5 Reasons Your Brand Isn’t Growing

5 Reasons Your Brand Isn't Growing | The B Werd

1) You Haven’t Started

You’ve had this burning urge to do more but have yet to narrow down exactly what it is that you should be doing. You’ve been imagining the ideas that you have come to fruition month after month but haven’t taken the first step to get the ball rolling. What are you waiting on? I guarantee you that getting started was the most difficult part of my brand and business. Once I decided to move forward, everything else naturally fell into place and began to build organically. Now I’m not saying it was easy just because I started, but it was much easier than sitting around knowing I wasn’t maximizing my full potential. We don’t know where to start, we don’t have time to start, we start and then second guess ourselves ending up back at square one. In the time it’s going to take you to read this blog post, you could’ve already purchased a domain name or created a YouTube page. Staying where you are will never end in progress. Take a single step forward towards what it is you want to do and let the rest follow.

2) You Don’t Know Your Audience

You’re throwing out bait, yet no one is biting.  If you’re pitching to a room full of people and not a single person is interested in what you’re offering, you’re in the wrong room. You will attract the ideal client by acting as if you’re always talking to your ideal client. Think strategically about what you’re trying to accomplish and build communities around that. My audience is likely an educated millennial woman of color between the age of 18 and 35 who either works corporate or are striving to build independent businesses. If those aren’t all facts, it’s something my reader is striving to achieve. I know exactly who I’m talking to. If your product is providing tutoring services to students for standardized testing, then your audience are the parents of students who take standardized tests, not necessarily your Facebook friends from high school. Don’t talk into an empty room.

3) Your “Why” is Wrong

People who do things for the wrong reasons often don’t make it too far. Money is exciting, believe me… I know. But doing something you dread for cash will get old sooner than later. When it comes to longevity, the reason “why” you’re doing what you do should be genuine and built around something you’re either exceptionally good at, passionate about or preferably both. Passion will forever outlive the lifespan of a dollar bill.

4) You Don’t Believe in What You’re Doing

How you perceive yourself tells others how to perceive you. The reason why the term “fake it tie you make it” is so popular is because people believe what you believe about yourself. If you’re timid about your product, your expertise or your beliefs, your credibility dwindles. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be you. You have to trust what you’re doing and saying before anyone else will.

5) No One Knows What you Offer

You’re all over the place. When you’re marketing to what you believe to be your target audience, no one knows what you offer. One day it’s thrift store finds and the next it’s a hair tutorial. When people visit your social media channels they can’t decipher what your services are or what you’re passionate about. They don’t know if you plan parties, or just like to party. They can’t tell that you’re an expert in web design if all of your photos are selfies. Be upfront about what it is that you do and design your social media channels around portraying just that so your brand is clear.

If you’re having trouble determining the details of your brand or mapping the direction you’d wish it would go, I’ve created a Brand Beginnings Werkbook to walk you right through that. Within the upcoming weeks, I will be taking on one-on-one clients in need of brand development + blogging direction. I’m really excited to watch all of your ideas come to life!

Spring Cleaning For Your Finances

Spring Cleaning For Your Finances | The B Werd

Financially,  Christmas always seems to set me back. Even after receiving a well deserved bonus, the expensive gifts and dinner parties add up. That’s then followed by New Years that requires a fancy outfit and a case of pricey champagne, along with my birthday where I of course have to celebrate out of the country. By the time the first quarter of the year had blown past, I was barely looking up in a financial haze wondering why my savings hadn’t inched the past three months. Now that it’s Spring, I’ve got a good a good grasp on what I should be spending and what I should be holding onto. I take this time to clean up my accounts and take a close look at where my money’s going so I can financially plan out the rest of my year. It’s not about how much you make, it’s about how much you keep. Here are some ways you can Spring clean your finances –

Revisit your Expenses

Take a look at your monthly expenses and see what areas can be cut. Contact your cable and phone companies and see what new promotions they have going on that can be honored on your behalf. Did you only make it to two of the spin classes that you pay extra for 24 Hour Fitness? Downgrade your membership so you’re not throwing money away. We get so comfortable expecting our monthly expenses to come out of our accounts that we end up giving up money that we could be keeping. What can you cut back on or give up that will leave more money in your checking account?

