Be Your Own Boss: Young Professional’s Guide to Entreprene​urship – Memphis Urban League

Leadership Memphis Aerial Ellis Entreprenuership PanelI love working in my hometown of Memphis!

It was a special opportunity for me to serve as a panelist at the April General Body Meeting for the Memphis Urban League Young Professionals (MULYP)

We talked about how to start a business, how prime yourself for entrepreneurship, challenges in being a young business owner, and a variety of other topics. Other panelists included Phillip Rix, Jacque BoNey, Edward Bogard and Nikki Smith-Brown.

Memphis Urban League Young Professionals

Chapter President Cynthia Daniels has done an excellent job growing the chapter. It is one of the city’s largest networks of young leaders; it is recognized throughout the community for their member’s accomplishments.
MULYP is working to fill a void in the Memphis community by attracting, assisting and supporting the next generation of Memphis leadership to create positive change. The YP’s are a collection of Memphis area professionals that believe in improving the lives of others. Our members are doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, students, public administrators, financiers, entrepreneurs and more!
As a native of Memphis, I am so pleased to see this spark of energy spreading throughout city among young professionals in the African American community.  


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Who Let the Nerd Sit at the Cool Table?

I was never the most popular or most liked kid in school.

But the one thing I always had going for myself was the ability to use my talents and gifts to gain the attention and respect of others. Most times I felt like a nerd amongst kids who were way cooler than me. Somehow as an accomplished and confident adult, I still feel that way.

The thing is I listen and observe most of time and talk only when I have something of substance to say. On the contrary, most of the cool kids were talkative, funny and “in your face” charming. My humble attributes were too often taken for being shy, withdrawn or overly serious.

There are so many perks in the public relations industry. You meet people with great connections, attend exclusive events, engage in endless networking and enjoy an abundance of complimentary favors. You find yourself surrounded by the perceived in-crowd.

Seems like you’ve finally become one of the cool kids but you’re inner nerd is still lingering. The one reason you aren’t as popular is because you have other things to think about. You’re distant because your mind is on business. You’re quiet because you’re silently and effortlessly strategizing how to beat everyone else at their own game. You’re focused because you’re thinking of your next master plan.

The good thing about PR is that most people think they need it because they’re always looking for a way to gain more exposure for what they do. And, no matter how socially awkward or intellectually complex you may seem, you possess the know-how of making other people popular.

So why don’t nerds make themselves popular?

Because nerds exist to make the cool kids look even cooler. Sometimes we can even make other nerds look cool.

Remember as a PR pro, the client is the star of the show. Will you ever get a little shine? Absolutely. The obscure knowledge of PR keeps you in demand. But most times you’ll be the nerd at the cool table. You’ll always have a reserved seat there because cool kids know that while they play the superstar role and ham the spotlight, you’re somewhere concentrating on the next move.

Think Like A Journalist

Last month on Journchat, Twitter’s hottest new sounding board for journalists, bloggers and PR folks, there was lots of talk about where PR falls into the shift in news coverage by journalists and who bears the most responsibility in deciding what news stories are most relevant.

Journalists have the utmost requirement to be objective in their approach to storytelling, leaving a reader to determine how they feel about a topic and to draw their own conclusion. And even though most people probably don’t know or could care less about the seven elements of a news story, everyone knows a topic must be worth talking about or else it’s not news. thinklike1

As more news goes online, PR folks have to gain a greater edge on how to get a story placed. Journalists have to take a stronger approach to how they tell a story. Ultimately, that means companies have to challenge themselves a bit if they want better news coverage.

Identify the niche of your brand. Figure out what makes it stand out. Without any assumptions or false hope, be honest about where you are and why a journalist might take interest in your company.

If you were a journalist, would you write about your company? As a reader, what is it about your organization that others would find interesting? What unique facts about your business could a PR person use to publicize your business?

Try this. Write your own story about your business. No fluff – just tell the facts about you and your company in a creative way. Spend some time with it and question its level of newsworthiness. This will help you develop better expectations for your PR strategy and strengthen your ability to gain news coverage.

*** Learn more about Journchat, Monday nights on Twitter, at http://journchat.info