Ashley Ayers Writing Samples 2013
What’s Your Why?
January 2014 You spent all of 2013 waking up at 5:00AM tread to work in traffic, to make someone else rich. You’ve decided that this year will be the last year. This year you will quit that crappy job and follow your own dreams. You’ll have the freedom to make your own schedule, travel, spend time with your family, and do everything else you’ve ever dreamed of; but why? Why do you think being an entrepreneur is your calling? Have you talked this over with God? Making a decision to become an entrepreneur is a brave one, and should not be taken lightly.
Before you decide that you want to start your own business, take a second and ask yourself what are you doing this for. Is it for the paycheck or the passion, and I hope for your sake and sanity that it’s for the passion. There are so many components of starting your own business that you haven’t even realized yet. Be it writing a sound business plan, the legalities of incorporating, figuring out how to maintain your books so filing taxes next year won’t be a nightmare, or even just the mental stability and focus to see it through. So many people are easily discouraged when they share their ideas and someone thinks it’s stupid, or tells them it’s not good enough, or they see someone else doing what they want to do, and don’t feel they can compete. To be a successful entrepreneur you have to be able to silence all of those voices, all of the nonsense, and keep pushing anyway. Becoming an entrepreneur is not about waking up and deciding you’re tired of working for someone else so you want to start a side hustle. Being an entrepreneur is about purpose. It is about not just learning a craft, but also continuously researching and studying on your own to perfect that craft. It’s about finding a mentor to help guide you, someone who will hold you accountable when you’re slacking off or getting lazy. It’s about going to sleep at 1:00AM from designing your website and waking up at 5:00AM to get ready for your day job that you still need to work in order to pay for your dreams. It is about a lot of no’s and a lot of rejection. It’s about loving something so much that even if you could never make a penny from doing it you’d still choose to do it as a hobby, because there is no way you could go the rest of your life without picking up that camera, or threading that needle, or putting on those pointe shoes and teaching that 4-year-old how to do a pas du buree. Being an entrepreneur is much more difficult than working a nine to five. Now don’t get me wrong, being an entrepreneur can be a blessing. Being able to do what you love everyday will bring a new feeling of joy and peace. It won’t feel like work, it will feel like life. When you put the time and dedication in, you can produce a life of happiness, and living with purpose. But if you’re not ready for the blood, sweat, tears, and long sleepless nights on the way-then you may need to continue waking up at 5:00am, treading to work in traffic, making someone else rich, because being an entrepreneur is not for you. If you’re strongly considering becoming an entrepreneur I encourage you to answer these 3 questions: 1. 2. 3.
Why do I want to be an entrepreneur, and more importantly why do I want to start this particular business? Is there a need for what I have to offer? Am I skilled enough to embark as a professional, and tell people I am an expert at something?
There are many, many more questions to consider when embarking on the road to entrepreneurship, but if you can develop sound answers to these questions then you may be going in the right direction. If you need assistance deciding if being an entrepreneur is right for you, feel free to e-mail us about our Purpose Driven Brainstorming session, which will allow you to view all aspects of entrepreneurship in order to determine if this is the path for you. Good luck, and Happy New Year!
Do’s & Don’ts of E-Mail Etiquette
December 2013 Sending cold e-mails can be a daunting task. What subject line do you use? What if they don’t read the e-mail? What if they think I’m crazy? Did I include a signature? There are a thousand and one questions that could be going through your head, but if you take the time to properly prepare, you can confidently send cold e-mails and know you sent the best, thoroughly planned and prepared e-mail they’ve probably ever seen! DO: Your Research
Research is the first step in sending an e-mail to someone you don’t know. If you aren’t familiar with this person, then get familiar. Visit their websites, look at social media profiles, and read any other information you can find on them. Don’t ask questions that an easily be found in a Google search. Sending e-mails that show that you have not done your research are insulting and more than likely won’t grant you a response, at least not the one you were hoping for. DON’T: CC or BCC One thing I don’t recommend to anyone is using the CC or even the BCC feature to e-mail multiple people the same general, impersonal e-mail. You can’t personally address the person by their name, or add that little note about their early beginnings in Oklahoma, where you were born and raised. It’ll show the research you did, and give you a personal connection. DO: Start with a Greeting Many of these people are getting thousands of e-mails a week from people who want something from them. The least you could do is wish them Good Morning or Good Afternoon. Let them know you hope their day is off to a good start, and even let them know how much you admire their work and respect their craft. This sets the tone and opens them up to reading and receiving the rest of your e-mail. DON’T: Beat Around the Bush You’ve gotten their attention, now what are you going to do with it? Do not use that e-mail to ask them how they got started, or how they can help you. Instead, briefly let them know what you have to offer them. Let them know that you have skills to bring to the table. Not only give you the opportunity to ask all those “What do I need to do to get there” questions, but will make a person be more inclined to help you. DO: End With a Proper Signature Now you’ve done the hard point, do not ruin this well written e-mail by hitting send end with “Sent from my iPhone” as the closing. Take the time to write an actual signature. That means at least a first and last name, maybe a phone number, and definitely a website if you have one. And don’t forget the thank you! And there you have it, quick and easy steps to sending more professional e-mails. And don’t think these suggestions should be exclusive to cold e-mails. Make these steps a habit in all of your e-mails to build an image of professionalism throughout your entire network.
