Category: business

The More Representation, The Better

business, know, society, thinkpiece, youtube January 14, 2020

“I think it’s very important for people to be celebrating all these different types of people because you never know who your customer is going to be.” – Christian Siriano

Historically, the “tried-and-tested” formula in advertising of what’s sexy, smart, or overall, just good, has been very, very white, young, heterosexual, and able-bodied. We see this in the years-long lack of representation of minority groups within media, as well as the perpetuation of stereotypes about women, as docile, overly-emotional sex objects, and men, as powerful, emotionless, head-of-household’s.

Before “taking a chance” on ‘The Cosby Show’ and ‘Roots,’ Hollywood’s white, male executives often believed that putting Black people on television wouldn’t be of interest to most Americans–yet, both sitcoms went on the have two of the most viewed episodes in TV history. When it comes to female misrepresentation, feminist activist and advertising researcher Jean Kilbourne has tackled the perniciousness of these beliefs throughout her career; and though improvement has been made since she began her work in the 1960s, gender stereotypes in advertising remain, and creep into our society in much bigger ways. 

Off of TV screens and billboards, we see proof of this in education, wherein history textbooks and leisurely reads alike facilitate the erasure of important events for POC and LGBTQ+ people by the lack of coverage. In 2016, POC accounted for a measly 22% of children’s book characters, though making up more than 40% of the US population in thirteen states alone.

It’s no surprise then, that the lack of representation of all of these groups is also apparent within corporations and the cultures they cultivate. The many fiascos, involving major players like Victoria’s Secret’s former head Ed Razek, celebrity brands, like Kim Kardashian with her now-defunct ‘Kimono’ shapewear, and ubiquitous brands like Nike that represents women in their advertising while facilitating the mistreatment of female athletes within their running program, shows the power of having a diverse chorus of open, and well-informed minds at the head of an operation.

Marketing Exec. Sekinah Brodie points out that “different perspectives and including a variety of people can only help bring out the best in a product or service. When you decide what type of culture you want, listening to your team will help to cultivate that.”

In today’s hyper-social market, wherein your next loyal customer is only an Instagram scroll or soundbite away, what is the point of not creating a team that reflects society as a whole, and has the know-how to inform the brand in a way that widens its reach?

I have some thoughts

*The author of “The Building of Luxury” is Kyojira Hata

Creating Your Universal Balance

business, entrepreneur, lifestyle, mindfulness, purpose, society, thinkpiece, youtube August 19, 2019

Ahhh, balance…the thing we yearn for more and more as the years pass. But how do we create this elusive thing?

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The best advice I received lately was from the consummate badass herself: Mona Zak, a successful businesswoman constantly inspiring others with her 7 C’s to Ultimate Transformation, how she runs her real estate brokerage, or how she started her fitness line, just because.

…Monday’s are made for big starts, big transformations and taking big chances, after all. And there’s no one better to help you de-program than Zak.

How Non-Profits Build Small Businesses

business, entrepreneur, youtube June 16, 2019

The Internet has a funny way of bringing people together…

That probably sounds really cliché, but given all of the talking I’ve done about how I recently became serious about using my platform for social good, it’s no coincidence how I crossed paths with Maghan Morin, Co-Founder of Miami-based non-profit Thynk Global.

Their mission? Equipping small business owners within food incubators and co-working spaces with information to help problem-solve and scale up. Ultimately, Thynk Global is the product of some genius reverse engineering by Morin and Co-Founder, Jeanine Suah, who experienced first-hand the magic that happens at pop-up co-working events. As Morin and Suah began featuring panels and other content, equipping their female counterparts with ‘business hacks,’ this number quickly jumped from 12 attendees to 80, then to over 100.

But given Morin and Suah’s shared winner-mentality, the success of their non-profit is no surprise.

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Morin notes, “when we were picking out names, I was not budging on the global part…because we need to be global! It’s all about perspective.”

And the handful of success stories they’ve already seen is proof that they’re certainly on track to take their message global:

5 Practices That Prevent Late or Unreturned Invoices

business, money, work, youtube May 26, 2019

Working for yourself is cutthroat. This I know for sure, for many reasons, many of which revolve around money….and nine times out of ten, the lack thereof. The business-owning reality is this: netting zero doesn’t mean that there isn’t any work to be done; these are, perhaps, the moments in which business owners are working their hardest to break even or better.

But what happens when business is coming in, but invoices are not returned on time? Disbelief may be your most immediate emotional response, followed by anger, and then discomfort when the reality of not getting what you’re owed slowly settles in. But somewhere in there, you may also begin to analyze the interactions with your client in a desperate attempt to grasp some sort of understanding of where you could have gone wrong.

Every business owner, contractor, and freelancer has been there. Myself included.

And though the feeling of having your work not be valued is a tough pill to swallow on its own, non-paying clients can seriously mess with your livelihood, and cause some debilitating self-doubt. Luckily, like anything else in our lives, there are lessons to be learned from these situations, that will help prevent you from getting taken advantage of again…

So long as you put these five practices in place while managing your sales funnel:

  1. Place such high value on your product or service that non-payment is not an option. Don’t give your client the option to not pay you. Wait for the invoice to be returned before you proceed with their project.
  2. Invoice first, and work second, as agreements, both contractual and verbal, can be violated at any moment. Even on paper, words are easily trumped by action.
  3. Do not entertain conversations that require doing work and then getting paid. If you want your product or service to be taken seriously, also get serious about charging people for it.
  4. Approach your client’s non-communication of how they will pay with caution. Your client should be just as engaged in the conversation on how you will bill them, regardless of how big or small the project fee is.
  5. Don’t assume your client has the same level of respect for others that you have. Productive conversations and rapport do not constitute respect, and even the most unsuspecting people can have sinister motives.

Still not convinced that your business needs these protections? I can change your mind with my experience chasing invoices (and yes, it is a horror story).

Ellie Shoja + Neloo Naderi Teach Me the Art of Finding Inner Peace

business, thinkpiece, transformations, youtube May 7, 2019

With Mental Health Awareness Month upon us, there’s no better time to pause and consider the health of our inner dialogues. Recent reflections around my mental health helped me realize how much time I have spent considering my relationships with others. And who doesn’t? It’s the most human thing to do.

But when do we start giving the same time and attention to the relationship we have with ourselves? Our thoughts create our reality, and of course, our ability to shatter limitations. I started to prioritize my self-talk after a college roommate scoffed at my post-grad aspirations, and told me it would never happen. My recognition that those were her limiting beliefs and not mine, helped me to muster “the nerve,” and conviction to follow my dreams instead. At that very moment, a choice was made.

We often think that changing our thinking to honor all that we are is a long process, but the work of Peace Unleashed owners, Ellie Shoja and Neloo Naderi show us major breakthroughs can happen as quickly as 15 minutes…if you’re ready to commit.

Their business consists of empowering people to connect to their true selves, which are completely at peace. The power of peace then helps them to, quite literally, make their dreams a reality.

Don’t believe it can happen to you? Ellie and Neloo just might change your mind: