business tips

Need Tips For Getting Started in Business? Ask Sarah Kunst.

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Sarah Kunst, creator of the app Proday, which provides workout routines from fitness celebrities and world-renowned athletes, has been making it big in business. Her app has been funded by the L.A. Dodgers, Arielle Zukerberg, and features routines from athletes such as Delanie Walker from the Tennessee Titans. She is on the board for Venture for America, a venture capitalist herself, and a successful entrepreneur.

Sarah offers us some helpful tips for those trying to navigate the business world and create a successful startup.

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How did you get started in your career? What were the pivotal moments that helped you realize that you were on the right path?

I got started in college working for Apple in a marketing role and found a passion for tech and strong brands, which took me to Chanel out of college. Then I got into the Startup world. There was never a clear path, but I always worked hard, read about industries I was interested in, and helped people.

“If you’re smart, hard working, well read, and helpful, being successful becomes much easier because people like you, need you, and want to help you in return.”

What are ways to stand out when raising money for your startup business?

Be prepared. Read books on how to raise venture capital money. Listen to podcasts and read articles. Find old pitch decks from other startups. Comb the websites of VC funds who offer advice on how to pitch them.

Once you have an idea, digital presence, and proof that it works, you can try raising money from friends, family, or accelerators. No one is too far along for an accelerator. It’s often the easiest $100K you’ll get in your life.

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How do you overcome the continuous challenges in your career while staying passionate about your app, Proday?

Life is a challenge. Being a black woman might mean more or different challenges, but everyone has internal and external roadblocks to overcome. Controlling your mind and body helps a lot.

Meditate, workout - even just getting your 10k steps in everyday - drink lots of water, sleep a lot, give hugs to your people, dance to happy music, and eat healthy. Those things can’t be overlooked. You have tons of time each day to struggle with your business and other problems, so make sure you spend a few minutes chasing joy too.

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How do we encourage speaking out about issues of discrimination and harassment?

As the late, great Whitney Houston would advise, keep impeccable receipts. You will be discriminated against or harassed - we have research that shows it’s a virtual inevitability for women and people of color in the workplace. So keep a record when it happens. Take detailed notes, screenshots, or confirm it in writing. Read up on EEOC laws. This stuff is wrong, often illegal, and women need to hear that they are allowed to report these people.

I’ve been overwhelmed by support from men and women since I spoke up in a New York Times article about being sexually harassed. Often men don’t hear about sexual harassment so they don’t know how common it is. When you tell them, they will listen and be better allies.

What advice do you have for women that have no prior knowledge about managing money to take charge of their finances?

Sign up for mint.com to get your credit score. See what you’re spending on monthly and decide to save a little. Set up a 401k or IRA and contribute just $20 from each paycheck to it.

If $20 sounds like a lot, try just $5 a week. Tally up what you spend money on that isn’t rent, bills, or transportation and see what you’re spending on that you’re not really enjoying.

I’m a big at home coffee person. I know I can’t fund my retirement on the $5 a day I save, but it covers gas money and my phone bill and that’s not trivial.

The most important first step is understanding what you make, owe, and spend, then trying to save or pay down debt a little more.

Investing is easy and apps like Acorns and Robinhood are simple to use. Download the Yahoo! Stocks app and start following stocks that you like and understand - Apple, Amazon, Stitchfix etc. If you can afford it, put some money into buying those stocks once you feel you can explain to a friend why they’re good buys that you’ll want to hold for a while.

Women make great investors, the data proves this. We just need more of us to invest!

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Follow Sarah at @sarahkunst

How to effectively use #’s for your brand

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What even is a hashtag??? It’s the key to growing your brand's organic growth. Hashtags often get thrown around without purpose, but we are here to tell you that if you use them correctly, it can make or break your social media strategy. By adding a #savvy touch to your social media game, the potential to grow your brand is limitless.

Types of #’s

Branded hashtags, which are created specifically for your company in mind. Fun fact: 70% of hashtags are branded. You can use these to encourage (and find) user generated content, as well as analyze your efforts.

Community hashtags, which are general hashtags that are widely used, and include things like: #tbt, #instafood, #throwback and #ootd.

# Shortcuts

We all live very busy lives, with little time to perfect all the little details. Luckily, for you iPhone lovers, there’s a solution!

Settings > general > keyboard > text replacements > (add hashtags)

Saving lists of your hashtags will help you know the value of each to determine what works and what doesn’t.

# Tips & Tricks

Instead of putting the hashtags in the caption, leave a comment immediately after posting. You can use up to 30 hashtags per comment.

Focus on the activity of hashtags. It’s important to always do hashtags with a purpose and finding a specific niche audience that will find use in your hashtags. Finding hashtags with more than 1,000 users will get you the most results because you know people are constantly looking for that specific one. Get a general idea of how often people use hashtags. If the hashtags are too popular, your post will be gone in seconds. Hashtags that have a lot of viewage are harder to track and have a lower conversion rate.

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Use what’s popular instead of what’s trending. Trends come and go, so it’s important to keep a long shelf-life of your branded hashtags.

#’s For Your Business Hashtags are both keywords and conversations. Instagram users can now search for a location or hashtag, and see a Story compiled from Story posts by other users that include that location sticker, hashtag sticker, or hashtag in the caption. Location Stories from nearby places (but not Hashtag Stories) will also appear featured on the Explore tab.

According to Simply Measured, using even a single # increases post engagement by 12.6 percent. Hashtags are an effective way to drive organic traffic to your content.

The more specific the hashtags the better.

Add new hashtags to target and leverage the social authority towards organic authority. Different #’s can mean different things to many people.

All in all, hashtags are a powerful tool that are often overlooked. Hashtags are crucial to growing your brand organically.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can grow your brand sign up for one of our social media training sessions, and learn how you can take your brand to the next level.