Here’s What You Need to Start Your Business

Queens-Hotel-4Starting your own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience doing what you love. There are many advantages in entrepreneurship such as having a flexible schedule, being your own boss and getting paid to do what you’re passionate about. Before you quit your 9-5 and dive into entrepreneurship, there are a few things that I wish I knew two years ago when I created Queens Conquer, that I’d like to share with you before you take the plunge and create your business.

Start Where You Are, Use What You Have

One of the hardest parts of starting a business is getting started! It can be very overwhelming having what seemslike a million ideas in your mind and not sure where to start. Before doubt and fear creep in and convince you otherwise, take a moment and write down your thoughts. Write down your business plan and how you envision providing value for others. Ask yourself questions such as, “What problems will you solve? Who are you serving? How will you stand out from others in your industry?” Once, you can define these things you can move forward knowing the why of your business and what you’re working with moving forward.

Invest in Yourself

There are several things needed in order to start a business and one of the essentials is taking care of the legalities to protect you and your business. Once you decide on a name, do thorough research to be sure no one else is using that name.

Tip: Namechk is a great resource to use to check to see what’s available across different domains and social media platforms.

Register your business under a Doing Business As aka DBA name. Not all states require a DBA, but most do if you’re a sole proprietor and want to use another name rather than your real name or have an existing Limited Liability Company (LLC). Forming an LLC, is crucial to keep your personal assets separate from your business liabilities. With technology being at the touch of our fingertips, anyone can copy your logo, so invest in your brand and trademark your logo, not just in your state, but across the country to be safe. Also, be sure to copyright your products, workbooks, software, etc.

Tip: Create a business account and keep your business expenses separate from your personal expenses. Here’s a few apps to help you keep your finances organized, track mileage, invoices and more: Mint, Quick Books & Fresh Books.

Queens-Hotel-19-2Tell Your Story

Once you’ve chosen your name and taken care of the legalities, create a website to tell everyone what you offer and how you can help them! First, you want to purchase your domain, then create a website. If you have no HTML experience, you can create a template site from SquarespaceWix,  or WordPress to get started than can add custom features later. Start with one page at a time, write out your thoughts and add images to help tell your story. Be sure to update your site frequently with new blog posts, products, even updating your about page. This will all help to increase engagement and SEO. You can also integrate your social media on your website to connect with your community consistently.

Tip: To create digital and physical content Canva is a great tool to use for things such as e-mail newsletters, flyers, social media posts etc. 

Secure The Bag

Now that you have a website, how do you get people to visit and purchase your products or services? Give yourself a monthly marketing budget that you strictly use for marketing purposes. Even if it’s $50, start small and promote your business to reach more people. This may include boosted social media posts, business cards, or photography and video services. These are all tax write-offs for your business, so know that it’s worth it in the end! Find out tax deductions for small businesses here

Tip: Utilize online marketing services such as  Google AdWords and Facebook & Instagram Ads to build brand awareness and leverage your social networks. Facebook & Instagram business tools are great features to take advantage of if you’d like more information on these tools comment below or e-mail me.

These are some things I learned in the beginning of my entrepreneur journey, that I hope help you. The biggest thing I struggled with was my business finances and taxes, so I definitely encourage to utilize those finance apps and also reach out to a CPA in your area.

Know that the first couple years you will invest a lot of time, energy and money in your business. You will make mistakes, fail, and learn what does and does not work for your business. The motivation will come and go, but remember why you started. Remember, you can’t do it all. Remember, to rest, not quit. Remember, to carve out time for your priorities. Remember, that consistency triumphs perfection.

I hope you find this helpful. What did you wish you knew before you started your business? Anything you’re struggling with related to your business? Comment below so I can help.

Much love & many blessings

Founder & CEO

Alexandra Wilson

Outfit Details: 

Jumpsuit: BCBGen

Shoes: Vince Camuto

Necklace: Zara

MUA: Cassie Yvette

Photography by: CJK

*I originally published this article on Naturallcurly in support of #smallbusinessmonth, with a few edits*

WHY CONTENT IS KING & CONSISTENCY IS QUEEN

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There is a lot of work that goes into creating a sustainable, respectable and valuable brand. Regardless of what social media shows us, it’s not always about your followers, but instead your engagement and influence with others. I recently read a post by Lauren Ash of BlackGirlinOm, that reminded me of my power to influence and it really resonated with me that I wanted to share it with you.

“It is my truth that to be truly influential, you have to be authentic. To be truly influential, you have to be moving in alignment with your values and your desires. To be truly influential, you only say yes to that which is in alignment.”

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Last year, I was focused on building my clientele that I didn’t have time to create my own content, so this year I intentionally made it a priority to set time aside each month to create and collaborate with others. Here are a few tips when creating content that will help you strategically connect with your community and build your brand.

Create a theme for each shoot and determine your focus. Be sure to express your vision to your photographer so that you’re on the same page. 

Ex: Ask yourself what do you want your readers to take away from this project? What is the purpose behind this photo? How does this image relate to your brand?

