B.M.W STARBIZ OF THE MONTH

It’s time for B.M.W StarBiz of the Month!
I am excited to showcase our Business Minded Woman of the Month of June!
As you know, I support and follow businesses in the area who are motivated and always on their grind online and offline! This young lady is always working no matter where she is or what she’s doing she is always showcasing her brand…
This month’s B.M.W is my friend and Business Owner of the “IMSODC” Brand Frances Hall…unnamed (1)
Frances: Hey B.M.W!!
Frances: Let me start off by saying that this is a great platform to share stories and learn from one another and I am greatly appreciative for the opportunity to share and absorb all that I can.
Thank you so much! We have to create platforms to showcase business owners that work hard. It’s not easy…so I appreciate that…but let’s learn more about your brand! 🙂
Give us some background on yourself and how you got started in your business…
Frances: I am a DC NATIVE born and raised in Ward 8,Southeast, DC. I attended Catholic School from grades 1-12. As a latchkey kid, I spent mostof my younger years playing sports and entering writing contests thru Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Club and DC Park and Recreation to keep busy while my Mom worked two jobs and finished her college education. After High School, I was fortunate to attend Howard University as a Fashion Merchandising Major for two years. I’ve always loved fashion, partly because my Mom loved it. My Moms’ first love were her two girls, education and fashion. She participated in many local fashion shows as a MC, Coordinator and Model. She was also a live window model for L. Franks Department store in the mid 1970’s.
This is the rebirth of the “IMSODC” Brand and I’m extremely proud to so vocal and an active part in it and yes it is indeed a fulltime job. My partner, Beyshan Tucker started the brand a few years ago but became consumed with of other priorities, ie. Personal Shopper/Stylist, Designer,Owner of Lavish Bay Boutique located in Georgetown, Washington, DC, along with other endeavors and was unable to give the Brand the attention required.
How did you come up with the ImSoDC brand name? Which is the bomb by the way….!!
Frances: I remember the conversation like it was yesterday, one Sunday morning we were scrolling thru Facebook when I saw someone advertising their products. I said “IMSODC” is better and I can take it to another level. He asked if I wanted to be his partner, I quickly accepted and have been spearheading this project since June 2016.

 

What inspired you to start your own business? 
Frances: My inspiration comes from  watching other Entrepreneurs work hard. Facebook also played a big part in inspiring me. It is a hub for all types of businesses, great for networking, dissemination of hard truths, information and entertainment.
Since late 2016, we’ve customized so many items; T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Hats, Jackets (Flight, Denim, Leather and Wool) and Shoes.
Do you do vending events?
Frances: We’ve participated in 6 Vending events so far and as a person with more than 10+ years of Customer Service and Sales experience, I truly pride myself on providing a great experience to my customers.
Regarding the question about other business ventures, last Summer, I made 8 pairs of Custom Pom Pom Sandals and they sold really well, no two pair were alike. It was so awesome to see people wear something that I designed myself and now its happening with the “IMSODC” brand. My partner is a great source of motphoto4ivation, he’s been an Entrepreneur for more than 20 years and has definitely influenced and motivated me to stay the course and stay hungry.
Let me just say…
I love to see a GREAT partnership in business, I believe that is very important because without a great partner that’s motivated…you can’t grow to your full potential!
How do you overcome adversity as an entrepreneur?….People don’t understand we go thru many ups and downs its not as easy as some may think…so how do you handle adversity?
Frances: On dealing with adversity, I lean on my partner and his past experiences to help me overcome difficulty. I’m also always trying to discover ways to set us apart from others and keep the brand fresh. I update pictures daily on our Instagram page, ImSoDConline. We’re currently working on the website and will be done by mid-June.
Frances: A special shout out to all of our Supporters, without them there would truly be no Us. I am sincerely grateful. I love receiving pics, please keep them coming and hashtag us!!!!! #IMSODC
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years with your business endeavors?
Frances: Within the next 5 years, I do envision the brand being in a retail store.
Bonus question: If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15 min with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heart ache, what would you tell yourself?
Frances: If I were to go back to when I initially became a partner and took ownership, I honestly would not change a thing. I love communicating with customers and recommending styles, etc.  I enjoy learning new things and discovering ways to better the business.
Thanks so much for sharing your story of the IMSODC Brand with everyone Frances Hall! Let the people know how they can reach out to purchase or contact you for a vending event…
Contact IMSODC by email at: imsodconline@gmail.com or

