Entrepreneur Spotlight: Introducing Internationally Renowned Celebrity Photographer Michael Grecco

Michael Grecco is an award-winning and internationally renowned celebrity photographer and TV personality. He has been regularly shooting magazine covers for various national magazines such as Time, Wired, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN, People, and others. His high-profile clients included renowned celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Patrick Dempsey, Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Robert Duvall, Martin Scorsese, Janet Jackson, Mel Brooks, Lucy Liu, Ben Stiller, Penélope Cruz, Morgan Freeman, Jet Li, Will Ferrell, Joaquin Phoenix, and many more.

Michael is also the Executive Producer and appears in the TV Show “Punk.” MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Michael to discuss his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

It all started in summer camp when I was a kid. The mystery of a black and white image coming up in the tray of a developer was mystifying. I fell in love right away. I shot all the sexy camp counselors at the free swim. I thought, what a life! At that point, I was hooked and went on to study art photography at the local college programs in Westchester, NY while in high school and photojournalism while at Boston University.

Before graduating, I started working for the Associated Press. I shot politicians during the day. And at night, I was a club kid shooting the Punk and New Wave scene in Boston.

When People Magazine then offered me a job, I made the leap from Boston to Los Angeles and switched from photojournalism to celebrity portrait photography, shooting magazine covers instead of for the pages inside.

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?

I think my journey to success started when I was asked to travel the world shooting the “Entrepreneurs that Matter” for a special issue of Business Week. I had shot an artsy jewelry story for the Los Angeles Times Sunday magazine and Business week saw that and asked me to replicate its artful approach for the businesspeople they wanted to shoot. That opened the door to all sorts of new opportunities in the magazine and the commercial world.

What is your main source of income?

My income is varied. It’s from assignment fees from directing and shooting still imagery. It’s from licensing imagery, infringement enforcement, a book in the works, etc. I’m also working on two businesses related to photography where I would be building technology platforms to help the industry.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

I always look for weaknesses in the market and try to turn them into opportunities where a new brand can be created. Both platforms I’m working on now are businesses where there’s a hole in the market that can be filled.

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What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

Instagram is a natural as a photographer. I assume I have both a client base there and a fan-boy base. It’s also pretty easy to find someone there. I also like Facebook because you can tell a little more of a story to friends. I guess in this day and age you can’t really live without either.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

I like organic search. I think that’s when people are looking for someone like myself. And if they’re searching, they can understand the difference in visions and service.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

I think all forms of marketing have worked at one time or another. When direct physical mail was popular, that worked if you did it well. Early on, when email marketing was effective, it worked when done well. At this point, you have to engage in all of them at once. You cut the things that have no ROI and continue to do the ones that work.

American film director, screenwriter, producer, and studio entrepreneur, Steven Spielberg poses for a portrait for the cover of Time magazine to promote his film Munich on November 29, 2005.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

Every time I have to cut a marketing program because it has no ROI is always tough. You really have to be thoughtful in what you’re cutting. There’s also the psychological effect that you might be missing out on something in the future that you don’t know about, which makes it even harder.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

Oh, it’s always all the little business sayings you’ve heard in the past.

Use other people’s money when starting a business.

…or, Early to Fire, Late to Hire. That’s an ad agency saying to be flexible and cautious.

You can always look back at the mistakes and see them as investments you shouldn’t have made. But you didn’t know that at the time. So hopefully, you learn and you don’t make the same mistake twice.

American recording artist, record producer, film director, and fashion designer Kayne West poses for a portrait photographed in Los Angeles, California on April 26, 2007.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

Not piss off the people I pissed off with hubris. Be a better listener. I would have wished for all the skills I’ve had to learn as an adult. But the whole concept of a time machine is like fixing your mistakes. You need them to grow and to learn. They’re how you become a better business leader and a better human being.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

If you want it bad enough, you will succeed.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

Want it bad enough!

5 Demand Generation Best Practices to Boost Your Brand’s Awareness

Building a long-term relationship with your customers is as tough as keeping your product in demand. We are all aware that the industry trends come and go so as an entrepreneur so you need to be able to sustain this rapid change.

To be successful in your chosen field, you have to maintain your brand awareness no matter how many large competitors come your way. Following these five practices will help you sustain the challenge and succeed in the long run.

Be consistent in proper communication with your customers

Always be attentive to your customers. As soon as your customers start to express their thoughts about your business, you need to respond as soon as you can so that your customers can feel that their concerns are being heard. This will help you produce the right product that your customers need. A customer will feel happy and satisfied whenever he/she receives the exact product he/she ordered and it arrives without a delay. Especially when the order is packed neatly and every piece is in good condition. This will urge him/her to reorder again and refer you to his/her friends and family.

Provide exceptional customer service

Handling a simple customer query can greatly affect your customer’s decision to buy your product. Aside from this fact, doing an extra mile for the customer will also let him/her feel they are truly valued. To ensure the order arrives correctly, make sure you keep in touch with your customers so you can also check if they encounter any problems associated with their order.

By doing this, you can provide an effective resolution in the early stages. Providing good customer service is a continuous process because your customers may change their minds instantly if you are not able to meet their expectations before, during, and after your transaction.

Be innovative and creative

Both of these qualities can produce a brand that is always tempting to the eyes and attracts the attention of your buyers. Millennials are always looking for new things. From the product you first use at your startup, never be afraid to perform an experiment so you can discover new things to improve your brand. You can always use the same product because you have already built your reputation with that one. You just need to be creative to enhance it so it continues to stand out among other trends.

