A Fresh Take On Cosmetics With Mented Cosmetics Co-founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson

A Fresh Take On Cosmetics With Mented Cosmetics Co-founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson
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The Nitty Gritty:

  • How Amanda and KJ turned their passion for beauty — and their frustration with a lack of diverse color palettes — into a brand-new business in a saturated market.
  • Why they were part of the product formulation process every step of the way.
  • How they established Mented as a trusted brand — even before launching products — by building relationships with YouTube and Instagram influencers.
  • Why talking with customers pushed Amanda and KJ to not only offer Mented cosmetics online, but in person, too.
  • How Mented grows organically today by celebrating and prioritizing women of color.

Today on Profit. Power. Pursuit., I chat with Amanda E. Johnson and KJ Miller of Mented Cosmetics, an everyday beauty brand for women of color. What started it all? Searching for the perfect shade of nude lipstick. Disappointed by palette options, KJ and Amanda took matters into their own hands — mixing and pouring — in their own kitchen.

While KJ and Amanda no longer hand pour Mented lipsticks, they’re still a part of product development every step of the way. Hear how their journey started when the two attended Harvard Business School, where they’re at now, and where Mented is heading in 2018.

We release new episodes of Profit. Power. Pursuit every week. Subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode.

On standing out in a saturated market

We’re creating an everyday beauty brand for women of color. That truly is unique. If you look at some of our peers, so many of those brands are trend focused — the glitter, the unicorn, the galaxy. What was missing in the market — and what we would argue is still missing — is a brand that’s focused on the everyday, foundational, basic beauty needs of women of color. And that’s where we think Mented will continue to win.

— KJ Miller

The marketplace is crowded — so how do you stand out? Amanda and KJ decided, early on, that focusing exclusively on everyday beauty for women of color was how they’d claim their space in a crowded market.

Their own frustrations and disappointment with trying to find beauty products that worked for them started it all. For years, Amanda searched for a nude lip color — and she just couldn’t find the right shade. Her search uncovered an untapped market — and the pair decided to solve their own problem.

On product development

Once we found a great manufacturer who was willing to work with us on a smaller scale, the process began of creating the stable formula. We probably spent 3 or 4 full days in the lab, not only working to shade match but working to create a formula that both of us loved.

— KJ Miller

A clear mission leads the way to a powerful product. Although KJ and Amanda tested different colors in their own kitchen, they knew they needed to work with a manufacturer to create a stable product that they — and their customers — would love.

On word-of-mouth marketing

We’ve said from the very beginning that Mented is about prioritizing and celebrating women of color — and because that’s been our message from the very beginning, it’s resonated and women have felt celebrated and prioritized. As a result of that, they’ve been excited to share with their friends and family.

— KJ Miller

Working with YouTube and Instagram influencers naturally drummed up talk about Mented — and now, word-of-mouth marketing is a large aspect of Mented’s marketing success. But you can’t pay for word-of-mouth marketing — so how do you get people to share your product or service with their networks and communities?

For KJ and Amanda, it ties back to their mission of celebrating — and prioritizing — women of color. No other beauty brand has done that — until now. And that commitment shines through everything they do — from the way they communicate their brand values to how they treat their customers.

Listen to the full episode with Mented founders Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller to hear more about how to use your own dissatisfaction to start your own company, how to break into a saturated industry, and how to celebrate (and listen to) your customers to give them a product they want to share with others.

Taking Your Message to A Bigger Stage with Tanya Geisler

Taking Your Message to A Bigger Stage with Tanya Geisler

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The Nitty Gritty:

  • Why speaking could become an integral part to your business
  • Where to pitch your speaking services and get speaking gigs
  • Why the Imposter Complex is a good sign

My guest this week on the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast is Tanya Geisler who is a leadership coach, TEDxWomen speaker and writer that teaches women how to step into their starring roles, own their authority and overcome the Imposter Complex in their lives and in their work.

We talk about how Tanya has actively grown the speaking segment of her business, how she and her team pitches her speaking services and why experiencing the Imposter Complex is a good sign.  