Follow on Instagram: Imsodconline

B.M.W StarBiz of the Month

Its that time again!! As you know, each month Business Minded Women, B.M.W  showcases a Business Woman of the Month to spotlight her success, along with the hard work and dedication that is put into keeping them focused everyday!

This month’s Business Minded Women of the Month is Cheron McCrae owner and operator of Clutter Free Professional Organizing Services, LLCFB_IMG_1491315383471

Great speaking with you today!

Give us some background on yourself and how you got started in your business.

I began with a cleaning business which transitioned into an organizing business. Initially, I started the business to earn extra money, then realized the value of helping others. One day cleaning my client’s home, I offered to organized her closet because it was utterly chaotic, and the feeling it gave me once it was completed was fulfilling, the relief and freedom my client felt was even more rewarding. Afterwards, I organized my client’s kitchen cabinets, refrigerator and garage. I’ve focused on organizing and decluttering ever since. I still clean here and there but my focus is more on organizing for sure. It has truly become my passion and it comes so natural for me. Clutter Free has changed the lives for many of clients, and for that I’m grateful. It changed my life as well.

What brought you to Business Minded Women, B.M.W and what have your experience being with the group?

The name is what really grabbed my attention, I identified with it instantly. It has given me the platform to promote my business, connect with other business minded women and the ability to share and get new ideas for my own business. It’s an amazing networking platform that supports entrepreneurial women in a major way.

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How does the group benefit you/your business?

The ability to promote my business and display my passion is one of the enormous benefits. I’ve also learned so much about entrepreneurship and women empowerment. The support that BMW provides is outstanding, I’m grateful to be a part of this group.

What inspired you to start your business and to start this type of company?

To be completely honest, you could have never told me in a million years that I would be a business owner, let alone be successful at it. I just needed to earn extra money to make ends meet at the time. It was easy to start, minimum overhead cost and I knew that I was an exceptional cleaner.

Is your work commercial or residential?

Clutter Free is currently residential but looking to expand to commercial.

How many people do you have working with you?

I have 2 people that support me when needed. I also, work with a few moving companies and connections with the salvation army.

Do you do partnerships with other business owners?

Not now but looking to do partnerships in the future.

What keeps you motivated?

My devoted passion to help others and the ability change their lives in the process, it completely fulfills me.

How do you overcome adversity as an entrepreneur?

It’s not as easy as some may think…so how do you handle adversity? I’ve learned as an entrepreneur there will many ups and downs, it comes with the territory. I make sure I learn from all my mistakes, accept constructive criticism and I keep pushing through and never quit is how I overcome my adversities. 

How can people reach you if they need your services?

I am in the process of having my website developed and Facebook business page recreated, for right now I can be reached at cmccrae77@gmail.com or 202-744-7332.

If you have any other questions regarding Cheron’s business or want to set up an appointment with her contact 202.744.7332!

Thank you for speaking with me today Cheron! I wish you much success with your business!!!

Why is having Good Credit so Important??

I’ve added some of my own experiences here along with my conversations with Credit Expert Bonita Grant owner of Cure My Credit Scores to share with you the importance of having good credit. I think this is something we all should know and should be sharing with those who want to learn more about how to fix credit issues and gain a higher credit score.bad credit good credit

When I was coming up, the topic of having good credit or how to prepare financially, was rarely talked about. As I got older is when I started to learn more about the importance of maintaining good credit and teaching my son things I’d learned about having good credit.

After having conversations with Ms Grant about this she shared her experiences and beliefs on the subject which made a lot of sense, stating that “certain cultures educate their families early about credit. The majority of her clients are people of color and she believes that mis-education of people of color is intentional and systematic.” YES! I had to agree with her. To add to that, we have to educate each other, the more we learn the more we can teach and share with our children so they can share with their children.

