Tag Archives: entrepreneur

The Balancing Act: Your 9-5 vs. Your Passion Based Business

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I’ve had the privilege of working at Fortune 500 companies throughout my entire professional career. Despite generous compensation packages featuring six-figure salaries, stock options, and performance bonuses, the reality became clear: I would not be able to control my destiny without owning a business. According to Forbes recent listing, the world’s billionaire club swelled to a record 1,645 members including 268 newcomers. The common thread of these high net worth individuals was they were entrepreneurs or the descendants of entrepreneurs. I realized that if I wanted to enjoy financial freedom and live my passion I needed to get my venture started.

Bloomberg_045[1]About a year ago I decided to launch Liquid Courage Cosmetics. This line is targeted toward modern and upwardly mobile women. I am often asked, “How do you find time to do it all Roshell? How do you balance your 9-5 and your passion based business?” Balancing between the two is never easy especially if you compound the added responsibilities of being a mother and a wife. While balancing is more than an art than a science here are three tips that help me balance between my very demanding 9-5 as a Transportation Procurement professional for the top consumer electronics company in the world and the CEO of Liquid Courage Cosmetics.

  1. Managing Expectations

Like many ambitious rookies, I had a goal of becoming a top executive at a major Fortune 500 company. When I got my “wake up” call I knew that I would need to make a hard choice.  In my world perhaps different for you the two could not co-exist. Simply ask yourself, “what tradeoffs am I willing to make to have the lifestyle I want?” Once I made the decision that I would rather become a successful business owner of my own multi-million dollar company than a VP over a billion dollar brand by 40 I quickly adjusted the way I worked at my 9-5. Don’t get me wrong I am a solid performer at my 9-5 but I became ok with being the B+ employee vs. the A+ water walking & over achieving employee in order to create the time and energy I needed to run my successful passion based business.

  1. Create and Commit to Your Priorities

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I recently read a study that showed 70% of employees are only effective 3 out of the 8 hours at work. I cut off checking personal e-mails and surfing the web during core work hours. I also maximize lunchtime or commute times to work on quick action items for my passion-based business. I figured the more efficient I became at my 9-5 the more time I created to work on my passion based business.

Additionally, at the start of each month, I write down what my top three priorities are for each important area of my life are including health, relationships, my passion based businesses, and my 9-5. Keep in mind these categories can be different for you but these are my top priorities each month.

  1. Outsource  

Make no mistake about it I’m a recovering control freak so it should be no surprise why outsourcing is the balancing tip I struggle with the most. I think as a passion business based owner it’s essential that you decide what items you can outsource. I know you are probably thinking “but Roshell no one can do it just like me” but in order to have the balance you truly are seeking you should identify less essential tasks you can outsource for your passion-based business.  For me, I’ve outsourced all graphic and website service. I’m currently in the process of outsourcing my social media so I can focus on the items where I can create the most impact. For those who struggle on deciding what you should or should not outsource my rule of thumb is if it’s not an action item that show ups on your top priority list then you should consider it for outsourcing.

Pace yourself. I challenge you to master one of these items every 6 months. On this journey you will learn that “No” is in fact a complete sentence. In order to make room for the things that are really important in your life you will have to become comfortable with saying no.

I want to create a community of readers that support each other. There is no better way to show your support for a small business owner by actually making a PURCHASE.  I encourage all you who own or know of small businesses to leave their contact information or website link in the comment section below. Tag a small business with the hashtag #mypassionbiz

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Don’t Allow Excuses to Cancel Your Success: Tips for aspiring entrepreneurs

I recently sat down with Zachary Rinkins from the Rinkins Report  and offered three tips for prospective entrepreneurs:

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1. Don’t Make Excuses: I learned a long time ago that excuses are tools of incompetence. A lot of us get stuck and get in the way of GOD’s blessings because of fear and the excuses we tell ourselves. Stop the excuses and start executing the necessary steps to create your vision.”

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2. Done is better than perfect:                   I started with two lip lacquers on Shopify. As a perfectionist I wanted the thousand dollar e-commerce site with all the bells and whistles. I’ve learned that you must make the most out of the resources that are at your disposal and build from there. You will never know how the marketplace will respond to your product if you never launch it. Once you get responses from the marketplace, you can begin to make adjustments to ensure continued growth and success.

Photo from May 2014 Photo Stream

3. Secure a Mentor: Nobody knows everything. We cannot achieve success alone. You must develop a team that can help you accomplish your goals. A mentor can be a valuable player of your dream team. Keep them engaged and your company will benefit from their expertise, guidance, and experience.

 Read the rest of the story here.

Zach Rinkins is the Associated Press award-winning host/producer of the Rinkins Report. Find out more at www.RinkinsReport.com or on Twitter @RinkinsReport

Valuable Lessons Learned in the “Rat Race”: Corporate America Revealed; Part 2

I’m revealing a few more of my corporate confessions:

6. Healthy is the new Sexy: Health Matters

I’ve gained nearly 50 pounds since I entered corporate America in 2005. I have attributed this to limited physical activity at work (sitting behind a desk for hours at a time) and low energy following 10+ hour days. Only recently did I begin to take my health seriously after learning of the impact that weight could have on fertility.

