Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reality TV: to see or not to see… that is the question…

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As the infamous popularity of reality television shows increase each season… One can only begin to speculate: how many people do I know, are truly as busy as they allege? 

How often are we too busy to stick to the diet we’ve insisted on working this year, or learning to speak the language that has always intrigued us, or finishing the summer novel we purchased fourth of July weekend, only to look at the calendar and see it’s January…

The answer might perplex you. 

But when considering time [or lack there of] I beg to differ, everyone is NOT as busy as they claim.  Mathematically it’s impossible, given that millions of people tune into these programs each night.

Many people define the 60 minutes lost from their lives, as simply, a guilty pleasure.  It is important to note, when adding the time, in hours, that are lost each week on this activity, it is potential time lost to enrich ones self.

Although the masterminds behind many of these programs highlight aggression towards fellow cast members, this by no means is a ploy to bash any program or cast in particular.  This is a method to raise awareness in effective utilization of moments in life to enhance you mind and spirit with other BOSS inspired goals and activities.
 
Mentoring

There are many outlets in which women and men can mentor.  There is a great need for our youth to have inspirational role models they can hold closely to them, and many of these programs only ask for a few hours per month.  So if you spend your weekends catching up on reality re-runs, why not get out of the house and change a child’s life.

Volunteering

Soup Kitchens, Nursing Homes, Houses of Worship, are just a few places that are in dire need of help.  Most facilities can use an extra hand, whether it’s serving food for a few hours, reading to children, or playing with animals at a shelter.  They generally appreciate the help on weekends or after work hours, usually while your favorite programs are airing.

Campaigning

With an election year upon us, this is an ideal time to find your local municipalities campaign headquarters and see if they need extra help.  Most places can use assistance to promote their candidates via telephone or door to door.  This is especially important for those passionate about that state of this country and the next 4 years.  Are you a recent college graduate or someone thinking of starting your own business but fearful of the current economy?  Well this is a great way to make an impact, and far better use of a free hour.

Reading/Writing

This can go without mentioning but the importance of sitting in a comfortable place, in silence, to read and write is essential.  These both can be extremely therapeutic also.  When you’ve had a bad day at work or have had a disagreement with someone close, turning on your television sets to a hostile program will not soothe you mentally.  It’s even worse if these are the last images you are seeing before rest, your sleep pattern and mood the next morning can be negatively affected without knowing.  Reading and Writing in silence are both free and take very little effort.

Hobbies

Take a dance class, try a new recipe, visit you local museum, learn a new language, the possibilities are endless in this category, but far too often we have a hobby that attracts us, yet put it off for lack of time.  I believe I have made my point, however, if you have time to support these programs then you have time to grow creatively.

The notion of The "Bringing Out Successful Sisters" Network is the sheer essence of this wonderful website created for women.  You can network at the click of a button with women from all professions and walks of life.  It is these women that, who despite not being followed with lights and cameras, should be highlighted and praised.  We must SUPPORT them and their efforts to society.

01/14/2012
Beatrix Kiddo
NJ

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Sneak Peak Into The 2012 Plans For The BOSS Network

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For Immediate Release

The BOSS Network Launches Re-Branding Campaign in an Effort to Reach Women Who Need Professional Development and Community Most

Sneak Peak into the 2012 Plans for the #1 Online Network for Professional Women of Color

Chicago, IL (January 9, 2012) – Kick starting 2012 with their “New Year New You” pledge, The BOSS Network has ignited members with an encouraging message of forward movement in professional growth and opportunities. While leading by example, The BOSS Network is taking this opportunity to develop a new look and feel of BOSS for the New Year.  Launching in March of 2012, the BOSS Network will present an exciting new interactive and content based website allowing them to reinforce their efforts on reaching the needs of members in the areas of professional development and community involvement [www.thebossnetwork.org].

