Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Interviewing to the Finish Line By Nicole Grimes, M. Ed.

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Whether you are interviewing for your next job or planning to meet a key business connection, planning ahead will always add value to your journey to the finish line – securing the opportunity. It starts by thinking about an interview as a process, and not a one-time event.

While we all are familiar when it comes to going to an interview, it is imperative that we are truly intentional when entering a competitive atmosphere. Quite often, you have less than 30 minutes to make a lasting impression…What you do before, during, and after the interview could determine your next level on your corporate/career ladder.




Before the Interview

  • Prepare copies of your resume & cover letter, and bring multiple copies to the interview.
  • Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This means that you need to GPS the location, in advance and estimate time for any traffic you might encounter.
  • Do your research – Know what you are walking into, and be able to refer to important facts about the company during your conversation.
  •  Work on Your Elevator Pitch – Be ready to tell your story when you are asked to “tell  us about yourself…”
  • Electronics Off – leave your phone on silent or leave it in your car.
  • Dress for success – Regardless of the position you are interviewing for, you want to show that you mean business. A well-fitted black or navy suit with conservative shoes sets a polished tone while making a powerful statement.


During the Interview:

  • Come prepared to share – After conducting your research about the company/organization, come prepared to share how you can help to support the mission and vision through your body of work. Reflect upon your prior experiences that would contribute to making the company or organization a success.
  • Take notes and Take Your Time – Bring a notepad and a pen to take notes during the interview, jot down thoughts, and to stay focused on questions being asked. Keep your thoughts organized throughout the conversation by trying not to keep everything in your head.
  • Prepare Questions in Advance – In that same notepad, prepare 3 – 4 key questions to ask the interviewer/contact about the company. Don’t waste their time or yours by trying to come up with questions out of thin air. Be prepared. One key question should be about your next steps.


After the Interview:

  • Follow-Up, Follow-Up, Follow-Up – Send a thank you within 24 hours of the actual interview. In this message, revisit the key points of your elevator pitch to remind the interviewer of why you would add value to the company/organization.
  • Take time to reflect – Jot down your strengths, and areas you need to personally work on following the interview. Use those thoughts to fuel your next interview, and to strengthen your personal toolbox.  

Implement these key strategies to create your path to navigate your journey to the finish line.

Remember, everyone’s journey is different so be intentional on your way to the top!!

Make sure you follow Nicole at www.thenicolemg.com and on IG, Facebook and Twitter @thenicolemg 

Knowledge Hoarding: The New Procrastination by Nicole Woodcox M.S.W

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When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.  African Proverb

How much education do you really need to do your job well? Do you believe it is more important to either receive knowledge or apply knowledge? Is knowledge truly powerful?  These are some of the questions that ran through my mind as I contemplated purchasing yet another course that promised to make me a 6-7 figure super awesome business maven and read yet another book on living my best life.  I have 3 degrees and more certificates than I can count, but I question whether my life actually correlates with all that knowledge I have received. Then it hit me. I am a knowledge hoarder!

In this article, a knowledge hoarder is defined as someone who is on a perpetual treadmill of collecting information before taking significant action to utilize the collected information. 

I am a collector of knowledge but share and apply only a very small portion of it. If I am truly honest I only apply the part of my knowledge that tends to allow me to stay in my comfort zone. For example, I understand the basics of marketing very well and know that I need to be consistent with whatever strategy I use.  But I still tend to say to myself, "Oh I don't want to be a pest to people". "If I just send out an email once a month or shoot out a few tweets here and there, they will still remember my business, because I am respecting their inbox and am so genuine." Everyone with any sort of business sense knows that is a strategy for failure, but somehow, I try to blame my failed marketing strategy on a lack of knowledge and seek out yet another course on marketing.

