How To Set Up Your Business For Less Than $10…Seriously!

Hello Everyone,

I finally began shooting this series on Monday. This is honestly the most rewarding thing that I have done in a really long time. Thanks to my business now being run functionally by Amazon, I am free to share all that I have learned over the last 20 years with anyone who is interested. I have had to bootstrap everything in both my personal and professional life, so trust me, I get being on a budget.

I completely understand what it feels like to have a dream, and no way, or no help towards reaching it. This is my way of giving back. I am not selling anything, just providing information for people that need it. If you know someone who you think could benefit from this series, please recommend it to them.

This series will walk you through the step by step (literally) instructions for how to set up your business. The first 3-part video discussed how to come up with and choose your business name, make sure that no one else is using it, and see what others think about your name. The second 3-part video discusses how to set up your blog, domain name, and matching email address yourself. I have already filmed a few videos about how to sell on Amazon, and I will expand on this going forward at the end of this series. Tomorrow, I will be talking about how to secure all of your social media names, link everything up, design your own logo, print your marketing materials, and help your customers find you.

You do NOT need to hire anyone to do any of this for you. If you have been wanting to set up your business, or want to ‘polish’ your brand, then these videos are going to provide you with some very valuable content. Please click subscribe when you are there so that you will be notified when I upload new videos in this series, as I do not regularly post them to my blog.

I am so excited to be filming these, and I hope you find them a valuable nudge towards your dreams.

Gratefully,

Raphaela

 

How To Choose Your Business Name

Hello Everyone,

I just shot a 3 part series (total of roughly 15 minutes) that details what I believe to be the most cost effective and efficient way to choose your business name. Whether you are thinking about starting a business, have recently started one, or are rebranding, these videos contain very valuable (and free) advice about how to get the job done quickly and correctly. I hope you enjoy these. I am posting the first one below. If you like it when you visit my You Tube Channel, just watch parts 2 and 3. Thank you.

Gratefully,

Raphaela

My Year In Review: Why I Have More Aliases Then A Colombian Drug Lord

raphaela, lorian, laurean, rafiela, name, change, merge, social, media, identities, accounts

Why Did I Merge Two Social Media Identities?

I will begin this post by saying that this is going to be a long post. It’s not a story that can be told quickly, and I am going to tell you the whole story. A lot of people that I know on both sides of my social media channels have been asking why the change, and what has been happening during the last year. So here goes……

Yesterday I engaged in the scary, but very rewarding adventure of merging two social media identities. For the last year or so, I had begun to develop my personal social media channel (www.raphaelalaurean.com). I began to develop this channel for two reasons. I was training for a Bikini Bodybuilding competition (say what??), and preparing for my EnvyTan products to move to Amazon.com. As you read this post, you will learn how these two things are tied together.

Initially, I started to develop this channel because I had taken on the challenge of training for a Bikini Bodybuilding Competition to really push my fitness to the next level. For reasons which seem kind of silly to me now, I was not really ready to share that kind of information with every person that I have ever known. It strikes me as odd, and very amusing, that people will share the most intimate, terrifying, personal moments of their lives with strangers without hesitation, but they always give pause when considering whether to share with those people who they truly know. Why is that? I can’t speak for you, but for me, I am sure that it is mostly insecurity. I am sure that it is rooted in a fear of rejection, and of being judged. People like to compartmentalize the people they know; this person is a great dad, this person is a business woman. It becomes very uncomfortable for people when someone that you know jumps out of any one box, and attempts to leap into another. My Mom has always said, “No one is a profit in their own town.” For example, I am sure that the people who knew a young Tony Robbins or Glenn Close did not take them very seriously when they were rising to stardom.

Anywho, back to the story. I joined Bombshell Fitness, went to their training camp, trained exceptionally hard for roughly 3 months (in the gym 2.5-3 hours daily), and was on track to do my first Bikini Bodybuilding show a few months later. During this time, to connect with all of the exceptional team mates and community members that I was meeting, I developed my ‘Raphaela Laurean’ page. It would have been fairly obvious to anyone on my other social media pages that I was bodybuilding if all of a sudden all of these ‘bodybuilders’ were my friends and posting ‘bodybuilding content’. I loved training with this team.