While I view my contributions as significant to my organization, they will not make or break a Fortune 100 company. If I can invest in my job, I can invest in myself by taking an hour each day to exercise. Make time to workout either before work or leave a bit early to workout in the evening. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle should be your #1 priority.

7.  Host with the most/Hostess with the Mostess

It is important to create connections with your organization beyond the cube and water cooler. Consider hosting an annual event that both your professional and personal networks can enjoy. For example, one prior work colleague hosted an annual masquerade ball and another colleague had an “Ugly sweater” party. Most business deals are done outside of the office, so why not create an event to foster relationships and great networking on your own terms?

I hope this not only helps those in the proverbial rat race but aspiring entrepreneurs.

 

Valuable Lessons Learned in the “Rat Race”: Corporate America Revealed

I’ve been blessed to work for a few multi-national Fortune 100 companies including Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs & Co. During my nearly ten years at some of the nation’s most elite firms, I learned great lessons and insights about life, business, and everything in between. In my pursuit of success in corporate America, I found that the game-changers were well versed in a different code: one that was unwritten. I made it my business to glean the lessons along the way and found these invaluable few to be most essential in the proverbial rat race. Here are my first five corporate confessions revealed:

1. Strategically target companies/roles based on a personal ROI

I can’t lie to you. After college, my goal was to land a job at a reputable company with the most competitive salary. Gaining needed skills and experiences to help me achieve my long-term career goals was the furthest thing from my mind. I didn’t operate with a destination mindset. Yes, total compensation is definitely a factor when selecting the right employer, but challenge yourself to think beyond the now.  Ask yourself, ‘Will this position or the next role help me develop a vital skill set and/or network?’ ‘How will my time investment in this industry yield a return that benefits my bigger personal plan?’  

2. Project P.I.E. (Performance, Image, and Exposure)

Immediately following my first promotion at my first full time job, I quickly realized that though results were important, your personal brand equity and exposure could carry more weight in determining career trajectory.  Delivering exceptional business results is a baseline expectation after a certain point in your career. Physical appearance or image can also be a distinguishing factor for managers in differentiating equally talented high potential candidates. Senior executives can ‘hold your weight’ in the Big Boy club. For example, at one company, it would be a feat to find anyone overweight past the Director level. Additionally, I learned that exposure to key decision makers and influencers across the organization were imperative in the ‘natural selection’ process. Without the right exposure, you could easily be overlooked for crucible roles, promotions, expatriate assignments, etc.

3. A Toast to the Sky: Take Flight

The extent of my travel prior to joining Corporate America was restricted to family trips to Haiti and a few US domestic excursions. I’ve been able to travel to Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, and Colombia, just to name a few, all sponsored by my employers. Take advantage of every chance to experience something new. Balance the business with personal cultural experiences. You have a unique opportunity to see the global community up close and personal. Why miss out on a sponsored culturally enriching experience?  To be clear, a business need must exist to support your international travel. However, if international travel is important to you, be strategic in seeking out roles and opportunities that help scratch that itch.

4. Be a TALENT Scout

I’ve had several mentors and sponsors throughout my career but never considered leveraging those relationships for outside counsel on non-work related projects. I was in the process of starting a business and wanted to create a board of advisors. My initial list of prospective advisors excluded my corporate America relationships. Seek out mentors & sponsors that not only help advance your professional career, but also have valuable insight and networks to help advance your personal mission. Be sure to target only those you can trust. A gentleman’s handshake will not suffice. Everyone with whom I engage on a personal project must sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. This sets the tone for future discussions, clearly articulates that all information shared is confidential, and expresses the legal repercussions for breach.

5. Single ladies/Single men: Get a work husband or wife

I was single (no serious relationships) the majority of my professional career. I consider myself an extrovert and can pretty much connect with all people regardless of sex, age, background, or ethnic group. Now, imagine my surprise when Suzie at the water cooler gave me the cold truth: I wasn’t getting invited to the non-work/personal dinners with the tastemakers from the company. The truth hurts. I learned the unspoken rule over dinner with one of my sponsors. Few are successful at shattering the corporate America glass ceiling while flying solo. In her words, “No wife will ever invite a single, full figured BLACK woman with tons of personality to spend time with her and her husband—EVER. However, since marriage was one area of my life that I couldn’t control, I secured a work husband. A work husband or wife is someone who attends professional gatherings with you. There is no personal attraction between the two of you, and most importantly, he or she makes you look good. I was never dishonest about my relationship with my work husband and never introduced him as a boyfriend. However, the wives were more comfortable and no longer viewed me as a ‘threat’ and the invitations began rolling in for non-work related social gatherings.

I hope the advice shared above helps you through your Corporate America journey.