Thursday, September 19, 2019

Don’t Let Being A Boss Burn You Out Interview with BOSS Founder Cameka Smith

Being your own Boss is something many strive to accomplish but, not everyone is up for the challenge and stress that comes with entrepreneurship. I recently had an opportunity to sit down and speak with Cameka Smith, the founder of The Boss Network. Cameka shared with me all the struggles and successes of business and how she has continued to stay in business for the last 10 years. Cameka is a speaker, trainer and award-winning entrepreneur. She started The Boss Network in 2009 and it has been very successful. The BOSS Network has become one of the fastest-growing women business communities, garnering several accolades such as a Top 50 Websites for Entrepreneurs by Inc. Magazine, and the 10 Best Career Sites and Entrepreneur Websites for Women in 
Cameka Smith 
Founder of The Boss Network

What is The Boss Network and how long have you been in business?
CS: I started The Boss Network in 2009 after working in the educational system as a school administrator. After finding out that I would be losing my job due to downsizing, I knew this was my opportunity to become my own boss. I first started with my event company that I worked as a side-hustle. I hosted events all over Chicago and this allowed me to connect and have conversations with multiple business owners. During these conversations, I would hear women talk about needing support, mentors and even coaching in their business. This is when I decided to put together a series of Boss events. This created a space for women to connect, collaborate and hear from other successful career and businesswomen. Women were drawn to these events and they wanted more. This is when I decided to create something that would go beyond events. The Boss Network (Bring Out Successful Sisters), a digital platform that supports women entrepreneurs and women who want to climb the corporate ladder. The Boss Network provides digital content, virtual workshops, events, marketing programs, and coaching services. 
What obstacles have you had to overcome in order to become successful?
CS: With any business, there are always failures and successes, but I had to learn how to manage it all. I could not get caught up in the validation of it all. When I first started my business, I was listed in Forbes, Black Enterprise, and INC. Magazine as one of the top digital platforms for women. While this was validation for my business, I was not making the money to match those accolades. I had to get out of my own way and learn to ask for help. I was afraid of not knowing would I really make it to the next level in my business. I also had to get over the obstacles of not having the finances I needed to sustain my business. Therefore, this is when I created the membership component to my business. The memberships allowed me to create multiple income streams and make money while I sleep. I also had to be strategic about creating and building strong relationships with financial sponsors like Prudential, Sage and many others. In business, you must create revenue to keep your business growing. It doesn’t matter if you have 100K followers on social media when you’re not bringing in the revenue to match it.   
What is success burnout?
CS: I have been an entrepreneur for 15 years and have been growing my business The Boss Network for the last 10 years. It has not been easy supporting entrepreneurs, creating content, producing events and managing a digital platform. It has been a lot of sacrifices, failures and financial losses along the way. The pressure of it all can cause anxiety and stress, that could manifest into other illnesses, if not careful. Over the years, I have put so much in the business and made many sacrifices along the way. As the CEO of Boss, I have provided programs, continued to support my digital platform and host a multi-city tour for the last 4years. This caused me to become burned out. Even though I have a team, the bulk of everything falls on me. It took me 4 years before I started to see revenue in my business, and I wanted to keep going. I started to have anxiety about the future of my business, and I knew I had to keep it up. It was draining me because I wasn’t taking time to invest in my personal life. I need at this point to have balance in my business and my personal life. Your life is just liked a car if you don’t put gas in the tank the car will stop. If you don’t take the car to get the oil changed the car will stop. If you don’t get the tires changed on the car it will stop. With your life, you must take the necessary measures to pour into yourself so you can be so much greater in your business. 
What measures have you taken to prevent success burnout?
CS: The first thing I had to do was acknowledge that there was a problem. I listened to my body. I started to have more headaches, colds, and stress. That’s when I knew I had to seek help. So, I reached out to my doctor and he confirmed that I was under stress. I knew I had to do something different in my life. The first thing I did was change my diet. I decided to give up meat and only eat foods that would give me energy and life. I then begin to change up my personal routine. This includes when I wake up in the morning I start with prayer, meditation, and gratitude instead of just waking up and getting right to business. This was very helpful in me being strategic about my day. I also added a routine of yoga, cardio exercises, and self-care activities like floating H2O. Lastly, I decided to put myself first and enjoy life. This included traveling and even taking a three-month sabbatical. I went to Florida and stayed there for three months so I can start doing activities I love, like going to the beach, attending the theater, festivals, and art shows. I forgot about how much I enjoyed these things, and I was strategic about making these activities a priority again. I have also learned to create balance in my life and to the things in life that brings me joy. 
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur who may be experiencing the same thing?
CS: I would say take time to think about what success means to you? What does success look like in your life? How would you define success? For me, success is a peace of mind, enjoying life, and being all that I am called to be. I want to be happy enjoying my success. I don’t want to live an Instagram life, a life where you must work all the time and grind constantly. There are many billionaires who are successful, but they aren’t happy, and they don’t have a life. As my good friend, Sheri Riley would say, Peace is the New Success. What is the point of having riches if you are not happy? I choose peace over prosperity. When you have peace in your life, then that’s when you can truly enjoy prosperity. 
Symptoms of Stress: 
  • Low energy.
  • Headaches.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles.
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat.
  • Insomnia.
  • Frequent colds and infections.
If you are experiencing symptoms of stress, please reach out to your doctor for support and see what resources are available to you. 
Interview by BOSS Influencer, Priscilla Q. Williams, Registered Nurse