I saw amazing changes in my body and confidence levels (something every relatively new mom struggles with). Then one day, I fell down the stairs. At first I dismissed it because I thought I tripped. Then it happened again a few days later, but this time I was holding my baby boy when it happened, and I knew that something was very wrong. I started falling down stairs, not being able to speak properly (couldn’t recall the words that I was trying to say), I had terrible tremors, constant nausea, and I was in pain everywhere. After seeing every specialist in Warner Robins, and then Macon, GA, I was sent to the Mayo Clinic in Florida. I spent several months commuting back and forth to the Mayo Clinic (5 hour drive each way) with what seemed to be a mystery illness. As you can imagine, my training stopped, and I was suddenly planning for a different version of my own life. It was at this time, that I began to research moving my products to Amazon.com, and the real reason that I did that is because I was preparing for a situation in which I was either not present, or not well enough to manage the details of EnvyTan any longer.

I had CAT scans, PET scans, Biopsies, Blood work, MRI’s and things that I can not even pronounce done. My mother and I did eventually, and only by analyzing test results, figure out what was wrong (that is for another post). I have to thank my Mom for never stopping her research. She worked tirelessly around the clock analyzing the information that was being returned on these tests. She is the one who figured out what the problem was, not the doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Let’s just say that the show ‘House’ isn’t happening at the Mayo Clinic. They did not look at the overall picture, they looked at segmented pieces of information, and just couldn’t put it together. Regardless, I am extremely lucky to have such an intelligent and dedicated mom who simply would not give up on finding the truth. Thank you Mom. I love you.

I am not going to die, so don’t get too excited and start trying to lay claim to my personal treasures :-). While you are reading this, you will likely be thinking, I didn’t know anything about this. As I will explain later in this post, I never shared details of my personal life online, so this was completely a private struggle that consumed my life for more than half of a year. All the while, I was trying to run my business, raise my children, keep up appearances, and deal with my husband’s constant mini deployments (1 week here, 1 month there). Let’s just say that 2014 was not my best year.

However, I did learn some things during this year. I learned that when the rubber really meets the road, and you actually do share and ask for help, people are usually willing to be there for you. This was not a strength area for me. I learned that I can try to plan for anything that I like, and that I will almost certainly have to move left and right to get to that goal, where I used to think that it was a straight line. Becoming that ill, that suddenly, is a very humbling experience. When you have to ask someone to help you hook a necklace, because your hands are trembling too much to do it for yourself, you will quickly realize that you are not as perfect as you may once have believed. After months of living in uncertainty, and treasuring every day with my babies, because I was getting worse, I am a much more grateful, patient person now.  Things are different now. I have to listen to my body now. I have had to slow down a lot. I have had to learn to let a lot of things go, to keep stress levels very low. I have been given a gift to see people in a new way, and to appreciate that if someone is being grumpy or mean, that they may just not be feeling well, and it may have nothing to do with me at all.

Most of all, through all of the research, my eyes have been opened, very wide, to what is wrong with traditional medicine, and how it is practiced. I have learned that you ARE your ONLY advocate, and that if you don’t have someone (thanks Mom), or yourself advocating for your health needs, you will be swallowed up whole by the medical system. If you think I am joking, out of sheer frustration one day at the Mayo Clinic, I asked one of my doctors how this could be happening, and how they could not have an answer, he said, “Well, Raphaela, that is why it is called practicing medicine.” They would have had me taking more than 10 pills per day, living in constant pain, and never have fixed the problem. Enough said, I had to take control of the situation, and with my mother’s help, and a LOT of research, the situation is now relatively under control and I am happy to tell you that I do not take a single pill (mainstream medicine) to manage this situation. There is so much to say on this topic, and it will be the subject of later posts. For now, let’s get back to the meat and potatoes.

The second reason, which as you now know is only really an extension of the first reason,  was in preparation for my freedom from sitting as the “President/CEO” of EnvyTan.  I am still in charge of things at EnvyTan, but after 10 years in business, I have decided to reward myself by letting Amazon manage the warehousing, inventory, shipping, etc for my business. This decision was arrived at out of necessity, but in all honesty, the business has grown to a point where it is the best thing for our customers around the world. It is faster, less expensive, and requires much less of my time and energy.  All of the products will be available on Amazon right before Valentines Day this year, February 14, 2015.

As a result of this, I am finally free to have some kind of ‘personal’ life online. I always felt that it would be very inappropriate to share details about my personal life while I was running things from the corporate location. For example, no one wants to see you enjoying time off on vacation if it means that you are not available to answer their questions, or tend to their needs. That is a small glimpse of what I am talking about. Now imagine hearing that the person who runs the company where you buy your supplies is very ill. People tend to jump ship in these situations to protect their own business interests, and I completely understand that. Suffice to say, I felt it was easier and more inline with my company image not to share these kinds of personal things. All of that said, while reviewing my goals for 2015 yesterday, I decided that it was time to stop living this ‘Double Life’ and merge these two identities.

I have multiple sides of myself, as we all do; business owner, wife, mother, DIY’r, beauty enthusiast, and the list goes on. I guess I come from the tail end of a generation that was brought up to believe that if you can’t sell yourself, you can’t sell your products. That is still true, but the interpretation of that has morphed substantially over the last decade. People want to really ‘connect’ with the people that they do business with. They don’t want to buy from a brand, they want to be part of an overall experience. They want to be in the fold, not on the perimeter anymore. This is wonderful, but it takes a little getting used to. It takes time to embrace the idea that people are open to the fact that just because someone bakes silly cake pops with their kids on Saturday, doesn’t mean that they are not exceptionally good at manufacturing sunless tanning solution, the other 5 or 6 days of the week.

So, with multiple social media channels come many names. This was simple for me, as I have changed my name several times in the last 20 years. My brother says, “Sis, you have more aliases than a Colombian Drug Lord.” I think that’s a pretty fair assessment. 🙂

Legal: Raphaela Laureana Theresa Robertson (Maiden)
–Insert one or two marriages and you have various last names 🙂
*My friends in high school called me Terri, short for my middle name Theresa. Why is this you ask? Well, let’s see, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out and then became insanely popular when I was about to start high school. Let’s review their names; Leonardo (nope, not a problem), Donatello (nope again), Michelangelo (hmm, my sister’s name is Michaela) and Raphael (you have got to be freakin’ kidding me). It was choose a nick name or suffer eternal wedgies in high school (lol).  My sister and I both chose nick names. Come on, you have been to high school. It’s like prison rules. 🙂

When I moved to LA, I figured that since I had finished college (you know like a decade later), that people would let that whole Ninja Turtle thing go….wrongo! Every time that I said my name, some knucklehead would say, “Oh, like the Ninja Turtles?” To which I would respond graciously, “Wow, yup, that’s first time that I have ever heard that.” In truth, I was slapping the crap out of them in my mind, but they had no clue.

Then, one of the 2 or 3 thousand guys that I dated in LA (ok, those numbers are slightly exaggerated), called me Elle. It was like a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Why hadn’t I ever thought of this? Regardless, I didn’t keep him, but the nick name stuck. From 2002-2013, this was my name. Come on, 11 years is a good run. 🙂

Flash forward to last year when I started Bodybuilding, I really wanted to switch back to my ‘real name-Raphaela’, and so I did. I am not using my legal last name for security reasons.When you share things online, you get to know a lot of people, and some of those people want to know you better than they need to ;-), so it’s just a safety thing.

Where does Laurean come from? My grandmother’s name was Laureana, so to honor her I chose to use Laurean as my last name on this account.  You get to an age, coming up to the ole’ 40, where you just become who you are, and you just stop caring so much about all of the other stuff. You take down your walls, and you celebrate what makes you unique and weird, even if you do have to share names with a Mutant Ninja Turtle (why, God, why did this movie have to be released again a few years ago to prolong this torture?) I am kidding. I just don’t care anymore. That’s my name. It was important enough for my parents to choose it out of the thousands that they could have chosen, and I will honor them by using my given name.

I was somewhat fearful that a lot of the people that I know in my ‘personal life-as Elle’ would reject this idea, but I was wrong. Almost every single person that was on my old Facebook page is on this new one. That was exceptionally flattering, not only because it meant that they want to keep in touch, but because it meant that I was now going to be free to share all of the information that I want to share with everyone in my life. I took a leap of faith, and so did the people that I value as friends.

