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Build Your Own Future – Interview With Ram Media Group Founder Nehemiah Burney-Porter

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Nehemiah Burney-Porter

Jobs are difficult to come by for millennials, so it’s no surprise that many create jobs for themselves as entrepreneurs. Launching a company is not as easy as it sounds and requires tons of hard work, but the rewards are incomparable. With more and more people aspiring to become entrepreneurs instead of working a 9-5, there may be some questions that are overlooked in the process. To give a clear look into the life of an entrepreneur, we connected with Nehemiah Burney-Porter, Founder of Ram Media Group. He runs a digital marketing agency that specializes in maximizing marketing ROI and measuring content effectiveness. Nehemiah recognized value and demand in digital marketing early on, giving him a head start in the industry. He was able to give insight into building a business and what you have to do in order to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

What are some surprises that have risen after the start of your own business?

Honestly, the biggest surprise for me was the amount of legal and tax paperwork that was needed to make the company legitimate. Everything from insurance, corporate quarterly tax reporting and the legal aspects of registering for an LLC. Not to mention figuring out how to pay myself and separate the two incomes. You go from working your job from 9 to 5 and then going home, to having to be an accountant, HR manager and salesperson in your non-working hours.

Another surprise was realizing how fluid I needed to be in my product offerings. I went into business thinking I would just sell my Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics reporting expertise like I did when I was consulting for other companies. But I quickly realized that if I wanted to continue relationships with these clients that I would have to be their go to for any new supplemental tools they were looking at getting into. Essentially, I was already a SME (Subject Matter Expert) at the reporting sides of Google and Adobe but most of these companies need an data strategy SME who is tool agnostic. In less than a year, I had to learn the pros and cons and how to implement at an enterprise level close to 20 different tools all ranging from cloud based data lakes to machine learning implementations.

What are some risks that you have had to take when starting your own business?

The biggest risk that I take over and over again is putting my name or brand on the line to prove my value as an expert. In my industry, people aren’t paying you to get work done, but instead they’re essentially paying you to know more than them on a specific subject. Because of this I find myself going toe-to-toe with very intelligent and powerful people within these companies. And if I’m wrong about something, that’s it. There’s no training or conference they will send me to to get smart on a subject. That contract would be cancelled and they’ll get someone else in there.

I also picked up and moved my life when I signed my first major client because they were 2 hours away and I needed to give them a lot of face time. Its unnerving putting everything on the line with no real safety net. Knowing if it doesn’t work out I would have to move again, or downgrade my life a bit to make ends meet. But honestly that became sort of a driving force for me. Knowing how easily I can lose everything makes me work even harder to stay ahead in this industry.

Have you had to ever make an irrational decision to safeguard your business?

Yes. Before when my biggest client wasn’t enough to go full time with, I got wind that one of my smaller clients were thinking about switching providers so they could get more face time or whatever. Work was good and they were happy with results, but there’s something about southern culture that they want to see you every once in awhile. Anyway, they were meeting with a local agency the next day out in Houston (or so I thought). I bought a last minute plane ticket and popped into their offices to take him to lunch. Come to find out, once I landed I get an email telling me he was working out of the florida offices. So I bought another ticket and that lunch became dinner. Well $1300 and many hours later I was able to keep that $400 a month client. The worst part was a couple of months later I had to let that client go to make time for a bigger one. I don’t know if it all was worth it.

How do you enter an industry and make a lasting impression?

To put it simply, do good work. I was lucky enough to be doing the same exact work for a number of different companies before I branched out on my own. I was already getting recruiting calls on a regular basis and I changed those to sales leads. The Philadelphia data analytics industry is a pretty small tight knit community. So by doing well at a number of different companies, word spreads. The problem is Nehemiah Burney-Porter is already a proven data analyst and business strategist with a strong resume. But Ram Media Group isn’t. That’s the part I haven’t figured out yet. How to take the name that I built for myself in this industry and get my company name to outshine that.

Why do you think business owners fail more frequently?

