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The Entrepreneur

The Entrepreneur

The New Checklist

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Social distancing has led me to have some truly meaningful moments with my friends. Many of us Type A personalities are driven by so many factors: professional ambition, life goals, societal pressures and even our own inner demons push us in a forward trajectory, but maybe not in a positive way.

Talking over FaceTime and sharing mutual coping methods, I realized that social distancing has caused some shifts in my priorities for the better. I have always put relationships and people first. It’s at the forefront of my personal mission and the feeling is also the directions of both my companies. They are social impact driven goals that give me purpose.

The focus has never been on myself. Personal focus has always been last, even when the first thing I do when I wake up is push my health to new limits at the gym, even though it’s my first accomplishment of the day. However, there’s a disconnect. The intensity is there, but not a with the reasons why I am there or even what the benefits are and what the end results will be. I was moving through the motions of everything and just ticking off what was on my personal and professional checklist.

Before I share my shifted checklist, I think it’s more important to share that they mean nothing, if you aren’t feeling fulfilled in the process of achieving them. So now let’s get to my new list.

Rising In the Morning

Meditation: Starting with being thankful, whether that involves prayer or meditation, I am just thankful, and the mantra I have begun repeating is “Peace, Joy, Happiness” I do it before I get up and put my feet to the ground.

Stretching: Even if it’s just for five minutes, the last month I have been stretching when I get up and it’s just the kindest thing you can do for your body. It’s a gentle waking up of my muscles and especially when you combined it with the next thing.

Hydration: Didn’t realize this would make my checklist, but it really makes me feel immediately refreshed and awake. Water with a bit of ice and hot tea is pretty much life.

A Workout

So, if you know me, this has been an essential part of my life for so many years, especially given that I’ve struggled with weight for the most of my life, topping the scales at 375lbs. Being indoors has been hard. My workouts have been the very first thing I start my day with. 5:30am training sessions and often times doing double sessions three to four days a week.

The realization was that I honestly wasn’t always fulfilled or experiencing a muscle mind connection. I checked the box daily. Every day and all I ended with was that I didn’t do enough. Now I have no access to gym facilities. I am making fitness choices that lead me to feeling accomplished. Body weight movements and biking have been really fulfilling.

So, checklist items for health could be any of the above, I try and do them all:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Bodyweight Cardio
  • Jumping Rope
  • Walk outside

Walking the Dog:

I am really blessed to have two furry, family members and walking them has changed from an obligation to a moment of fresh air before I begin the day. I take more time with walking the dogs and it’s become a relaxing part of my morning.

Breakfast:

It is important to take nourishment. I have never really leaned on a heavy meal. I typically drink a really, great protein shake and start to take in my day.

Work Time

This checklist has even taken some new turns. I am not workhorse driven. It isn’t just about the projects. I take pauses. I laugh with my chosen family and take lunch with my boyfriend. I have coffee time with my best friend, and I love cooking dinner for everyone. I love these moments so much, that I have now made them a part of my day. In no order, try adding some of these to your work day lists.

Reading Moment – I sometime learn for the sake of the project, now I’m trying to take in knowledge for the enjoyment of it.

Coffee with a friend – totally can make this on a Zoom

Lunch – I really enjoy making it day of. I typically prep my meals for the week and I don’t truly enjoy them.

End of Day

So, I would linger before I end my day. Now I have reasons for a hard stop. The real truth is this time has served to show me how important it is to take pause and put life into every act. I hope this list helps you to put life into your daily work life, as we walk through this I hope you can put that into everything you do.

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The Entrepreneur

Video Conference Etiquette

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Ok, I feel it is important to help everyone with a couple of tips on making the video conferencing life that we are all in as seamless and as energizing as possible!

I have been seeing stories and posts on the hilarious moments and frustrations with how people are engaging with video conferencing. I have also been on several conference calls where I was banging my head against my laptop, begging the hosts and participants to push themselves more.

So, I huddled up with my team members and asked for some tips to bring your best selves.

Be Five Minutes Early

Nothing is worse than being in a waiting room because the host is late. Actually, what’s worse than that: if you are a speaker/panelist and you are late. So my rule has an asterisk, if you are any of the aforementioned, you should be in attendance ten minutes prior to the call and prep it to make sure the experience is A1. Think of it as a dress rehearsal.

As an attendee, try to be five minutes early, do your audio test, and video test to ensure that there are no issues in trying to connect. Trust me, it will pay off because nothing will irk the room then someone who is giving a Muppet moment, (a flapping mouth with no voice)

Be Five Minutes Early

Nothing is worse than being in a waiting room because the host is late. Actually, what’s worse than that: if you are a speaker/panelist and you are late. So my rule has an asterisk, if you are any of the aforementioned, you should be in attendance ten minutes prior to the call and prep it to make sure the experience is A1. Think of it as a dress rehearsal.

