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01| ABOUT US

02| BRAND & WEB DESIGN

03| WEDDING STATIONERY

04| THE BLOG

05| THE SHOP

06| CONTACT US

Explore our offerings, view our previous clients and learn which custom design experience best suites you.

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01| ABOUT US

02| BRAND & WEB DESIGN

03| BUSINESS RESOURCES

04| THE BLOG

05| THE SHOP

06| CONTACT US

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Building a Career as a Content Creator – feat. LaShonda Brown39 min read

With platforms opening the doors for more creators to get paid for their content, have you considered making the shift away from your business and into full-time content creator? LaShonda Brown did just that and on today’s episode, she’s sharing how she got started, when she realized she could turn this into a career, and the tools she’s used to build her platform!

The Branded by Bernel Podcast is brought to you by Bernel Westbrook, lead designer and founder of Branded by Bernel, a design studio dedicated to building strong brands and Showit websites for creative entrepreneurs.

Make sure you’ve hit that follow or subscribe button on your favorite podcast player to get notified each week as we air new episodes!

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Building a Career as a Content Creator

When LaShonda first got started in the entrepreneurial space, she grew her business on a budget. She and her husband Josh opened a video production company together, then she opened a marketing firm in which she began to share how video can be used for business in more than just TV.

For a long time, there was a misnomer in the entrepreneur space that if you shared your experiences or advice, there wouldn’t be enough work to go around, so you should keep it to yourself.

Now there is more of a spirit of generosity—in fact it justifies the market and allows us all to grow.

That passion she had about not wanting to invest too much of her money before she was ready stuck with her through the journey, which sparked her Youtube channel, BOOTSTRAP BIZ ADVICE, which helps thousands of entrepreneurs grow their business without braking the bank.

Early on, LaShonda started her business working with her husband (before he was even her husband). In working together in business, it’s strengthened their marriage. It took time. Believing that you’ll do everything right from the get go, is unrealistic. Believing in your business and doing the work that supports your clients will get you where you want to be.

LaShonda realized that she could make more money doing Youtube full-time than her client work—she just didn’t know what she didn’t know. Until someone tells you, you may be missing out on opportunities.

The Bootstrap Club

LaShonda knows just how valuable access to education is for entrepreneurs, which is why she’s built The Bootstrap Club, a community of students who enjoy learning through a resource hub of content. LaShonda’s students will gain access to educational materials, templates, and more!

Using Different Platforms to Serve Your Audience

While there are a variety of platforms out there for content creators to grow on, LaShonda knew that the long-form content she would put on Youtube would generate the revenue she was looking for in her business. That’s why she often refers to Youtube as her classroom and Instagram as her break room.

She’s not solely relying on Youtube to generate her views, but also buiding a community of followers on Instagramm that she’s connecting to, testing ideas on, and chatting with. She’ll often use her Instagram to test out content and topic ideas to see if she should make a video out of it. If it performs well, she may turn it into a longer form video on her Youtube channel.

In over a decade of being an entrepreneur, LaShonda has realized that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. If you’re simply following trends, you won’t stand out, but you’ll also lead to burnout.

Now, she’s passionate about educating others on different tools and strategies that they can test out, without overwhelming them with the concept of doing it all.

What Youtube Offers Content Creators

As the host of Bootstrap Biz Advice, LaShonda has realized how valuable Youtube can be for content creators. It’s shocking how much money can be made on Youtube, because Youtube has made it empowering for creators for every time you post.

To start, you can create your channel and videos and start driving traffic to your Youtube channel as a creator. Additionally, Youtube has incorpoarted features for creators, like Live videos to connect with subscribers and Super Chat, which offers tipping during lives. Once the live has ended, that video becomes a piece of content on your channel, then you can even retroactively add in ads to the video so you can monetize it long-term.

Features like this and the time commitment do overwhelm people when it comes to Youtube, but it’s simply because they’ve not been educated on how it works.

Making Money on Youtube

You can make great money on Youtube, but yes, it takes time. If you’re ready to start a Youtube channel, give it and yourself grace in that there is a timeframe to ramp up and grow to where you’re making money.

Once you begin making money, you’ll experience past content generating money as well. LaShonda has content that is years old that is making her money.

