5 Mistakes I Made as An Entrepreneur

Starting Without a Vision or Strategy

In 2016 I thought that this mompreneur thing would be easy and my oh my was I wrong. I was just winging it until I realized that my vision was too broad and I had not niched down enough. Yes, I am a teacher but my skills as a mom are what help me organize my day to walk into my classroom more prepared. I need my working women with business aspirations to know that while you are working, raising your children, planning a wedding, or being a wife, you can still chase your dreams. Life happens and even when you survive divorce; knowing your mission and why will carry you farther than the obstacles that you face. Those trials become a part of your story and fuel your purpose. So be clear when you set out to make a difference. Be the problem solver to those that need to hear your voice and don’t give up until you make an impact.

My Mission: I help working moms find balance between their career and home life as they gain clarity in pursuit of their dreams.

Once I sat down and did a business plan and really thought about what I was trying to do and my message, things began to click. Even though I have been trying for a few years now, once I gained clarity, I can better see the direction I’m heading in for 2020.

Branding Myself Properly

I thought that by merely saying, “I am my brand” was enough but I was wrong again. My personality, my quick wit, my authenticity was going to set me aside but I was nobody in the realm of blogging and entrepreneurship. Now don’t get me wrong, I have some faithful followers and listeners but as I aspire for a further reach I realized that I had to do more. I had to figure out I wanted to be recognized. Yes, I’m the tattooed teacher in my building as I teach throughout the day, but that’s not my ideal for my Mom|Author|Teacher (mompreneur) brand that I am working to establish for myself. And guess what, even after I find some comfort in my visibility, branding is ongoing and may even call for a re-brand down the road. So, LaTilya Rashon is my name in real life. So I did not over arch with something off the wall because my approach is to just be real with my message and what I create. Pieces of me will be ingrained in everything that I do. In these internet streets I will show you my dedication, my authenticity, and my perseverance (D.A.P.) through my storytelling. I love acronyms so you’ll see more of those in the future because they are easy to remember. Make sure your brand attracts your tribe. That’s the whole point!

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Ya’ll there are levels to being in business for yourself. Being a NOVICE, brand new and not knowing what to is the very first level. Your eyes are bigger than your follow through and you are more busy than productive and you just know you are getting things done. I had to tell myself to have several seats plenty of times between 2016 and 2017 because I didn’t have a clue.  I was not creating anything of value outside of my first book (My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching). Once those wheels starting turning, you are now in the DEVELOPMENTAL stage of business where you are connecting the dots and things are beginning to make sense and you have a better understanding of what you are trying to do. Your growth is beginning to show. Then ultimately, the EXPERT. We all aspire to be a household name in these internet streets because of our extensive knowledge and expertise. But you have crawl before you walk. Maintain your own lane and know that everybody has different skillsets so processes are not one size fit all and we are all essentially running our own races. Focus on what you are creating and less on others.  What you have inside of you is just as needed as to what the people around you are doing. NOTE TO SELF!

Taking on too Much

When you don’t have a vision you will easily take on too much too soon and it will leave you overwhelmed and ready to quit. You need clarity and this can’t be emphasized enough to avoid repeat failure. Now this does not mean that some things won’t launch as successfully as others, it just means that we will eventually get it right. Even if you plan properly it’s a 50/50 chance of things going wrong, so we have to prioritize our tasks as to not give up before we ever get started. What is urgent versus not urgent then go from there. Decide what you can DO now, what you can PLAN to do later, who or what you can DELEGATE, and truly ELIMINATE. We are what holds us back when we are sure, so be intentional.

Failing to Invest in Myself

Listen, you can google until your finger tips hurt but pretty soon you will find that in information overload, everything will start to look the same. I have downloaded so many free worksheets, ebooks, tuned into LIVE training, you name it and none of them gave me the clarity that I needed. Then I started making small investments in resources because I needed to streamline my message and my business. Find someone that speaks to your style and let them coach you.  I have following one particular author/coach for the past year and I am ecstatic about my latest investment of myself. You have to do your own research to determine who is best suited for your needs. You can only Free.99 to a certain degree but when you want results, you will begin to make the right investments. Even when you think you don’t have the money, you will find a way.

