Category Archives: Entrepreneurship – Health Coaching

Destination Meditation: Quick Tips for Starting Meditation Today!

SQMeditationSplit

Could you use some relaxation in your life? How about increasing your creativity? What about decreasing your stress and increasing your focus? Then you’ll really want to explore and experience meditation for yourself.

I’m a meditator and a strong believer in the benefits of meditation.  I started meditating over two years ago.   It was during a time of major change in my personal and professional life.  Since then I’ve started a new relationship and a new business.  There’s no doubt my meditation practice enhanced my overall focus, clarity and awareness.  I do my best to meditate twice a day for at least twenty minutes each time. However as an entrepreneur, establishing and expanding my business is demanding and can make it a challenge on some days to find the time. 

 

As a health coach & personal trainer for my business Q Movements,  I was excited about integrating meditation in to my coaching philosophy.  It’s a service I was confident would not only generate interest but would also benefit my clients in both mind and body.  Because there are many forms of meditation, I  encourage individuals to explore and learn about meditation  and discover the method they feel works best for their needs and lifestyle.  I found Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons is a perfect resource for learning about the basics and benefits of meditation.  I personally like to mix up my meditations.  Some days mindfulness meditation works for me and other days I enjoy Transcendental meditation.  However for my clients, I typically focus on mindfulness and guided visualization meditations.

Ready to get your meditation on and don’t know where to begin?  Here are a few quick and easy tips that worked for me when I started meditating.

  1. Start small.  I recommend starting with small time increments.  Five minutes once a day for a couple weeks is a good start. Then you can increase in five minute increments when you feel ready.  When I first started meditating, I couldn’t sit still for five seconds much less five minutes.  It might feel awkward at first because it’s new to you but don’t give up. It will get easier the more you do it.  Consistency is key.
  2. Create your space.  Create a special space for your meditation experience.   A scented                    candle or soothing music works great.  Make it your own and inviting so it’s something you will look forward to daily.  If space is  limited, then try using a closet, bathroom or your car.  I know it sounds crazy but it works! I’m always cold so I personalize my space with a special blanket.  I wrap my legs with a small blanket that’s covered with personal pictures that invoke feelings of happiness, success and love.  It’s what my eyes see first before and after a relaxing meditation.
  3. Relax.  Sounds redundant but a helpful reminder to be easy and give yourself time to get comfortable with the experience.  Simple passive stretches and slow deep breathing helps me to prepare both my body and mind for relaxation.

Meditation is an amazing source of creativity, energy and power.  It continues to be a strong foundation for my life and business.   Make a commitment to explore and practice meditation.

Use my quick & easy tips and feel free to reach out to me with questions about meditation at www.qmovements.com.  Remember be patient, open minded and prepared for the transformation you’re about to experience.

Namaste

QM Brand Revenue

Are You Boosting Revenue or Risking Your Brand?

Is direct sales and network marketing really boosting your revenue or potentially compromising your brand?

Revenue can be a risky situation. Right off the bat I know this might be a touchy subject matter for some entrepreneurs simply because direct sales and network marketing (DSNM) is a fundamental form of entrepreneurship.

However after extensive research on the topic, I’m left to determine whether DSNM is the best decision for my business and me. As an entrepreneur in the health and fitness industry, I keep an open mind for opportunities to expand my business as well as boost revenue.  Therefore, I was eager to explore the world of this $30 billion dollar industry.

DSNM simply means offering products directly to a customer away from a fixed retail location.

Direct sales, independent distributors, sales representatives or consultants market their products in a variety of ways, including one-on-ones, home parties and the Internet. Most direct sales firms are multi-level marketingcompanies (MLMs).

Some examples include:

My introduction to DSNM started six months ago when a Juice Plus distributor contacted me through a LinkedIn College Alumni group.

We connected and after speaking with her, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. So I began to investigate the DSNM industry as a whole. My ears and eyes were open.

Could it be too good to be true?

Since then various DSNM distributers approached me through Facebook, LinkedIn, Alumni Associations, Professional organizations, church community as well as the local grocery store.

I started feeling like a MLM magnet! Herbalife, Beachbody, Mary Kay, LifeVantage and Genesis Pure all extended generous invitations to become distributors for their company. Although I was somewhat flattered by the attention, I was much more cautious on proceeding with anyone’s offer.

Through my research, I discovered the nutritional supplement group or more commonly known as Vitamins, Minerals and Supplement (VMS) was one of the fastest growing industries in the world.

This industry produced about $32 billion in revenue for just nutritional supplements alone in 2012 and is projected to double that by topping $60 billion in 2021 according to the Nutritional Business Journal. With these types of robust statistics why would I not consider expanding my health coaching business to include similar products through DSNM?

It seemed a logical fit.

Was DSNM really a logical fit for my business that I just overlooked?

Would endorsing and distributing a product help increase my health coaching & personal training service sales?

