Monthly Nuggets: Ada Anagho Brown

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Meet Ada

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

“Your ancestors are watching, You have an obligation to succeed!” King Happy V of Bana, Cameroon

Ada Anagho Brown, is the President of Roots to Glory Tours. Launched in 2012 The mission of Roots to Glory Tours is to create group tours, which facilitate the return of Africans in the Diaspora to the continent.

Ada, moved from Cameroon to the United States in 1975 where she has focused on promoting unity and understanding of the people, culture and traditions, while also encouraging conversation, insight and cultural exchange between Africans in the Diaspora and their counterparts.

Aside from running Roots to Glory Tours Ada has been apart of and led events such as the Cultural Village at the African American Festival and Panafest USA cultural festival. Ada, serves on the Board for Bunce Island Coalition USA and the Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African Art.

Making Africa a Destination for Us in Tourism and Business

What inspired you to start Roots to Glory Tours?

I started Roots to Glory Tours to bridge the gap between Africa and the African Diaspora. As a first generation African immigrant to the United States, I know the land of my ancestors. I wanted to help Africans in the Diaspora discover their homeland. I was inspired by many stories of individuals wanting to learn more about their Ancestry. For some, to say they are from Nigeria, Cameroon or Ghana is like coming full circle.

What are 4 major hurdles you have come across marketing Africa as a travel destination for African Americans?

  1. African Americans may not consider Africa as a tourist destination. The media has negatively portrayed Africa as a corruption prone continent with people who sold their ancestors into slavery.
  2. There seems to be a false perception that Africans do not want African Americans to visit the continent.
  3. Traveling to Africa can be up to 2 to 3 times more expensive than going to the Caribbean or on a cruise.
  4. The process which includes applying for a visa, getting the required vaccinations, and a passport can be intimating and time consuming

With the current trend of more Africans Americans traveling abroad, how do you think Black Entrepreneurs can take advantage of this growing niche market?

My recommendation is to Go to Africa!! See what is available, talk with local business people, spend quality time understanding the market and make a move. Africa has so many business opportunities in the sector of Tourism, Agriculture, Information Technology and Hospitality. Although there are a lot of business opportunities in Africa, there are very few African Americans who own businesses there. The environment is ready for change!!! Building a network is an important step in being an entrepreneur.

How you do think African, African American, and Caribbean entrepreneurs can better support each other globally?

Africans in the diaspora first need to travel to Africa, the Caribbean with an entrepreneurial mindset, establish connections in those countries in the sector which is of interest to them.

It is easy to say that you want to do business with a brother or sister in Africa or in the Caribbean from the comfort of your shores, it is quite another thing to be making connections on the ground.

How do you go about the curation process of your trip itinerary, which makes your company stand out?

Our itinerary is set based on answers to questions we ask our clients when they register for a tour. We custom build a travel experience based on that as well as the DNA results of our clients. No two experiences are alike.

We have a very close relationship with African Royalty in the countries we organize tours. Our trips always include a village visit so that our clients better understand the village structure and the culture and history of the people of the land.

We conduct African Naming Ceremonies on all our trips. In Africa the most important thing you can have is your name. That Birthright was taken away from most Africans during the Middle Passage. We want to restore the birthright of all who travel with us by providing an African Naming Ceremony.

What are 4 tips you would give those looking to start a travel agency?

  1. Travel to the countries you want to do business
  2. Develop relationships with locals in those countries
  3. Know who you want to market your business to
  4. Always have a plan “B”

Monthly Nuggets: Jonathan Pope

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Meet Jonathan

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." Pelé

Jonathan Pope is a Designer and the Owner of Unique Creations Apparel™. Started in 2012, Unique Creations Apparel™ takes the familiar method of developing clothing and gives new life to our vision of portraying fashion, as it was designed to be simply a form of Art. Jonathan holds a Associates of Business Administration & Management from Penn State University, and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Washington.

Creativity and the Fashion Industry

What was the inspiration for creating Unique Creations Apparel?

My inspiration for starting Unique Creations Apparel (uqcapparel) was to address a common issue that I was beginning to notice in our society of everyone begin so socially conscious about themselves. People being concerned or worried about being who they are rather than what society tells them how they should be. I have always considered myself to be a very unique individual and views the world through different lenses and I understood that I was not the only person that felt this way. Unique Creations Apparel (uqcapparel) was inspired to bring a face and awareness to a word that everyone has their own opinion of what that word means to them but to be free and confident to live truthfully in that word and embrace what truly makes you unique. 