What do you think lenders want to see when purchasing a home?? How are you able to purchase a new car without having a super high interest rates?? Renting is even arefinancing-bad-credit.jpg problem without having good credit…I could go on and on…but I think you get the picture…investing in your dream home, a business, a new vehicle, obtaining credit cards, renting or purchasing anything is why having good credit is so important. Our credit expert states in her experience, if you ask a Loan officer would you rather have a client that has good credit and a little money or a client that has a lot of money and bad credit, they will always say the person with good credit.  With good credit all doors are open. The feedback received from clients is that their lives are changed after their credit score improves.

When I asked credit expert Bonita about her thoughts on my question, In your opinion, why do you think we forget about credit and how important it is? Bonita shared, “I don’t think we forget, I think we are taught that other things like fancy clothes and cars are more important than owning your house. I think we are taught that only rich people can own their houses. I think some are taught to be afraid of credit cards.” This is true, and to me credit cards can be intimidating, especially if you are not educated on how to use one. I told myself I never wanted another credit card ever again. It took me years to get another one, not only because my credit was a mess, but I was afraid I would abuse my card.

These days we have so much technology and social media we can find things so much easier, and now we have more companies willing to help and teach us how to have better credit and maintain better financial situations. It’s really just a matter of finding the RIGHT company that works for you. I use to try to fix my own credit, however I couldn’t find the time or the patience. It was good for me to find a great company to work with me and all of my many questions.

When I attended the “Real Estate Ladies Rock” event in 2016 I made so many great contacts one of which was a young lady named Bonita Grant, Credit Expert and owner of Cure My Credit Scores I called her the very next business day! When I say she got me results…She went over and beyond to help me I asked questions, she was patient, friendly, helpful and professional my scores actually jumped 179 points in 1 month!

Bonita worked with me for about 4 to 5 months and she got my scores right where they need to be!

Bonita was able to remove derogatory items from my credit report in no time. I asked her prior to her helping me, what does your company do to help people with bad credit, she said “We educate our client on how credit works.  Our goal is to make people credit experts so that they can teach their families how credit works. We write the letters that help get the negative items off their report and help them add positive credit ensuring that they get to a 700 or greater in a short amount of time. We are very affordable and we have payment plans so that everyone can access our services.” And she was not lying! She lived up to her word. With that, I thought I needed to share her with all of my readers! Try her for yourself…

For more information, contact Bonita Grant

www.curemycredit700.com

617-955-4599

800-707-5022

 

Starting /Re-Starting Your Business in 2017

Business Minded Women, B.M.W

Are you ready to get your business started but not sure where to to begin? Do you already have a business but need to get re-focused? First things first getting started is the easy part, maintaining your business can be difficult, owning a business it takes a lot of time, focus and sacrifice.

After you have registered your business with your state. Finding your niche is the best way to get your business started, once you’ve found your niche, find out what your customers needs are and how you can help them, educate them on the service or product you offer. Be sure you are able to fund your business and you at least have a 3 to 5 year business plan in place. Follow through on your plan step by step, do not allow anything to take you off of your focus of your goals and what you want to do. Also…

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B.M.W StarBiz of the Month

 

 

Each month Business Minded Women, B.M.W will be showcasing a Business of the Month to spotlight their success, along with the hard work and dedication that is put into keeping them focused everyday. I have interviewed a few businesses in person and online to ask questions to help us learn more about the owners and the products and services they provide to the community .

This month’s Spotlight B.M.W feature is business owner and Chef of Scratch by Chef Christa…..Christa McLaughlin!

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Host: I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me today!

 

Host: What brought you to Business Minded Women, B.M.W group and what have your experience been with the group?

 

You actually added me I believe but honestly it’s hard to say because people add me to their groups all the time but once I checked it out I was more than happy to be a part of the group. I enjoy the group actually especially when so many women are against each other or aim to put each other down its nice to be a part of a group where women can not only uplift and motivate each other but also support each other’s businesses as we aim to uplift our community.