In my experience, people don’t market themselves well enough to stay afloat. You can have a great product but at the end of the day you need people to buy into whatever you’re selling. It’s not easy and at times you can start to take rejection personally. But once you find your niche or specific target demographic it becomes easier. Or you may have to be open to change the product somewhat to give it an edge. At first I thought I knew my target (smaller ecommerce companies just starting to get into online sales). And I was missing left and right. But then I kept signing large services based companies. The work changed significantly and the pressure of perfection was significantly higher and not exactly what I wanted. But I adjusted and kept working. Learning from failure is a big necessity when trying to go out on your own. A “no” isn’t an “I don’t need this product.” It’s an “I don’t need your version of this product.” Your job as an owner is to figure out and produce what version sells.

Owning a business is not easy, what recommendations would you make to an aspiring business owner?

The biggest mistake you can make when starting out is trying to make something that everyone thinks is great. Find the people you want to sell to and listen to them. A lot of people that have nothing to do with your offerings may try to give you advice, but from a business standpoint they’re not important. Take failure as a learning experience and the biggest thing is don’t give up. There is A LOT you will have to learn along the way that may not have anything to do with your main product but everything to do with running a business. Lastly, you don’t have to be ahead of all the competition, just ahead of your clients’ needs.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

What To Do When You Lose Creativity

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Advice to regain creativity

The longer you are tasked to creating things, the more likely you will lose your creative edge. It doesn’t matter if you’re making websites, writing a new book, or making a new recipe. There might come a day when you feel too lethargic to get out of bed or dread going to work. These are some of the most basic and easy-to-shrug symptoms of losing the creative streak. The good news is that there are ways to snap out of it. You can regain your creativity and prevent yourself from “drying out” by practicing a few simple tasks.

Explore

When we were kids, it’s always fun to experience new things for the first time. As we get older, our sense of wonder gets jaded, probably because we had to grow up and face reality. But rediscovering how great the world is can help awaken our creative streak. To prevent yourself from losing it or to find it if it’s already lost, explore and experience new things again. You can set aside one day a month to try something new, be it an experience, new dish, or venturing out to a new place. Adventure can reawaken creative juices and your sense of wonder.

Laugh

One of the reasons why we lose our creativity is pressure. It can be quite stressful if you’re always looking for new ways to make your design look fresh. Sometimes it is even unavoidable that your paintings, essays or web designs all look the same way. Stress can kill creativity, so what better way to de-stress than to laugh? You can watch a comedy movie, catch a live comedy act, or just clown around with your friends. When your brain is filled with oxytocin and dopamine, which we get from laughter, you will be more relaxed and find it easier to find inspiration for creativity.

Think Like A Kid

If you’re asked to be creative, ask yourself what your six year-old would do in situations like these. Kids can be very creative and surprisingly straightforward. It might feel weird at first, but you never know, so you might as well give it a try and see if it works.

Rediscover Creative Pursuits

When was the last time you painted something, read a good book, sang, danced like nobody’s watching, or even modeled clay? All these creative outlets sometimes get lost because of busy lives. However, you can rediscover them again if you set aside time at least once a week to be creative outside your work.

Meditate

Mediation is a good way to relax both the right side (creative) and left side (logical) part of the brain. When they are both relaxed, they work harmoniously so you don’t run out of creative ideas. Some people think that they don’t have much time to mediate, but it can be surprising what 5 to 10 minutes of meditation can do for your brain. Meditation does not have to be complicated. You can start by thinking happy thought for 10 minutes each day for relaxation, and you will be surprised how easy it will become to carry on creative tasks.

When it comes to being creative, pay attention to yourself. Find out what works and what doesn’t. This can tell you when you are most inspired, which in turn can really help you to continue being creative.

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Business

How To Find Your Dream Job

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Job Dream

Do you remember being in your teens and people asking you what you wanted to be when you grew up? Most people do not normally have an answer to this question, which is quite understandable since most of us don’t have a career path figured out at this stage in our lives. The good news is that you don’t have to decide on your career after high school or in college. According to Forbes, most of us will have 15 to 20 jobs in our lifetime and could end up changing jobs every 4.4 years.