Once I was able, to be honest with myself and admitted that I am a knowledge hoarder, I had to face a hard truth. I was using my knowledge seeking as a tool to procrastinate on doing the necessary things that needed to be done in my business or life.  Then I had to face the harder truth that I had not done some of the necessary inner work prior to taking the leap into entrepreneurship.  The reality is that I have been procrastinating and hoarding knowledge because I do not truly feel worthy enough to request payment for my skill set or even just consistently sharing my knowledge.  I keep telling myself if I just get this certificate or that certificate I will finally have all that I need to really advertise my business and charge what I am worth.  Well, finally I am saying enough is enough!  No more hoarding! Now it’s all about applying what I already know.  The dress rehearsal is over. Will you join me?  

For the next six weeks, let's really stand in our power.  Use the hashtag #LovingMeFirst so we can interact with each other while on this journey.

Learn more about Nicole via her website at www.thrivingwithbaby.com and follow her on Twitter @thrivingwitbaby 

BOSS Spotlight: Keeana Barber "The Marketing Visionary"

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As the CEO of WDB Marketing, Keeana Barber, focuses her day on expanding the impact her company has on small businesses.  At the core, WDB is a branding and printing company, a place over 1,000 businesses proudly call their marketing headquarters.  However, the imprint Keeana would like to have is much larger.  Our focus as a company is more than delivering a service, more than printing — it is to truly help businesses build a foundation for success.







1. What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?The biggest obstacle I faced at the beginning of starting my business was a lack of a business network/mentorship.  I started my business fueled by the passion to continue my brother’s legacy, who had recently passed away.  Without any investment or support I hosted an event in his honor, months within his passing. The event was surprisingly successful but from there I had a string of hit or miss events as I learned from the ‘school of hard knocks’ about business.  Although I have no regrets I realize that it took years to learn what I could have possibly gotten from the right mentor within months. Although I had a vision and drive for success I was not following a business model with a strategic plan.  After a few years of hosting events I finally found my niche and transitioned to a full-service marketing/design firm. 

2. What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
Although I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur I was unsure of the exact path.  My brother, Bobby Barber, passed away in November 2004, directing me to the field I am in now.   Before passing, he started a promotional and entertainment company in California called What’s Da Bizniz.  I decided to keep it going in his honor.  We started out as an event entertainment/promotional company and over the years have transitioned into a full-service marketing and printing firm. 

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
Work-Life balance is challenging as an entrepreneur. It feels like there is always more work to do and you feel guilty when you take time off.   However, I discovered that those breaks that feel like indulgence are truly necessary to bring out the best in you – personally and professionally.  I schedule my personal time in and although it is a challenge, I do my best not to flake on myself! My business coach once asked me, what do you do to reward yourself?  There will always be another milestone to reach, another item on your to do list, but to be our best self we must take the time to reward and enjoy ourselves along with the way.  


4.What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
“Luck is when opportunity meets preparation”

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
My mom has been my biggest support system; she has worked in the business with me since day one.  My mentor, Dr. Jeffrey Sterling has been integral.  He runs an organization with over 500 physicians, consults internationally, is the President of a 5,000-member organization but still has time in his day for golf.  I am learning efficiency from him. 

6.What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
My must-haves for business is an updated ‘To-Do’ list.  I rewrite my to-do list at least 2x a day, just to stay focused and organized.    My second must have is integrity.   You can make mistakes, no one will ever be perfect in business, but it is how you handle those mistakes and challenges that defines your business culture.

7.What is your definition of a BOSS?
BOSS is someone who has a vision and can clearly articulate and execute that vision without having to do everything.  I learned a long time ago – if your business cannot run without you, you work for yourself.  If you can leave and it keeps running, you are a BOSS.

8. Provide us with two words that describe you? Ex. "Success Coach"
Marketing Visionary

Monday, June 5, 2017

In The Red by Vanessa Abron

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When I first ventured to become a solo PR practitioner, one of my main concerns was to not let my finances fall into the red.  I returned items for income, canceled my Netflix account, took money out of my savings and investments and sold some items just to make ends met.  When I told this to a friend, he said, “So what if you fall into the red?”  I scoffed at the mere mention of this and cringed at the idea.  I thought to myself, “How dare he suggest such a thing?!”

