Shakira BrownAward-Winning Small Business PR & Marketing Expert

PR Ninja and founder of SMB Strategic Media LLC (, a public relations, marketing, branding and website consultancy that creates cutting edge marketing strategies for small businesses. 13 time award-winning public relations pro with an array of experience leading external and internal communications strategies for various corporations and professional services firms. Seen in PRWeek, Brandweek, Woman's World,, Fridge Magazine, Working Mother,, Black Enterprise, AOL Money & Finance, Plastic Surgery and others. Her primary responsibilities include advising small business owners, conducting workshop trainings, helping with meeting facilitation and mediation and consulting with clients.

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Twenty plus years ago I would call tv correspondents and producers at local news stations to ask if they needed an intern. Many of them said yes when can we meet? I finished college with nine internships in print, tv and radio (one at ABC News in NYC) all on my own accord and persistence. I graduated with multiple job prospects at major networks In NYC. I got those opps by being persistent and savvy. Knowing when to call decision makers before or after their assistants would be away from their desks. Or my classic move was a four week blitz of sending my CV to the same person leading to many interviews.

I have an unbelievable career because I have been persistent and take risks. If you have the courage to do what needs to be done to advance your career or business you will be fine. The people you approach that want to punch you in the nose as you say are not the type of people you want to deal in business with anyway. I'm here if you need more insights.

I just worked put a consignment deal with a small independent retailer fo my client who is an inventor and product manufacturer. I'm hear if you need me.

The most important piece of advice I can give you is to have something in your brand name that means something to your audience. Inside jokes between you and your business partner are not the best choices for names. Steer clear of names that mean something different based on spelling and only are used within your own firm. An example is I once had a client that wanted to use a name for a subsidiary similar to "Acme"4 Recovery. "Acme" was the parent company (the name has been changed to protect the guilty in this case), but they wanted to distinguish themselves in the recycling space with the number 4. Why that number? Well this company internally had the saying of the 4 R's: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. Unfortunately the rest of the world (including school age kids) are only familiar with the first 3 of those R's. So not only had they come up with a name that sounded like a drug rehab center (when verbalized it sounded like "Acme" For Recovery) but they were referring to something that only the bozos at their company knew about. When playing on words or numbers in this case make sure it makes sense whether it is read or said. And always use messaging anyone can understand without reading your company's mission statement. Just give me a ring if you need more.

The first place to start is to get out there and meet people especially at local business association group meetings. Any place where people are networking is a great way to find someone for the team. Use the resources you already have like checking your college or university alumni association. Of course you could put out an ad on one of the online job boards, but your best opportunity will be to find someone who knows someone so that you can get a strong recommendation. There's always the obvious resources such as LinkedIn, but you'd be better off networking with people that you know to find the exact person that you need.

I own over 30 website domains and probably run about 12 different websites many of those websites are called affiliate marketing websites. I have been monetizing sites for about 10 years. My websites have lots of valuable content surrounded by very specific affiliate marketing links that allow people to click on the links and if they purchase something at that link I get a percentage of whatever they purchased. This is the way that popular bloggers and website owners today make money. You can do all of this yourself quite easy.

A good way to start off is to begin with Google AdSense. It's very simple to do and you just need to login using your normal Google or Gmail account and set up an AdSense account to get started. Once you get your feet wet with Google AdSense you can start joining other affiliate network companies.For instance if you were planning to write a post on diets then you can include Ads from various companies that offer diet solutions. Once folks click on these ads and convert a sale on the third-party sites you will be paid a percentage of whatever it is they bought. Keep in mind that some companies offer commission and some offer payment for leads.

Without a previous understanding of affiliate networking or affiliate marketing I know it can be confusing, please feel free to reach out to me via Clarity so I can give you some methods of getting started.

At the end of the day you will always get what you pay for. When you start off your enterprise with the idea that you're going to try to get everything for free, yet of high-quality you are setting yourself up for failure. Consultants like myself will tell you time and time again that when you pay someone for a service you're not just giving them a stream of revenue you're confirming to them that you're committed to what you're doing and willing to invest in seeing your goals fulfilled. This goes along way in helping the consultant feel like they are doing something that's going to help you move your business or project forward and wasting on a pipe dream.

There's no question that small budgets are major obstacles. Marketing is an essential tool of business success and you must allocate a decent amount of funding to execute a strong marketing strategy. So whether you execute your own marketing strategy or hire a consultant you should be willing to take a minimum of 8-10% of your overall budget for marketing related tasks. If you start off looking for a minimum wage worker to manage a business essential function such as marketing you are positioning your nonprofit for failure because you will never get a seasoned pro for that price.

There are ways for you to have a fantastic marketing strategy on a small budget just make sure you hire a seasoned pro at a desirable fee to design and execute it.

Feel free to call me for some do-it-yourself tips.

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