With all the career options available, how do you find your dream job?

Strength

One ways to find your dream job is to play to your strengths. If you’re good at writing for example, you can be a teacher, journalist, copywriter or author. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you can be a trail guide, camping guide or survival expert. Your love of math and solving problems can make you a good coder. Your strengths are a good indication that you should be doing something with them. It is also easier to be happier of you have a career that suits your strengths.

Take Classes

Taking classes and trying something new can help you discover your passion and lead you to your dream job. You can attend workshops, scour YouTube tutorials, or read books to find out where your passion lies. Exploring and finding out what you like can lead you to career paths you’ve never thought of before.

Work Environment

Another way to find your dream job is to consider what kind of working environment you thrive in. For example, for people who like being flexible and independent, working online might be a good option. For those who prefer a more traditional form of work environment, there are plenty of office jobs and career options. The same is true for people who like being outdoors or close to nature. Working in an environment you like can lead to better job satisfaction and help you fulfill the lifestyle you want to lead.

What Makes You Happy

Doing what makes you happy can lead you to your dream job. There are many things we like to do for “fun” that actually makes us happy. For instance, some people have fun working with children, which can lead to a career in teaching or child psychology. People who have fun while working with crafts can become crafting gurus with businesses. Doing what makes you happy is a good way to make money while having fun at the same time.

Informal Interviewing

Set informal meetings, like meeting over a cup of coffee, with prospective employers and people in the industry to discuss job expectations and see if they are potential fit for you. This process can help you find your dream job by eliminating jobs or industries that are not suitable for you. With the information you get from your informal interview you can make the decision process easier while networking possible contacts in the industry.

Finding the dream job is a challenge that everybody faces. There are many people working today who are not happy with their jobs but do it anyway to put food on the table. Finding your dream job will help you do the same, but at least you are happy working in an industry you love and are passionate about.

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Business

5 Tips To Get Over Stage Fright

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fright stage

Do you experience speechlessness, nausea or vertigo when you’re about to speak publicly? The name of this condition is stage fright. Strangely enough, stage fright does not always involve a fright, in some instances, these feelings can be induced by any form of public speaking. For most people public speaking causes anxiety. If you experience anything more than mild symptoms, you need to deal with it instead of avoiding public speaking engagements. Here are some ways you can deal with stage fright.

Relax

Finding ways to relax can help fend off anxiety. Meditate, listen to music, eat your favorite food, take a walk or do anything that is relaxing will take your mind off what you’re about to do and help you enter a Zen state of mind. In other words, keep your mind entertained so it won’t dwell on your upcoming task.

Practice Makes Perfect

This saying is particularly true if you suffer from stage fright. One of the best ways to get over public speaking is to practice constantly. Once your speech is perfect, practice speaking in small audiences. For example, start with your family or a group of friends. You can gradually increase the number of people you’re practicing on as the big day arrives. Constant practice can help increase your self confidence and give you time to correct any flaws in your speech or presentation.

Eat and Live Healthy

Eat lots of fruits, practice yoga or meditation, take up a hobby or exercise and play sports. Living a healthy lifestyle will help improve your self esteem. When you do activities like exercise or yoga, you are surrounded with other people and are encouraged to socialize. Eating a healthy diet will help you keep in shape which boosts self confidence. Before a public speaking engagement, avoid caffeine and sweets which can up anxiety levels.

Accept Your Fears

One of the first steps to overcoming stage fright is to admit that you have stage fright. Once you have accepted it, you can begin to find ways to control this fear. This will help you find ways to deal with your problem instead of hiding from it. Confronting and accepting your fears will help you become confident, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

It’s Not About You

PowerPoint presentation coaches say that the presentation is not about you or the slides, so focus on the task at hand. Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander got over stage fright by making a story of the important things instead of thinking about his problems. He realized that he and his fellow actors were on stage to tell a story. They are there for the show and experience. Thinking about this helped him get over stage fright and perform better.

Finding ways to avoid performing or public speaking will only aggravate the situation. It is always better to confront stage fright than hide from it. If actors can get over stage fright, so can you.

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