and energy. In this video from Black Enterprise‘s entrepreneur health and wellness series, “The Entrepreneurs’ Edge for Business Success,” here are important self-care health tips that all entrepreneurs, executives, and employees should follow.

[Watch] Workplace Wellness Tips for Executives and Entrepreneurs 

 

The post Workplace Wellness: You Are The Most Valuable Asset of Your Business appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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EMPLOYMENT SEARCH UPDATE:

The Very Serious Business Of Fashion

According to Bojack Horseman, Netflix’s horse headed misanthropist, “Time’s arrow neither stands still nor reverses. It merely marches forward.” Whether you think that time is marching towards progress or to the contrary, there’s no turning back now. There was a time when almost all industries were cottage industries, where sweaters were spun and sold in their own hometowns, and bread was baked on the same street that it was eaten. Then came industrialization and everything changed, what was once the trade of artisans and craftspeople became the role of big businesses and entrepreneurs. Supply rose, the cost of production declined, and consumer prices fell. So began the age of mass production. Oh no!, I hear you exclaim. The age of mass production, the production of accountants and bean counters, the age of the insatiable desire for profit. However, much like a good pair of trousers, things are rarely black or white, they’re often grey.

In this maelstrom of mass production, where do the cottage industries and the niche fashion brands of our age find themselves? Being small fish in a big pond, it can be difficult to make ripples or waves in an industry that thrives on attention, marketing budgets, and celebrity influencers. But sometimes it’s not about taking over an industry, sometimes it’s about quietly finding your corner of the market where it’s possible to take advantage of all the resources available to you, to build a successful business with very different aims and goals.

The effect of mass production on cottage industries has been historically varied, and the future for regional craftspersons is yet undetermined, but cottage industries, as wonderful as they were, haven’t always been picture perfect. They were usually limited, restricted, and isolated. They were often built on very specific specializations, based in increasingly historical contexts, and they weren’t known for being adaptable to the changing times. While you can still rely on the Isles of Harris to be colder than a polar bear’s nose, and by extension, reliably produce some densely woven woolen cloth from its hardy sheep, you can’t always expect consumer demand to support the island’s traditions (although thankfully there are some areas of the world where quality wins out). What you can expect is for times and tastes to change, fashions to come and go, and buying habits to alter. They say that time makes liars of good men, well it also makes redundant what does not sell.

 

 

In an Articles of Interest’s opening sequence, Avery Trufelman describes how the first software, the concept of binary computing, was applied to looms, those great, big, hefty machines used to produce fabrics. She explains how the role of the drawboy was to move and adjust the threads to create a woven pattern. That was until the introduction of punch cards, which became the intellectual property of fabric manufacturers and master weavers, whereby the punch cards encoded the weaving process, making the purpose of a drawboy redundant. This innovation and its consequential redundancies were seen as modernization, machines alleviating the physical and deleterious workload of human beings. It was more efficient, more accurate and more productive too. This is a theme that would repeat itself throughout the 20th century. Production needed to be centralized, specialized, and produce higher quantities at lower costs in order to be competitive, raise the real wealth of its consumers, and enfranchise the poorer classes.

We sometimes forget, but fashion, the very serious business of fashion, is, at the end of the day, an industry. While huge numbers can often be abstract or even darn right alienating, modern estimates peg it at a value of 3 trillion dollars worldwide, which equates to 2% of the world’s GDP. As such, it’s subject to the same economic forces and laws as any other industry, but those forces need not be negative for modern producers and consumers, they can also present opportunity. As American historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. pointed out, ‘Righteousness is easy in retrospect’ and it’s now, today, that we find ourselves at the end of a very long business cycle, one where the rules may have changed, suggesting that ‘Today – just might be – the best time in fashion’.

 

 

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Today is not the same proposition for cottage industries, designers, textile producers or clothes manufacturers as it once was at the beginning of the 20th century. Today presents new opportunities that weren’t available before the modern globalized infrastructure. Some of the things that were great back then are still great now, such as brushed Shetland sweaters. At the same time, Japanese denim was unlikely to have taken off without Toyota Motor Corporations’ Model G automatic selvage loom, sportswear without synthetics, and it’s worth considering where rainwear would be without the invention of gabardine, Ventile, or Gore-Tex.

The invention of these new materials, as well as the automation of the machines on which to craft them, wouldn’t have been possible without big businesses and their ability to take advantage of economies of scale. It’s still much the same today with major innovations coming from the top down. Companies such as Wrangler are pioneering more sustainable modes of production, a problem all too familiar with natural textiles and driven home in Derek’s article ‘Dying for Meaning’. Small cottage industries just aren’t in a position to invest large sums of money in R&D. Even collectives would struggle to justify attributing large percentages of their funds to discovering environmentally friendly production techniques. It takes large scale production to be able to absorb huge sums into small margins, but when it’s successful, it can have big implications, a benefit that extends to those within smaller, niche areas of the fashion industry.

It’s not just machines, intellectual property, or technically-advanced designed fabrics that the established fashion industry proffered into the collective fold of fashion production. It’s also responsible for nurturing the individuals at the forefront of fashion’s newest creations. Virgil Abloh of Off-White fame cut his teeth at Fendi long before starting his major hype brand. Ralph Lauren has long been an incubator for some of the biggest design names in fashion, Michael Bastian, Frank Muytjens, Todd Snyder, John Varvatos, and Antonio Ciongoli among them. The-interpreters of English tailoring classics, S.E.H Kelly, came to make the garments they do now by taking advantage of their connections to Saville Row. From high fashion to modern streetwear, and from tailoring classics to relaxed everyday garments, the fashion industry has helped to mold and shape the path of some of the more exciting modern brands. It continues to do so with projects such as the CFDA Fashion Fund, which brought to the fore designers such as Alexander Wang and Public School.

 

 

The New Era

Fashion is, however, a fickle mistress. Just as times changed for cottage industries of the early 20th century, for bespoke tailoring in the relaxing climes of the later 20th century, and for brick-and-mortar stores upon the mass adoption of the internet, times are slowly changing again for established players. Consumers used to shop based on quality, and they still do, but the overriding principle for the modern shopper is often price, which has encouraged a behavior of almost constant, never-ending sales paired with cost-cutting. Instead of offering one good thing that’s been made well, we have many things made to cover all possible consumer bases. This catch-all method of developing market share has dragged on for years, and its consequences are now starting to be felt in high-street balance sheets, with fast fashion retailers such as H&M holding unhealthy amounts of unsold stock from trends of years gone by, with ultimately no resale value. Much has already been said at Put This On about J. Crew’s inability to find its place in a polarising marketplace. In many ways, these companies are struggling because of their inflexibility. High-street companies are established and established businesses have established ways of doing things. They buy from certain fabric suppliers, they use certain factories for garment construction, they make their clothes in countries with favorable exchange rates and employee wages, and they use established distribution networks to deliver their products.

This globalized production model does indeed take advantage of David Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage, which allows fashion brands to use international production to reduce relative costs, and therefore reduce the price of the final product that lands on their shelves. However, these processes also must be run through the corporate mill, from signing off designs over six months in advance, approving fabrics, putting in large seasonal orders at factories, and then dealing with freight lead times. This is a long, drawn-out process that increases the risk of a product hitting or missing with an increasingly discerning consumer when it finally does appear. In their article asking whether apparel manufacturing is coming home, a team of writers at McKinsey recently questioned whether “speed-to-market and in-season reactivity are now more critical than ever to an apparel player’s success.” They also argue that “the industry is at a crossroads where speed beats marginal cost advantage,” and I’m inclined to agree. Modern consumers who want to be ‘on trend’ want to be on trend now and not in six months, while quality conscious consumers are beginning to consider environmental sustainability, ethics, and cost-per-wear metrics. If that comes with sick fades, a rich patina, or hand stitched finishes, all the better. Even Highsnobiety is questioning whether streetwear is hype without substance, and if the industry’s ‘drop model’ is a bubble destined to burst.

