Cassie Mac & Cheese

My Top 5 Melanin Women Dinner Party Invitee List

I’m having a dinner party, check below to see my guest list

This is one of the most interesting conversational topics to truly break the ice. Who would you invite, living or dead to dinner? In honor of the success and bravery of melanin women, I took the time to revisit the female entrepreneurs that I am following on Instagram. What makes them easy to relate to and how would I introduce the ladies to others?

As a black female entrepreneur I understand it is important to communicate and make connections to everyone, regardless of race, nationality, and gender. But being a black female entrepreneur I also witness how important it is to enjoy the company of other black women and to learn from and with them how to earn success when so many are counting on your strengths to actually be your weaknesses. The ladies mentioned below have assisted me in ways that you would not even know and I highly recommend you to check out their brands. 

Angela Robinson (@thezenspothealing) would be the first person on my guest list. Her personality and spirit would instantly fill the room. Angela has been a major force in my life by simply listening to me and logically understand that life is not as pleasant as I would like. Angela has used her skills to develop her company, The Zen Spot, which specializes in Reiki, Angel Card Readings, One on One Meditation and other methods of growth.

what is reiki reiki near me
instagram.com/sweetsimpleAnge

 

What is a dinner party without the amazing Chef Resha (@chefresha)? After finding her on Twitter years ago and discovering her website I have been amazed not only by her delicious recipes but her personality, growth and spirit. I’ve watched her transition from a single tona mother (now fiancé) and I have witnessed her dedicated weight loss. She would bring laughter, honesty and delicious treats to the party. I mean, look at her page and try not to drool too much.

female chefs on tv CheF Resha
instagram.com/chefresha
female chefs on tv CheF Resha
instagram.com/chefresha

 

What is a dinner party without the amazing Chef Resha (@chefresha)? After finding her on Twitter years ago and discovering her website I have been amazed not only by her delicious recipes but her personality, growth and spirit. I’ve watched her transition from a single tona mother (now fiancé) and I have witnessed her dedicated weight loss. She would bring laughter, honesty and delicious treats to the party. I mean, look at her page and try not to drool too much.

 

Danita Q. Berry (@skinchology_houston) has been an amazing friend for almost 15 years. She was the one person who believed in women empowerment and encouragement. Since 2015 her skincare and body waxing company, Skinchology, has prospered and assisted many women and men via her education in taking better care of your skin and your mind. Danita would bring positive vibes, many jokes, rawness and accountability to the table. Did I mentioned that I love this chick?!

 
best facial in houston
instagram.com/danita_q_berry

 

I do not know how but I know why I found Shelby Ivey Christie (@bronze_bombshel) on my discover feed. She is a marketing badass. She not only knows how to market products but her understanding of black history and fashion is remarkable! Her podcast Girl With The BamBoo Earring is a must have for every person’s list who are interested in the cultural & societal impact blackness has had on the fashion & luxury landscape. Shelby would bring fashion, knowledge, laughter and the best bottle of champagne to the dinner.

 

african american fashion in the 70s
instagram.com/bronze_bombshel
african american fashion in the 70s
instagram.com/bronze_bombshel

 

I do not know how but I know why I found Shelby Ivey Christie (@bronze_bombshel) on my discover feed. She is a marketing badass. She not only knows how to market products but her understanding of black history and fashion is remarkable! Her podcast Girl With The BamBoo Earring is a must have for every person’s list who are interested in the cultural & societal impact blackness has had on the fashion & luxury landscape. Shelby would bring fashion, knowledge, laughter and the best bottle of champagne to the dinner.

 

 

 Finally, what’s a party without laughter? Comedian and Writer Tyree Elaine (@tyreeelaine) would be my final guest. I’ve watched her progress as a comedian for the past 5 years and she has developed a strong strategy, which has landed her into the writer’s room on The Conner’s tv series. Besides laughter, Tyree will bring topics that affect all women and her journey into a male-dominated career.

 

black stand up comedians
instagram.com/tyreeelaine

Honorably mentioned would definitely be Katie Wilson (@50shadesofkay1). This lady is hilarious! I love her transparency and openness to being herself. Besides a good dinner beverage, Kay will bond the individual guests together in a positive manner.

So, who would be your plus one and why you would invite them to my dinner party? Leave your answers below!

