Encore Entrepreneurship – It’s Not How You Start It’s How You Finish

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It was 1975, at the age of 14, when I landed my first job.  I was working with my DECA teachers at Caesar Rodney High School in Dover, and it was an exciting time.  However, I remember the first job was as a “Mother’s Helper” for the wife of an orthodontist who had a bad a$$ kid.

I won’t get into the many reasons why this job was one of the worse jobs I ever had, but it’s just a reminder that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

 

 

Being a Mother’s Helper -aka- maid to a rich woman gave me more of an incentive to do what I really wanted to do and that was to teach.  After more years of working various jobs including a fry cook at Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips, I finally landed the job of my dreams once receiving a BS Degree in Elementary Education from Delaware State College in 1983, and that was of becoming  a teacher!

I have always loved to teach, whether it was teaching young children how to read or now educating business leaders and entrepreneurs who want to learn about social media marketing and blogging.

 

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As the CEO of ABlake Enterprises, I truly believe that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and there is one thing that never changes and that is learning.

With each job, I had to learn new skills and techniques and some were challenges, others not so much.  I was fortunate that training was provided by my employers to ensure success was inevitable.

In order for a business to grow and succeed employees need to be properly trained on any new technology.  The employer should bring in an expert that will not only motivate the employees, but also give them guidance on implementing the new technology in the workplace.

I have spoken to many organizations and groups, most recently to the Colonial Dover Rotary Club on Tips for a Facebook Business Page and in speaking to the members, many walked away with a better understanding of social media marketing.  They will use some of the tips that I presented to make their social media marketing campaigns more successful.

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As technology continues to change and evolve it will shape the way a lot of business practices today so you may need to call in and subject matter expert such as myself, or Adrian Rubin.

 

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Adrian Rubin had an interest in technology for as long as he could remember. He was intrigued by software, video games, cell phones, the internet and computer programming. He attended college and eventually earned his Masters degree. He enjoyed his field of work until something happened that changed his life. Adrian discovered the Internet of Things.

Adrian believes the Internet of Things (IoT) is the fourth industrial revolution. He feels this technology is capable of permanently disrupting the current technological environment. He believes artificial intelligence will become common practice in the future.

The more he learns the more he wants to share, so head over to his website to read more on how his training can assist in the success of your employees.

 

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Let’s Chat > What was the worst job you ever had?

How You Can Help The Homeless with a Horror Film

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THE FORGOTTEN FILM PRODUCTION PROJECT

I invite you all to listen to this recent radio interview on Heart Ministry Radio with my clients Elijah Richardson and Leroy Bryant to learn how you can help the homeless with a horror film.

 

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Short Summary

Elijah and Leroy are Directors, Producers and Writers for films; they have also completed rewrites for Emmy and Peabody award-winning Producer Lee Levinson; have co-written a screenplay for hire, “Dream Real the Movie” adapted from a Barnes & Noble bestsellers list autobiography “Dream Real” for NAP SPORTS, LLC; co-written a produced short titled “Prodigal, The Movie”; most recently, they have co-produced and co-directed “Creature In The Woods”, our original featured found-footage horror script and in February 2017 signed a worldwide distribution contract with Summer Hill Films/Tom Cat Films; both are recipients of: The Hollywood Film Institute (Independent Filmmaker Certificate) – 2011 and The Hollywood Film Institute (Producer’s Diploma) – 2011

What We Need & What You Get

One-hundred homeless veterans and homeless will be employed as actors and/or day workers (Even hired into other production positions based on skill level); will be provided with 2 meals per day during the shoot schedule; coordinate and provide shelter for homeless individuals of the 100 not currently living in a shelter; provide transportation to and from the shooting sites.

The production budget for the film project is $867K, to cover Homeless/Veteran Cast ($100/day), directors, travel/living, main cast, production staff, art, set construction, wardrobe, make-up, sound, transportation, editing, music, publicity/photography, insurance, reception and more.