 

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Almost there.

A post shared by Antonio K. Ciongoli (@akciongoli) on

 

The Best Time for Niche Brands

What does this mean for niche designers, brands, and textile producers — those who focus on real quality or those with a coherent voice that resonates with their particular tribe of consumers? Well, as Jerry Evensky writes about Adam Smith, father of modern economics: “Smith believed that we can develop an informed image of the ideal by culling from the lessons of history the principles that lead to progress and thus inform that ideal. For Smith, the ideal is a limit, not achievable but approachable.” So, if brands are to learn from the lessons of the past and approach that ideal, they will need to take advantage of fashion’s technological advances, fashion’s intellectual property, and the establishment of modern logistics and distribution routes. It’s now, like a phoenix from the ashes, that cottage industries should be looking to take advantage of major industry players’ saturated positions and overinflated hype to advance themselves using the internet and direct-to=-consumer marketing, to reach an ever-growing market with the stories of their products, and to create some real connections with their customers.

Speaking to Paul of S.E.H. Kelly, purveyors of “that sleepy British look,” he describes the change as so: “Running a business like ours in the days before the web would have been quite different. I suppose, instead of a website we would’ve sent out catalogs every month, ran classifieds in relevant newspapers and magazines, and perhaps managed some sort of snail-mail list.” While no doubt this would have come with its own set of die-hard catalog collectors, I can’t help feeling that SEH Kelly’s website and Instagram now reach far more passionate followers, creating a larger community, which helps to bolster both S.E.H. Kelly’s business and that of the factories and clothmakers they collaborate with.

So, whether it’s taking advantage of off-season production to produce quality-made basics, using your Saville Row connections, or whether you, in the words of Nigel Cabourn, “create styles that have the quality to last and get better with age,” it looks like now, right now, might be the best time for niche fashion brands to take advantage of “the best time in fashion.” Just maybe not in brick-and-mortar stores at metropolitan centers. 

The post The Very Serious Business Of Fashion appeared first on Put This On.

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Outfit Formula: Business Casual Moto

Many of my business casual clients can wear a leather, pleather, Ponte or knitted type of a moto jacket instead of a blazer to work as a topper. It gives their blazers a break, makes them feel less classic, more fashionable, and changes things up. Most look for a lightweight and streamlined moto with fewer bells and whistles, minimal hardware, and in a tailored fit. Black, navy, grey, olive, taupe and burgundy motos are the most popular. Some have thrown teal, purple, blush, cream and red motos into the business casual mix. Shorter motos work particularly well with dresses and skirts, which is an outfit formula I covered last week.

I found fab examples of business casual moto looks with pants. Two of the renditions incorporate jeans because some of my clients can wear black or white jeans to work (but not blue). Allow the combination of silhouettes to inspire you, and sub your colours and patterns to suit your taste.

1. Simon Le Bon

If this outfit were black and white, it would be very similar to what the lead singer of Duran Duran wore at his 1985 concerts. High-waisted, baggy, pleated and tapered FULL-length pants with a tucked top and short boxy jacket scream the ‘80s. The combination is hip and trendy in 2019, and looks fably fresh. The high waist and tucked top are an acquired taste, and best suited to a longer torso. Sub the mock T-neck with a neckline that’s more to your taste. The Western boots add an on-trend touch. The full-length pants and high waist elongate the the leg line. The collarless moto is great on a shorter neck. A wonderful androgynous look.

Habitual Remy Patent Moto Jacket

2. Playful Wide Crops

This is my favourite of the four because the jacket is bright and white footwear is my thing. That said, you can wear the look in your colours. Combine wide crops with a shorter top, a moto, and tailored booties or pumps. Feel free to tuck or semi-tuck the top, or leave it untucked. The tie-waist on the crops is not essential.

Eloquii Moto Jacket

3. Wide Legs & Dressy Flats

It’s fresh and fun to see tailored wide legs worn with dressy flats, which to my eye looks just as professional as pumps and dressy boots. Tucking the top elongates the leg line from the hips upward, which is an effective styling tool when combining flats with wide legs. Choose a shorter top if tucking and semi-tucking is not your thing. The black moto adds hard edge, and the white loafers soften things right back up. You could sub oh-so-trendy white sneakers for the loafers – but that would not be business casual.

JOSEPH Ryder Leather Biker Jacket

4. Earthy Graphic

Combine white jeans with a black top, black boots, and finish off the look with an earth-toned moto. Throw in a bag that tickles your fancy. Brown looks serene, and black works with the palette. I’d have thrown in a burgundy, navy or red bag.

STAND Polly Suede Biker Jacket

Clients who wear black or white jeans for business casual make sure the denim is polished and not distressed, which keeps the vibe dressy and professional, but in a more relaxed way. You can pop a roomy puffer, cape or cocoon coat over the top for warmth if you need the extra layer.


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The term entrepreneur tends to evoke images of a tech bro who spends way too much time on LinkedIn, where he brags about being “CEO at Self-Employed” and writes quasi-philosophical posts about the #hustle. (See the Twitter account @StateofLinkedIn for real-life examples, if you dare.) 

That stereotype applies to a handful of self-starters, to be sure, but you probably won’t find them among Silicon Valley’s success stories. The entrepreneurs whose innovations and ideas have actually changed lives are too busy trying new things and dreaming big to spout vapid humblebrags on social media. If you somehow found a way to connect with them, you’d probably get some legitimately helpful tips on how to establish your own business.  Read more…

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Business Titan Ken Chenault Opens Up About His Legacy and Career [VIDEO]

Kenneth I. Chenault, one of the most dynamic business leaders in modern times, opens up about his journey to the top of the corporate ladder in a televised interview produced by The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history archives.

The former CEO of American Express retired in February 2018 after 16 years of leading the financial company’s innovation, transformation, and growth as chief executive. Under his leadership, American Express earned global recognition as a leader in customer service while its signature Membership Rewards program grew into one of the largest customer loyalty programs in the world. BLACK ENTERPRISE first discovered and profiled Chenault in the December 1985 issue and has followed his ascent and career milestones ever since.

Since announcing his resignation, Chenault has extended his business savvy expertise to the boards of corporate giants like Airbnb and Facebook. He also joined venture capital firm General Catalyst as chairman and a managing director last year.

An Evening With Ken Chenault

In November, Chenault spoke openly about his career and legacy with CBS sportscaster James “J.B.” Brown during a live taping at The New York Times Center in New York City. The program, titled An Evening with Ken Chenault, provides a rare inside look into his life and rise to the head of one of the world’s most successful companies. “My most important legacy that I can leave is that I made a meaningful difference in people’s lives. I hope I have been a catalytic agent for change,” he said. “I firmly believe that none of us should be satisfied by the status quo—you should always try to change the status quo.”

The hourlong program also includes exclusive interviews with business luminaries who’ve been directly inspired by Chenault’s leadership, including Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr.

“He is a leader, he is competitive, and he is smart,” said Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, while describing Chenault. “The real test of leadership is when you go up the mountain and your troops follow you. They follow you because they believe in you and they believe you do see the value over the top mountain. If they don’t see it, they will still follow.”

Julieanna Richardson, the founder and president of The HistoryMakers, said in a statement that Chenault’s story has been “overlooked for far too long and deserves to be highlighted.” She added, “it is critical to show the world that African Americans have had an active role to play in both entrepreneurship and in corporate America.”

An Evening with Ken Chenault airs on PBS local station WNET on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. EST. It can also be viewed online. Watch below.



The post Business Titan Ken Chenault Opens Up About His Legacy and Career [VIDEO] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Apple hires an ex-Microsoft exec to revamp its smart home business, and catch up to Google, Amazon

Apple just brought on a new leader for its home unit.
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Scouted: QuickBooks Is Essential for Any Small Business Owner, and This $19 Master Class Can Help Get the Most Out of It

Quickbooks has quickly become one of the most popular programs to keep small businesses’ expenses and budgets in check, but it can get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. This 7-hour class can help you and your business find your footing during this tax season and for the rest of 2019.