So, what does 2015 hold? It holds the absolute possibility for a better year than last :-). I spent the last 4 months getting settled in our new home in New Orleans, getting well physically, and deciding how to spend the rest of my life. It has been the first time in more than a decade that I did not work more than 10 hours a day for EnvyTan. It was a much needed ‘Nomadic Year’ that only lasted for four months.

I am going to start training again, but not yet with Bombshell Fitness, as this program is extremely intense. I am going to start TerraFit, on the 12th of January, as I was invited by a family member to try this. Later this year, I will begin bodybuilding training again and I will keep you 100% in the loop, good and bad. I am going to focus on sharing this year. I am going to share all of the things that I have learned in life, in business, as a mom, military wife, and more. Most of this will be on my YouTube channel, because it is far less time consuming than writing blogs, so if you want to follow what I am doing, go and click the subscribe button to stay in the loop. No, this is not a shameless plug, this is me sharing how you can keep up with what kind of craziness I am getting into this year without having to read a blog :-).

Mostly, this year, I am going to spend more time dedicated to improving the lives of others, because I have been so very blessed in my own life. Even this year’s medical challenges were a gift. They have opened my eyes, my heart, my mind, and my life to opportunities which would otherwise never have been present. I wish each of you success, confidence, and authenticity in 2015.

Happy New Year Everyone. Make it Count! Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan!

Gratefully,

Raphaela Laurean

What’s Going On For The Next 2 Months? Moving To….

Ok, so I have been MIA for quite some time, and yes there is a good reason. I will have to blog about that after we get settled. If you want to know what I am up to for the next two months, check out my latest YouTube video. It’s just a short two minute clip.

I hope everyone has a beautiful weekend.

XOXO

Raphaela

 

 

Choosing Your Blog or Business Name: Why I Am Changing Mine

Run, To, The, Bikini

Was RunToTheBikini.Com. Now It’s RaphaelaLaurean.com

Ok, so, I finally did it. Did what you ask? Simple. I decided to simplify my life and change the name of my blog. I chose the name Run To The Bikini when I started this blog last year. I did so as a way to document my progress towards my bikini bodybuilding goals. However, over the course of the last year, I have also decided that I have a lot more to share than just that.

I frequently found myself wanting to share things, and then trying to massage the subject matter so that it fit onto my blog, formerly known as ‘Run To The Bikini’. I still really love that name and the concept, but for me, it was and is just too narrow of a topic to continue to be interesting to me, much less my readers. I know that this is going to sound crazy, but I literally spent months agonizing over the decision about which ‘identity’ to write my ideas under. If you have ever tried to pick a business name, then you know what I am talking about. I thank God for flash cards, or I would have to start donating to Green Peace to apologize for the amount of paper that I would have used sorting this out.

There are so many areas of my life where I want to share what I have learned, but I also have a very strong business rule about not casting the net too wide (aka, being really good at what you do, and not trying to cover everything). But that’s when it hit me. I am not writing this blog as a business. I am writing it for me, and for you, and for whatever comes of it down the road, so I should just be me. So, that’s why I am changing my blog name to http://www.raphaelalaurean.com.

Pros: 

Reason # 1: It’s Just Plain Easier

Easy to find me and all of my other social media profiles, because it’s all the same name. I will list the links at the bottom of this page, as an example of what I am talking about, and as a guide for you to follow when setting up your own ‘identity’. If you type my name into Google (the people who really run the world ), you will find my youtube channel, blog, twitter account, etc.

Reason # 2: Sky’s the Limit.

I can write about pretty much anything now. I mean, I have it organized now so that the reader can find what they are interested in, but it gives me the freedom to share all of the areas of my life, not just one. This is something that I am really going to enjoy. A perfect example is this very post. I could never have done this post on my former blog. Well, I could have, no internet police would have come for me, but it may have caused Botox inducing wrinkles on my face (and I promised myself that I would wait until 40 🙂 ), because I would have felt anxiety about the fact that it didn’t belong on that kind of a blog, or that I was not providing my readers with the content that they were looking for.

Reason # 3″ Consistency is Key.

