Google x Chase Partners To Service Harlem’s Small Businesses

Google Digital Coaches Harlem

I recently attended JP Morgan’s “Harlem Innovation Lab Launch” with Google at their Chase Bank location on 125th street and Lenox Ave. What was once a typical bank branch has been partially transformed into an open creative space perfect for fireside chats and events. The location will now serve as the Harlem center for Google’s Digital Coaches program.

Google’s Digital Coaches program brings digital coaches and workshops to ‘communities that are underrepresented on the web as well as in Google’s customer base’. These workshops will focus on digital skills development for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. The Google Digital Coach for Harlem is Sandra Garcia Lowery. Lowery is a marketing and brand strategist whose resume includes companies like Clear Channel Outdoor, Time Warner Cable, CNNmoney.com and People Magazine to name a few. She is also a small business owner. Her company ‘Encounter’ is a full-service marketing and PR agency serving a variety of clients. Along with spearheading workshops at the branch, she will also be providing 1:1 coaching to small business owners.

Source:  @sandy_garlow
Event sponsors included Angela Yee’s new subscription based juice company  Drink Fresh Juice  &  Melba’s .

Event sponsors included Angela Yee’s new subscription based juice company Drink Fresh Juice & Melba’s.

For the night, Lowery served as the moderator for a fireside chat with The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee and Lauren Maillian, founder of LMB Group which is a strategic marketing and brand advisory company. There were many gems dropped that night but here are 3 major takeaways I got from the chat:

Live in permanent beta

Coined by Reid Hoffman (venture capitalist and LinkedIn co-founder) living in “permanent beta” is to always be improving your product/services by adapting and evolving to what's new. It’s working out the bugs (cause trust, there will be bugs) and never seeing a project as “finished” because there’s always something to improve on.

Marketing yourself doesn’t have to break your pockets

“Before The Breakfast Club and Sirius XM, I was in marketing,” said Angela Yee, one of the most well-known radio personalities in hip hop & pop culture. “Marketing has helped me a lot with everything that I’ve been doing. With very little money I’ve always been good with getting myself and my businesses out there. Networking consistently and marketing has helped get me to where I am because that’s what can set people apart from one another. When I worked at Sirius and I started doing radio, we didn’t have a budget for anything. I was always figuring out creative ways to do events and things of that nature. That really helped put me on the radar.”

Google Digital Coaches Harlem

Elevator pitch

Lauren Maillian says every entrepreneur should know three things… their mission, vision and values. Once you know those things you are on your way to creating a bomb elevator pitch! Questions to ask yourself:

1.) What is you/your business mission?

2.) What is the vision of your business and how what are you doing to achieve that vision?

3.) Lastly, what are your business values? What are the basic beliefs of your business? Are you working towards a cause?

Source: The Adam Report

Source: The Adam Report

The next talk at the Google X Chase “Harlem Innovative Lab” will be happening Tues. July 30th. Sandra Lowery will be speaking with restaurateurs Karl Franz (Solomon & Kuff, 67 Orange, Society Coffee) and Brian Washington-Palmer (co-owner of Ruby’s Vintage Kitchen), along with Henri Pierre-Jaques (Managing partner at Harlem Capital Partners) on overcoming ‘the trouble 2s’ in business. Feel free to RSVP here: bit.ly/HarlemCoach. See you in Harlem ✌🏾.

You’ve Landed Your First Client, Now What?

You've landed Your First Client.jpg

Congrats, you’ve landed your first client! So now what? Chances are you’ve spent so much time marketing yourself and creating funnels (God bless your heart if you’ve mastered this) that you’ve haven’t taken the time to figure out what’s next? What exactly will you need to do to make sure your first client doesn’t become your last client? No need to worry, I got you covered! These simple yet effective tips will have you ready conquer your first gig and move on to the next.

Get Organized

This is a good time to get your ducks in a row. What systems will you need to have in place for this client? Will you need any new tools or apps to manage your client? If so, will you need to pay for them or are they free? Also, will you need to create separate accounts for tools you already use like Dropbox or Gmail, or will creating separate folders be enough?

This is also a great time to get your calendar together. If this client requires you to come in or meet up on certain days, make sure those days are free.

*Make a grand list of everything you will be doing for your new client. From that list, identify what you will need (tools, available days, additional storage, etc.) and use that as a starting point to get yourself organized!

Be Consistent

Make your business hours clear to your client and make sure you’re available to respond to your client within 1 hour time during business hours. Even if it’s a note saying “Hey, I'm in a meeting and I will give get back to you within the next 2 hours”. You never want to go “radio silent” on any client, especially a new client. Being prompt and consistent is what's going to build you guys working relationship and help gain their trust. Always be available when you say you will be available.

And deliver on time! Don’t be the contractor that’s always a day or two behind. If you told them you're going to get them that report by EOD Thursday, send it EOD Thursday, not Friday morning.

Upsell when possible

I once worked as an ‘Influencer Consultant’ for an app where my main role was to recruit influencers to promote the app. Though it was a dope app, I realized that they really lacked in marketing especially when it came to social media marketing. After a couple of months I pitched myself to the founder to help create social media content for them. I honestly could have done this the first week because that’s when I realized they needed help with it. I decided to wait so I could first prove myself knowledge and reliability before approaching them about additional responsibilities. And it worked! I was soon bringing home 2 checks from 1 client.

* Anticipating a client’s needs is a great way to upsell your services. Ask yourself, “besides that they hired me for, what else does this client need help within their business? Is it something I can help them with?”. If the answer is yes, find the right time to approach them about taking on that task.

The Grind Doesn’t Stop

So now that you’ve taken the time to get organized for your new client, what’s next? Well, getting more clients of course! Very few of us are fortunate enough to land a single client that meets all of our financial goals on the first go around. Once you feel like you’ve gotten a handle on your first client, continue your marketing efforts to land new accounts. Don’t forget to update your portfolio/resume with your new role.