Learn new sales strategies

Offering tempting promotions can be one of the best sales strategies you can incorporate into your business. This is the traditional way most entrepreneurs are still using because it is proven to be effective. Just make sure the discounts you offer will still generate an income though. You can also use other marketing channels to get better results and maintain your status in the industry.

Create sales metrics

A sales report can help you evaluate the aspects of your product which still requires your effort and attention. This is a smarter method to help you analyze if your sales strategy is effective or not. Your sales metrics also allow you to determine the marketing channel which contributes more to your revenue and which one should be eliminated if it is not working effectively. This is also helpful when you have other sales plans to promote additional income for the company.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Introducing Brazillian Entrepreneur Rafael Dos Santos

Rafael dos Santos is a Brazillian entrepreneur who hails from London, UK. ​When he initially moved from Brazil to London, his lack of language skills and ​British qualifications stopped him from getting a good job. He became a kitchen porter and glass collector in various pubs to survive. In 2003 an opportunity came along and he got into the real estate industry. He started managing and letting rooms in houseshares in 2003 and by 2014 He had 50 houses in his portfolio and 15 employees. He successfully exited his first property business which he ran for 12 years and now he runs a marketing and PR agency as well as a media club.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Rafael to discuss his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

​I was originally born in Brazil and I migrated to London in 2001 to learn English. I worked for Microsoft as a support analyst while in Brazil but when I moved to London the lack of language skills and ​British qualifications meant that I couldn’t get a good job. I became a kitchen porter and glass collector in pubs to pay for my living. In 2003 an opportunity came along and I got into the real estate industry. I started managing and letting rooms in houseshares in 2003 and by 2014 I had 50 houses in my portfolio and 15 members of staff. I had successfully exited my first business and I decided to take a year off in 2015 to travel the world. Now, I’ve been to 52 countries (and counting) and I am running a successful marketing and PR agency specialising in helping migrant entrepreneurs. Behighprofile.com is where you can find information about my business and rafaeldossantos.com is my personal website.

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?

Success means different things to different people. For me, success today is being able to help other migrants to improve their lives through entrepreneurship.

I help them grow their businesses by running a marketing campaign (via email and video distribution) and also getting them featured in newspapers and magazines in the UK.

IN 2016 I was featured in the Sunday Times as ‘Top 100 Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs in the UK’ and also got invited to give a TEDx Talk titled “What it takes to be a migrant entrepreneur’.

Life has not been easy tho. In 2016 I had the worst year of my life, I suffered from depression, lost a lot of money, my coworking space ‘mi-hub’ closed down because of BREXIT. I suffered badly until early 2017 where I started to recover. I’m back in good form now and running another business that is becoming a success.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

​The main source of customers if events. I run events twice a month and do some Facebook advertising. I started my agency 8 months ago and I am now recruiting my 2nd employee. It’s expanding fast.​

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

​Facebook is number 1 – you can’t beat it. I do a bit of Instagram and twitter but I have a very active community on Facebook and an engaged community is 100x better than any other social media. I do a lot of videos on Facebook and also Facebook LIVE. I am now also broadcasting my events live, you can watch them here: High Profile Club

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

​I know people say that online advertising is good but events a is where the money is for me. I get most of my clients after they attend my events and see me in action. It helps if you are a good public speaker and if you run an event that actually shares good content to the audience. To organise an event just to promote your business does not work. You must share content that people feel that it was worth going to your event. For online tactics, as I mentioned before I have a Facebook community page and I give a lot to the community (opportunities to be featured in magazines, free advice, etc). The more you share your IP the more people know how knowledgeable you are, the more they want to work with you. I also have a book called ‘Moving abroad, one step at a time’, this helps to increase my credibility. ​I have also given a TEDx Talk which was awarded in the South of England as one of the most-watched (at the time):  Ted Talk. I use public speaking as one of the tactics to gain visibility and credibility.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

​Facebook advertising, email marketing followed by phone calls or meetings, video marketing (social media) and events – The combination of these 4 tactics is a recipe for success, for any business, in my opinion. You can see that even online businesses are running events to bring people together. Look at Airbnb now, running events in many cities.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

I had to split from a business partner. I think we rushed into ‘getting married’ without even having dated. But lesson learned and we are okay now. But any ‘break up’ is difficult.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

Don’t try to grow too quickly. Many opportunities will come long and entrepreneurs tend to say yes to everything. It’s okay to say NO to some offers. Make sure you have a goal but don’t try to run before you can walk. You can lose a lot of money by trying to run too quickly when you don’t have the structure to manage the business.​

What new business would you love to start?

I am starting a membership club for entrepreneurs so they get more media exposure, network more and build confidence in public speaking. I started HIGH PROFILE MEDIA CLUB 2 years ago and I now have several paying members. We’re working with one of the members to be featured in Forbes online.​

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

​I would not have tried to grow my property business so quickly. I didn’t have enough experience, I didn’t have the right staff to manage the larg building I took on board… It was a disaster! But luckily, my business survived.​

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?

​Invest more in media. Invest less in paid advertising and more in PR.

PR gives much more credibility than paid advertising so if you want to be seen as an expert, you need to have more media exposure. TV, radio, magazines, newspapers and online. The more you are featured the more you attract opportunities.​

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

​Trust your instincts and don’t regret a decision once it has been made.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

1 – Attend as many events as you physically can. Your network is your NETWORTH.
2 – Look out for a mentor. Mentoring is a fantastic way to keep you on track. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey.
3 – Find good partners that complement what you do so you can work as a team.

Meet The Man Behind The Cover Of The August 2020 Issue Of MoneyCentral Magazine: The Amazing Armand Peri

If you’ve ever been bullied, you’d know first-hand what kind of negative long-lasting impact it can cause the victims. To be a successful entrepreneur requires not only a powerful motivation and passion but also an ability for overcoming setbacks. But setbacks can come in many shapes and forms and one of the most common forms of setbacks experienced in adolescence is bullying. Although the negative effects of bullying are lengthy and can continue well into adulthood, some entrepreneurs have found that negative experiences have had positive effects on their adult life because it allowed them to be more capable to overcome the many challenges they eventually face in their own ventures.

One such entrepreneur is none other than the incredible Armand Peri. He was once a seventeen-year-old student who used to be bullied a lot but he made a definitive decision to do something about it. He decided to get into weights so that no one would mess around with him anymore and two years later, he was rewarded for all his hard work with a first-place title in the teenage division of “Mr. New Jersey” which then led to winning the heavyweight division in the same competition two years later.

Armand Peri was originally born the son of Portuguese parents who emigrated to the U.S., settling in New Jersey when he was just 12 years of age. One of his early memories was hearing his mother tell him that they [the family] were “not born to be rich.” Rather than accept this as his inevitable destiny though, he was motivated to create his own mantra for success, and it taught him one of his most crucial life lessons: the importance of setting goals and then taking well-thought-out steps to achieve said goals.

Armand’s first goal was achieved when he was recognized and lauded for his accomplishments in the bodybuilding arena. He also won a National Talent Search, was introduced to President and Mrs. Reagan and he even had his work displayed in a prestigious national gallery, as well as in the New Jersey State Gallery of Art. To state that Armand is an overachiever is an understatement.

Armand worked his way through college, first as a bouncer, and then eventually a dancer for a male entertainment revue. This decision to take on these dancing gigs was actually pivotal in his life and would ultimately bring him success and enable him to start his own company. Armand saw an opening in a niche market that felt right and he decided to fill it. He created Hunk-O-Mania, a high-end male revue and strip club for women in New York City. He focused on every aspect of building a reputation, not just for the exotic male dancers but for the entire staff – waiters, security, and ticket takers alike. Having been a dancer himself, he was uniquely positioned to run this enterprise, understanding the psychology behind it and making customer service and satisfaction on every level the top priority. This was undoubtedly what ensured his success right from the start.

Fast forward to today and Armand is now a successful entrepreneur, investor, artist, author, and motivational speaker. His venture has grown and expanded nationwide to Atlantic City, Chicago, Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Savannah, Greensboro, Raleigh, Baltimore, Washington, Austin, Houston, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Charleston, and Nashville. In his book “Unparalleled Success,” which was published in 2019, he shares his recipe for that success. He’s also frequently engaged as a motivational speaker. His genuine desire to help others to achieve true success, while keeping the focus on their professional and personal well-being, is what inspires others to find their own path to victory.

MoneyCentral magazine recently caught up with Armand to discuss his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

Struggling to find a place in life as an immigrant kid, I was constantly bullied throughout high school. After enduring many years of negativity from my classmates, I decided to approach weightlifting with laser-like focus and became determined to transform my physique. However, my goals were met with many obstacles as my family struggled financially at the time and I was unable to purchase a gym membership nor was I able to buy the necessary foods to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I overcame these obstacles by working at my school gym and was able to lift weights there three times a week. On Sundays, I would commute almost an hour each way from my home in New Jersey to Manhattan to work out at a commercial gym. At the time, commercial gyms were sparse and not as popular as they are today. But, by staying focused and determined, I was able to gain the weight I needed and eventually competed in my first bodybuilding competition where I went on to win Mr. Teen New Jersey.

I applied the same level of determination to other aspects of my life, including business. While in college, I met another fellow bodybuilder named Joey V and noticed that Joey was driving around campus in a new Corvette and constantly wore new clothes. I became curious and approached Joey one day and asked what he did for a living. He too was an aspiring bodybuilder but he also worked at a male entertainment revue called “ESCAPES” in Long Island. We hit it off and Joey introduced me to the world of male revue shows.

I was working part-time as a bouncer at the time but this job put me in many dangerous situations and I knew it was a job I wanted to leave as soon as possible. Once I started working at ESCAPES, I began making more money in two hours of dancing than I did working eight hours as security at a nightclub. I quickly left the security job and danced Fridays and Saturday nights and did side-gigs for three to four other entertainment agencies during the week. After finishing my education, I became a freelance architect renderer while working at ESCAPES on the weekends. Eventually, I made more working part-time as a male entertainer than working full-time as an architect. I saved up my earnings and started my own company in 1998.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

I am constantly pushing and educating myself-

What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?

Yes, it does work but SEO (search engine optimization) works much better…

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers?

My main tactic is to show people via social media posts and customer reviews how much fun my clubs are; Hunk-O-Mania nightclubs continue to receive acclaim as the largest and most successful male revue nightclubs in the world from various news and media outlets. I founded the first Hunk-O-Mania nightclub show in 1998 in New York City and the show has now expanded to over 25 cities including Chicago, Las Vegas, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlantic City, Orlando, Tampa, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Atlanta, and New Orleans.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

To lay people off due to COVID 19.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

Reinvesting most of my profit instead of only a portion!

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would believe in myself more and I would not waste any time getting started!

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Never Quit on yourself and your dreams.

Can you tell us more about your latest book?

Absolutely, the purpose of my book is to give back to society and inspire someone to pursue his or her dream as I did! Throughout my journey of becoming successful, I made a lot of mistakes but learned a lot with each setback and I am trying to prevent my followers and readers to avoid these same mistakes I made.