What is your creative process when creating a new collection?

Like most creators everything for me starts from an emotional connection I was able to obtain from the last collection and what new or improved feelings I want to have with this new one. My experiences and feelings should change with every given collection I come up with since everything is supposed to be different; therefore my feelings and emotions should be different as well. Once that is understood, the way I believe this new collection will make me feel which can be determined by lots of things such as the season, popular colors, trends etc... I then begin to create a story with my designs with the hope to be able to take the viewer of this new collection on a journey, told through fashion.

How has your business changed over time and how has that affected the creative process?

I believe that social media has a lot to do with how my business has changed over time. Social media has given me a platform to be able to not only expand my brand and help it grow but to help spread the message of what Unique Creations Apparel stands for and being able to connect with people that appreciate the message. Social media has helped my business enable me to connect directly to my fan base and ability to understand them better but it has also affected my business in other ways as well. There is so much information that viewer is receiving to their smart device daily whether its music, fashion, trends, gossip reports etc... that sometimes you feel like you always constantly need to provide material so that your viewer will not get bored and move on to someone else which can ultimately affect the creative process. So for me I had to learn to be very selective of what I put out to the public to view rather than just providing content that may not be our best work.

With fashion being a fast moving industry with lots of trends, do you allow the current atmosphere to influence your collections?

I think for anyone who considers themselves to be a fashion designer, clothing designer or what have; I think it’s foolish to believe that they don't pay attention to trends, what’s current, what patterns, textures, or what color schemes are making a comeback. Those things change so fast I think it’s very important for brands to have a foundation that they can always fall back on that will always demonstrate and convey the brand’s message. There are certain things that you will always be able to count on when shopping at Unique Creations Apparel: you will find apparel items with bright/intense colors, eye-catching designs, comfortability and affordable pricing. Now, we will experiment and throw in different trends that we feel meet our creative process, but rest a sure if those items don’t work we will always go back to what defines who we are as a label. 

How do you approach competing against other brands in similar apparel categories as yours?

Don't get me wrong I am a very competitive person by nature and I am always looking at my competition to see what they are doing in regards to their label, but honestly the fashion industry is so large and diverse that everyone can be successful in this space without the concern of worrying about someone else putting you out of business. One of the things that make the fashion industry so great is that you can have more than one favorite designer or brand the same way people like more than one type of music or food. My approach is to never be worried so much about what my competitors are doing but how I can continue to spread our message and attract more people who can relate to a label that promotes individuality and self-confidence. 

What are three tips that you would give those looking to start a clothing line?

  1. Have a clear understanding of what type of clothing line you want to produce. People have this misunderstanding that when you say you have a clothing line or that you make clothes that it relates to everyone and it might not. It is a completely different business when you say I design menswear versus someone who says they design womenswear.
  2. Understand your target audience. When developing your clothing line have a clear understanding of who you envision wearing and buying your product. Try and learn everything you can about your target audience and figure out the best ways to convey that message towards them.
  3. Create your clothing line around something that you are passionate about. Everyone today believes that they can be a designer or creator of some kind and make something that looks cool on the internet but when you create a product around something that your passionate about you will be amazed of how you can connect with people who are passionate about the very same thing. 

Monthly Nuggets: Nailah and Jamal Lee

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Meet Nailah and Jamal Lee

Website | Facebook | Instagram

"Be a husband and a wife after hours. Enjoy your marriage, take vacations, and do not lose true intimacy with one another because of business."

Mr. and Mrs. Lee are the owners of Breasia productions. Breasia Productions is a professional audio, lighting, video production and online streaming company committed to providing quality service and support for various types of concerts and events, large and small. 

Business With Your Spouse: Does It Work?

Professionals often suggest that having your spouse as your business partner isn't a good idea. How are the two of you dispelling those myths?

That may be true of many but for us, working with someone that is your life partner works.  We honor and value our relationship. We are careful not to overstep each other’s position.  We trust each other.  Honesty is important. We have active positions within our business. Consequently, my wife handles the administrative side of our business along with a dynamic team. My team and I design and produce the various shows, concerts, and corporate events. These departments work independent of one another allowing for a degree of separation which is healthy.  It is necessary for the departments to come together quite regularly to achieve a common goal. My wife and I have learned over time to put our differences aside to meet our Client’s needs and to create an outstanding event. Also, it doesn’t hurt that we actually like each other. Contrary to what people may think, our desks are not side by side. We work in separate spaces within the company. Because our company has multiple locations, we do not have to be in constant physical contact at all hours of the day. This model has worked for more than 11 years.