So with all of that being said… I decided that I no longer wanted to function in mediocrity. I want to scale up my message and visibility so that I can do great things in the months to come. I have set some very intense goals for myself and the steps I’m taking along the way have me very excited. Let’s just say as I’m approaching my 38th birthday, I have for certain two years to make some things shake and that is exactly what I plan to do.

~LaTilya

Passive Income and Business Sense

It has taken me a while to get this post out but I’ve been playing with the words in my head until it all came somewhat together.

The road that I travel as a single, mother of two, educated, teacher, self-published author and entrepreneur is not easy.  Some days I just want to say I’ll work my job for 30 years then retire and halt all of my creative ideas.

One morning I woke up with tears pouring from eyes and the overwhelming feeling of LIFE consuming me. It put things into perspective and I said to myself, “I have to get my business in order”, because calling into work while dealing with a family crisis is not my idea of a good start.

I need more clarity and while I watch, study, and YouTube other entrepreneurs and take in the tidbits they have to offer, I am reminded that this is not a race.  I have to create, discover, and discuss in my own lane and too often as a creative there is a certain amount of pressure to always deliver.

I speak a lot of times on my business in my mini-blogs on my IG (@tilyarealeyes) and FB (LaTilya Williams) but I don’t get into a lot of detail about what my business entails. Maybe I should!

As far as passive income goes while reading I have decided that I want to work on that in the months to come especially since one of the top passive income ideas is books.  But what exactly is passive income? My passive income would be considered my book because I get paid repeatedly for work that I completed once.  I push my book My Fourth Year in Middle School: My Fourth Year in Middle School to the point of feeling exhausted.  Although the concept of my book is good, I can admit that my marketing behind my book is/was lacking.  I now must go back into that book and pull out my content because next June is going to be really BIG for me. I’ll announce that later.

Passive income in affiliate market skipped me and that is something that I just don’t get and can’t quite get a hold of.  So I won’t talk anymore about something that I don’t get.  But I can say that once I invested in myself and got into network marking, that has fundamentally been the best thing popping.  LOL!  A failed attempt at drop shipping let me know that that business was not for me but I have yet to give up on my multiple streams.

Creating an online course as passive income stays on my frontal, but now being back in school I just feel that I don’t have enough time to focus on the type of class that I want to create.  Lets just be real, the idea is for me to earn an income while I sleep, so I’m not rushing my process.  I’m taking everything in and relying on my common sense to lead when it comes to my business.

I read a quote that said, “Everybody is so busy posting their wins instead of their failures.”  I find that sad because social media has us thinking that everything creatives produce is a win straight out the gate.  I have since realized that my plate is full and everything sincerely and truly takes times.

I will continue to cultivate my passive income ideas…writing services, books, and network marketing.  I will continue to feed my frenzy to try something different.  I will keep believing in myself and everything that I set out to accomplish.  I won’t ever stop designing a life that I want to live because at the end of the day I don’t want to leave this earth thinking about all of the things that I should have done.

I have since learned that I have to build up to my next title and create a buzz EARLY!  I have to be smarter in this department this go around so that I can capitalize more on my message.  Stay tuned, for that writing is underway.

So as I prepare for these next steps in my career, life, and journey I am so excited.  I never thought about my writing as passive income but this next book, 12 Ways to Survive Teaching is sure to ignite souls and have you look at teaching from a humorous perspective.

The reality is I want to be good at everything. I don’t just want to be a book you read once then place on the shelf. I don’t want to be name only mentioned here and there, I want to be a guru if you will in my own right. I never thought about the power of passive income until I began to do my research. Now I must be a smarter business woman. It is truly all coming together and I feel it.

I took the leap before I was ready and now I must overdeliver. I have a timeline and I will excute!

When Work Is B.A.E.

LaTilya Rashon presents

(Click the link)

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Business, Approach and Entrepreneurship (B.A.E.) is a networking community established to connect business minded individuals and entrepreneurs dedicated to growing their businesses and expanding their brands.