What kind of research did you do for this book, and how long did you spend researching before beginning this book?

The book is based on my personal experiences dating back to my teenage years – the journey I made to achieve my success made this book possible. I wanted to write a book that was short and to the point.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

Bring value and originality to the marketplace and your success will be undeniable.

For more details about Armand please visit his website on www.armandperi.com. You can also follow Armand Peri on social media via these links:

Instagram:  lifeperiway
Facebook: ArmandPeriBodybuilder
Twitter: armandperi
Website: armandperi.com
TikTok: armandperi

3 Powerful Visualization Techniques To Change Your Life Forever

What do you think is the difference between a dreamer and a doer?

One word: confidence.

Let’s face it, if you’re confident that you’ll eventually achieve your goals because you are willing to do whatever it takes to get there then you will no doubt achieve it. However, if you’re not confident about yourself and you don’t think your plans will pan out then you won’t really feel the need to take any further steps to achieve your goals.

Confidence is the key to making something of yourself. It’s having the inner confidence that whatever happens around you, may it hail or shine, your confidence remains rock hard. If you believe in yourself that you will eventually achieve your goals, you’ll reach it. One of the most effective ways of achieving your goals is through Effective Visualisation.

So what is Effective Visualisation?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a big-time celebrity who used the power of visualisation to achieve his bodybuilding goals.

Schwarzenegger didn’t just go to the gym every day and worked out, he actually visualised his success. He said “I had this fixed idea of growing a body like Reg Park’s. The model was there in my mind; I only had to grow enough to fill it… The more I focused in on this image and worked and grew, the more I saw it was real and possible for me to be like him.”

Schwarzenegger conditioned his mind and convinced himself that he was capable of achieving his goal, he firmly believed that he would be able to do it and that’s exactly what happened.

He also said, “What you do is create a vision of who you want to be – and then live that picture as if it were already true.”

This is the power of Effective Visualisation.

You need to visualise your desired result over and over again as if it had already taken place. There’s no room in your head for doubting yourself and your capabilities because if you do this, you are unconsciously sabotaging your success.

Effective Visualisation is a technique that’ll help you get over the barrier of self-doubt. You need to visualise and actually see yourself achieving your goals and you need to envision how you’re going to do it in the most detailed manner as possible. The more you visualise your success, the more it’ll transcend to reality because the power of the mind, if harnessed the right way can make a huge impact in your life.

What do you think is the difference between a successful person and a loser?

It’s two words: mind power.

The big reason why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer is because the rich people have such a powerful mindset – they are willing to do whatever it takes to get to the top and they can already see themselves right at the top even though they’re not even there yet. They condition their minds over and over again to the fact that no matter what happens, they will eventually achieve the results they want.

Here are 3 effective Visualisation techniques you might want to implement in your life:

Be in the moment

If, for example, you have a meeting with some prospective sponsors, you need to visualise yourself going into the meeting and winning that pitch. What do the potential sponsors look like?

What does the meeting place look like?

Can you picture the surroundings?

Can you hear their voices?

Imagine how calm and collected you are going to be when you firstly visualise yourself going to that meeting and shaking their hands. Imagine the potential sponsors intently listening to your pitch. By doing this simple practice, you’ll be able to go that meeting with rock hard confidence because you’ll be able to transcend that imagery into real life since you’ve gone over the scenario in your head over and over again.

Focus on you

Besides visualising the surroundings, you need to effectively visualise yourself going into that meeting.

What clothes are you wearing during this meeting?

Is your posture on point?

Do you look confident enough to secure the deal?

How calm and collected are you?

How is your tone of voice during the pitch?

Are you injecting a sense of humour to make the sponsors feel more comfortable with you as a person?

Have a backup plan

Visualising yourself nailing the sponsorship is definitely a must, but you need to also have a plan B just in case things don’t go according to plan – at least you have a backup plan. Having a plan B or even a plan C will be good for you in the long run because it enables you to be a bit more prepared. Think of possible ways the potential sponsors would react negatively to your pitch and then think of ways in advance that you’ll be able to address their concerns.

Practice how you would react to their negative response and then repeat that scenario in your head over and over again so that when the time finally comes and they react negatively to your pitch, you’re 100% confident that you have the answers they are looking for because you have visualised this scene a number of times.

In conclusion

Your goal here is to strongly instill the experience you want in your mind so that this will transcend into real life and you’ll be able to embody the version of yourself that you know in your heart can be.

You need to make sure you note down everything you see and hear in your head and go over it again and again. If you can do this, you’ll be well on your way to nailing down that life-changing pitch.

4 Common Mistakes Successful Leaders Know to Avoid

Becoming a successful leader is the aspiration of many ambitious and entrepreneurial individuals; The number of books tackling the issue of leadership is many, with lots of successful leaders looking to monetize their own success by writing guidebooks, the wealth of information is substantial. However, the tips and guidance on offer cannot be fully realized if the following common mistakes are being made…

1. Lack of communication

Whilst some leaders may have all the needed and desirable traits to progressively manage a business and guide their team, being unable to listen and appreciate the importance of communication can be a major factor in restricted development, not only in yourself but the company as a whole too. It can also be discouraging for your employees if they do not feel that their suggestions and opinions are being listened to or understood.

You could be missing out on a plethora of insightful information and interesting notes that could help to improve and develop the company, from the gardener mowing the lawn of your premises to the bookkeeper in your accounts department, you never know what gem of information you could be missing out on.

