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#Entrepreneurship 101 Your brand and Social Media

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It is an awesome feeling to work for yourself and have it be successful. I can tell you from first hand experience, there is no crazier employment ride then trying to get your own small business off the ground. I’ve started several of my own over the last ten years and I’ve been brought on board as a consultant for many people who are running successful small businesses as we speak.

The internet and social media especially are powerful tools when they are used responsibly. Think about it like a glass of wine. Having a single glass of wine with dinner versus drinking an entire bottle then getting behind the wheel of a car. See the difference? The internet has made it easy for people to network and even start a small business. In most cases even if all you have is an idea, there is a website that offers a template or basic store front for you to get started.

Almost everybody uses some sort of Social Media these days and for the entrepreneur, it is the most cost effective way to share their business with little to no marketing budget. In every area of life you will find people who are good at some things and other’s who aren’t. Not every person who makes music is going to develop a following or sell albums, not every person who applies to Harvard gets in, and not every entrepreneur is able to turn their business into an income sustaining entity.

The thing that drives me crazy as a person who truly loves to see others succeed is the utter lack of professionalism on social media when it comes to individuals trying to create a brand or run a business. It drives me crazy because there are far too many people with million dollar ideas or an outstanding product that only get so far and the reason they can’t get past a certain level is largely due to their own behavior and attitudes.

If you are starting a business or brand, it should have it’s own social media handles, especially if you’re one of those people who can’t resist the urge to blow off steam in your posts.  If you had money to invest, would you invest your money in a company or brand who’s owner was emotionally unstable all over social media? Think about it. Your personal life should have absolutely nothing to do with your business. If you are marketing your business to your personal social media followers and then when you’re in your feelings you’re using that exact same platform to blow off steam, how is anyone supposed to take you seriously as a business person? Some steam may be appropriate depending on the industry, but if you want yourself being taken seriously as a “CEO” or Business Owner? Then present yourself seriously.

What job have you ever had that you were allowed to walk around cursing in front of customers? What job have you ever had where it was okay to whine about your haters all day? You should care more about the integrity of your own business then you’ve had about one you didn’t own and just worked for. Sometimes YOU are the only obstacle standing in your way of greatness.

 

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Success: Not everyone will support you, deal with it.

Have you ever seen Oprah, Martha Stewart, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates whine by meme all over social media about who’s supporting them? Of course not, that’s not something successful minded people waste time doing. If you find yourself angered enough to publicly address it? You’re not winning. How are you going to grow into a billion dollar CEO if you can’t even control your emotions on the internet? Think about it….

#HipHop101 Mixtape Etiquette for the new artist

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted in the HipHop101 section, but what I’m going to talk about is really going to be able to help some people who listen. Although I am an artist, my first love in music has always been the business side as far as marketing, management, and promotion. One of my favorite things to do behind the scenes is organize collaborative Mixtape or Album projects which requires you to work with and organize a lot of different people that do a lot of different things. You have artists, producers, DJ’s, record labels, managers, graphic artists, bloggers, promoters, etc who can all be involved with this kind of project. It can be extremely difficult sometimes when you are dealing with so many different people and personalities but no matter how difficult it can be, I personally find that the finished project always ends up being worth it and whatever or whoever the difficulty was, you learn from it and move forward so that you can make each project better than the next.

With that being said, what I want to address is the Etiquette of Artists. I am very aware that we live in a day and age of social media and we are living in a generation of selfish people. Be that as it may, I am going to explain to you the honorable way to conduct yourself and you can choose to ignore it or pay attention. I am going to tell you the truth about somethings and it might hurt your feelings, but you will be alright if you can get out of your emotions and listen to the logic because this is after all business regardless of what you see portrayed on television or social media.