6 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Brand Your Business

Building an Epic Brand Starts With Understanding the Purpose of Your Business.

Branding is more than creating an attractive logo and putting together a pretty color palette.

Creating a brand for your business is a complex yet efficient task. It often stirs up emotions, frustrations and fears that you do not initially expect. This is because your brand ultimately forms the heartbeat of your business.

So, what do you need to do before creating a brand?

Think about the last item you purchased. What motivated you to desire the service and/or product? Why did you choose that specific brand and not its competitors? How do you feel about your final decision?

One important matter to note is that people generally buy based on emotion rather than logic. Therefore, an effective brand is encouraged to have an emotional impact; to connect with the hearts and minds of your customers.

Your brand should have a lasting effect. It needs to be memorable; to trigger something in your customer which makes them want to know more about the products or services that you offer.

Sounds like a lot of pressure, right? Don’t panic, I am here for you!

To help you through this process, I am going to share what you need to do before creating a brand for your business. Specifically, 6 questions you need to answer, even before you start looking at logo concepts or color palettes.

Incorporating these questions into your brand strategy will enable you to establish a strong foundation to work from when it comes to creating a visual brand identity.

1. WHAT IS THE VISION I HAVE FOR MY BUSINESS?

The vision of your business environs the reason why you do what you do. It is the driving force behind every decision, every action, every process of your brand’s message. Think of it as being the north star which guides you throughout your entire business journey.

Your vision becomes “the thing” that encourages you to get out of bed everyday. It is the driving force which enables you to push through the hard times; to see the light when all you feel like doing is throwing in the towel.

As your business goals and objectives change over time, your business vision might also need revamping. Just keep in mind that your vision is what molds your brand message and how you convey this to your audience.

2. WHAT IS THE MISSION OF MY BUSINESS?

The mission of your business identifies your specific goals and objectives. It covers the ‘what’ & ‘who’ aspects of your brand.

The business mission is concise and straightforward. It should be as simple as a single sentence which covers the philosophies that help to guide your business. A strong mission statement will help to provide direction. And, it will inspire a community of loyal followers who are passionate about what you do.

 

branding small business starbucks

3. WHAT ARE THE VALUES WHICH DRIVE MY BUSINESS?

Your business values basically determine how your business operates. The values act as guiding principles which assist to establish a cohesive and authentic work culture. They also contribute to your brand positioning and how your audience perceives your business.

It is important to ensure that your business values connect with who you are and the business that you want to build. It is pointless to create a generic list of values, only because you feel like you should include them.

Think about the values which are important to you and how you can apply these to your business. For instance, one of your values might relate to continuously moving forward and always putting in your best effort.

6Q Blog provides a list of incredible examples of company values in their blog post, ‘190 Brilliant Examples of Company Values’. Check it out to get your ideas flowing on how you can create your own list of values and let us know your thoughts below in the comment section.

4. WHAT AM I OFFERING?

This might seem like a very straightforward question. However, this question is not about the products or services that you provide. It is about the actual benefits of purchasing those particular products or services.

Features are a factual statement about a product or service. For example, a feature of a website design service could be the 4 week turnaround time.

Features are not why people decide to buy. This is where benefits come in. The benefit is the result or consequence of the feature. It is the outcome associated with the offering – the answer to the question of “what’s in it for me?”.

So, if the feature is the 2 week turnaround time, then the benefit is a speedy turnaround time. This means your brand new website will launch within less than 14 days. No more waiting weeks or months to go live! Time is money!

Essentially, it is the value that is provided as a result of your product or service.

5. WHO DO I WANT TO WORK WITH?

When creating a brand for your business, it is important to consider who you are providing your product or service to. Most importantly, you need to ask yourself who you would like to work with aka your user persona.

One of the things I ask my clients to do when we work together is to think about their ideal client. What type of person would inspire them to do their best work and remind them of why they started in the first place? What is there age? Where do they live? Where do they spend their disposable income?

What would their personality be like? How would they dress? What would interest them? How old would they be? Would they have children etc.?

When we think about the people that we would like to appeal to we tend to group them together in a general range of ages, personality traits, marital statuses, interests etc.

They might live in a city apartment, have a house in the suburbs or live in a big family home with their husband and kids. They might be between 25-42 years old, be an only child or have five or six siblings.