Utilizing Other Tools in Her Business

Since LaShonda has made a career on education and tutorials in her business, it’s only fair that we highlight two of her favorite tools to use in her business, but also represents—Canva and Flodesk.

As a certified Canva Instructor, LaShonda is versed in everything that Canva offers. Canva is a great design tool for business owners to create graphics, build guides, design swag, create presentations, and so much more.

What she love most about Canva is that they keep incorporating other sites to become a one stop shop. This is helping entrepreneurs to not be overwhelmed by all the options that are out there.

As a designer, it did take host Bernel a long time to overcome this toxic relationship with Canva. Designers take pride in their craft, but once she embraced Canva, she found it’s purpose in her business. Designers can crate Canva templates for their clients or associate designers to scale or even build shop product templates and make passive income.

Another tool that LaShonda loves is Flodesk, which you can catch her inside of Flodesk University teaching on how she uses it as well! Flodesk is an email marketing tool for small businesses that makes it easy to create beautifully designed emails with their templates.

The value that Flodesk offers in her business is segmenting out different communities so she can actvely communicate different messages to each based on the content they’re interested in!

Now, it’s important to remember that every business and every entrepreneur is different, and it’s important to test out the different tools that are available to see what works best for you.

Three Actionable Steps to Help You Move Forward in Your Business

We’re so thankful for LaShonda’s thoughts and education shared in today’s episode, but we want to leave you with three actionable steps to help you move forward in your business.

1. Take the time to decide what you want to be the go-to person for. I realized I made it hard for people to refer me, because I didn’t know what I wanted to be known for. When you’re able to define that, it makes it easy for people to refer you. If you had to choose one thing, what do you want to be known for?

2. Find the social media platforms that bring you joy and invest your time in that vs. spreading yourself thin. Posting on every platform is not necessary.

3. Schedule regular time on your calendar to do checkins, rest, and reflect.

Get to Know LaShonda

LaShonda Brown is an award-winning Corporate Film Producer, Tech Educator & YouTuber. LaShonda has over a decade of experience producing educational videos for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies internationally in both English and Spanish. She is passionate about helping people grow their biz without breaking the bank and her YouTube channel BOOTSTRAP BIZ ADVICE helps thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide to do exactly that.

She is currently a Canva Certified Creative, Flodesk University Instructor & Squarespace Top-Level Expert. She and her husband Josh co-own Life Focus Pictures in Forest and will be celebrating 10 years of marriage this August.

Connect with LaShonda

lashondabrown.com

instagram.com/lashondambrown

facebook.com/lashondambrown

LaShonda’s IG Post Mentioned in Today’s Episode

Canva’s Youtube Channel

JotForm’s Youtube Channel

Flodesk University

Connect with Bernel

brandedbybernel.com

instagram.com/brandedbybernel

Review the Transcript:

Bernel
Hey Hi. Welcome to the Branded by Bernel podcast. I’m your host Bernel. You may know me as the branding and web designer who obsesses over the details so you don’t have to. We all desire to be great at what we do. Although once we get there, no one seems to talk about the messy middle. This motivated me to set the table and invite industry peers over to share stories about living and working in the creative world. So grab the OJ and champagne, pull up a chair, join the creative community and be prepared to build a brand you fall in love with. This is the Branded by Bernel Podcast.

Bernel
Today, I am so so excited to be joined by my friend LaShonda Brown for you guys listening at home. LaShonda is an award winning corporate film producer, tech educator and YouTuber LaShonda has over a decade of experience producing educational videos for small businesses and fortune 500 companies internationally in both English and Spanish. She’s passionate about helping people grow their business without breaking the bank and her YouTube channel bootstrap business advice helps 1000s of entrepreneurs worldwide to do exactly that. She is currently a canvas certified creative, FLOTUS University instructor and Squarespace top level expert. She and her husband Josh co own life focus pictures in forest and we’ll be celebrating 10 years of marriage this August. She’s incredible. You guys, I’m so excited for you guys to meet her. Welcome Lashonda

LaShonda Brown
Thank you so much for having me. This is going to be a blast. I just know it.