How To Land Your First Freelance Client

How To Land Your First Freelance Client

Over the years a lot of people have asked me "how do I start freelancing?" and honestly it's been a struggle for me to answer that. When I started freelancing in 2015 it was by chance. I created a blog about Harlem and I would constantly create cool graphics for it as well as promote it via social media and a monthly newsletter. Naturally, I added it to my LinkedIn profile and was then contacted by a recruiter who was looking for a few freelancers to do entry-level marketing/research work for a small marketing firm. I ended up landing the gig and before I knew it I was a freelancer! I soon started taking on more responsibilities within the marketing firm and started leveraging the work I did there to gain additional clients.

While it was a bit of "luck" involved in landing my first freelance gig, putting my work out there was really the first step to me gaining a client. So for everybody wondering "How do I start freelancing?", here are son helpful tips on how to land your first freelance client!

Portfolio

No one will know what you’re capable of unless you show them. If you don’t want to create a public online portfolio (though I highly suggest it) at minimum create a PDF or some type of presentation/package you can send to prospective clients.

Side Bar: When I started freelancing I didn't have a portfolio but I did have an informational blog where I included info about myself along with articles which served as an example of what my interests were as well as what I could do. If you're feeling overwhelmed by creating a portfolio or you feel you don't have enough work to put into a portfolio, starting with a blog may be a great option for you.

Create/Update Your LinkedIn

As I said, LinkedIn was where I got my first freelance opportunity. While having an online portfolio is a great way to direct potential clients to see your previous work, LinkedIn search options allow clients to come to you based on your profile and skill sets. It's like job searching while you sleep!

Attend Local Networking Events

Nothing beats good ol’ fashion face to face networking. You never know what opportunities are in the room. Approach it as looking to learn and build relationships rather than looking at it as a surefire way to get clients.

Networking is a process that should be implemented throughout your long term freelancing strategy. I recommend attending at least 2 networking events a month (even more if you can swing it ). Also, it's great to go to events targeting professionals in the field you will be freelancing in but also attend events that target your clients as well. For example, my freelance work is within marketing and content development so I often attend events geared towards entrepreneurs/small businesses looking for more marketing skills.

Remember: You just need one!

Don’t think that you need 5 or more clients out the gate because you probably don't have the systems in place to properly meet that volume of work. Take it slow. Slow and steady wins the race!

If you have any questions or suggestions on how to gain your first client feel free to hit me on social media or comment below!

What Is Influencer Marketing?

When I tell people I work in marketing and my specialty is influencer marketing, it’s usually followed by one question… What is influencer marketing? It’s honestly a fair question since it sounds much more complicated than it really is. Influencer marketing targets key influencers to help brands drive their message to larger audiences. So instead of directly telling potential customers they should buy a product or support their brand, they pay (or create some sort of incentive) for influencers to get the word out for them. Think about it: Would you be more inclined to try a new skin care product if...

a) you see an ad for it plastered across a bus on your way to work or,

b) your favorite beauty blogger created a post showing how their dry skin has improved since using the product?

Most will go with B.

So now that you know what influencer marketing is, how do you know if it’s right for your business or brand? Generally speaking I believe most brands, no matter the industry, can benefit from influencer marketing. I’ve worked on influencers campaigns for beauty brands, gaming apps, restaurants and other businesses. And here’s why:

  1. Cost Effectiveness: While major brands like NBC (who used influencer marketing to draw millennials to the Rio Olympics Gameshave the luxury of sparing no expenses when it comes to creating marketing campaigns, influencer campaigns also works with smaller brands who have much smaller budgets. For example, a clothing brand can incentivize fashion bloggers and influencers to write or post about the brand simply by providing them with product if they haven’t gotten to the point where they can afford to pay influencers.
  2. Innovation: Collaboration often brings forth the best ideas. Working with influencers can cause you to think about marketing your brand or product in ways traditional advertising wouldn't.  Also consumers are tired of traditional advertising. Honestly, how fast can you click the “Skip Ad” button that pops up on a site or a Youtube video? I’m at about .3 seconds.

  3. It’s SocialThe best influencers have great social followings. I use the term  “great” instead of “large” because a large following isn’t the only determinate for being a  great influencer. Engagement and the ability to make stellar content are also factors that contribute to being a great influencer. Although some companies provide influencers with pre-made content, a lot more opt for the influencers to create the content (photo, blog posts, etc.). This allows you to get the attention of their audiences as well as repurpose the content and share with your audience.

So if you’re building a social strategy and you haven’t included influencer marketing, you could be missing an opportunity to scale your brand socially and at a great price. And if you feel like you want  to start implementing influencer marketing in your strategy but have no idea on where to start no need to panic, that’s what I’m here for! I’ve worked with small and national brands to find influencers and implement influencer marketing strategies. So if you’re looking to get started contact me for a FREE consultation where I’ll guide you on where to get started with your influencer marketing efforts.

Get Croissant! The App That's Changing The Coworking Game.

Photo Cred:  GetCroissant.com

Photo Cred: GetCroissant.com

If you know anything about me I’m a HUGE fan of coworking, at least when it’s done right! There are many entrepreneurs and freelancers who worship their home offices but as a NYC freelancer who has roommates my work-from-home experience isn’t really that great. It usually starts off smooth. I whip up a quick breakfast, grab a cup of joe, take out my Mac and get to work! But slowly me sitting on my bed turns to me laying on my bed or maybe it’s one of the times my TV mysteriously turns on (well maybe not so mysteriously) and I’m caught up watching a Live episode of The Breakfast Club… Let’s just say for me being able to work outside of the house allows me to be WAY more productive. So I was excited a couple months back when Nisha, one of the awesome co-founders of Croissant, reached out to me about trying a month of their services in exchange for my honest opinion on the app. But before we get into my thoughts on it, let me tell you what Croissant is.

Croissant is an app that gives you access to various coworking places in your city. Based in New York, Croissant has coworking places in NYC, Boston, Washington DC and has recently expanded to San Francisco.

Getting started!

After receiving my credentials from Nisha I downloaded the app, entered my email and password and bam! That was it. All 30 of their NYC locations were at my fingertips. I loved that there were a couple locations right in my neighborhood of Harlem that I could walk to as well as numerous ones downtown which would be great for a whole day of coworking or for popping in between running to meetings.

