3 Benefits I Discovered in Getting a Mentor through Score

I knew I needed one.  It was everywhere I turned.  Videos I watched…”You need a coach or a mentor.  Groups I joined, the top notch entrepreneurs…. “You need a coach or a mentor.”  Everyone was saying it, so I knew there was value to it.  My barrier was I couldn’t afford to pay someone to be my mentor.  And there were people I was studying that I knew would make a difference in my life, but money is funny sometimes in our lives.  That’s the real life that we aren’t always able to admit or talk about.  I have a blog post coming soon discussing “The Issue of Money” and the truth is we are not always good with money and we make bad choices.  And sometimes the season we are in with our lives is teaching us better habits and we are learning lessons, but at the same time we are walking in our purpose which is requiring some investment, but investment isn’t always $1000.  And I wasn’t going into no more debt just to build, that wasn’t of Jesus, at least in that moment.  LOL!

So when we were first starting out I signed my sis Hiranda and I up for a Score seminar.  I am Robert Watkins’ daughter and if I am going to jump into something, I need to  know the details of what I’m getting into so I am in full education mode.  Whatever information I can get, I’m down for it and MAN the information was awesome.  Of course in the first three months of startup phase Hiranda and I got excited about pretty much everything, which is another blog post because LORD did we learn that you can’t get caught up in the hype of EVERY DOGGONE THING! LMBO (We are silly!) But this was something that was really good.  So anyways after it was done I went home and did more research, but I also kind of set that aside for a little while.

Later in the year, I was doing more research I had established my business entity (LLC) and started promoting it.  I was also educating myself, going to events, watching videos and signing up for online classes and it opened my eyes and guided me to develop more of a mind for business.  I realized there were some things I needed to revamp, my target market, my approach to my target market, how I exhibited myself to my potential customers the need to focus on my financial practices and so much other important information.

So then it crossed my mind as I was cleaning out emails that I had the option to obtain a free mentor with SCORE.


**SIDENOTE**

Now let me be really really clear: I think paying for a coach and/or mentor is a smart move!  I want to make sure that is made known!  I will do this one day, that is guaranteed!  I can’t stay at this level forever!  If I were to stay at this startup phase, I would be foolish, but this is where I am financially with both my business and personal life and I am willing to be transparent about that.  There is just no way I will waste someone else’s time or take someone else’s spot when I know paying someone for a service right now will put me and my family in a financial bind.  I can respect this in regards to my clients as well and I have been put in check regarding this, so TRUST ME, there is NO disrespect!  I am simply sharing my experience and what was best for me and my business!


So anyways, I contacted SCORE.  They had me fill out some information so they could match me to a mentor according to my needs as a business owner.  In comes Mrs. Ann! 🙂 She is so great!  Mrs. Ann is such an intent listener.  She listens, observes, takes notes and then offers me sound advice.  And she doesn’t just TELL me what to do, she helps me think about what are my best options according to her suggestions and my own deductions.  She allows me to decipher what is best for me in certain situations and I am so grateful!

And then, guess what? At this point in my business I want to get better in tracking finances and managing them so I can eventually hire a coach or mentor and other pertinent people for my business, so when I asked her about it, she brought in another mentor that had more financial experience!  Isn’t that cool?!  She also told me I could send her my business plan and she would look over it for me!  So awesome!  And the services she provides are based on my needs!

Okay so the three benefits are:

  1. Matching according to your business needs: They find you a mentor that caters to your core area in regards to your business and who know where you are coming from.  It also doesn’t necessarily have to be someone in your community.  I have very much appreciated that Mrs. Ann is in another state because she has a different perspective, which is beneficial to someone who wants to expand outside of Alabama.
  2. An ear to bounce thoughts and ideas.  I take notes when I think of things to ask Mrs. Ann all the time.  She is prompt and honest.  She admits when she doesn’t know and offers resources and suggestions.  She has been strong arming me on my prices since we started this mentorship relationship and she praised me when I took her advice and she is helping me to change my mindset in regards to who I am marketing to and considering the value of my service
  3. Focus.  Starting a business will have you all over the place.  I am sometimes an information hog; so in getting started, I have been trying to get as much information I can possibly get, which isn’t a bad thing, its just sometimes overwhelming.  Having a mentor helped me to pinpoint some specific tasks to work on, to work down my goals and make them more reasonable, to make my plan solid.  This is one of the most valuable tools.