It was time to revisit the Q Movements business plan. I was confident a quick refresher would certainly clear up and confirm the right path for me. As I read through the Executive Summary I was reminded Q Movements was established to increase health and wellness through my services and not someone else’s product.

There was my answer.

Although its feasible DSNM products are viable for helping support the mission of Q Movements, I strongly believe Q Movements needs and deserves my total attention to reach its full potential.

My brand as a health coach and personal trainer :

  • I have a responsibility to my clients to ensure any and all my services are safe, effective and sound.
  • I’m able to achieve this service level of competence and confidence through education, certifications, trainings, experience and continuing education.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the same type of control with DSNM products and companies. I feel I’m risking my brand, business and livelihood on a product or company I don’t fully control or own. I have too much invested in Q Movements to potentially jeopardize it by some mishap or misconduct from another company.

Before shutting the book on DSNM, the Libra in me is seeking the need for balance in this examination.  My investigation did reveal some notable learning moments for this budding entrepreneur. The most valuable lesson was the exposure to new marketing skills and techniques.

Part of my DSNM exploration included attending meetings and training sessions for a couple of the products.

I was surprised on the enormous amount of training DSNM provide on sales and marketing. I know it sounds redundant but the level and extent of training is remarkable. DSNM definitely provide their sales distributers with abundant live and virtual online trainings opportunities.  There is no doubt in my mind DSNM prepare their sales team for success. The challenge is ensuring you have the right players in the game.

I’m satisfied with my decision to solely continue my focus on Q Movements during this first year of business. Although I acknowledge there is potential for DSNM to boost my revenue, I trust focusing on Q Movements will do more for me in the long run.

I encourage other entrepreneurs to do your research and review your business plan when considering new business ventures and make the decision that is best for you.

Even though I’m not expanding my business through DSNM products, I was inspired to start developing my own products for Q Movements. Looks like it’s time for me to update my business plan.

Remember you never know how and when your entrepreneurial spirit will be sparked.

Article published on Latin Business Today website:

http://latinbusinesstoday.com/2014/05/revenue-compromising-brand

Do Must Have Apps Equal A Smarter Business?

“Top 5 Must Have Daily” Apps – Utilizing Smartphone Technology to Enhance Your Business Experience

Are Smartphones getting smarter or are we just learning how to utilize them more effectively?  The smartphoneapplication marketplace is rapidly growing and highly intuitive to the needs of consumers.  As a result, consumers are now using Apps for much more than a game of Candy Crush with a friend or sharing selfies on Instagram.   Entrepreneurs and professionals of all sorts are integrating a variety of smartphone Apps to increase knowledge, enhance services and create low cost/no cost marketing opportunities to improve and boost business.

Prior to starting my own health coaching business, Q Movements, my Apps usage mainly consisted of music, maps, sports, and social media. I enjoyed and appreciated the instant touch of the index finger access to updates from my inner circle.

Now as a small business owner, my App needs, selection and usage has expanded immensely.  In fact, I make sure to visit the Apple App store frequently so as to stay on top of trends and in tune with technology.

I’ve created my own “Top 5 Must Have Apps” list of the Apps I use daily which have positively impacted both my business and personal life.  I’m sharing my list in hopes you may seriously consider exploring and expanding your App usage for enhancing your business and lifestyle.

1.  FaceTime:  FaceTime is a feature specific to Mac products. It’s basically a video call.  I have an iPhone and honestly never used FaceTime until I started my business.  I use FaceTime regularly now to screen new clients, conduct health coaching sessions and develop strong connections with my clients.

The App is easy to use and the audio & video stream is quite clean and consistent.  FaceTime is a useful and effective tool that saves me time & money daily instead of having to travel to make all my connections.

Spotify 2.  Spotify:  Spotify is one of many great digital music Apps on the market. For me, this App serves dual purpose.  I personally enjoy music and appreciate Motown’s best groves to 90’s grunge to Latin jazz and just about everything in between.  Music is my cheap therapy.  It uplifts, calms, soothes, excites and inspires me. Spotify is also a great asset for my business.

The Spotify App provides the perfect background vibe for my group & personal training and meditation sessions.  It’s fun for me to create special playlists for my clients.  It’s amazing how the right tunes can motivate movement.  Spotify is a free App however it’s well worth the $10.81 a month fee for access from all my devices and commercial free listening.

Spotify3.  Audible:  Anyone who knows me knows I love to learn.  Audible is one of the leading providers of digital audiobooks.  Because I spend a lot of time in my car, I decided to use my time more wisely by listing to a variety of books using Audible. Three Simple Steps, written by Trevor Blake was my first audiobook and the rest is history.  I strive to listen to at least two books a month.  I’ve increased my knowledge in areas of financial management, communication, marketing and sales.  Remember knowledge is power.

4.  Chase Mobile Banking/ Payment App: Banking Apps are an outstanding resource and tool for entrepreneurs and business professionals.  Financial management is critical in all levels of business.  I particularly appreciate the ability to deposit checks anytime and anywhere with my smartphone.

