Think in Color 2023"Head of the Table"

Nov 16, 2023

Think In Color 2023 has officially come to an end! We're thankful and pleased for the opportunity to hear our speakers of outstanding females and BIPOC creators and innovators in the industry. We hope that, by the end of the evening you were encouraged by our panelists' adventures and learnt how to create a successful virtual community, broaden your service offerings and expand your company in addition to other aspects.

While many subjects were discussed in the forum however, we've made every effort to present the best of them to the attention of. Read on to learn what we took away from each speaker.

Skip ahead:

Creating Cozy & Collaborative Virtual Communities

Cicely Blain Anti-racism Consultant & Founder of Bakau Consulting

Description of the session: While remote work existed before COVID-19, the pandemic intensified the need for businesses transitioning to a more virtual location. As a result, those who wanted to maintain a close relationship with their customers set online communities in which like-minded people can learn from and assist one another. It can, however, be difficult to build a virtual community as close-knit as one that is physically.

In this presentation, Cicely Blain shares their experience building their virtual community called Living Room. They discussed their approach to creating a cozy and welcoming vibe in the digital world by creating inclusive and secure communities, and using digital tools to meet people's needs.

  Principal takeaways  

  Be aware of who your target audience is and what they are looking for.  

Before creating Living Room, Cicely had determine who they were attempting to design a digital environment for. As their work has roots in the fight against racism and oppression, Cicely was aware that the community was primarily geared towards individuals like DEI experts, consultants and HR professionals who do similar work.

Next, Cicely had to figure out what they really wanted.

      "I was thinking about"What do these people seeking, especially in these crucial times when so numerous things are changing and they're being directed by different names?    

      The people are clearly looking for community, a feeling of connection, solidarity, and unity when there's a feeling of isolation. They're also looking for sources and are eager to gain knowledge."  

  Be an audience-friendly website.  

The best way to get members to join your virtual community is to give them something they can connect with. For Cicely, that relatable thing was their living area. They wanted to recreate the exact similar cozy and comfortable atmosphere that their own living space gave them.

      "I wondered, "What is it that I want people to feel when they come into this space?' And I thought, hey I'd like that they feel the exact as they do when they walk into an environment that is comfortable and warm, and inviting. I wanted people to be relaxed, happy, supported, connected, and appreciated."  

Cicely imbibes this vibe into the community by:

  • The beginning of every virtual conference begins by allowing 10 minutes for reflection. They ask a simple questions on the screen in order for participants to engage in self-reflection.
  • Playing a soft R&B-inspired playlist that helps listeners relax and get comfortable with the phone call.
  • Making each phone call as if they're having fun with their best friends. While filming video clips for the online courses, Cicely might be doing her makeup, or making a cup tea at the table.

  Give a range of options for community members to get the information they require  

Although the members of the virtual community are generally similar to each other, they will possess different requirements as well as strengths and weaknesses. As a enterprise, you'll need find different methods by which you can meet the demands of your members despite their differences.

With Living Room, Cicely met the demands of its community with:

  • Providing different forms of engagement (e.g. chat forums, live discussions, comprehensive online courses and so on. );
  • Defining collective values and community guidelines;
  • Allowing people to show in their authentic selves;
  • Eliminating unnecessary stresses, for example, time restrictions and meeting agendas;
  • Considering accessibility needs (e.g. disabilities and neurodivergence), etc.

Funds In The Funnel: How To Maximize Sales With a Customer-Focused Funnel

Ellie Diop, Content and Finance Coach for Ellievated Academy

Session description: To build your business to be successful it is essential that customers take a purchase or use in your service. However, many companies make the error of creating content that they believe the ideal customer would prefer and not what customers really want. In this talk, Ellie explains how you will grow your business and increase sales by creating a funnel that attracts the ideal customer and responds to their desires and requirements.

  Principal takeaways  

  Every single piece of content is important.  

The process of creating a funnel that's focused on your customers will help you build a rapport with your customers. The most effective way to achieve this is to develop information that is useful, relevant and useful to customers. A funnel designed to be customer-focused has five steps:

  • Awareness
  • Discovery
  • Consideration
  • Conversion
  • Relationship + retention + REPEAT

In regards to the importance of creating material, Ellie declares, "Every piece of content you write is an integral part of the sales staff. So whatever you posted just three months ago, is performing the task of moving users through the process... Making sure you show up every day with a consistent sound creates something that is predictable for customers to comprehend and help them navigate through the funnel."

  Define your brand  

If you don't know the people your services or products are catering to, nobody will buy from or hire them. Before you create an online funnel, you need to clarify your brand's mission and purpose, starting from your ideal clients. You can ask yourself:

  • Who do I serve?
  • What can I do to help them solve?
  • What do I need to do?