As business partners, have you always shared the same passion to work in the industry that you're both in?

Absolutely not. My wife, Nailah Gobern Lee, LGSW, is a licensed and accomplished social worker which is in a completely different direction than event production. I have been in the event industry for over 24 years.  My wife joined me in my entrepreneurial endeavors halfway through my journey. She did not jump on the bandwagon immediately but after about three years into our relationship she saw the value of what I was building and with minimal hesitation fully supported me. It meant a lot to me that she was willing to put her career on hold to help direct and fill in the areas where my company needed support.

When did you both decide that working together would work well for you both?

The moment was when we realized that Breasia Productions had the potential to support our growing family.  Jamal and I had to live a minimalistic lifestyle in order to give our company a chance to grow. There was a moment in 2010 where I, (Nailah), saw the benefit of joining the company full time but it was a struggle for me. I had a clear path and purpose set before me in the field of social work and community organizing. It took careful calculation and a lot hugs and kisses from my dear husband to help me get past my fears of entrepreneurship.  We both have our areas of expertise and we naturally fell into our roles within the company where our gifts could be better utilized. I do not consider myself as much of a risk taker as my husband.  We ultimately made the collective decision for me to join the company full-time in 2011.

We all have a unique set of skills. How have your individual strengths in marriage transferred to your strengths in the business realm?

We both put God first. He is at the center of our marriage and as a result He is at the center of our company. Because of the marriage there is a definite bond created that does not afford us the luxury of ultimate failure. It does not imply the we have not had our share of let downs and disappointments but overall failure is not an option. To be clear, Nailah joined my company before we were married but after marriage, all that I have and all that I am was hers as well.  A better model for us was Co-ownership. Respect, love, understanding, compassion, willingness to succeed are just a few words to describe our marriage.  We had these qualities before we were married but it was solidified and strengthened after marriage which spills over into our organization.

What are the benefits of having your spouse as a business partner and what are some of the challenges?

It is very beneficial to have someone that keeps you grounded. The challenge is that sometimes I just wanted my wife without the business attached in any way. Often times problems in business trickled over into our personal life resulting in some pretty cold nights, but never the opposite. We have never had our issues at home trickle over to our business or employees. My husband and I are business professionals that happen to be married to one another.

What 3 "nuggets" would you give to a couple thinking about going into business together?

We are both still very much engaged in nugget building. We do not profess to have all the answers and what works for us may not work for others.  That said...

  1. Respect one another. Care enough about your spouse and what he/she has to say without bias or malice. This will allow you both to freely engage one another.
  2. Arguments will come but are often a window for greater insight. Do not hold grudges, talk to one another. You are not always right; agree to disagree. Come to a collective decision knowing that success is the ultimate goal.
  3. Co-ownership is not for everybody. Be careful, co-ownership with your spouse could be the beginning of the end so PRAY. In our household prayer works. Have your “why” at the forefront of your mind and business relationship. Make an unselfish decision that benefits your spouse which ultimate elevates the unit to take on the awesome endeavor of Co-ownership. It is not easy but the rewards are stellar if you keep love at the center. It may seem corny but it works.

The Peso Model: Leveraging Your Story

The PESO Model has been around for years and heavily implemented amongst organizations, brands and communication plans. The way we communicate is constantly evolving and there are so many tools organizations can utilize. But let's start with the PESO model and how you can implement communication strategies to make it work for you. 

 The PESO model consists of all 4 media types  - 

Paid Media

Paid Media is any media form you actually have to pay for to push your communication program to larger audiences such as, social media advertising, email marketing, and sponsored content. 

 Earned Media

Earned Media is how publicists continue to keep their jobs and clients happy. It's the relationships we continue to build with broader media outlets (media relations) and curating creative strategies to get client coverage. This can include securing TV appearances for your client,  events,  product placement, or getting newspapers or trade publications to write an article. 

Shared Media

Shared Media is done through social networking.  It's the result of a brand and customers interacting and mutually creating content.  By now every social media channel should be on a client's and organizations' radar to strategize the use of each channel. 