Banking is made super convenient with total access to business and personal accounts 24/7.   I’m now able to accept credit and debit cards payments.  This added convenience factor for my clients has helped to increase revenue.

6. Social Media: No Top 5 App list is complete without including one of several social media Apps. Facebook, Pintrest, LinkedIn, Vine, Google+, YouTube and Twitter are all excellent Apps for creating free marketing opportunities for your business.

I frequently use these Apps to promote my business and connect with clients.  It’s also a great way for your current and potential clients to learn more about your brand. Images, text, and videos can be composed and uploaded to some or all your social media Apps to alert your connections with promotions, information and updates for your business instantly.

The App marketplace is full of interesting, fun and amazing Apps on business, education, finance, news, food, travel, lifestyle and my personal favorites health and fitness.  I encourage you to take time and visit your App store and explore new Apps weekly that could benefit your business, services and revenue.

Now back to my opening question, “Are smartphones getting smarter or are we just learning how to use them more effectively?”

I believe investing time in to utilizing your resources more effectively is definitely evidence of elevated intelligence.  Smartphones don’t equal smarter business.  Smarter entrepreneurs equal smarter business.

Article published on Latin Business Today website:

http://latinbusinesstoday.com/2014/04/do-must-apps-equal-smarter-business/

Businesspeople competing with bicycles and running in the city

3 Steps to Profitability- Healthy Competition

Achieving profitability is understanding and appreciating your healthy competition partnerships which can make you more successful

Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t necessarily easy. But even small victories can make it possible. This is especially true if you understand and effectively compete against—and respect—your competition.

Competitive blood flows strong through the veins of most entrepreneurs.  Even at a young age, I recall the drive and desire I had to win my weekly classroom coloring contests—not only for the satisfaction of being considered artistically talented by my first-grade teacher but for the colorful first-place ribbon that was displayed on my creation.

A feeling of accomplishment filled my little body every time I saw my winning piece in the main hallway for others to admire and appreciate. Looking back I clearly see how my competitive nature shaped my personality, goals and, ultimately, my decision to pursue entrepreneurship.

I entered entrepreneurship much like a competition, with the ultimate victory of establishing my own successful and respected business in the health-and-fitness industry. After launching the business, my time and focus shifted towards marketing. Smart and strategic marketing efforts are vital components to all business plans. I was determined to compose creative, effective and low-cost marketing opportunities to promote my services.

High Gear

With little to no experience in marketing or sales, I concentrated on the resources I had available. I had an iPhone, an iPad and a home computer.  I started by setting up social-media accounts for my business and establishing a presence on the web. I love listening to audiobooks during my workouts, so I began listening to audiobooks on sales and marketing for information and direction during workouts and in the car.

The process of building my brand was well underway. As most seasoned entrepreneurs know, this is not a speedy endeavor. It takes long hours, days, weeks and even months to develop and execute successfully. My entrepreneurial competition was off to a slow and steady start but was soon to be kicked in to high gear.

One of my strengths is recognizing and utilizing resources. I really thrive on working smart and not hard. One day I decided to take advantage of free online business marketing websites to promote my services. In the process, I noticed a few small businesses were seeking temporary assistance with their own health-coaching companies.

For a second, I thought to myself, “I can’t do this! I have my own business that needs me full time. These are my competitors, it would never work out.” Then I thought, “Why not? It’s only temporary and I can earn some money and put it back in to my own business at the same time.” So I proceeded forward with caution. I felt my competition had just intensified.

As an emerging entrepreneur, I had zero experience with developing business partnerships with other professionals in my field. The concept of doing business and working with my competitors was very new and quite intimidating at first. However, those feelings soon faded in the face of great opportunities to learn from the experienced and successful professionals in the business.  Along the way, I discovered a few key elements that helped me and can help you establish strong and profitable partnerships with your competitors.

Three Steps to Profitability

Profitability Step 1:

Be honest. Honesty is truly the best policy in building solid and lasting relationships. Just like in most personal relationships, it’s important that each side of the partnership feels safe and trusted. No one wants to be taken advantage of or feel threatened. This is an essential component to the vitality of the partnership and does take time to establish.

Initially, I felt awkward sharing some of my own business details until I realized my partners were doing the same thing. A business partnership built on trust will expand the potential to grow your business skills and as well as your revenue.

Profitability Step 2:

Get it in writing. Yes, it’s better to be safe than broke and sorry later. Take the time to communicate all the details of every aspect of the partnership. Most importantly, determine and discuss the expectations from each other.  Always formulate a legal contract to ensure that both sides are clear and agreeable to the terms of contract to avoid problems in the future.

I would recommend reviewing the terms of your contracts on a quarterly bases. This will help keep each side of the partnership free from feeling trapped and will also allow for flexibility and growth for both businesses.

Profitability Step 3:

Do your research. Before you decide to engage in partnerships with other business professionals make sure to research the individuals and businesses you’re considering. Check with the Better Business Bureau, social-media outlets and website reviews for information on your prospects. Remember, your brand and reputation can be quickly compromised through problematic business partnerships.

I made it a priority to only reach out to my strongest competitors. It made more sense to me to solely connect myself with well-established successful entrepreneurs in health coaching. This was my golden opportunity to learn from those who gone before me.  As a result, I‘ve saved time, headaches and money by simply aligning myself with other successful entrepreneurs in my field.

Striving and Growing

Developing partnerships in business is not for everyone.  Just as with entrepreneurship, there’s always risk.  While you may strive to establish strong ethical business relationships, the other side may have different intentions. Proceed with caution and always keep the big picture in mind.

I had the opportunity to take away clients from my competitors but respectfully declined their offers. A compromised reputation isn’t worth a few clients and dollars in the long run.  My entrepreneurial competition is on going. I believe I will always strive to grow and improve for by my clients, my business and myself. I’d like to think Ms. Thomas would award me the first-place ribbon for learning to work well with others.

Article published on Latin Business Today website:

http://latinbusinesstoday.com/2014/02/3-steps-profitability-competition/ 

Go Further Today- Challenge Yourself!

QM CHALLANGE

Creating your own challenges can benefit both yourself and your business

Last month I decided to create and take on my own challenge. Yes, it may sound off the wall at first, but I’m sure you’ll understand why I did this once you get the details.

The purpose for this challenge was two fold. First, as an entrepreneur, it’s essential I take creative approaches to keep my business relevant, fresh and real. Second, it was a personal goal.

I turned the big 4-0 in October and wanted to increase my fitness level and lose some weight in the process. As a health coach, I decided to put my own services to work for myself. So I combined both my business and personal goals in what I called the Q-tober Challenge.

The official Q-tober Challenge was my commitment to lose a total of ten pounds in the 31 days of October. I documented the journey via my business social-media outlets like Facebook and my website blog. There was no turning back once I posted the Q-tober challenge on the web. I was excited, determined and a little nervous all at once.

Mind, Body and Soul

This challenge was born from a personal desire. I really wanted to enhance my health by increasing overall muscle and tone. And, yes, as I mentioned previously, I was turning 40, so why not? As a professional health and fitness expert, I’ve found most people don’t think too much about the lifestyle a health coach adheres to from day to day. Of course, I really enjoy taking care of my mind, body and soul with proper nutrition, exercise and meditation.

But as the saying goes, I’m only human. I love cupcakes and chocolate and just about everything in between, and while I’m being perfectly honest, I also crave burgers and fries from time to time. I think you get the point: Although living a healthy lifestyle is integral to my profession, I knew losing 10 pounds in 31 days would take serious commitment and effort—and this time my reputation was on the line.

From the entrepreneur’s perspective

From the entrepreneur’s perspective, this was a brilliant, free marketing opportunity for my business and services. I didn’t have to pay anyone for the creative concept and I was in total control of driving this campaign from beginning to end.

Social media was key in keeping this campaign alive and thriving. I even invited others to join the challenge with me. I was beyond excited about having the opportunity to share my personal thoughts, emotions and more with others during the weight-loss challenge.

Facebook was a powerful marketing resource for communicating updates, motivational inspiration and recipes every day. I was also able to use my website blog to expand on information and details regarding my nutritional and fitness program throughout the challenge. Ultimately, the Q-tober challenge provided me with an opportunity to enhance my knowledge and use of social media and blogging to advance my business.

Keeping Your Head Up

Reflecting on the meaning and purpose of a challenge was a surprising highlight for me. As with any “challenge” in life, it’s important to take a moment and really understand the “why.” Determine why you’re going to spend your time, effort, resources and energy to take on the challenges you do. Once this is established, you’ve created a safe place of strength and clarity in which you can retreat when you encounter resistance from the outside.

During this challenge, I discovered not everyone was “TEAM SUSIE.” They either didn’t understand why I was challenging myself, didn’t support me or just didn’t care at all about my goal of improving my health and fitness. Rather than allowing this to discourage me, I retreated to my place of safety and eventually began to find peace with the fact that this challenge wasn’t about everyone else. This was my challenge.

As entrepreneurs, our challenge is to create, maintain and eventually grow successful businesses without allowing external resistance to deter or discourage us. This realization reminded me to reinforce the importance of teaching my clients to stick to their challenges and run their own race. I’m happy to report that since the challenge I’ve incorporated a few new health-coaching techniques to my repertoire that have had a significant impact on my clients.

The Professional and the Personal

Blogging throughout the challenge was an absolute highlight. I discovered numerous benefits from this form of expression. I used blogging as a tool to share various types of services I provide, as well as my health-coaching philosophy. Additionally, using real images of food and myself on my blog was another key component for creating an interesting and inviting blog. Blogging for your business is a great approach to connect with your clients. It allows you to reveal your personality and share your knowledge while still featuring your services and business.