2. Micromanaging

A rather common complaint from employees in reference to their team leaders, supervisors or managers is their lack of trust to let employees perform their own tasks without interference or micromanaging. The term is defined as controlling every part of a business or process. Instead of delegating, a manager will ‘look over the shoulder’ at each stage of an employee’s responsibility or job process and provide advice and guidance that could be largely necessary.

Employees are hired for their ability and competence to perform certain tasks within a business, if the manager begins doing these tasks for them, instead of providing instructions only, they are not only wasting their time (that could be better spent on higher-level tasks) they are potentially aggravating an employee who may end up feeling restricted and under-appreciated.

3. Not setting a good example

Holding onto unnecessary anger, wanting to gain revenge on competitors or other employees, cheating and gossiping are all traits that have no place in a leadership role. One particularly bad trait is not being able to admit when you are wrong; Perfectionism is unobtainable, no one is perfect, so do not shy away from your mistakes. Employees will learn a valuable lesson from your ability to own your mistakes, it promotes honesty and learning in the workplace.

4. Lack of forward-thinking

Being a successful leader is not just about enduring through the day or week, successful leaders are proactive and they plan ahead. They look to the future and prepare for it with small and decisive changes that will better the company, whether that be in increasing revenue or a thriving and happy workplace environment

To conclude, leadership is not just about bettering yourself, but your employees, strategies, future planning, and the business as a whole. Your actions and reactions have a direct, if subtle, effect on every aspect of the business. To be successful you must present yourself in a way that reflects what you believe to be the core values of your business.

4 Social Media Success Secrets To Grow Your Business

Social media marketing has exploded into the online marketing industry within the last few years and has completely redefined it. With well over 3 billion active users, the figures are set only to rise, and many companies have already begun to capitalize on its valuable assets, influence, and connectivity.

We have outlined 4 secrets below to growing your business with social media and ultimately improving your revenue and audience.

1. Promote your e-commerce store

This point may sound obvious at first, but it is critical that this is executed correctly. Ensure users can easily find your store by linking to it in your profile descriptions, posts, stories, and tweets; However, you must keep in mind that consumers do not want to be ‘sold’ to. Some businesses swear by certain ‘content to hard sell’ ratios, for example, 5 posts of purely unique content and inspiration that your followers will value, then 1 post with a hard sell and direct link to your online shop or service.

2. Content is King

Little and often, an age-old saying, but one that reigns true in the world of social media. Your customers and followers do not want to be bombarded every hour, they can quickly grow tired of your content, no matter how unique or engaging it is. You have to leave them wanting more.

In terms of what your social media posts should contain. Content really is king. The videos, photos or text that you post cannot be repetitive or flat. Some of the most popular types of posts that have gone viral include humor and creativity. Ensure though that you keep your target audience in mind when creating content and keep it relevant.

3. Influencers and Bloggers

Once a very misunderstood industry. Businesses are now understanding the vast potential influencer marketing has for their business. Influencers are everyday people from all walks of life, who particularly inspire a group of individuals who idolize or respect their values and opinions. By expertly selecting influencers who match your product or service values you have the ability to reach a very niche but widespread target audience.

4. Communication

Social media is a means of communication after all. It is important to engage in conversation with not only your followers but other businesses and brands too. Being polite, witty, and friendly when interacting with others on social media is key.

However, you must ensure that any awkward or abusive comments and interactions from users are dealt with professionally and calmly. If you have an employee who controls your business account, it is of paramount importance that they understand this too. The world is watching, and social media has the power to spread rude or abusive reactions from a business very quickly. In the past it has even helped to completely destroy the reputation of brands, so count to 10 and reply with consideration and respect.

In conclusion, social media incorporates a huge number of target markets, although different platforms appeal to different types of users (for example Snapchat appeals to ages 18-25, and Facebook pre-dominantly ages 18-45), social media as a whole is used by almost every culture, age, and nationality on Earth. As long as you are providing enriching content and utilizing appropriate marketing techniques like influencers or adverts, you will begin to see positive growth in followers and engagement on your social accounts, which should transcend to sales and profit for your business.

4 Essential Characteristics Of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

Millionaires, billionaires, successful entrepreneurs, and CEOs. What do they all have in common? Are there any particular characteristics that they possess that helps to define a successful entrepreneur? Below are 4 of the most common characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

1. Excellent Communication and People Skills

A successful entrepreneur is highly confident in their ability to communicate with different groups of people, from all walks of life, from the factory workers who may create their product to their potential investors and peers. They are usually excellent at sparking motivation and enthusiasm in their workers and their excitement is contagious.

Their confidence in talking to people is of paramount importance to their success, as businesses develop more efficiently when the entrepreneur or owner engages in networking and communication with others who will help to advance the business. Successful conversations with manufacturers and a good rapport with their staff help them to stand apart from their competitors.

2. Self-Motivated and Determined

A successful entrepreneur does not need their motivation to come from an external source, they are determined to succeed and will always be moving forward to realize their goals. Whenever they hit a bump in the road or become discouraged their determination is the force that drives them to keep moving and seek an alternative path to solve the problems they may be facing.

3. Passion and Belief

We are not talking about passion in the romantic sense. Successful entrepreneurs are highly excited and motivated by their goals. The care and attention they provide to their business almost never switches off, they pour their heart and soul, blood, sweat, and tears into their business and they love their work; The joy they receive from their daily work goes beyond the salary they seek to earn.

4. Forward-thinking and willing to take risks

Looking to the future (and sometimes the past) is an important approach for a successful entrepreneur. Planning ahead and making decisions today that affect tomorrow can be a hard weight to bear. These types of individuals will usually possess some form of schedule or timeline that maps out the success they wish to achieve, this can be in the form of a 5 year or 10-year plan. Do they plan to branch out into a new market, outsource their manufacturing or they may even wish to sell the company at some stage, these decisions must be considered well in advance of their execution.