Using Quickbook’s data, business owners can easily create reports, summaries, and analyses to keep track of customer data, vendor information, and employee progress. This class can help make all of that data more easily digestible and can even help you make sense of the financial reports and bank statements that are logged in Quickbook’s program. It’ll even help you unlock some of the newest powerful features in the 2019 version of the software.

You’ll be able to create and access important information easily, which will make the process of understanding your business’s profits, tracking loans, and staying ahead of the curve for tax season a piece of cake. Let this course untangle that web of spreadsheets for you.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Fyre Festival’s CMO Grant Margolin appears to be working again … as a business tutor

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Grant Margolin, the chief marketing officer of the colossal disaster that was Fyre Festival, seemed to drop off the face of the Earth after the event. 

The festival’s founder and CEO, Billy McFarland, is serving six years in prison for defrauding over 100 investors out of $ 27.4 million. But Margolin, who is portrayed in both recent Fyre Festival documentaries as McFarland’s right-hand man, settled out of court and has kept a low profile. 

All the documentaries managed to say about what he does now is that he volunteers as an EMT. 

But now it seems Margolin has been found — selling his services in New York City as a tutor, specializing in business and marketing, for $ 90 an hour. But we’ll get back to that.  Read more…

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Outfit Formula: Black Pants for Business

My business casual clients are always looking to style black trousers in interesting ways. My first suggestion is to change up their footwear from the usual black to animal print, metallic, white, red or grey. Then to create a complement with the footwear by repeating the colour somewhere else in the outfit, like in the top, scarf, bag or with jewellery. Bookending hair with footwear counts as colour repetition.

Here are four more ways to add interest to black pant outfits for work:

1. Animal Print Footwear & Patterned Top

The snakeskin footwear breaks up the black of the suit, as does the polka dot blouse. The black background of the blouse creates a low contrast against the suit, but feel free to wear a high-contrast patterned top. Leopard boots, pumps or loafers would have worked as well. Keeping the palette neutral makes the pattern mixing easy to pull together.

Rachel Roy Collection Long Blazer

2. Silver Shoes & Pussy-Bow Blouse

Combine a patterned or non-black pussy-bow blouse with black pants and silver footwear like pumps, ballet flats or boots. Top a black moto over the blouse to create a juxtaposition of tough and pretty. If the silver hardware of the moto picks up the silver of the shoes, so much the better. Add silver jewellery or hair to complement the silver shoes too.

Eloquii Tie Neck Blouse

3. White Boots & Top

Create a complement with a top and boots in a shade of white. Add that to a pair of black pants and finish things off with a topper in just about any colour and pattern. If the pattern has black in it, the palette will come together very easily. A black and white plaid is shown here, which is serene and classic.

MM6 Maison Margiela Twill Suiting Trousers

4. White Boots, Tunic & Oversized Topper

Combine white pointy-toe footwear with full-length black bootcuts or bell-bottoms. The black soles of the boots here do a great job of picking up the black in the rest of the outfit. For the top part, layer a shorter voluminous topper over some type of solid and streamlined tunic and watch the magic happen.

Marques Almeida Ribbed Flared Wool Trousers


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Business travel survival guide: How and why this entrepreneur refuses to settle

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Ad content from Hyatt House hotels

Stacy Garcia, founder of Stacy Garcia Inc., a licensing and design company, travels frequently as part of her job as an entrepreneur and business owner. Her company, which focuses on interior design products, has roots in hospitality design, and today includes a collection of global lifestyle brands and product lines including textiles, carpeting, furniture, and lighting.

Part of Garcia’s success is due to her “never settle” attitude. “When I believe in something, I never settle until I’ve accomplished it,” she says. “I don’t stop just because I’ve heard a few ‘no’s.’ I’ve trained myself to hear ‘not yet’ instead of ‘no.’ This challenge is what has made my journey so meaningful, and so much sweeter when I finally get the ‘yes’ I deserve.” Read more…

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Business Travel Survival Guide: Do more and stress less with these tips from a successful millennial CEO

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Recognizing a missing resource for accomplished millennial women, Johnson launched Create & Cultivate to empower women to achieve their career goals and become their own bosses. She started small, with a gathering of 50 entrepreneurs in Palm Springs. In response, Johnson received hundreds of emails from women eager for the next conference.“That’s when I realized there was real momentum around this idea,” said Johnson. “It feels like a dream job.” Read more…

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BREAKING NEWS:

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1.25.19 Small business tax law changes; Clark Stinks

Clark talks about how the new(ish) tax law will affect small business owners; Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a “Clark Stinks” to share you can leave it here

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Watch the video

The post 1.25.19 Small business tax law changes; Clark Stinks appeared first on Clark Howard.

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Ferrero, Hostess, B&G Foods bid on Kellogg’s Keebler and Famous Amos cookie business

Kellogg's Keebler, Famous Amos and fruit snacks businesses are attracting attention from Hostess Brands and Nutella-owner Ferrero, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. A deal could value the brands at about $ 1.5 billion.
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IAC sues Tinder co-founder over business documents, escalating court fight

Online dating company Match Group Inc and its owner IAC/InterActiveCorp has filed a lawsuit accusing Sean Rad, a former employee known for co-founding the popular dating service Tinder, of secretly copying company files and other proprietary information.


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This Woman Was Always the Bridesmaid, So She Decided to Start a Business

“This one’s Michigan, this one’s California, this one’s Florida, this one’s also Florida, this one’s New Jersey, this one’s New York, this one was Florida, and this one was in Long Island…”

Jen Glantz is rattling off states with perfect recall as she thumbs through a closet full of satin, charmeuse and chiffon — most in various shades of pastel. Each bridesmaid dress is well worn, from deodorant stains to tattered hems. Each carries a story.

Sure, plenty of us have at least one or two bridesmaid dresses shoved in the back of the closet, never to be worn again. Glantz has enough to rival a bridal boutique.

And no, it’s not just because she has a lot of recently wed friends — although that is a factor in her story. Glantz is up to her ears in dresses because she makes a living as a professional bridesmaid.

From Bridesmaid to Bridesmaid for Hire

How does one find herself in the business of being a professional bridesmaid? Let’s back up to 2014, when Glantz was 26 years old — or as I like to affectionately call it, “Fridge is Covered in Save the Dates” years old.

One day towards the end of June, Glantz received not one but two phone calls with hopeful brides-to-be on the other end, bearing the same question: “Will you be my bridesmaid?”

In that year alone, Glantz found herself taking on the mantle of bridesmaid four times.

She was so well versed in the art of bachelorette parties, rounding up unruly bridesmaids and holding up poofy wedding dresses that she was practically a professional. And throughout it all, she noticed a common trend in the wedding industry.

“There was nobody there whose job it was to help the bride,” says Glantz. “If the bride had a wedding planner, she was so busy setting up the wedding. If she had bridesmaids like myself, we were very distracted, and we didn’t know how to help her.”

Glantz decided to capitalize on this gap in the industry and put her finely honed bridesmaid skills to work. She posted a Craigslist ad: Professional Bridesmaid – wfw – 26 (NYC).

Let me be there for you, she implores future brides with not-so-great options in the bridal party department. Let her “make sure bridesmaid #4 buys her dress on time and doesn’t show up three hours late.” Let her fill a spot if “you don’t have any other girlfriends except your third cousin, twice removed.”

Within two days, Glantz had received over 250 responses.

Clearly, there was a demand for a service that offers the chance of a stress-free wedding. So Glantz decided to start her own business, Bridesmaid for Hire.

Living In a Perpetual Wedding Season

In the four years since that fateful Craigslist ad, Glantz has worked with more than100 clients all over the country.

She has expanded her services and become the ultimate bridesmaid boss, offering various levels of bridal-related help and working with five to 15 clients a month.