Owned Media

Owned Media starts with you. The Owner. Your Website. Your Blog. It's the content you curate to keep your audience coming back for more. 

The use of the PESO model helps writers create content that builds and shares a brands message. Earned media was the first element we used to reach out to local press and publications in our target market to bring a  brands message to life.  In 2000, social media was still growing and we weren't using the platforms as a place for shared and owned media just yet, so we relied heavily on our media relationships just like we do today. The PESO model has since evolved and continues to be used amongst brands and organizations today. 

Ready to start developing your own PESO model for your brand or company?

Monthly Nuggets: Elizabeth Anderson-Cadogan

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Meet Elizabeth

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." Mark Twain

Elizabeth Anderson-Cadogan is the CEO of Cadogan & Associates, LLC. With over 15 years experience in operational optimization, Elizabeth is a Business Development Consultant, Speaker, Business Coach, and Outreach & Engagement Facilitator. Cadogan & Associates is a full-service Washington D.C. based consulting firm providing business development resources to the private, public and non-profit sectors.

Entrepreneurship: The First Year

Why entrepreneurship?

Mistake! [Laughs] no, it is a way to bring new and innovative ideas to the marketplace. It provides a chance for minorities and women. Young women are often unrecognized in the workplace; entrepreneurship offers an opportunity for them to build wealth–there's still a pay gap especially in fields where women aren't largely represented in leadership. In business when you're your own boss, you get to ask for what you deserve. 

When did you decide to become an entrepreneur full-time how was that transition? Did you create a plan?

It was an easy transition. In my field, I already knew the challenges entrepreneurs face. I had already done the research, a lot of research, and I was well-prepared for the upcoming challenges.

After your first year as an entrepreneur, what is the biggest lesson you have learned?

You cannot do it all alone. [I've learned the importance of] having a team and a support system to provide with additional knowledge and resources.

How was the process of hiring interns and employees to aid in achieving your goals?

Hiring interns was an easy process, finding interns with skill sets I need is challenging. A lot of the time, with interns, it is their first professional experience and some may not have experience in my field. Juggling the demands of the business, training and mentoring staff can be challenging. 

What were your greatest achievements and hurdles?

Bringing in over 40 clients in one year and making connections internationally. A hurdle would be, maintaining the original mission while also growing the business. Keeping the balance between serving the core demographic and expanding to service the needs of new clients. 

What are five tips you would give entrepreneurs going into their first year?

  1. Do your research, know the market, make sure you're an expert in your field. 
  2. Constantly enhance your knowledge.
  3. Get a team–interns. Interns will help you because they ground you. They allow you to make sure your work can translate to clients because they're learning [too]. 
  4. Networking.
  5. Something that I should do more of–work-life balance. Taking time for the things that are important to you is necessary like having dinner with your family. It’s important, so you don't end up working yourself to death.

Monthly Nuggets: Phil Brooks

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Meet Phil Brooks

"I looked at the resources I had and decided on the best opportunity I had, given my connections at the time. I knew it would take a lot of hard work, but we don’t usually go as hard as we can until we feel we have no other option."

Consult M&P is a boutique consulting firm dedicated to solving all of your material expertise needs that may arise with a new, and or existing product.

The Business of Product Development in 2018

How is Consult M&P changing the world?

CMP is changing the world through advances in science. As material scientists, we strive to find the best way possible to handle material expertise needs no matter what stage in the product life. We have worked on an array of projects ranging from food packaging difficulties to military defense apparatuses, creating advances in technology in both. 

Why is product development so important for new product-based businesses?

Product development is so important because it is the business. The consumer determines the life of the product through its need. It's our goal to continue the advancement of each project to benefit the consumer overall. We must constantly try new alternatives to success to ensure we don’t leave any discoveries behind.

What predictions do you foresee happening in 2018 within your particular industry?

I see a big push for polymer based products in the future. More and more industries are realizing that they can benefit from polymer products replacing their correct materials or complimenting them. You can see this in the new Snapple containers and also newer wine corks. The world is using alternative resources to preserve and we help move that knowledge in the right direction. 

What moment in your career triggered your desire to start your own business?

I got fired! That’s the honest truth. But before that always wanted to own my own business. This actually is not the first business I’ve started but by far the most successful. Back in 2015 when I was let go I knew I needed to start something but I was not sure what. I looked at the resources I had and decided on the best opportunity I had, given my connections at the time. I knew it would take a lot of hard work, but we don’t usually go as hard as we can until we feel we have no other option.