Every successful entrepreneur has to possess the ability to make hard decisions and potentially take risks. It is hard to conduct business without the possibility of any risk, small or large, a decision must be reached, and a successful entrepreneur will not look to others for action, they must provide the action themselves.

Confidence, motivation, passion, and forward-thinking, these characteristics amalgamated together create one potent mix for an incredibly successful entrepreneur. When you possess an idea or concept that you know you must realize, these traits will come to you naturally as you strive to make your idea a reality.

Meet Jennifer Kem: The Shepreneur Who Lost It All & Then Bounced Back & Built 3 Million-Dollar Brand-Building Businesses

Jennifer “Jen” Kem is a San Francisco Bay Area-based branding and marketing expert who gets entrepreneurs seen, heard, and paid – for being themselves.

She’s the creator of the Master Brand Method: a framework to develop powerful brand archetypes that win customers’ hearts, leveraging Jennifer’s 17 years of corporate experience and her launching of multiple companies.

She uses the Master Brand method in digital strategy coaching for emerging entrepreneurs, celebrity brands like Oprah Winfrey Network and Steve Harvey, and major corporations including Verizon, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Bank of Hawaii.

Jennifer serves up straight talk wrapped in love because she understands entrepreneurs’ challenges: She built a retail business and became a millionaire at 32, only to lose it all in the recession two years later. She is now the successful owner of three million-dollar brand-building businesses and the mother of three children.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Jennifer to discuss her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself?

I grew up in the sugar plantations of Hawaii watching my grandmother transition from sowing seeds in the fields to becoming our family’s first entrepreneur when starting her own in-home elderly care business. Inspired by her example, I launched Hawaii’s first brick and mortar lingerie store in 2006, becoming a self-made millionaire at 32 years old. Then, disaster struck as the 2008-2009 financial crisis swept me clean of all financial reserves. I lost my store, my staff, and my beloved grandmother all at once.

After wrestling with grief and depression, both natural consequences to all I had experienced, I began to understand that I had a choice: I was given the opportunity to rebuild and could do so with more power, more wisdom, and more resources than the first time around. I decided to start a service-based, recession-proof brand consulting business. Within a few years, I developed my own marketing process called the Master Brand Method: a framework to develop powerful brand archetypes that win customers’ hearts and encourage them to open their wallets, and opened the Master Brand Institute.

Today, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and share tools and resources to serve small business leaders in this time of economic crisis. I’m proud that I can utilize all of my past experiences to serve other leaders and continue to contribute to the stability and growth of the economy.

Can you describe your journey to success?  

As a little girl, I always had big dreams inspired by my grandmother’s mentorship. When I grew older, I began to notice that I had sort of a sixth sense: I could smell money in opportunities. This served me well as I began my career in B2B branding and marketing for technology companies, winning them large, lucrative contracts. When I decided to fly solo and redirect my natural business instincts and corporate experience to entrepreneurship, I naturally felt both the rush of possibility as well as the shakiness of risk. My success grew just as quickly as it failed, with both the realization of wealth filling me up and the plummeting into pennilessness draining me once more.

But I had babies to feed and big dreams to fulfill, so I began again. With the support of family, friends, and mentors, I was able to leverage my past as a successful brand expert in corporate settings and an entrepreneur to build yet another business venture. I used my sixth sense, smelling the money in opportunities to find quick, and this time, lasting success.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am focusing on serving the small business community. This means I am gathering resources to keep them in the market, promoting branding strategies to help them sustain their clientele during the crisis, and foreshadowing how they can thrive faster post-quarantine. Additionally, I am creating a community for small business leaders so that they have competent and compassionate support that will fuel them so that they can stay true to themselves, their families, their businesses, and their brands during this stressful stage in history.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers?  

At Master Brand Institute, we have developed a tried and true way to ensure businesses will be successful from their marketing campaigns. One, they must understand their brand archetype, which will define their essence, vision, and communication style. Two, they must invest in a deep knowledge of the understanding and motivation of their ideal audience. Three, they can integrate visual aesthetics that promote the brand’s values to attract customers. Four, they can practice an activation process of testing, iterating, and launching successful products. Five, they commit to amplifying their brand, their products/services, and successful campaigns to a variety of platforms and audiences, with confidence and an ownership mindset.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

I believe in the power of brand archetypes, which is a term coined by Carl Jung, a renowned Swiss social psychologist. Archetypes can be defined as recurring stories or characteristics that make up human behavior. Understanding your own archetypes can help you to assess what talents come naturally to you and where you might need support in the development of your brand and business. There are 12 primary archetypes: the Maverick, Ruler, Sage, Explorer, Ruler, Lover, Alchemist, Creator, Provocateur, Healer, Hero, Muse, and Advocate. Each person is a conglomeration of three archetypes: Dominant, Intrinsic, and Intuitive. Your dominant archetype defines brand visibility and values. Your intrinsic archetype, or your secondary, helps decide your brand identity. Lastly, your intuitive archetype supports you in all decision making. Each archetype has a light side and a shadow side. Understanding where you will shine and where you need help shining will set you up for brand success. Using the dominant archetypes in your messaging, email and social media campaigns help create authentic resonance and make people trust your brand more.

How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?

Besides the brand archetypes methodology that we use, we use a values-driven framework called the Master Brand Method and Brand Authority Map that specifically lines up what the brand stands for and how it helps its audience. Ultimately people buy things because they are clear on how a product/service helps them in their lives, and our Method and Map allow our clients to market more effectively because of how clear they are in what they deliver.

