I Am My Brand

by Dr. Sheila Pope

What are You Selling?

I remember having a discussion regarding the best way to sell my products on my website. I had so many services to sell but my website did not have a focus. I could not figure out what was main product. I do so many things. During a conversation with Khufere, a great consultant from LEAP72, he said, “Dr. Pope, you are your product.” Suddenly, fireworks and bombs exploded immediately in my mind. The light came on because within an instant I understood my real role in the building of my company. I could move forward with branding because I understood how to sell my thoughts, my work, and my skills.

The Right Fit

Image: Pexels.com    The Right Fit

Who Am I?

It was easy for me to decide how to best promote my skills once I asked myself a great question. The question: Who are you at your core? My answers were as follows:

  1. I am a business woman.
  2. I am an avid reader, writer and a critical thinker.
  3. I love to laugh at myself.
  4. I find humor in almost any situation.
  5. I make no apologies for loving money and the freedom that it brings.
  6. I love convertible cars and the freedom they make me feel.
  7. I have opinions about everything and I do not mind sharing them with the world.
  8. I love technology and I understand its power.
  9. I am a woman who supports and promotes other women.
  10. I love generating ideas and concepts that result in profits for my businesses.
  11. I am a woman that works best in a pair of Cole Haan shoes or a good pair of sneakers.
  12. I enjoy my classic a Movado watch with diamonds.
  13. I rock Coach and Dooney and Bourke handbags.
  14. I was meant to drive a Mercedes.
  15. I make no apologies for being honest, direct, and thinking outside the box.
  16. I will spend my last dime on furthering my education.
  17. I sign important business deals with my Mont Blanc pen.
  18. I prefer T-shirts over suits because I love comfort.

Branding Me

Once I said all these things outloud and owned them, it was easy to see how I wanted to market myself and my company. I knew where I wanted an office. It had to be a location that I could afford, close to home, and it had to scream “You must pay me!” The location had to speak to my consumer base. I needed a location that I could expand and grow my companies. When I saw the conference room and the view from my office, I knew it was the spot.

A Simple T-Shirt

T-shirts

T-Shirts Image: Pexels.com

Next, I needed to find the right product to push my company’s name everywhere I traveled. I decided the best product for me, my supporters, and my customers to wear consistently anywhere was a T-Shirt. For 10 years I wore suits to work. As my own boss, I decide what I want to wear daily. When I am in the office, running errands as a mom, my T-shirt comes in handy. When I am creating my blogs, working in the community to bring awareness to my company, when I am collaborating with partners, recording my podcast, conducting FB Live segments, and writing my books, I wear my brand. When I wear my T-shirt, people often ask me, “What is the Resource Center?” I take the opening and I start to sell services, to promote services, and to share information about my company. Plus, my T-shirts represents who I am at my core.

My friend and Boss Lady, Susan Gonzales, founder of Chic Blessings worked with my logo and designed my first company T-shirt. The shirts sold super fast. Then, I decided I needed to produce more shirts at a lower cost. Eventually, I went to a T-shirt company and had them print bulk orders of my shirts. I love the finished product. The shirts are simple and comfortable. I can easily transport them anywhere. They do not cost a great deal to ship to consumers. I use them as gifts for fundraisers donations and I sell them in my e-commerce stores @TheResourceCenter. I plan to sell more products online soon. However, I must admit they are one of my best ideas. It is so cool to see my entire family rocking my brand (see slide show)!

 

 

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Joint Venture

by Dr. Sheila Pope

Accomplishments in 2017

Gift Present Celebrate Party Wrapped Simple Concept

Images: Pexels.com

It has been a year since I went into full-time entrepreneurship. During my first year, I focused on getting all of the legal stuff and paperwork in place. I development my faith level. I was preparing mentally and spiritually to never return to traditional employment. I was letting go of past battles and preparing to experience new success. In August 2017, I stepped out and secured office spaces for The Resource Center, Dr. Pope’s STEM and Liberal Arts Academy 501c3, and The Next Move Re-entry Program 501c3. I took my dream from my home office to a new destination! I went from working part-time on my business to dedicating my full attention to my businesses. I trusted God to do more than I could think or ask.

Focus for 2018

This year, my focus is on cultivating partnerships, developing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and securing joint ventures with my companies, The Resource Center, The Next Move Re-entry Program, and Dr. Pope’s STEM and Liberal Arts Academy to provide more services so each business can grow financially. I am excited to announce that I have signed my first joint venture with LEAP72!
Joint Partnerships

 

Joint Venture with LEAP72

The Resource Center and LEAP72 are working and planning together to bring services, products and professional development to support female entrepreneurs who are making Boss moves. I founded a Facebook group called Boss Ladies. We are a community women (some men too) who owns their own businesses and/or have founded nonprofits. We are collaborating and supporting each other’s successes and missteps. With this joint venture, we plan to help these entrepreneurs and many others reach a new level of success. I look forward to doing great things with Khufere Qhamata, founder of LEAP72, and a constant source of advice and wisdom. He is also the founder of SMAART Incubator, an awesome organization that supports and helps African-American owned startups. Keep your eyes peeled to see some of the results of our partnership. We are going to invest and improve other start-ups and make a profit in the process.