For the bride-to-be who just needs a bit of a nudge in the right direction, she offers one-on-one coaching for $ 179. Someone thinking of hiring a wedding planner can turn to Glantz instead for day-of coordinating services, which range from $ 850 to $ 1,350.

Then there’s the ultimate package: A full-fledged bridesmaid for hire, which can cost upwards of $ 4,000.

But this package doesn’t mean Glantz will simply show up on the day of the wedding, ready to walk down the aisle. She works with brides for anywhere from three months to a full year before the wedding date, helping all along the way.

“During that time, we get to know each other… I’m there for all of the big milestones,” says Glantz. “One thing I’m super proud of is that I help people save money, so I’ll look at vendor contracts and say, ‘They’re ripping you off, you can save money here.’”

And it’s not just the brides that Glantz offers her expertise to. Maids of Honor who are a bit unsure how to move forward can get a crash-course coaching session for $ 99. Or maybe the MOH just doesn’t have a way with words. Lucky for her, Glantz offers speech-writing packages ranging from $ 200 to $ 375.

That way, the MOH can avoid the dreaded awkward silence after an inappropriate inside joke falls flat. #blessed

It’s Not All Wedding Cake and Bouquet Tosses

You might be thinking something along the lines of “I could totally do this job,” but keep in mind just how many services Glantz offers.

In reality, this gig is nothing that like that movie “The Wedding Ringer.” Glantz isn’t just attending party after party, dancing the night away and munching on wedding cake — although we can all agree that wedding cake is definitely a perk.

Glantz is a personal assistant, planner, coordinator, coach, shoulder to lean on, speech-giver, peacekeeper and situation-diffuser all wrapped up in one — usually in some version of chiffon.

One wedding, she might be “Jen Smith” and makes sure that a bachelorette party actually gets planned when the maid of honor drops the ball. At another, she’s known as “Jen Cohen” and saves the day with her emergency pack full of Band-Aids and stain-remover sticks.

Along with the pseudonym, she’ll have a different backstory explaining how she knows the bride, since most don’t particularly care to explain that they hired a bridesmaid. To some, the idea of assuming a new identity and attending a stranger’s wedding might sound strange, but Glantz insists that it all feels very natural and authentic to her.

“I’ve always thought to myself ‘This is what I’m meant to do,’ and I know that sounds crazy because who thinks they’re meant to be a professional bridesmaid?” says Glantz.

Recalling the first wedding she ever worked, she says she got off the plane in Minnesota and thought to herself “Jen, what are you doing?”

But everything went off without a hitch, and she finally felt like she was doing something she was meant for. Glantz says she’s always had the skills that make her so good at this, such as dealing with challenging or dramatic situations.

And everyone knows that weddings are rife with drama, right?

Always the Bridesmaid Entrepreneur

Glantz’s experiences as a professional bridesmaid and CEO have led to other opportunities. She freelance writes for major publications, speaks at conferences and has written two books, “When You Least Expect It” and “All My Friends are Engaged.”

Between Bridesmaid For Hire and her other endeavors, Glantz says she earns tens of thousands a year.

Always looking ahead, she’s expanding her services with Bridesmaid for Hire. She recently started offering packages for mothers-of-the-bride, who need their own type of support but often get forgotten.

She’s hired a few people along the way, including another professional bridesmaid, but has decided to offer another service to hopeful employees instead of hiring them.

“I always have people who want to work this job, so I started a franchising program where people can come learn exactly how this business works and then start this business for themselves wherever they live in the world,” she says.

For $ 249, you can learn the tricks of the trade, such as the ins and outs of the wedding industry, how to brand your business and how to secure clients.

One can hope that future bridesmaids-for-hire share Glantz’s sentimental feelings about the business.

“I feel very lucky with this job because I get to be present at one of the best and happiest moments of a person’s life,” she says. “It’s taught me a ton about love, it’s taught me a ton about weddings, and it’s really shaped how I feel about relationships.”

And if they’re anything like Glantz, maybe they’ll end up with a closet full of bridesmaid dresses of their own, unwilling to part with them and the memories they carry.

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She is currently planning her own wedding, a maid of honor in another… and a bridesmaid in another. Maybe she could use some of Glantz’s professional help.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Sam's Club Membership Offer

3 Things You Should Include in Your Business Plan

Starting a new business is more than just writing an idea
down on a piece of paper and going for it. For your new venture to be
successful, it’s important to not only know what your business is going to do, but
to establish a big-picture view of your company’s values and identify any
potential strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats to your business
goal.

A Business Plan helps you plan out your company, and
demonstrates to investors and customers that you’ve done your research and your
business is something they should be interested in.

In this post, we identify three essential elements to
include in your Business Plan.

1. SWOT Analysis

Before you can get your business off the ground, you’ll need to prove that it’s worth starting. By using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis, you can determine if your business idea is viable, if it needs to be adjusted, and how you are going to deal with roadblocks and other issues that could affect its success.

As an example, if you’re planning on opening a coffee shop downtown
where you know there are a lot of restaurants and retail stores, you could
include in your analysis that you considered the strengths of opening a store
in that location (lots of foot traffic, business people looking for a place to
buy a quick coffee, etc.) as well as the potential threats (competitors taking
potential business away).

Writing down your analysis in your Business Plan shows that you’ve put in the time and effort to showcase all possible scenarios for your business. It also helps prove to any investors you may present to that you’ve done all the necessary research before proposing your business idea.

2. Mission Statement

Your mission statement should showcase the purpose of your
business clearly and concisely in one or two sentences. Since your mission
statement could also be viewed as a selling point to customers, investors, or
anyone else that might be interested in your business, it’s important to use
effective and bold verbs in your statement so it can double as a pitch.

3. Executive Summary

Your Business Plan should include an executive summary on the first page, which is essentially an elevator pitch  for your business as well as an organized and detailed list of each of the sections in your plan.

An executive summary should be
divided into headings that explain each section of your Business Plan in a few
short sentences.

For instance, if the main purpose of
your business is to sell a particular product, you’ll probably have a wealth of
information explaining your product in your Business Plan, such as what it
does, how it fulfils a need or serves specific a purpose, etc. In your
executive summary, you would want to condense all that information down to just
a few sentences and only discuss the most important points.

Essentially, the goal of your
executive summary is to present the content in your plan in an easily readable
format that highlights key points of your business and gets investors
interested in learning more.

Writing Your Business Plan

The purpose of your Business Plan is to give a
high-level overview of your company that can be presented to investors, or even
just to have a document to refer to so you can keep your business on track.
Taking the time to write a detailed and well-structured

The post 3 Things You Should Include in Your Business Plan appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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John Varvatos Business on a Growth Path as Sale Rumors Silence

NEW YORK — In 2020, John Varvatos will mark a major milestone — the 20th anniversary of showing his first men’s wear collection.
Like any fashion label, Varvatos has experienced his share of ups and downs over the past two decades — ownership changes, painful reductions in staff, department store consolidation and changing shifts in fashion.
But after a couple of years of flux, the John Varvatos business is once again in expansion mode. The brand just entered the Middle East with its first retail store in Dubai and there are others in the wings. New product categories such as accessories, jewelry and swimwear are being added.
Star USA, the more-casual, younger and lower-priced line, has been completely revamped and will be unveiled at the Pitti Uomo show in Florence in January.
The architect steering these changes is Mark Brashear, who joined John Varvatos Enterprises as chief executive officer three years ago. Brashear has a long history in the men’s industry that includes Nordstrom, Façonnable, Hugo Boss and Michael Kors.
He’s also seen as a straight shooter and, as such, doesn’t duck questions regarding the uncertainty that surrounded the brand just two years ago when rumors were rampant that its majority owner, the private equity group, Lion

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From Blocks To Bucks: How An 18-year-old Gamer Built a Business Inside Minecraft

Working in video games is a dream for many players, a way to turn their passions into a viable career and feed back into a community and industry that has delivered them years of entertainment.