We also emphasize storytelling – because, in any niche, the only thing that truly sets you apart is your stories, both your authority and your approachability stories. When your brand tells a better story that connects with your audience, you enroll clients on demand.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

Canceling all of our live conference events and shifting them to online conferences for the rest of the year. In-person platform events are one of the biggest ways we make revenue not just for our company, but for our clients we consult with too. So adapting and pivoting to a purely online delivery took a lot of choreography, modified marketing, and increased fulfillment. It also takes different types of people resources to create an online experience in the same realm as an in-person experience, so there were additional training and sales expectations to be modified.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from?

During the 2008-2009 recession, I believed that I could continue to expand my lingerie business in a failing economy against the recommendation of my financial advisor. I expanded without increasing cash flow and went deep into debt. At the time, I thought that in order to have integrity as a business owner that I needed to pay off all of my debts even when I had no money coming in. This was a huge mistake. I ended up paying thousands of dollars in debt only to go bankrupt anyway a year later.

Today, I coach entrepreneurs to focus on gathering cash reserves to utilize in times of crisis. I encourage them to find trusted financial advisors who can accompany them honestly and safely throughout their business cycles. I also counsel business owners to consider bankruptcy if they get stuck financially, without holding the societal shame. Bankruptcy was created so that business owners could start again and utilizing the system is very much in alignment with being a person of integrity.

What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?

I came from a family that immigrated to the United States because we had so little and dreamed of so much. I am grateful for the privilege that my family passed down to me in their hard work and have continued that diligence to bring more wealth into my family. I enjoy the wealth I have while recognizing that so many other families are on different stages of their wealth journey. I always hope to empower people into more wealth through sharing my insights in personal and professional contexts, as well as gifting portions of my abundance to those in need.

What new business would you love to start?

I am currently building two platforms to help women acquire affluence and influence that I’m super excited about! One, Femmefluence, is a podcast that sheprenuers can listen to in order to be guided in topics from soul research, to tribe building, to brand mastery. Additionally, The HerQ is a women-focused co-working collaborative space in Walnut Creek, California that will open as soon as the Coronavirus Pandemic has passed and we’re all safe to inspire each other through collaboration in common places again!

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would have hired a mentor sooner than I chose to – both in the business world and in supporting my personal development. Coaches, therapists, and consultants have been critical partners in my growth as an entrepreneur, and I believe in investing in them before you “need” them and especially before you think you can afford one. The goal of hiring experts to help you is not to make you better at what you’re already good at – the goal is to hire them to help fill the gaps and navigate the blind spots, which we all have. And, create a wealth-building strategy early by paying myself forward with an IRA, life insurance, and estate plan. I have one now but would have definitely liked to have started one earlier.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

My first mentor at work was a woman named Maria who had the life I wanted. I asked her, “If I want to have what you have in the next 10 years, what do I have to do?”. She said: “If you take the jobs (projects/tasks/things) that no one wants to do, you’ll get seen, heard, and paid more than anyone else in your field.” She was right.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

Build a network of support internally and externally! Understand your inner voices and motivations. Listen to the ones on your side and learn to reframe the ones who challenge or limit you. Hire a coach or therapist if you need support in this work. Otherwise, find peers to normalize what you’re going through, mentors to lead you to where they are, and mentees who you can coach to remind you of how far you’ve come. This support network will carry you past obstacles and into a sustainable success!

Introducing Mimi G: The World’s #1 Influencer/Expert In The DIY Sewing Revolution

With over 2.1 million social media followers and 12 million website views annually, DIY Fashion Expert/Girlboss Mimi G has defied all odds to emerge as the most influential woman in DIY fashion, propelling herself into the ranks of Martha Stewart, Lauren Conrad, and Chrissy Teigen.

MimiGStyle.com began as a hobby, and has blossomed into the world’s leading DIY fashion/sewing online destination, where Mimi G models her original designs/patterns ranging from business wear to swimsuits that fit the everyday girl, create free tutorials of her on-trend sewing patterns (Turn Your Jeans into a Skirt, Refashioned Sweatshirt into Dress, Men’s Shirt Into Off Shoulder Button Up), personally answers every DIY sewing question (i.e. what fabrics to buy, what projects to start with, etc.), and so much more. She also created the world’s #1 online sewing school SewItAcademy that works for everyone from the first-time sewing novice to the expert seamstress. SewItAcademy helps fashionistas of all levels master the fundamentals of sewing, work at a pace that allows time to practice, learn the importance of specific techniques, break free from mundane methods, and create trendsetting clothing and accessories.

Mimi G has worked with celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Aniston, companies like Target, Revlon, and Google, and has been featured in People Magazine, Parade Magazine, POPSUGAR (to name a few) for making sewing hip and accessible.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Mimi G to talk about her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please provide a background about yourself’?

Well, I am a mother of four and a serial entrepreneur who took her love of sewing and shared it with the world. I overcame sexual abuse as a child, domestic violence, homelessness, teen pregnancy and came out at the other end of with a clear vision for my life. I spent many years struggling to make ends meet and working 16 hour days in a field I liked but knew wasn’t my calling. I did the best I could to feed my kids and keep a roof over their heads like many of us do until I started this thing called a blog back in 2008. I didn’t know what a blog really was so those first few years were really just a time of discovery. It wasn’t until 2012 when I decided to blog consistently and launched Mimi G Style, Inc. that I started to focus my energy on teaching and providing tutorials. It was fun to teach people how to make their own clothes when they had never even considered it. My blog grew rather quickly and after that first year I was averaging about a million page views, I quit my job a year and a half in and now 8 years later we reach nearly 12 million people a year and have over 12,000 students in Sew It Academy. It’s amazing. I don’t know that I was “discovered” because there has been so much that has happened in the last eight years that people didn’t see. Growth, planning, strategies, luck, lol but I owe my success to the people who follow and support and share me with friends and family. Starting a business is not something that happens overnight and I feel like I am just getting started.