But, despite all of my attempts, I eventually fell into the red.  My heart was broken and being in that state was a dark moment for me.  I couldn’t participate in my usual activities with friends and I was beyond embarrassed about my situation.  Just a year prior I was able to write checks without a second thought, but now the tables had turned.  

I began to secretly share this shame with more successful and seasoned entrepreneurs and learned that this process is sort of a right of passage for all business owners.  A few told me about how they were almost evicted and some told me how they secretly got food stamps to survive.  While I wasn’t happy these individuals faced such tribulation, I felt comfort in knowing that if they could overcome, so could I.  

While I’m still not a fan of falling into the red, I now understand what my friend meant. When your back is against the wall, it’s amazing what you learn to do, figure out, and get over.  It was in this moment that I strengthened my hustle to get clients and build my brand.  At first, I was hesitant to put myself on a metaphorical platform and let people know I had ventured on my own and was in need of clients.  I was afraid of judgment and ridicule, and I had a sense of passiveness I needed to shed quickly.  Going into the red helped me to let go of the fear and brought out my hustle.  

Eventually, I finally climbed back into the black as I continued to secure new clients and projects. I’m not advocating poor finances by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, I still encourage everyone to act responsibly with their personal and businesses finances.  What I am advocating is embracing the hard times, which will inevitably come.  One of the cool things about going through difficult moments is that you come out prepared to handle trying times in the future with the understanding that it’s only temporary and that you will get through it.  

Embrace your drops in the red because they help you grow.  It’s like exercising.  When you start to work muscles you rarely use, it hurts initially and you may experience soreness so severe, it’s hard to move.  But as you continue to build and strengthen those muscles, it doesn’t hurt anymore, and you are stronger overall as a result. 

Learn more about Vanessa via her website at www.vanessaabron.com and follow her on Twitter @vanessaabron (personal) and @AgencyAbron (business)

   

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Take Care of Yourself With These 10 Easy Tips by Tanya Barnett

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Self-Care is so important when you are building your business. It is so easy to become consumed by meetings and late nights that you barely eat and suffer lack the proper amount of sleep. 

These 10 tips are crucial not only for your physical body but for your business to thrive. 

1.Your body is to be loved. Love on your big lips, freckled face, the curve of your back, the dimples in your thighs and the color of your skin. Once you can effectively love all of you, you can love other people too.

2.No more comparing yourself. Look, I know I will never be a size 2. I had to be okay with this. My neighbor is super skinny yet she has high blood pressure and cholesterol from not taking care of her body.

3. Get counseling. I shared this is a previous post. I'm sharing it again because it is that important. Stop dragging your feet. Call your insurance company to get an EAP authorization number for your free appointments.

4. Eat right! Add more green stuff to your diet. Choose Mrs. Dash Salt-Free seasonings instead of the other stuff. Drink water. I purchased a water bottle with a fruit infuser.

5. Move your body. Listen #BOSSLADY, YOU'VE GOT TO MOVE SOMETHING! It really is that simple. I have a FitBit and I use the Nike+ app on my phone. When I can’t get outside or to the gym, I get my steps done in the house. I watched a 2-hour documentary the other day and by the time I was done, I walked 7 miles. I was sweaty and happy. Head outside and walk your neighborhood. Just bundle up. You can do this if you want to.

6. Purge your underwear drawer. You know you have undergarment in there that have seen their last days. If they are stretched out, have the rubber strings poking out of them or are just ugly, throw them away. Get cute lace undies; they even have cotton ones.  Bras that are missing underwire or the straps no longer offer support, need to go in the trash immediately. 

7. Purge your sleepwear drawer. No more big tee-shirts and sweat pants. Purchase a few cute nightgowns that are sexy yet sassy. I have cute ones that are sassy but decent enough to wear in front of your children.