A more personal highlight revealed itself in a moment of disappointment. You see, I desired fireworks and confetti falling from the sky every time I resisted temptation or dropped a pound. Well, I quickly realized that wasn’t a reality. I had to learn how to reward and thank myself daily. I know we all want the positive strokes of acknowledgement and encouragement. However, through this experience, I truly came to find the significance of thanking myself for my own accomplishments rather than seeking it from others. So now I give myself a high five for all of my daily accomplishments, no matter how big or small. This treasure of gratitude is what continues to inspire me in business and in life.

Business Opportunities

The Q-tober challenge started with a desire to lose a little weight, but it quickly expanded into an amazing business and personal success in just over a month. The traffic to my website has increased considerably and my social-media presence only continues to grow.

You too should explore opportunities to challenge yourself. The outcomes can be remarkable. Take it from me: I challenged myself to lose but ended up gaining much more in the process. Go further today!

Article published on Latin Business Today website http://latinbusinesstoday.com/2013/11/go-further-today-challenge-yourself/ 

Entrepreneurs Show Me the Service!

QM Piggy

How non-money making volunteer work can change entrepreneurs and others

Being an entrepreneur can certainly become a goal in its own—and there’s nothing wrong with that. But by simply looking beyond the bottom line, entrepreneurs can dramatically enhance the lives of those who might be less fortunate.

“Show me the money!” is a phrase made famous by Tom Cruise in the film Jerry Maguire in 1996. Cruise played a sports agent who vigorously sought to get the highest dollars for his clients.

Entrepreneurs have a similar challenge and motivation in business; however, we are our own clients. I’m certain most entrepreneurs envision the day when their products and services are in high demand and can command the highest value.

This mentality is common in entrepreneurship. It’s the confidence, belief and knowledge that your business is your most treasured client. Therefore, it’s perfectly logical that your goal is to generate the greatest revenue through all means necessary. This is the foundation of good business, right? Your service/product equals monetary value.  As a budding entrepreneur in the field in health and fitness, I’m learning the true value of my services through service.

A Great Opportunity

I recently attended an event for entrepreneurs and was excited about the hopes of attracting new clients. Well, those hopes were surpassed when a fellow entrepreneur approached me with an opportunity to share my health-coaching services with the local Christian Women’s Job Corp organization.

To be honest, I’d never heard of this group before so I agreed to discuss it more at a later time before making a commitment. I soon learned the Christian Women’s Job Corp was a ministry working to bring hope to women through Bible study, one-on-one mentoring, new life skills and job-readiness preparation. “Wow,” I thought, “what a great opportunity!” But wait, how much does this opportunity pay?

Before I could formulate my thoughts and words, it was made clear this was a volunteer position. Although, I knew this was going to be a significant obligation of my time and services, without hesitation I firmly stated my commitment to the group and started the following week. So instead of hoping to generate a few new clients from the networking event, I was blessed with about a dozen.

 Paid in Full

My time serving this group of women has been, as they say, priceless.  In just a short time, I feel I’ve made connections with them beyond just being a health coach. We’ve also become friends. We not only talk about the importance of good health and fitness, but also about some of the barriers they face and strategies they can use to overcome them.

My “a-ha” moment revealed itself one day while I was conducting routine individual-fitness assessments. In between weighing and taking waist and thigh measurements, I realized the true value of this service. Some of the women shared more than just health history, medications and eating habits with me. They revealed significant life challenges they were currently facing or had recently conquered. I learned so much by simply listening to the women during this personal time.

You see, the key to effective health coaching is good listening skills. Through listening, I was better able to hear and understand more than just about the women’s health and fitness goals, but also their desire for overall change in their lives.  Perhaps the chance to help women change life for the better was my “payment” for services rendered. If so, I consider myself paid in full.

Valuable Lessons

Although they say time is money, I’m confident the valuable lessons I’m learning as a person, health coach and entrepreneur through this act of service will reveal itself in time. I would encourage other entrepreneurs to explore opportunities to share your products/services with others.  You never know who you will come across during this time and how it could change your business and life for the better.

A wise woman once told me that if you’re willing to work for free and still feel good about it, then you have the true spirit of an entrepreneur. At the time, I thought, “Entrepreneurship is about making money.” Today, I can say I totally understand what she meant. So when the next opportunity comes your way, instead of thinking, “Show me the money!” maybe you’ll think, “Show me the service!” first.

Article published on Latin Business Today website: http://latinbusinesstoday.com/2013/10/entrepreneurs-show-service/

 

Small business branding – What’s In a Name?

QM Branding LBT

Companies such as Nike and Apple have turned branding into a science—and you can too

Take a branding stroll with me down memory lane for a moment. Do you recall when it was popular to wear product brand names prominently across your chest or even your bottom? Companies like Ralph Lauren, Coca-Cola and Calvin Klein really took advantage of creating huge marketing opportunities with the concept of self-branding.

Well, not too much has changed since then. Branding is evolving into an even bigger marketing goldmine through social media.  Hardly a new marketing concept, personal branding was first introduced in a self-help book in 1937, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  As a new entrepreneur, I knew branding would be a vital component to the overall success of my business.  Therefore, I didn’t’ take it lightly and dedicated my full attention to the process.

Branding is defined as the development in creating a unique name and image for a product or service in the consumers mind. My branding goal was aimed at establishing a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

I started the branding process for my health-coaching business at a local coffee shop with a friend. I soon realized I would need additional time and guidance to ensure my brand was a true representation of my business and myself. I’m sharing a few insights I learned along the way that helped me and might help you whether you’re developing a brand now or want to refresh your image.

Do Your Research

Conducting thorough research on the onset of the branding process can potentially save your business money, time and even embarrassment in some cases. At the coffee shop, the iPad and iPhones were buzzing with all sorts of web searches that included website domain names and popular logos. I scribbled out several ideas and key words I wanted my brand to represent on a napkin.

During this phase of branding, I discovered several valuable resources for guidance and assistance. I attended a few SEO (search engine optimization) classes provided by a local university small-business development center. I also took advantage of online courses on the Foundations of Logo Designs and Brand Building Basics through Lynda.com. These classes were extremely helpful in providing me a bigger picture of how my brand could make a greater impact in social media with key knowledge and proper planning.

As a health coach, I wanted my brand to portray a theme that was relevant and real to my trade. I made a connection with the word “movements” but still felt it lacked personalization. So after a few more creative sessions, “Q Movements, Go Further Today” was created.

Be Consistent

Once the brand is determined, your consistency will begin to play a major role on its reach. Because of the many social media marketing opportunities available for businesses, the main goal at this point is to be consistent throughout the outlets you decide to use. Your Facebook, You Tube, Vine or Google+ presence should all resemble the same theme and concept of your business, including logos, tag lines, colors and content.

Being consistent with your brand sounds easy and logical. However, given the speed at which technology and social media move, it can easily get away from you if you get complacent or lazy. I have a few logos designed for “Q Movements” for variety, but they all exhibit the same essence of the brand. My social media outlets are consistent with my website, which are in line with my print media and merchandise.

Consistency may sound boring but I assure you it’s fundamental to attracting your target market. As a result, I encourage continuous creativity within your brand so neither you nor your clients get bored and fade away.

Live It

Branding is an extension of your business and you. As a health coach, my life is centered on making healthy choices for myself with regard to fitness, nutrition and spirituality on the web as well as off.  Therefore you could say I am always working. I enjoy wearing my merchandise and sharing information about my services with potential clients at the grocery store, church or whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Authenticity is essential in creating a successful lasting brand. Consumers know they have many choices and understand the value their loyalty adds to a brand. Consequently, fully living and embodying your brand can yield high returns for your business.

Branding was a great overall personal and business learning experience for me.  I’m sure I’ll need to modify and tweak aspects of the brand as social media changes and my business evolves.  In the meantime, having an awareness of these simple tips can also get your business in the marketing game and on the same playing field with brands like Nike and Apple. And if I play the game right, a new generation may be begging their parents for “Q Movements” products and services.

Article published on Latin Business Today website:               http://latinbusinesstoday.com/2013/10/small-business-branding-whats-name/

Hispanic Heritage Appreciating The Best of Both

Q Movements

My Hispanic Heritage Story: How parents with opposite traits inspired me

If you look up “opposites” in the dictionary, you may see a picture of my parents, Rudy and Lucille. They’re genuinely good people who raised me to respect others, value family and love God. However, when it comes to everything else, they’re night and day.

My Daily Inspiration

My mother is a very talented, caring and strong woman, but perhaps her greatest strength is her level of acceptance. She accepts people for who they are and doesn’t try to change anyone. She shares her opinions but never forces them on others.

My mother has always been supportive, even in the face of some of the bad decisions I’ve occasionally made. While other parents may turn their backs on, stop communicating with or even disown their children when they don’t agree with their decisions or lifestyles, my mother has continuously remained supportive of her children. This acceptance of people, circumstances and life in general is an inspiration to me on a daily basis, and it has given me the confidence and freedom to pursue my desires, knowing that—no matter the outcome—my mother will always have my back.

Honest Conversations

My father is a wise, reserved and dedicated family man, and he’s a true man of his word. If he says he’ s going to do something, consider it done. I regularly seek his advice because I know I’m going to get straight talk and nothing else.

This is one of the traits I most admire in him. He’s not afraid to be honest even if he knows it may cause hurt feelings. He values being honest much more than being popular, although he’s respectful when he speaks. As a result, I’m ready for the truth and nothing but the truth when I come to him for advice. Although there have been times when I haven’t agreed with or liked what he’s said, I always knew he had my best interests in mind.