I have been scouring the internet for years trying to “niche down”, be consistent, following the rules up to the point of coming up empty.  Business is not one size fit all and the words “there is a lot a bad information out there” haunt me everyday.  Anyone who knows me, know that I am a perfectionist about certain aspects of my life and right now my peace, business and career, MY SONS are a given, and #MYHEART are utmost priority.

All of the roads have lead me to creating a network and building this platform.  B.A.E. has a lot of meanings and ultimately Before Anything Else everyone on board with cultivating this community is concerned with their business model, approach to business and growing as an entrepreneur.  When the idea hit, it shook my inner being because for six months I wondered what the shift was going to be?  I wondered what my greater calling was?  When I began to focus on reshaping the look of my business, I knew that I would have to take bold steps.

In creating this network community I composed three concepts to be the guiding light for contributing entrepreneurs…
1. SUPPORTIVE atmosphere to grow ideas centered around business.
2. ENCOURAGEMENT to not be afraid and take risks to become more impactful.
3. COMMUNITY to give valuable feedback and that extra push while accomplishing your business goals.

Business: We all have the innate ability to be good at what we pursue with passion.  Our lives were already designed and created for us when we were conceived, but when we align our thoughts with good, those abilities begin to shine. One of the hardest things to overcome in any type of business is fear.  Doubt is so paralyzing that one wrong move, one bad review, or lack of gauging interest causes so many people to abandon their dreams.  That is why B.A.E. is so important to the entrepreneurs I know.  Most of us have had to work hard for what we have but now we want our own levels of success.  Success that trademarks a legacy for those we will someday leave behind. We are the mouthpieces for our businesses.  There is a demand for the services many entrepreneurs bring to the table, and this network will serve as a business incubator for local, urban business owners (Read Getting Started With Business Incubators).

Approach: How you approach your business will show in your product. I know business equates to numbers for a lot of people and capitalizing on your skills and talent is ideal when you’re immersed in doing what you love.

Which approach is best for your business? (Read 3 Approaches to Strategy)

  • Emergent strategy is best for small groups that are willing and able to absorbs and make decisions about new information quickly and resist restrictions on what information is most valuable.
  • Lean strategy is best for small groups who like to work quickly but systematicallyand are willing to take the risks necessary to gain information through experimentation.
  • Deliberate strategy is best for large organizations for whom responsiveness is organizationally difficult. However, the more these organizations adopt the faster tempo of Lean and Emergent strategy, they more they will be able to take advantages of unexpected opportunities and avoid the harms of unseen risks.

Entrepreneurship: When I read the words, “There is a lot of bad information being shared”, even though it was a part of a social media ad and the person was trying to gain interest to turn into a product being sold, those words were TRUE!  The way I see it, A LOT of these EXPERTS recycle information, put their own twist on it and try to make it sound more signature and connected to their voice.  Essentially, that’s what all of us are doing.  However, my business goals are centered around writing and creating good content, and now coaching others through the process because I have had to learn through trial an error.  I’m a teacher by day in a traditional classroom, but now I want to branch out and teach others how to face their fears because that is something I battle daily but I don’t quit.  I’m no expert, but I know what I know!  In this community of authors, teachers, entrepreneurs, merchandisers, writers (ME!!!!!), and CREATIVES we are going to flip the script on business, networking, and branding.

We will ALL rise to the top through clarity, consistency, and execution.

B.A.E. is a business incubator.

B.A.E. is a movement!

Join the network!

Work is B.A.E.!

NOW WATCH US WORK!

 

Figuring This All Out: Brand, Business, and Marketing

One of the realest things I read so far on this road to entrepreneurship is that THERE IS A LOT OF BAD INFORMATION OUT THERE!

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Now one would think that with 10 years of traditional classroom teaching, six years of active duty military service, and six degrees (2 associates, B.A., MPA, Ed.S. and an Ed.D.), I should be where I want to be. Wrong…Wrong…Wrong! I’m trying to crack the self-publishing market and offer a message to aspiring and new teachers (THAT IS MY PURPOSE—To Inspire!)

When I initially wrote my first book, My Fourth Year In Middle School: The Truth About Teaching, I was and still am completely behind on not doing enough to properly market my book to get it into the hands of the people that I feel could benefit from it the most.

