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Winter 2021 - Murfreesboro Edition

Paula Anderson


Paula Anderson is the founder and president of Writing by Design Media, Inc. She has a bachelor’s degree from LeMoyne-Owen College and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Memphis. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Memphis.

Emerging Entrepreneurs Aleece McKnight, Esq. Jacqueline Edwards Ricky Turner Ashley Nevar

Enterprising Entrepreneurs Amy Farrar, Esq. Amanda Moore, Esq.

Eric Brinson Eric Brinson is the vice-president of sales strategy. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). In addition to this role, he is the managing director for A & R Development and Acquisitions.

Naim Hakeem

Millennial Spotlight

Naim Hakeem is a freelance graphic designer for Writing by Design Media, Inc. He graduated from the University of Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He is also the co-founder of the food truck app, Edesia.

Ryan Pierce

Small Business Resources Pathway Women’s Business Center Main Street Murfreesboro Rutherford Cable Pinnacle Financial Partners

Alexandria Baker Alexandria Baker is a public relations intern. She is an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Mass Communications at LeMoyne-Owen College.

Malyk Burnett 3618 Walker Avenue Memphis, TN 38111 wdbmedia.com memphissmallbusinessquarterly.com Linkedin - Writing by Design Media Facebook - Writing by Design Media Photographer: Issac Singleton @ 2021 • Writing by Design Media Inc.

Malyk Burnett is a social media intern. He is an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Mass Communication.


Emerging Entrepreneurs Legal entrepreneur helps creative entrepreneurs with business contracts, trademarks and copyrights By Paula Anderson

Attorney Aleece McKnight Choosing a path for entrepreneurship was not the original plan for Attorney Aleece McKnight, but she realized that becoming a business owner was the best choice for her journey. As an attorney, she provides services to entrepreneurs who generate creative content, need business contracts and knowledge about intellectual property (IP)requirements. Although she is a business owner as well, she shares some of the challenges new entrepreneurs face when starting a business. McKnight advises clients to understand the advantages and disadvantages as a sole proprietor and limited liability company (LLC). “It is not uncommon to start your business as a sole proprietor if you have little to no risk associated with your business. Choosing the right structure depends on the type of business, business operations, need to remove personal liability, and tax implications,” stated Attorney McKnight. Other challenges arise when you need to have business contracts in place to protect IP.

courtesy photo of Aleece McKnight

“Before you invest in making your business pretty online, invest in legal services that will help protect your business, brand, and creativity,” said Attorney McKnight. Attorney McKnight shared some of the challenges she has faced along with new business owners. “I have to be an attorney, social media manager, public relations director and create systems to manage my own business,” said Attorney McKnight. These are challenges all entrepreneurs face at some point until they are able to hire someone to fulfill those roles. While many business owners have tried to adjust to the ‘new normal’, and find new ways to operate. “COVID-19 has caused her to pivot business operations and that technology has been beneficial for business,” said Attorney McKnight. Although some goals were put on hold, she still experienced some unexpected wins. In 2020, she received awards that recognized her service to the community. Attorney McKnight continues to pivot so that she’ll remain accessible to entrepreneurs even in the midst of everchanging times.

Jacqueline Edwards Local bakery pivots during COVID-19, but continues to offer ‘treats’ and ‘sweets’ to the community. Jacqueline Edwards, founder of the Olive Branch Bakery, used her ability to collaborate with others to continue her business model despite the challenges of COVID-19. Edwards said, “I had to reduce my staff due to the pandemic and rethink the business. Unfortunately, I had to do some layoffs due to the pandemic and we had to restructure how we ran our day-to-day operations.” Before COVID-19, she was selling her goods wholesale to a local vendor and it has helped to generate revenue during this business interruption. According to Edwards, other measures have allowed her to keep the bakery open courtesy photo of Jacqueline Edwards

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Emerging Entrepreneurs While the concept of having a brick and mortar location is a dream come true for business owners, Edwards said that mobile, special orders, catering and curbside services have been added to her business model. “We have been focusing on custom cakes, catering and family style desserts to accompany the casseroles being sold by the catering company partnership,” said Edwards. Many events scheduled for 2020 affected revenue for many business owners. Edwards said, “A lot of our weddings and large events were canceled or postponed so we had to switch our focus in order to bring in revenue.” Her love for baking was the spark to opening the business and although her business model has shifted she is continuing to focus on the positive aspects of entrepreneurship and is looking forward to 2021. “We made a lot of changes this year and have worked really hard to stay afloat, but we remain positive and are excited to see what 2021 has in store for us,” said Edwards.

