By Michelby Coco Whitehead

January is all about new beginnings and executing ideas. For many women, that means finally saying bye-bye to the 9 to 5 and starting their own business. The National Women’s Business Council reports that there are over 1,500,000 black-owned female businesses in the United States. While sisters have always been capable of doing it for themselves, every new business owner will discover entrepreneurship is no walk in the park. Here are seven things to consider before you fire your boss!

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1. Only offer what you excel at. 
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it really is something that you must be certain about. For example, potential customers will come to you looking for services that you don’t necessarily offer, but could offer. Let’s say you are a hairstylist that specializes in natural hair, but a client wants you to do a lace front installation. If that’s not your lane, don’t go there. Be confident enough to know that giving a referral will not cause you to lose out on anything.

2. Your ideal client. 
You cannot service everyone who has a need for what you offer. You’re probably thinking ‘Huh? That doesn’t make sense.' However, every bride is not interested in spending $10,000 on wedding decor. Some brides prefer to be frugal, and that’s okay. So, if you want to sell high-end services, target customers with higher earning potential. In turn, this will allow you to market your brand to the right clients for you.

3. Prepare to go virtual. 
The marketplace is so much bigger than your hometown, so brush up on your computer skills! You can reach more potential customers by offering products and services virtually. Many entrepreneurs are also presenting workshops and empowerment conferences online.

4. Pick a payment system. 
In 2018, we do not have time to chase clients down for payments owed! There are many systems and mobile apps for business. Test a few out to see what you’re comfortable using. Dosh, is the latest app and it has incentives for business owners to make money through referrals until January 21, 2018.

5. You don’t need to hire a business coach immediately.
 
Listen, I know social media is flooded with amazing business gurus who have incredible platforms, but take your time when choosing a coach. If you have your eye on a coach, take advantage of his or her Facebook group first. This will allow you to see how knowledgeable and sincere that person is.

6. Network your butt off. 
Your network increases your net worth! Attend events and mixers where you live as well as in cities you want to start building your presence. Opportunities will not fall into your lap on a regular basis; they must be created.

7. Celebrate your accomplishments. 
Celebrating the little victories in your entrepreneur journey will motivate you to stick to what you started, even when business isn’t booming!

Do you have any business tips to share?

A woman of the bayou pimping my pen because I'm scared of a day job. You can find me somewhere telling stories like Nas and Terry McMillan on April Fool's day. Writing is life so follow me on IG @cococurator 


By Michelby Coco Whitehead

At the 75th Golden Globes Oprah said something that will carry us all throughout the year no matter what we are facing. She said “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” Therefore, it's only right that H&M and any other racist companies feel our wrath in 2018. Since the explosion of consumer outrage on yesterday morning, the controversial advertisement of a Black boy in hoodie has been removed from its website and H&M has issued an apology. However, the sad reality is this could happen again with another company. To "stay woke" is to stay ready. Here are four ways we can speak truth to power the next time consumers of color are disrespected.

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1. Sharing is caring. Some pseudo activists will say that sharing things of this nature on social media has no effect, but it does. It's the quickest way to spread awareness. I saw the ad on a colleague's Facebook page and that led me to writing this blog post. Hashtag, tweet, repost and call these companies on their ignorance. There is a social media manager and a social media coordinator on salary who will see every complaint. *Kanye shrug* 

2. Send an email. We've had plenty of practice with getting co-workers together via a nice-nasty, professional email, so this shouldn't be hard at all! Karl-Johan Persson is the CEO of H&M, but I couldn’t be certain if I’d found his LinkedIn account or not because he doesn’t have a profile pic up. However, I found his assistant Carola Ardehn’s profile and she will do just fine to receive some backlash this week. In fact, here is a list of all H&M’s spokespersons who deserve a piece.


3. Blow up their phone line. Use your lunch break to call customer service and let these brands know how distasteful the advertisement is. Don't yell or use profanity; they expect you to do that. However, do be bold and firm in your stance and keep it brief so the next sister can get through the line.

4. Keep your coins. H&M is cancelled. There's no way you can convince me that photo shoot was an accident. Those things take planning. One had to cast a model, hire a stylist, hair, makeup, photographer, book a location, etc. to make this racist ad possible. There is nothing coincidental about such a malicious act. It was intentional and we intend not to shop there or anywhere else that views us less than human.

Everything mentioned above is worth the effort; I know from experience! Wet Seal pulled this same stunt almost a decade ago. I was shopping online, and I noticed a T-Shirt that read You can’t keep a ninja down. I sent an email to the customer service department explaining why the company had clearly lost its mind! I appealed to them as a concerned African-American consumer and as recent public relations graduate and tore their marketing efforts to shreds. And voila! The shirts were taken off the website in a couple of hours and I was sent an apology email. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only person to speak up about it. But just in case you need to be reminded again, speaking your truth is the most powerful tool you have. So say something.

Update: Singer 'The Weeknd' who has collaborated with the brand on a few occasions has since cut ties with them sharing on twitter, "woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i'm deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore..."

Will you continue to shop at H&M?
A woman of the bayou pimping my pen because I'm scared of a day job. You can find me somewhere telling stories like Nas and Terry McMillan on April Fool's day. Writing is life so follow me on IG @cococurator 

A'mara le Negra
By Michelby Whitehead

If 2017 was the year of Cardi B, then one can only nod in agreement that 2018 will be the reign of A'mara la Negra, the breakout cast member on Vh1's Love n Hip Hop Miami. I don't know about you, but the way A'mara's skin glows makes me want to say "Hey girl! Can you be my life coach? Because obviously you're doing something right!" While we wait on the beautiful one to take us under her wing, here are 5 ways A'mara la Negra has inspired us to rock out in 2018!

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1. Don't let present success make you get too comfortable. 
Before Love n Hip Hop Miami, the Dominican darling was already popping on the Latin charts with a phenomenal social media presence. However, she was determined to take things to the next level and make a name for herself in the U.S. This week, A'mara signed a major record deal.


2. Remain authentic and true to your calling. 
Listen, representation matters, especially in media as it relates to standards of beauty. Her dark skin, kinky, curly fro and curvaceous body were something that we had yet to see a reality TV star fight to defend until now. La Negra unapologetically represents the underdog, and we love her for it. This is a reminder to serve #blackgirlmagic whether they want it or not. You had a purpose before any of the naysayers had an opinion. 

A'mara with her mom
3. You need wise counsel if you're going to live your best life. 
Do you remember the 1980s doll My Buddy? The toy was always sold out because kids loved the thought of having a pal they could drag around all day! If having an inanimate object as a friend is helpful for a child's self-esteem, how much more important is it for grown women to have a solid shoulder to lean on? On the first episode of Love n Hip Hop Miami, we see how much A'mara values her mother's opinions and support. In 2018, we're unsubscribing from the school of thought that says boss moves are made alone. Iron sharpens iron.  

4. Obstacles will come, but you have to keep going.
 The one thing that we all have in common is the desire to slay our goals, whatever they may be. You can throw a vision board party and map your goals out. You can even pray that God directs you as you pursue these goals. Nonetheless, you may still have some hiccups along the way.  Don't get frustrated with the process and abort the mission. A'mara admits that life was not easy for her being raised by a single mom and facing discrimination as an Afro Latina. But guess what? She made it and so can you if you are persistent. 


5. Laugh, dance and be merry.
 Check out La Negra's Instagram account. You see nothing but her gorgeous smile as she shakes a tail feather through life, even when she has to clapback on people making ignorant assumptions! No one wants to be around someone who is bitter and messy. No one wants to hear you self loathe and whine about things you have the power to change. Take a page out A'mara's book and create your own happy. 

Tell us how A'mara has inspired you to rock out in 2018.

A woman of the bayou pimping my pen because I'm scared of a day job. You can find me somewhere telling stories like Nas and Terry McMillan on April Fool's day. Writing is life so follow me on IG @cococurator