I would attribute writing this book to being just like the formative years of education because in my first three years I learned A LOT.   Mostly through trial and error and faulty circumstances.  But in those first years I found my purpose and knew that I have a lot to offer as an educator.  As an individual.  As a person who is not afraid to make mistakes and take a risk.

Since the release of my book in July 2016, I still want to do more with it.  I am almost desperate to do more with it because I know that there is some really good information embedded inside to keep teachers motivated.  Now I’ll be honest, I have definitely taken some heat for my book but this was about some real stuff that I experienced as a new teacher.  Much like my recollection of a having a teacher tell me I’d never be successful; I never wanted a child to feel that way about themselves in my classroom. I do not want new teachers feeling left out and ostracized unnecessarily… even with the good support of my mentor teacher, I felt alone when I started teaching.  So I ask myself, was I supposed to paint a pretty picture of the people that were hard on me or was I supposed to tell my TRUTH.

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MY BOOK AT A GLANCE

Year One: This was the toughest year ever and I remember feeling like I was being tested to see if I could really hang in there with my high poverty stricken kids.  But the thing about the students is that once I won them over, they were not the problem.  IT WAS THE ADULTS.  I cried a lot that first year because I felt like I was failing miserably at teaching.  During pre-planning I had been whispered about because of a skirt that I thought was appropriate, but clearly it wasn’t.  I felt so embarrassed by my assets…the skirt was long but that wasn’t the problem.  I was body shamed before body shaming was a thing.

Dealing With Divorce: My first marriage fell apart during my second year of teaching.  I was holding on by a thread.  I had had a huge fight with my husband, got a mugshot for bursting out his truck window, separation, and watching the security I once felt in my marriage be shattered.  All of this was going on while my boys were toddlers (Lil Phil-5, Preston-3). I was home alone with my two boys, cooking for them, dropping them off at daycare, working my full-time teaching job—stressing and wondering when my husband was going to come back home.  HE DIDN’T! The divorce was finalized September, 2011!

Is This Really Happening: So many things happened to me in a few short years that I am blown away at the fact that I’m still in the classroom.  I admit my very first administrator was hands down the bomb.  She had very high expectations and as a new teacher  I had no choice but to meet them.  I’m extremely proud of my results after my first year of standardized testing…I can boast that 97% of my students passed the Criterion Referenced Competency  Test (Phased out CRCT).  But I dealt with a different administrator my 3rd, 4th, and 5th years of teaching that was so passive, it was difficult to feel productive under his leadership.  I dealt with my car being stolen from the school campus my 5th year and instead of being sympathetic his reaction was, “It was a simple repossession.”  That made my blood boil, and I knew it was time to GO!

A Different Perspective: Transferring to a different school was what I thought I needed and while I was yet again able to foster relationships with my students…I also had to deal with adults.  I will say that I am brash and unfiltered at times, but I’m committed to my stance on things, and that doesn’t make me wrong; it makes me passionate about my kids.  I respect other people’s opinions, but I think I have run into others not really respecting mine.  In my ten short years, I have dealt with court cases with my now second ex-husband in 2014, the murder of my half-brother in 2015, middle of the year moves from one content/classroom to another in 2016, and truly feeling undervalued for my experience and knowledge. In a one on one conversation about leadership I once told an administrator, “Your perspective is skewed by what you think you know about me.  Until you see me or in action, you have no idea what I’m capable of.  I take my content very seriously.  I’m not changing!  But you’d have to talk to me to know that.”

Even through all of that I have experienced, the nonconstructive criticisms, and being told I’m not qualified or experienced enough to be an academic coach I still forge ahead.  I’ve also been told I’m “social media heavy”, whatever that means.  I mean, is this the wave?!?!?  Criticize others for the moves they are making because you are not making them yourself?!?!?

Yes my career is teaching but my vision is much bigger than being in a classroom forever.  I refuse to be one dimensional.  Just as I heard today…not everyone wants you to be successful.  I’m building my platform one blog, discussion, experience, post, and video at a time.  I am not a traditional teacher…I have a bit of an edge about me and I’m not afraid to share my experiences.

As I’m figuring this all out I know that the LaTilya Rashon brand and PSB2 Publishing  will rise as I coach myself through the necessities.