I kicked off my membership by going to a familiar place: TEEM.

Photo Credit:  TeemCW.com

Photo Credit: TeemCW.com

Photo Credit:  TeemCW.com

Photo Credit: TeemCW.com

I’ve been to Teem before, it’s right in my neighborhood and it’s always a good spot to get some work done. It’s a simple space featuring coworking desk and privates offices. I got assigned a desk where there was an outlet available. No need to fight over outlets like at the cafe, Yay! They also had coffee, water and snacks available and I was welcome to store my lunch in the communal fridge. TEEM is a solid coworking space for when you just need to get stuff done! My boyfriend would love TEEM. You see he doesn’t believe in luxury coworking. He’s more of the “I come here to work not play” type of entrepreneur and hey, I get it. But me on the other hand, I am ALL about the amenities. I love when coworking spots offer more than the standard desk and coffee. Like Primary for example.

Photo Cred: Alex Welsh

Photo Cred: Alex Welsh

Primary thus far is one of my favorite coworking places available through the app. Centered around wellness, primary offers mid day yoga and meditation classes that of course I had to try. Now I’m far from a Yogi but I’ve done some yoga before so I figured I’ll opt to try a yoga class.

Photo Cred: Alex Welsh

Photo Cred: Alex Welsh

Photo Cred: Alex Welsh

Photo Cred: Alex Welsh

After the session it was clear that I could definitely brush up on my yoga skills but I enjoyed myself. The instructor was encouraging and patient, and I left feeling refreshed and ready to get back into the real reason I was there… to cowork! The co-working room was nice as well. The whole space had a very zen vibe to it which helped me push through the mountain of work I had that day.

My overall thoughts…

Honestly, I'm hooked on Croissant. So much that after using the app for a month, I was able to come aboard the Croissant team as their Brand Ambassador. (Yay me!) What I like about Croissant the most is the flexibility it gives me as a freelancer. Some days I just need a desk, some coffee or tea and some peace and quiet to get my work done which they have ton of spaces for. But other days I want to feel the energy of other creatives around me, interact with them, take a yoga class or maybe enjoy some complimentary wine from the “booze cart” that Grind Park offers weekly. Croissant allows me to cowork around the city based on my mood and that is something that traditional coworking memberships fall short off. I would recommend Croissant for any freelancer, entrepreneur and/or creative but especially those who are constantly “on the go” and like to try experiences. You can find out more about what Croissant has to offer on their website GetCroissant.com.

5 Must Have Social Media Tools

5 Must have tools.jpg

Social media marketing is essential for expanding a brand/business's reach and connecting with it's audience. In an ideal world, a business would have it's own social media marketing team but in reality most entrepreneurs (and freelancers) have to create and execute their own social media strategies especially when first starting out. But no need to fear! From time management to analytics, I've rounded up my Top 5 apps for ROCKING any social media plan.

1. Time Management: Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the leading social media management tools and has been around for a while. This tool can manage your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts. The free version allows you to manage 3 social media profiles and includes post scheduling and basic analytics

It’s pro plan that starts at $9.99 a month allows you to manage up to 50 social media profiles and allows up to 9 team members to contribute. It’s a great plan for the solopreneur as well as small businesses with up to 500 employees. This is one of my favorite tools because it save me so much time when I need to share content across multiple platforms.

2. Analytics: Iconosquare

Analytics for Instagram?! Say what! Iconosquare allows you to analyze, manage and engage with your audience on Instagram better. This tool is one of the most in-dept analytics and management tools to be created specifically for Instagram. Iconosquare allows it’s users to

  • See daily gained and lost followers

  • See top followers

  • Identify where your influencers are located

  • Discover your best time to post according to the number of likes, comments or engagement rate you get

  • Discover the most influential posts on hashtag.

  • Track up to 5 of your competitors.

  • Compare your performance with theirs – engagement rate, followers, likes, comments…

  • Export data to build your own report.

3. Influence: SocialRank

SocialRank is my boo. No seriously, out of all the apps in this list SocialRank has a special little place in my heart. I’ve used this tool for many things. It’s a great starting point for finding potential influencers when creating an influencer campaign for a brand or business. SocialRank allows you to see which of your followers have the largest following and are the most engaged with your account. I’ve always found greater success when working with influencers who are fans and supporters of a brand before hand. This tool is also great to find out “who” my followers are by using the keyword bio filter to search for keywords in my followers bio. For example, I was looking for more women to feature in amy recent blog post 10 Women Share The Hardest Thing They Had To Overcome Within Their Careers and What They Learned From ItI used that filter to search words like entrepreneur, freelance, and creative to find which of my followers would potentially be a great fit for the article.

4. Research: Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a great tool for content creators. A great content strategy starts with research and strategic planning. Buzzsumo helps you find content that resonates with your audience by allowing you to search the most shared content from 24 hours ago to 12 months ago, review how many times your topic area is shared on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to give you a better feel of. It also shows you which form of content is shared most often (infographics, videos, long form, etc.) and what domains are shared most often. Note: I wouldn't be a bad idea to check those site to see what type of content they're publishing.

5. Creativity: Font Candy

Now I’m a photoshop type of girl but sometimes it’s just better to keep it simple. Font Candy is a photo editor with allows you to add typography captions via text overlay and other creative graphic designs. I use this app most often to create quote pictures to share on social media or within blog posts.  It’s super simple and easy to use but creates a wide array of different looking graphics.

Do you use any of these social media tools or are you interested in giving any of them a try? What social media tools do you use to ROCK your social marketing? Let me know! Feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me @RosiSellers. I’m always looking for more new things to add to my social media toolbox! 

The Age of Digital Media: How Can Start-Up Publishers Achieve Success?

A couple weeks ago me and a bunch of other creatives piled in Alley’s Chelsea location for a chat with Jeff Caravalho, partner and executive editor at Highsnobiety, media in the digital age.

For those of you not familiar with HighSnob, it’s a online and print publication that covers fashion, art, music, and culture. What started as a website designed to talk about sneakers and their release dates has grown into a Tidel Media Group with offices in Berlin and New York.

The conversation kicked off and almost immediately dived into what in my mind was the question of the night. Is there still a place for print media in 2016? As the creator and EIC of The Cool Mag, an online magazine for creatives by creatives, it’s a question I often struggle with. My goal, even before starting The Cool Mag online, has always been for it to be a print publication but that idea often gets met with doubts when I express that to others.. From Conde Nast ending print of Details Magazine (which focused on men's health, grooming, and entertainment) to Vibe magazine ceasing print and going completely digital, it’s clear that print publications are certainly on the decline so I guess I shouldn’t be too offended when people aren’t sold that a startup print magazine is the best step to take.

So… To Print or Not To Print… That Is The Question!

It's 2016 and it's crystal clear that we live in a digital world, so is there room for print media? I mean digital media is much easier for new publishers to execute because of it’s low start-up costs. It’s also a lot more interactive allowing brands to instantly talk and react with their readers, as well as keep up with topics and trends faster than print. So if digital is such a great thing, is print even worth the trouble (and much higher start up costs)? I say... Yes! And so does Jeff but only when it's done right.

So how do you execute a print magazine properly in the age of rapid content consumerism?

Use premium materials:

                                                                                                                                                                 Inside view of HighSnob's Magazine Issue 11

                                                                                                                                                                 Inside view of HighSnob's Magazine Issue 11

Jeff notes that packaging is important. From the cover images down to the paper stock, every single detail is important because your print should be designed to make the customer feel something. What you have to keep in mind is that print provides a sensory effect that digital can’t. When people can touch, feel, hear and smell something versus just seeing it (like with digital media) they grow more of an attachment to it.

In 10 Steps to Profit from Your Passion, the founders of The College of Hip Hop perfectly explained why proper packaging of a product is key saying:

“Proper packaging creates the perception that you have invested in the project and it will be worth the money. If you don’t show you’re serious about how your items look, people might conclude the music was also approached in the same way.” The same is true for your publication.

Create original content:

From short pieces on sneaker drops and others long form articles like  “Why You Should Boycott Zara”, HighSnob rolls out around 20+ online articles a day. But for it’s Fall and Spring print issues,  the magazine provides 100% original content and storytelling. That’s because no one wants to pay to read content they’ve previously read online for free.

So...Spice it up! Present exclusive content. Come up with an interesting story. Even if it’s  a popular topic like the election that’s constantly being covered this year, tell the story from a creative point of view.

Make it unique:

                                                                                              Example of HrdCvr's unique packaging 

                                                                                              Example of HrdCvr's unique packaging 

HrdCvr is a hardcover culture magazine created by diverse teams for a diverse world. Created by journalists Danyel Smith and Elliott Wilson, this magazine stands out not only for its in-depth cultural content but also because of it’s look. Shaped like a book, this hardcover magazine comes in 4 colorways that ship at random. Along with it’s one of a kind look, HrdCvr was a Kickstarter effort and may or may not be published again. This exclusivity adds more interest and incentive for consumers to purchase.

Think of ways you can make your magazine stand out against the crowd. Maybe that’s collaborating with a dope graphic designer to create stunning visuals or finding a unique way to package your publication. The choice is yours, just make sure you find something that your readers can identify as “unique” to your publication.

So now that we’ve established there is a place for print media in 2016, what about digital media? No worries, here are some MAJOR KEYS (cue DJ Khaled voice) to help with executing both print and digital media effectively.

                                                                                                                        Major Keys Alert!

                                                                                                                        Major Keys Alert!

1. Give First Person Narratives

From Periscope to Instagram stories (sorry SnapChat), first person interactions and narratives are the new wave for brands. On top of creating killer content, it’s important to give your readers some insight into who’s creating the content. Telling your brand story helps build trust with your readers and trust is crucial for brands to succeed these days. Let your readers know who's behind the stories you cover. It helps them identify with the brand and feel more connected to your product.

2. Know Your Audience

It's not necessary to be on every social platform especially if you don't have the knowledge and/or manpower to keep up with them. It’s important to find where your audience is so that you know how to communicate with them. Some people love Facebook but aren’t into Instagram. A lot of young people don’t care much for Facebook but prefer Twitter and/or Instagram. Do some research into what platform(s) has the most engagement with your readership demographic and start putting more time (and possibly money) into those platforms.

You also need to know how your content translates across all platforms you’re using. A stunning visual may work great for Instagram but perform terribly on Twitter because people on Twitter are looking more to read than browse pictures.

3. Feed Your Readers and Stay True to Your Brand

Identify your audience and feed them! You should search for what your audience interests are while ultimately staying true to your voice. Even if your main supporters aren't who you originally thought they would be, that's ok. Find a happy medium. Find what works for you and execute the HECK out of it! For example, Adweek recently released an article saying that Publishers Reach on Facebook has declined by 42% over the last 5 months yet Jeff says HighSnob’s Facebook engagement has actually consistently increased month to month. So never automatically rule something just because it didn't work for your competitor. Create you own lane. AKA “don't ride the wave, be the wave”.

4. Don't rush the process.

Take your time and do it right! The founders of HighSnob took a decade to get it right by posting content that they enjoyed without dealing with metrics and analytics. Now I’m sure you may not have a decade to get things right but just know it’s not an overnight process. Take your time and create great content because ultimately, that’s what’s going to grow your audience and keep your audience coming back for more. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race!

10 Women Share The Hardest Thing They Had To Overcome Within Their Careers and What They Learned From It.

Being a boss woman isn't easy and the race to the top is filled with many obstacles but with women being the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in America, it's safe to say that obstacles and barriers are just a small part of the game.  I recently spoke to 10 amazingly ambitious women about some of the challenges they had to overcome on their journey to success and what those challenges taught them. 

1. Teena Thach (@Teena_ThachTeenaThach.com

Social Media and Marketing Specialist at @Socedo

"Nobody should ever look back and wonder what if." 

One of the hardest thing I've had to overcome in my career is being able to speak up for myself and to not let others step all over me, even if they're in a higher position. Being fresh out of college (graduated last June), I was new in this industry so I wasn't as confident. I just did what I was told and after a while I realized I wasn't happy. I didn't feel valued which made work dreadful. I hated that. 