Travel entrepreneur helps customers feel safe with ride sharing By Paula Anderson

Ricky Turner An emerging entrepreneur offers personalized ride sharing experiences to help customers feel safer when traveling. Ricky Turner, founder of Turner Transportation and Travel Services, LLC, focused on solving a problem with customers who needed ride sharing in the Murfreesboro area. According to Turner, he wanted to create his own business model for customers who wanted local and out-of-town travel. Turner said, “I noticed that there weren't airport shuttle services available and large groups needed transportation.” He provides transportation services for weddings, bachelorette parties, local church events and conferences.

courtesy photo of Ricky Turner

In 2019, Turner said business was booming and he expected 2020 to be even better. However, the pandemic altered his business operations.

All industries have been impacted by COVID-19, but the travel and tourism industry have been severely impacted. “March is my travel season with proms, graduations, the Country Music Awards (CMAs) and SEC Tournament” said, Turner. “My elite clients would travel internationally to Rome, Greece and the Dominican Republic, but all of that has been eliminated.” Although he has not been able to service his regular clients, he used community service as a method to transport people. Turner shifted his transportation services to offering free rides to the polls for the November 2020 presidential election to the community. While these were not paying customers, it paid off for him in the form of marketing and public relations through local news and media coverage. Ride sharing became popular through Uber and Lyft, but Turner’s services offer a personalized experience. He builds a relationship with customers, so they will feel comfortable. COVID-19 has taught us many lessons and Turner said this has been his “plant season” and in the new year he is expecting a “harvest and a sense of normalcy in 2021.” Turner provides local travel, but he has taken women to the annual Essence Music Festival. “I drove a group of 10 - 12 people to the festival then I went back and picked them up. It is less expensive to do this then to stay with the group during the festival.” Turner’s business model is innovative because he wants his customers to feel safe when traveling and his services offer them that experience whether they are local or distant.


Emerging Entreprenuers “We have three means of transportation: one 15 passenger Sprinter van, a party van Cash Vegas and a party bus Na$h Vega$. COVID-19 really had a major impact on business in 2020 due to cancelation restrictions and early closures of business. It gave me time to rest and refocus for the upcoming year,” said Turner.

Jewelry maker turns her pain into a business model By Paula Anderson

Ashley Nevar Many entrepreneurs decide to leave a job and take a risk on establishing a business to achieve their goals However, Ashley Nevar, founder of Ash from Nash, pursued entrepreneurship as a way to heal her wounds and to give back to others who are experiencing sexual and physical abuse. Nevar started making jewelry as a form of therapy to deal with challenges she faced as a child. Her creativity allowed her to shift from a state of depression to a business making clay jewelry products. According to Nevar, she hosted a jewelry making party and her friends advised her to move forward with the business idea. Entrepreneurship was never in her plan, but she has focused on learning business skills to become better at her craft. Nevar said, “I have a business coach and she gives me advice on ways to grow my business.” Although she operates a for-profit entity, she donates proceeds to help women who have been faced with human trafficking in Greece. Human trafficking is a forced form of sexual and slave labor.

courtesy photo of Ashley Nevar

According to Nevar, she provides shelter, clothing and hygiene to women and girls in Thessaloniki, Greece. Her mission is to educate others about sexual and physical abuse by providing financial resources from her business sales. “I had the idea to marry my passion for fashion with my desire to help victims of sexual abuse by partnering with a non-profit called Hope Spot, an organization run out of Thessaloniki, Greece. Hope Spot works to pull victims of sex trafficking and abuse out of what would be seemingly hopeless situations, and provide them with the means to experience a freedom that they’ve never before known,” said Nevar. Nevar has experienced challenges, but she also shares the success of her business. According to Nevar, she plans to partner with other retail stores in Middle Tennessee to grow her business and wants to develop an internship/apprentice program. Many times business owners are competing with each other. Nevar shares a different outlook and said, “Don’t be competitive, there is enough success to go around.”


