Featured on DearDopeChick

this week's dope chick
#deardopechick:
meet Keri Herndon-Brown

what makes you dope:

i'm a 43 year old woman who survived being raised in Harlem during the crack epidemic.

my daddy was a hustler during in the 80s in Harlem, so unfortunately after his untimely death, i grew up raised by a single mother.

i quickly realized that the odds weren't stacked in my favor so i learned to do the opposite of everyone around me.

i decided i wasn't having kids out of wedlock as a first in my family, i was headed to Howard University + was going to learn to hustle for my last name.

currently, my husband + i have been married for 19 years, have 4 kids together + run a successful six figure business for the past 13 years together.

i've learned to use the hustle i was raised with to win at this business game.

what are some of the challenges you faced in finding your dopeness + how did you overcome those challenges?

when my husband + i decided to walk away from his role as a educator + a...

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Gas & Go

How many of us go to the pump every day and say to ourselves, "Put the gas in the car and go." We give the car what it needs - its fuel, its motivation - then we take off. Why don't we do that in our own lives? When we get a nugget of great information that takes us five minutes to digest, that is our fuel, our mental or emotional fuel to get things going. Yet we continue to hesitate and overthink things instead of just doing a quick “gas and go.”

Some people say, "Well, you can't just be impulsive." Well, I'm at the stage in my life where if I don't start doing the things I know I should, whether it be because they're in my strengths or because God told me to, I'm going to regret it. I don’t know about you, but I have enough regrets.

Right now, as I spend this summer with my family and working on our businesses, I’m ready to “gas and go.” I have the fuel and it’s time for opportunity to meet preparation.

Where are you? Are you thinking...

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My Turn

 

Keri has been writing these blogs and sharing with many of you how to navigate the tricky waters of small business ownership for some time now. And I can guarantee she knows what she’s talking about, because she has been the backbone of our business success.

For the past 13 years, I have been out front in our business and that makes me more visible and susceptible to glory and blame. As most entrepreneurs will tell you, we go to bed at night worried about something, whether it be money, attracting clients, retaining clients, hiring staff, expanding, competition or the many other things a business owner must keep track of. Fortunately for me, I have not had to shoulder this on my own.

Keri knows most of my pain, but even when she doesn’t know, having her by my side to educate, inspire and comfort me, gives me the courage to tackle the hurdles in front of me and to believe in what’s to come in the future.

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives...

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Are you at a crossroads?

A crossroads of knowing what you want to do, what you need to do, but not sure how you can do it?

Right now, I admit, I'm at a crossroads of consistency. Here I am with an amazing husband, a great family, an exceeding business, yet I must admit that I am too inconsistent. I haven't done a Tech Tuesday in two weeks. My husband and I haven't done a Sunday Success planning, and all that is wrong. I no longer want to be at this crossroads of consistency. I want to be someone who can say what they mean and mean what they say. At all times and every day.

So how can I help you if I'm at this crossroads? Well, you can join me. You can join me as I lift, as I climb. I'm launching this new venture, the Entrepreneurial Advisorand I'm very excited about it. Why?  Because I figure, it’s time to work in my strengths. I'm going to do exactly what people expect of me, give them advice when asked.

People are always coming to me, “Keri, how do you do this? Keri, how do...

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Collaboration Over Competition

One of the hardest things to do in business is to share your idea with someone else. You always think about the possibility that they will poke holes in it prematurely and increase the already-daunting amount of self doubt you have. Or, even worse, what if they steal your idea? Business is about originality, being innovative, and what and I have tried to do over the past 13 years is not follow a typical business model for Strategic Admissions Advice. Even as we are starting this marriage, family, business, we recognize that we have to step away from our "competitors" and find our niche, our lane, in order to be successful.

In order to do that, we’ve learned it is important to collaborate more and view people who might be in a similar space less as competition. There's plenty of room for everyone to help people grow, whether it's as an educator, helping people get into college, or as a couple, trying to help spouses go into business. Helping people to embrace the struggle, the...