Social media to me isn't just a place for fun. I firmly believe that people can use these platforms to generate business. I knew I had experience/talent with social and I wanted to show it, not let someone do the work for me. So how did I overcome it? I talked to an experienced friend in the industry, took notes, set up a meeting and said how I felt. I didn't know what the outcome was going to be, but I'd rather be honest than to sit there in misery. Luckily, I didn't get fired and I was heard clearly. I wasn't scared anymore and I knew that I was valued in the company.

Nobody knows you better than you. People can't read minds and know exactly how you're feeling. In order to enjoy what you do, you must take initiative, go after it and be the change you wish to seek. 


2. Qori Broaster (@SoundsLikeCOREY)

Freelance Graphic Designer www.HelloQori.com

Not all those who wander are lost" - J.J.R Tolkien

The absolute hardest thing I've had to overcome thus far was my fear of failure. I was most recently working full-time in retail management and while it was I job that I enjoyed for the most part, it was stopping me from really fulfilling my dreams. My fear of failure kept me at that job for a very long time. My fear also stopped me from promoting myself as a freelancer/entrepreneur and that CLEARLY can't be good for business, right? I was seeing very little progression in my career so I had to re-evaluate the steps I was taking to reach my goals, and what I could improve on. Once I realized that I was letting the fear of failure get in my way, it seemed so silly - so I had to kick it. I know fear is a very natural thing, but I see it now as a test of character; something you need to push through to get stronger. 

You never know what's going to happen until you try, and even if you fail, you just have to keep going until your failures turn into successes. Plus, those failures make your successes THAT much better!


3. Keisha Dutés (@TastyKeish)

"The minute you've created something, you have succeeded. You are a success.”

Founder/ Program Director of Bonfire Radio. Co- Host of flagship morning show, TK in the AM. Podcast consultant and audio producer.

Having the confidence to start and maintain something new is a challenge. I constantly am fighting in real time.Women are not often ushered into the world thinking they are enough when in fact we go above and beyond to deliver. When I realized that, I said to myself: "Just start."I overcome it by finding ways to constantly educate myself and I became unashamed of learning and implementing things I learned in an unexpected fresh way.

I learned that videos, podcasts, etc is new media. There are no experts. Trust me. There are formulas that work and there is trial an error. Having you're own business in new media is constantly trying new things and taking from the lessons taught by pioneers before us. I study them and I try new things. If something doesn't work out, I stop and try something else.


4. Tara Giuliano (@taragiuliano)

Head of Institutional Marketing, UBS Asset Management Americas

“Build the hell out of your network.  And don’t be afraid to use it.”

The hardest thing in my career has been a constant battle of my young age and pure number of years of experience.  This comes across as a disadvantage on paper but I have found that building a strong network of more experienced executives who are my advocates has been key.  I have found ways to volunteer to lead projects to give me experience I might not have had on my resume or came with my day job to prove myself as well.  And lastly, I have found ways to use my age as an advantage.  When I obtained my last role as CMO of a fast growing company I spoke to the fact that marketing has changed more in the last 5 years than the previous 100 years combined – and only marketers who have spent time in the trenches staying educated on that as well as being part of the modern marketing evolution- would be ideal to lead that firm’s marketing efforts. 


5. Ivy Rivera (@TheIvyRivera)

TV/Radio Personality TheIvyRivera.com

I guess the hardest thing, which I'm sure everyone can relate to, was keeping my faith in my purpose throughout this journey to the top. There were a few times through the years where I really felt hopeless. And having friends who are creatives and chasing after their passions, it encouraged me yet discouraged me because I felt like I was so stagnant. But then I had to remember that my lane of expertise is a complete different ball game. And most importantly, my story will never be like someone else's. So I had to stop expecting and just let things take its place. I realized I wasn't going to get the blessings I deserved in life if I was living in self doubt. So I challenged myself to be one with myself and be completely okay with what I have to offer because I knew this would one day take me far. Everything starts in their heart but their mind can mess everything up. So the key is to make sure those are in sync and once you exude the right energies into the world, the world will bless you triple fold.

I learned that there's no such thing as competition. I learned that the only thing in your way of ANYTHING, is yourself. People feel like they've done everything they can. People feel like they deserve something. And I'm sure we all do. I would like all of us to win. But the ones that do win, make sure that's exactly what they do. There's no game plan. You just GO! And go until you get where you want to be. Stop being afraid of what can go wrong. You're not going to make it as fast as you think you are but the best thing to do is to train your mind to believe that you will make it regardless. You become what you believe you are. So be you and the rest will follow. 


6. Brittany Melton (@xobritdear)

Creative Director & Web Designer xobritdear.com

"Work while you wait on your manifestation."

In complete honesty, the hardest thing was finding experience in my niche. I went from doing corporate web design on a part-time freelance basis, to full-time design, because I lost my job. I was behind on bills, I had no clients, and I didn't have a portfolio in my desired niche. I wanted desperately to switch from corporate design to design for creatives and bloggers. After getting over the initial panic of broke-ness (which honestly took a month or two), I decided that I would use my blog as a way to showcase my expertise. I was tired of business based blogs, so I decided to write on design instead (I'm a web designer after all). I started by giving photoshop advice to bloggers, and creative business owners. I showcased my skills via tutorials and unique image editing. I critiqued images for people, and tweeted about easy, Photoshop tweaks that could take your photos from lame to extraordinary. I made a name for myself as the Photoshop girl with the dope selfies and my business grew from there.

I learned that you have the skills you need to make magic happen. Keep your head down and work on ONE task that will lead you to the ultimate goal. Worrying about what you lack is time that can be used developing a marketable skill. Find your next step, and pursue it wholeheartedly. 


7. Shanice Parker "Ms. Parker" (@BillzProductions)

"Always be willing to learn from someone, always be willing to educate someone."

CEO/Founder of  BillzProduction www.billzproductions.com

What was the hardest thing you had to overcome in your career thus far and how did you overcome it? What did you learn from it?