8. Invest in smell good products. Ladies, I know if I smell good, it makes me feel good. I love natural products from black owned business Naturally Me & You. I love Rita and her scents. She even made a scent for my Kiss & Play Box.

9. Paint your nails and toes or get a manicure. Summer is right around the corner. I love the colors from black businesses Pear Nova and EA Polish.

10. Add brighter tint to your lips and/or eyes. I love lip color but I'm highly allergic. I use colors from black-owned businesses such as The Lip Bar, Just Lovely Lipstick, and TAJJ Cosmetics. My eyeshadow is from TAJJ and MOVE Makeup. I love their colors since they are all natural. I also invested in Move Makeup concealer and foundation. I love how it stays all day long and looks natural.

Empire building is hard work and can wear us down if we are not careful. Take time to take nurture your mind, body, and soul. Schedule it if you have to. When you feel good, you can conquer your goals with confidence. 

Be sure to follow Tanya Barnett on Twitter @RealWifeCoach and check out her products & services at www.RealWifeMovement.com and ForeverFreeBooks.com 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

3 C's of Success Pivoting by Nicole Woodcox, M.S.W.

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The art of pivoting can help the business owner know when it’s time to rebrand or release a partner, the employee of 15 years that has just been laid off have the courage change fields, the college student who has just graduated with a degree in a field they no want to work in or can’t find a job in, the family who just found out they are having twins instead of a singleton, the teenager that just found out they are pregnant and even the family that just found out they may have a hard time conceiving without help. The ability to pivot, aka mental flexibility and adaptability is one of the top ten skills employers look for, according to the University of Kent, and “a critical skill that all entrepreneurs need”, according to Inc.com.  Not only is the ability to pivot critical for success in the business world it is a necessary element in being able to have the resilient mindset to flourish regardless of the situation presented, based on the book “Emotional Agility” by Susan David, Ph.D.  Everyone needs to know have to successfully pivot in life if they want to thrive in this fast-paced world filled with hurting people.  These 3 Cs are keys to successful pivoting in any situation. 

Contemplation
Contemplation is allowing yourself the time to create the space need to temporarily escape the distractions and chaos of life.  This can be a daily practice of prayer, meditation, journal writing, walking in nature, exercising or anything that allows to get away from outside influences and stressors.  This time is so you can observe the thoughts and emotions in your mind, not to judge them but to take inventory of where you are mentally.  Meaning this is the time in the day where you can be honest with yourself, where you can acknowledge that you feel overwhelmed but have also learned some lessons, a time where you can go over your pros and cons of a situation.  Contemplation is an essential key prior to any pivot because it helps us not to lose our voice and values in the face of outside influence, fear, or stress. 




Clarity


Clarity is usually a byproduct of having good contemplation time. Clarity is when your inner coach voice comes through loud and clear with your best next steps.  Clarity is when indecision takes a back seat. Focus and determination on an
 S.M.A.R.T goal is clarity.  Clarity is essential to a pivot because it allows you to release indecision and organize yourself with clear goals.  


Confidence


Confidence naturally comes when you know that you are prepared to make the next best steps to achieve your goals. Without confidence, we are sometimes hesitant to say our best yes or say our best no to things that do not help us meet our goals or serve our best interest. Confidence is essential to a pivot because without it we may not have the courage to make those moves that actually lead us to pivot.

These 3Cs are simple but easily overlooked, which can cause us much time and energy. Without these, we sometimes allow life to simply happen to us instead of taking the responsibility of living a life on purpose. So although it may seem hard to carve out time for self-care or saying no to other people’s request of you that do not serve you, it is absolutely essential if you want to live a life on your terms. 

Learn more about Nicole via her website at www.thrivingwithbaby.com and follow her on Twitter @thrivingwitbaby 





BOSS Spotlight: Navigating Life With Confidence

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Yvette Gavin, founder and Chief Strategist of Yvette Gavin Consulting is a certified John Maxwell coach, trainer and speaker. An alumna of Oral Roberts University, Yvette is a blogger and author of two books—Recalibrate! Navigating the Job Market with Confidence and What to Do After You Say I Do.