Check your Interest Rates

Interest is known to keep people in debt three times as long as it would’ve taken them to pay it off, so it’s three times more important that you’re aware of your interest rate than it is to be aware of the price tag amount for anything you purchase. Now is the perfect time to review the interest rates on your credit cards, car loans, mortgage and student loans. If you’ve had your credit cards for a over a year and have a good rapport with your creditor, call and ask about attaining a lower interest rate. If I’ve received offers from other banks, I don’t hesitate to let them know that so-and-so is offering me 2% less for a higher line of credit. Also keep is mind, should they be unwilling to work with you, you always have the option of transferring your credit card balances over to a company who will give you a lower interest rate. Consider refinancing your car or mortgage payments if better offers become available.

Adjust Your Savings

Are you making more or less money than you did last year and how is that in comparison to your expenses? If your income has increased, so should the monthly amount of savings you’re putting up. I put up about 20% of my salary and suggest that you’d try between 15-18%. The reason why we still feel broke even when we make more money is because we spend more instead of adjusting our percentages to leverage our income.

Check your Credit

Not only is it important to know your credit score, but it’s also imperative that you monitor it to ensure all of the open lines of credit and inquiries belong to you. Dispute any discrepancies that you find immediately. Update any of your information that doesn’t reflect as accurate. Some banks will offer free weekly or monthly credit reports, but if not take advantage of the free credit check apps that are available.

Get Rid of Stuff

That’s right, spring cleaning can actually make you some money. All the stuff you’ve hoarded, collected, and never used over the past year can go. Try selling clothing items on Poshmark, LetGo or even stores like Buffalo Exchange. Something is better than nothing. Old electronics and gadgets can be sold on Ebay and if all else fails, yard sells still make money! For whatever you can’t seem to sell, donate to Goodwill or another non-profit organization for a tax deduction.

The Importance of a Healthy Dose of Selfishness

The Importance of a Healthy Dose of Selfishness | The B Werd

I’ve always been a pretty selfish individual, which isn’t easy to openly admit nor is it something I’m necessarily proud of; but it is indeed a fact. Admitting I care most about myself isn’t a characteristic that easily flows out of my mouth simply because selfishness is accompanied by so many negative stereotypes. I’m a compassionate person and will happily help anyone in need, but I’ve always been this way – selfish. Even as a little girl I can recall thoughts of not wanting to play unless we could play what I wanted. My way or the highway type of gal. I’m the type of woman who wants things exactly how she imagines them and I can say because of that, I’ve been able to build things around me exactly how I wanted them based solely off of my unwillingness to budge.

Starting this blog took me down a path I didn’t expect and while I’m so amazed with where it’s lead, it’s also opened up a new level of selfishness for me. I initially did not realize how much time I was going to have to commit to this brand in order to see results and experience growth. There are seven days in a week. I spend five of those committing eight hours to a company that leaves me a couple of hours every evening for myself, with two days left to either catch up on sleep or work my ass off before Monday comes again. Once I got serious about where I was going to take this, I had to get incredibly decisive about where my money, resources and even where my thoughts would be spent. Most importantly, I had to get even more selfish with how I spent my time.

I’ve had to selfishly choose my work over friends birthday brunches, or family vacations. I’ve had to choose putting together blog posts over weeknight dinner dates. I’ve had to put off dating in general because I didn’t have the time to give and didn’t want to offer any man less than what I felt he deserved from me (because ya know, the thought of half-assing anything makes me cringe). My time is so limited that I have no choice but to capitalize on it when it becomes available. Whether I’m using it to work on something new, shoot photos, or brainstorm content, the fact of the matter is, I need the time. I’ve never been afraid to tell anyone no, but even still, I’ve struggled with the guilt that comes with selfishness, often feeling like I’m a bad friend, a bad sister or a bad employee because I have to skip out of the office at 4:59 pm.

To better help myself,  I had to rearrange my thinking. Instead of feeling selfish for putting my priorities first, I began telling myself that I was respecting my time. Selfishness is putting your wants over the needs of others, while self-respect is putting your needs over the wants of others. I have an agenda that I need to fulfill and I can’t feel bad about that. It’s easy to feel condemned about your decisions when you’re attempting to better yourself. There are fathers who spend years away from their children serving in the military as a way to provide. There are teens who leave their single mothers alone to care for their siblings so they can go off to college and lead by example. What’s considered selfish to some is respectable to others.