At a glance, Jamie Freeburn might appear to be another such aspiring young developer. However, rather than setting out to make a game from scratch and battling through an already crowded indie scene, the 18-year-old creator has found success in another area: the Minecraft Marketplace.

Freeburn is the central figure behind PixelSquared, a studio making content packs for Mojang‘s endlessly popular sandbox title. The team, with members based in countries including Northern Ireland, Chile, America, England, and Denmark, creates and sells add-ons for the main game on the curated storefront, with content ranging from cosmetic skins for characters, to custom maps delivering intricate and beautiful new worlds for players to explore, and even unique gameplay modes.

STARTING SANDBOX


Lookouts Point, one of the settings PixelSquared created in Minecraft
Lookouts Point, one of the settings PixelSquared created in Minecraft

So how did Freeburn start making money through Minecraft? “I got into the game about 7 years ago, so I think I was 11, in high school. Back then I was really into creative-style games, games where I could create my own things, and me and few of my friends were chatting about that and one of them thought of Minecraft,” Freeburn says. “I bought the game a week after that and sunk in so many hours, just building and building things.”

Freeburn realised early on there was a market for original Minecraft content, creating aesthetic overhauls for the game on an ad hoc basis. Then came the announcement, in October 2017, that Mojang was launching the Marketplace as a dedicated hub for user creators.

“I was instantly into the idea,” says Freeburn. “Before that, I had created skins on commission on Fiverr, and I was pretty active in that community, so I thought ‘Hey, I may as well send my portfolio in, see how it goes’.”

Microsoft responded positively to the work Freeburn submitted and was keen to sign him up for the new content platform. There were only two problems – the first being that Jamie was only 17 at the time, too young to legally be responsible for what needed to be a registered business. The second was that his parents had no idea what he was up to.


The 'good vs evil' Demon Hunters pack was a Halloween creation, tapping into Minecraft's hellish Nether
The ‘good vs evil’ Demon Hunters pack was a Halloween creation, tapping into Minecraft’s hellish Nether

“They were extremely surprised, as they had no prior knowledge that I did any of this before I told them. They didn’t even know what the whole Fiverr thing was,” he recalls. “I called up my dad and said ‘Hey, Microsoft wants to sign me on this contract to create content with them.’ and he was like ‘Oh! That’s nice.’ Then he took a look at the contract and realised it was serious.”

After a father-son meeting with Microsoft, explaining what the Minecraft Marketplace was and what Jamie would be doing on it, his dad signed on, allowing Jamie himself to get started on the fun stuff – making the actual content, and leaving his mark on the game. For his first pack, Freeburn revamped an early space-themed skin set, upgrading helmet and torso designs to a much higher standard. Since then, PixelSquared has released over 30 original packs, and picked up over a dozen staff members.

BUILDING A BUSINESS

“It sounds like a big deal but we treated it very organically – we didn’t just get 14 people all of a sudden,” Freeburn says. “Around December 2017, we had six other people who were mostly artists, and after that we took on a build team. We hired a structure artist a few months ago and an organic artist just recently. We only really hire people when we need people, we don’t bring people on for the sake of it.”

When it comes to developing new content for Minecraft, the studio operates more like a group of friends discussing what they think would be cool to have in the game. “We’re a really relaxed studio when it comes to our ideas, so when one of us gets an idea we’ll come together and discuss it, and then draw up an idea for the skin pack,” Freeburn says.

As the team has grown, its begun to undertake some light market research for content plans, although it’s more in the form of seeing what the player community might be interested in, rather than some kind  of hyper-precise targeting of current trends.

“Occasionally we will do surveys to see what skins people want to see,” Freeburn explains. “Around Christmas last year, I put out a survey with a couple of different themes I had in mind just to see which one got the most interest. Our three main things are surveys, seeing what’s [already] on the store, and checking what players are actually using.”

“For example the Teens! skin pack was made mostly on market research, and we did a lot of research into fashion and such,” he continues, “but if you look at Frontiers, by me, that’s more of a passion project. We have a pretty fun mix of things we like to create and stuff based on what the market will like.”


One of PixelSquared's more sedate offerings - a lush autumnal theme pack
One of PixelSquared’s more sedate offerings – a lush autumnal theme pack

Having turned 18 and assumed ownership of the company from his father, Freeburn has built the business to the point where it’s doing well enough to put him through university and even pay off another member’s student debt, too.

“I’m doing a game design course at college level right now, but next year I’ll be doing university,” he says. “PixelSquared has afforded me [the opportunity] to do that, [and] that’s actually why I decided to go to uni in the first place. A few other people in the studio used PixelSquared to fund their own university education. One, Olivia, recently finished her degree and she’s now able to help pay off her student loan.”

While creating for Minecraft Marketplace, running the company, and preparing for university can be a tough balancing act, Freeburn says “both my college and my parents are very supportive. If I’m struggling with the workload from my college I’ll let my teacher know and they’ll give me some extra time or help me stay on track, and my parents are also pretty okay with me staying up late making sure everything is running fine in the studio.”

CRAFTING A FUTURE

While the company is still growing at a solid pace, Freeburn is also preparing for potential upheaval due to Brexit. With the UK currently scheduled to leave the European Union on 29th March 2019, the company’s international, digital business model could be affected.

“My town is actually directly on the border of Northern Ireland and Ireland [so] we’ll have to see what happens there,” he says, “but I think we’re all concerned. It’s hard to tell how it’s going to affect us all directly – I’m fairly new to the industry so I don’t know what it was like years ago. I joined during the Brexit scandal so I can’t really tell what it was like before [but] we’re a pretty global studio. It’ll be a bit of a nightmare I think. I can’t say too much for sure but I feel like it could impact us.”


The apocalypse is here, in custom Minecraft form
The apocalypse is here, in custom Minecraft form

While waiting to see how the political issue unfolds, PixelSquared is focusing on what it does best – building on its core offerings, but aiming for an even larger scale.

“Maps are our current big target,” Freeburn says. “We have three pretty major maps underway right now, that we’re very excited about, and texture packs too. Our main goal is to expand. Dedicated servers are pretty far away, but we have looked into it – it won’t be for a long time because they’re a big undertaking, but we’d love to do it.”

While creating for Minecraft has proven a highly successful way into the games industry for Freeburn and company, in the longer term plans are afoot to leave a deeper mark on the industry. The ambition is to grow PixelSquared into a studio capable of producing its own original games, but bring with it the recognition of players from the Marketplace community. As for what type of games players might see from a wholly independent PixelSquared?

“In the future, we’d like to branch off and make our own little indie game,” Freeburn says. “We’re all pretty big into games like Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy, so essentially we’d like to break away from Minecraft and create our own fully-fledged version of those games.”

‘Street Fighter Saved My Life’ — One Man’s Journey From Prison to eSport Pro

The post From Blocks To Bucks: How An 18-year-old Gamer Built a Business Inside Minecraft appeared first on FANDOM.

FANDOM

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Japan business mood steady but outlook sours: BOJ tankan

Confidence among Japan’s big firms remained unchanged from three months ago, a closely-watched central bank survey showed, but sentiment on the outlook soured for the first time in three quarters as trade frictions and global growth concerns hurt the business mood.


Reuters: Business News

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Jos. A. Bank: Daily Deals From Jos. A. Bank – Get Up to 75% Off!

“What’s Free?”: Jay-Z Shares Lessons in Business and Ownership on Meek Mill’s New Album

Just months after being released from prison for violating probation, rapper Robert Rihmeek Williams, best known as Meek Mill, released a much-anticipated album last week. The album, titled Championships, features hardcore beats, a rotation of hip hop superstars, including Cardi B and Drake, and a powerful message about Meek’s road to redemption.

On the standout track “What’s Free?” Meek teamed up with hip hop heavyweights Jay-Z and Rick Ross, who rap about their definition of freedom over the beat from Biggie Smalls’ 1997 classic “What’s Beef?” Jay-Z, however, outshines his cohorts with an exceptional verse, using his lyrical prowess to drop knowledge about the struggle for black liberation and allegedly take shots at the MAGA-loving Kanye West. In addition, the Brooklyn-born rapper boasts about his lucrative business investments and the massive accumulation of wealth he’s built over the years.

