by: We Rise and Shine
You did it! You quit the job you dreaded going to every day and you’ve set off on the adventure of entrepreneurship. You’ve dreamed of this moment for a while, and have already envisioned yourself giving a TED Talk. It’s so exhilarating to finally have control over your career and follow your true passion. Fast-forward a few months into your new business and the excitement is already starting to wear off. The phone isn’t ringing like you thought it would, and your inbox is only filled with spam. You feel like your friends and family are giving you the “It’s time to get a job” face, and you know it’s time to revise your strategy but don’t know where to start. If this you, head on down to The Avenu, a North Carolina based consultancy, which provides entrepreneurs with direction and resources to organize their business structure. I had the chance to soak up some knowledge from Founder/Brand Clarity Consultant Sequoya Addison, and it’s only right that I share some of this wisdom with you. Get your notepads ready!
For those who don’t know, what is a Brand Clarity Consultant?
I help people find clarity in their businesses and brand, by helping them organize and come up with a strategy and a plan to feel more fulfilled in their business.
How did you come up with the concept?
I was inspired by my boyfriend and his business needs, and then I helped my aunt with her business. From there I recognized a common trend with people feeling distraught and disorganized with their business and I realized I needed to consult in those areas. One day I was in Microsoft OneNote and thought, “Let me see if I can figure this out, and come up with a business model for this to happen.” I thought about other consultants that I saw on the web and what I could offer that would be different. In jotting things down, I decided that I want to incorporate yoga and wellness at some point and emphasize peace of mind. When you have peace of mind you think better and you feel better about yourself, and when you do that I believe your business will be a happier place.
What are the services you provide?
I offer three different types of consultations for specific needs:
● General consultations for people who have general questions geared towards entrepreneurship.
● Consultations targeted towards people who need clarity and direction on starting a business.
● And consultations for entrepreneurs already in business who need to clarify, declutter and strategize in order to gain more peace of mind and more time in their workday.
You grew up around entrepreneurs, what were some of the key takeaways that stuck with you when you launched the Avenu?
I can be my own boss, and make my dreams come true and help people in the process. My grandparents had their own business and my aunt is a hairstylist, so I had a good grasp on how to run a business and treat your customers. I admired how they had complete control over their careers.
What was the greatest challenge you faced when starting your consultancy?
The greatest challenge was telling myself to start while I was still in college, and believing that people could take my serious as a fresh entrepreneur. I had to be really organized and intentional on how I wanted my business to run.
What are the top 3 things that an aspiring entrepreneur should do before launching their company?
1. Decide what it is that you want to do. Make sure it’s what you want to do and not what’s popular right now. When I first started I looked at other consultants and tried to figure out how I could differentiate myself from them. I wanted to make sure I was doing something that no one else was doing, and I wanted do to do something that was really true to me, my beliefs and my lifestyle. Do what it is that’s in your heart.
2. Do your research. Look at other companies and ask yourself, what do I like that they’re doing? What don’t I like? What would I do differently? That will help you analyze the market.
3. Don’t lose your passion. You may start your business and won’t get any sales on your first day, first week, or month for that matter.. Stay passionate because a business without passion is lifeless. Entrepreneurship is tough; during the first year you are going to have your ups and downs.
What are some common mistakes that you’ve seen entrepreneurs make in the beginning stages of their business?
A common factor is the failure to plan. Where is your timeline for your goals? What are your short-term and long-term goals? How are you going to sustain your business? How do you want to see your business grow? Some people even forget to name their business, which is a shock to me. Because people are so passionate, they don’t think they should plan and go by day-to-day. When things get stagnant they don’t understand why, and it’s because they don’t have a plan. Its hard to bring things to life when you don’t write down your vision. Failure to plan is something that I see in some type of capacity whether it’s that they don’t have a business plan, don’t have any goals, don’t have any budget and don’t know how much they should invest in their business or how much they can.
What are some of your favorite apps or programs that you use to keep yourself organized?
● Microsoft One Note - Life is a whole lot easier. It gives me access to create multiple notebooks with different tabs.
● Google Drive - Syncs automatically to my phone
● The Mail app on the Mac Book - Access all my emails on one platform
● Podio Project Manager - Can create different dashboards
How did you build your client base?
I started with the initial clients I worked with before I realized I was offering a true service and connected with them. When I got a website together I put their testimonials on there, and I started blogging. My first paying client shared her experience with my business on her blog, which helped spread the word. I distribute my business cards at events and let people know what I do, and I share on social media as well.
How do you stay motivated?
I look at my goals, recognize what I’ve already done, remember why I started, where I want to be, and how I want to help people out. I also remember to just breathe, and I practice Yoga to help clear my mind and relax. I have support systems, which consists of my friends who are entrepreneurs as well. I also stay motivated by checking in with them.
What are some great resources, books you recommend for entrepreneurs?
● “Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service” by Chip R. Bell
● “Make Your Mark - The Creative Guide to Building a Business With Impact”
● “Girl Boss”
● “Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking”
● TED talks
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business?
START! Realize that perfection hardly ever happens. Embrace your journey.
Where you can find SeQuoya: