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Are you a current or aspiring author? Have your books just been sitting in boxes collecting dust? In this video series I call The Top 4 Massive Mistakes Authors Make when Promoting their Books and How YOU Can avoid them, I review the most common things authors do to sabotage their success. Do any of these sound familiar?

The 3 BIG small business lessons I’ve learned and why I will never be broke
If you’re an entrepreneur and you somehow managed to survive the worst economy in modern day history, let me congratulate you.   You probably survived because you either tapped into your resources or you just got creative about ways to generate new revenue, keep customers and stay a float!

My business almost didn’t make it.   I can vividly recall one of my scariest moments. I was sitting in my office and realized that I didn’t have one single client.   Some went away due to budget cuts spurred by the economic downturn.   Others I fired.   Admittedly, one or two fired me.    But the bottom-line was, there were no more checks coming in.   What the hell was I going to do?   How did I let this happen? How do I publicly uphold the positive, happy-go-lucky ‘Monique Caradine’ image when behind the scenes my “ish” is completely falling apart?   I had that sick, sinking feeling in my gut.

At one point, my business finances were in such disarray, I actually thought about dissolving Momentum Media Group completely and applying for a job.  

“F***k entrepreneurship, the TV show and the media persona.   Let me go get a “real” job with a steady paycheck and some frickin benefits,” I said.

Thankfully, with the support of my amazing husband and the brilliance of the incredible people who coach me and mastermind with me, I snapped out of my temporary insanity and my business is now back on track.  

Despite floundering for about three years as an entrepreneur, not really being sure which way to go or how to get there, the visions that I have always had for Momentum Media Group and my personal brand are finally becoming a reality.  

Through it all,  I learned many lessons.    Three of the biggest lessons  are listed below.   I now consistently employ each of these strategies into my business survival regimen:

Lesson #1- You have to market your business every single day.  

Marketing Everyday

People put so many things above marketing because they either hate doing it or just don’t know how to do it effectively.   You can hide your head in the sand if you want, but NOTHING is more important than marketing.   Raising capital is not more important.   Managing your staff is not more important. Your success depends on how well you market your business.   Marketing is not just about flyers, door hangers and  advertising.   It’s about communicating with your customers in an authentic way and letting them know that you have the solution to their problems.   In my next blog post, I will explain in detail the benefits of marketing everyday and give you some very basic recommendations on how small businesses and solopreneurs can do it.   I’m also working exclusively with a few serious entrepreneurs who want me to help them map out a plan that works.   

Lesson #2 — You have to create multiple income streams.

When my business almost sank, I had two income streams: my clients and my TV show.   Needless to say, when the clients disappeared, the show was not enough to sustain my lifestyle.   So whether you’re an author, entrepreneur, solopreneur, mompreneur or you run a small fledgling business with a few employees, these days, it makes sense to have a few different income streams.   For example, if you’re a boutique owner, you should have in-store sales as well as an e-commerce component (2 streams of income), an image consulting component (3 streams) and you should host private trunk shows for local designers where you charge a small fee to the designers for using your space or a small admission fee from the people who attend (4 streams).   Currently, I have at least 5 income streams.  I speak, host workshops, run a mastermind, my voice-over business thrives effortlessly and I also have a few select publicity clients.   I am happy to say that I can pick and choose what I do and who I work with.  Essentially, I will never be broke, no matter what the economy does.   

Lesson #3 — Your brand has to be strong.

Your brand is a combination of several things: 1.) the feeling or emotion that comes to mind when your target customers think of you, 2.) the collateral materials (brochures, business cards, website, etc) that represent you and 3.) the mottos and/or logos that help convey your overall message.  

So what do your clients think, feel and say about you?   Do you know?   Have you asked?   Are you capturing their testimonials and including them in your marketing?   How sharp, consistent and impactful is your website?  Do your facebook, twitter and LinkedIn pages enhance your brand? What does your business card say about what you do?   Are your branding materials homemade or did you invest in your “look” so you don’t come across as cheap?   If the latter is you, get it together.

There are far too many affordable resources available for you to be out here looking cheesy.   So get a great designer.   I work with an amazing company called Ultimate Design VA run by Delaine Ulmer.   She understands who I am, what I do and how to capture that when she designs my flyers, web banners or anything involving my brand.   Develop a relationship with a design professional.   The longevity of your brand could depend on it.