Bernel
Yes, yes. Um, we met about two years ago. And it’s been great. I feel like Lashonda is such a cheerleader, she is always in your DMS, sending a word of encouragement. And then I mean, also her page is just so so encouraging. So if you guys don’t follow her on Instagram yet, make sure you do. But without further ado, I’m just gonna dive right into your story. Because I don’t know if we’ve ever really discussed your story. So tell us a little bit about what you do.

LaShonda Brown
Yes, so currently, It’s so wild to me to even say this out loud. But it is my job to teach people for free on YouTube. I mean, ultimately, that’s what I do is I create content that helps people to reduce the overwhelm of technology and leverage it to grow their business without going into debt. And I think for me, it’s such a sweet mission. Because, you know, there’s so many people saying, spend all this money, do all these things to get to the next level. And there’s a time and place for that. But you know, if you are a person who’s just been laid off your job, maxing out a credit card to do something is probably not the best idea, you may want to do it on your own, you know, for a little while. And so what I do is I really help people to feel comfortable using technology so that when the time comes, they can pay for someone to help them.

Bernel
Oh, my goodness, yes, I love that so much. I feel like we’ve been inundated because of social media, with courses and programs. And it’s like, you have to invest 1000s of dollars to even begin. So as someone who went to YouTube University, that’s what I like to call it. Post College. I’m like, I went to YouTube University to really learn how to run my business. So I’m just so glad that there are resources like what you guys are doing. So tell me a little bit about how you’ve seen the industry change and kind of your journey in this. Because you mentioned that you’ve been doing this for over a decade. So I’m sure things have changed a lot.

LaShonda Brown
Things have changed tremendously. Yeah. When we started our journey as entrepreneurs, we actually started with a video production company that’s still in existence today. And we just had the mindset of you do work for people that you can see, you go to networking events, you do things locally. And you know, we thought we were really doing things well, when we expanded to being able to do work outside of our state. Oh my gosh, like, you know, we are in the big times now. And then I began to realize as time went on that there was a way to leverage social media to work with people outside of your zip code. So then I started a second business that was really geared toward marketing strategy and helping people to understand that there were more places to use video than just on TV because that was our background. And so as time went on, I began to realize there is definitely a market for someone who has been an entrepreneur who’s been in the thick of things, learning things the hard way evolving, pivoting, doing all the things to kind of look back and be that mentor that I wish I had had when we started in the very beginning. And so now that you know, there’s a decade behind me, I’m able to say, Okay, if I were to look back and I were to impart wisdom on people coming behind me, what are some of the lessons that I’ve learned? What are some of the tools that I’ve used, that can really help them to get to that next level? And so I think the biggest thing for me is, when we started our journey as entrepreneurs, it seemed like everyone was kind of keeping their knowledge under like, you know, under a bushel it was like, Okay, if I tell you, then it won’t work for me anymore. So I have to keep all this information to myself. Versus now I think there is way more of a spirit of generosity with this information, to say, you know, empowering you is not going to hurt my business. In fact, it justifies the market, and then we all get to grow. Yeah. And so I think it’s just fun to be in an environment where it seems like people are much more supportive of each other than what maybe happened before when we got started.

Bernel
Yes, I definitely have seen that shift. And I mean, just in the last like, six years of being in business, I feel like first getting started, people were like, it was very hush hush, of I can’t tell you my business secrets. Because, you know, there’s not enough for everybody like it was the scarcity mindset. I feel like as entrepreneurs, and you’re right like this, the community over competition movement, I feel like really has changed just kind of the industry and how people approach sharing educational resources. So super excited for all the things that you’re doing in that space, because I feel like you’re doing a lot. You recently launched your bootstrap club. And I am just really interested to learn how that works. Who is that for? Is YouTube just profitable for product based businesses? Can its service based business benefit from being part of your bootstrap club? So many questions?