So now we come to it, the most valuable question… “Should I pay for a mentor or get a free one?”  This is MY reality.  My free mentor works for me in THIS season.  I plan to support and sow into someone else’s business in the future because I know there is someone else out there I can benefit from and they can benefit from me too.  For me, this is a season of growth.  I can’t afford to sow, but I am still working towards my business goals, I still have guidance and I’m still in business.  YOU have to make choices for your own business.  Everyone is not going to get to their expected end the same way, that would be boring!  All I can do is tell you what I did.  Do your own research, maybe this won’t work for you!  Maybe you need something more in depth, maybe you prefer face to face, maybe you gain more value in paying for services, maybe this is valuable to you!  It doesn’t matter!  DO SOMETHING!  Now go be great!

If you want to take advantage of this great resource go to https://www.score.org/find-mentor Here they give you three great options to let them match you with a mentor, search for one yourself or to find your local SCORE office and utilize their services there!  Hope this helps!

Until Next time #Connect #Create #Inspire #Deuces

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How I Find Balance as a New Entrepreneur

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One year ago, I decided I would go into business for myself.  God had revealed to me that my purpose was much bigger than spending the rest of my life working for someone else and so I started out on a journey into the unknown of entrepreneurship.  I didn’t know what I was doing, shoot, I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I trust God and know He would never lead me astray.  A year ago, though, that To do list would have been almost HALF of that!  At least 6 of those things would be off that list and rest wouldn’t have been on there because I wouldn’t have considered needing to add it to my to do list!  Haha!

My life is different now and I honestly need about 25 hours in the day to get everything done, but since that doesn’t exist, I am working hard to prioritize the 24 I do have and trying to fit everything in!  There are a couple of times I have just completely beat up on myself!  I was certain in April 2016 I was going to be able to quit my full time job in December 2016 (Newsflash: I’m still working full time AND received and accepted a promotion to Program Director, WHAT AM I THINKING! LOL) but that just wasn’t realistic thinking on my part.  This is why I have chosen to share my personal journey with the world because I know there are aspiring and current small business owners out there asking themselves, how can I do this?  Mostly because I ask myself this too, but in reality I HAVE TO do this!  It is my purpose!  I just have to do a better job at prioritizing my time and finding balance.  So I want to share my techniques and I want to be transparent about what has and hasn’t worked for me on this road of entrepreneur life!  Comment and let me know if you’ve tried these things or plan to!  I want to know if I am helping!

What isn’t working

Worrying

I don’t know if you are a Christian or not, but in case you were wondering, I am and I know worrying is a sin.  It is a really hard sin not to do!  I’m just being honest!  Did you see my list?  Oh and you all with children… GOD BLESS YOU! LORD! My list would probably be doubled!  I shouldn’t even complain!  But honestly worrying has help me in NOTHING on this journey!  Every time I worry, it just makes things worse!

What is Working

Patience and Prayer

So you can try one, the other or both, but I must do both!  Because for me, one only comes with the other!  I MUST pray!  It is just necessary for me!  I have realized that I get so frustrated with myself, especially when I found out I couldn’t quit my job right away!  God was like girl are you crazy?  How you gonna pay for stuff! LOL! I realized I needed to take some steps back.  Now I have set an exit goal for myself, which is constantly changing!  I have to be realistic about my life and where I am and what it is that I have to do in order for my family to be okay!  Reflect on this for yourself!  Don’t take waiting as a set back! Consider it preparation for you purpose!

