Brand Interview: Dorethia Conner, Conner Coaching and MoneyChat
How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, goals…
While ConnerCoaching.com has been in business 4 years, I recently began seriously blogging at www.themoneychat.com. Initially it was used as brand awareness for my personal finance and business coaching services, but I have turned it into a business of its own as well.
Both fall in line with my mission to financially empower everyday people. My clients range from low to upper middle income. My goal is to be the guiding hand regardless of their financial savvy or lack thereof by empowering them with practical and achievable methods of reaching their financial goals.
Do you donate to charities? Tell us about that also and why.
Living to Give…
I believe in giving. I pay tithes and offerings in church and donate time/money to several organizations in my community. It is important to support causes that are making the lives of others better, causes that change mindsets and communities. I call it ‘living to give’ and it brings me unspeakable joy!
Tell us about your brand.
How did you decide which type of designer to work with, or did you design your own identity and web presence?
My very first website and business cards were designed by a family friend who at the time was 21 and had just finished design school. She chose the colors and I didn’t like the sound of a chocolate and teal combo until I saw it and fell in love. She has such a great eye, though she no longer does websites, she still does most of my flyers, postcards and business cards. I pretty much leave the creativity up to my designer after I share my vision. She’ll send over samples and I give feedback until we have a final product. I generally use local printing services whenever possible because I believe in supporting the local community and economy.
I began to research what branding really was and wanted to make sure that I operated in excellence. I’ve goofed up over the years, but am confident that when people see my website, other materials… or me, they see polish, integrity and expertise.
Now a word about graphic/web designers. I’ve had my fair share of troubles. After my initial site, Ashley decided web design wasn’t her thing and stuck with graphic work only. Also if she’s is out of town and I need immediate work, I have to search for others. I have not been so successful and was not really pleased with my last couple of web designers. (Though I’m looking within to see if it’s just me – ha)
Often, I’ve felt as if my work wasn’t important to them or they didn’t have the ‘eye’. You need a designer who can take what you ‘see’ and put it on paper or on the web. Every ‘designer’ is not creative, so be careful.
In what order did you present your company to the world? Did you start with marketing and products, or website, blog and social media?
I first launched with a website and business cards – but social media and a blog quickly followed.
I try to stay on top of what’s new in business; attending conferences, webinars and I read a lot. When I began hearing about ‘weblogs’ and Facebook, I paid attention. It wasn’t easy initially, because it was completely changing the way we market and do business. It also adds to your to-do list – which is already long as an entrepreneur. I watched what the up and coming social media gurus were doing at the time, read many online articles and developed a strategy.
In addition to free advertising on social media sites, I have also run campaigns in local papers, paid for email blasts, done radio interviews, etc. What I have learned (the hard way) is that you have to have a long range plan when paying for print, web, radio or television advertising. You can’t pay for one ad and think customers are going to rush to buy your service or product. Have a budget for each campaign, ask experts how much you should spend to be effective and don’t begin until you have that amount. Otherwise – you may as well throw your cash out the window.
My mistake initially was not setting a marketing budget – I just wanted to just get my business ‘out there’ without fully understanding the process.
Speaking is definitely part of my business model; I’m hired by a number of organizations seeking a finance expert for youth or adults. Often they’ll request one of my current sessions or ask that I tailor one for their group. I absolutely love it!
When I first started out, I sought advice from established speakers and attended workshops to improve my delivery. I also did a lot of free speaking the first two years, but that would often lead to coaching clients. I rarely speak for free now and when I do, they’ve generally been planned the year before.
What is coming up in the year or two we should watch for?
#MoneyChat LIVE is going on the road! In addition to my general speaking topics, I have informal live events that conference hosts request as a pre-cursor meet and greet or networking session for their events.
My book! I’m writing a #MoneyChat book about personal finance and currently seeking a literary agent. I’m excited about this project because I’m passionate about giving everyday people real deal financial answers to issues they are facing. No gimmicks, no fluff, only straight to the point solutions!
I would also love to have you join us for #MoneyChat – we get together every Monday night on Twitter, 8-9p ET. It’s a laid back, real talk conversation, so jump right in!