Tip: Find a photographer you enjoy working with and set-up a shoot every other month, so you’ll have consistent content and no excuse to not post. In the meantime, share timely updates and experiences, videos + boomerangs and when you’re feeling desperate repost someone’s picture and make it relatable to your brand, of course, credit the source.

Create a strategy to drive engagement once the post is published. 

Ex: Once the post is live, share on your social media accounts. Facebook and Twitter are great because readers can directly access the content by simply clicking on the image. Also, take advantage of the features and apps to schedule posts on these platforms to keep the engagement buzzin’.

Instagram, on the other hand, is more work. Once you add the link in your bio, direct your followers to “read more or check out the full post in my bio”. If you’re concerned about constantly having to switch out links in your bio check out this app called, Link Tree.

IG is filled with so many eye catchy images that you have to be strategic and make your image stand out. If you have a business account, utilize your analytics. It shows you data from when your followers are most active to where they’re from. One of the best times to post is 6pm – 10pm,  plus it will overlap to the next day 😉

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Listen and engage with your community. Survey them and find out why they follow you, what they’re in need of and what else they would like to see from you. One of my favorite quotes is, “closed mouths don’t get fed.” As a content creator, it can easily get draining constantly coming up with ideas, so simply ask and take note.

Consistency is KEY. Building a brand is all about trial and error. When something isn’t working, implement a new strategy. For instance, I used to have a pattern of quotes and images on my feed, but I was worried about the “aesthetic” that I wouldn’t post what I really wanted to. Once, I focused more on consistency vs aesthetic, I began to post one post per day sharing what I’m up to, videos, selfies and whatever I felt made sense for my page. I immediately gained 3 times more engagement and would also share more on my IG stories to interact with my community regularly.

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Remember your WHY & remain true to who you are.

There are millions of bloggers, influencers, and online resources so how will you stand out? Be personal, share your story and be transparent. There are so many people selling something on digital media that by you simply being your authentic self it will attract the right people. You’d be surprised how many things fall into place when you learn to follow your spirit and speak with your soul.

Much love & many blessings

Founder & CEO

Alexandra Wilson

Outfit Details: 

Entire look from Kiki Nass

Photography by: CJK

Envision. Create. Conquer.

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As we approach the mid-year mark, I feel my mind begin to shift into perspective of self-reflection. I’m overflowing with love, gratitude, motivation, and humility as I prepare to finish the year strong. Flash back: 2 years-ago I was a college graduate and wasn’t sure how my journey would look, but I knew I had the power to create it on my own terms. I reached out to an old employer, to propose that I help rebrand their fashion boutique. I had worked with them in-store as a stylist/sales associate for eight months, so I was familiar with their brand and clientele. That immediately turned into a full-time Public Relations opportunity where I taught myself the ins & outs of building a brand and connecting with your community.

Now, if you are familiar with PR you already know that the #1 rule is: “If you don’t know, get familiar aka fake it til’ ya make it.” I challenged myself to wear many hats and learn the game of PR such as : social media manager, marketing director, moderator and content creator, it simply depended on the day and objective.

Don’t ask how to do it, just make sure it gets done. 

Queens-Hotel-31Once I became aware of my value and how I could leverage my skills to help others I saw a need for women in business. I noticed women were creating businesses rapidly, but weren’t aware of how to market themselves or their business. They downplayed their talents and referred to it as “a hobby or lil’ something I do here and there”. I was inspired to show them they can own their purpose and conquer their dreams. They had everything they needed to create the life they deserved and I wanted to motivate them to go get it!

What’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn?

That since day one. She’s already had everything she needs within herself. It’s the world that convinced her she did not.

-Rupi Kaur

Queens-Hotel-33I’ve worked with hair salon owners, health/beauty connoisseurs, event planners and more. I say all this to share my testimony. In the beginning of my journey, I made mistakes, took some L’s and didn’t manage my money efficiently, but it was preparation for what lied ahead.

Fast forward to today: I’m working full-time at NaturallyCurly, the largest online haircare platform dedicated specifically to natural and curly hair. I’m creating and sharing compelling stories to empower women to embrace their beauty and walk in their purpose.

Coincidence? Nah. It’s called fate. 

By immersing myself into the community and sharing my gifts I was able to grow and leverage my network. I gained experience in the PR/Media industry and learned things that no book could have taught me. I truly feel everything is connected and each level in your life you must take risks and challenge yourself in order to move forward to the next level. With every opportunity, we have two options: step forward into faith or step back into safety.

You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. Walk in your light and live in your purpose. No matter what it takes, you are able and it is possible.

This season I encourage you to start thinking bigger, praying bigger & expecting bigger. God wants to take you where you’ve never been.

Be gentle with yourself and remember to honor the process.

It Gets Greater Later.

Queens-Hotel-37Don’t ever stop believing in your personal transformation. It’s still happening, even on days when you may not realize it or feel like it. 

