How to Make Your Small Online Business Appear Larger Than It Is

Written by Dominique Bancey

When just starting up a business, it tends to be nerve-racking, and for the most part, many will tend to underestimate you due to lack of size or experience. However, you can easily create an illusion to make others believe that your business is larger than it actually is.

1. Try to get your social media following ‘sky high’.

As customers, the first thing they will tend to look for, is how many followers you have on social media. With a growing time in technology, they cannot really help themselves because this is how they find out how many persons are interested in your business and what you have to offer. You may wonder how to gain more followers each day, but the best thing to do is network. Follow persons who have similar businesses, comment under their posts, get the attention of their customers as they just might come check out your page.

2. Create an email address that is specific to your domain.

Having a personalized or customized website domain is one thing, but having an email address that lines up with this domain will make individuals take you more seriously. They will view you as more professional. For example, if your company’s website domain is hairandlashes.com but then your email would be hairandlashes@yahoo.com, instead you should have an email like l.trish@hairandlashes.com.

3. Get A Virtual Office

This would come at a cost to you, however, it would impress customers to stick with you and they would recommend you to their friends or family. Some virtual offices allow you to get a mailing address, local phone number, book conference rooms and access to break rooms or reception areas. Depending on where you are from or the plans you choose, the prices will tend to have a wide range. However, you should do your research to find the one that works best for the type of company you have and type of customers you have as well.

Having a small, online business doesn’t mean that you should stick to being small. Sometimes it pays off to create an illusion.

Until next time.

This Celebrity Assistant Speaks on The Importance of Building Good Relationships in Your Industry

Interview by Maria Rochelle

Darius Bradley is the founder and C.E.O. of GatekeepersAgency. GK-Agency is an Atlanta based assistant agency (staffing and recruiting) that provides personal, executive, and production assistants.

Darius shared with me an assistant story while he was working with his client Rotimi.

“In 2012 while working with my client Rotimi. Rotimi had a last minute photo shoot promoted by his publicist in LA during his meetings. He was to be out there for 2 weeks. It was during this year that we were currently seeking more TV/film opportunities with the success of “Boss” on Starz. With it being such a last minute thing (as the industry is typically like), I had to pull together a list of photographers in LA. The good thing here is that I had a strong relationship with celebrity photographer Kawai Matthews of www.Airphilosophy.com, and she did the photo shoot.”

Darius also adds “One thing I always suggest to assistants is to always build your network. Because assistants have a 3-5 year window when growth begins to happen. Clients let assistants go all the time, so you need to have relationships”

With your background as a celebrity assistant, would you share how it all began for you and what you have enjoyed about your position?
It started late 2010 when I was managing an artist, and he shared with me this R&B artist by the name of Rotimi based in Chicago who he wanted to collaborate with. So, I reached out to Rotimi on Facebook, and we spoke about it. We had a brief introduction, and he directed me to his then manager to set it up. Me and the other artist just ended our business with one another, so I emailed the manager to join their team. He got back to me, but once I sent my resume he never replied, so I took it as I didn’t have much experience. It drove me so much that I went to get the experience and landed an internship at Warner Bro Records. Seven months later, I was at my desk at Warner in mid April 2011, and I saw on Rotimi page it said looking for area reps email. I reached out to his then assistant, and she connected me to his publicist at the time. She and I spoke for close to an hour as I was running an errand for the SVP of Promotions. We set a date to meet her and Rotimi at his CBS charity performance. Then I was officially on the team May 2011. It was my dream artist to work with, so I was beyond joyed to have the opportunity. I knew he was going to be a star back in 2010.

How were you inspired to create Gatekeepers Agency?
I’m always thinking of how to inspire the next person, help the next person, and uplift the next person. So this company, which is my first, gives me that chance to help others begin a career in entertainment.

What challenges and rewards are there with being an assistant?
The reward is simply the opportunity to showcase what you can do. There are thousands of individuals that want to be in that space. Challenges come in so many forms, but one of them is living not only your life but the clients as well. I quickly adjusted to Rotimi and learned all his habits, so I can be the best person for him. It was my mission to always look out for him. Rotimi will concur on that.

You mention that assistants need to build their network, could you share a few tips on how an assistant would do that?

The assistant travels with the client. The assistant is the right or left hand person to the client, so this means majority of the contacts will come in contact with the assistant at some point. Sell your personality is what I’ll tell the experienced and aspiring assistant. I’m thriving in my career more than ever now because of it. I use what I built over those 5 years assisting Rotimi.

What are you looking for in assistants that you’ll be staffing?

I’m looking for the individuals that will be ready to sacrifice, willingness to help others become great (in turn making you valuable), and no excuse mentality. Now there are many more traits; these are the ones that pop up to mind because I embodied those traits. They’re the bedrock to who I was as the assistant and road manager. One time Rotimi in 2016 had a high school performance at 9:30am. He was already in Jersey, it’s a quick drive, and I was in Harlem where transportation will take me 2-3 hours depending on traffic. Name of the game sacrifice, and I woke up at 5am to arrive before him because that was one thing we always did to challenge each other was who can get there first. True professional in my eyes and we are very competitive which promotes nothing less of greatness.