The funds will be transferred into the Night of the Vegan homeless economic stimulus account until funding is raised to produce the film.

Contributors will have a positive affect on the lives of 100 homeless individuals, helping them to re-establish themselves back into society; Be part of a blueprint developing a successful economic stimulus plan for the homeless.

Elijah and Leroy produced, directed and wrote their Independent feature film titled “Wild Man of the Woods” (US) “Creature in the Woods” (INTL) which will be distributed by Summer Hill Films (April 17, 2018) (checkout horrorpedia.com). Both have worked some twenty-five plus years in the service field. Combining their creative abilities and desire to change the lives of the homeless will make this project successful.

Risks & Challenges

Let’s be real…of course this project will be challenging. Homeless individuals might not want to speak with us. Many will have mental issues that are a common condition among their population. There will be those with anger and aggressive behaviors. Other conditions such as poverty, unemployment, shortage of affordable housing are other causes of homelessness. In addition, family breakdown, sexual assault and social isolation have resulted in being homeless.

Elijah and Leroy also work for a hospital for some combined eleven years and in their role, spending 1000’s of hours of contact with the homeless. They have spoken with 100’s of homeless individuals about their current situation.

They are driven on encouraging the homeless to want to change themselves.

Elijah and Leroy plead contributors to get the word out and make some noise about the homeless and homeless veterans economic stimulus project campaign even if you are unable to contribute financially. Together you can make a difference by not be like everyone else.

*Twenty percent of domestic box office net will go to the homeless veterans and homeless participants to be divided equally.

You can help support their humanitarian project for homeless veterans and homeless families that are truly in need.  Please visit Indiegogo and/or Fundly for details of this economic stimulus project.

 

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Even $1.00 can go a long way to employing 100 homeless veterans and homeless. Please donate and share and make The Forgotten Film Productions project a huge success and a model for unity around the world. 

Thank you.

 

Leroy E. Bryant II

Leroy, born and raised in Wilmington, attended and graduated from Delcastle Technical High School in Wilmington. He later attended Delaware Technical and Community College graduating with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. He is fluent in Italian.

LEROY Leroy co-founded, co-owned and operated Allegra Desserts S.A.S. from 1999 until 2007 when he sold his shares in the company to pursue a career in film. The company operated as Divina Desserts USA in the United States. He was the Director of U.S. Operations and head of the company’s research and development for the Italian-based company. Leroy was responsible for day-to-day operations of the company’s largest market, the United States (and Canada until 2002). The company produced artisan classic Italian desserts, which it exported to seven different countries from Italy. In just two years, in 2001, Leroy’s vision and leadership catapulted Divina/Allegra Desserts to succeed as the second largest dessert manufacturer in Southern Italy.

Elijah C. Richardson, Jr

Elijah grew up and was raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. After graduating from St. Joseph’s H.S., Elijah attended West Virginia University to pursue a career in education. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education, minor in Sports Management. In 1992 he relocated to Wilmington, Delaware. He spent over fifteen years as a director for the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club. At both organizations, Elijah provided programs and services to thousands of children. He provided leadership roles to establish activities and services to prepare youth for success.

ELIJAH Through his planning, implementing, mentoring, developing and evaluating the overall organization’s programs, services and activities, he ensured that they met stated objectives for children, parental needs, and interests.

Elijah and business partner Leroy , have also been writing screenplays for several years. In 2005, as a screenwriting team, they completed their first original screenplay, “The Second Coming,” after originally collaborating on a comic book project. The screenplay earned them a quarter-finalist placing in the Writer’s on the Storm screenwriting competition in

Los Angeles that same year. Fueled from the result of the contest, they both attended the Writer’s Expo in 2005, 2006 and 2010 to network and sharpen their skills.

Save Time & Schedule Your Posts with Hootsuite or Buffer

 

As a small business owner who works with other small business owners I know one of the most important commodities we have is time.  Time is precious and it’s something that we can ill afford to waste.

Therefore, when it comes to social media posting and engaging with our audiences, it’s best to schedule it and not just post all willy nilly throughout the day hoping to connect, which can be like spitting into the wind.

Save Time and Schedule Your Posts with Hootsuite or Buffer

There are several tools that help with social media scheduling, and I have used several, including Hootsuite and Buffer.    Personally I prefer Buffer, however, I wanted to include both so that you can make a choice as to which work best for you.

 

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HootSuite is a social media management tool that allows users to schedule and post updates to any page or profile for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, WordPress, and other platforms from one place—the HootSuite dashboard. When you sign up you are given a dashboard with tabs to organize all your the social media profiles that you’ve connected to HootSuite.

 

Users can upload and analyze marketing campaigns across all social profiles without needing to sign in to each social network individually. For premium accounts, users get advanced features that provide statistics and analytics, audience engagement, team collaboration, and security.

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Although HootSuite is mainly considered a business tool, a lot of individuals use it for personal purposes too. If you spend a lot of time on social media and have a lot of profiles to take care of, streamlining all of those profiles into one simple system can help you save a lot of time.

 

For example, if you’re posting the same thing across five profiles, you can post it once through HootSuite and select the profiles where you want it published, and it will publish it on all five profiles at once.  The scheduling feature is great because it allows you to spread your posts throughout the day or week so you can set it and forget it!

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With a free account, you can manage up to three social profiles with HootSuite but if you upgrade, you can manage many more.   Hootsuite allows you to send private messages out to targeted audience groups on selected social profiles straight through the HootSuite dashboard.

 

If you work with a team, you can create an “organization” to improve communication and collaboration across everyone’s HootSuite account.  HootSuite has a dedicated section for creating analytical reports and click summaries. It works with both Google Analytics as well as Facebook Insights.

 

Buffer is also a simple web application that allows you to schedule social media posts across a variety of popular social networks. I find it less confusing and more user friendly to schedule posts across several platforms.

Buffer is super easy to use, which is one of the reasons why it’s so popular. When you connect a social network to Buffer, you can start composing new posts to add to your post queue.  The post queue is where all your scheduled posts sit as they wait to be posted. Posting times are set up by default in your settings tab, which for some strange reason for me is always Santiago, so make sure to put in your closest city.

Every time you add a new post to your queue it will be scheduled to automatically post to your account but you have the option to share the post now or to set it to a specific scheduled date and time for each new post that you compose.

 

buffer-app-logoThe post composer is media friendly so you can add url links, photos, GIFs and videos to your posts through Buffer.  You can customize your schedule so that queued posts are published any day and any time you want from now to far into the future.

 

Once a post has been published through Buffer, you can switch over to the Posts tab to see engagement stats such as clicks, likes, replies, comments, shares and more which is another great feature to keep you from spitting into the wind.

 

Instead of selecting and setting a specific time for a post to go out every single time you want to schedule one, you can just write a new post, add it to your queue and forget it! You also have total control over your scheduled times so your queued posts always post whenever you want them to post.

 

 

Buffer can be used with  Facebook (profiles, pages and groups), Twitter, LinkedIn (profiles and pages), Google+ (profiles and pages) and Instagram. Pinterest is a sixth social network you can use with Buffer only if you decide to upgrade.

 

A free plan lets you connect up to three social network accounts and gives you unlimited scheduling with up to 10 posts per account stored in your queue at a time.

 

You’ll also get access to post analytics so that you can see how many clicks and other interactions you got on your posts. This will help you determine which posts perform well and which times of the day have the highest engagement rates.

Tips for Building Your Buffer Post Schedule

If you’re going to use Buffer, it’s important to have a good idea about when your fans and followers are the most active and the most likely to see your posts. Then you can build your schedule around those peak times of the day or week to maximize your social presence.  