1. What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
My biggest obstacle was overcoming my fear of failing financially. I had become accustomed to a high-paying corporate America salary and the thought of not knowing if I would make the same or higher income running my own business was scary. I knew I would be exceptional at delivering my services but I wasn’t sure about how to get paying clients.  Nevertheless, my fear of not achieving my dreams became bigger than my fear of losing my comfortable corporate America check. So, I developed a growth plan and began to study networking techniques and sales strategies.  This lead to my business and marketing plan and it wasn’t long after that that I was executing my exit plan from corporate American and launching my prospering consulting firm.

2. What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
Encouraging others is something I have always enjoyed doing. But it wasn’t until several friends reached out to me for help with their job searches and or with their marriages that I fully realized that the impact I was making in the lives of others.  I absolutely love coaching, training, speaking, and consulting because this industry allows me to support others in my most authentic way!

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
I consistently start my day with devotion and meditation regardless to what is going on professional or personal.  It helps me to stay focus, maintain peace, and keep my priorities in order.

4.What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
“Don’t ever give up your dreams and never leave them behind.” Elisa Costanza

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
My husband (James), son (Jamison), and my mother (Lois) are my greatest encouragers.

6.What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
I must have integrity, faith, and peace to keep my business going strong. 

7.What is your definition of a BOSS?
An influencer who leads with candor and care.

8. Provide us with two words that describe you? Ex. "Success Coach" "Beauty Expert."
Strategy Coach




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Turning Bad Experiences in Gold Mines by Vanessa Abron

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Flickr / Neal Wellons
Considering the high-value gold possesses, the path to get to it is rough.  If it were easy, everyone would be there. The same principle applies to the gold mines of our lives. 

Situation A
I had a job at a large corporation upon college graduation.  It wasn't my heart's desire, but I went into it with an open mind to learn and get the most of the experience.  However, I started to dislike my job so much that I cried as I prepared for work each morning.  It wasn’t the place for me and I was trying to find a way out. Nine months later I was let go.  I was devastated but also felt like I just unloaded a pack of bricks off my back. 
Lesson: Sometimes it takes getting lost a bit to get on the right track.

Situation B
When I decided to pursue public relations, I had the opportunity to work with one of the top public relations agencies.  I was excited and was confident that I was going to knock it out the park.  I was wrong.  The internship was hard.  I struggled.  I gave it my all and yet it wasn’t good enough.  I felt like I was failing.  
Lesson: The trail to the gold mine is arduous, and you will get bruises along the way.

Situation C
After hard work, tenacity, and determination, I landed my dream role, or so I thought.  My strengths were put on a backburner while my weaknesses were front and center for open criticism and judgment. The stress of the job showed physically in my overall appearance through rapid weight gain and broken hair follicles.  I had no time for family or friends.  Eventually, I had to walk away from this role.  
Lesson: Sometimes you have to experience fools gold before you get the real gold.

These seem like three horrible stories. However, hindsight is 20/20.  

Situation A helped me realize that I had to stay true to my passion.  Sometimes we pursue opportunities purely for the money.  We have bills, children and/or parents to care for, and personal ambitions that cost money.  However, passion should reign and to not allow money to serve as God.

Situation B was a quick boot camp that prepared me for my career ahead.  At my next job after Situation B, my colleagues and managers were impressed with my experience and the skills. Situation B made me tougher and fully equipped to conquer my next opportunity.

Situation C helped me realize that everything that glitters isn't gold, but also that I had what it took to get the real gold.  I wasn't where I was supposed to be, but at the same time, I was developing muscles that I didn't realize I had.  One could say it was a slight detour or perhaps an indication of what’s to come.  

Each situation was a stepping-stone to where I am now – realizing my potential as an entrepreneur and thus building upon that.  Without taking those steps, I probably would have been too afraid to enter the mine.  However, now I'm here deep in the tunnels with my shovel and pick ax chipping away at my mountain of gold.