The BOSS Network’s strategic re-branding campaign is setting the stage to reach an additional 100,000 more professional women of color who are in need of an online community of other like-minded women for the sake of business success. The strategy will include:

  • Weekly featured guest bloggers discussing topics such as entrepreneurship, career development and a special lifestyle segment entitled “A Day in Her Life”.
  •  Live webinars, seminars and workshops on professional development and mentorship.
  •  Building capacity through collaborate partnerships with national women organizations.
  •  Providing members exclusive access and discounts to some of the top women’s conferences starting with Black Enterprise “Women of Power” in February 2012.
  •   Continue community involvement through Project BOSS- the youth mentoring component of the BOSS Network that was created to connect professional women with mentoring programs to increase mentorship among youth. 

 “Another New Year is here... A chance to start over or finish what you've started.  This year, The BOSS Network will be full of opportunity... opportunity to grow, build, develop, connect, mentor, and give back.  I stand firm in believing that we all have what it takes to achieve success and I am happy to be a part of bringing out the successful sister in you.”~ Cameka Smith, Founder of The BOSS Network

With a goal of reaching an additional 100,000 women- where they live, work and play, 2012 is sure to be an amazing year for the #1 Online Network for Professional Women of Color and its members.  

To find out how you might assistance in their re-branding efforts or for press inquires please email press@thebossnetwork.org.
  
About The BOSS Network- #1 Online Network for Professional Women of Color; The BOSS (Bringing Out Successful Sisters) Network, is a community of professional and entrepreneurial women who support each other through conversation, online and event-based networking.  In 2010, Forbes.com named BOSS amongst one of the 10 Best Career Sites for Women and in 2011 one of the Top 10 Websites for Entrepreneurial Women. For more details, please visit www.thebossnetwork.org

About Cameka Smith- Cameka Smith is a believer, educator, connector and social entrepreneur.  She received her Master's Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University and has worked in educational administration for over 10 years.  In 2009 she founded The BOSS “Bringing Out Successful Sisters” Network, one of the fastest growing women organizations illuminating professionalism and promoting sisterhood.

She was named by onlinecolleges.net as “1 of 50 Excellent Businesswomen College Students Should Follow on Twitter and has done philanthropy work with Cancer awareness organizations such as Susan G. Komen, Bright Pink and several national HIV/AIDS organizations.  She is a woman led by faith and is excited about her recent mentoring program launch "Project BOSS”; a young women in leadership initiative.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

But I Did Everything Right by BOSS Aundrea Wilcox

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Over the holiday break, I took the opportunity to catch up on some long overdue reading.  Although there were at least a couple of news stories related to business closures that I read which left an enduring mark, for the purposes of this blog post, I will discuss the article called “5 Businesses That Failed to Survive Trials of 2011,” which appeared in the nationally-recognized New York Times.

From my perspective, there were six very important takeaways and common themes that are applicable to the novice as well as experienced business owner:

1)      Nothing is off the record when you are speaking to the media, so THINK before you speak.  If you’re not careful, your harsh words may haunt you well beyond your years in business.  Resist the urge to tell the reporter that you did everything right.  Don’t get caught up in playing the victim, as you may feel like you have all the power when you are talking and the reporter is hastily scribbling down every word that tumbles out of your mouth.  Most likely, your words will be interpreted differently the next day by readers even if they are verbatim.  Now, tell me who will want to do business with you in the future if you’re a blamer?  And packing up and leaving town won’t help much (thanks in large part to the Internet).

2)      You must take responsibility for your failures as well as your successes.  Don’t blame your elderly parents, sixth grade teacher, store manager, life coach or anyone else for your unplanned and misdirected spending; short-sighted planning; under- and over-reaction to competitor moves; ineffective marketing; and because you failed to perform in functions you genuinely believed you were an expert.  And don’t blame weak sales or the economy, because you’re never alone in that boat.  The economy is cyclical.