With all the changes to the algorithms and privacy settings, it’s best to use your Insights on Facebook or your Google Analytics to help you schedule the best times to post when your audience is most active.

 

Buffer has a mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices so you can easily add content from a mobile web browser or app to your Buffer queue. Just toggle the tab in your mobile browser or app that lets you access other sharing apps you have installed. The Buffer app should appear next to your other popular sharing apps.

Buffer has been integrated with several popular apps and services so that you can add posts to your queue directly from those apps and services. From IFTTT and WordPress, to Pocket and Instapaper, you might be able to take advantage of Buffer integration with at least one tool that you already use!

Upgrade Options for Both

 

For businesses, brands and individuals who need to schedule more than the basic plans upgrade options are available on both.

 

Let’s Chat > Do you schedule your posts or just spit into the wind hoping for the best.

Smartphone App Addiction of Tweens & Teens

How much time are your tweens and teens spending online?

 

 

Do you wonder if your tween or teen is so closely connected to his or her smartphone that they are addicted to the apps?

Remember when cellphones were used to make phone calls?

The addiction to social media and mobile apps is no secret among today’s tweens and teens but are they so addicted that they cannot function normally and do you even know what apps they are using?

I was talking to a friend the other day and we wondered if the population rate would drop as the younger generation no longer communicates face to face, let alone has a relationship that is not online.

According to Pew Research Center, the availability of smartphones has resulted in 92% of teens (ages 13-17) saying they go online every day, and 24% of teens stating that they are online “almost constantly.” With this many teens online at such a high level of frequency, what exactly are they doing?

Did you know that more people own smartphones than they do toothbrushes?

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA APPS ARE TWEENS & TEENS USING?

Social media is a major part in the lives of tweens and teens and there are a number of social media apps that rise above the rest in popularity. Research reports that Facebook is still the most popular and frequently used social media app among teens, although most won’t admit to it, as a matter of fact, less than 71% will.  Instagram is second at 52%, followed by Snapchat at 41% then Twitter at 33%.

 

According to Common Sense Media, tweens (ages 8-12) and teens (ages 13-18) use their media differently. Teens are more likely to multi-task, using their device or computer to listen to music (76%), text (60%), watch TV (51%), or use social media (50%) while they are doing their homework.

With all of this time online, how do tweens and teens use social media? In today’s high tech world, social media acts as a place tweens and teens can go hang out and socialize outside of home and school.

When on these apps, teens and tweens are chatting, playing games, and snapping, sharing video, photos and other images that they find online.   In most cases, tweens and teens prefer to interact with others they already know, however, with the vast amount of social media apps available, it becomes increasingly easier for your child to interact with strangers as well.

The key is to know which apps your child is using. Once you have that information, you can familiarize yourself with these platforms and how they are used. Sign up for an account, discover firsthand how these platforms are being used by kids.

When you have this information, you can open a line of communication with your child and educate them on best practices when using the app. You can also discuss the possibility of not using certain apps if you feel they aren’t appropriate.

Ultimately, social media is here to stay, it’s not a fad nor the future and it has become a significant part of the social development of tweens and teens.

Is your teen or tween spending too much time on their mobile device? 

How can you tell if your child’s reliance on smartphones and other mobile devices is normal when you have no frame of reference for childhood smartphone use, and when society has completely surrounded itself around mobile devices?

Here’s some important information about children and smartphone use, and some tips on how to deal with potential smartphone addiction in your tweens and teens.

How Tweens & Teens Are Using Smartphones

It’s important not to approach the idea of smartphones and mobile devices as automatically bad. After all, they are an integral part of your tween’s and teen’s social life and an important communication device. And, if current trends continue, they’ll also be an important part of your child’s adult life. It’s likely they’ll be expected to have and use a smartphone or other mobile device in their professional life later on. Learning to handle these devices now can be a helpful thing for their future.