All It Takes Is Two

As different as my parents are, this combination somehow worked to create three incredible children who contribute to their country, society and community.

My brother is a college graduate and registered nurse currently serving in the U.S. Army. He’s married with three children of his own. My sister is a college graduate with a degree in early childhood education. She’s the mother of two boys and is active in her church community. I graduated with a master’s degree in public health and just recently started a successful business. I also teach religious education to 8th graders in my church.

The love, acceptance and guidance I received from my parents helped shape me into the woman I am today. Some say it takes a village to raise a child, but in my family’s case, it took just Rudy and Lucille. And it may be because of their differences—their acceptance and straight talk—that they are truly inspirational to me.

 

Is Entrepreneurship For You?

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Posted by Susie Quintana

Entrepreneurship- review these two steps for insights on what it takes to be an entrepreneur

Just add water. Can entrepreneurship really be that easy? Can the seeds of entrepreneurship grow for us if we just add water? Yes, I believe they can flourish beyond our imagination! The question now is: “How do I get my hands on these magical seeds, and how much?” Well, I can guarantee you won’t find them on Amazon.com or at your local nursery. These seeds can be found only by digging deep in the depths of Self. However, unlike belly buttons, not everyone has them. Ultimately, entrepreneurship doesn’t sprout for everyone, nor do those seed always take root. In just two simple steps, you’ll know if you have the coveted green thumb.

Step 1: Digging DeepDo I have what it takes to start my own business?

This can be the moment of truth for most. Questions and concerns like “Do I have what it takes to start my own business?” or “What if the business fails and I lose everything?” quickly become real conversations. This is the digging deep required internally that will eventually reveal your answer. Recently, I reached for my shovel and began my own excavation! I always believed I would eventually branch out of employee and elevate to employer status, but I never envisioned the transition process. I began to dig. Remember: Entrepreneurship is not like belly buttons. So I dug deeper.

Finally, I put the shovel down and surveyed the land. “What’s this? Are these the seeds I’ve been seeking?” Perhaps. Let’s examine more closely. I’m a well-educated Latina with reputable credentials, but I didn’t have money in the bank saved for a rainy day, nor did I have a clue about the first step in starting my own business. How could I be sure the seeds were real and not an illusion?

It came down to one word for me: value. What did I value most at this point in my life? I valued myself. The transition was in motion. I began to value my skills, talents and passion more than I believed any employer could ever match or surpass. Around the same time frame, I was presented with a career opportunity to earn a higher salary with the possibility for advancement in the department. I wrestled with the decision for a few days, but my strong Mexican roots kicked in and reminded me of the importance of staying true to one’s self. Therefore, I respectfully declined the position and set my focus on entrepreneurship. Determining value is an absolute necessity in business. If you don’t determine the value of your goods and services, then how can you expect to be compensated accordingly? I felt my seeds taking root. So now you know you have the seeds; what’s next?

Step 2: Nourishment- Isn’t water the foundation for growth and an essential element for life?

Nourishment can include just about anything from sound business plans to thorough market analysis to branding and social media. Where to begin, and does it ever end? Our entrepreneurial seeds simply need water. After all, isn’t water the foundation for growth and an essential element for life? It’s readily available and relatively inexpensive. Our seeds will only rely on the water we supply to ensure they are firmly planted. Too much or too little water could cause an imbalance in the soil. Therefore, we must take the time to determine how to cultivate our own seeds.

World-renowned entrepreneurs like Oprah Winfrey and Walt Disney discovered their own water sources through perseverance, trusting relationships and belief in Self.  Be advised: This step can be tricky, so proceed with caution.

One afternoon while attending a class sponsored by a local small-business mentoring association, I engaged in conversation with one of the highly esteemed mentors. In less than five minutes, the so-called respected mentor managed to inform me my business plan was a bad idea and how he would have directed me to another path. Really? He just met me. How could he possible know which business path was right for me?

I’ve frequently encountered similar scenarios in business. I acknowledge there are individuals who have brilliant business insight and financial success. However, no one will know your vision or business better than yourself. Your seeds are delicate and can be destroyed before they ever break soil, if you’re not attentive to external conditions. So I smiled and kindly ejected myself from the conversation almost like a pilot before the jet spins out of control.

The cultivation process continued. I attended more business classes, identified vital financial resources, engaged trusted advisers and conducted extensive market research. They all served as essential sources of nourishment for my seeds. Then I discovered my own personal water well. I can access it anytime, it’s absolutely free and the water is always so fresh and invigorating. This 24-hour, all-access water well for me is meditation. Stress release, enhanced creativity and increased focus are just a few of the profound effects I experience through this daily practice as a budding entrepreneur. My water well is constantly flowing and ready to give, as long as I continue to “go to the well.

The Big Question

So back to the initial question: “Can the seeds of entrepreneurship grow for us if we just add water?” You be the judge. Meditation helped enlighten my awareness of the self-confidence and value I would require for entrepreneurship. I’ve never seen my thumbs so green in my life!