As an attendee, try to be five minutes early, do your audio test, and video test to ensure that there are no issues in trying to connect. Trust me, it will pay off because nothing will irk the room then someone who is giving a Muppet moment, (a flapping mouth with no voice)

Add video, spice it up with some animation, bring in another guest speaker to weigh-in and add more energy to your topic. It is essential to throw a bit more into these experiences because the person is no longer physically immerse in an environment.

Visuals Will Help you

Please, please, please, please…please, if you are going to speak, present, or create an experience where you are the authority, I need you to create a visual deck to guide the audience along with you. Think less of it less of a presentation, but more so a tool that shows the visual journey, if not you will lose the audience.

Dress From The Waist Up At Minimum

Ok everyone! I have been saying this from the beginning, unless it’s an internal team meeting (and you all have agreed to be casual-casual) expect to be on a video-on moment. DO NOT be the one who has video-off on an video conference, it looks odd, like the profile on Linkedin with no profile image, so just expect to be dressed business casual or the best version of you at home, because if you are in a full suit or business wear everyone will raise eyebrows. We are all in a tense time, so we don’t expect anyone to be in the corporate garb, but we don’t want you in your pajamas.

Frame Yourself In The Camera, YES LIGHTING COUNTS.

The fact is, we need to see you. Not all of you, more like a medium close up of you and put yourself in the best light. Some quick hacks to frame yourself to the best effect.

           Get an LED light. The likes of Soledad O’ Brien and every
commentator has one!

  •  If using your laptop camera, Wipe. Your. Camera. If not, you will appear muddled and blurry.
  • In case you are again using your laptop, grab a couple of books and stack it up so you are more in the frame.
  • Don’t put a window behind you. You will become a moving shadow. Place a wall as your backdrop, if you don’t want a plain wall, Zoom has gotten really creative with backdrop options for you!  
  • You can use your phone, if your Wi-Fi signal is strong enough and place on a stand, that way your laptop or computer is fully available to you. However, make sure it can take being on Wi-Fi.

Don’t Interrupt

This is a time to be extra polite, to yield the floor and engage in a genuine way with everyone on the video call, trust me it will be appreciated.  I encourage active listening, that means you bring your focus to how everyone is speaking and look for the period in the person’s sentence.

I think establishing guidelines at the beginning of the video call helps to get the flow going. 

If you are in a moderating capacity, it would be especially productive to bring everyone together prior to get speaking patterns and pacing together.

As we move into this new normal of a digital space, I think it’s really necessary to share and create a new digital culture. Allow this moment to bring more of your team into who you are as a person. Allow these hard moments to bring us all together. I have seen some amazing things happening through video conferencing. There have been Tiger King themed team Zooms, pajama Friday team meetings and there’s been amazing office Friday happy hours. Create moments that are reflective of your companies brand!

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The Entrepreneur

The Entertainment: Why “The Photograph” is important for the culture.

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So I’m walking with my best friend and we always talk about all things: current events, politics and most of all, we have a love for all things nerdy and film-oriented. A day doesn’t go by where we share or debate the merits/demerits of political candidates, the latest social scandal or a flick hitting movie theaters.

This is where Stella Meghie’s ” The Photograph” comes in. Here’s some context: Canadian Born, Stella has what might be the most anticipated film hitting theaters on Valentine’s Day. The Photograph story occurs “When famed photographer Christina Eames dies unexpectedly, she leaves her estranged daughter, Mae, hurt, angry and full of questions. When Mae finds a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box, she soon finds herself delving into her mother’s early life — an investigation that leads to an unexpected romance with a rising journalist.” (SOURCE)

Why has this movie has struck a cord so much with me? I for one, cannot wait to run and see it because collectively my best friend and I couldn’t remember or place a black, romance film done in the last twenty years. What was the last one? Love Jones? (which is also available on Netflix ya’ll). With the recent addition of The Photograph, we questioned why was a pure African-American, love story missing from mainstream movies in recent years? I mean, I’m about a love story, a black love story even more so. I mean you can catch me watching Deliver Us From Eva ( High Key love Gabrielle Union) to Vivica Fox giving me assertive and got it together in Two Can Play That Game, but there was definitely a gap in trying to figure out when a movie like this had last been released. I enjoy taking in a theater released love story that’s steeped in external trauma. I love Barry Jenkins y’all so Moonlight and If Beal Street Could Talk counts for me, but they are hard pills to swallow emotionally. Even Queen and Slim, it’s a love story yes, but it is also a story wrought with looming tragedy. I could see past the stories that have deep conflict or disfunction and enjoy them just the same.