You are Who You Know
December 2013 Your network equals your net worth. You are the company that you keep. Birds of a feather flock together. We’ve heard it time and time again. You’re only as successful as your closest friend, and yours just happens to be in a financial rut sitting at a fork in the road having a quarter-life crises. They may be a great friend, but are they the person that’s going to push you towards your goals, help you focus on your priorities, and help you and your business grow? Here are a few tips for finding people that can help. 1. Reconsider Where You’re Spending Your Time
Are you nights spent bar hoping through countless happy hours? If so you should highly consider swapping out for at least two professional networking events a week. With websites such as EventBrite and MeetUp it’s easier than ever to find industry related events to meet like-minded people. 2. Don’t Under Estimate The Power Of Carrying Business Cards Yes this is the technological day and age, but some things will always be standard. Phones die, and tablets may not be connected to Wi-Fi, but that business card will always be ready. Whether it’s as simple as Vista Print or as fancy as your best friend working Photoshop magic, get business cards and stay prepared. 3. Follow Someone On Instagram Other Than Beyonce Yes, if you didn’t follow Beyonce on Instagram when she dropped “Beyonce” it would have been a national catastrophe. Yet, I’m sure it’d be worse if you’ve been struggling with Google SEO, and you missed an official Google Hang out last week twenty-minutes from your house. Social media has been denounced for all the negative contributions but there’s a lot more to say about the number of jobs found in the last year via Instagram alone. Everyday I see someone in my industry post about an internship, an event hosting opportunity, even modeling and acting opportunities. Just as simply as your scrolling through countless selfies and people popping bottles, you could have scrolled over your dream job, and “youainteinknowit”. People are inclined to help the people they know, so you need to make sure you know the right people. These are just a few simple tips to get you started building your network, but the list goes on and on. Try looking for 3 networking events in your area to attend in the next 30 days. P.S. Don’t forget about cleaning up those social media profiles like I discussed in the “Yes, We’re Judging You” article.
Budget Brand Building
August 2013 Do you know the number one reason small businesses fail? I’ll give you a second to think. Well if you didn’t guess-it’s poor planning; more specifically, improper budgeting. No matter how moist your cupcakes are, or how comfortable your cotton PJ’s are, no one will know if you don’t create a proper. Investing doesn’t mean spending $1,000 a month on a corporate agency retainer. With today’s technology and online resources there are 101 ways to start building your brand, without breaking your pockets. Buying your own domain
What’s the first thing you do as a consumer when trying to find information on a new product? You Google it! The worst situation you can put yourself in is having a potential customer looking online for your product, and it not popping up in that Google search. If your dreams are to turn “Sasha’s Sweet Treats” into an empire and national brand, then the most basic step you need to take is purchasing www.SashasSweetTreats.com. GoDaddy.com offers domain names starting at merely $12.99 a year. What is a twelvedollar investment for your future? Tip: Google “GoDaddy Promo Codes” and you might get it for 99cents! Build a Killer Website Now 10-years ago creating a website was a huge and expensive hurdle to jump. You needed HTML, CSS Coding skills, and a minimum of $1,000 to find a designer. What kind of world would it be in 2013 if there wasn’t an easier option? With drag and drop website builders like Wix and SquareSpace, you can become a web designer right in your home office and PJ’s. And don’t opt for the free version if you can afford it. Take that $10 a month, connect www.SashasSweetTreats.com, remove those tacky ads and make a name for your brand! Tip: Not the creative type? Wix offers templates, as well as pros that can build your site for a reasonable price! Professional E-Mail Now you’ve designed a beautiful website, you’re making it to the top of the Google list, and your contact us page says “E-Mail us SashaSweetTreats@gmail.com”? Absolutely not! Image is everything and as an entrepreneur you can’t cut corners where it counts. GoDaddy offers a free email account with the purchase of your custom domain name. Or if you want to be really fancy, invest $5 a month into Google Apps and receive all the benefits of Google’s free email accounts, including the calendar and cloud storage, and use your custom email address of hello@SashasSweetTreats.com. Get the Word Out Now that you’ve given your company a little face-lift it’s time to tell everyone about it! Social Media is a great place to start. You can easily, and freely, enlist the support of friends and family to help spread the word, but to retain the customers a great place to start is a newsletter. With free and affordable companies like MailChimp creating beautiful and informational newsletters is easier than ever. You can even easily sync your Wix and Facebook to generate sign-up forms! With these simple tips alone you could easily start rebranding your business for less than $30! But now that you’ve covered the basics, lets not stop there. Growing your brand is a constant development, which you should always be investing your time in. Try finding a few good blogs to stay abreast on tips and ideas for affordable branding options! There’s something new everyday!
Welcome to the first West Bank Clothing Showroom Newsletter! vvv August 2013 Issue
Once a month we’ll be sending you the latest and greatest from one of our featured clients, style tips, details on what tradeshows we’re attending, and much more! So sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Where’s West Bank August 5-9
Chicago Style Max
View our calendar for event details!
Feature of the month: Vkoo 3605 color blocked dress $180 Color shown: ash/teal Colors offered: bark/cream, ash/teal, black/ash
They’ve made their mark in Barcelona, and now they’re coming to style the states! Come meet Yerse and place your orders at Dallas Market!
Clients in the Press Have a question? Ask us however you’d like! 213.555.2822
Jessica Alba in Level 99 featured on Denimology Blog
Eva Longoria wearing Vkoo hooded cardigan