Reach a Larger Audience Through Speaking

Speaking and sharing her message to a larger audience was a natural fit for Tanya. It was something she knew needed to have as an element of her business because she always loved the stage even from a young age. It was always her favorite responsibility even in jobs she didn’t like. Today, Tanya mostly does keynotes that are 45 minutes long with a 15-minute Q&A. Since the Imposter Complex is her body of work, she primarily speaks on that subject but collaborates with the event host to co-create the talk based on their learning objectives. It takes time to experiment and refine the message you want to deliver, even if you are gifted at speaking.

How to Pitch your Speaking Services

I can trace back every last speaking gig that I’ve had to a podcast interview that I’ve done.

–Tanya Geisler

Tanya and her team actively pitch associations and conferences as well as certain companies if she has a contact there. She rarely cold calls an organization. Being a guest on podcasts is a very effective way that Tanya gets speaking engagements; in fact, she can trace every speaking gig that she has had to a podcast interview she has done. Since Tanya is a coach she is able to find a moment in each interview where she can “coach” the interviewee, and that’s a really important moment of resonance. Ultimately, when that happens people lean in and listen more closely, and it’s in those moments that they realize they might want to book Tanya to speak to their organization.

The Imposter Complex: It’s a Good Sign

Nobody is ever fully ready for anything, but you’re ready enough.

–Tanya Geisler

There are 12 lies the Imposter Complex really wants us to believe. If you aren’t feeling the Imposter Complex you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. When something really, really matters to you, that’s when the Imposter Complex is going to show up and you don’t really want it to go away. When you don’t want to feel like an imposter you go to one of six coping mechanisms. You must always remember if you know more than the audience you are speaking to, it makes you expert.

Learn more about why the “pencil can never be sharp enough,” the process Tanya has developed to determine the goals of the audience she’s speaking to, Tanya’s Starring Role Academy and ways to overcome the Imposter Complex when you listen to the full episode.

I invite you to subscribe to the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast on iTunes so that you can tune in each week to learn from today’s savviest entrepreneurs.

Want to know the 3 things every woman with unshakeable confidence has in common? Join Tanya for her Unshakable Confidence Masterclass on November 30th. Click here for more information.

Hiring Best Practices with Patrice Perkins

Hiring Best Practices with Patrice Perkins
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The Nitty Gritty:

  • When a team member should be a contractor and when they should be an employee (and why you’re likely not following the letter of the law on this one)
  • What “at will” employment means and why you’re not nearly as committed as you might think you are when you hire someone
  • The kinds of questions you need to avoid in an employment interview
  • How to protect your intellectual property when bringing on a new team member
  • What to avoid when you make an employment offer

During last week’s class, Create a Hiring Plan & Grow Your Standout Business, I was lucky enough to be joined by Patrice Perkins, the founder of Creative Genius Law.

I was able to ask her your most pressing legal questions on the topic of hiring… and probably a few you didn’t know you should be worried about!

CreativeLive was gracious enough to release this interview as this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. episode.

Navigating the Growing Gig Economy with Marion McGovern

Navigating the Growing Gig Economy with Marion McGovern

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The Nitty Gritty:

  • Who falls into the gig economy
  • Why “job” is a pretty modern concept
  • How entrepreneurs are creating personal safety nets as the gig economy evolves

On this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., I speak with Marion McGovern, founder of M Squared Consulting, one of the first gig economy companies before the term was even coined, and author of Thriving in the Gig Economy and A New Brand of Expertise.

Since I’m so passionate about the emerging new economy, I was eager to pick Marion’s brain on the subject. We discuss who falls into the gig economy, how “job” is actually a pretty modern concept, the challenges of navigating your personal safety net as an independent worker and more.

Who falls into the gig economy?

A gig is work that is of uncertain duration and done not tethered to a particular client or single employer.

– Marion McGovern

Since the government stopped tracking numbers for independent workers, it’s hard to figure out exactly who and how many professionals work in the gig economy, but it’s truly not all Uber drivers. Those who work in the gig economy are people who are not tethered to a particular client or single employer and who take on work that is uncertain in duration. Even though the gig economy has gotten a lot of press lately due to digital platforms, gigs have been around since jazz musicians in the 1920s committed to playing gigs and moved around from club to club.

Job versus work

It’s all about the work they are doing as opposed to the JOB they are doing.

– Marion McGovern

“What do you do,” is a common question at any cocktail hour and illustrates our current focus on the jobs we do rather than the work that we do. Interestingly, our current concept of a job—a regular remunerative position—came to be in the 1920s and 1930s when it became associated with regular employment at a singular employer. As Marion explains on the podcast, she would like us to get away from defining ourselves by the job title and get back to the work we do and why we do it.

Safety nets

Professionals in the gig economy are starting to deal with being cut off from the benefits and safety networks that they were accustomed to in a traditional economy. Entrepreneurs are building businesses to address their specific needs and businesses that rely on independent labor are working to help solve the issue. Handy has worked with the New York legislature to create a portable benefits structure—a structure where benefits would associate with the worker rather than the employer—since its business is a network of household service providers. ShiftPixy is another company that is responding to the needs of a gig economy by consolidating opportunities for shift work in one place so that workers can build full-time consistent employment. Another example is Bunker Insurance who makes it possible for freelancers and independent contractors to get the liability insurance they need for some jobs under flexible terms and in an affordable way. They are totally disrupting the insurance market to provide gig economy professionals what they need to succeed.

To get all the nitty-gritty details of the gig economy, tune in to the full episode and hear our entire conversation.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode as I talk to today’s entrepreneurs about how they are making their businesses thrive.

Building a Business on The Side of a Job You Love with Laptop Lifestyle Creator Alexis Teichmiller

Building a Business on The Side of a Job You Love with Laptop Lifestyle Creator Alexis Teichmiller
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The Nitty Gritty:

  • How to balance time between a full-time job and a thriving side hustle
  • What unique offer she makes that allows her to love her extra time working
  • How to define success for your side business

We’re doing something a bit unconventional on this week’s podcast. Alexis Teichmiller is my guest and we talk all about how she makes her side hustle work right alongside a full-time gig that she loves as an Affiliate Manager at ConvertKit. Alexis is host of The Laptop Lifestyle podcast and a content creator for hospitality brands.

On the podcast, we talk about how Alexis manages her schedule, the special offer she developed for a side hustle that enhances her life even though it adds work and how she defines success for her side hustle.

Schedule Management

I don’t know who started it, but I’m glad they did.

– Alexis Teichmiller

Since ConvertKit employees are 100% remote, Alexis can do her full-time job, that she absolutely loves, from anywhere. She started The Laptop Lifestyle podcast three years ago when she was inspired by all the people creating communities and businesses from their laptop and creating a lifestyle where they could travel and work at the same time. On her podcast, Alexis interviews successful online entrepreneurs and people who are building communities online about how they are doing it and making money.

She spends about 8-15 hours a week on her side hustle depending on the projects she is working on. When she is traveling for the side hustle, she will clock in to do her work for ConvertKit from 6am-1pm and then clock out to spend time exploring the city and working her side hustle from about 1-9pm to come back and finish her workday for ConvertKit from 9-11pm. The time segments vary depending on what projects she is working on.

Unique and Appealing Offer

Both Alexis and her business partner are excellent content creators. They noticed that many boutique brands don’t have lifestyle photography they can use on their social channels or websites. So, they decided they should pitch their services to create lifestyle photos for brands in exchange for accommodations and a small fee. This concept allows them to travel to exciting destinations while providing incredible value to boutique hotels that need good lifestyle photography. Alexis art directs, negotiates the deals and markets their service and her business partner is the photography/videographer.

How to Define Success

If I’m going to do something on the side, I want it to be life giving and not life draining.

– Alexis Teichmiller

Success will be defined differently for each person, so Alexis encourages entrepreneurs to be intentional about the goals they have for their side hustle so they have a way to define their success. In this season of her life, she is not trying to work her side hustle into her full-time gig, so it’s really important that her side hustle is fun. This is something that Chris Guillebeau talks about in his podcast and book, Side Hustle. For Alexis getting to $2000/month in recurring revenue from her side hustle would mean success.

Join me to listen to the full episode to hear more about how her pitch to clients has evolved, about the new course she is creating about online vulnerability and where her next trip will be.

Each week I talk the nitty-gritty details with entrepreneurs just like Alexis. Never miss an episode when you subscribe to the podcast.