What Isn’t Working

Not Doing Anything

The worst thing I did for myself last year was when I neglected my business.  I had the desire to work towards it, but I let the fact that I wasn’t making any money discourage me and keep me from pushing.  This is the truth, you may or may not make money from the start.  Yes, there are people with their own businesses who are doing that thang and making the money, but everyone is different!  I had to stop comparing myself to others and get out there and promote my business!  When I got my first paying client, it was an adrenaline rush!  I pushed harder than ever after that!  Keep pushing!  You can do this, even if you have no client or no profit!

What Is Working

Connecting to Successful Business Owners

I will leave you with this.  The best thing I have done in this season of my business is connect with the right people.  I obtained a mentor for free through SCORE and I started attending events where small business owners were attending.  I know this sounds extremely crazy, but I started kinda stalking people who were doing it and were successful and I followed and went to the events they were attending, shoot I’m still doing this.  I want to be around women and men who are successful in their business and its not about duplicating their process, its about gaining wisdom and knowledge that they are more than willing to offer!

So there you have it! A little snippet of what I have been doing and trying NOT to do on my journey.  Some one year reflections!  I mean, listen…. I made it through the first year, so you can too!  Do NOT give up!  Keep pushing!  Keep pressing!  Keep believing!  I know that you can do this!  We have to support one another!  Join my group Chronicles of A New Entrepreneur (here) where you can get updates from my blog and my podcast.  I also do a couple of video series, including #ThoughtsinTraffic and #VirtualAssistantTips. Click here to check out my YouTube page!  If this was helpful to you subscribe and leave a comment so I know that it was helpful or at least a little entertaining!  Also please leave your blog website so I can check you out and support you!  Until next time.. #Connect #Create #Inspire #Deuces

Finding Inner Strength as an Entrepreneur

Anybody else besides me ever just feel completely and extra raw in their emotions?  Like you can’t even describe anything specific, you are just deep in your thoughts about life and your not sad exactly, you are just sitting there, in your emotions?  as I write this post, I’m there, listening to music about God, thinking about His awesomeness, His grace towards me and crazy deep into worship and thanks to Him, that even though I feel  crazy emotional, I am still so grateful that He keeps me.

Let’s face it, personal issues and feelings bleed over into our entrepreneur life.  We sometimes may not be willing to admit it because we feel it will make us seem weak.  But how powerful is it in being transparent to explore how we are truly feeling and what we are going through on our journey?  I was going to post my thoughts in an Instagram and I realized there is so much more that I want to say.

 

You see this picture right here?

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This was the picture I was going to post.  In this moment I am crazy tired.  I’m at a point where I’m waking up tired, I am forcing myself to get up and go to my full-time job, I’m cringing when my Living Faith clients are asking me to complete tasks, I miss my family like crazy, the day before I silently worked through the 1 year anniversary of my grandma’s death and there is no vacation in sight until MAYBE Thanksgiving…maybe.

I’m just tired.

I made a post about healing your inner self on Facebook and its probably a passive-aggressive call to God for help, when I know talking to Him directly is the best way, but I think somehow the validation that other people like that post, helps me know other people are going through the same thing, or at least know what I’m talking about.

I googled healing your inner self and Psalms 46 came up.  It’s in an article by Bill Gaultiene called Inner healing Prayer using Psalm 46 as the basis.  He suggests breaking this verse into parts and meditating on each station.  He says “inner healing prayer is a way to invite the Spirit of Christ to minister to the inner parts of our person that have ben damaged.

The first verse of Psalm 46 says

“God is our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble.”

I have to remind myself of this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  The stress and strain of life will try to convince you that you cannot do this.  you can’t run your own business…Are you crazy??? You can’t even keep your life together!!!!But I’m reminded that I have help!  And you  may  not be spiritual or religious or may not even be Christian, but the message still remains the same.  You CAN make it no matter what!  I just happen to be certain where I stand personally.