Here are eight lessons Jay-Z shared about business, ownership, and financial freedom on “What’s Free?”

Meek Mill

Spotify Fans first event for Meek Mill’s new album, Championships, in New York on December 1, 2018 (Photo Credit: Francis Montoya / SlingShotMenace, LLC)

“I’m 50% of D’usse and it’s debt free”

In this lyric, Jay-Z raps about his profitable stake in D’usse. The hip hop icon tapped into his personal savings to purchase equity in the cognac brand back in 2011. Because he did not have a need for financing, he was left with no debt and has reaped tremendous profits. In addition to being a partial owner, the mega-mogul also serves as head of global strategy for the brand.

 

“100% of Ace of Spades, worth half a B”

Jay-Z brags about his ownership of Armand de Brignac, a champagne popularly known as Ace of Spades. He expressed his affinity for the brand by featuring it in his rhymes and videos long before he bought the champagne from Sovereign Brands for an undisclosed amount in 2014. His brilliant marketing has, in turn, made Ace of Spades one of the most popular Champagne brands on the market and a staple at high-end clubs, bars, and establishments. Today, the luxury champagne can cost up to $ 1,000 per bottle, while the value of the company has skyrocketed.

 

“Roc Nation, half of that, that’s my piece”

Here, Jay-Z shouts out another part of his business empire, Roc Nation, a multi-platform entertainment company he founded in 2008. The company specializes in artist management, music publishing, concert touring and production, and film and TV production. It also serves as a talent and sports agency that represents A-list clients like Shakira, Rihanna, NBA star Kevin Durant, and NFL player Victor Cruz.

 

“100% of Tidal to bust it up with my Gs”

The successful rapper and entrepreneur goes on to highlight his music platform Tidal, a subscription-based streaming service he purchased in 2015, along with a variety of other high-profile music artists. Last year, he sold 33% of the company to Sprint for $ 200 million, raising the valuation of the company to $ 600 million.

 

“We made the project a wave; You came back, reinvested and gentrified it”

This line is a reference to the gentrification of low-income communities, an epidemic that disproportionately hurts people of color. The invasion of real estate investors, who are often wealthy and white, in these areas drives up rents and the cost of living, which leads to the displacement of working-class residents as well as the erasure of the neighborhood’s character. That’s why Jay is stressing the importance of ownership — without it, people of color can be stripped of their land, culture, and identity.

 

“I ain’t got a billion streams, got a billion dollars”

A large part of Hov’s discography has been removed from Tidal’s music-streaming competitors, like Spotify and Apple Music. The move cost the rap mogul tons of streams. Nevertheless, its smart business moves like this that have made him the highest-earning rapper of 2018. The decision also speaks to his acumen as a businessman who is willing to make a personal career sacrifice for the ultimate benefit of his business.

 

“Them people stole the soul and hit ni—s with 360s”

Jay-Z addresses how hip hop, which began as a medium of expression for African Americans, has been co-opted by big businesses and major record labels who earn major profits from artists who sign 360 deals. These notorious contracts give labels a stake in the revenue an artist generates from touring, performing, selling merchandise, endorsements, and appearing in movies and television.  According to Jay, the deal is equivalent to someone selling their soul.

He, on the other hand, has bought the masters rights to his music. This ownership gives him leverage to use the masters to bargain the terms of a contract with a company or platform that wants access to his catalog.

 

“My accountant’s so good, I’m practically livin’ tax-free”

Like many wealthy elites, Jay-Z uses loopholes and provisions in U.S. tax law for his own financial advantage. The mogul raps about how his tax advisors prevent him from unnecessary taxation and allow him to submit the minimum amount on his tax returns. For example, in 2011, Jay-Z and Kanye West donated the Maybach used in their “Otis” music video to auction and used the proceeds to benefit the drought crisis in East Africa. As a result, the donation was tax-deductible.

The post “What’s Free?”: Jay-Z Shares Lessons in Business and Ownership on Meek Mill’s New Album appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

“What’s Free?”: Jay-Z Shares Lessons in Business and Ownership on Meek Mill’s New Album

Just months after being released from prison for violating probation, rapper Robert Rihmeek Williams, best known as Meek Mill, released a much-anticipated album last week. The album, titled Championships, features hardcore beats, a rotation of hip hop superstars, including Cardi B and Drake, and a powerful message about Meek’s road to redemption.

On the standout track “What’s Free?” Meek teamed up with hip hop heavyweights Jay-Z and Rick Ross, who rap about their definition of freedom over the beat from Biggie Smalls’ 1997 classic “What’s Beef?” Jay-Z, however, outshines his cohorts with an exceptional verse, using his lyrical prowess to drop knowledge about the struggle for black liberation and allegedly take shots at the MAGA-loving Kanye West. In addition, the Brooklyn-born rapper boasts about his lucrative business investments and the massive accumulation of wealth he’s built over the years.

Here are eight lessons Jay-Z shared about business, ownership, and financial freedom on “What’s Free?”

Meek Mill

Spotify Fans first event for Meek Mill’s new album, Championships, in New York on December 1, 2018 (Photo Credit: Francis Montoya / SlingShotMenace, LLC)

“I’m 50% of D’usse and it’s debt free”

In this lyric, Jay-Z raps about his profitable stake in D’usse. The hip hop icon tapped into his personal savings to purchase equity in the cognac brand back in 2011. Because he did not have a need for financing, he was left with no debt and has reaped tremendous profits. In addition to being a partial owner, the mega-mogul also serves as head of global strategy for the brand.

 

“100% of Ace of Spades, worth half a B”

Jay-Z brags about his ownership of Armand de Brignac, a champagne popularly known as Ace of Spades. He expressed his affinity for the brand by featuring it in his rhymes and videos long before he bought the champagne from Sovereign Brands for an undisclosed amount in 2014. His brilliant marketing has, in turn, made Ace of Spades one of the most popular Champagne brands on the market and a staple at high-end clubs, bars, and establishments. Today, the luxury champagne can cost up to $ 1,000 per bottle, while the value of the company has skyrocketed.

 

“Roc Nation, half of that, that’s my piece”

Here, Jay-Z shouts out another part of his business empire, Roc Nation, a multi-platform entertainment company he founded in 2008. The company specializes in artist management, music publishing, concert touring and production, and film and TV production. It also serves as a talent and sports agency that represents A-list clients like Shakira, Rihanna, NBA star Kevin Durant, and NFL player Victor Cruz.

 

“100% of Tidal to bust it up with my Gs”

The successful rapper and entrepreneur goes on to highlight his music platform Tidal, a subscription-based streaming service he purchased in 2015, along with a variety of other high-profile music artists. Last year, he sold 33% of the company to Sprint for $ 200 million, raising the valuation of the company to $ 600 million.

 

“We made the project a wave; You came back, reinvested and gentrified it”

This line is a reference to the gentrification of low-income communities, an epidemic that disproportionately hurts people of color. The invasion of real estate investors, who are often wealthy and white, in these areas drives up rents and the cost of living, which leads to the displacement of working-class residents as well as the erasure of the neighborhood’s character. That’s why Jay is stressing the importance of ownership — without it, people of color can be stripped of their land, culture, and identity.

 

“I ain’t got a billion streams, got a billion dollars”

A large part of Hov’s discography has been removed from Tidal’s music-streaming competitors, like Spotify and Apple Music. The move cost the rap mogul tons of streams. Nevertheless, its smart business moves like this that have made him the highest-earning rapper of 2018. The decision also speaks to his acumen as a businessman who is willing to make a personal career sacrifice for the ultimate benefit of his business.