The new economy is definitely stretching entrepreneurs, requiring us to venture into new terrain if we are going to thrive and grow multi-million dollar enterprises.   It may seem daunting but it can be done if you employ these fundamental tactics.   Of course I learned other important lessons as well, like the power of giving unselfishly and the power of masterminding but we’ll discuss those more in a future post.

What are the survival strategies that have worked for you?

8 things OWN could do to boost its ratings

The Queen of Daytime

When Oprah first announced that she would be launching OWN I was ecstatic.   I literally marked the days on my calendar leading up to the big premier.   “Just 11 more days until OWN!” one of my calendar items read.

However, since its launch, OWN has under-performed in the ratings.   While it has done better than the channel it replaced, it’s still struggling to bring in more than 500 thousand viewers on a consistent basis.   This is a stark contrast to the tens of millions of viewers Oprah brought in with her daily talk show.

Now I loved the show “Season 25: Behind the Scenes.” As a producer and host of my own TV and radio shows, that was like master class for me.   But I just couldn’t get excited about any of the other OWN shows.   I didn’t want to curl up with a glass of wine or cup of gourmet ice cream and just watch OWN like I thought I would.   I tried watching “Why Not?” with Shania Twain but I found myself annoyed by her constant whining and self-doubt.   Unable to hold my attention, OWN quickly became an afterthought.

So what is the problem with OWN?

Well, there are a few issues here.   First of all, Oprah erred by not having a strong presence on the network when it first started.   I realize she was wrapping things up on the Oprah Show but when you’re building a new network based on a brand and a beloved personality, that personality needs to have a strong presence coming out of the gate.   That’s what made O Magazine so successful.   When it started, Oprah was (and continues to be) on the cover every month!  

In a perfect world, Oprah should have waited until January of 2012 to launch the new network.   This way, she could have taken time off after the Oprah Show and then, after a much needed hiatus, taken the reigns of OWN.   This way OWN could have avoided programming faux pas like “The Documentary Club” and “Kidnapped by the Kids.”

Nevertheless, I’m not writing this to highlight the problems.   I adore Oprah and I want OWN to succeed.   In fact, I’d love to someday have my OWN show!   So, let’s talk solutions.

If I were in charge of programming, here’s what I’d do to make OWN a success:

1. Give Iyanla Vanzant her OWN daytime show–preferably mornings.   The show should be live and very loosely scripted.   Just give Iyanla a topic, an audience and a microphone and let her rip.   She has the kind of spontaneous personality that will leave viewers wondering what the heck she’s going to say next yet she always wraps it in wisdom.   We love that!


2. Do away with the same old broadcasting “clock” that programmers have been using for years. Every show doesn’t have to fit the old-school 30 minute or 60 minute mold.   People watch TV for  far shorter time periods these days.   Therefore, short, motivational vignettes, featuring Oprah, that are 10 or 15 minutes in length could be sprinkled throughout the line up.   This could give Oprah that consistent presence without being overbearing or preachy.

3. A money show.   In this economy, people want to know how to survive financially.   A show that highlights innovative money-making ideas or features a lively Suze Orman-type of personality would be an awesome and timely addition to the OWN schedule.   I’m suggesting Lynn Richardson as the host.   She is a best kept secret whose time has come.   She is powerful, candid and when it comes to money,  she’s been there, done that and has the T-shirt to prove it!!! The folks at OWN would be wise to snag  Lynn now before someone else does.

4. A sexy, smart and straight male personality.   Since OWN caters to women, why not have some yummy eye-candy for us to indulge in?   Maybe he’s speaking to women’s issues or doing a show on what men REALLY want.   But please, he’s got to be straight!   There are plenty of gay dudes on the airwaves.   OWN could break ground by featuring some manly men.   In fact, I’ll go even further and recommend Idris Elba.   I know a gang of women who would watch him no matter what he’s talking about.   Yummy-licious!   Or maybe Steve Harvey???

5. A gorgeous, smart female personality.   Someone that’s got the look, the body, the brains and is likeable to boot. She makes watching OWN fun.   Perhaps she’s the one who reminds us of the hot   shows coming up on OWN  or maybe she handles the social media commentary for the network with the goal of engaging and including the viewers.   She could even do surprise 5 minute celebrity interviews between shows.   Now there’s a way to keep us from turning during the commercials!

6. A “View” prototype.   This show would come on right after Iyanla.   It’s three or four women with strong opinions.   It’s current affairs, a little news and lots of hot topics highlighting things going on around the country.   This is that show that keeps viewers connected to what’s happening today.   It keeps us from feeling like we’re in a time warp when we’re watching OWN.   I’m thinking Holly Robinson-Peete as a possible host??

