Introducing the #takemyfoolishadvice Business Series

 Make Things Happen

So we’re half way through 2016! Let’s check-in. I wanted to share what I have experienced so far in business; my insight, mistakes, pitfalls and successes. These things collected, formed the #takemyfoolishadvice Business Series, which I believe will help a budding entrepreneur. 

My intention is to share with you how and when to take, or avoid, the road less traveled!

Through this series, I funnel out answers to obstacles that have given me relief and propelled me to the next level. As a Business and Technology Professor ( among other things) playing blogger; I would like to transfer some of the tools I teach and the discussions surrounding them here.

I have broken down this series into several topics that I will publish on this blog along with some podcasts to help bring everything full circle. Be sure to follow my blog for upcoming installments and get ready to use and share this information. IT’S TIME FOR ACTION. #takemyfoolishadvice If you haven’t already, be sure to hit follow below.

Beloved,

AWalk

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In my Feelings: #themorningcall

Good morning

There’s something about that morning call that’s so seductive. It’s a ballroom dance when no music is playing and our eyes are focused on each other.

It’s that first “hello”……. “hi”….. or “hey” that has me captivated. It immediately draws me into a space of comfort, warmth, harmony, pull my toasted sheets over my shoulders and bury my face in the pillow in the fetal position feeling.

There’s depth. It feels heavy and light at the same time. It must be the fact that I’m the first thing you think about in the morning that intrigues me. It’s got to be the fact that I am a part of your regular routine to get your day going that impresses me. Maybe it’s knowing that this thing that I feel with every hello, is the same thing you feel and you just can’t get enough of it. Certainly, it’s the fact that you want me to feel this way; so you pick up the phone every morning at the same time to give me a piece of you. {shy grin of approval}

Huh! I really don’t want to put my finger on it, I just know it exists and I love it every time you ring. It’s alive and before every call I experience it, then I exhale through my smile. Good morning Sir!

#takemyfoolishadvice Don’t text her good morning, pick up the phone and call. 🙂

Beloved,

AWalk

4 areas of business that changed my 1st Year as an Entrepreneur… What I know for sure!

Lemon Fresh All Natural Soap

So it’s been 1 year since my beta project, BADEBOX launched into a full grown business; the /ˈBÄDĒ/™ line by Amy Walker (www.badebox.com). Let me say the past year has been hard, exciting, deflating and joyous all at the same time. As I’m typing I am trying my hardest not to just spew everything at you because this roller coaster ride has been amazing. I want you to collect the little gems I’ve learned along the way and watch out for the pitfalls. So let me break this up into 4M’s: Marketing, Management, Money and Me. Let’s go!

Marketing: If no one knows you exist then you’re dead before you’ve even begun. I used all the free marketing that was available to me: Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Blog, Website, Pinterest, Facebook, word of mouth, flyers and free samples. I found that word of mouth, the company website, Instagram. Twitter and Facebook was my strongest marketing tools. My Twitter account landed me on Anderson Coopers Show, so never underestimate the power of free social media. The challenge came in keeping all these sites uniquely updated with new product details and relevant content. This seemed like a full time job within itself. I needed to be cognizant of key words, my html coding skills were in demand and product placement and great photograph skills were mandatory. I struggled. Not only did I need to be able to do all of these things, I needed to do it weeks before the product was available to actually “market” it to the public. Moving forward I plan to consider paid advertising and see what results they yield.

What I’ve learned: Link all my social sites together to automatically update each other. Apps like Hootsuite lets you update several sites from one app. I’ve documented what products were in demand and when so I can market them in advance to meet consumer demand. None of my online accounts are where I want them to be aesthetically, but for right now they work! I’m using what works for me right now until the next step. It will never be perfect, its all a work in progress.

Management: Building my company meant grassroots beginnings. So I value the customers that I’m able to touch and feel. I established myself at a prominent farmers market, known for buyers looking for fresh vegetables, meats, greenery and organic products. My line fits perfectly into this space. On a weekly basis I receive real time feedback about what works and what don’t and what products customers would like to see. #takemyfoolishadvice the major advantage of running a small business is the ability to adapt and change as needed. This is a huge cost saving and marketing attribute that larger companies have a hard time doing. I manage what is developed by the seasons and inquiries I receive. Inventory is monitored closely and products using similar ingredients are grouped together. The challenge: This was our first year and judging what products would do well and when was difficult. Plenty of times we ran out of products and had to wait for back-listed orders to be filled. This proved to be very costly. This year we’ll use last year’s number to project what needs to be made.

Managing my time was a complete headache. I worked 6 days a week every week, I made products twice a week after work and opened my booth at the farmers market every Sunday. Marketing materials was made and printed on my lunch breaks or usually at 4:00 am before work. By the time summer came around, my schedule had taken a toll on my mind and body. I was extremely happy with the demand but really had no idea of the time it would demand. I pushed through and when my body said stop. I stopped.