LaShonda Brown
Yeah, so the bootstrap club for me is, it’s twofold. One, it is, you know, my community of people who want to learn from me, but also, it’s a resource library on my site. And so what I have found, when I create content, you know, I like to take the perspective of like a case study, like, this is something that I’m using, I think it can work for you. And so what I do is I’ll create a YouTube video showing how I use it. But then I also like, just make the template available, I say, Okay, it’s inside the bootstrap club, just go ahead, log in, go ahead and use it. And what I have found, you know, over time, is that my channel and my community is really supported by the tech companies that see what I’m doing, and want to, you know, have an audience with the bootstrap community. And so in this current season, I know eventually, I’ll probably write a book. And I’ll eventually make a course or whatever. But I think it’s, it really speaks to the power of the internet that in this season, I’m really not selling products, or even services, and I’m able to sustain myself. And so it’s a really cool mindset to say, even the traditional business models that we’ve been told, this is how things have to be done, that you can disrupt things and still continue to grow. So I just think that YouTube is whatever you want to make it, whether you are a product based business, and you want to demonstrate how to use your product, show your product, whether it’s makeup or clothes or shoes, you can survive on YouTube as a marketing tool, because people are looking for that. But then also, if you’re a service provider, you can show your expertise on YouTube, and then drive traffic to your website to convert your viewers into sales. So I am just thrilled with the concept of being able to make this platform, whatever it is, I want to make it and I think sometimes when you’re an entrepreneur, you get boxed into doing things the same way you’ve always done it. And you know, in this next decade of entrepreneurship, I really want it to shake things up and try something new. And it has been an incredible journey so far.

Bernel
That’s great. I definitely want to check out the bootstrap club because I think that it’s really cool that there’s, you mentioned like templates in there. There’s checklists, ebooks, I think that’s just really good to have those resources all in one place. Because we can spend a lot of time going to 19 different websites to get resources for things. So it’s nice that it’s all housed under one umbrella. You wrote a post actually, a few weeks ago. You Oh, no.

LaShonda Brown
putting it out there put my business on the internet. What did I say? What I say

Bernel
I love your Instagram. When I tell you guys listening at home like Lashonda is Instagram is gold like she is literally giving away. Gold Nuggets. Your post though that really caught my attention. I saved it. I shared it with at least like 15 people because I was like, oh my goodness, it was entitled five things I did to get sponsors without pitching. And I was wondering, because I’m not gonna give away the five things on the podcast, I want people to go look at it. But I was wondering if that is a topic that you cover on your YouTube channel? Is there more information about how you receive sponsorships? How people could do that themselves? Yeah, so

LaShonda Brown
what’s so interesting is I tell people that YouTube is my classroom, and Instagram is my break room. And so if people really want to get to know me as a person, beyond just okay, what can I learn from her, then they’ll go over to Instagram. But I also use Instagram to test out topics for future videos, you know, I find myself saying over and over and over, that I am not my viewer, right? Sometimes I don’t know what you guys want to learn, I don’t know what you already know. And so you know, sometimes what I’ll do is I’ll create a post. And if it does well on Instagram, I will literally take what I did on Instagram, and I will expand upon it in a YouTube video. And so I definitely think I’m actually going to leverage YouTube Live to do this. But I’m going to start sharing with people in real time. What has it been like for me to go from being a service provider to a full time content creator? And so what are some of the things that I’m learning? And what are some of the tactics that you can implement. And again, it’s all from that mindset of you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. In fact, when you do these disruptive things, you know, something that’s slightly different, then what happens is you stand out more, and you don’t have to compete as hard. Because you’re not being compared to everyone else. You are your own entity. It’s funny, I’m watching this series on the History Channel. And it’s all about foods that made America. And I always think it’s so interesting, when you will you learn the story of these things that have become iconic in American culture, the fact that someone had to sit back and say, here’s something that exists, how can I make it slightly different? How can I make it better? How can I put my spin on it. And even hearing stories about things like the Oreo, no one had ever thought to put cream in between two biscuits and turn it into a cookie, the word cookie even came from a different country and came to America. And so the idea of you can look at what already exists. And you can say, Okay, I want to be a full time content creator, but I want to do it in a way that is life giving where I’m not getting burnout every two seconds, where I don’t feel like I’m constantly comparing myself, how can I own my space, and then find my people. And so that’s the stuff that I want to share. So I’m really excited that it did well, because it’s an idea for a future video and probably a future series on my channel of real time, looking at what’s happening in my life, saying, Hey, I don’t mind telling you what’s working and what’s not. So let’s talk about it.