7. Oprah on stage.   The Oprah Show is gone forever.   As much as we all loved it, it is now a thing of the past.   Oprah left the show so she wouldn’t have to do the daily grind of   TV production.   She has bigger fish to fry!   That’s why we don’t need to see Oprah in an hour-long format everyday.   Especially not  the way she’s doing this whole “LifeClass” thing.   I don’t know about you,  but I think the format is kind of wack.      Instead, we should see her monthly or quarterly on a stage before thousands sharing her “best life” wisdom.   It would give a whole different energy to LifeClass.   She would sell-out arenas all over the country and she could build on those two extraordinary finale  shows she did at Chicago’s United Center.     Heck, if Joyce Meyer can fill a large stadium consistently, you know Oprah can!

8. A”Behind the scenes of OWN” show.   Seeing the inner workings of this fledgling network and experiencing all the challenges that come with that would be priceless.   Not to mention people love the reality show element.   Just to see Oprah go off on somebody would create a ratings bonanza!   I know Oprah doesn’t get down like that, but it would still make for good TV!

These are just a few of the things I would do to make OWN a ratings success.   With these recommendations, I believe OWN would quickly overcome its slow start and begin to live up to its extraordinary brand.

What changes would you recommend?   Leave them below.

3 things you can do TODAY to start getting national publicity for your business, book or brand.

This article was originally written in 2010

Whenever I speak to organizations, authors or corporate groups about publicity there are always some in the audience who get fired up and start applying the strategies immediately.   Then there are others who just can’t wrap their brains around it because they think that getting publicity is too difficult, too time consuming, too scary and sometimes they just don’t think they have what it takes to get publicity.

If you’re in the latter group, let me put your mind at ease.   Getting publicity for your business does require some level of knowledge of how the media works and some strategy but these skills can easily be learned and mastered.

Here are 3 easy things you can do today to start getting national publicity for your business, your book or your brand:

1.)       Sign up for Media Leads Services — there are several online services that you can use that will directly connect you with journalists.   I use HelpAReporter.com and PitchRate.com.   These services let you sign up for free with your email address and name.   Immediately you’ll start receiving daily updates on stories that reporters from all over the world are working on.   They’re looking to interview experts just like you for those stories.   I encourage you to sign up and start getting comfortable with the idea of building media relationships.

2.)       Issue a press release on a hot topic currently in the news; or make your own news! If you can weigh in on


 one of the issues of the day and offer a unique perspective on that issue, distributing a brief press release online is a very effective technique!   If your press release is compelling, you’ll immediately get the attention of journalists and bloggers from around the world. They might call you for an interview to learn more or maybe print your press release verbatim.   Don’t know how to write a press release?   My downloadable e-book called The Publicity Power Toolkit gives you several different templates from actual press releases that I’ve sent out for my clients.

3.)       Create a small media list, starting with the names of just 5 to 10 media professionals who focus on stories in your area of expertise.   These can be editors, producers, journalists (or bloggers) from your favorite newspaper or magazines or TV shows (typically their email addresses are not hard to find with the help of Google or your favorite search engine).   Send them a short personal note complimenting them on a recent story and offer yourself as an expert for a follow up story.   Add your credentials and some possible story angles.   This easy strategy is laid out in the Publicity Power Toolkit as well.   This is another great way to build long lasting media relationships.

These are sure fire ways you can start getting national publicity immediately.   Over the next week, challenge yourself to follow each step and you could be featured as “the next big thing” in your favorite national media outlet!!

Private, LIVE Session with the Bold, Fearless Fabulous Mastermind Group

Since June I have had the distinct pleasure of working with some amazing, brilliant and talented women, helping them bring their dreams to life in a BIG way!   So far, they’ve all had some MAJOR breakthroughs in their businesses and lives.

We’ll meet face-to-face for the first time as a group to continue growing towards our goals.   The next BFF Mastermind Group  kicks off soon!

Cocktails for CASA

On Thursday, October 13, 2011, I’m partnering with the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County (CASA) for a very special awards ceremony. These folks are truly the unsung heroes in our community.   They advocate for children in foster care.   These are the kids who come from extremely difficult circumstances.   Without CASA, these kids could very easily fall through the cracks of society.

On top of that, they do it on a volunteer basis.

There are many causes you can support in the world.   I totally get that.   There are kids in Haiti, Africa and throughout the Diaspora that need us.   But,  if you have any compassion or desire (and a little extra cash)  to help the kids right here in our county, PLEASE SUPPORT these court-appointed special advocates who VOLUNTEER on behalf of our children.

This will not only be a great networking opportunity but a chance to support a very worthy cause.   Please join me at the Arts Club, 201 E. Ontario beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Thanks in advance and i hope to see you at the event!!!



Monique emcees Domestic Violence Awareness Event: Spirit to be Free

Spirit to be FREE!

My family has been impacted by domestic violence. That is why I am honored to be a part of this event, designed to free women from unhealthy relationships so that they can become who they were meant to be. Please join me at this event!

It’s taking place on Sunday, October 9, 2011 at the Serbian Social Center, located at 18550 Stony Island in Lansing Illinois.   Get your tickets at www.courageoverfear.org
What R & B Legend Chaka Khan can teach you about giving a great media interview

Monique Interviews R amp; B legend Chaka Khan

Last year I had the honor of interviewing R&B  great Chaka Khan.   From the moment I knew I would be up close and personal with this living legend, I knew I had to bring my A-game.  

I researched her story and listened to her music in the weeks leading up to  interview day.   I enlisted the help of two media colleagues to help me compose the right questions.  

Then the day finally came.   I was so nervous that I didn’t sleep at all the night before!   My anxiety had nothing to do with the fact that I was about to interview a music icon.   Besides I’ve interviewed big celebrities before.  

I was nervous because I knew that it would be my job to bring out the best in her.   Since I had never met Chaka personally, I wasn’t sure what her personality was in that setting.     Would she be soft-spoken? Cold? Reserved? Talkative? Distracted? Uptight?   I had no clue.

We met in private  five minutes before the interview took place.   I immediately noticed that she had freckles just like me–chaching!!   Instant connection.   I complimented her on them and we laughed.   After I admitted I was a little nervous about the interview, she said, “Girl, please!”   She embraced me just like one of my aunts and in that moment, I knew it would be a great conversation.

Even though that was one of Chaka’s first sit down interviews in front of a live audience, she nailed it.   She would take my questions and answer them with such honesty and forthrightness it was as if we were all old friends.   That interview was like a dream come true!

I don’t know if Chaka Khan ever received any formal media training for this kind of sit down interview but one thing is for sure:   She incorporated all the ingredients to deliver a memorable interview.   Her strategy, whether intentional or not, can be used by anyone in a media setting.   Do this and you will win fans:

1.) Be yourself – Too often people make the mistake of going into what I call “media persona” mode when they go on radio or TV.   Suddenly they become this stiff, overly-serious, proper-talking, suit-wearing drone because they think that’s how they have to be on TV.   Maybe that was the case 15 years ago but today you have to “keep it real” otherwise, people will tune you out.   Be conversational, talk in your normal vernacular and if you’re not a suit person don’t wear a suit!!   These days, people want to feel connected, so “do you.”

2.) Tell engaging stories – During my Chaka Khan interview, I asked open-ended questions that lended themselves to  answers where she had to go deep.   She couldn’t just give me a “yes” or “no!”   So she told stories about her life, the drugs, the men, the guilt about leaving her children while she was on the road…the audience was completely enraptured.   Now of course, not everyone has stories as great as a world-traveled,  globally recognized entertainer like Chaka Khan, but you STILL have a story.   What are the stories that capture your trials and triumphs?   Or maybe you have stories from clients you’ve helped succeed.   Before every media opportunity, jot down 3 – 5 great stories that relate to the interview topic that you can share.   EVERYONE loves a great story.

3.) Be transparent – In today’s reality-driven media culture, transparency  is a requirement.   These days, people can spot a fake person a mile away.   So in a media setting, be honest.   Talk about your  pitfalls if it’s appropriate.     Talk about the lessons learned from your personal mistakes.   Ms. Chaka did this so brilliantly that people loved her even more once the interview was over.   Also,  in a media interview  setting, don’t feel obligated to have an answer for everything.      If the host or reporter asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, simply say “I don’t know that, but I can say this….”  

Hopefully you took notes because these are all techniques I teach clients in my executive media training sessions and Chaka Khan used them so effectively.   She was not afraid of anything.   She was completely honest, open and giving and you should be too if you want to create a memorable interview experience for the audience AND if you want to win loyal fans…

Now, should you sing at the end of your interview?   Probably not, but Ms. Chaka Khan did!  The vid is a little grainy and it’s sideways but the voice….ohhhh the voice!!!!! Check this out:


Watch her reaction when the OverFlow community presents a check to support her cause
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