Dress: Zara

Shoes: Aldo

MUA: Cassie Ybarra

Photography: Cassandra J. Klepac

Much love & many blessings

Founder & CEO

Alexandra Wilson

Keep Going: 4 Lessons You Learn Your First Year of Entrepreneurship

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Lately, I’ve been in self-reflection mode. Re-evaluating my brand, relationships and experiences. Last year, I put all my energy into creating Queens Conquer and connecting with my local community here in Austin, I didn’t take time for myself. So this year, I’ve been working towards cultivating a morning routine, acting on my intuition and surrounding myself in situations that serve me.

It’s officially been one year since I created Queens Conquer and entrepreneurship is definitely not as glamorous as most make it seem. Even though they are many wins to celebrate, there are many learnings that come from building a brand in the start-up stage. It’s important to remember that your biggest challenge is just as much your gift. Here’s a few things I learned that not only apply to my business, but personal life as well.

Choose Progress Over Perfection: 

When building a personal brand it’s important to remember that you’re human. Be patient with yourself and always do what fills you-not what you think others want you to do.  Even though you may not be where you think you should be, you’re making progress. Practice your craft and challenge yourself to be more consistent. (This really resonates with me because I found myself thinking I had to share “perfect” content, when people actually prefer consistency. Even if the picture isn’t “perfect”, share your story and be bold in your delivery.)

Don’t be Afraid to Ask: 

Often times we feel that if we ask for help it’s a burden, but know that it’s okay to ask for help, ask questions and ask for opportunities. It doesn’t make you weak and know that you don’t have to do it all, alone. (Ladies, we often wear many hats and can do it all, but we don’t have to. Remember, you can do anything, but not everything.)

Say No without Feeling Guilty or Explaining Yourself:

In the first year of building your brand you will come across lots of opportunities, but remember you aren’t obligated to be a part of everything. Remain true to yourself and your priorities. Have the courage to say no to the requests that don’t align with your interests, values or lifestyle. Don’t feel guilty or obligated to give a reason. Saying no doesn’t require justification. Those who are for you will understand. (By saying no you’re making room for the yeses that you want)

With Change, Comes Work. Take Time to Rest:

Being an entrepreneur and working from home, I love that I have the power to create my  own schedule, but that doesn’t mean I have to work from sun up to sun down. Create a schedule just like you were at a regular job. Incorporate 30 min breaks to eat a healthy snack, stretch, or get active . Make your health a priority, mentally and physically. (Rest, recharge, and repeat)

To my fellow entrepreneurs, what is a lesson you learned in the first year(s) of building your brand?

As you continue to conquer your dreams, remember you are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously, Queen. Trust your greatness!

Much love & many blessings

Founder & CEO of Queens Conquer

Alexandra Wilson

 

Speak Up: 5 Ways to Conquer Public Speaking

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The fear of public speaking is a real thing! Quite frankly, it is one thing that myself and other people I know, have struggled with. Recently, I’ve been challenging myself to create videos to connect more intimately with my community. Facebook Live is a great tool to use for practice because there’s no pausing or editing and your friends are notified to tune in. They can even comment and like while you’re recording, which is a good confidence booster to keep going!
The fear of speaking in front of an audience can sometimes prevent us from telling our story successfully. I know how difficult it can be; your palms start feeling clammy, sweat drips from your forehead and you feel so nervous you go blank and forget everything you prepared for. Whether you’re making a formal presentation, or creating a video to share your brand’s story, speaking skills are imperative. Remember, to choose progress over perfection.

“You’re not a victim for sharing your story. You’re a survivor for setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth and raging courage.”

Here’s a few tips to help you conquer public speaking:
  1. Be Prepared. Write down at least 3 talking points you want to discuss. Create a plan of action on how you’ll share the information and evaluate what flows best. Remember, to introduce yourself and share a fun fact with the audience to break the ice. Keep your sentences short and sweet and get straight to the point.  Practice with a friend and ask for feedback.
  2. Relax! Let go of any stress that’s building up. Practice breathing exercises to relax your mind and body beforehand. Drink some water to stay hydrated. Listen to your favorite jams and build your peace. Don’t be afraid to use your hands and move around when you speak, own the stage.
  3. Trust Yourself. Be confident. Only you know what you’re going to say. If you mess up, keep going! Be patient and take a moment to pause in between thoughts. Think before you speak, you got this.
  4. Evaluate Your Progress. Practice makes perfect. Once you finish your speech take time to evaluate the pro’s and con’s. If you had someone video tape it, go back and watch it and take notes on what you can do to make it an even better next time.
  5. Face your Fears. You are what you say you are, so what will you say to give people any opportunity to learn what you want to be known for. Remember, everything is a stepping stone.Challenge yourself to speak to small groups and then once you feel more comfortable, reach out to larger organizations for speaking engagements.
Set intentions. Don’t overthink. Trust your greatness and remember you can conquer anything you put your mind to. Let no one but you, define YOU!
Much love & many blessings,
Founder & CEO of Queens Conquer
Alexandra Wilson