Learn more about Vanessa via her website at www.vanessaabron.com and follow her on Twitter @vanessaabron (personal) and @AgencyAbron (business)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How to Master the Art of Follow-Up: A 4-Step Process by Nicole Grimes, M. Ed.

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It is so easy to host an initial meeting or consultation with someone. You both have shared key information and discussed the plans to move forward with all ideas discussed. When closing the meeting, both of you share next steps with intentions of following up. Somewhere along the way, you get super busy or super booked, life happens, and the intent to follow-up gets lost. As a result, you lose out on potential opportunities. To send the message that you are serious about truly providing support AND delivering results, as agreed, it is imperative to master the art of follow-up. Through the establishment of a true process for follow-up, you show that you are serious about your business, serious about establishing relationships, and you show that you are committed to both accountability and reliability. 




Consider using the process below to Master the Art of Follow-Up:

  1. Be specific about your expectations for follow-up. Ensure that all parties involved clearly understand that follow-up will potentially occur. In doing so, outline what the next steps are while specifically stating when and how the follow-up will take place. 
  2. Establish a specific time to follow-up with the person or on the task. When meeting with a potential client or key connection, it is important that all parties, including you, have access to your calendars. Take time to discuss and establish a time that works for everyone so that the follow-up can actually occur at an equitable time/date. Then actually set the time/date. 
  3. Use a tool to set a clear follow-up time for all persons involved. We live a busy lifestyle, so it is quite helpful to use a tool to also support the follow-up. I choose to use an electronic tool, such as my phone calendar or Google calendar. Depending on the type of meeting that will occur, I also incorporate the use of various apps to support the process. There is nothing better than a scheduled reminder to keep everyone on task. If for whatever reason, this time doesn’t end up working (because life happens), take a few minutes to talk through establishing another time using the process discussed in Step 2. 
  4. Follow-up on the follow-up. Continue the process. In my research and practice, I have learned that the key to follow-up is following up. Sounds simple, right? Once the initial follow-up has taken place, it is important to continue to revisit steps 1-3 at each checkpoint or after each meeting to truly achieve the intended results in the long run. To establish a true relationship where actual results are produced, it is important to be intentional around the follow-up process. 

By truly investing in The Art of Follow-Up, you show that you are serious about accountability, not only for the person you are connecting with but also for yourself as a professional. Establish a system that works for you and commit to making it routine. 

Make sure you follow Nicole at www.thenicolemg.com and on IG, Facebook and Twitter @thenicolemg  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

12 Tips to Survive as a MOMpreneur by Tanya Barnett

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When I began this MOMpreneur journey, I knew one thing and one thing only: I did not want to work for anyone ever again in my life. I had been fired twice from jobs because I put my kids’ health first. The last full-time job I had was with the federal government. I quit that job when I heard God say, “Pack your things. It’s time to go.”

Before and after leaving my final full-time job, I had various side hustles to help my husband pay the bills. Some of my entrepreneurial jobs were: owning a home daycare for years (including weekend and overnight care for military families), tutoring, selling Mary Kay, Avon, and Real Estate (I did well until the bubble burst).

Honestly, I did not understand how much time and commitment it would take. After numerous instances of forgetting to pick my kids up, to drop them off or to go grocery shopping, I had to find a way to manage all of this and stay engaged with my kids and husband. I had bouts where I was so overwhelmed that I would snap at everyone or eat excessively to cope.

Eventually, I ballooned to almost 200lbs. I had to make a change for my emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health. Hearing my doctor say the words, “You have diabetes” before my 39th birthday was my wake up call. I was not only failing myself, I was failing my kids too. I was fatigued all the time, which caused my husband and children suffered. I was even to exhausted to give 100% to my businesses as well.