Inner healing is about finding your inner strength, knowing that no matter what, I can push through!  I’m encouraging myself as I’m writing this! I recently finished a book by Sarah Jakes Roberts, her very first book titled Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life.  She tells the story of her becoming pregnant at 14 years old and stress of having a high profile and finding one’s strength.  She says so many profound things are said by her in this book, but something stood out to me.  She says:

“Grace is not the absence of the struggle; it is the presence of protection”

This is SO TRUE! There are two definitions of grace in the online dictionary: “1) simple elegance or refinement of movement. 2) (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”  In both definitions, it is the idea that we are to cast or cares away and move through life with ease.  As a Christian, I do so because I know God has my back no matter what, I am protected!  Such comfort in a time of stress, chaos and busyness of the life of an entrepreneur.  So I am here today to let you know two things: 1) It’s okay to admit when you are overwhelmed, stressed and hurting 2) Its also okay to release it and let it go because you are protected and your inner strength, wherever you find it, will protect you!

Until next time.. #Connect #Create and #Inpire

 

 

Organized, no Chaos: How I use Binders to Keep my Business in Order

 

Binders help me to prioritize different aspects of my business.  Each business and/or individual I work with receives their own portfolio after working with me.  Right now I am in the process of revamping the order of each book but I am giving you an exclusive view of a very raw process in case this is something that will be helpful for you and your business in the future.  So the examples I’m sharing are my own business binder, the binder I’ve crafted for Dream Makerz, my Faith Walkers Church folder as youth ministry leader and My client Mrs.Dee Edwards.  Now as a disclaimer whenever a client and I terminate a contract, which will mostly be because they’ve gotten the management of their business under control and they don’t need me anymore, I will “prettify” (no that’s not a word, but its mine, you can’t have it!) their portfolio, with a nice graphic, labels and all that jazz.  Here you are just getting a VIP into the process.

In here I have all establishment documents, so that Name Reservation certificate, the Articles of Formation documents and EIN information are all in one place.  Then next I have meeting information, notes, etc  For my notebook, I have a section for all of my podcast and blog content.  I have a notebook that I jot in from time to time, but it seems helpful to have paper I can tear out of that notebook and organize directly into my binder.  I have found that the spiral notebooks keep me confused because I have to thumb through to find what i need way to often.

In Dream Makerz folder I have the same startup information that was described in my folder.Thus is highly important with this organization because Hiranda prefers to not  handle any of the administrative tasks and/or paperwork if she doesn’t  have to, but I

need to be able to access it at anytime when she needs it and get it to her and then I have each event and the supplies (sign in sheets, surveys, consents, etc.) because she holds these  events on a regular basis.  I also have a section for ideas because she often calls me with them and I have to be ready! 😊

Mrs Dee’s folder is a little different. I provide her with virtual assistant work for her multiple businesses, so her notebook is actually digital which is something I didn’t realize was my best option for keeping up with her files until after I started writing this post.  Each folder is divided by her different businesses and categorized accordingly. For example, her IRS Tax schooling has all of her grade books, her Startup Business Factory has forms and signup sheets I created and her Accurate Tax has all the forms I created for her. She now has easy, organized access to all of these things that I can send to her at anytime and will be compiled in a zip file if were were to ever terminate services.blog-picture  This also provides the opportunity for transparency and checks and balances for me as her virtual assistant. She receives monthly updates from me from myhours.com that provides a record of the time I spend on her projects.

 

If you are interested in becoming a virtual assistant, you will need to do your research on how you will provide your clients with a compiled representation of the work they are paying you for. This is extremely important to me both as a business manager and virtual assistant because I want them to see it is more beneficial to them then hiring someone to come to their office and that they are saving money and time by utilizing my services.

So here  is a glance into my organization style. You can utilize this for your own business or if you are a virtual assistant, administrative assistant, personal assistant or business manager, here are some ideas for you. I try to keep it simple so I can personalize it for my customer. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below! Until next time

#Connect #Create #inspire

chronicles

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The Time is Now! 3 Tips I Used to Start my Business

 

“The one thing that I think is critical in the entrepreneurial spirit is that it’s all attitude. If you think you can, then you’re half way there. If you say, ‘I can’t,’ then you’re defeated.” – Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies

Have you been trying to find out how to start your business?  Do you have an idea but don’t know where to start?  Are you running a business but you can’t seem to figure out what is going wrong?  Starting a business is hard!  For real!  It is one of the hardest things I have done in my life!  Of course, I haven’t had any children yet, so ask me in a couple of years, lol!  In all seriousness, though, this is the truth, but I realize that so many people don’t take that step or give up because they are afraid of the unknown or of what is too hard.  So in one of my most recent podcasts, I talk about how I got started with my business and what worked best for me!  I am always very transparent in sharing that the information and stories I tell about myself and my business may not apply to you, but it should cause you to think about your goals for your entrepreneurship journey.