 

“Them people stole the soul and hit ni—s with 360s”

Jay-Z addresses how hip hop, which began as a medium of expression for African Americans, has been co-opted by big businesses and major record labels who earn major profits from artists who sign 360 deals. These notorious contracts give labels a stake in the revenue an artist generates from touring, performing, selling merchandise, endorsements, and appearing in movies and television.  According to Jay, the deal is equivalent to someone selling their soul.

He, on the other hand, has bought the masters rights to his music. This ownership gives him leverage to use the masters to bargain the terms of a contract with a company or platform that wants access to his catalog.

 

“My accountant’s so good, I’m practically livin’ tax-free”

Like many wealthy elites, Jay-Z uses loopholes and provisions in U.S. tax law for his own financial advantage. The mogul raps about how his tax advisors prevent him from unnecessary taxation and allow him to submit the minimum amount on his tax returns. For example, in 2011, Jay-Z and Kanye West donated the Maybach used in their “Otis” music video to auction and used the proceeds to benefit the drought crisis in East Africa. As a result, the donation was tax-deductible.

The post “What’s Free?”: Jay-Z Shares Lessons in Business and Ownership on Meek Mill’s New Album appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

US firms doing business in China now vulnerable after Huawei arrest: Former US trade advisor

There's a good chance the Chinese will retaliate for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou by targeting American businesses in China, says former assistant U.S. trade representative Jeff Moon.
Economy

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‘It’s a Good Check.’ ‘Real Housewife’ Kandi Burruss Is Still Making Money Off ‘No Scrubs’ and Now Has Her Own Sex Toy Business

Kandi Burruss is so much more than a housewife — she’s a bona fide businesswoman.

Sure, she’s in her 10th season as cast member on the ever-dramatic Bravo show Real Housewives of Atlanta. But she’s also a Grammy winner who co-wrote the TLC girl power anthem “No Scrubs.” She runs a sex toy company, a boutique and a unisex children’s lifestyle brand. She has 5.8 million Instagram followers. Last year, she went on a reunion tour with her band, Xscape; earlier this year, she performed in Chicago on Broadway. In the past two months alone, she opened a new location of her Southern restaurant Old Lady Gang, dropped a single called “Ready for This” — complete with a parental advisory sticker — and hosted a dungeon party.

“What’s the point of having this huge platform if you are not benefiting off of it?” she says about her multifaceted empire.

Burruss sat down with MONEY on a recent trip to New York City. She talked about her childhood spending habits, the royalties she’s earning from Ed Sheeran and why she’s determined to have a better financial strategy than most entertainers.

How did you think about money when you were growing up?

I was a saver as a kid. That was my thing — I always wanted to make sure I had something [stashed away], you know?

My mom used to drive me to the neighborhoods with big fancy houses and stuff. We’d ride around all the time and dream — like, “Oh, one day we’re going to have a house like that.” It’s really crazy to me now that I can afford any of those houses.

Did you make a big purchase with your first paycheck?

[Xscape] signed our first record deal when I was 16. I only got a few thousand dollars, but my mom was like, ‘OK, we’ll put this with my money’ and we purchased the house across the street from where we lived. That was my first investment — with my mom.

After that, I just really wanted to save. As soon as we had our first hit record and we started doing shows, all my other group members went and bought Benzes and different things. But I wanted to see a certain amount of money in my bank account. I remember I was like, “I will not spend a dollar until I can see $ 100,000 in my account.”

[Then] I finally purchased a car. I put some money down on it so that I could establish credit.

What kind of car was it?

It was a BMW 325i. It was blue, and I had painted all my trimming to match. I wanted it to look like the M class, even though it wasn’t. So I just painted it and got the rims that matched it. You couldn’t tell the difference.

You’ve said before that you once got a great money tip from LL Cool J. What was it?

When I was 19, I put a downpayment on my first home [after moving out]. Shortly after that, our group went on tour with LL Cool J. He gave us advice: Always have at least one house and one car that you own. He was like, “Every time you get a check, put a little bit down on the principal. It doesn’t matter how much — put something. Because then it will cut years off the loan.”

I never really thought about it before then. When I got back home, I looked at my payment statement. I [saw] all the money that went toward interest, and only a little bit every month was going toward the notes. I was like, “OK, he’s onto something.”

When you’re in the entertainment business, it’s very unpredictable. You could be hot right now, and for the next 10 years a person could be making millions of dollars, right? So they start basing their life off of what they’re making at that moment.

But a lot of people are getting 30-year mortgages, 15-year mortgages. Fifteen years from now, you may not be poppin’ like that no more. In 30 years, you definitely will not. How often are people hot for that long? If you don’t set yourself up, you will just find yourself in a position of a lot of other entertainers we see: going bankrupt, losing their homes, not being able to afford their lifestyle. If you set yourself up in the beginning, later on down the line you’ll be better off.

And now you have several diverse income streams.

It was intentional. I wanted to have businesses outside of music that were still poppin’.

I had a friend who had clothing stores that were successful, so I kept bugging her about partnering up to do TAGS [Boutique]. Before that, I managed other artists. Later on, [for] Bedroom Kandi… I partnered up with a company that had a toy that could vibrate to music. I was like, “I do music, and I want adult products — heeey!” Now it’s a whole line. We’ve moved into bath and body products and makeup.

How do you leverage Real Housewives of Atlanta to make money?

When you’re first starting on reality TV, they’re not really trying to pay you much. I was like, “It’s not like I need them to be popular. I’ve already been on TV and in music before.” I didn’t think it was going to do anything for my career. I did it on a fluke.

I gained a lot of fans that year, but my thoughts were [that] the money has to match my popularity. I had to make it bigger than the show.

So I was like, “OK, every year when they see me on the show, they will see me accomplish something.” It’s my timeline. If I speak anything on that show and say it’s something I want to do, it is a rule of thumb for me and my team — it has to happen. I am going to be a person of my word. You know how you joke about a lot of reality stars — they’re always talking about something and you never see the product? I won’t be that girl. I don’t get a kick out of just arguing with people all day. That doesn’t do me any good. You have to find other ways to make it make sense for you.

Are you still getting a lot of money from “No Scrubs”?

Uh, yeah. Ed Sheeran used “No Scrubs” in his song [“Shape of You”], so we now are co-writers on his song. Because you can’t just use somebody’s song — it doesn’t work like that. So basically he uses our song, we got a percentage of his. It ended up getting awards; it was huge. It was like the most streamed song. There are some nice royalties.

Besides that, I constantly get royalties off my old songs. “No Scrubs,” [Destiny’s Child’s] “Bills, Bills, Bills” — people still play them a lot in movies, television, and I get license fees. It’s a good check every year.

You recently threw a star-studded dungeon party with tickets starting at $ 35, and it sold out in four days. Are there more coming?

We plan on taking it on tour. Right now we are researching venues and cities. Hopefully we can do that in early 2019.

[Also,] we’re going to get another restaurant, which is not going to be just Old Lady Gang, it’s going to be different. I haven’t told anybody.

Are you passing any money lessons onto your kids?

I need to do a better job of passing it on, because my daughter is spending way too much money right now. Before she was driving, Uber was connected to my credit card; UberEATS was connected to my credit card. She was randomly ordering stuff everyday. I put a little bit of money in her account, and one day she was down to a dollar. I was like, “Girl, you can’t do that.”

This interview has been edited and condensed.


Entertainment – TIME

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How To Shop Small Business Saturday

If Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s emphasis on consumerism is just too much for you, there is a viable option to search for unique Christmas gifts while supporting local, small and Black businesses. The less popular Small Business Saturday option encourages shoppers to patronize small businesses, whether in person or online. Here are a few tips to make the best of the day.

Stay local:

Small businesses tend to depend on foot traffic as opposed to the big advertising budgets that big box stores and department stores can command. Seek out the stores in your city or are that are part of the main street or shopping area instead of the mall.

These stores are often either run by craftsmen and women local to the area, or they buy from them. Jewelry, personal care gifts and clothing are usually what they have to offer, so focus your shopping for those items on those stores instead of the big retailers.