What are 5 tips to be an effective millennial man in business today?

Never stop learning. We live in such a fast pace world where information is constantly changing and being behind can have extreme disadvantages. 

Stay humble. I always tell my friends this in comparison to the show “Survivor,” they always vote off the strongest and the weakest first. As long as you stay in your lane you will get to the promise land.  

Stay ambitious. Always striving for advancement will keep you from being left in the past. Depending on your industry, you need to constantly strive for the next big thing.

Your network is your net worth. I’m not sure who created that saying, but having great people around you for direction is essential to success. 

Take Risks. The greater the risk the greater the reward they say. If I had not taken the risk to start my company, I would not be where I’m at today. Most people don’t take necessary risks for success.

RIP Open Internet: What Net Neutrality Could Mean for Your Small Business

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The 3-2 vote to repeal net neutrality by the FCC will change the way we use the internet and could potentially have long-term financial effects. Net neutrality allowed consumers to surf the net freely and information was exposed to internet surfers unbiasedly. With net neutrality repealed, service providers can control and select what you see, further controlling the gateway of information; which will ultimately lead to misinformation. The internet is not just for pleasure, but a necessity for many to use for work and personal purposes. Capitalizing off of the fundamental use of the internet could eventually narrow down impressions on the web if charges and fees become too robust. However, it's not very likely. There’s no question that this repeal by the FCC isn’t favored by the vast majority, but before this repeal becomes contested (speaking it into existence) what could this repeal mean for your small businesses? 

 

1. Your speed of web traffic could decrease

Internet service providers (ISPs), under the repeal, are now able to pick and choose the activity it allows, which can result to traffic congestion on the web making your web pages load slower. A Google internet ad-survey study shows that mobile site visitors who have to wait more than three seconds for a page to load will give up browsing 53% of the time. 

2.  Suppressed innovation

Slower internet effects your research. One of the many ways entrepreneurs gather innovation for their business and partnerships is through surfing the web. Since ISPs have more control on what is being filtered through the internet, viewership of the websites you frequent could take longer to load leading you to either spend more time on the web…waiting or conducting less research because it starts to become too time-consuming.

3.  General public could become less trusting of doing business online

ISPs now have rights to track online behavior without the customer's consent through supercookies. This could allow the general public to be much more cautious about the information they choose to share online, specifically their credit card information in fear of their card being compromised, which could ultimately affect your online sales.

4.  Your market could become much smaller

If the internet turns into a tiered service with different internet packages this could limit your marketing reach as your website may not be included in certain service packages your customers would purchase (this would be a worst-case scenario).

5. Limit your advertising dollars

ISP’s now have the ability to charge additional fees to sites like Facebook to deliver their data at a faster pace. Facebook could choose to purchase that package or pass down fees to users and consumers on the website by increasing the cost of Facebook ads—a tool many small business owners take advantage of. 

 

Overall, chances are you will not see the effects of the repeal immediately, but it’s important to know what could be the case, so you can have the best strategy in place for your small business. 

Monthly Nuggets: Eddie Johnson

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Meet Eddie Johnson

"Commit thy works to The Lord and thy thoughts shall be established (Proverbs 16:3)." [This verse] Gives me reassurance that God is in control and if you want true success, if you give your cares to Him and you ask Him to direct your steps and you're obedient to Him, then He will surely bless your efforts while bringing glory to His name. What better than that?"

Verdure Watches was founded in 2012 by owner and designer Eddie Johnson. His love of watches stems from generations of discriminating gentlemen who always expressed how important a watch is to a man’s attire. Ever since a youth, he would see his father and grandfather wear different timepieces on a daily basis, and his interest was piqued.

From drawing cartoon characters to fully designing watches in its entirety, Eddie has come a long way and he plans on taking the world of horology by storm to be the household name for sophisticated timepieces.


The Verdure name meaning “strength” will hold a high standard for style and elegance with comfortability. We specialize in luxury watches for both men and women that can be worn on a casual day or with a 3-piece suit or elegant gown. So if you are a man or woman of refined taste, Verdure is your brand.

Time and Technology: Verdure Watches Founder Eddie Johnson

What moment in your career triggered your desire to start your own business? 

Well, I really decided right before I graduated college that I didn't want to work a 9-5 for 30 years and retire. I always found freedom in being able to come and go as I please, and that is really what prompted me to become a business owner, among other things.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

My favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is that I can be as creative as I want in terms of coming up with new ideas, strategies, marketing schemes, etc. Another reason is the freedom. Again, being able to call the shots and come and go as you please is priceless.

With the expansion of technology, how has Verdure Watches kept up with the times? 

The expansion of technology has helped Verdure stay up to date in terms of payment and database systems. The different platforms help to store our customer information easier and also makes them easily accessible. With a lot of things turning into apps now, that makes it easy as well being able to quickly communicate with people on the other side of the world with just a few clicks and everything is sent promptly. 

From your perspective, why should individuals take interest in the tech industry?

Individuals should take interest in the tech industry because the conventional way of manually doing things is completely going out of style at a rapid pace. So in order to be able to survive in the tech age, I feel it is imperative to have some type of basic literacy to be able to get buy. And also for those who are interested in starting a business but doesn't necessarily have the means to pay a staff right away, being tech savvy allows you to wear multiple hats at once and get things done even as a one-man show.

What are 5 tips to be an effective millennial man in business today?

  1. First, be a man of morals. A strong moral compass will keep you out of trouble and keep you on the right path to making good business decisions. I go by the verse Proverbs 16:3, "Commit thy works to The Lord and thy thoughts shall be established". If you want true success in this crazy world we live in today, you have to let The Lord direct your steps. He made you so He knows best.
  2. Keep your distractions limited. There are so many things that can take our attention away from whats important. Stay focused on the task at hand and the end goal.
  3. No "Yes Men" in your circle. You don't want people around who always agree with you. Have people around that will challenge you and support and care for you enough to let you know that you should rethink something before making a big decision.
  4. The glass is always half full. You cant assume things will change for the better if all you do is think negatively. There's no real losses, just lessons. Learn from your mistakes and keep on moving forward with a smile always on your face.
  5. And last, be patient. Sometimes it takes a while for the best opportunity to surface. Sometimes the first deal isn't the best deal, so it is important to weigh all your options before going all in on something. Do your research before making decisions. And be sure to have a plan B.

 

Monthly Nuggets: DJ3two1

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Meet DJ3two1

"Know who you are first and foremost, your brand is a representation of you and if you don't know who you are then it will be hard for you to build a brand."

Dj3two1 can cater to both the party-gods and the innovators of your favorite brand. As a musical taste-maker, the consistency and dedication are main ingredients to his success. With 15 years of experience, Dj3two1 has laid a foundation in charity, corporate, family and university events. Embarking on his new gift and fan-base, Dj3two1 has made a name for himself not only as a syndicated radio disc jockey/ personality on his own digital radio platform 3two1 Radio, but also being critically acclaimed, grabbing features in HipHopWeeklyThe Source and Ozone Magazine. You can hear Dj3two1 weekdays 2p-6p on the 3two1 Radio mobile app for Android and iPhone or at 3two1radio.com.

Discovering Your Personal Brand for Business

At what point in your deejaying career did you recognize the need for a personal brand?

I would say about 7 years ago, I'm a late bloomer with EVERYTHING!  So naturally, I didn't realize how important a personal brand was until almost a decade into my DJ career.  Once I knew I needed to build my personal brand I started investing in areas that would help me build it up. Like selling my own merchandise, putting out daily mixes, using professional photos and building a website.  All of the things I should've done years ago, but for some reason, I just never thought to invest in those things for my brand.  Better late than never.

What was the process for discovering your personal brand?

The process was first knowing who I was, and that was something I struggled with when I first started at 99.5 Jamz.  Nobody knew who I was, so listeners would call in and say everyone's name (who was on the station at the time) but mine.  It was at that moment I realized that I needed to figure out how to stand out from not just other DJs in the area, but from my co-workers as well.  So I put a plan in place, set up a photo shoot, built my website, started producing daily mixes I gave out for free, had a logo created, and used radio to help build my brand.  Every day I worked at promoting my brand, and eventually, it paid off.  I went from sitting at home almost every weekend to having 2 to 4 events a week, then people started recognizing me from DJing events and being on the radio.  So the process started with me figuring out who I was first, then putting a plan in place and working my plan every day.  A formula I still use today.

We know that a personal brand can do wonders for marketing and branding, but what other benefits can professionals gain?

Longevity is one major benefit, we've witnessed people with very strong brands having longevity in their career path.  Michael Jackson is a great example, he's been gone for almost 10 years and he's still the King of Pop and his music still sells.  Consistency is another benefit, having a strong brand will keep the money coming in consistently.  When I first started DJing I only made money if I was booked to DJ an event, and just like any other business, I had slow months (still do at times due to the market I'm in). But having a strong brand allowed me to have bookings coming in consistently, where I can pass off events I can't DJ to other DJs in my network. I've also managed to generate other revenue streams within my DJ brand that helps me get through the times when the gigs slow down. Consistency and longevity are the 2 things that will allow you to eat off of your brand while you're here and your family can eat off of it when you pass on.

Personal brands require people to choose a direction, what happens when someone changes careers or changes jobs--how/or should they adjust their personal brand?

They should adjust their brand according to the needs of the industry they're in, no matter what company or industry you work in there's always a need somewhere.  Focusing on the needs of your industry will keep you employed or in business (for my fellow entrepreneurs).  An individual during the great depression studied every day for hours learning about the industry he wanted to be in, during a time when people were losing their jobs left and right. This young man would go into businesses and explained to them how he could fulfill a need for them, and as a result, he had multiple job offers during one of the worse economic times in this country.  Moral of the story, create a brand that fulfills a need/creates a solution.

What advice would you give to someone looking to establish their personal brand for their own business?

Know who you are first and foremost, your brand is a representation of you and if you don't know who you are then it will be hard for you to build a brand.  After that establish which audience you want your brand to cater to.  When I created my digital radio platform I knew the audience I wanted my show to cater to was 25-40.  So everything is catered to them from the music (classic hip hop and r&b) to the content I discuss on my show.  Establishing who you're targeting will help keep you focused and not have your brand and business all over the place.  Once you've done that you have to focus on the needs of your audience or your industry.  Recently I posted a question on Instagram "Annoying things DJs do?" and the responses I got let me know as a DJ what changes I need to make.  Focusing on the needs allows you to create a solution which will bring in the money.  With that being said DO NOT CHASE MONEY!  Chase needs, create a solution and the money will come.  Oh, and be consistent, consistency is necessary and a major key!  Also, you have to download my mobile app and check out my show 3two1 Radio weekdays 2p-6p or you can listen at  3two1radio.com .  If you do that then you will have a super successful brand!  Lol....but no seriously you should download my app and listen to my show please.

Non-Profits: Gear Up for Your Donor Campaigns this Season

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Yes, the seasons are changing fast and summer is officially (not quite) over. As some pastors would say during offering, “It’s time to give.” During this time, 35% of giving takes place between Thanksgiving and New Years. For charities and organizations, the holidays present a perfect time to put together strategic, timely and creative campaigns to enhance their presence and maximize year-end donation goals. 

In creating a donor results - driven campaign, there are three key elements to consider: 

Strategy

The campaign strategy should always consist of a strong message, financial goal, appealing look, and consistent branding. With messaging, donors want to be able to connect both mentally and emotionally with the cause. Creating a hands-on project may also encourage donors not only to give financially but also volunteer their time.  By including popular trends in the strategic planning, organizations can garner attention from potential donors that directly resonate with trending topics and how its impact affects the people in which they are serving.  

Messaging Channels

Today, you can use so many channels to implement a creative campaign and each channel serves a different purpose. Although social media has a greater impact today, direct mailing still offers a personal touch when reaching out to donors and lays the groundwork for the campaign. Email is also making a major impact in inboxes everywhere. Consider sharing a report on the organizations' impact in the community, including a creative infographic or share a story from someone who has benefitted from your programs and services. Your websites’ homepage donation, and thank you page needs to be easy yet memorable for viewers. With social media, organizations can build buzz by running Facebook ads targeted at existing followers. Running ads may not be in the marketing budget just yet, but the use of social media provides an opportunity to be creative with your messaging through the use videos and a consistent posting schedule.  

Timing

In order for your campaign to be strategically executed, develop a working calendar and set concrete deadlines. If you're an avid social media user organization, you are probably paying close attention to how other organizations are disseminating messages on a specific day and time. A working calendar helps.  The calendar identifies when messaging and tactical processes should be implemented and helps with the development of content centered around current holidays and events.  

We hope these tips and tricks help you redefine your donor relations programs and meet your financial goals.