Bernel
Yes, oh, my goodness. So, so much to unpack there. I mean, we don’t even have all the time that we could unpack on that. One of the things that just really stood out to me is talking about owning your own space and doing disruptive things that then you know, kind of cut down on the the competition aspect. And I love that because I feel like Instagram, specifically as a platform is a highlight reel. It is literally where people put what works, they put their successes, they give you the final product on Instagram, Instagram, for a lot of businesses does not show you the process. It does not show you the struggle. It does not show you it did not work. And so I love that you use Instagram as a testing ground when you said that. I mean, that’s a completely new concept to me. But I think there’s so many people could benefit from that, then Instagram does not have to be the end all be all it does not have to be you know, just where you celebrate your wins. It literally could be where you test new ideas and new products and then put that on another platform is well you also mentioned YouTube Live. So I’m embarrassed to say that I am not YouTube literate.

LaShonda Brown
And that’s fine.

Bernel
So is YouTube Live similar to Instagram Live?

LaShonda Brown
Yeah, so you I mean, you can do some pretty crazy things live streaming on YouTube. And what I think is so wonderful is you can create that environment of like a webinar you know That’s the easiest thing to compare it to, you can create the vibe of a webinar. But what’s so cool is as soon as you finish that recording, it now becomes a video and your library of content on your channel. So you can go back, what I love seeing people do is they’ll do a YouTube Live, there’s even a feature that allows people to tip you while you’re doing the live. So you can literally generate money, while you’re giving away your free content. It’s called Super Chat. And then when it’s over, you can go back and add ads in the live stream, and continue to make money off of the live stream itself. And so to me, it’s like being on a platform that was created in such a way to compensate its creators is so empowering the idea of when I post I get paid, it completely changes how you create content, and it takes the pressure off of other platforms, because you have something generating sales for you in the background. So YouTube, I mean, a lot of people are overwhelmed by it, and I get that. But I think that the biggest thing is they’re overwhelmed, because they lack the knowledge. Like you said, they’re not YouTube literate. So the quickest thing to do is say, I don’t understand it. So I hear it, right. But really, instead of fearing it, learn a little bit more about it and learn how you can implement it into your business pace that feels good to you. And you can always ramp it up if you want to.

Bernel
Yes. Oh my goodness. Okay, that was so inspirational, I knew talking to you is going to be like that. All right, I’m going to list

LaShonda Brown
make a use, or even Honestly, even 2023. Like, honestly, it’s okay, if it gets tabled until next year. But I really think it’s such a wonderful platform to have in your arsenal to just explore, and to not feel the pressure to maybe do what you’ve done on other social media platforms. Yes.

Bernel
And I mean, I would be remiss to ask this question. I feel like now I know the answer just listening to you talk. But can you make money on YouTube in 2022? Are people still making money on YouTube?

LaShonda Brown
It’s shocking how much money can be made on this platform? I mean, truly, now, here’s the thing. It does take time. I don’t care who you are, how many people know you and other social media platforms? Everyone on Instagram is not going to follow you to YouTube, right? You know, and so you there is a timeframe that you need to just accept that I’m starting something new, I’m establishing a new community, and there is a ramp up to it. But what I love about YouTube is I have content that years old, that’s still making money now, you know, and so really think about your YouTube channel, as this online library of content where people can meet you face to face, the power of people being able to search for what they need, and see your face and hear you answering their questions is very powerful. And that’s why people will watch a YouTube video and take action quicker than maybe some other social media platforms, because they get to know you in a much deeper way.

Bernel
For sure. Oh, my goodness, yeah, that was great. Well, now that we’ve learned about YouTube, there were a couple of other things that you included in your bio that we mentioned at the outset, you are a Canva, I want to get it right. Canva, leader Canva certified creative, there we go, as well as a float as university instructor. So tell me a little bit about how Canva and Lotus have worked together to help support your business.