On the other hand, too much of a good thing can always be dangerous. Some experts believe that smartphone use may be replacing drug and alcohol experimentation and addiction in teens due to a correlation between falling rates of tweens and teens who report drug use and rising rates of internet use. And while that may sound positive, experts also caution that it affects the brain in a similar way to using drugs.

How Much is Too Much?

Smartphones may be relatively new but the signs of addiction are consistent whether the addict is using drugs or apps. According the studies, your tween may be experiencing smartphone addiction if they exhibit some of these signs:

  • Using the smartphone to alleviate anxiety, depression, or other negative feelings;
  • Preoccupation with the smartphone to the detriment of grades, friendships, and other activities;
  • Withdrawal symptoms like anger, depression, irritability, and restlessness when the phone is taken away.

Smartphone use may also cause physical symptoms of addiction:

  • Eyestrain from too much digital viewing;
  • Neck pain from hunching over the phone;
  • Sleep disturbances and fatigue thought to be caused by the light from cell phone viewing after dark.

What Should Parents Do?

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If you suspect your child is addicted to their smartphone, your first instinct may be to remove the device entirely. That is an option, and it may be appropriate for some, however, smartphones are part of modern life, and it’s unrealistic to expect your child will never use one again. Therefore, it may be advisable to treat smartphone addiction less like a chemical addiction and more like a food addiction. That means teaching your tween to moderate themselves.

Set boundaries for smartphone use. You may want to limit your child to a certain amount of time on their smartphone each day, or to designated times of the day, or both. It’s also important to keep an eye on what they’re doing and limit online activities that your kids spend an unhealthy amount of time on, like social media sites or games.

Let’s Chat > How do you control the smartphone usage of your tween or teen?

Why You Should Turn Your Passion into a Profit At Any Age

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Wow, April and May were two very busy months and had I known just how much fun and enjoyable it would be working for myself I would have done so years ago!  

 

Two months of steady teaching and conducting Social Media Marketing and Blogging workshops has added fuel to the fire!  I am finally turning my passion into a profit and loving every minute of it.

 

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Teaching along with doing some amazing product reviews for Verizon Wireless and Mitsubishi has really motivated me to continue building and growing ABlake Enterprises and I encourage anyone, regardless of their age to pursue their passion.

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Do you have a skill or an passion project that you wish to share, then I encourage you to start out volunteering to promote and brand yourself.  The experience of volunteering at local libraries, community centers, churches and other local venues has enabled me to turn my talents of teaching into a second career as an Encore Entrepreneur.

 

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Turning a “Passion into Profit” is more than a catch phrase because in today’s world it has become less of a pipe dream and more of a reality for many.  The days of working for someone else for 30-40 years is no longer the norm, leaving that company with a Gold Watch and a pension is no longer a reality for most.  Resource actions, layoffs and company closures are much more common and it’s never “personal” it’s alway “just business”.

 

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As an Encore Entrepreneur who recently left the corporate world to become a full time business owner, I must admit that is has been exhilarating, exciting and enjoyable and thanks to the motivation of family, friends and even listening to motivational speakers such as Les Brown, Gary Vaynerchuk and Jim Rohn, makes my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

 

Others such as Chrissy Weems also understands the importance of listening to and reading motivational materials to stay focused and strong in the pursuit of turning a passion into a profit.

 

So if you to have been thinking about turning your passion into a profit, I suggest you find a mentor at SBA, SCORE or some other small business association or simply start out by attending  the many free offerings at your local library, community centers or sign up for a Continuing Education course at your local Community Colleges or Universities.

 

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Don’t let age, location or any other external factor stop you from pursuing your passion because life it too short and you know what, you are good at what you do, so why not share your experience or expertise with others?

 

To learn more about ABlake Enterprises, please head over to my website and if you are looking to learn how to Build Your Brand with a blog, sign up for the next workshops at DelTech Community College starting up again in the fall.

 

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Let’s Chat > Have you turned your passion into a profit and if so, what advice can you give to others who may be wanting to do the same?

 

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