Host: I like to add women that I see are about their business! 🙂

Host: How does the group benefit you/your business?

Having been given the opportunity to post my menus and flyers I have acquired new clients and relationships within the group.

Host: Cool!

Host: So, what inspired you to start your own business and to start this type of company?

When my daughter was born I was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with her for her first year and in doing so I fell in love with cooking. I started cooking for friends which turned into a side gig. Maybe 5 years later I made the decision to become a professional chef so I went to culinary school and my career as a chef began however as I worked for many different kinds of restaurants I saw that I faced similar challenges as I did working in the corporate world. I also continued to cook and cater for friends and managed to maintain a small client list so after about 5 years of experiencing all of the challenges that come with being not only a woman but a black woman in a very male dominated industry I started to realize that if I could create such amazing creations for the restaurants I worked for then I could also do it for myself. I have always been different and always found a way to make money on my own outside of the traditional paycheck but once I became a chef I knew it was my life’s work and my key to true freedom so I began to learn all that I could and jump from place to place to gain experience in every genre I could. One of my final stops was a large catering company in DC and it was there that I knew that I could do it, that I could use all that I had learned to free myself from the thumb of employers for good. I had tried many times before and many times I lost hope but without failure you cannot attain success so I stopped partying, I stopped hanging out and everything else that kept me from giving myself the same 100% that I gave my former employers.

Host: WOW, that’s understood! Very much so!

Host: I notice you LOVE to fish, what inspired you to start and what are some of your favorite fish to catch?

Fishing saved my life! Being a former bartender and living the life of a chef alcoholism is an easy trap to fall into and it was that trap that I was stuck in. I had fallen into a cycle of drinking, hanging in bars and keeping the company of so called friends that only brought me down. Everyone wants to hang with the person that is the life of the party, always buying and never expecting anything in return. After hitting rock bottom a few times and looking around to see that none of those people were there for me when I was down I decided I wanted to make a change and get a hobby that would keep me out of the bars. I had an associate who was in a group I was in who mentioned that he was going fishing and had a fishing group, I had been fishing when I was little and I remembered how much I enjoyed it so I had him add me to the group, got myself a rod and started going with them. In the beginning I didn’t know how to cast or even setup my rod for that matter but they showed me everything I needed to know and in a couple months I was just as good as they were. I found a peace like no other when I was on the pier, a bond with this group of guys that wasn’t sexual or inappropriate and most of all I was able to let go of my habit with the bottle. While I still appreciate a cocktail I have self control and overall I am a much calmer person. I love fishing so much that I don’t have a favorite fish to catch, I just love it all whether its fishing on a pier or deep sea fishing off a boat.

Host: I Love IT!!!

Host: Do you have a signature dish? Do you have any favorite dishes?

I don’t have a favorite dish it’s impossible with so many choices to choose just one, my love affair is with food, how it grown/raised and the many ways to prepare it. I do however have a signature dish it’s my brain child I created at my very first restaurant out of culinary school as Executive Chef. It was at Indulj Restaurant & Lounge where a very young Chef Christa created the Collard Green Spring Roll in 2008. Since then others have tried to imitate them and some have even attempted to take credit for them but anyone who is familiar with DC, U Street or Chef Christa knows exactly where they came from.

Host: What are some of your favorite ingredients?

I love fresh vegetables and herbs for certain….even though the term farm to table is somewhat cliché the concept of it is still very attractive to me. I also love cooking with seafood but it has to be fresh I just can’t get next to frozen unless I have no choice. I also really love experiencing new ingredients and different foods from all over the world.

Host: If I wanted to have a candlelight dinner for myself and my “hunny” would you be able to offer that service? 

Yes! I do intimate private dinners all the time and when I do I bring the ambiance, the food, the wine…..the entire experience.

 Host: Does Scratch do catering for weddings?

Scratch definitely caters weddings both small and large plus because of my pastry experience I also do wedding cakes and dessert displays so I have the ability to handle all of the food and beverage to make any wedding a special event.