LaShonda Brown
They are tools that I use on a regular basis, I would say definitely Canva is probably daily at this point. And flow desk is definitely multiple times a week. I think that every business, no matter where you are in your graphic design skills should utilize Canva and should have some type of email marketing software. And so really looking at what are the options out there for email marketing and what best fits your brand? I don’t believe that every email marketing software is perfect for every brand. You know, I will look at some and say, hey, that’s so corporate. And so bare bones probably not a good fit for your, you know, wedding photography, business versus others. I could say hey, you know, that’s beautiful design, but maybe some of the analytics you want. Not quite there. So let’s look at something else. And so I find when I talk about business tools, I try to always have some type of comparison. I’ll say, okay, email marketing software, but let’s look at some of the options and let’s look at the pros and cons. Or I’ll say scheduling software. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the different things out there. But what’s so special about Canva and that’s the reason why I’ve leaned in so heavily into their company. He is they keep incorporating so many other sites into their platform. And little by little, they’re becoming this one stop shop for bootstrappers. For people who want to do it themselves, or want to empower their team to do it themselves, they can log in, and they can make it happen. And so I think that helping people to honestly not be overwhelmed by the options at this point, it’s more than just a place to design Instagram graphics, right? You know, you can make your merch, you can build a website, you can record a presentation. I mean, it’s wild. And so what I do is I say, hey, this platform is robust. Let’s focus on one specific thing. And I’ll show you how to do that. And so a lot of people will actually use my tutorials to train their team on how to do things in Canva, which is pretty wild.

Bernel
Wow. Yeah, that is incredible. And just also gave me another great idea. To train my team, I am a graphic designer by trade. So I have to admit that Canva was not my favorite thing when I first found it. Me and Canva have a very love hate relationship. But not anymore. We are no longer in a toxic relationship.

LaShonda Brown
Because I was like, I’m waiting to see Yeah, where did they go? Did

Bernel
they make up? Are they together? So me and Canva, you know, I feel like we now have an understanding. And I now understand what role it plays. A lot of times as a business owner, whether you are a wedding planner, photographer, graphic designer, a caterer or whatever, you take a lot of pride in your craft, and you take pride in believing that, you know, you are the expert in this, so you know how to do it. And there cannot possibly be a way that other people can just pick up and do what you do. Anyway, I’ve gotten over that with Kenya.

LaShonda Brown
Here’s the thing, though, I will tell you from a purely business standpoint, I think you are really poised to make a killing on Canva if you haven’t explored it, because graphic designers partner with Canva, right to create those templates to create those elements. And they don’t even need to know your name to be utilizing your work. And so I think when you start thinking about, you know, passive income strategies, and what does it look like to multiply your skill set?

Bernel
You know, there’s a way to partner with companies like Canva. Yeah, to continue to get your graphic design work out in the world, but in a way where you guys are like Best Buddies, yeah, and not in a toxic relationship. So that’s just an option. Yes, and I completely agree with it. And then it I’ve also seen how it’s just enabled me to scale my business by creating Canva templates and things for my clients. Because as your business begins to grow, you realize that while you enjoy doing the work, you cannot touch every component of your business, there’s just no possible way. And so it’s nice to be able to give people templates that I have designed from scratch, but they’re in Canva, and tell them hey, you can maintain this yourself. Or someone on my team can help you maintain it, who might not be a senior level graphic designer, but you can still get that same brand new vibrational experience. So I agree me, me and Canva have definitely reconciled. I used it like, here’s the thing. Here’s the secret guys. I used it at a presentation that I spoke at, because I needed to create something really fast, and I just did not have time to sit in Keynote all day, and make it and I was like, hey, I can make this on Canva on the plane. So yes, if you are a graphic designer at home who has feelings about Canva because I know we talk about it in a lot of Facebook groups. Give it a chance. Just give give Canva a chance. It is definitely a tool that I feel like can help with our passive income. Yeah, so FLOTUS briefly, I know you mentioned flow desk as well. I love FLOTUS. I know you have a code we can pop that in the show notes for you guys. To try the free trial. I think it’s still 50% off if they use Yeah, 50% off their first year. Oh, wonderful. Okay, so definitely check out Lashonda scope for float is one of the things that I love about float as personally, is that you can send aesthetically pleasing emails. I know that the pretty is not the number one thing but people read things that are pretty like they do and so I feel like my click through rates have definitely increased since switching to FLOTUS just because people are used to seeing a certain aesthetic and as soon as they click on it, they’re like, hey, that’s an email from Brunel, unlike Lashonda I do not send emails twice a week. So if you are on my email newsletter, you will get that Once a month, um, but I definitely think email marketing is a great tool, like Lashonda mentioned, to just continue to support that, that education and that community that you’re trying to build.