To learn more about my self-published titles please check me out here.  Be sure to connect with me on social media.

Be sure to share and leave a comment.  Thanks for reading.cropped-20170110_153240-e14840823819536.png

*Two Years Ago*

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Two years ago I decided that I was going to revamp my blog and try to be more serious about my writing.  After all, I had received approval on my Institution Review Board (IRB) application for my dissertation so I felt my time freeing up and I was ready to write more creatively.

I felt like all the years of preparing to graduate since enrolling into my doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University in 2011 was finally about to pay off in a major way.  Let’s be real, since graduating from Ware County High School in 2000 and a six year enlistment in the United States Air Force (2001-2007), I had literally been in college off and on for 16 years pursuing various degrees.

*Doctor of Education; Higher Education Leadership (2016)

*Educational Specialist; Curriculum, Instruction, Management, and Administration (2010)

*Master of Public Administration (2009)

*Bachelor of Arts, Liberal Studies (2007)

Plus two associates degrees, you would think that writing would be the last thing on my mind.  Hell you’d probably even think that I had accomplished a lot in my own right academically but for me that still is not enough.

So I revamped my blog!  I was kidding myself thinking that this would be an easy journey and my name would ring supreme.  I learned very quickly that in this industry building a name for yourself and brand takes times.

I had the obnoxious idea to try to do a blog a day during that summer.  I had lame ideas like Motivation Monday, Thoughtful Tuesday, Wisdom Wednesday, Thankful Thursday, and Short Story Saturday.  I soon found myself burnt out and really not producing quality content.  I thought my posts were decent.  Now looking back it was just a bunch of fluff because I honestly just did not know what to do or what I was doing. I was trying some stuff out to see if it would work.

I managed to churn out chapters 4 and 5 of my dissertation and pick back up on my book project that I had outlined in 2013.  I was feeling like I was ready to put that story out to the world and I did, My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching.

Now how does a busy mom like me balance work, school, and writing a book all at the same time is beyond me, but I had an inner strength to get some things done so I did.  I admit it to myself I am a fast burner because everything I set a timeline to do when I began teaching in 2008 was easily exceeded.

Still on the hunt for more, I now ponder the idea of pitching my book to publishing houses because I feel like there is a really great lessons that were learned for myself along the way.  These lessons are sure to touch the hearts of aspiring educators because it’s a lot behind the scenes that you often do not hear people talk about.

So hear I am fully exposed and ready to do the work because after listening to all of the experts, I can’t be afraid to fail.  Everyone of the EXPERTS  have shared a story of an idea flopping so I get it.

I am guilty of thinking that I had to have a logo and a big following to relevant.  But I’m learning that if I continue to be me, put my best effort forward, and stay true to myself then everything will fall into place in due time.

Now that I think about it, this time last year my focus was light and love.  But I’ve had to regroup and think about branding and narrowing my niche.  Yes!  Dare I say it, I truly see why the experts are the position that they are in and I’m striving day to day.

So my third book project is in the works and the personal approach I am taking it is why it has yet to be finished.  Just the other day  I was admiring my 12 year old because he was anxiously trying to print an essay earlier this week that is due tomorrow.  He was so frustrated because there was no ink but the overachiever in him got the best of him and all I could think was that he got that from me.  While on the other hand my 14 year old has a painting from his art class on display at the mall and I am in awe of his artistic ability and how his mind works.

I have taken time to really value the work that I have put into my two books. I have also realized that what I thought I knew two years ago was only the beginning.  I am just now beginning to scratch the surface and walk in my purpose.

Being that I am doing everything on my own as a one woman show, it feels good when the people who genuinely support me tap into my words and tell me how the things I write make them feel.  That is the impact I ultimately want to have.

When I began teaching I looked at each class period and asked myself how did I plan on touching 22 sometimes 27 minds at one time.  Then I quickly learned that if I touched one, then I had did my job.

Now as a writer I ponder the same thought.  How do I plan to reach the masses?  I’m realizing that if I get one new comment, then that’s a new soul that I have touched so I’m growing.

I have come so far to realize that all of this takes time, planning, patience, and hard work.  I am sure when the time is right for my first book to catapult it will.  I am confident that my brand will grow as long as I stick to being authentic and transparent.