Leap72

After the First Year!

by Dr. Sheila Pope

Decision 2

Today, I had the realization that on January 30, 2017, I walked away from a career and job that I loved. My health could not withstand the stress that I encountered from constant harassment on my job as an educator during the last few months of 2016. I am still an educator, but in December of 2016, I knew I needed a RESET. By nature, I am a fighter. If someone attacks me mentally and/or physically, I am going to do everything in my power to stop them. This battle was a not a street fight; it was a spiritual and mental battle. I was able to walk away, but I was traumatized. I never understood WHY the harassment started. I was loyal to the school; I loved the students; I demonstrate I could teach in urban high school in a community with high crime rates; I demonstrated I could raise STAAR ELAR test scores significantly! Yet that was not enough!

Time Lapse

I did not know how bad my wounds were until January 30, 2018. I was looking at my W2 Form asking myself, “Why was my income from my full-time job and my part-time position so low?” I kept counting my time from August to January until a friend said, “You left the job in December 2016 and you resigned in January of 2017.” It finally resonated with me that I was only technically employed for the month of January in 2017 at the school. Although I physically left the job in December of 2016 and resigned in January 2017, I was still THERE mentally. I had healed, but the memories were still painful. I had not realized that I had not worked physically at that job since 2016. I could still see a few scars.

The Leave

In January 2017, I had been on a needed medical leave. My body was failing in multiple areas. I was sick and exhausted. My psoriasis was the worst it had been in years. It was all over my body. My hair was shedding to the point that I was wearing baseball caps to hide the damage. I was ready to launch an all out legal war to fix the issue. Yet one day while seeking legal advise, I heard in my spirit I could not finish what I was about to start. I did not have the mental nor physical capacity to do what it took to WIN. When I fight, I go for the kill. Whatever I do, I give 120%. There was the problem. You cannot continue to give your all in too many areas. You will crash and burn. I crashed, but for GOD, I did not burn. Instead, I took a seat! I walked away and worked on getting my body back on track. I wanted my hair to grow back. I wanted my anger and pain to go away. I love to laugh. I laugh hard. I had stopped laughing due to the harassment. I was crying frequently because I could not continue to withstand the mistreatment that I was dealing with on a daily basis.

The Decision

I had four children to raise. I had a mortgage and a major car payment to continue to make. Yet on January 30, 2017, none of that mattered. What mattered most to me was having a peace of mind. I needed time to heal spiritually, mentally and physically. My return date for work was February 2017. I knew I could not return to the school. I loved the students but I had to love me more. I told God that I would trust Him and move forward in building my company. I always viewed my business as a part-time thing. In January 2017, I said I was going to dedicate all of my energies into it. I was never going to be in the position that someone else could control my destiny. I would never allow myself to get back to the way I felt from October through December 2016. I would never allow myself to be publicly shamed and harassed. I would never allow a man or a women in leadership to abuse me in my place of business or in my personal life.

Anniversary Date

On January 30, 2018, I realize I am laughing hard again. My spirit is strong and I have my fight back. I no longer need to fight my battles. I truly understand and believe God fights all of my battles. I know He will multiple your blessings; He will meet all of your needs. He enlarges your territory. I have three businesses that I have founded; I created a FB group: Boss Ladies. I have a podcast on Sound Cloud: Boss Ladies. I trust my gut about people and decisions I make. I have strong friendships and healthy relationships.

I have moved into the STEM arena. I am the Founder and Superintendent of the nonprofit (501c3), Dr. Pope’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Liberal Arts Academy. Instead of trying to convince others that we need to do something different to educate children in 2018, I have created a school to try new innovative ways to educate all children regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, gender and sexual orientation. As the founder and CEO of a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB), The Resource Center, I use my tech skills, coaching skills, professional develop development skills, and writing/editing skills to serve clients. While working in the school system, I discovered in the current school system there are too many students being prepared for prison; they have criminal records before they earn their diplomas. I am the Founder of the non-profit (501c3), The Next Move Re-entry Program, to help advocate and provide services for those students and other non-violent ex-offenders. On this day, I am grateful for the health issues I experienced in 2016. They made me stop and RESET. I am glad I am reconcile God rescued me and he placed within me a vision for three businesses. I love being a CEO & Founder. I cannot wait to see what God does in 2019.

The Resource Center

https://www.popesresourcecenter.com

Dr. Pope’s STEM and Liberal Arts Academy

https://www.drpopesstemandliberalartsacademy.com

The Next Move Re-entry Program

https://www.nextmovereentryprogram.org