Enterprising Entrepreneurs Attorneys - Amy Farrar and Amanda Moore Planning for end of life can be a sensitive topic for many individuals who need to make hard decisions and choices. Attorneys, Amy Farrar and Amanda Moore, formed a business partnership and they are helping clients handle this matter. The journey of understanding entrepreneurship started at a former law practice. “My former boss assured me that a good lawyer will always have enough business. This advice gave me the courage to move forward by simply trying to do my job well, and nine years later, I have found his statement to be true,” said Attorney Farrar. She decided that she did not want to pursue this endeavor alone, so she partnered with Attorney Moore to help clients navigate through this process. Teamwork is one of the characteristics that has been a value add for the practice. Attorney Farrar said, “I wanted a partner who was smart and shared my passion for the law and working with the elderly.” courtesy photo of Amy Farrar This is a new experience for Attorney Moore. Attorney Moore said, “My experience as an attorney has been in the nonprofit sector and academia, I have watched Amy successfully run a law firm, and that has given me the confidence to take this step.” Both rely on each other for strength, but as entrepreneurs they are faced with challenging situations. Dealing with the practical aspects of managing a business, marketing and internal systems has been a learning experience,” said Attorney Moore. “Setting up a new business is another challenge and trying to balance it all,” said Attorney Farrar. Most entrepreneurs had to make adjustments from in-person communication due to COVID-19 and this was another factor for the practice. “Networking has been an issue due to everything having to take place online,” said Attorney Moore. Balancing work along with handling distant and remote learning with their children has also posed a challenge as well. While these challenges exist, the partners have had success in the practice. “We have found support and ideas through several online forums for attorneys,” said Attorney Moore. Entrepreneurship is definitely not an easy task and both shared these words for motivation. “Building relationships with clients and maintaining relationships with family motivates me,” said Attorney Farrar. Moore added, “My desire to be there for my clients and to help my family motivates me.”

courtesy photo of Amanda Moore

Due to the nature of their law practice, Attorney Farrar shared these closing words for families who need to make tough decisions. “Will signing is never easy to plan, but planning gives you control and I can see the relief in the families faces after the decision has been made,” said Farrar.


Millennial Spotlight Ryan Pierce Young entrepreneur and student leader shares his own personal story about community involvement and business. Ryan Pierce, current student at the University of Memphis, started his community work as a Boy Scout in Murfreesboro. “I have always had a passion for community development. My mother attended Carver High School in Memphis and during that time black businesses were present,” said Pierce. His upbringing inspired him to learn more about public policy and legislation and this led him to pursue a major in political science and economics and transition into entrepreneurship. As a student leader, he has worked in grassroots organizations because he wants to help and give back to others in Memphis and Murfreesboro.

“I want to understand governmental policies that discriminate against poor people,” said Pierce.

courtesy photo of Aleece McKnight

He recognizes the value of giving black owned businesses a platform to be highlighted in the magazine. “It gives black businesses a space to connect, support, encourage, enhance one another because we (black businesses) have to constantly pitch and sell our value,” said Pierce. His next journey will focus on helping entrepreneurs understand about capital and investments. “I want to help people move along because as a founder of two start-up companies, I understand companies not having the resources to grow your businesses and trying to make a way out of no way,” said Pierce. According to Pierce, he said working with Wefunder will give him the opportunity to help people understand crowdfunding, angel investing and the public education system. He offered this advice to young entrepreneurs. “Find organizations that can provide structure and resources.” LaunchTN has a virtual entrepreneurship program. He added to connect with local entrepreneurial communities and find mentors that can forge strong relationships. Pursuing entrepreneurship can be a challenge and helping others will make a difference. “We have a responsibility and we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper, and we have to use our blessings to help pay it forward to build a better community for the next generation,” said Pierce.


Small Business Resources Pathway Women's Business Center Jarlecia Jones leads Pathway Women’s Business Center as the director. She is responsible for developing curriculum and programming to meet the needs of business owners across the state of Tennessee. Jones earned dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Freed-Hardeman University. Below are upcoming workshops for entrepreneurs who live in Tennessee. Scholarships are available for all of the classes.

courtesy photo of Jarlecia Jones https://learn.pathwaylending.org/learn/course/external/view/webinar/39/introduction-to-businesscredit https://learn.pathwaylending.org/learn/public/learning_plan/view/17/make-it-on-etsy-cohort-3 https://learn.pathwaylending.org/learn/public/learning_plan/view/16/discover-cohort-19 https://learn.pathwaylending.org/learn/course/external/view/webinar/40/blue-sky-business-modeling-workshop https://learn.pathwaylending.org/learn/course/external/view/webinar/25/quickbooks-bootcamp https://learn.pathwaylending.org/learn/course/external/view/webinar/39/introduction-to-businesscredit https://learn.pathwaylending.org/learn/course/external/view/webinar/120/sba-usda-financing-options-workshop https://learn.pathwaylending.org/learn/course/external/view/webinar/48/women-owned-small-business-wosb-contracting-workshop

Main Street Murfreesboro Main Street Murfreesboro celebrated 35 years of serving the historic downtown in 2020. Downtown Murfreesboro is the epicenter for economic development and small businesses in Rutherford County. Downtown is an important community space where members of all segments of the community can meet equally. The Main Street organization epitomizes the “Richness of Rutherford”and is a key stakeholder in creating Murfreesboro’s unique sense of place around the historic square. Main Street’s mission is to maintain, enhance, and promote the downtown as the heart of our community. For the past thirty-five years Main Street has been instrumental in decisions that affect the downtown district. From spearheading beautification projects to organizing free family friendly events to bring the community downtown such as Friday Night Live concerts, JazzFest, the Saturday Farmer’s Market, and the annual Rutherford County Christmas tree lighting event, Main Street has been a leader in the revitalization of our historic downtown. Sarah Callendar is the executive director. She can be reached at sarah@downtownmurfreesboro.com.