For me, The Photograph, which is poised to bring love, blackness and the always amazing Issa Rae together with a soul-searching story line, that throws in a cross generational element and I realized clearly from the teaser what I was missing in my life. I applaud the story and honestly place it somewhere special because it’s what has been missing in cinema for a quite a while now (remember I said it’s been twenty years earlier?) and that’s worth going to a theater and supporting for the message it can send to the audience, to young love.

Issae Rae spoke to XONecole.com and said regarding the timeless Love Jones that

“I remember seeing Nia Long, and you know, I didn’t think I looked like Nia Long, but I was like, ‘Look at this brown skin girl…she’s so gorgeous.’ And she was someone to aspire to. So the more and more images that we have like that, the more it’s a recognition of our beauty.”

I couldn’t agree more. Go see it Champs.

SOME REVIEWS

XONecole.com
‘The Photograph’ Is A Visual Sanctuary Where Dark Skin Women Are Extolled As Soft, Vulnerable And Deserving Of Love
Normal love stories are our birthright, not just some fantasy.
By Keiyara Kelly

Indie Wire
‘The Photograph’ Review: Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield Sizzle in a Strangely Plotted Cross-Generational Romance
By Kate Erbland

The Atlantic
The Art of Shooting a Modern Black Romance
In The Photograph, starring Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield, the director Stella Meghie embraces darker lighting and story lines alike.
By Hannah Giorgis

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TechnologyThe Entrepreneur

Digital Business Cards

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Ok Champs, in this fast-moving world, going from event to event, flying out and making connections, we are always on the go and we never want to miss a moment of connecting to potential collaborators, or clients.

Those moments require us to be prepared with the quintessential asset, a business card, but there is often that dreaded moment when you are on fire and networking your ass off and then you run out of your business card, we can use digital business cards to still make that connection!

A digital business card is just a way for you to connect with more people, in a single simple interface, it also allows you to build your Client Relationship Management database or C.R.M ( ill do a post about CRM’s later)

Let me share some of the platforms I enjoyed:

L Card

Lcard

This platform not only allows you to build an e-card to send via text, email, QR code

Also, you can scan cards you engage and build a database, where you can even group by the event or conference.

Haystack

Haystack

Love this platform because it is hyper-visual!

You don’t have to have the app to receive the card.

This platform is especially great because it also allows your company to have a uniform digital card to share too! All with a consistent template and brand!

SwitchIt

So Switchit has a really great set of features, of course, you can build your card, and you can adopt it for your whole company.

It also has a free version which is great if you are starting on a budget.

The real key feature here is the ability to add video and content to those that receive the card from you, it also doesn’t make the recipient beholden to using the app, they can still see all the content.

Ok champs, these are the three platforms that I played around with, but if you have any others let me know! I just think it’s a great option to have a digital go to when you are networking, just in case you run out of your paper cards or you forget your cards at home, It happens to the best of us, but we never forget our phones!

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The Entrepreneur

Managing A Small Business

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Managing a business can sometimes be challenging, especially when you’re new to the game. It can also be very stressful when you don’t know where to start. In order to make your business successful, you need to make sure you make the right choices and  taking the right path. Here are some ways for you to start your business the right way.

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The Entrepreneur

Do You Have A Feature Wall?

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When someone walks into your office, are they wowed with excitement? Does your office give them a doctor’s office kind of vibe? If you answered yes to the latter question then you need to reevaluate your office space…unless you’re a doctor. You need to open your mind to the idea of a ‘Feature Wall’ *jazz hands*

You’ve probably heard the term “feature wall,” and your common-sense definition probably isn’t too far off. But what exactly is this wall, and why should you feature it? In a nutshell, it’s one wall that’s showcased in a different color or finish than the other walls in the room — and we have dozens of feature wall ideas for you.

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The Entrepreneur

Learn From The Failures And Successes Of Others

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Shark Tank is one of the most popular prime-time TV shows to date. It’s a more realistic “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Everyone wants to make money off of their crazy ideas that were formed while attending a day rave or in the middle of a conversation with a pal. Indeed, these people have made great inventions that have positively altered our lives [Thank you Squatty Potty].

TJ Hale stated “Almost every time I finish reading an article about Shark Tank, I think to myself, ‘If they only knew. . . ‘ The reason is that I have interviewed more than 100 of the best entrepreneurs from the show. And, I’ve found, a sizeable chunk — 80 minutes on average — of their pitches does not make it on to TV. Here are five other fun insights I gained about Shark Tank that most viewers don’t know: ” Click here to read more.

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The Entrepreneur

Happiness has no price

In life nothing is more important than being happy. Money, relationships, materials things only bring temporary joy. Everyone needs happiness no matter who you are or where you are, everyone seeks happiness. Whether they know that now or figure out later on in life, being happy and truly enjoying life before life is better than anything money could buy. Money can’t buy you happiness.Click here if you seek true happiness

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