Ms. Debbie is onto something.  It really is about your attitude and your thinking.  If you think, I’m not going to be able to do this and you say it with your actions and your demeanor, then honey, you probably aren’t going to do it.  But let me tell you all something.  The time really is now!  There is a shift occurring in the atmosphere and you should want to be apart of this movement!  Be proactive in the progression of your life.  Don’t just sit back and wait for someone to show you or tell you how to do it!  I have been blessed to have been in the presence of some amazing business men and women in the past couple of months and I am so motivated to continue to strive to build a business that operates in excellence and greatness!  The time is now!

And if you are struggling to find a way to get started, guess what…..there are so many people out there willing to help you!  So let me give you a couple of tips on how to get started:

  1. RESEARCH!  Start googling “how to start a business” or “entrepreneur,” look up information on the Small Business Administration website, they have so many great tools!  Start looking at Facebook live and Periscope to listen to those who are already in business!  This is what I did and I have learned so much to help my business.
  2. Connect with the right people You will hear me talk about partnership in an upcoming podcast and its importance.  You need people in your corner who you can trust, but make sure you do so with careful evaluation, you can’t trust everybody!  I utilize prayer often to make sure I am connecting with the right people.
  3. Don’t give up! If you started and reached a point where you feel this wasn’t the right choice, don’t stop!  Reevaluate and repeat the first two steps.  Failure and setbacks are meant to grow you and help mold you!  Utilize those hardships to propel you higher in your business!

Luckily for you, Living Faith Management and Consulting specializes in helping you to reorganize, restructure and get time back you are losing due to stress, confusion, and fear!  We can help you to manage what feels out of control!

Want to get updates from my blog?  Leave your information below and I will keep you posted!  Also! Don’t forget to go to my group and join Chronicles of a New Entrepreneur, you don’t want to miss that experience!

 

I’m Stuck!

This.. is an account of my struggles.

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And I, Ebone Watkins, AM STUCK! Lord!  The moment you realize you have so much going on!  And you are not typically a complainer, you believe in God, you have strong faith, but you just realize that there are so many elements of yourself going into your success and you just feel your wheels are turning, but you are not going anywhere!  Anyone else feeling or felt this way?  I think sometimes we don’t realize how far we are stretching ourselves and we need to take a moment to stop and think.  Even as I write this blog post, I don’t have the answers right now, but I can guarantee you when I come back to it, I will.  Sometimes you just have to come to a realization you need to stop and take a moment.  Starting a business is not an easy jump to take, but I know, we all know, it’s worth it, in the long run. This is just a part of it!

I consistently watch people talking about business, including their struggles and the years of sweat and hard work they put into it.  And honestly, sometimes it’s just pure difficult to listen to them talk about it and realize you are at the point of that struggle and all you want to do is be at the end point!  That’s just the plain truth!  But on the other side, I also don’t want anything handed to me!  I want what God has for me according to his desire and His plan, not Ebone’s.  So I know what I’m going through right now, is a part of the divine purpose and plan.  In other blog posts, you will get to know my specific struggles.  One of them is finding a balance between putting the time and work into my business and juggling that with the work I am assigned to help my clients.  Business is a work in progress, right? So things change as we go.  I am constantly trying to put systems in place to discover what can make things better for myself and my clients.  Then, life settles in, day job, church, family, etc.

A couple of things I have been reminded of in this realization that I am (WAS) stuck!