LaShonda Brown
And I would just say to, you know, when you set up your email marketing, so on Monday, I send an email to a specific group of my list. And you know, everyone gets the same email typically on Thursday. And so, when you’re communicating with your audience, it is important to segment them sometimes, so that you can speak to specific groups of people about certain things, if you join the bootstrap club. That’s basically my generic list. But to be honest with you, I actually have a segment of my email list that’s specifically geared to studying the Bible. It’s a passion of mine. It’s something I wanted accountability for. And so I simply share with them every Monday, what I’m learning and what I’m reading. And so what’s great about email marketing is I can say, hey, this is for a specific group of people. And I can just send it straight to them. And that open rate is so high because they know exactly what they’re going to get when they get that Monday email. Versus on Thursday. That’s more okay. You know, what tools is will Shonda using what new video can I watch? You know, who is she collaborating with? What can I learn. And so you want to have multiple offers for your email marketing community, because your client emails that you may send out a few times a year will be completely different from people who downloaded a freebie. And so taking that time to make sure that you group them will help you to perform better with your emails.

Bernel
Oh, that see, that’s one of those golden gems. I’m telling you guys, Liz Shonda is always dropping gems. I love that. So really utilizing that segment feature in FLOTUS and niching down what you send the specific segment. I love that. So we’ve learned all about your successful business and what you’re doing currently. But for someone just getting started, what would you say the biggest challenge you had? Or you faced when you started? And then how did you overcome that.

LaShonda Brown
So to be completely honest, one of the things that makes my journey, I would say unique, is that I started from the very beginning working with my husband, we actually started working together even before we were married. And so I think the idea of not only like working with your best friend, but you know, being around the same person all the time, you know, you have to figure out each other’s strengths and weaknesses and, and how to continue to respect and honor you know, each person’s role as you’re creating. And so I think that working together, in our business has really strengthened our marriage. We are such a team, but it took time. And so I think that believing when you start your journey as an entrepreneur, that you’re just going to hit it out of the park every time that you’re going to know exactly how to respond to client emails and and how to do every single aspect of your business. It’s just an unrealistic expectation, you know, but really caring enough about your clients and your business to do the work and continue to be a little bit better today than you were yesterday helps a lot. So just giving yourself the grace giving yourself the time, because you’re going to look back and go wow, I’m so glad I put in the work. Because look at where I am today. Yes.

Bernel
Oh my goodness, that is so true. I definitely feel like it just takes time. Like it really, really really takes time. That’s the secret guys. People are like, What’s the secret to a successful business? How do you you know, make it overnight? And I always tell people you don’t?

Unknown Speaker
That’s the secret many nights. Not overnight

Bernel
at night. Yes. Awesome. So I know that the last two years have been crazy for everyone. What do you think the biggest surprise that you had last year was and why?

LaShonda Brown
All of a sudden I realized that I could make more money doing YouTube full time like that I could actually replace my client work with creating for a job. And honestly I just that is just the thing I want to scream from the rooftops as often as possible is sometimes you don’t realize what opportunities are available unless people tell you you know and so I want to tell people like it is possible. It is truly possible for you to see sustain your life and create a living, simply creating content, providing value to people full time you can make it. And so I am really excited because I think it just opens up a whole new world of opportunities that previously I just, you know, I thought YouTube was a place to host your videos, and I would send clients tutorials using it. And that’s all I thought it would be. Yeah. And so now to, you know, to say it’s even a profession, it’s just such a wild thing. So I did not expect that, especially after the last two years. And we continue to operate our video production company now. And so it’s crazy. Being able to create educational content for our clients, they see what we’re doing. And they’re like, Oh, hey, you know, we could do that, too. So they work hand in hand, and it’s a really beautiful thing.

Bernel
Oh, my goodness, yes, I love that. That’s a pleasant surprise. Last year. So this is the part of the show that everybody loves. So grab your PIN, grab your paper, because Lashonda is gonna give you three actionable steps really quickly, to help you move forward in building your business today. So these are going to be some things that you can implement. Alright, Lashonda, what are your three actionable steps?