The way I view it is that nothing I do is strictly for me. This blog is for you. All of the work that I do is for other young women who are walking the same path, wanting more and willing to go after it. Any product that I put together is to enhance another woman’s thinking and to put her one step closer to her goals. I’m becoming something that my future children will appreciate as an example; someone that will make my nephews think twice about who they bring home. You must first serve yourself in order to be of service to others. Respect yourself enough to make selfish decisions when it comes to your dreams.

Boss Ladies | How You’re Using LinkedIn Wrong Ft. Alexia Clincy

Boss Ladies | How You're Using LinkedIn Wrong Ft. Alexia Clincy

I would imagine that any business professional would have a LinkedIn account that they’re active on, but the more conversations I started to have with other millennials about business networking, the more I realized I was wrong. Not only are people not on this social media platform built specifically for business, many of them who are feel like they’re not getting anything out of having a LinkedIn account. When used correctly, LinkedIn is proven to be a lucrative platform for finding work, allowing work to find you, building your professional networks and landing dream jobs, but how do we make sure we got those results?

I reached out to Alexia Clincy, founder of Capitalize Social, a company that teaches businesses and corporations how to take full advantage of social media in order to broaden brand awareness, generate leads, and take their business to astronomical heights, to get some expert insight on what we’re doing wrong when it comes to LinkedIn. I asked her the most common LinkedIn questions I discuss with other women and men my age and here’s what she had to say –

What exactly should I be using LinkedIn for?

I don’t see many people using LinkedIn as regularly as they should, but it is definitely my second favorite social networking site after Twitter. Finding new opportunities is all about networking and getting to know new people, and LinkedIn provides the perfect platform for doing so on a professional level. You can use LinkedIn to find a new job, hire an employee, get connected with executives from literally any Fortune 500 company, and build networks with peers who can serve as partners or referral sources. If you’re new to LinkedIn, the first thing you’ll want to do is establish your objectives; so think about who it would benefit you to know, and go from there.

What strategies should I be using to get the most out of the platform?

The first thing you must know about LinkedIn is that it is SEO based and that profiles are ranked based on keywords and relevancy. That being said, it’s most important that you have a completed, keyword-stocked profile. In order for your profile to even be considered complete, it must have the following: industry & location, current position & description, two more positions, education, at least 5 skills, a profile photo (please just use a professional headshot!!), at least 50 connections, and a summary. Now that you have those things and your profile is complete, you can increase your ranking by using keywords, getting recommendations, and publishing content.

One of the easiest but biggest LinkedIn secrets that I can share is to use a custom message when adding a new connection. We’ve all opened the email that dryly states ” [name] would like to be added to your network” – we then hit yes or no and go on about our day not giving that person another thought. So next time you add someone, change that default message to something more personal, for example:

It was great meeting you at the writers workshop yesterday and I would love to have you in my professional network. If I can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out.”

That last sentence is imperative. Networking isn’t about what you can take from others. Givers gain; and this is a huge part of creating trustworthy relationships with people who will want to help you because you’ve also made yourself available to them. When accepting a connection request, I also reply with a similar personal message. This opens up the floor for a little back and forth, which also makes you more memorable.

Also be sure to use the “who’s viewed my profile” functionality. They’ve minimized the amount of information that you can see with a free profile; however, if you check every couple days, you’ll be able to catch most of your profile views. If someone you know has viewed your profile, send them a quick message just checking in. If someone that you do not know has viewed your profile and seems to be a valuable connection; also message them, but say “I noticed you viewed my profile, please do not hesitate to reach out if I can assist you in any way.” It seems creepy, but a lot of times people have landed on your page because they were looking for someone with your skill. By reaching out, you open the door to further communication and perhaps a job, client, referral, etc.

What is the biggest misconception with LinkedIn?

One of the biggest misconceptions that I hear with LinkedIn is “I’m not looking for a job, so I don’t need it.” You’ve heard the saying ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ right? Even though I partly believe that to be true, the fact remains that unless you’re branching out to connect with new people, you’ll be stuck with the same knowledge and same opportunities that you already have. Connect with others to a) genuinely help them however they may need it, and to b) build relationships with people who may be in a position to assist you in the future – whether you’re looking for employment or not.

If I don’t feel like LinkedIn is beneficial for me, am I doing something wrong?