I feel like for any entrepreneur like myself one of the hardest things to overcome is obtaining consistent clientele each month. Some months are extremely lucrative and some months can be challenging especially in the production field. Realizing there are other entrepreneurs that go through the same exact challenges it is important to reach out and ask for advice.

One of the best pieces of advice I have received so far has been to record my monthly strategies for obtaining a client, that way I can have on file what worked for my sales and what did not work towards sales. Now that I have this information I make it my business to record each of my monthly sales to have a consistent workload.


8. Eboni Jazzmine (@Cosmic_Siren

Content Creator & Visual Marketing Specialist 

"I'mma keep running 'cause a winner don't quit on themselves!" - Beyonce

I would say the hardest thing to overcome in my industry is time management and keeping myself content under pressure. In the media and scene of entertainment in Atlanta I have many roles: photographer, writer, speaker, event coordinator, consultant whatever as a sort of taste-maker; juggling around time and organization to some balance. I have to deal with a lot of different people (mostly men), and they can be frustrating... from sexual harassment, lose jobs to other men because I'm a young female, paid less, having to prove myself, entitlement, competition, or belittlement. As a female you don't know what anybody will come at you with; they could be a joke or the real McCoy, a jerk or good person. I had to obtain tough skin and be on guard at all times in my surroundings whilst doing my job and maintaining great vibes. 

I overcome this by being confident and assertive; paying attention to my mistakes. I don't let my emotions take over on my work or relationships. I know what’s in my best interest as well as my worth. I'm not here to look pretty for the male consumption or slave for somebody for free. I came to be compensated for my time and effort or take an mutual opportunity as anybody would. 

As long as I keep blazing to my goals with ambition then I can do anything. I also do not need certain people in my life to get where I am going if they are being problematic. I create my own medium and platform If I'm not given a chance.


9. Sara Crawford – Jones

Designer and Stylist for Anara Original, Author of the Playbook to Essential Style, And Editor of Blondie Jones.

"Success begins with happiness, if you’re happy than you’re winning!"

As a small business, the cost of overhead for your business needs can become overwhelming and expensive. I began to plan better, evaluate needs vs wants, and streamline my thought process. We can get carried away overthinking the actually process or what we think we need.I began to work smarter not harder.

I learned that I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel – I just needed to identify a strategy and technique that would work best for my business and that would allow me to execute the financial goals I needed to achieve.


10. Miriam O’Shea (@Miriamoshea)

Digital Marketing Executive at BooksGoSocial and Founder of Wild Island Records

In college I spent every weekend in various studios recording tracks for producers. I used to put professionals on a pedestal which caused me to chase what others wanted for me for a couple of years. What I should have done was to stand my ground and follow my gut, both musically and professionally.

In the end I learned that good things only start to happen when you stop caring what others think and start doing your thing. When you’re a creative person you just shouldn’t take everything personally. You’re brave enough to put yourself out there and show the world what’s really going on inside your head, so of course it won’t resonate with everyone.

Jumpstart Your Freelance Career With 1 Social Network, 3 Websites and $5

So you want to be a freelancer? You’ve come to the right place. I started considering myself a freelancer about a year ago but realistically I’ve been freelancing for about 3-4 years now. Freelancing is defined as working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company but at it's core, freelancing is using your skill set(s) to generate income. If you just internally said to yourself “hey I already do that” you my friend, are a freelancer! And it’s time to own it and promote yourself as one.This post will get you on your way.

Now, if you just said to yourself “that seems like something I can or want to do” then you're in the right place as well. So let’s skip all the small talk and dive right into how you can jumpstart your freelance career!

Social Network:

LinkedIn

Let’s start with the site that has changed it all for me, LinkedIn! In 2015 I was a trainee in StreetWise Partners career development program. If you’re not familiar with StreetWise Partners, it’s a non-profit with a 3-month career mentoring program that delivers high-impact professional development services with 2:1 career mentoring in corporate settings. One of the first requirements of this program was for the trainees to create a LinkedIn. Now at this time, I’ve had LinkedIn for about a year but my profile…Oh boy! It’s was so neglected. Like, seriously neglected. No profile picture, no updated information, no endorsements… Nothing! One of my mentors encouraged me to use LinkedIn as a tool to connect with the companies I wanted to work for. So I went to work. I added a profile picture, updated my work experience, added skills and connected with people I knew as well as people I wanted to know. I started following companies I had interest in and sharing content that was relevant to me and my following. Now I’m not here to say it was an overnight success. It took me about 3 months to get over 500 connections and almost a year to get my first client from LinkedIn. But I must add that despite what my mentor proposed, I never actually used LinkedIn to find work or really connect with people from certain companies. I’m simply used it to share content, industry and self created, and just by doing that I was able to score 2 major clients as well as work with creatives on projects that I wouldn’t had the opportunity to be apart of if it wasn’t for LinkedIn. I say all this to say, don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn. Sure it’s not as appealing to the eye as Instagram or as humorous as Twitter, but it’s instrumental in taking your freelance career to the next step.

Website 1:

Freelancer.com

The name speaks for itself. Freelancer.com is one of the top sites to find freelance work. As the world’s largest crowdsourcing marketplace, the site has nearly 20 million users and have posted just under 10 million jobs to date. There’s an ambiance of opportunity on the site which in turn draws more talent and naturally, more competition. You may have to lower your rate for your first gig or two until you build your reputation for providing reliable and quality work. 

With that being said, I still would recommend using this site especially if you’re just starting out because it can be really hard (and time consuming) to create leads for your business in the beginning. With websites like Freelancer, Elance and even Thumbtack, it cuts the time you would’ve spend looking for clients because there already on the site looking for you!This allows you to focus on getting the job done and expanding your client base. 

Website 2:

ByRegina.com

ByRegina is my go to website for everything freelance and infoprenuer based. Regina Anaejiona is the creator of the site and she’s built hundreds of websites has extensive knowledge on building brands.