Make sure to join me and my BOSS tribe on October 11th & 12th as we celebrate our TENniversary. Register

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

BOSS Spotlight Feature: LaKeisha Shauntae

LaKeisha Shauntae, Founder & CEO of LaShaé Beauty, LLC. I started as a freelance makeup artist who decided to step out on faith; pursue her dream and launch her own cosmetic line. LaShaé Beauty is a cosmetic and beauty brand that launched in August 2019. Stay Glam and Feel Glamorous! 

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

I started my business on nothing but Faith and invested what I had (which wasn’t much) into my business. My biggest obstacle was Fear; once I let that go and start focusing on a BOSS mindset everything started to come together. 

What inspired you to break into your particular industry?

I have been in Corporate America for over 20 years. My last employer decided to send our jobs overseas which means that we were going to get the pink slip. I was able to find another position within the company, but it still felt like something was missing. I have always had a passion for the beauty industry; I started as a freelance makeup artist many years ago and wanted to take it to the next level, so I decided to pursue my dream and launch my own cosmetic line “LaShaé Beauty” this year.   

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

I try to balance my entrepreneur life by working while everyone is at work or school but that seems not to work the majority of the time. If I see an opportunity during my outings with the family that may require a wait time(downtime) then that’s my clue to pick up my cellphone or laptop and work. I am still trying to find that balance because everyone wants your attention. You just know when it’s time to close the laptop.  

What is an inspirational quote that you live by?

God Is Within Her, She Will Not Fall-Psalm 46:5

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

Cameka Smith has always been very influential and encouraging. I always wanted to be part of The BOSS Network, but I knew I wasn’t ready. When I finally took the leap in July of this year and started planning for my business things started to happen. When I won the first “BOSS Membership” to The BOSS Network” it was nothing but confirmation that it was my time and season. 

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

Always God First! Having the best quality products and packaging on the market to set me apart. Excellent Customer Service, Relationship Building, Thinking Outside of the Box, Open to Feedback (rather it is positive or negative) and Networking. 

What is your definition of a BOSS?

A BOSS takes control of their own life, trust themselves well enough to pursue what they love and doing that with beauty and brains. They are classy, creative, knowledgeable, passionate and empowered. They will also build up other BOSSes. Last but not least, a BOSS will trust the process even the highs and the lows.  

Provide us with two words that describe you? Boss Savvy

Find out more about LaKeisha at Twitter: @LaShaeBeautyXO