In January 2011, I decided I could do both but I had to be smart about it. I started walking while my daughter was at cheer practice. On days she didn’t have practice, she would go to the track with me. This gave us time to spend together. By November that same year, I lost 53lbs and was diabetes-free before my 40th birthday. I became a better mother and entrepreneur because I put me first. I even started my nonprofit, Forever Free Books and my current purpose-filled mission, The Real Wife Movement. I know this was a direct result of implementing ways to take care of myself and my family.

Some other tools and methods I incorporated were:
  1. Purchase and use a planner
  2. Put my kids to work  
  3. Asked for help
  4. Switched some household roles with my husband 
  5. Gave my kids more age-appropriate responsibilities 
  6. Hired a cleaning service 
  7. Said “NO" to others 
  8. Said “NO” to my family members
  9. Resigned from community groups 
  10. Cooked larger meals 
  11. Began ride-sharing with other families
  12. Took time alone for me 
Being a “MOM”preneur can be stressful if you do not have systems in place. Find things that work for you and implement them. I promise, your business will thrive and your kids will thank you for giving them 100% of their mom.

Be sure to follow Tanya Barnett on Twitter @RealWifeCoach and check out her products & services at www.RealWifeMovement.com and ForeverFreeBooks.com 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

BOSS Spotlight: Corporate and Career Strategy with Nicole Grimes

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Corporate/Career Strategist, Nicole Grimes, M.Ed. is an advocate for empowerment, education, image development, and strengths-based coaching, with a passion for leading others to their purpose-driven lifestyle. A native of Louisiana, Nicole is currently employed as a Special Education Supervisor and is a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership. 

Q1. What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?

A1:    Creating a new level of balance and making “it all fit”

Q2. What inspired you to break into your particular industry?

A2: I was inspired to break into this industry, over time, through multiple experiences in my life, and through the encouragement of those close to me. Over the years, I have assisted many people with supporting their career goals, personal image development, and maximizing their strengths/talents to create their best selves through coaching. After much prayer, encouragement, and much planning, I took the steps necessary to make my vision a reality.

Q3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?

A3: I balance my personal and professional life through time management, prayer, exercise, strategic scheduling, and goal setting. Another key to creating balance is open communication to ensure understanding, commitment, and to further develop trust. When individuals, especially those close to you, truly understand your journey, it makes it much easier to support the process. We often forget that we cannot do THIS alone.

Q4: What is an inspirational quote that you live by?

A4: One of my most inspirational quote is from Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT), “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Q5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?

A5: My dad for his focus and wisdom. Over the years I have seen him serve others as a premier educational leader, now a pastor, and own multiple businesses. My brother and sister-in-law also have really been encouraging and supportive. They too have professional careers, and own multiple businesses. Additionally, I have a very tight-knit group of friends that encourage me daily. They are also brutally honest with me which helps me to remain focused. There’s no better feeling than knowing you have true supporters in your corner.

Q6. What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?

A6: My “must-haves” to keep my career and business going include my Bible, my computer and smart devices, a written plan, my business coach, personal mentors, a close circle of family/friends, and a great network to support my vision and execution.

Q7: What is your definition of a BOSS?

A7: My definition of a BOSS is someone who is a leader through influence, service, and the ability to produce results in their particular field. This person is a trendsetter, an innovator, an influencer, and has fought against the odds to manifest his/her vision. A BOSS is someone that is a risk-taker, and lives a life of purpose through serving others.

Q8: Provide us with two words that describe you? Ex. "Success Coach" "Beauty Expert."

A8: Career Strategist

Make sure you follow Nicole at www.thenicolemg.com and on IG, Facebook and Twitter @thenicolemg 

Monday, May 1, 2017

BOSS Spotlight: Positive Psychology with Dr. Toya K Wilson

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Dr. Toya K. Wilson is a Positive Psychology expert from Chicago, IL. She specializes in the use of both ancient and modern techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, energy healing, and knowledge of Self to help individuals, companies, and communities heal. Her guiding belief is that everyone can live a happy life!

1. What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?

A: When I first began the process of starting my business, my largest obstacle was requiring payment for my services. I believe that happiness and peace of mind is everyone’s birthright so it seem counter intuitive to charge clients for it.