One last gardening tip I’d like to share. Just like in nature, seasons change and can impact the growth of your seeds. You’ll see your seeds flourish with financial growth in optimal conditions or suffer economic drought under harsh conditions. Regardless of the season, remember your seeds still need water to keep them alive and ready to thrive again in due time.

Still thinking of starting the next virtual dog walking business? Well, before you stock up on doggie treats, you may want to grab for the nearest shovel and start digging!

 

When Business Opportunity Knocks At Your Door

Posted by Susie Quintana

Identifying business opportunities takes awareness and perspective

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, then build a door”

—Milton Berle

There are many famous quotes and sayings regarding opportunity. I’m sure you can rattle off a couple of your favorites at any moment’s notice. In business, opportunities are sought after much like the golden ticket in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Every chocolate bar is purchased and opened with the anticipation of catching a glimpse of gold glimmer peeking through the wrapper and revealing the “opportunity” of a lifetime! Isn’t it funny that a trip to a chocolate factory can still be considered an opportunity of a lifetime for some even today? Well, I discovered my golden ticket of opportunity, and it wasn’t wrapped around a chocolate bar. It was hatched right outside my door.

Notice Your Opportunities

Not long ago, I noticed the makings of a crudely constructed bird’s nest carefully engineered to sit within the wreath hanging on the front door of my home. At the time, I really didn’t feel I made a major discovery, to be quite honest. A bird nesting is a pretty common fact of life, so I moved on with the rest of my day and didn’t think much about it.

How many times has this happened to you in business? Take a moment to reflect on how you react when you encounter something new in technology, social media or leadership. Do you take the time to stop and explore how it could help you or your business improve? Or do you simply hit your mental delete button and send to trash? Most successful entrepreneurs are instinctively highly self-motivated and open-minded to new and fresh opportunities. However, with the increasing amounts of information, connections and communication streaming through us daily, we can still lose sight of opportunities that could potentially advance our business and, ultimately, transform our lives.

Expect the Unexpected

A few days after the initial bird’s nest sighting, I have to admit, I was a little curious, so I decided to take a peek in the nest. I wasn’t expecting to see much other than more bits of twigs and leaves. But before I could swing the door completely open, I was abruptly squawked away by the nesting mother bird. She was posed for attack and staring right in my direction. I quickly shut the door and proceeded out the house through the garage for the next three weeks, so as not to instigate any more confrontations. Mother bird reminded me of a valuable lesson I learned early in life: Expect the unexpected.

This is so true in business. If you’re not careful, you could squawk away good customers or trusted vendors by not being prepared for anything that may come your way. Little did I know my golden ticket of opportunity had just peeped its way into my life!

Awareness and Perspective

From that day forward, I was both excited and interested to see what was transpiring within the nest. As a new Latina entrepreneur, I’m learning the importance of awareness and perspective in my business development and relationships. While formulating my entrepreneurial path, I researched trending businesses, economic forecasts and even spoke with a few influential business leaders. I considered numerous types of business to explore over a period of time, only to conclude I overlooked the obvious.

My passion and experience is in public health and health promotion. I’m a Hispanic woman living in South Texas, which is known for high obesity rates. This was my golden ticket of opportunity to use my knowledge, skills and passion to help my community increase wellness through health and fitness.

Seasoned entrepreneur or not, the need for awareness and perspective is critical to ensure you’re not missing the obvious. I blatantly took the messy bird’s nest for granted, instead of stopping and taking a moment to reflect and respect the new life that was naturally evolving right outside my door.

The eggs hatched, but only one of the four baby birds survived and eventually flew the nest. What a clear-cut illustration of survival of the fittest demonstrated within the confines of a small bird’s nest. The same competitive principle exists in the global world of business today. As entrepreneurs, the value of your awareness of every single opportunity becomes vital to the growth and success of your business. Consequently, just like the three baby birds that never took flight, not every opportunity will have your business soar to new heights.

Perspective is key to discerning which opportunities could best benefit your business. Take time to pause and use your keen vision to explore outside yourself as often as possible. It’s worth it! When armed with awareness and perspective, you begin to develop confidence, knowing you don’t have to jump on every opportunity that crosses your path. You start to recognize which opportunity is best for you and your business, and worthy of pursuing further. There is no sense in starting a beekeeping business, if you’re allergic to bees!

Fortunately, I spotted my golden ticket of opportunity through the inspiration I received from simply noticing the bird’s nest. It sparked me to take a breather and appreciate what is real and natural. Sometimes we disregard what feels natural and right, and move toward what appears to be more popular or profitable. The bird’s nest reminded me to not overlook the obvious in life and go with what felt natural and right for my business venture.

As a personal trainer and wellness consultant, I now take advantage of my opportunities daily to empower other Hispanics in my community to live healthier and happier lives. You don’t always have to build doors to find your opportunities, like Milton Berle suggested. Sometimes you just have to take the time to look on the other side.