3)      Don’t over borrow for your startup.  When your financial assumptions or projections show that you will bring in $100,000 in the first month of operation, you have to ask yourself one question: “Am I being honest with myself and the lender?”  The truth is you may lose a ridiculous amount of money through no fault of your own.  With that being the case, whether to borrow money should be based on financial need AND the ability to pay back the loan.  Also keep in mind: “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).  Whether you’re religious or not, this is only logical.  When you are using other people’s money (including a silent partner), you give up control.

4)      Marketing is more than a one-shot wonder.  Let’s face it, you’re not going to stay in business because you recently won a contest, appeared on a television show (unless it was Oprah), or your business was featured in a magazine.  You have to keep the pressure on and keep doing that wonderful marketing stuff.  Quite the opposite, a one-shot marketing wonder should be treated as only a launch pad for achieving bigger and better things.    
  
5)      Deals fall apart.  Certainly don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  Diversify your revenue streams as much as possible.  If you are a restaurant and you are counting on a large local company to do thousands of dollars a month with you in catering, don’t sit back and expect that you will have that business tied up forever.  Likewise, if you don’t have the business already, don’t go about running your business today as if something is owed to you simply because you’re a local small business.  Unfortunately, things change, people change, and key people leave key positions in big companies.  Big companies close their doors unexpectedly (to the public) too, so you should always be working on a back-up plan. 

6)      Expanding something that is inefficient will generally lose money and only make things worse.  Just because sales are growing, doesn’t mean that it’s time to expand your business, i.e., taking on new expensive projects, creating new franchising opportunities, and relocating to a larger more upscale space.  Remember, it also takes money to grow; if you don’t have access to the capital you will need—and the ability to pay it back if the bank calls your loan early—now may not be the right time.  Too often, small business owners sign leases and contracts out of sheer excitement and overzealousness—before assessing risks and taking necessary precautions.

The five businesses discussed in the article could have been located anywhere across the country, and even right in your backyard.  At the end of the day, successful people want to associate with and help other successful people, so plan for your success and think and act like a success.  Appreciate your mistakes and move on without blaming others and you will go much further down the path to financial freedom.  

Learn more about Aundrea Wilcox at startupsavvy.biz

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Make Your Business More Productive In 2012

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This has been an AMAZING yet CHALLENGING year for everyone.  It doesn’t matter if you are a media mogul, nonprofit president, entrepreneur, corporate VP or a small business owner.  This was definitely a year of ups and downs. Whether the number of your employees went down, your stocks went up, you opened a second location or simply gained 1,000 Facebook friends. This was a year we ALL had to do some extra work to figure out what we are good at, when we needed to update our files, who we needed to hire or fire and which clients were truly our target market.
One thing that I have found more entrepreneurs and women struggle with is separating their personal and professional lives.  Since I am BOTH, it clearly has been an issue for me. I made a decision a LONG time ago to merge them because separating them is a LOT harder to do and SO MUCH of my life is connected to what I do and also to who I am. I’ve decided for 2012 to make this my practice—because it is when I am most productive.
Most entrepreneurs will eventually realize that running a company never really stops. This is why your personal and professional lives will always conflict with each other. Also, as an entrepreneur, you should be doing something you LOVE, so it is not really work, it is something you just do and happen to get a paycheck (no matter how big or small) from. If you can learn how to peacefully integrate these components into one life—YOURS, you will be able to do a LOT more. Accomplishing this will actually create more time and space to do what you want.
Start by figuring out what your personal and professional priorities are for 2012 and beyond. I have been called the “Conference Queen” and “Event Guru” based on the number of events and conferences I attend each year.  I accept those titles with pride because I am, but the conferences and/or events I attend allow my professional and personal lives to live together in one place.  If I attend a conference for a client, I am there working, but I am also getting the opportunity to travel, network, see friends and make some new business contacts all in one place.

Do you already merge your lives? Do you struggle with the separation of your personal and professional lives? If so, try this out and let me know what you think…I’d love to help you figure out how to do this in your business and personal lives.