Buy Black:

Black-owned retailers often struggle to get the attention of consumers in a crowded marketplace. With super sales going on through the holiday weekend, it’s hard for smaller businesses to find their audience.

If you can, this is a great time to support them, whether in person or online, as many of these smaller businesses don’t have brick and mortar stores. Also, don’t forget Instagram, where a number of online retailers have handmade crafts, jewelry, fitness, clothing and food businesses. Try the hashtag #blackowned to see what might be available.

Here’s one list of Black-owned businesses. 

Eat at a local restaurant, not a chain.

All this holiday shopping can work up quite an appetite. But instead of going to your local Applebee’s, check out a local small restaurant instead. Most folks know the Black-owned restaurant in their area, and if you don’t, you can usually find them via the city’s visitor’s center. Philadelphia, for example, has a listing of the city’s Black-owned businesses, including restaurants. If you call the local visitor’s center in most cities, they can identify the local Black-owned businesses as well.

Give to charity, business or support a cause.

Although it’s technically not small business, there are local and national charities that could use your help. As it’s getting close to the end of the year, it makes fiscal sense to give. You can choose to give to a small business by using Kiva, a micro-lending service that helps small businesses directly.

You can look through a bunch of pitches both locally and around the world and find a business you want to support, with as little as $ 15. You can also support a GoFundMe – recent ones have included money for Jamel Roberson’s family and Aisha Fraser’s daughters,

You can also give to deserving causes like the Tom Joyner Foundation, which supports HBCU’s, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Urban League, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or The Innocence Project, which helps wrongfully convicted prisoners get new trials.


HEAD BACK TO THE BLACKAMERICAWEB.COM HOMEPAGE

 

 

Life & Style – Black America Web

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U.S. Business Inventories Rise In Line With Estimates In September

Business inventories in the U.S. increased in line with economist estimates in the month of September, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday.
RTT – Economic News

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Spread the Local Love and Shop Small On Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24

Let’s be honest with ourselves: Black Friday is flat-out tiresome.

You wake up way too early — when you should still be sleeping off your Thanksgiving food coma — to go stand out in the cold and pray you don’t get elbowed in the face for a TV that is barely discounted.

Allow me to present an alternative for your holiday shopping: Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday takes place on Nov. 24 this year and is exactly what it sounds like: an annual day that encourages holiday shoppers to patronize their local small businesses.

American Express first launched the day in 2010 to help bolster local businesses that were hurting due to the recession. It gained momentum quickly, and by 2011, representatives in all 50 states were participating in the “Shop Small” movement.

A survey by American Express estimates that upwards of $ 85 million has been spent at local, independent businesses since the event’s inception, and 90% feel that it has positively impacted their communities.

So this year, tell Black Friday, “It’s not me, it’s you,” and circle Saturday on your calendar.

How to Participate in Small Business Saturday

Cards are displayed at a local shop.

Whether you’re a consumer, small business owner or simply a local business supporter, there are plenty of ways you can contribute to Saturday’s Shop Small initiative.

If you’re a local shop owner and want to get involved with Small Business Saturday, head on over to the official website. You’ll find downloadable posters, event flyers, email templates, planning checklists and more — they’re customizable and free!

Don’t forget to use social media to your advantage. The Small Business Saturday site has downloadable social posts. Or, you can freestyle and do your own thing — just be sure to use #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat hashtags.

The site also offers how-to videos for inspiration and ideas for special events you can hold to attract customers.

And just because it isn’t Black Friday doesn’t mean you can’t offer deals to bring in business. Feature a special Shop Small discount or showcase your most holiday-shopping-worthy items.

People who don’t own a shop but still want to support local business have options, too. Small Business Saturday has official “Neighborhood Champions.” Their job is to spread the word, assist local businesses with participation, organize events and pass out Shop Small swag to passersby.

In 2017, over 7,200 individuals and organizations signed up to serve as event champions.

You can check out your local volunteers here if you’re interested in reaching out for information about events in your area. And while the application period to be an official Neighborhood Champion for this year has ended, you can unofficially spread the word and then sign up next year.

Lastly, if you’re just a consumer looking for the perfect gift for Dad, get out on Saturday and shop local!

Skip the Starbucks latte and grab some caffeine from your neighborhood café. Venture out in your neighborhood to find a new, funky boutique that offers something you wouldn’t find in the mall. And finish your day of shopping at a locally owned restaurant.

Keep an eye out for those Shop Small posters in store windows, or check out this map to find participating businesses in your area.

And don’t forget to show off your purchases on social media with the official hashtags (as if you weren’t going to do that anyway.)

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She only participated in Black Friday once and decided to never do it again — but Small Business Saturday is definitely her jam.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

The Penny Hoarder

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Beauty Entrepreneur turned $100 into a Fully-Fledged Business [Video]

Model and beauty entrepreneur Tatiana Elizabeth Price created skinBUTTR out of the comfort of her home. Coming to the conclusion that she wasn’t the only person dealing with skin issues, she leaped into action and turned her passion into a business. After investing $ 100 into a Shopify account, she created a product, posted it on the site, and started generating revenue. The skincare line has now grown to include multiple products that consist of toners, facial masks, cleansers, exfoliators, and moisturizers.

“I started skinBUTTR about four years ago,” said Price. “I figured these products might help other people as well, so I went to school for esthetics and I figured how I could make my products appeal to more people than just myself.”

SkinButtr

(Image: skinBUTTR)

What was once a hobby quickly became a fully-fledged business for the young entrepreneur. She now balances her business with her modeling career—she is currently signed to State Management—and her day-to-day activities as a beauty influencer.

“As easy as it looks, it’s not that simple being an influencer,” said Price. “You have to conform to deadlines, make sure that your content is consistent, and make sure that your audience is actually relating to your content, all while making sure that you are staying true to who you are.”

Watch the full episode of Price’s inspiring journey and witness what one of her days consists of as she takes over the MGM properties with three other notable influencers: food stylist and blogger Megan Hysaw; model and actor Keith Carlos; and model, rapper, and actor Don Benjamin.

 


The Takeover is a web series that gives you a bird’s eye view into the life of four influencers and the BLACK ENTERPRISE team as they take over the MGM properties exploring all the amazing attractions that the resort has to offer. This series is powered by MGM Resorts. 

The post Beauty Entrepreneur turned $ 100 into a Fully-Fledged Business [Video] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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Beauty Entrepreneur turned $100 into a Fully-Fledged Business [Video]

Model and beauty entrepreneur Tatiana Elizabeth Price created skinBUTTR out of the comfort of her home. Coming to the conclusion that she wasn’t the only person dealing with skin issues, she leaped into action and turned her passion into a business. After investing $ 100 into a Shopify account, she created a product, posted it on the site, and started generating revenue. The skincare line has now grown to include multiple products that consist of toners, facial masks, cleansers, exfoliators, and moisturizers.

“I started skinBUTTR about four years ago,” said Price. “I figured these products might help other people as well, so I went to school for esthetics and I figured how I could make my products appeal to more people than just myself.”

SkinButtr

(Image: skinBUTTR)

What was once a hobby quickly became a fully-fledged business for the young entrepreneur. She now balances her business with her modeling career—she is currently signed to State Management—and her day-to-day activities as a beauty influencer.

“As easy as it looks, it’s not that simple being an influencer,” said Price. “You have to conform to deadlines, make sure that your content is consistent, and make sure that your audience is actually relating to your content, all while making sure that you are staying true to who you are.”

Watch the full episode of Price’s inspiring journey and witness what one of her days consists of as she takes over the MGM properties with three other notable influencers: food stylist and blogger Megan Hysaw; model and actor Keith Carlos; and model, rapper, and actor Don Benjamin.

 


The Takeover is a web series that gives you a bird’s eye view into the life of four influencers and the BLACK ENTERPRISE team as they take over the MGM properties exploring all the amazing attractions that the resort has to offer. This series is powered by MGM Resorts. 

The post Beauty Entrepreneur turned $ 100 into a Fully-Fledged Business [Video] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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