2. What inspired you to break into your particular industry?

A: Being from the south side of Chicago and working in the Englewood area, I was surrounded by crime, depression, and dysfunction. But through it all, people naturally reached out to me seeking answers and I enjoyed watching people heal through my “work”, so I built a career around helping people live happier lives.

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?

A. I live by the mantra that when Toya’s good, the whole world is good! I take care of me first. By living this way, my professional life flows naturally and i’m able to operate at peak performance and stay balanced.

4.What is an inspirational quote that you live by?

A. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success! If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. ~Herman Cain

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
A. I have a mixed bag of influencers who encouraged me along the way ranging from my mother Alicia Wilson to Dr. Maya Angelou and  Buddha. 

6.What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
A. Because so much of my business is done online, I must have access to a computer and internet connection. Also, I have to have access to current research in my field so that I can stay in ‘the know’ about current findings and breakthroughs.

7.What is your definition of a BOSS?
A. In my opinion, a BOSS is someone who has found freedom and self-expression through their career. Yes, there’s a cost to being the BOSS, but the reward is the freedom to share your gift with the world on your own terms in your own way. To me, there’s nothing better than being a BOSS,

8. Provide us with two words that describe you? Ex. "Success Coach" "Beauty Expert."
Happiness Coach

Please visit Dr, Toya at www.Drtoyakwilson.com or https://twitter.com/DrToyaK

Friday, April 14, 2017

BOSS Spotlight: Insurance and Financial Services Advisor by Georgelyn Hicks

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Georgelyn Hicks has been a top advisor helping individuals and businesses realize their dreams by developing financial security and growth. She operates in multiple states, Georgelyn Hicks dba State Farm Insurance for more than 25 years. Georgelyn and her team of agents, help her clients protect themselves from the consequences of unforeseen events and build their future through insurance and financial products.

BN: What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career? 

GH: The dream of business began 10 years before the door opened.  Each step along the way was exciting and hopeful but in the back of my head was that tape of fear, “can I really succeed” So I began practicing faithful affirmation and self- talk. I fight the tendency to become immobile. So I schedule my goal activities to keep me moving and accomplishing step by step.  



BN: What inspired you to break into your particular industry?


GH: Through my 13 years as an insurance claims adjuster I realized that many people in the black community and women, did not know what they purchased when they bought insurance.  More were spending money on clothes and eating than putting money away for saving, investments, leaving an inheritance or retirement.  I heard a call in my spirit to help my people not perish from a lack of knowledge. 


BN: How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?


GH: Balance requires an understanding to keep the first things FIRST. God is the source of life and his wisdom got me to this place in life. I practice a consist time of worship and pray for guidance about my day and business.  My family is a gift, my greatest success is to be a good influence in their time of life.  You will never regret the effort you put into these relationships. 


BN: What is an inspirational quote that you live by? 


GH:  I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


BN: Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way? 

          
GH: I follow many women who are influential in their Christian life and business. Here are a few:  Dr. Lois Evans, Dr. Bridget Hilliard, Carly, Fiorina, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Pricilla Q. Williams and Gayle King. 


BN: What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?


GH: By grace, I try to keep from letting negative emotions overcome me. Our thoughts are the building blocks of the outcomes of life. Through guidance, I use my time to grow in life and knowledge.  I am a life learner, I read and interact with others with an open mind.  



BN: What is your definition of a BOSS?


GH: A BOSS is a visionary. She influences others to move into their future.  She creates strategies and systems to accomplish her goals.  She builds a team that can go into the future with her.  A BOSS is a coach and builder of the gifts and talents of the people around her. She is humble and knows by God's grace and plan she is standing in this place of leadership. 



BN: Provide us with two words that describe you? Ex. "Success Coach" "Beauty Expert."

GH:  “Bible Teacher, Financial and Insurance Coach


Be sure to visit Georgelyn Hicks on her website: www.georgelynhicks.com