- Blog: Indie Business Blog
- Niche: Small Business
- Founder: Donna Maria Coles Johnson
- Twitter: @IndieBusiness
When it comes to business, Donna Maria Coles Johnson admits she can be quite the chatterbox. Collecting 12,000 page views per month on her site, Indie Business Blog, people donâ€™t have a problem listening. The founder and CEO of Indie Beauty Network and Indie Businessâ€”a communications company assisting small and independent business ownersâ€”is known for sharing advice and resources, as well as introducing the biggest movers and shakers in business to her audience.
The married mother of two is a trusted voice in small business, as The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and ABC World News have tapped the Washington, DC native for her business expertise. In addition to blogging, Coles Johnson, 48, continues to share tips and discuss hot button business issues by hosting the Indie Business Radio show, a weekly program in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was listed as one of the â€ś80 Small Business Twitterers You Should Be Followingâ€ť in American Express OPEN Forum. As Black Blogger Month continues, Coles Johnson chats with BlackEnterprise.com about her early beginnings in the blogosphere, how she built her brand using new media tools, and the importance of doing your research before making a new hire.
I started blogging becauseâ€¦
I recognized the need to use the Internet to engage and communicate on a regular basis. I actually started an online journal in 2001. I used a regular website newsletter that would link to my latest journal entries that were about life and business. I kept doing it until I discovered blogging. My first official blog was created in 2005. Now, I blog five to seven times a week.
The Indie Business Blog stands out becauseâ€¦
Itâ€™s consistent. I donâ€™t write those blog posts that say, â€śHey, guys, sorry Iâ€™ve been too busy to postâ€¦â€ť I pay a lot of attention to detail and the blog has all original content. Iâ€™m real. Itâ€™s me. I bring professionalism thatâ€™s approachable.
Networking has helped meâ€¦
Have more fun. I get to communicate with people I can learn from even more. More events, conferences, seminars, webinars that I go to or host. I love meeting people and sharing ideas.
Building a brand is important becauseâ€¦
It gives you constant insight into how people see you. Itâ€™s like an emotional relationship with people. Ultimately, while we are selling products and services we’re also selling an emotional experience that can help others have a better life. That emotion is tied to your brand and is what people remember.
People trust my brand becauseâ€¦
Itâ€™s like an ongoing conversation. Itâ€™s written in a personal tone and flows in that way. I respond to almost every comment and my readers know that Iâ€™m writing for them.
The number one key to being successful as a small business owner isâ€¦
Creativity coupled with tenacity. You have to have both.
The biggest mistake I ever made in business wasâ€¦
Hiring a fancy design service without checking them out. I spent $1,500. I saw the work they had done before and thought they were good. But they didnâ€™t deliver. I should have researched the company better. It was really painful. It took 60 days to get through the fallout from that.
The most common mistake small business owners make isâ€¦
Trying to do everything themselves. Iâ€™ve made this mistake. If youâ€™re doing everything yourself, you get tied up and canâ€™t focus on what youâ€™re good at. As Michael Gerber puts it: some people are working too much in their business and not on their business.
Starting a business is easy, the hard part isâ€¦
Being the leader of the business and managing it profitably. Itâ€™s so easy to start the businessâ€”file papers, set up a website, a Facebook, and Twitter account, but continuing to deliver and serve your customers or audienceâ€”thatâ€™s the hard part. Thatâ€™s where tenacity comes in.
The best business advice I ever got wasâ€¦
Hire good people. Find people who have integrity, want to learn and are honest and help your business grow. People who are competent and do everything but have no integrity put your brand at risk. Iâ€™ve had both. Luckily, more of the good than the not so good.
Anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps shouldâ€¦
Examine their lives and figure out what that statement means for them. Maybe they want the lifestyle or income or the car you have. I would encourage them to define what that means, what do want? What is that â€śsomething?â€ť From there you can determine if youâ€™re willing to put in the work to get what that something is.
In business you should never be afraid toâ€¦
Fail. If youâ€™re not failing youâ€™re not trying anything new. Youâ€™re not growing and if youâ€™re not growing, you wonâ€™t be in business very long.
Be sure to check out the rest of the digital thought leaders as they’re revealed each day by logging on to BlackEnterprise.com/BlackBloggerMonth.