If you’re a freelancer it’s safe to say that you have a skill or two. This site helps you tap into how to make money from that skill in more “non traditional ways”. Let’s say you’re a freelance writer who gets paid to write for websites and publications. You can grow your business by continuing to apply for writing jobs and pitch publications but you can also use your experience to create courses, workshops and possibly even a ebook to share your experience and help others. ByRegina.com teaches you how to do all of this. From finding your brand identity to creating full out courses, no subject is too big or small for ByRegina.com And she’s like the Queen of FREE info that’s actually helpful. 

Right now I’m enrolled in Free Blog School, a course she created that helps you build Wordpress and/or Squarespace blogs from scratch. It’s truly amazing! 

Website 3 & $5:

Fiverr.com

I read an article on Entrepreneur.com a few years back called “The 80/20 Rule of Time Management: Stop Wasting Your Time”. In the opening paragraph the author wrote:

“Small-business owners waste their time on what I call $10 an hour work, like running to get office supplies. Meanwhile, they forgo the activities that earn $1,000 an hour, such as sending the right email to the right person, or negotiating a lucrative contract, or convincing a client to do more business with you.”

That quote has since stuck with me since. As entrepreneurs and freelancers, it’s important that we spend less time preparing for the fishing trip and more time actually trying to catch the fish. That’s why I love fiverr.com. Out of all the sites on this list, Fiverr has to be my favorite because it’s what I like to call “dual resourceful”. If you haven’t heard of Fiverr it’s an online market place where you can get almost anything done for the incredibly low rate of $5. You can get a blog post written, a logo created or even can find you a virtual assistant for the starting rate of $5. Now of course the more intricate the project, the more you may have to pay but it’s usually always a steal. Now not only can you purchase services to help further you entrepreneurial endeavors, you can also sign up to provide services. Fiverr is a great site to make some extra cash for your business and help you gain more clients. 

So are you ready to quit your day job and bet your life on succeeding as being a full time freelancer after reading this? Probably not but I hope this was helpful to you and your business and just know there's so much more to come! If you have any questions or topics you would like to see covered on the blog let me know in the comments section. Until next time! 

It's Time to Take It Up A Notch... You Ready?

It seems like forever ago that I created this site (actually it was about 6 months ago) with the hopes of furthering my freelance business and helping others do the same. So, was it a success?? Well... Partially.

My freelance business has definitely picked up. I've worked with brands from different states, acquired a restaurant in Manhattan as a client and even got a chance to work at a VC backed Tech company heading up their influencer marketing campaigns. So yes, business has certainly picked up but I'm greatly disappointed with myself because while one of the main reasons I created this site was to further my business, it was also to help others do the same and in that regard, I've failed. But I've never been the type to accept failure so June marks the month that I will revive RosiSellers.com. And man, it’s going to be better than ever! I have some new content that will help you take your brand to the next level! I’m also working with some cool entrepreneurs and creatives to bring you awesome content. Basically I’m writing this post to let you know that I’m back baby! And I want to thank everyone who continues to take this journey with in real life as well as virtually.

Though I’ve been a bit MIA from the blog, I have been up to some pretty cool things online. One being The Cool. The Cool. is an online magazine I started with creatives in mind. Centered around Lifestyle, Music and Culture, The Cool aims to be the first magazine for creatives by creatives. If you're a writer or photographer and you're interested in contributing to The Cool. please email me at TheCoolMagazine@gmail.com. Or if you're just interested in seeing the dope content we've produced, check it out:

#CreativeTalk

I also recently started a Twitter chat “#CreativeTalk” with the mission to help creatives grow their businesses as well as their networks. Here are a few highlights from my first chat with TheCollegeOfHipHop.Org, an online learning hub focused on educating aspiring artists, A&R’s and CEOs on the music business as well as entrepreneurship.

If you're interested in being a guest on #CreativeTalk or have a topic you would liked to see covered contact me HERE. Be sure to keep and eye out for new content this week. See ya soon! 

 

#ALotOutOfLine: A Creative Session with ‘The Blind Contourista’

Squad 1.jpg

2015 has been the year of exploration for me. I’ve tiptoed a bit out of my introverted comfort zone quiet a few times and decided to explore because frankly, “if you want to inspire, you have to explore”. So when an old friend of mine invited me out to Brooklyn to partake in something called a blind contour session, I was immediately intrigued. Sure at this point I had no clue what blind contouring was but that didn’t really matter. My intrigued stemmed a bit from the name, I mean come on…“blind contour”… Who wouldn’t be intrigued? And the other half stemmed from knowing anyone my homeboy was working with was worth checking out.

My homeboy’s name is Rej. He is an amazing creative that I’ve been able to see grow and harness his crafts over the last couple of years. He has a unique eye which I love! You can check out some his work HERE.

Welcome to Brooklyn!

So I made my way out to Brooklyn, Bushwick to be exact. A neighborhood that as a New Yorker I’m a bit ashamed to admit I have no idea how to navigate. But hey I’m from Harlem, so I’ll just use that as my excuse.

My stints on the L train are typically shorter. I love Williamsburg and frequent Bedford Ave. A few times I got a little adventurous and traveled out to the Lormier stop for business but this particular quest left me at the Jefferson Ave stop.

As soon as I walked out the station I felt the energy. It was calm, slightly griddy yet amazingly beautiful. The art immediately smacked me in the face once I had a chance to look up from my Google Maps on my Iphone which I was using to find further directions to the cafe. As I walked to AP Cafe, our location for this particular meet up, wall after wall caught my attention as they were covered in massive murals of creative artworks.

I later learned that these paintings were from The Bushwick Collective, a non profit outdoor gallery of artists from all over the world. Their work is so pretty dope I had to include a few of my favs below: .....

Check out the rest of the article and pics HERE

This article was originally posted on The Cool.  

Meet Swain! He's Helping Creatives Spark+Thrive With His New Co-Working Space!

The first time I met Kaciem Swain better known as Swain was about about 2 years ago at a mutual friend's networking luncheon in Manhattan. Fast forward to 2015 and I have become a great admirer of this young man and his ability to take turn countless creative visions into reality.