It’s quite possible that this isn’t the best or most effective platform for your networking growth. If you are in sales, a business owner, or do any B2B work, I would say that you NEED to be on LinkedIn. If you’re not seeing results, you probably aren’t engaging with users enough. As with most social networking sites, the more you use LinkedIn, the more you will see results. Try posting updates and publishing posts that both provide value to your audience and give you credibility in your field. If you are consistently communicating with connections and providing valuable content, you’ll notice more people coming to you to fill whatever needs they may have.

Should I be searching for jobs or for people on LinkedIn?

I’d say to focus more on searching for people. When you can build relationships with individuals, they are more likely to put you in place for real human interaction when it comes to finding a job or achieving whatever objective you may have. Nowadays when you click on a link to apply for jobs, the process can be tedious and based on a computer scanning your answers to see if you make the cut or not. Instead, go through your networks to see if you know anyone at the company of your interest, or with the job you’re interested in and chat with them. If that person doesn’t exist, look for people in your network with close ties to someone in that position. Always be conversing with people in your network; and most importantly, aim to be a connector of people – even when it does not directly benefit you.

Connect with Alexia on LinkedIn to see how it’s done and follow her on Twitter for some invaluable gems. She’s truly one of a kind. Look forward to a follow-up post with more details on exactly how to optimize your LinkedIn profile in order to get the most out of your account.

Staying Organized with Erin Condren

Getting Organized with Erin Condren | The B Werd

We recently wrapped up the first quarter of the year and it seems like January was just yesterday. The first three months of 2017 at my 9-5 consisted of over $200K in events including a ski trip, a huge Astros event, two crawfish boils, an open house and an economic forecast. On top of that, I’ve been working on some things to ensure I’m providing you all with more of what’s going to help you personally along with expanding my brand onto YouTube, creating merchandise and eventually some courses to help you all live your own brands and narrow down your passions. I also squeezed three quick vacations in there too. Sounds like a whirlwind, right? It’s especially easy to lose that New Year motivation we had on January 1st right around this time and with my schedule, it’s even more difficult to keep everything organized. Things that I need to do pop up out of nowhere consistently in my life so when Erin Condren sent over a box full of help I was elated. It was exactly what I needed and came at the perfect time.

Getting Organized with Erin Condren | The B WerdGetting Organized with Erin Condren | The B Werd

When I finished college and began my post-grad career I was anxious and excited. Anxious to learn a lot, do well and prove my worth. Excited to be stepping into a different field that would grant me some new opportunities. Sticky notes just weren’t enough for me. A friend of mine who was a wedding planner swore by her Erin Condren Life Planner. I ordered one for myself and fell in love. I’m one of those girls who believes in bringing ideas into fruition by writing them down, reviewing them and then looking back to see what all you’ve accomplished and for that very reason, I still flip through my first Life Planner from 2014.

Getting Organized with Erin Condren | The B Werd

It wasn’t just a cute notebook that you write in, which I am so bad about collecting. It was a well thought out inspiring planner that not only helped you manage the million tasks in front of you, it inspired you. It’s filled with motivational notes that remind you what you were aiming for in the first place when you seem to forget. Oh and of course, it was cute! For 12 months I carried my planner around in my purse organizing tasks for work, brainstorming on businesses, listing out goals, even planning weekly meals inside of it. It truly is a life planner.

Getting Organized with Erin Condren | The B WerdGetting Organized with Erin Condren | The B Werd

I also ended up getting some personalized note cards. Never underestimate the impact of a handwritten note or thank you card. After every interview, every collaboration and every consultation with my brand building clients I write a personalized note to each of them and put it in the mail. It’s a candid way to express your gratitude and leave a lasting impression. You have to admit, checking your mailbox and having a card in there feels so much better than a text message or email.

Getting Organized with Erin Condren | The B Werd

I’ve already mapped out my next three months of my year, because as most of you know I like to plan in groups of 90-day periods. I include everything from my corporate job, to my business, to my personal life. All Erin Condren items can be purchased here and if you sign up for her newsletter you’ll save 10%. Every item comes in a array of colors and designs and is customization to keep the creative side of your mind engaged.. at least for me! Ha

Getting Organized with Erin Condren | The B Werd

*This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Erin Condren. The opinions and text are all mine*