Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Avoiding the Sale Trap By Aisha Taylor

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Nina looked at her email, and saw that her favorite shoe store sent her an email saying, “save 40% off this weekend only!”  Nina immediately started to think about how many new shoes that she “needed”.  She thought, “OMG that’s almost 2 for the price of 1.  I need to go there, because I need a new pair of black pumps and I have to have a pair of nude shoes.”  As Nina took a step back, she started to realize that was exactly what the store wanted her to think.  They wanted to trigger a sense of “I have to have it now.”

Nina thought about it a little more, and then decided to go to her closet.  She decided to take a survey of her shoes to understand what she already owns.  One of the things that she realized is that she loves black pumps.  She loves them so much that she has about 10 pair already, with very little differentiation and some of which had only been worn once or twice.  Immediately she realized that she didn’t “need” another pair of black pumps.  All she needed to do was to go “shopping” in her closest.

After surveying her closet, Nina did notice that she didn’t own a pair of nude pumps and there have been many times over the past few months were she wished that she owned a pair.  Therefore, Nina decided to go to the shoe store to buy the nude pumps, and only the nude pumps.  As she was there, she discovered the most fabulous pair of blue shoes.  She knew that she didn’t own a pair of blue shoes, and the shoes were not just on sale, they were on clearance for $75!!! The original price was $200.  Nina’s sense of finding a bargain started to kick in.  She started to think that she needed those shoes. 

Once Nina started to think about it, she realized that she barely wears blue and that she would probably just look at the shoes and admire them.  Eventually, they would end up in the back of the closet unused, and when she was really honest with herself, she only thought that they were fabulous because they were 62.5% off.  Nina discovered that in order to “save” 62.5%, she had to “spend” $75, which is not “saving” money at all because she wasn’t planning to buy the shoes.

Nina decided to only buy the nude shoes, and then paid herself $75 for the blue shoes, and put that money into savings.  Nina had a successful shopping trip because she asked herself these 3 questions:

1. Do I already own it?  Know what you already have in your closet to avoid buying multiples.
2. Do I really need it?  Is this something that I don’t have that would complement what I own, and how long have I wanted it?
3. Will I wear it?" If the item was full price, would I really buy it? Seriously?
It is important to keep these questions in the front of your mind whenever you shop.  These questions will help you reduce your impulse spending just as they helped Nina to reduce hers.

Connect with Aisha on Twitter @FNPhenomenal and like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FNPhenomenal.  To learn more about Aisha and FNPhenomenal, please visit her online atwww.FNPhenomenal.com.

Check in with her next month for great information on:  
  • Personal Finance
  • Developing a Wealthy Consciousness ™
  • Life Coaching (Goal Setting & Execution)



Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Importance of Branding Yourself By Raevyn Jones

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The mistake that many people make in business is underestimating the value of branding. Marketing, public relations, and promotion is great, however branding must come before anything and branding has to go on forever. Here are several reasons why branding is a crucial part of your business: 

What makes you unique? 

Whatever makes you and your business unique is what will make it successful. Personal branding identifies and then communicates what makes you unique and different. This process then helps you to identify your target audience and ultimately achieve the goals of your business. Branding is very powerful because it sends a clear message about who you are and what you have to offer. This will set you apart from everyone else and position you as an expert in your field. 

Maximize Your Strengths: 

Getting familiar with your personal brand puts you in touch with your strong points. This is beneficial because you can capitalize on your strengths and use them to your advantage. 

Visibility and Presence: 

As soon as you create the signature brand that makes you unique, you can begin to connect with people who can assist you in achieving your goals. 

Clarity: 

Personal branding puts you in control of your business. Once you have a clear understanding of your brand, you have a better understanding of the direction you would like to go in. This means having a sense of clarity on the type of clients you want to take on, what services you want to offer, and how you would like to deliver those services. 

Financial Gain: 

Many times people will buy into a brand. This is why top brands are able to charge premium prices for their products and services; your personal brand is no different. Being in touch with your personal brand helps you to understand your value, and when you understand your value you can command higher prices. 

Long-Term Success: 

People with strong personal brands are able to overcome challenges that many others cannot. This is simply because in knowing the value of their brand, they can be persistent in situations where others may see roadblocks. 

Branding breathes life into your business regardless of what industry you are in. It is something that should be key in your business from start to finish.

Connect with Raevyn on Twitter @RaevynJones and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/raevynjonesinspires . If you want to learn more about products and services visit Raevyn online at www.raevynjones.com  

Purpose Check: Getting Out of a Career Stalemate by Arionne Nettles

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It happens: you’re working really hard, everything is going well, or so you thought, and then it happens—you end up smack-dab in the middle of career stalemate.  The same moves you’ve been using no longer are helping you win.  You aren’t progressing and it’s not due to lack of effort.  So what’s wrong?  Your current path may or may not be aligned with your current purpose.  When you’re stuck in a sort of “career mid-life crisis,” or for some of us younger BOSSes, “career quarter-life crisis,” how do you get out of it?  By finding purpose in our everyday behavior, we can better determine if our current state fits into our greater puzzle.

Here are ways to jumpstart your “purpose check:”

Do Nothing
“It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.” — K.T. Jong













When you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything at all.  In the middle of our hustle and bustle, it can become very difficult to see our situation clearly.  Being busy can blur our vision.  We can do ourselves a disservice if we don’t take the time to slow down or even stop what we’re currently doing long enough to think about it.  How can you hear your heart when your life is causing too much noise?  Peace, clarity, and vision come from quieting all the noise and listening.