Answers to these questions form the foundation of the business decisions you make. Ellie offers a straightforward model to help the [YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE] achieve [YOUR PURPOSE] by [YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE]

Drawing on her experience of growing her company, Ellie states, "For me, it could be "I support women to create profitable businesses through teaching them strategy and funding strategies. '... for a long time I kept this information on a sticky note up in a corner, so whenever I decided to create a video, I knew who I was talking with."

  Build your social media presence  

Social media is considered to be one of the most efficient digital channels for building brand awareness and generating leads for your company. It's so effective that most customers will visit the profile of your company's Instagram profile (or your other social media sites) prior to visiting your website.

Therefore, it is important to put in the your time (and possibly money) to your content for social media in order to boost its exposure. The best way to accomplish this is to:

  • creating engaging, educational and sharing-friendly media (especially videos)
  • Paying for ads
  • Collaboration with influencers who have the same target market as you

  Use lead magnets to expand your email database  

When you're making content, your goal is to get the maximum number of people who aren't on social media to your list of email subscribers. When people subscribe to your email list it gives you a way to communicate directly with them, that's more beneficial than hoping they randomly bump into your posts and videos while scrolling through Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). This is where lead magnets are useful.

Ideally, with lead magnets, you're giving worth in exchange for contact details (usually their name and email address). But you can ask for other things too. In the start of her business, Ellie offered free 1-on-1 sessions to customers who were willing to give testimonials. They were used to gain her first group of paying clients.

      "You've got to consider the question, "What's an field where I can provide high-quality free services that can get someone excited?' Make that your primary draw. In my company, I recently made a change where instead of pushing the customer directly towards a particular product, we push you to a free offer such as the free masterclass. Then we sell on the backend. We have had great results."  

  The process of keeping existing customers easier than acquiring new ones  

Each new lead that you receive, you go through the process of pushing them down the sales funnel. It is a lot harder than convincing an existing client to purchase from you once more. Therefore, you should focus on maintaining your customer just as much as or even more as you do customer acquisition.

To keep your clients, here are some steps to take:

  • Provide high-end customer service
  • Utilize surveys from customers to gather feedback
  • Gather testimonials from satisfied customer (offer incentive programs, when you can)
  • Create a new offering that can fill in any gaps in the market

On creating a new offer, Ellie shares, "I made my first credit for business course for just 15 dollars. Then I started hearing the feedback of my customers about what theyrequire in the future. This led me to create my Business Credit revamped. After that, I developed my Business Credit masterclass, and after that, the whole collection. What happened is, a majority of people who purchased the first purchased the second to make up the missing pieces. Then, they purchased the third because they were advancing in their understanding, they required more."

Growing B2C as well as B2B Business for Multiple Revenue Streams

Jessica Chen, Global Communication Expert & CEO at Soulcast Media

Description of the session: Businesses, generally speaking, have three main revenue and sales factors: the products or services they offer, the content they create to explain their products and services, and the channels through the channels they share that content. In this presentation, Jessica discusses the power of LinkedIn to help businesses connect with clients (B2C) and other businesses (B2B) How to create content that appeals to both types of audiences and the best way to grow the range of services you offer for both audiences.

  LinkedIn is a powerful way to share content on LinkedIn and boost your profile  

Although many business owners and professionals are on LinkedIn, they don't consider LinkedIn a platform on which you increase your exposure and publish contents. Instead, they regard it as an avenue to update resumes, find job opportunities, and communicating with friends and acquaintances.

In reality, LinkedIn is a social media platform just like Instagram as well as X (formerly Twitter), and should be treated in the same way. There is only one difference: the type of content you share.

In regards to LinkedIn's popularity, Jessica says, "The appeal of the platform is that it reaches a certain set of audience who is at a point that is focused on professional growth and are eager to learn."

Jessica is also willing to share her journey from speaking about her experiences as a journalist in the year 2018 to becoming a qualified Top Voice and a LinkedIn instructor in five years. Jessica attributes this to regularly posting on LinkedIn as well as connecting with a variety of audiences that can profit from her services of helping others improve their communication techniques.

  Modify your message to fit both B2C as well as B2B audiences  

Most business owners believe they'll only get noticed when their content is targeted to individual consumers. This isn't true.

The power of LinkedIn is that it allows you to reframe your messaging to cater to both B2C and B2B customers. The content itself does not need to change, but changing the way you describe your business can improve your exposure and help you attract business and individual customers.

"I have found that, in order to talk to my B2C audience, I use language like 'you', 'your' Have ever considered this? ...?'""you"?" asks Jessica. "My language is direct so anyone who reads my material feels as if it's a personal message.