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The Marathon Continues

These past few weeks have been hard for me. I have to admit that I never would’ve thought that the death of a rapper 3000 miles away from where I live would affect me the way it has. But yes, I’m still thinking about a person I never met. It’s probably because Nipsey Hussle, AKA Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was not just a rapper; he was an entrepreneur, a community servant and an activist. So while many people may say "Oh well, another rapper got shot. What's the big deal? That's the lifestyle they portray and you get what you give," that doesn't sit well with me. He was more than just a music artist, and it's horrible to see his life taken away from him prematurely.

I grieve for Nipsey Hussle, his significant other, Lauren London, and for their children, not just because they were in the public limelight, but because once upon a time I too was the daughter of a murdered man. For those of you who don't know this about me, my father was murdered when I was eight years...

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Dare To Be Different - Part 1

 

Can I be real for a second? A few years ago, I was burned out, exhausted, and rapidly falling out of love with what we were doing. I thought we were spinning our wheels. So I made a decision to do business like big businesses do -- with a plan on daring to be different.

I knew we wanted to serve more people who needed our help at a lower price point. We got excited by the prospect of creating digital products and moving away from solely 1 to 1 services. How did we do it?

  1. Getting specific

Most businesses are way too broad in what they offer.

There is a critical need to get MORE specific. There’s too much online noise not to be.

 

  1. Creating a predictable way to generate leads

This has to be a constant. Using social media, strategies for list building, building an audience who likes and respects you. These are all crucial to generating leads. Not taking control of your lead generation creates an endless and exhausting cycle of hoping. You don’t want this.

...
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Actors Act and Waiters Wait

 

I've heard my husband say “actors act and waiters wait” a million times. He heard it from Samuel L. Jackson a few years ago while Samuel L. was talking about the beginning of his career. In the early ‘90s he was first getting put on and still waiting for opportunities. Then, very quickly, his career picked up in the late ‘90s with Pulp Fiction and Jurassic Park. Now he's in a movie every three months. Samuel L. was very clearly living by the mantra that actors act and waiters wait.

And the takeaway from that really is: we have to attack life with a sense of urgency. If there's something you want to do you have to do it and be relentless about it.

 

I know many people are thinking about starting a business, particularly with their spouses, and for some reason they're hesitant. You're wondering: What if we don't get along? What if we put all our eggs in one basket? Is this gonna work? One in three businesses fail, so what's the point?

 

Great....

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Connection and Communication  

Connection and communication are fundamental to all relationships, but particularly so for couples in business together. Shereem and I have to connect and communicate in order to be effective as spouses, parents, and business partners. Last week we took some time just to do that. We literally just sat in the bed together, watched this really cool show called “Working Moms” on Netflix, and talked. It was so good to be able to talk about a variety of things — some personal, some business — and even though we try to keep our business out of the bedroom, in this space it felt okay.

 

We were able to do this and not allow one aspect of our lives together to weave into the other. Don’t be mistaken, we are far from a perfect couple, but at this juncture in our lives with almost 20 years married, we understand that nothing will get accomplished if we don't connect. And that starts with communication.

So, as you go through the next week please try to...

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Support is Success

Nothing makes me happier than seeing a couple grinding it out together. When I say "grinding it out," I don't mean bumping their heads against the wall just trying to make everything work all at once. No. I mean trying to make their magic happen, trying to realize their dream, but realizing they have to put the work in in order to do this.

I know many couples where one spouse is working full time, and the other is starting or growing an entrepreneurial dream. I applaud both of you for talking, communicating, and making a decision to help each other the best way you know how, in order to be all that you want to be.

I have a friend who supports her husband in his baking business. This guy is an amazing baker. He creates these amazing bread puddings and cakes around the holidays. And seeing her hustle and market his bread pudding because she believes in him, I know she does it out of love.

How much they're earning from it? I don't know. But seeing her throw everything onto the fire in...

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