The best thing you can do is to get as specific as possible. You want to get to the point of describing an individual person rather than a general range of consumers. This doesn’t mean that you have to turn people outside of this description away from your business. A specific set of parameters allows you to identify, understand and connect with people who are right for you and your business.

The best thing you can do is to get as specific as possible. You want to get to the point of describing an individual person rather than a general range of consumers.”

6. WHO ARE MY COMPETITORS AND WHAT MAKES ME UNIQUE?

A solid understanding of your competitors, their offerings and your unique selling point will push your business forward.

Think of the SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). This little exercise will help you to create a full overview of your competitors so you can determine what makes your business unique. This will enable you to communicate your own strengths and competitive advantage to your audience.

Let’s be honest, when it comes down to it, you want them to choose you over your competition.

With that said, it is important that you don’t become consumed with that your competitors are doing. Information about your competitors is vital to have, but the key is to play to your own unique strengths, as opposed to your competitors weaknesses. One strategy may work perfectly for one business, but not for another.

Cassie Rachel’s Summary:

When it comes to creating a brand for your business, I like to think of it as though you are building your dream home. Allow the above six questions to form the foundation of the house. Keep in mind the  importance of having a clear idea in mind of the direction that you want to take your business in.

Similar to interior design, the visual aesthetic of your brand – your logo, mood board, imagery etc. – contributes to creating the overall vibe of your brand. However, if you can answer these questions, your chances of creating a brand that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but memorable and impact more people.

Please leave a comment below of your thoughts and/or branding goals for your business!

Aesthetically yours, 

Cassie Rachel

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https://cassierachel.com/6-questions-you-need-to-answer-in-order-to-build-an-epic-brand/

Don’t let someone’s negative opinion of you become your reality.”

Whew, I don’t know about you but that hit home. When Sanaa Lathan posted on Snapchat her gorgeous locks being replaced with an unfamiliar bald cut, I instantly thought about how great her makeup artist is to accomplish such a realistic look. Boy, was I wrong! The beautiful Ms. Lathan took us on a journey of various hairstyles for her latest role as Violet Jones in the highly anticipated “Nappily Ever After”. [Read more…] about The Best Entrepreneur Tips I Received From Netflix’s Nappily Ever After

The Best Options Available for the Self-Employed

small business insurance

One of the last items on my list to invest in as an entrepreneur was medical coverage. I quickly realized that finding affordable self-employed health insurance options wasn’t easy. There are many choices but not all of them were within my budget. Did I really want to put my last spare dollars into purchasing insurance when I may not use daily?

In the words of @NotKarltonBanks infamous Sister Bun, “Hallelujah Yeah!”

healthcare for entrepreneurs

Healthcare is essential for everyone to purchase. I became frustrated trying to figure out whether or not good healthcare insurance coverage us worth budgeting. As an entrepreneur, your business operates by how healthy you are. Most importantly, if you are the single employee for your business the income generates only when you are available to meet the needs of your clients. This proves the importance of self-care and healthcare.

Obtaining medical insurance is more than receiving yearly physicals and ensuring your flu shot is paid for. Many healthcare plans include therapy options as well. I am a strong believer in speaking with a therapist as often as needed to ensure your mental health is nurtured. Having a clear mind will allow you to grow professionally.

There are multiple health insurance options out there for the self-employed. It may take some digging to find an option that meets your current health care needs. However, it’s well worth the effort. When I began transitioning into a full-time entrepreneur I spent a few months filtering through hundreds of insurance options for business owners. I hope my personal research may be of assistance to other self-starters who are in the market for medical coverage.

[Read more…] about 5 Budget Friendly Healthcare Plans for Entrepreneurs

Beyonce Female Empowerment
Image via People Magazine

Let’s just face facts: Beyonce is the epitome of being dope af. Strategically, she has built a stellar career as a singer, songwriter, actress plus more all while loving & being an equal partner with her man and co-creating 3 beautiful little humans.  From taking maternity leave after delivering twins to selling out stadiums worldwide less than 9 months later while dropping secret albums, as a business owner I cannot help but to admire this melanin female entrepreneur. [Read more…] about 9 Times Beyonce Inspired Female Entrepreneurs