Small Business Resources

RUTHERFORD Cable RUTHERFORD Cable is a women's networking group committed to moving women forward. We offer master's level professional development, facilitated networking and lots of opportunities to connect with women in our area. RutherfordCable.org.

Locally Owned Murfreesboro Locally Owned Murfreesboro is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting independent businesses and building a stronger local economy by joining together in marketing, government advocacy, and support for new businesses.

Pinnacle Financial Partners Pinnacle Financial Partners & The Nashville Business Incubator Center (NBIC) team up to offer a Mastermind class on the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The 1st virtual E-Myth Mastermind of 2021 will kick off Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 8:30am. Reggie Smith is a native of Murfreesboro, TN. He works as a Financial Advisor with Pinnacle Financial Partners and has over ten years of experience in retail banking operations. Reggie started his banking career with Wachovia/Wells Fargo before joining the Avenue Bank/Pinnacle team. In his current role, he works with small businesses and private banking clients to help meet their banking needs. His mission at Pinnacle is to provide clients with distinctive financial service and effective advice and to make a positive impact on the community.

courtesy photo of Reggie Smith

Smith is active in the community and operates a nonprofit organization with his wife, Lashaunda Smith. The organization provides college tours to middle and high school students. He serves on the board for the March of Dimes Music City and South Central Neighborhood Development Corporation.

His previous volunteer work includes the Dismiss House (Cookeville) and Fisk Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). He also has an ongoing partnership with the Nashville Business Incubation Center (NBIC) to host/lead a small business Mastermind class for business owners.

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Small Business Resources

Purpose of a Mastermind Group The desired outcome of the 6-week study is to increase your awareness and understanding of how to work ON your business to help it grow in a productive, successful way. As we move through each lesson, we will bring together our ideas and opinions to shape and mold our understanding of the material in a way that is far superior to simply reading a book on our own. We will be combining all of our minds to becoming a master mind

How a Mastermind Group Works The group meets an hour a week, once a week, for 6 weeks, using the book “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber as the basis for our discussions. Pinnacle will provide you with a complimentary copy of the book. All participants are asked to read the assigned chapters in advance of the meeting and be ready to discuss perspectives and ideas.

To learn more about Pinnacle Financial Partners, contact Reggie Smith at reggie.smith@pnfp.com.

U.S. Small Business Administration Over the years, the SBA has developed many small business loan and assistance programs, special outreach efforts and initiatives to aid and inform small businesses. The following describes briefly all the services and information available through this office: Financial assistance for new or existing businesses through guaranteed loans made by area bank and non-bank lenders. For additional information call the Tennessee District Office at (615)736-5881. Free counseling, advice and information on starting, better operating or expanding a small business through (SCORE) Counselors to America’s Small Business. Assistance to businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals through the Minority Enterprise Development Program. Contact our 8(a) Business Development Staff at (615)736-5881 or email kena.dixon@sba.gov) . Women's Business Ownership Representatives are available to advise women business owners. For more information, contact Jacqueline.Merritt@sba.gov or (615)736-7465. Special loan programs are available for businesses involved in international trade. If you're a veteran, you can get business counseling and information about SBA guaranteed loans. A Veterans Affairs Officer is available to counsel veterans. For more information, contact Eric Terrell at (901 494-6906 or e-mail eric.terrell@sba.gov . Stay tuned for communications on events that will provide information and training to enable Tennessee small businesses to succeed. For more information, check the Tennessee District Office website and follow us on Twitter at @SBA_Tennessee.


Corporate Sponsor National Black MBA Memphis Chapter President - Darrell Joyce and Robin Tucker Wilson - Vice-President

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Learn how to skip all the complicated marketing tactics and create a simple system to attract ideal clients. Do yourself a favor and start the year off right with a proven, actionable plan to start or grow your coaching business. Register now at https://bit.ly/vp20webinar! For more information about Valerie, visit valeriepriester.com.


Tracy Miller

Janet Newson Joann Parker

Joyce Kyles

Zenobia Jackson 11


Profile for Writing by Design Media

Emerging and Enterprising Entrepreneurs (E3) 2021 Winter Edition  

This edition features entrepreneurs in Murfreesboro, TN.

Emerging and Enterprising Entrepreneurs (E3) 2021 Winter Edition  

This edition features entrepreneurs in Murfreesboro, TN.