      "[With a B2B audience], instead of using 'you' or 'your', I'm now framing my talk by saying things like, 'the team' and 'the organisation'. It's more positive-driven and [less personal."  

  Make yourself known as an thought-leader for B2B customers.  

Unlike individual customers who only desire a top-quality product, B2B customers are looking to ensure they're buying from the top of the line. So to get their attention, you'll have to position your self as an expert or thought leader in your area, even if your product is primarily targeted at B2C audience.

If, for instance, you're an artist, you could create and sell a photography course for your B2C market. To get B2B prospects, you may publish thought leadership content about being in the arts industry or about building a business by being an artist. If you provide one-on-one workshops that teach people how to become more efficient and efficient, you could appeal to B2B audiences by posting articles about improving productivity in the workplace.

This way, you can move to selling B2C products such as e-courses, one-on-one classes to offering events and speaking opportunities.

Crafting a Visible personal brand using video

XayLi Barclay an expert and Visual Content Coach for Start Shoot Grow

Session Description as a business owner you can feel invisible, especially if you're in a highly competitive marketplace or in a crowded industry. You can combat that by building your personal brand with video content, be it small TikTok videos, Instagram Reels, or long-form YouTube videos. In this presentation, XayLi explains how you can use video content to advertise your online course, get sales, and build your brand's reputation to the people who purchase from you.

  You don't need too much to get started  

When making your first livestream or doing your debut livestream, you don't have to be perfect. Start with the footage you already have. In the beginning, viewers forgive your video quality and editing skill as they understand that over time, you'll become better.

XayLi herself started using her laptop, an easy white backdrop, and a run-off-the-mill ring light.

"This is the place where I got my start, even when approached me to become an expert," she states. "I didn't wait till I set up my newsroom for my first lesson to teach people. I used my resources because I knew what I wanted to share wasn't only around how amazing your set could look.

      Now I'm using a built-in studio in my home However, this is the place the place where I began a few years in the past."    

  Get more resources as you grow  

As you get more visibility from your videos and generate revenue, it's time building up your collection and enhance your equipment for video. You can, for instance, get a better camera/webcam and tripod stand (worth between $500 and $1,000) and a green screen as well as the eCamm Live as well as a teleprompter software along with a Adobe Premiere subscription for editing.

Speaking out upgrade options for equipment and sets, XayLi clarifies, "[At this stage], you can have multiple camera angles and so on. The time is now to invest in these items because you're making profits. Many of us believe that we need to look good before we can earn money. No. You must get on the market, and after that you will get the cash."

When you start making enough money, you can start outsourcing your video recording edits, distribution, and recording to freelancers or an in-house team.

  Focus on one thing at a moment  

It's common to think that you must do everything to scale your business: post across every platform, jump on every trend, and talk about several topics. This isn't necessarily true. It's best to concentrate on one thing at a time as you create your own personal branding. It not only stops you from burning out however, but also let your viewers know what to expect from you every when you upload a video.

In accordance with XayLi Barclay's "Rule of 5 Ones", here are the five elements to consider when defining your digital strategy

  • One item or service
  • One possible market
  • One lead conversion tool
  • One main traffic source
  • One business goal

Memberships - Memberships - The Good, The Bad The Ugly, and The Ugly

Teri Ijeoma, the founder of Trade & Travel

Session description: When done correctly, memberships can be an excellent way for companies to build stronger relationships with their clients, in addition to generating additional income. Teri Ijeoma created a membership program that focuses on Trade & Travel and she now has over 35,000 people in her courses and 185,000 people on her mailing list. In this session, Teri shares the benefits of establishing a membership system, and explains how businesses are able to set up and manage memberships the right way.

  Know when to transition from a no-cost group to one that has a fee  

If you're not a very popular business, chances are you'll be required to launch your membership plan by providing worth for nothing. Teri began her membership program with a free Facebook group. However, as you grow your network, it is important to know when to transition from a free community into a paid-membership model.

These are indications to look out for before turning a corner:

  • The group you are working with is growing in size, but the members pay only one time for your service -- as opposed to paying for the additional benefits the group offers, e.g. year-long customer support, etc.
  • The group members begin their own group meetings, or sub-groups. This makes it difficult to oversee the group administration.
  • The group is hiring moderators and coaches who provide coaching for group members with no additional revenue generated from your members.

  Your member program is a service that is an item in and of its own  

Many businesses that create online courses also create membership plans as an add-on for their courses. While a membership program is an effective way of making your courses more effective however, it should be treated as a complete product- not a mere add-on.

In her interview about the benefits of her Trade & Travel membership, Teri confesses that "In the beginning, I thought the membership was an extension of my training. It's not the case -- it's a product all by itself. It should have its own team, promotion, marketing schedule... you should be thinking of it as an actual product."