  1. It’s a part of the journey.

God has revealed to me numerous times in the past couple of weeks that even those individuals whom I look up to and utilize as my examples struggle sometimes too.  I am so grateful for the transparency of others because it reminds me that I am not alone.  No one said this was going to be easy, but the theme stands that it’s totally worth it!

  1. Slow down!

I realize at times I have wanted to reach the success far more quickly than what reality will allow.  This realization has allowed me to slow myself down and scale back to take some more steps to build.  I am constantly adjusting, changing and consulting with others who are deep in the small business and entrepreneurship game.  I have a mentor in place and I am now seeking a business coach.  This is a process as well and takes time and I have accepted this.

  1. It’s okay to readjust your goals!

I set a goal a couple of months ago that I would be engaged in my business full time by the end of the year.  This was weighing on me so heavily as this goal was obviously not going to be met.  But after consultation with God and my bestie and business partner, I realized that sometimes our goals need to be readjusted.  Exploring the first two things, allows you to do that and make sure you are on the track that is appropriate and realistic.  (Aka: Child I don’t have any money to go into business full time!  Get a grip Ebone! Haha! )

So at the end of the day, It’s okay!  Pick yourself up, keep moving and keep praying!  Admit when and where you are struggling, get some guidance and help and go after your dreams, goals and your purpose!  That is your transparent moment for the day!

Until next time, #Connect #Create and #Inspire! Toodles!

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Have You Ever Googled Yourself?

Listen! This was the craziest experience for me! So as a new entrepreneur, it is difficult sometimes to maintain your confidence when you are in a pool with multiple successful, well groomed experienced entrepreneurs who are well established and get gigs and clients left and right.  It’s slightly intimidating, right?  Well, you can pretend if you want, but for ME, it is at times overwhelming.  At times you may get in your head and forget your faith filled walk into your business and think, um, who is going to listen to ME? I’m NOBODY! LOL You understand it’s a mind battle to ensure yourself that your platform, your cause, your purpose matters to other people.  Well, either way, I will admit sometimes I just feel very small.

BUT, let me ask this question, have you even Googled yourself?

So I was clearing out old emails and ran across an article by Bryce Bladon called “Feedback from the Inferno:  “My Boss doesn’t want me to have a side gig.”  You Should read it, it’s awesome and totally inspired me to write about my experiences with that but only AFTER I’m no longer working for my job.  ( I don’t want them problems! HaHa)

So anyways, in the middle of the article, I read him talking about the fear of being googled by a current employer and them finding out about your entrepreneur journey.  So a light bulb went off in my head because this whole time I had convinced myself that I am invisible from my co-workers and bosses well because, you know I unfriended them on Facebook and everything, but then this has me thinking, um…. What if they Google me!!!!  I was like oh crap!!! Haha So I stop reading the article (which I eventually finish) and find all this awesome credential on myself, out there in the open of course, but the coolest thing happened that really took away my concern.

For those who don’t know, my full-time job right now is as a social worker who advocates, teaches and trains in regards to youth in foster care ages 14-21.  You can follow what we do at ilconnect.org.  I speak out a lot about the challenges and wins as far as they are concerned.  A while back I wrote an article on Linked In about something called Permanency Pacts, which is a document created by Foster club to help youth in foster care form connections with important people in their lives before they age out of the system.

Do YOU KNOW in googling myself I found out this NATIONAL company referred MY article on THEIR website!  I mean it was RIGHT HERE staring me in the face… Read the article yourself!  I was just like….  EYES WIDE HAHA!  I could NOT believe it, I was praising God in my little office! 🙂 Little ol me referred on a national website.  I AM Relevant!  What I have to say, the content I provide is worthy!  Man, I had to send praises to God on that one because listen, you have to believe in your brand and what you are doing.  It will pay off!

What you have to say is important and don’t let anyone tell you different.  Being a new entrepreneur is hard enough without us doubting ourselves.  It was certainly a lesson for me, I hope it is for you as well.  Comment below and let me know about your aha moments in being a new entrepreneur.  Until next time…

#Create # Connect #Inspire

Love

Your Favorite Business Manager