Two years ago I made up in my mind that it was time to take my writing to next level.  And since hindsight is 20/20, who would have ever thought that 30 years ago in the streets of the projects, I’d grow up to be this woman on a mission to create the life I want to live, boss up, and be very unapologetic for daring to dream.

Keep coming back for more.

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Why Personal Branding Is Great For Your Career

March is a new month for new beginnings, new goals, and new focuses.  I’m challenging myself to focus on one thing this month and that is my personal branding.  To be honest I cringe at that word because it is thrown around so much online and on reality shows that I’m literally confused every time I hear a different person say it.  Nonetheless, my goal this month is to set myself aside and become more identifiable and produce quality work.  That’s what BRANDING is all about right!?!

At one point when I began this writing journey I was on blogspot because I was using my blog as an online journal.  I wasn’t really focusing on the big picture.  All I wanted to do was share my experiences while entertaining the idea of writing a book.  I was second guessing myself!

I switched over to wordpress as I was completing my doctoral program with Nova Southeastern University and my blog then took on a life of its own.  While my education and credentials would have me considered an expert in the field of education: Dr. LaTilya Williams—Doctor of Education: Higher Education Leadership and  Master’s in Public Administration; I find myself coming up short in the blogging/self-published/writing industry.  Oh to be an expert in this field would be a dream come true!

So what must I do?  Yea, you got it! WORK ON MY BRAND!

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I have read so many blogs from the experts and they all have this one tagline or statement in common: “I AM MY BRAND!”

Well there you have it!  But not so fast.

While I sit and read, subscribe to mail listings myself, subscribe and listen to podcasts, and emulate the things I see, I know I am closer to hitting my mark and finding my sweet spot.

This journey has been eye-opening because in my research and studying some of the experts say that there is not definite formula to success and making a big impact.  Others say develop a plan and work the plan.  I still stand my truths about blogging because there are some things you discover.  Go check out my epic blog, What No One Tells You About Blogging.  It is one of my favorite blogs and one that I see lasting for years to come as new trends arise.

Now reexamining all do the Dos for content creation and personalizing your brand, all of us side hustlers are told to FIRST BE CLEAR.  I can’t any clearer about wanting to make an impact on new teachers with my book,

My Fourth Year in Middle School; The Truth About Teaching

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I truly want to help change the narrative about teaching so that the newbies learn that in order to truly be successful in the classroom there must be a complete understanding that what you learn in traditional training is helpful.  But what you do in the classroom from day today is what’s going to shape your approach, career, and style of teaching.  Now if only I could attract the right audience and individuals invested in my book, I could really make gains as an educational expert.

DRAW PEOPLE TO YOU: It is difficult to create a consistent buzz as a newbie blogger and collecting emails is a task.  Build your brand! Create the leads! Magnetize your audience!  That is a lot easier said than done.  As I look at my social media networks…

I have learned that my friends are not my target audience and I actually get more feedback from people that don’t know me personally.  Now I do have some friends that purchased my book, left a review on Amazon, or told me personally what they thought of my work but I’m hungry!  I want to grow in my efforts and reach the masses that I know could benefit from my experiences.

I want to see my follower numbers convert to sales.  Another one of the DOs that we must be mindful of is CONTENT CREATION.

Visiting my blog is rich and full of experiences that I feel provide knowledge and inspiration.  I think about the goals I have set for myself and reflect on my progress over the years.

Content creation is one thing but the focus must shift to…QUALITY CONTENT in the form of books (Check Me Out On Amazon), videos especially if you are on youtube: check my sidebar 🙂 (Subscribe to me @ LaTilya Rashon), and of course while you’re here browse around read my blogs, comment on what you like and most importantly

Subscribe to the LaTilya Rashon mailing list

Brand clarity is an ongoing process!  Content creation takes a lot of work. I have only been serious about this for the past two years because I know I have message of inspiration.  I’m sure my audience will change by the day but I plan to be authentic and transparent in my approach.  I don’t have it all figured out but I’m figuring it out.

March is not the month for stagnation! New goals! New insights! New material!

Stay Tuned!