Host: Do you have specific packages?

Because Scratch is a 100% custom catering business I don’t offer packages, instead I create menus unique to my clients and the theme of their event.

Host: Do you do partnerships with other business owners?

Yes! I partner with other business owners for events all the time, it’s a great way to build relationships as well as grow my client base.

Host: What keeps you motivated?

My daughter and my family keep me motivated, the ability to be there for them and offer my assistance when they need me. Plus I appreciate little moments like my quiet time in the morning, being able to take care of my chores and errands while everyone else is at work and having time to drive my daughter to school or go fishing are luxuries that many don’t get to enjoy.

Host: How do you overcome adversity as an entrepreneur?….People don’t understand we go thru many ups and downs its not as easy as some may think…so how do you handle adversity?

I’ve never been the type to allow people to tell me no to my dreams and aspirations. When I told my mother that I wanted to be a chef she told me that I needed to get a real job because I had a child but I knew what I wanted to do and I did it. There will always be nay sayers, there will always be doubters but I don’t allow the noise to stop me. Since I was a child people have tried to put their doubts and negative energy on my life based on what they expected me to become and I have always proven them wrong.

Great! I love that!! That’s how you do that! 🙂

Host: Bonus question: If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heart ache, what would you tell yourself?

 

I would tell myself not to allow outside noise to take away my focus, to always have my contracts and paperwork in order no matter the relationship and to allow myself to enjoy the journey while still focusing on the destination.

 

Host: How can people reach you if they need your services?

By phone: 202-599-3240

Facebook: @ScratchByChefChrista
Instagram: @ChefChrista

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 Thank you so much for being B.M.W StarBiz of the Month!!

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B.M.W is a platform to share, learn and interact with like-minds who want to build partnerships, build new business relationships and grow our businesses!

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Starting /Re-Starting Your Business in 2017

Are you ready to get your business started but not sure where to to begin? Do you already have a business but need to get re-focused? First things first getting started is the easy part, maintaining your business can be difficult, owning a business it takes a lot of time, focus and sacrifice.

After you have registered your business with your state. Finding your niche is the best way to get your business started, once you’ve found your niche, find out what your customers needs are and how you can help them, educate them on the service or product you offer. Be sure you are able to fund your business and you at least have a 3 to 5 year business plan in place. Follow through on your plan step by step, do not allow anything to take you off of your focus of your goals and what you want to do. Also, keep in mind that your business is not going to “blow up” when you want it to, it will take time at least 2 to 3 years before you see a real profit. It all depends on you and your business.

Everyone will not see your vision and everyone you think will support you, will not in the beginning, but once you start to make money everyone will soon want to be your friend and be supporters of your business, mark my word!

Let me share something with you all, I started my business in 2010, I re-branded twice because there were things I had to focus on outside of my business…I wasn’t able to find the balance needed for business and personal so I stopped my business for a while and got re-focused, during that time I had to ask myself questions, one was – is it worth putting the time and energy back into it to continue with all the work I have put into my business?? The good thing is  I have some really good business friends that have owned their businesses for years that I spoke to and that encouraged me to continue. I did not listen to the naysayers, I did not pay attention to those who tried to take me off focus any longer. I told myself I will continue and PUSH THROUGH no matter how rough it got!

So my advise to anyone that’s serious about starting a business or re-starting your business is to always be honest with yourself, surround yourself with people that can relate and that has been there, those that are positive yet honest with you, understand what worked for you in the past and what didn’t work for you, this can be applied when starting and re-starting your business.

So first things first, Find your niche and do your RESEARCH!

Research your industry, learning all you can about what’s trending, what’s new…talk to others and learn from them…create your OWN plan, short-term goals and long term goals.

Next, learn your customers/clients, get people excited about your product or services and follow through on what you can offer. Remember, your customers/clients will bring you referrals. Don’t go overboard making promises you cannot keep.

Marketing! Market your business ONLINE and OFFLINE. Find great ways to market your business and find strategies that work for your business.

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