For more information contact Jodi Brockington at niarajb@mac.com

A Day In Her Life: Shante Bacon, Founder/CEO of 135th Street Agency

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Her Journey…

Take a good look at Shante Bacon because she is a prime example of what can happen when you dream big, and then relentlessly go after it.  Raised in the drug-riddled neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens, there was very little around her indicative of what her successful future would behold, except a strong affinity for the then emergent hip-hop culture.

“There was a lot of talent out of my neighborhood, so it never seemed farfetched to me that I could do this for a living,” says Bacon, who grew up in the same neighborhood as future hip-hop legends LL Cool J, Run DMC, and Salt-N-Pepa. “What made it a reality for me was when I was a kid, my brother was pursuing a career as a rapper and he would go to Def Jam Christmas parties and that had me all starry eyed about it.”

After reading an article in her brother’s Billboard magazine as a child, her goal was officially set: she wanted to work for Russell Simmons as part of the Def Jam empire.

“There was a little itsy, bitsy, teensy, weensy article about this new company called Def Jam started by this Queens native Russell Simmons, and that was it for me. “

By the time she majored in Marketing at Hampton University, her dream began to take shape while she balanced a full course load and internships at Pendulum and Perspective Records and a college rep position at Def Jam Records working under music business titans Julie Greenwald and Kevin Liles. Liles, so impressed with Bacon’s work as a college rep, held a position for her until her graduation in 1998. With her childhood dream of working at Def Jam finally realized, the journey really began.

“It was probably the most profound, challenging, amazing, inspirational, hard experience ever. Julie and Kevin pushed people out of their comfort zone and required you to always produce the best,” she says. “I was trained by the best and I am doing what I was meant to do.”  

After several promotions and leadership positions, Bacon left her dream job to craft a new destiny of running her own business. And years later yet another dream has come into fruition. Bacon’s agency, which specializes in targeting  urban youth and urban professionals, has been recognized in Redbook, Crain’s NY Business, Black Enterprise, and EBONY to name a few.

“There are people who make their dreams happen and people who are upset they didn’t make their dreams happen. Being a dreamer is not a hard thing…execution is the hard part,” she says. “You just have to wake up every day and work hard and push further, and accept nothing less than exactly what you want out of a situation.”

Her Day Begins…

It’s 9 a.m. East Coast time. From the moment she begins her long work day at her home office, she and her team, including her partner Saptosa Fosterare conceptualizing innovative marketing campaigns for existing clients that have included the likes of Coca Cola, Radio One, Warner Music Group, NY Times, and Island Def Jam.

“The one thing I really love about my life and company and all of that is there is no typical day. I would say the most typical thing is coming to office and knocking out of the park the projects we already have.”
After a few hours, she forces herself away from her computer at her home office and finishes up her work day at her office in Atlantic Records, staying until around 9 p.m. that night-but the work does not necessarily end there. 

“I am one of those people who will do her best work at 3 or 4 a.m. That is when I really get a chance to hone in on something that requires a lot of brainwork.”

Her Advice to You…

“What you do for a living is going to be a major part of your life for so long. You have to choose well.  You have to know yourself. If you graduated from college and you realized this wasn’t for you, switch it up. Nobody said ‘well this is what your degree is in so this is what you have to do the rest of your life’. We are lucky enough to be a generation who have options.”

Best Part of My Job…

“The best part of my job is that I get to be creative, that I get to pitch new business. I feel like I am as close as I can possibly be in terms of true freedom and actually waking up and doing what I want to do.”

To find out more about Shante Bacon’s business journey, please visit her website: www.135stagency.com.

Featured Writer: Lenora Houseworth is a published writer, editor and social media strategist. She can be reached at lenora.houseworth@gmail.com. Find her on Twitter: @LenoraTheScribe.

A “Day in Her Life” blog series gives an insider view into the professional lives of successful women from various fields with the intended purpose of educating and inspiring the next generation of BOSS women.