What do you like most about blogging?

I like having the ability to reach millions of people by sharing my love of style and sewing. It serves as a great journal of sorts to look back and see all that I have done and it’s the way I market new products to my followers so it keeps everything in one place and consistent. Blogging is different now, we like fast information which is why social media is so powerful so you have to really understand the benefits of having a blog and how to use it even with the ever-changing social media climate.

Can you tell us about your Style & Sew It Academy?

I think my style is always changing, I have moods and I dress according to how I feel. I like simple, easy to put on looks that require little to no fuss. I am a jeans and tee kind of girl but will throw on a cool jacket or cool shoes to take the look up a notch or two. I love clothes and I love shopping but to be honest, shopping can be a little stressful if you are not a sample size or, if like me, have a 10” difference from my waist to hips. That is the reason I started sewing again in my 20’s, I wanted my clothes to fit right. It is also the reason I started Sew It Academy.

I launched Sew It Academy in May of 2016. I founded Sew It Academy to help people who wanted to learn sewing and fashion design but couldn’t afford to go to a traditional design school. I set it up so that you didn’t need any experience to start and just about anyone could afford it. The first course is me showing you what a sewing machine is! (laughs) For the price of two lattes a month we teach you everything you need to know to make your own clothes, fix clothes that don’t fit off the rack, work and design your own collections or work in the fashion industry. There is a ton of free info on YouTube but not all of it is good. I wanted somewhere that had structure and really taught people fundamentals that they could build on. There is no online sewing and design school that offers the variety that we do. We teach sewing, pattern making, draping, fashion illustration for both menswear and womenswear and above all it’s affordable.

What’s the biggest challenge of running an online business?

There are a lot of challenges when running a business in general and a lot of what I do happens online but the overall challenge is creating content on a regular basis. You have to be visible and stay visible in order to reach people and make an impact among so many other people. My focus is always around creating engaging and visually appealing content. It can get a little difficult when you feel like your whole life is an opportunity for content but that is the world we live in and certainly the way you need to approach an online business if you want to have continuous success.

Have you always wanted to be in the fashion industry?

No, not really. I have always loved to sew and design but I didn’t know how that was going to transpire in my life. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I decided I wanted to be a “fashion designer” I went through the process of creating a collection in between my full-time job and even put it on the runway here in LA but after that experience, I knew that although I felt accomplished I didn’t want to spend my time trying to sell a collection. There is a lot more to being a fashion designer that people realize, you have to market and sell your line and very little time is spent doing the actual designing. I love the process of creating garments so after starting my first DIY blog and sharing how-to videos that what I really enjoyed was teaching. I won’t say that I don’t want to do retail at some point because I think I do and will but I can now choose how I want to do it.

What’s your personal mission in life?

I have many, but my main personal mission is to be a great mother, I want to be an example to my kids and have a lasting impact on people I know and those that I don’t. I have worked hard to show my kids that you are more than your circumstances and that the power to be great is found within. I want them to see that despite my struggles I am able to make a positive impact on the world. I have a million friends in my head, all of whom follow me and support me and although I don’t know them all personally I want them to feel empowered and inspired by what I have to offer. My mission in life is to be the best person I can be.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

I have had so many! but at the end of the day, the most memorable moments have been when someone recognizes me not the street, and wants to share their story with me or take a pic. Every time I meet a follower I am reminded at how amazing my life is and how fortunate I am. I have one story that stays with me always. I got an anonymous email from a woman who shared that she had just gotten out of rehab and was in sober living housing. She told me that she had once been a professional engineer with a great career, her own home, a nice car, and a little girl who she loved. She met a man, fell involve and that was the beginning of a very difficult road. The man she had met and was now sharing a home with was addicted to drugs and had introduced her to them. She became an addict, lost her job, her house, and eventually her daughter. She said it took her a long time to get her life together but she did. When she graduated into sober living she was not he computer looking something up and came across my blog. She shared that she spent hours looking through my blog posts and that I seemed to jump off the page, she said she felt like she knew me. She started learning to sew with my videos and that new hobby she was learning from me helped keep her sober. She is now a coupler and travels sharing her story. She ended her letter to me by sharing that now when she speaks to groups she talks about a DIY blogger that helped save her life and she has no idea who I am. I still don’t know who she is but I think of her often and wish her well. My blog started as a place to make cool things and learn but over time it has become a safe place for people to find themselves and many times heal.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I have had the pleasure of sitting with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Gwen Stefani, and Tim Gunn but the most interesting people I have met so far are fans who have had amazing journeys since learning to sew. So many of them have started small businesses, created additional revenue for their families and have even changed careers. I am forever amazed at the stories I hear and how many exceptional people have been brave enough to share their lives with me.

What are your future plans? 

I have so many plans! I am looking to continue growing my business podcast where I get to share all the business advice I wish someone would have shared with me before I became an entrepreneur. It is geared toward people looking to start a business from a hobby or passion. Business SHET (solve, help, earn, trust) has had over 190,000 downloads in less than a year and I am hoping to continue providing resources. I am also finishing my long-overdue book. I also have a few surprises up my sleeves that I can’t share just yet but it will be really exciting.