  Be aware when you're pricing  

In the transition from a no-cost group to a membership model, consider your goal for income and set your price according to the goal. At this stage, it's easy to price your product less to attract more customers. But if you're sure that your program's chockfull of quality, then don't hesitate to set a higher price for it.

If, for instance, your goal is to make $10,000 each month, it's more beneficial to make 500 people agree to pay $200 per month rather than 1000 people to contribute $100 per month. The higher your costs are, the fewer people will sign up for it. This also means you'll be able to meet your earnings goals faster, while finding it relatively easier to manage the program.

Head of the Discussion Panel for the Table

Diandra Marizet (Host) the Executive Director and Co-founder of Intersectional Environmentalist

Description of the session: This panel discussion includes the panelists Cicely, Ellie, Jessica Cicely, Jessica XayLi giving their opinions about the significance of inclusion and diversity in the business space. They will also discuss the issues women and BIPOC business owners face as they enter the creation economy and the best way to price their products ethically in the capitalist market.

Here are a selection of the more poignant and important concerns and questions in this discussion:

  Many women of color entrepreneurs are gaining financial stability for the first time. What challenges, emerging problems, and opportunities do that present?

Ellie Diop: Just like you've experienced poverty trauma, there's wealth trauma, also. If you're the only one in your family to own a 6- or seven-figure enterprise, there's any examples for you to emulate. There's still a stigma around talking about money, especially for people with a different race earning more than most people see in a lifetime.

When I earned my first million dollars, I was scared to move out of the house my mother lived in. I wasn't ready to commit on a house because I was unsure of what to do in the event that it went away. I was also afraid to share the news with my family since I was afraid they'd see differently about my character.

One thing I'd like to be able to see more of are collaborative spaces like this that remove this stigma, and state "Hey, what's going on? If you're stressed about making money, and what you should use your money for do not be scared to discuss it". Allowing that stigma to continue is one reason we see people make lots of money, only to return to the place they started.

  In business environments, often it is easy to feel the pressure to integrate, code-switch or be silent or set aspects of ourselves aside. We may not always believe that we are a part of the notion of professionalism. Did that experience influence how you contribute to your community and how do you incorporate that into your work as DEI professional? DEI professional?

Cicely Blain: In the media systems we were raised in, when we see a certain type of person represented in media, TV, and social media, and when certain online creators get traction while others are banned from shadows, it is easy to think that you have to conform to a certain style of living and how you speak.

When you find a space that you're recognized for the person you are by the people around you and your people in authority (even when they may not have the same experiences that you), that's truly liberating. But, even though the number of people represented is growing and opportunities are more readily available, there's still two standards for the way people show up. It's not uncommon for us to internalize the dual rules (even when they could not be true) and they keep us from achieving our goals.

On TikTok, many people aren't neat and well-dressed constantly. While that's liberating but I'm of the opinion that that possibility is limited to a select few who have a greater expectations for other people and the way they appear.

  What happens when you realize that the path you're on does not align with the direction you're able to go and where your passion can be, and take the step of transitioning to full-time business ownership?  

Jessica Chen: All of us will reach a point in time arrive at where we recognize the goal we set out to attain is done and we're ready for an entirely new experience. In my case, I was in a great career that I loved, but after 10 years, I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more available. I've always been a kind of person who has the ability to design my own career path. So I thought about how I could pass on the knowledge I've learned.

My initial career was in the field of journalism, which could say is a "proper" profession where you can't share your thoughts, and you do not have a voice of your own as you're sharing stories of other people. It was a jarring transition to begin creating my own voice and displaying my personal style. That was definitely a learning curve.

  How can you price your services or products so that you can attract customers that are in the same boat, eager to gain knowledge from you and recognize the value of the product or service you offer?

XayLi Barclay Says: Lots of the time we offer low prices however we can overwhelm those who are investingin turn, doing an injustice to the person. You might think that you'll attract a lot of customers if you set your price low. However, chances are, you're getting overwhelmed people who aren't ready to act.

I hired a coach for my business to map out how much I could make, and that determined my prices based on volume. We see a lot of creators that launch an online course for $7 and earn six figures from that course and yet they lack the volume. If you're a small-scale creator, you need be aware of the goals you have as a business so you are able to price your product according to your goals.

If I offer 5 online classes at $1,000 for each course, I'll make $5,000. This is in contrast to offering 500 courses at the rate of $10 for each course. Consider it this way. It's what I needed to undergo.

Watch the sessions of Think in Color 2023 on-demand

And there you have it -- the key insights from the three-hour-long event created for budding as well as established entrepreneurs working in the creation economy. We encourage you to dive further into the subjects that have piqued your interest.