I am far more likely to post regularly because I don’t have to try to ‘package’ the information a certain way to fit the blog topic. I read a really important article on this, and I wish I could remember where so that I could give them credit. Basically, the writer said that your audience is smart enough to figure out how to read the information that they want, and ignore the other stuff, so long as you organize it properly. Shout out to you, whoever wrote that article….what what..you Rock!

Cons:

Reason # 1: 30 Seconds To Get Their Attention

I have to be so lovable and interesting that people will read my blog, because I have no catchy phrase or brand to hook them with. For example, if your into fitness, and you land upon a blog that called ‘Run to the Bikini’, you are far more likely to keep reading, then if you land on one called ‘Raphaela Laurean’. WTH is Raphaela Laurean, right? Anywho, once I let go of that fear, it didn’t really matter to me. I am not trying to take over the world with my blog, just share my life. There are some that will find that interesting, and there are some that will say, um, no thanks. I am ok with either.

Reason # 2: Lack of Anonymity

I will say that I have been the kind of person that has really gone out of my way to preserve and protect my anonymity pretty much my whole life. I was raised in business that you must keep your business and personal life separate to maintain some status quo. I think that I really believed that for a very long time, because I think that it was true up until a few years ago.

Today’s consumers want to know more about who they are doing business with. It wasn’t always that way. People used to associate big brands and corporations with credibility and trust. Enter Twitter, Facebook and the like, and now customers want a more personal connection with the people and companies that they let into their lives.

I am just at a point in my life where I don’t want to be the magician behind the curtain anymore, and me writing this blog is sort of my way of removing that thought process from my life. I want people to know who I am now. I want them to see who is running the company that they choose to spend their money with, and how hard I work for them. I also want them to know that I am a real person, just like them, with a family, hopes, dreams, etc.

Reason # 3: Ability to Grow

For me, I love the thought that I can develop and grow with my blog, and that my readers will enjoy that. If I had chosen RunToTheBikini, and then decided to give up bikini bodybuilding, I would have lost a lot of readers in that transition. This way, my readers will read my blog because they want to see what I am up to, not just to look at one subject. I hope that makes sense.

 

Small Business Tip Summary

So, as you can see, there are pros and cons, big surprise, not! What am I really saying here? I suppose if I had to summarize from a business perspective, I would say it like this;

Niche Topic: Examples; Weight Loss for Women Who Just Gave Birth, Golfing for Divorced Guys over 40, Raising Triplets on Less Than 36K Per Year

If you are writing with one specific topic that you think that you can find enough about to consistently engage your readers and yourself, then go with that. It will be very easy to monetize (aka…make money with) because the subject matter will be so narrow that you could become a very credible source for that subject.  People would trust your product recommendations (please keep it real people, don’t do sponsored reviews for crap products). You could evaluate all of the events in your niche topic, associations, trade shows, new product releases, best places to buy, etc. If you love one subject like that, then get in there and get to work.

Lifestlye Versus Topic Blogging; ABeautifulMess.comIGoByKatie.com,

These blogs, as well as my own, are more of a candid look at the lives of these people, which can not be compartmentalized so easily. If you visit their blog, what you are sticking around for is them, sort of a blog celebrity reality show. They will tell all and you can read what you want and ignore the rest. These kinds of blogs can also be monetized as they grow, if you are interested in that. You can do exactly the same thing as the niche blog, but you just have to be very careful to organize everything really well, because your readers are busy, and they want what they want. It’s your job to make sure that they don’t have to search for it for very long.

As promised-

Disclaimer: This is not a shameless plug, it is meant for you to see how nice, clean, and easy it would be for your followers if you did something like this for your business.

♥ MY VLOG CHANNEL
http://www.youtube.com/raphaelalaurean
♥ TWITTER!
http://twitter.com/raphaelalaurean
♥ FACEBOOK
http://www.facebook.com/raphaelalaurean
♥ PINTEREST

♥ INSTAGRAM
http://instagram.com/raphaelalaurean
♥ BLOG
http://www.raphaelalaurean.com
♥ EMAIL
info@raphaelalaurean.com

I hope you found this helpful. If you take one lesson from this post, it should be that you should just get started. You can change on the fly, so just stop stressing out about it and start writing. More often than not, this will be the true test of how you decide what your blog will really be about.

Gratefully,

Raphaela Laurean