Money: The goal of every business is to make a profit. Before I started my business, I planned. I started my business with my own seed money and every dollar I made I put back into the business. Since this was our first year, I focused more on our profit margins as opposed to our profit goal amount. Merchandise with the highest profit margins were marketed more. I bought quality ingredients in bulk from top of the line suppliers. I’m a great saver but that doesn’t mean there still wasn’t a lost. Some of the supplies I purchased for packing or marketing looked great but it wasn’t practical for my business. I originally purchased 500 jars to package my body scrubs. Problem was they were not spill proof. Not only did I have to replace the product, I also had a garage full of these jars. Huge amount of overhead dollars down the drain and I have more stories just like this.

What I learned: I buy package materials in small numbers to try them out. My local craft store, Walmart and online boutiques have been great for supplying my needs. Once I’m happy with the look and feel, I purchase in bulk. I like for my products to look expensive and luxurious but I don’t want to pass this cost off to my customers so I clip coupons or purchase items on sale. This also helps me keep the prices of each product steady.

Me: There were parts of me that I knew were there but still never knew existed. Do you follow me? I knew there was a savvy business woman inside of me but she never stepped out when I wanted her to so I began to think she was a figment of my imagination. She wasn’t. I really stretched myself last year. I forced myself outside of my comfort zone, into tight space, walked in open fields filled with opportunity and over what felt like land mines into the unknown. It was liberating, scary, rewarding and essential to my very being. I cultivated new relationships, negotiated like a boss, provided excellent customer service and resources for my customers, failed and got back up again plus more. I also exercised my faith; I prayed continuously and still consult with God about every development. Most importantly I was a witness to my son that as a single mom, mommy is go getter, a reach out and figure it out type of woman, a no excuse having boss, a leader, a dreamer turned visionary turned executor, a creator, a builder, the person that may not be able to outsmart you but will win anyway because I will out work you. He saw a fighter, a person that kept producing and kept moving and reinventing when needed. I made him proud. In all my years of planning for this business, I never anticipated that. He was and still is my daily encouragement. I can’t stop now, I can’t lose; I have already won!

#takemyfoolishadvice start where you are simply put one foot in front of the other. There may never be the perfect time; just crawl then walk then run, before you know it you’ll be flying.

Beloved,

AWalk

8 months in, 4 more to go!

Can you believe tomorrow will be August 1st! Where has all the time went. Just last week we were bring in the New Year and setting goals. Now, we should be more than half way through our New Year’s Resolution list. I certainly have been busy at work all this year and so far, I’ve enjoyed experiencing what a difference a year makes.

I promise I’ll be back soon to share all the happenings of this summer with you. So much has happened and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Stay tuned.

Beloved,

AWalk

 

How to Juggle Entrepreneurship and Motherhood. How my son broke my heart

Flashback photo of my son and I.

Flashback photo of my son and I.

We get busy. I get busy. I’m only one person but I’m a different person to the people in my life. To my co-workers I’m that burst of positivity. To my family, I’m the rock and the spit fire that would set the record straight. To my church family, I’m the ultimate marketing and advertising guru. To my little nieces I’m inspiration. I’m something different for everyone but I’m only one person.

Monday night I was late coming home. I walked through the door, dropped my bags on the chair at the entrance, heels still on and jumped into mommy mode because I’m that too. “Did you eat already, are you hungry?” Check. “Did you do your homework?” Homework takes 1-2 hours. Check. “Okay, go bath.” Check. “Go brush your teeth.” Check. “Get in bed.” Check. Lights out and then I hear, “Mommy is their still time to read me my bedtime sorry?” “No honey, mommy’s busy with something and it’s already late because mommy got home late from work.” I leave to try to conquer the other 5000 things that demand my attention before midnight.

Sigh. I sit down for the first time since being home and think to myself, there never seems to be enough of me or enough time to go around. I passed my sons room that night and the lights were out but I could see his eyes glisten from the hallway light. I enter his room and ask, “Baby why are you still up?” He replies, “Because I’ve been keeping count.” “Count of what?” I asked. “Of how many times you’ve told me you’re too busy.” I was crushed but I wanted to know the answer. I could feel my eyes start to water.

My son shed a few tears that night as I tried to explain that mommy isn’t superwomen and I can’t scale a building in a single bound, but I’m still mommy so I try. But unfortunately sometime mommy doesn’t remember the small details. Sometimes I miss deadlines. Sometimes I simply run out of time.

I left his bedroom feeling horrible. Those old feelings of “you’re not going to make it being a single mom” came back to me and were steering me in my face. I couldn’t get around it. The way I felt swallowed me whole. I stayed up a few more hours getting some other things done.

The next morning I called my brother, my best friend, he’s also the 7th child, I’m the 8th, and told him everything that had transpired. He reminded me how it was when mom and dad were raising us. Even with the two of them they couldn’t do it all. Being a mom is a full time job, hats off to all the women doing it all. The next night I was home on time and I was able to read a few chapters out of my son’s novel. All is right in the world.

#takemyfoolishadvice moms we can’t do it all but we get really close to it every day. On the days we fall short don’t beat yourself up. There will be days that you do it all and days that you wish you could start all over again. The most important thing is to let your child know they are loved.

Takemyfoolishadvice is a community of diverse people that gives great advice. Give us a try. Leave me your worst parenting moment below.

Beloved,

AWalk

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