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  • YOU ARE NOT FAMOUS. Unless you are cashing million dollar checks, have hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsements, have gold or platinum records, or have been recognized as one of the greats for your well seasoned and decorated music contributions? SIT DOWN. Relax. you don’t deserve to be disrespected, but you better stay humble. If you are unreasonably a jerk, nobody is going to want to work with you and eventually you will end up biting every hand that tried to help you get fed and burn down all the bridges extended to you. Unless you are an outstanding artist, producer, graphic artist, DJ, blogger, promoter, manager, and record label all in one? You will eventually need the help of other people so it’s best to conduct yourself as a professional. In my opinion I don’t understand how people can say they want music to be their full-time job so they don’t have to do anything else but they’ll behave like professionals for their job at the gas station and act like they have no manners or common sense when it comes to conducting themselves as an entrepreneur (which is technically what you are as an independent artist).
  • Value an invitation. There is a lot of work that goes into a collaborative project. Far too many times people undervalue the time and work that’s put in to a collaborative project especially if all they did was submit a song. This is no way means the creative process and recording is under valued, but the point I am trying to make is a collaborative release has many components to it and if you are invited onto a collaborative project (especially one being presented by an artist, group, or label that holds weight under their name or brand) there are a few things you can easily do that show you appreciate the opportunity of exposure and free promotion.  The LEAST you can do is share the project and support it especially if you were invited on. Even if you pay for a slot, what was the point of purchasing your exposure opportunity if you don’t even support it? If you are invited onto a project, turn in your music in a timely manner. Nobody should have to chase you down to give you an opportunity. If you want to be taken serious as an artist? Be professional. Nobody is going to keep calling, texting, inboxing, or emailing you in order to put your music on a project that’s overall cost isn’t coming out of your budget. What all of us as artists need to remember is that there are millions of us. Sometimes it’s not even natural talent that help people move forward in this very competitive business, it’s things like honoring your word, professionalism, and integrity.  For me personally? I will help a less talented artist who is a good person ten times over breaking my neck for someone who is super talented but a headache to work with.
  • Label your tracks properly.  When you are submitting a song, nine times out of ten whoever is collecting the music is slammed with emails. Make sure you do your part to cut down on the instance of error and costly mistakes. Your email should come with the MP3 of the song, Artist name, track name, and producer name. One thing that happens far too often is people do not label their tracks properly and then expect everyone to stop what they’re doing to correct spelling errors, add something or delete something. Once things like promotion is started or track lists have been designed and released it is far too time consuming and costly to make changes and frankly, unless the error was a track by a heavy hitter? Chances are you’re going to have to deal with the error and move on. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another and nobody died because of it.

 

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For those of you who may be very new, there is a difference between a Mixtape and Collaborative Album.  A Mixtape can be done by an individual (normally a collection of their music they are putting out for free in order to generate a buzz before an album comes out, a free project an individual releases in order to start building a fan base, a free collaborative project from a group/label/ DJ that showcases a collection of artists / producers. The key word though is FREE. The only time there is ever a charge for a Mixtape is if hard copies are pressed up then you are paying for the actual hard disk and shipping, not the actual music. Artists can be invited on by a DJ/Group/ Label or slots are sometimes available for a fee. Purchasing a slot would be something you charge to your promotional budget and you should only purchase slots on Mixtapes that target the fan base you want, and or are hosted/produced by a reputable organization/DJ/Label/Group. I say that because I can’t even count the number of times a no-name brand or group has slid in my inbox trying to sell me a Mixtape slot for hundreds of dollars. No thanks. If you are debating on purchasing a slot, google the other Mixtapes they’ve done. Combine all the numbers from all of the sites you see it posted on and decide if the slot fee is worth that investment for the level of exposure you find. ( Side note: Any slot fee over $100-$150 you should look for downloads and plays of ten thousand or more but BE CAREFUL…. some of those “downloads” aren’t organic, meaning they could have been purchased. So the best way to make sure it’s legit is see if the project comes up on multiple sites and check all of the stats before making your decision.

A Collaborative Album is actually for sale. Normally a collab album will have one producer and feature many artists on their beats, or put out by a label/group and showcasing their artists and producers. On this kind of album purchase you can expect all original tracks.

I hope some if not all of this was helpful or enlightening. One more helpful tip until the next time… if you are an artist and consider the music industry your ideal profession? Do some research about the “business” you say you’re in. There’s a lot of “artists” that don’t even own the name they’re making beats or recording songs with, and there’s a lot of producers selling beats they don’t technically own although they made them.

That’s all for now! Be blessed –

Q

The real world VS. The internet 

I realize that I frequently make references to this subject matter in my posts, but with each post it doesn’t become less relevant.  Here’s the way I see it, even if just one person reads it and it helps them focus on the things that truly matter in real life like their family, relationships, hopes, dreams, and goals? It was well worth it. 

The internet is a tool and too many people have allowed it to become the dictator of their reality. Too many people are starved for real human to human interaction and many don’t even know how to communicate socially face to face without discussing the internet. When was the last time you had a personal conversation and absolutely no references were made to some sort of online activity? Have you been to a store lately? Most cashiers have their phone in their hand. Most people can’t even enjoy a social gathering without checking their phone. 

What’s more disturbing is that there is crisis everywhere in the world and people forget about disaster as soon as a new post flies through their feed. People (human beings) are lost, sick, struggling, and hurting all over the planet and most people are too busy posting their comments about it instead of actually getting involved or at least trying to be an agent of change. If you found yourself in the middle of a crisis or you have loved ones that are,  I’m sure you appreciate the people who have decided to put down their phones long enough to get involved. 

You are not “woke”, a revolutionary or any other sort of agent of change if all you do is fall into the peanut gallery comment section of the internet. Stop allowing yourself to be so self absorbed and distracted. Get involved, do something that matters, & enjoy your real life. 

Are you too distracted? 

Asking yourself if you’re distracted seems like a silly question because I think most people would agree that in this day, we are all distracted to a certain degree. It’s still a question worth asking because sometimes you have absolutely no idea just how distracted you are until your assessment of it can be objective. 

Today marks the end of my 3-month reprioritizing of social media. For the last 90-days, I have stayed off social media from 7am-7pm daily. At first? I couldn’t wait until 7pm rolled around and honestly after the 3rd week of being off for 12-hrs a day? I started to go days then weeks without checking it at all. 

Social media is a useful tool. For those of us that use it for business purposes, sometimes it’s necessary. However, a tool is all that it is. Most people have no clue how much real life they are missing being sucked into the internet on a daily basis. They have no idea what’s going on in the world, the only information they know or can recall for basic conversation is something they saw in a post and that is sickening. People have full blown family discussions about what someone’s posting and “posts” have manifested into the core of real life drama for most people. 

Most people have completely lost the ability to think for themselves and most of what they do is dictated by what they’re feeding themselves with on a daily basis from the internet. What you spend most of your time doing? Is exactly what you’ll become. If you don’t believe me, challenge yourself to stay off social media for at least 30-days during the hours you’d normally be on. You’ll see. Refocus. Reproritize. Your future self will thank you. 

The flood is coming

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Soon God will separate the Wheat from the Weeds and you will no longer wonder who was truly righteous and who was out here sayin a bunch of nothin. Sad that so many people who “know God” out here loosin their minds on social media over an election like the King of Kings & Lord of Lords somehow is no longer in control. Personally, I’m excited. There has never been a time that God hasn’t used what appeared to be a “set back” as a set-up for something awesome. The flood is coming alright… some will be washed away but a whoooolllleeee lot of folks are about to dance in the rain on the deck of the Ark. 

#WednesdayWisdom Are you dating your phone?

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So many people are missing out on what real life has to offer because their most important relationship is with themselves. There’s nothing wrong with healthy self-esteem, taking care of yourself, and setting boundaries but when it’s an ego issue? That’s dangerous.

Most people (even older ones) have conformed to this new mindset in regards to the importance of your cell phone (which lets not forget is an object). Most people will go back home if they forget it and some will have an all out emotional melt down if they lose it. There is nothing healthy about that. It was unheard of professionally for you to have a cell phone on or with you while working and these days you can find every cashier at almost every store with phone in hand. People spend more time on their phones at work then they do actually working.

We are becoming more and more out of touch with what is actually reality. Dating has become a tap, swipe, or like. People develop relationships off a filtered presence on social media based on a character that they have created themselves to be as opposed to who they actually are. Nobody actually meets anymore because meeting would cause them to have to come out from behind their self created phone world and the hard core truth is most people are afraid to do that because they honestly lack the social skills and the ability to handle human to human interactions including rejection, so they avoid it all together and tap, swipe, or like their way on to the next. If this continues, all of the things that help make life beautiful like memories, family, friendships, dating, will all be non-existent and we will find ourselves in a world much colder then the one we already have.

Double minded

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I think people really somehow think that they are fooling people because they’re sitting behind a computer screen or phone fooling themselves. Some folks are SO unstable and inconsistent. Every day with you most of us have no idea which you is showing up. One day you’re a boss, one day you’re spiritual, one day you’re poppin bottles, etc. and the whole time you’re doing stuff that’s just plain old inappropriate for someone your age. Back and fourth, in and out, up and down. “A double minded man is unstable in ALL his ways” (James 1:8) You will never be wise until you realize you’re stupid. You cannot portray anything correctly while pretending to be a bunch of things that contradict each other. I’m not saying this to hurt you but to help you, and I am not telling you anything about yourself that I didn’t have to learn about myself. You cannot expect and provoke the favor of God upon your hypocritical mess. It doesn’t work like that because the way your blessings account is set up you’ve got to sow before you reap and believe when you can’t see.

Beyonce, Lemonade, Oshun, & TIDAL

 

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“OSHUN” also referred to as “Queen of the witches”.
I know, I know all these “conspiracy theories” because why on earth would Beyonce be using subliminal symbolism for millions of people to subconsciously accept in their spirit? Crazy right? (Please apply a generous amount of sarcasm when reading)

 

http://www.africaresource.com/…/oshun-the-african-goddess-…/

http://mic.com/articles/141799/this-beyonc-lemonade-meaning-theory-involving-the-african-goddess-oshun-is-mind-blowing#.NZwhxOGxT

http://santeriachurch.org/the-orishas/oshun/

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2nd Timothy 3:1-3 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Deuteronomy 18:10-13 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,  or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.”

Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,  idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Micah 3:7 The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced.
They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God.”

1st Samuel 15:23 “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”

Leviticus 19:26 ‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying.”