His newest project is Spark + Thrive, a boutique co-working space his startup agency FlagshipUltra is bringing to the Arbor Hill neighborhood in upstate NY. As a freelancer I first hand know how vital neighborhood co-working spaces are to creatives, so I reached out to Swain to learn more about Spark+Thrive, and what he's got planned next for the Albany community. 
 

RS: Why do you want to open a co-working space?

KS: I chose coworking as a business concept and real estate startup because I understand the barriers to starting, running and growing a small business. After permits, fees and licenses, if you’re to obtain a space to scale within, you still have monthly rent (security deposit, first month, last month), utilities (heat, hot water, gas, electricity), insurance (general liability) and other obligations. That’s before you even make a hire or purchase any equipment or furniture.

I wanted to lower those barriers to opportunities for creatives, freelancers, startups and the professional entrepreneur. I also wanted to create and cultivate a community and workforce in the Arbor Hill neighborhood.

 

RS: Was there a particular reason you wanted to open it in Arbor Hill?

KS: I grew up in Arbor Hill spending every weekend with my father. Working in the gardens, selling collard greens on Henry Johnson Boulevard. He used to cook for everyone’s cookouts and family reunions, including our families who moved there from Mississippi and Alabama. Seeing him in the community whenever people needed him didn’t seem like much to me until I became an adult. I wanted to bring new, sustainable businesses into Arbor Hill while promoting home ownership within the neighborhood to the community and oncoming business owners. Overall, our mission is to promote Arbor Hill as a progressive community deserving of attention and support.

 

RS: I love the name SPARK+THRIVE for the coworking space. How did that name come about?

KS: I love storytelling. Learning how entrepreneurs achieved their idea of success. The word “SPARK” comes from the ideation and beginning the process of a business, I envisioned an undying flame as a result of a SPARK and how “THRIVE” would fit, being it was the original brand name and how the two words could tell a story.

So “SPARK+THRIVE” as the name is telling the story of our members and community. The ideas, inspiration and concepts that lead to starting a business, that’s the SPARK. The customers, partnerships, business development, risk-taking, failures and hiring or scaling is how they THRIVE.

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RS: What can fellow entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creatives get out of using a co-working space like SPARK+THRIVE versus simply working from home or a coffee shop? Is there really a difference?

KS: Working from home can be isolating and boring – and coffee shops can be expensive and distracting. In the four to eight hours, you spend squatting for wifi, you’ve brought several coffees and food or snack. The same cost of a drop in at a coworking space. But when you cowork, the inspiration surrounds you & goes through the roof. You’re surrounded by dozens of passionate founders, creatives, and professionals moving towards the same dream.

In 24 months, the number of coworking spaces worldwide have increased by 400 percent. Growth proves the validity of the model because it offers both community and collaboration, which forward-thinking entrepreneurs are looking for. I want to help you find the right people. The value of coworking is in the relationships, far more than the resources we can provide. In just a short amount of time, you've developed a network that you can instantly ask advice from – on anything.

 

RS: How will SPARK+THRIVE set itself apart from other coworking places?

KS: Unlike other co-working spaces in the Capital Region, SPARK+THRIVE is located in a high growth neighborhood with low barriers to entry for businesses that want to launch and expand. When you grow we're going to help you stay in Arbor Hill. We have partnerships with the local government and community at large in the works that will give us a unique advantage in helping entrepreneurs SPARK+THRIVE their ideas.

 

RS: What’s next for FlagshipUltra?

KS: Being that we're launching our first brick and mortar real estate startup, we're going to pitch for investors in SPARK+THRIVE, look for furniture and equipment donations and focus on developing partnerships.

This year, our social & performance event "T.E.A: Talk. Eat. Art." grew out of Foster House Studios at The Washington Avenue Armory and into The Madison Theater. We've now outgrown that venue  as well and are looking for a new home and sponsors for the event, which attracts over 150 people. I'd like to start serving tapas and mixed drinks so we're looking to partner with a venue that has a kitchen and would like to start working with local chefs for rotating menus.

Overall,  I think for our next NEW project, we'll do a series of pop-up shops throughout the Capital Region, starting in Arbor Hill & use those for research to determine what we want to focus on in either digital or physical.

 

Make sure you go and support the Indiegogo campaign to bring Spark+Thrive to Arbor Hill.

Welcome to RosiSellers.com!

Hey guys, welcome to my site. I am pleased you took the time out your busy schedules to check out my newest labor of love.

I know you have questions and I aim to answer so let’s jump right in!

Who I Am?

Well… My name is Rosi Sellers (which I’m sure you have gathered by now) and I am a Free Spirited Freelancer. I freelance in writing, media and social marketing. Check out my ABOUT ME page to learn more who I am and what I do!

In the summer of 2015 I decided that I didn’t want to spend majority work for anyone else any longer. With only a part time freelance social media gig (which to be honest, wasn’t much) I decided to quit my full time job and focus all my energy into working for myself. 

A few months later and here I am, with my own fancy blog and everything so I must be doing good, right?.But no seriously,  working for myself full time has been hard. And still is hard. I’ve learned so much about myself. For example, I never realized just how bad I sucked at time management or how good I already was at networking. Taking this leap of faith has striped me down and built me up to be a better person, and I am truly blessed for that. 

So why RosiSellers.com?

I created this site for a bunch of reasons but mainly for these 2:

  1. To showcase my work and give those who want to work with me a direct way to reach me and

  2. To help others freelancers, entrepreneurs and creatives excel

You see, no one in my immediate circle of family and friends works for themselves full-time. So I’ve had to find a lot about becoming a full time freelancer by using an effective trio of Google, social media and common sense. 

I’ve found some great tools and resources; gems that have saved me time, money and my overall sanity (at moments). The blog portion of this site will be dedicated to fostering a community of freelancers, entrepreneurs and creatives who can engage and learn from one another. 

If you are freelancer, entrepreneur, creative, writer, business coach, etc. and would like to contribute to the blog please click here.

So if your interested in freelancing, entrepreneurship, writing, social media, productivity and the all that boring stuff then stay tuned, because you're in for a treat. 

But in the meantime make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter “Free Spirited List” where I will bring you the best in all topics listed above and a special “Treat” every week! You don’t want to miss this!