LaShonda Brown
Oh, friends. So you really had to take the time to decide what you want to be the go to person for. I realized for years, I was actually making it hard for people to refer me because I refused to figure out what that thing was going to be. I didn’t want to box myself in interest. And I constantly compare it to a house, you just need a really appealing front door, once they’re in your house, you can show them whatever room you want, take them in the kitchen and the living room and all over. But we have to have something that people can say, Okay, this is the go to person for x. Because when you’re really able to define that, it makes it so much easier for people to share your content are people to refer you for opportunities. But when you’re too much of a generalist, then people don’t really know where to place you. And so don’t make it hard for people to refer you figure out if I had to choose one thing, what do I want to be the go to person for? I love that. So I definitely think that will be first. Yeah, take a deep breath. And take the time to think that through. I would say the second thing would be you know, find the social media platforms that bring you joy, and invest your time in that, versus spreading yourself super thin. Marketing has changed a lot. I remember, you know, 10 years ago, everyone was saying, claim your name and all the social media platforms, you know, you don’t want someone else to steal it. So do the most. And there’s a difference between, you know, claiming your profile, and posting on every platform, right? It’s not quite as necessary as we once thought it was, you know, and so if you really love Instagram, if that’s what sets your heart on fire, then be on Instagram, if you enjoy Facebook, I mean, I don’t get that. But if you love it, go for it, you know, lean in and own that. If YouTube is your thing, or Pinterest is your thing. I mean, truly, at the end of the day, you find the platforms that bring you joy, and you set up shop there. And don’t worry, don’t worry about the other stuff. Because when you go deep on a social media platform, you have so much more impact than when you’re spread thin. So that will be my second thing. Yeah. And my last thing would be you know, Schedule regular time on your calendar, to do check ins with someone that you love and respect to rest, and reflect. Okay, I think we have glamorize hustling and filling our calendars to the brim. And we squeeze in vacation time. We don’t schedule it, you know, we’re being reactionary and not proactive. And so okay, how can I be proactive with finding regular time on my calendar to rest and reflect on what’s going on, and let it be with somebody that you really love. It could be your mom, it could be your sister, it could be your significant other, but the reality is, you know, share that experience with someone else take that time away, to really reflect and look back and say, wow, like, look what look what happened, look what’s coming, look where I am, because I think sometimes we move so fast that we forget to celebrate ourselves. And so we keep trying to do more and more and more because we’ve missed all these little mini celebrations along the way. So just go ahead and schedule that whether it’s you know, twice a year or once a quarter, whatever, whatever you can handle, but make that time aim and make that commitment to yourself because you’re going to be better for it.

Bernel
Yes. Oh my goodness. Yes, I can’t you guys can’t see me but I was head nodding like a bobble head over here. I’m like, they need to take time. We need to take break, stop glamorizing hustle and glamorous balance. Yes. So I love that. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. Lashonda. I cannot wait to see all the things that you continue to do this year to continue to see your YouTube platform blow up. You can find Lashonda on YouTube, of course, also on Instagram. And where else can people find you? Because I know that your content has been featured several places.

LaShonda Brown
Oh my goodness. So it’s so bizarre to even think about this. But if you go to Canvas YouTube channel or you go to Jotforms YouTube channel, or even to flodesk University, you’re probably going to see me so honestly, I just want to teach people so if you have opportunities for me to teach, love to do it virtually in person, whatever. I just genuinely love to share what I know. So you can always go to Lashondabrown.com. You can see what I’m up to see what conferences I’m popping into what breakouts I’m doing and and we can just learn together and grow together.

Bernel
I love that. Well thank you so much LaShonda for being on the show and everybody listening at home, you know what to do go learn from Lashonda Wow, that went by really fast. As always, thank you so much for showing up in my little corner of the internet. I would love to hear your thoughts on the show. So please, please subscribe, leave a review and share what you learned with friends. Some of the best things in life are freebies. So don’t forget to head over to brand if I pronounced.com to check out our free branding goodies. This show notes and more educational resources

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