John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

1st John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Romans 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” 

Are you failing at being Single?

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Believe it or not, most people absolutely fail at being single.  Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and a ton of people who are not coupled off took to social media to cry their woes. Being single is a topic most people actually desire more helpful information about but nobody will ask for it, because nobody wants to talk about it. For some reason society has painted us a picture of the ideal time to be engaged, get married, buy a house, have children, etc. and when we don’t live up to “social norms” we somehow have allowed this to make us feel “less than” in the area of relationships. This is especially true for folks who are living for the Lord. Soon as you make the decision to follow Christ and realize that pre-martial sex isn’t a part of the bargain, like clockwork the first thought that passes through most people’s minds is ” I gotta hurry up and get married”. Now before I continue, this blog piece is going to be more of an introduction summary. Reason being is that I actually have a book I’ve been finishing up on this very subject and by the grace of God will be available for purchase early 2017.

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The very basis for my book encompasses answers and strategies for this very problem, most people fail at being single. Did you know that 50% of today’s marriages end in divorce? It is my belief that much of this directly relates to them failing at being single. If you fail at being single, you’re going to make a mess or fail altogether at commitment. “Relationship hopping” is one giant red flag you’re failing at being single. No matter how tough or strong willed you think that you are, anytime you are in a relationship with another person (especially if it becomes sexual) you are exchanging thoughts, time, emotions, experiences, and creating a soul tie. ( and the two shall become one flesh-Genesis 2:24, Mark 10:8) There is a spiritual component inside the scope of relationships that generally most people ignore. We are 3-part beings, we have a physical body, we have a spirit, and we have a soul. Your soul is your emotions, it’s the part of you that remembers your experiences both good and bad and it is the part of you that shapes your reality. The more women a man sleeps with, the more lost he is. Every time the man “releases” he is depositing a part of himself into his partner. The more men a woman sleeps with, the more lost she is. Every time a woman sleeps with a man she receives a deposit from her partner. Reckless behavior with the very intimate beauty of who you were created to be by God Himself can pollute every ounce of your being and make you feel disconnected, drained, hopeless, used, tired, heavy, and cynical. Then what happens? Most people never heal, never let God rid them of the spiritual baggage they’ve inherited and instead they hop from relationship to relationship with every single hurt, pain, and disappointment they’ve ever experienced and even if a new relationship seems like a happy one at first? Eventually those feelings of hurt, pain, rejection, and disappointment reappear. Unfortunately we live in a society that caters to your ego and does not teach self-responsibility and pretty much just tells you “leave if you’re not happy” and instead of ever getting healed people hop from relationship to relationship with outrageous and unrealistic expectations that another person is somehow ultimately responsible for their happiness.

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Most people fail at being single because they don’t have a clue what is is that they need. Everyone has a long list of what they want, but rarely do we ever take the time to include God and ask Him what it is that we NEED. This can’t be successfully found if we are hopping from relationship to relationship and never taking the time to get rid of all the baggage we have picked up over the years physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Many people will pray for a husband or wife but never take the time out to be single and ask God to prepare them to be a husband or a wife. Marriage, relationships, and commitment are a job and a responsibility, real ones anyway. Your happiness is your responsibility, not another person’s. Before committing to another person, if we want the best chances of having a successful commitment we need to learn how to be “whole” by ourselves. Two half people don’t make one whole person but two whole people that come together form a bond that is not easily broken. We have got to seek God and make an effort to have our lives whole before bringing someone else in the picture. If you don’t have regular time you spend with God as a single person don’t expect it to magically appear because you get in a relationship. If you don’t know how to productively occupy free time as a single person, you’re setting yourself up to be absolutely miserable when you find out your partner is incapable of entertaining you every second of everyday. Being single isn’t a disease. It’s far better to be alone then in the wrong relationship.

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We live in a time where everything that flies through our media time lines or television is completely sexualized. Don’t make the mistake of confusing sexualization with committed love because they are two entirely different things. Committed love is not based on a feeling, it is a decision. One of the most important decisions you can make is a decision to not prematurely involve yourself in a relationship until you’re really ready and don’t let what other people are doing or what it appears like everyone else is doing be the standard you adapt for your own relational happiness. For those of you who have experienced a significant trauma (i.e. rape, domestic violence, sexual abuse) it is absolutely necessary for your own peace of mind and your future relationships that you get help and take the proper time to heal before you find yourself in a situation that you’re emotionally unable to handle. If you want to build a strong relationship that will stand the test of time, you have to first make sure that whatever you’re building is on a strong foundation or the house won’t stand. You are the foundation so make sure that you take the time to make sure you are sifted, mixed well, and formed before you start laying down bricks.

Keep a look-out for the full book “Living Successfully Single” by Queen the Prophet in 2017!