Also, with your experience, what can future a client expect from your business for their needs and wants to be met for the assistants that they’ll hire from your agency?

Well the process is direct. Each assistant under GK-Agency will have a profile. These profiles help us identify the best places for the assistant (Personal, Executive and Production). The client will then have the opportunity to select a few to interview. Which then after that they can select the assistant they prefer, and then we handle the business end to get that assistant ready. We run this company like the white house (not like the current one however); they come prepared day 1 for the job. That is why we train them each day with the many tools and experience we have.

How do you stay motivated and encouraged to go for your passions and dreams?
It’s easy to stay motivated when I’m helping someone else. It’s a skill I developed over the years to make others become the best they can become.

Share with VEU readers three fun facts about you.

– I started my career in music at Hot 97 (Promotion department) in 2009 at 21
– My first international road managing spot date came in 2015 when Rotimi and me traveled to London and opened up for 50 Cent. I got to be on the stage in front of 15,000 fans!
– I also assisted Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire) and Saycon Sengbloh (Broadway/film/TV actress and singer).

Gatekeepers is currently recruiting in the following markets Atlanta, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami

Want to succeed as an Entrepreneur? Here’s how.

Written by Dominique Bancey

Everyone’s talking about entrepreneurship and the freedom it allows. But have you ever wondered how to actually become extremely successful? Anyone can become an entrepreneur, but not everyone can be successful. Here are a few tips that should make it 10x easier for you to succeed.

1. Failure? What’s that?

Being an entrepreneur, you’ll have plenty of ‘failures’ throughout your journey. However, what matters is that you do not look at them as failures, but rather as mistakes that can be corrected. Whether by deleting and starting over or by combing through and changing tactics. You’re always going to try out an idea that may not work out, but do not allow it to define you.

2. Everyday we’ hustlin’. Entrepreneurship takes guts. The moment you begin to slack, is the moment you begin to slip and fall from the ladder. An essential key to success is to wake up every morning ready to work. Get up with your engine roaring, ready to take off.

3. Work work work work work. Work ON your business, try not to work IN it too much. Hire some freelancers and learn to delegate responsibilities. Spending time and time again working in your business will take away from time that you could use to focus on what you could do to make the business a better one. Also, constantly working will make you more tired and drain your energy which will result to delayed reactions and focus.

4. Learn = Improve.

Do not shy away from attending conferences or reaching out to mentors. The more you learn is the easier way to improve yourself and your business.

5. No Quitting.

No matter how difficult a task may be, you are not allowed to quit. An essential key to being an entrepreneur is remembering not to give up.

Hurricane Survivor Turned Entrepreneur Started Her Business During Breast Cancer Recovery

 
Daddy’s Girl BBQ owner Markie Darling, knows all about overcoming obstacles. Her ability to cook came from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The hurricane destroyed a lot of things however it left a barbecue grill in the backyard. That is how she learned how to cook. Markie can cook anything on the grill, and her catering business in 2015 during the recovery process from being diagnosed with breast cancer in her right breast. We had a chance to catch up with the small business owner and get to know more about the BBQ Queen and her brand.

As a hurricane and breast cancer survivor, how have you been able to remain strong through all of your obstacles?

My faith first and foremost. Cooking is my go to end all be all. It helps me whenever I have an issue. Regardless if its a happy moment or a sad moment cooking ALWAYS helps me.

What motivated your to start your business during your recovery process ?

Cooking is my comfort zone so when one of my Pastors asked me “What is the only thing that you can do and not be paid and still have fulfillment?” I knew then that I needed to start my catering business.

How has the journey of entrepreneurship been so far?

Humbling to say the least. Learning how to establish business relationships,cost containment, profit and loss statements, etc. It has all been very humbling!

 

What is the most rewarding thing about being a caterer for you?

The smile on my clients faces is the more rewarding than EVER!

Favorite dish to make ?

My Original slab of ribs and Jerked Meatballs

What separates you from other chefs and catering services in Atlanta?

With my main focus being food quality and good customer service, I am in a lane all alone and I am loving it!

Give us 3 things that people don’t know about you.

This is a hard one because I am an open book. Ummmmm so I had to call on my friamily (friends who are closer to me than my family)

1.I make more sacrifices than most people will ever know about
2. My finger nails are REAL and I will have a DIVA fit if I were to break one
3. I am very sensitive
4. I make the best BBQ Sauce in the world ( BONUS )

What advice do you have for aspiring caterers

Find and work with a mentor for 2 -3 years before branching out on your own. The knowledge and experience is PRICELESS

What upcoming projects or events are you working on

My 3rd year as the dedicated caterer for 102.5 Praise In The Park on 7/29/17
Also the wedding of the Future MRS. THOMAS on 10/28/17

To learn more visit www.daddysgirlbbq.com and follow her on social media @daddysgirlbbq