Vernetta Freeney: Successful Business Woman
Sylvia: Hi Vernetta. Welcome! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to interview with me. Please tell us about yourself and your business?
Vernetta: Thank you Sylvia. My name is Vernetta Freeney and I am an award winning business blogger and entrepreneur. I was in the education and nonprofit field for 9 years. I left and started blogging. My blog eventually grew into a business. I specialize in connecting women entrepreneurs to the resources and right connections they need for their business. Women Are Gamechangers is the company any woman who is leaving full time employment and entering entrepreneurship should know.
Sylvia: I just love the name of your business; very powerful! We (women) are definitely gamechangers… resilient and resourceful. We can take a hobby and turn it into a thriving and profitable business. The key is surrounding yourself with positive and progressive people that will support you. Share with us a story of a woman you helped to become a gamechanger?
Vernetta: Carla McCray of Cheesecake a la Mode and I met at a vendor event. I tasted her cake pops and instantly felt she needed to be known by everyone. I invited her to my very Fusion event. She came and since then, I’ve given her information and help with her business. Now she is pretty well known. She has thanked me for helping her take her business to the next level. I saw in her something that not only I would pay for but lots of people. All she needed was some encouragement to follow her dream.
Sylvia: The fact that you can turn your blog into a business is intriguing. I definitely know that its true as my blog has taken on a life of its own. I get various offers all the time. Many people don’t realize how a blog can generate revenue. Can you give us some steps you took to create an award winning and lucrative blog?
Vernetta: I wrote what interested me. The blog has evolved since its beginning. I share my own journey. I also allow others to share theirs. I write how I speak. People feel connected to the authentic way I write. I unselfishly share a ton of information on the blog. I feel that if I can be of service to others, then I have done a good deed. I had my blog a little over 2 months when I was approached to be paid for a blog post. I did my research prior to starting my blog but didn’t think it would happen so fast. Since then I’ve made sure to create a strong online presence and stay true to my core beliefs. Opportunities do not always come. I go and seek the opportunities I want for my blog and business.
Sylvia: So tell me, what does success mean to you?
Vernetta: Success to me is being able to do what I love and have the freedom to spend time alone and with my family and friends. The biggest part of my success is receiving phone calls, emails or messages when a woman has implemented something I said and their business is benefiting from it.
Sylvia: That is very empowering… you are definitely making a difference. How do you create work-life balance?
Vernetta: I personally take Sundays off. I may do a few things or check email but overall I disconnect from social media. I need that one day to rest my mind and do things personally. I’m not sure if there is a balance but I can prioritize what needs to be done on that day and then do it.
Sylvia: What steps are necessary for a woman entrepreneur who wants to move her business to the next level?
Vernetta: I would say first she needs to be clear on the message her business is sending. Hire a business coach, get a mentor, join a mastermind group or assemble a team of advisors. These people are here to help guide you. You can’t do it alone. Also understand the finances related to your business. If you don’t know or understand your numbers you won’t be in business long.
Sylvia: Awesome advice! I totally agree! In what way do you give back to your community?
Vernetta: I host Gamechanger Gala every September. It is a way to celebrate Women Are Gamechangers is in business another year and gives seed donations to small nonprofits. Since I worked in nonprofits I understand their needs. I do this as a way for people to give to nonprofits in a meaningful way. The seed donations help the nonprofit do what needs to be done to continue to provide programs that are needed in the community.
Sylvia: Very commendable. I also worked in nonprofit for seven years and can relate to your comments. What steps do you think are necessary for an entrepreneur who wants to move her business to the next level?
Vernetta: Invest in coaching and professional development that will yield a return. Most entrepreneurs try to do everything for free or go the least expensive route. That is great in the beginning but it won’t take you very far. Also entrepreneurs need to be strategic on the moves they make. Watch how your clients/customers react. If something goes well, then capitalize on that success. If something does not, then tweak it or let it go. An entrepreneur must always be aware of what’s going on with their ideal clients/customers.
Sylvia: What challenges and opportunities do you see in the present economic environment?
Vernetta: There are only challenges if we feed into that mindset. Being creative and strategic can turn a challenge into an opportunity. The opportunity I see is more women becoming entrepreneurs and using social media to establish and grow their business. The present economic environment will allow the creativity within people to flourish. That is the only way to grow a business at this time.
Sylvia: How do you promote/market your business?
Vernetta: I use blogging, social media and attending networking events. I have branched out into seeking more interview opportunities and finding ambassadors in other cities to promote my events. For 2013, I will use a mix of traditional marketing (print, press releases) and new media to continue to grow the presence of Women Are Gamechangers.
Sylvia: You mentioned partnering with ambassadors in other cities to grow your business. This requires relationship building I am sure. Any suggestions for others interested in this type of marketing?
Vernetta: Be authentic. Stay true to what your message is. I have a two way conversation online. I get to know people. That way people have a chance to know who is behind the blog. Also since I allow guest writers, that has opened up conversations and connections both online and offline. I highly suggest that you get to know people. Tweet and comment to others. Follow people. Get to know people offline. The people will come to you if they feel they have a good sense of who you are. I had no problem getting Hosts for Fusion Tour. They wanted to be associated with Women Are Gamechangers. I maintain a high level of integrity and that is what people want to be associated with.
Sylvia: What books and resources would you recommend to other women in business?
Vernetta: “Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman” by Vickie L. Milazzo was the book that catapulted me jumping into business. I also suggest “Spark & Hustle” by Tory Johnson. But people need to read books related to the industry you are in. “The Intentional Networker” by Patti Dunucci is a book I needed to read since my business is in the field of networking. I learned a lot from it. So find leaders in your industry and read the books they wrote.
Sylvia: Great book choices. I also agree that it is important to invest in industry related books. What advice do you have for women who are just starting out?
Vernetta: Do a little each day. It may seem overwhelming to start but doing a little each day such as a name, filling your paperwork with the state, writing your business plan, etc. will make the transition easier. Also network. Networking allows you to see what’s happening in your industry, you meet key people and learn what will or will not work. That saves you time going in the wrong direction. Don’t forget to read. The library has pretty much any business book you need. Read and learn before you start spending a lot of money.
Sylvia: How do you stay connected in mind body and spirit?
Vernetta: I maintain to the best of my ability a relationship with God. I wake up every morning and just stay still talking to God. I may take a few moments during the day to walk around and clear my mind. I eat healthy to ensure my body has the energy necessary to keep up with my busy life.
Sylvia: What is your favorite quote to live by?
Vernetta: Give and it shall be given to you.
Sylvia: Share with us two industry or general business related tips that could help other women business owners.
Vernetta: Know your numbers when it comes to your business. Be authentic in all that you do.
Sylvia: You are amazing! Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with our members and subscribers. Please share your contact information.
Vernetta: Thank you for this interview. If anyone wants to get in touch with me, go to www.womenaregamechangers.com. All of my contact information is there plus you will see what WAGC is all about.
- Website: http://www.womenaregamechangers.com
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/womenaregamechangers
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/womengamechange
- Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/womenaregamechangers
- Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/womenaregamechangers
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/vrfreeney/
- LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/women-