Trust the Process of Exploration
"You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." —Christopher Columbus










Getting lost can be key in finding yourself.  As women, we can spend years searching for our true selves and when it comes to our careers, it’s no different.  Searching for your purpose through exploration never equates to failure when you’re looking for the right reason.  No matter how long it may take, be courageous enough to try new things to see what you like.   Take a class, unofficially (or sometimes officially) be an intern, study a new trade, because through those new experiences, you learn, grow, and add to your game.

Help Someone
“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.” 
― Pearl S. Buck









If at any point in your career, you just don’t know where to turn, the perfect next action is always to help someone.  All of us, in some way, have the ability to positively impact the lives of others.  It is our duty, our responsibility, to put good into the world.  Through that service, you can discover passions that you never knew existed.  Integrate that passion and new-found interest into what you do every day.  

Consider Change
 “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” 
― Albert Einstein














Just as the market and external environmental factors change, so does your need to reevaluate all that you have going on.  Things that may have previously been beneficial, may no longer be working in your favor and that may be a sign to not just change approach, but to actually switch course.  For years, you may have thought that you wanted to own a certain business or maybe you were studying to be a lawyer, but who says you can’t change your game?  In no way is this the 9th inning and you always have time to do something new.

Focus on What Feels Good
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ― Steve Jobs 













Most people spend at least 10 hours per day working at or travelling to and from their career—many of us spend way more.  Wouldn't it be great to spend that much of your life on something that feels good to you?  Deciding to ignore what others think you should be doing and focusing on what makes you happy, is best career decision you can ever make.

Be Fearless
"I am not afraid; I was born to do this." —Joan of Arc 


With every move and in every circumstance, be confident.  The worse thing that we can do as career women is to be afraid to take the advantage of the opportunities that we know are meant for us.  Understanding that you are capable of doing great things, there’s nothing to fear.  You have a strength inside you that makes you unstoppable so go girl!  You’ve got this!




Connect with Arionne on Twitter @AriAlyssa and @urbanshakemag visit her online at www.arionnealyssa.comwww.urbanshakemagazine.com and like her on Facebook at USM Facebook Page 

Check in with us next month for great information on:  

Entrepreneurship
Business Strategy & Execution
Marketing

5 Ways to Style Your Brand By Dr. Shanté S. Bishop

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No matter how fancy your logo is, how much you spent on web design, or how slick the functionality is on your website, at the end of the day, YOU are your brand.  When people visit your site, read your blog posts, or your latest article, what kind of experience do you want them to have? What sentiment do you want to convey? Do you want visitors to feel like they’re visiting an old, trusted friend? Or do you want them to be swept off their feet with visual inspiration?

Your brand should reflect your personality and authenticity. Think about certain stores that you like to shop in, certain restaurants that you like to visit, or hotels you love to stay in. What type of experience makes you want to come back for more? What little things make those brands signature? What would disappoint you if it was no longer offered?

Your brand should be the same way. It should evoke a feeling. It should convey a message. It should be consistent and engage your audience, offering them something to do when they visit, or something to think about, or even a little message of inspiration to carry them throughout their day. In other words, your brand should have a STYLE.
For example, your brand can be:
  • A Guilty Pleasure: Your brand can be something that your audience looks forward to curling up with after a long day; it can feel like an indulgence, a treat, a reward after a long trying day that’s just for them. It may include: recipes, stories, books to read, or places to visit.
  •  A Must Have: Your brand can be trendy, modern, and sexy…something that has your readers eagerly awaiting your next post like a person waiting by the mailbox for the next issue of their favorite magazine. For instance your visitors might be anticipating: fashion trends, new products, beauty finds, celebrity gossip or stylish pieces.
  •  A Lifestyle Brand: Your brand can encourage people to adapt a certain way of life for instance: Clean Eating, Minimalist, Savvy & Sexy, Stylish & Graceful. What type of life is your perfect client trying to live? What values or qualities does she seek to incorporate into her daily life? Make sure your brand exudes those qualities in your color scheme, typography, web design, and social media/blog posts.  
  • A DIY Brand: Are you creative in the kitchen? Do you make beautiful gifts and treats? Are you good at paper crafting, home décor, or organization? If so, you can engage your audience by showing them tips, tricks, and techniques to apply at home.
  •  A Powerhouse Brand: Do you spell confidence with the letters in your first name? Are you unapologetic about your success and have a platform, program, or message that will motivate, inspire, transform, or bring iron clad results? Then channel your inner-Olivia Pope and make your audience believe that you are the one to make their dreams possible! Write strong copy that will grab their attention and make them want to open up their wallets and invest in your offerings.

Brand styling is a critical piece of the marketing puzzle. If you’re not sure what your clients want, ASK THEM.  A one to three question survey is a great way to find out what your audience is craving, what resonates with them, and how you can build a loyal following that will keep coming back for more.

Brand strategist, Dr. Shanté Bishop, helps diverse women find the courage, clarity, confidence and conviction to pursue their passion, build multiple revenues, and increase  their visibility by launching a successful brand.  Get access to Shanté's FREE Brand Builder checklist and other free resources at http://www.designherlabel.com