Dr. Arlene Garcia is the founder and editor of BitterSweet: Real Talk, an inspirational site that explores the bitter, the sweet, and ugly life experiences on her personal road to recovery from a chronic illness. Her life’s mission is to inspire others to turn adversity into triumph and live their best life now! She is also a high school history teacher, motivational speaker, consultant and storyteller. Read our interview with the lovely Arlene below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
On the outside one would say I was well established and put together, but on the inside I was slowly dying. Years of misdiagnoses caused me to suffer from a major mood disorder and depression. If you came into contact with me, you would have thought I was crazy or in a bad mood ALL THE TIME. But years later, I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, a thyroid disorder that proved difficult to treat and to make matters worse, I had a genetic mutation that prevented my medication from working properly. Two years ago, this diagnosis answered many questions for me and gave me part of my life back. Finally, I got the confirmation that I always knew. I wasn’t just crazy as many doctors made me feel due their inability to treat my various ailments. I have taken my life back and am on the road to recovery thanks to this newfound knowledge and a doctor who broke from the traditional textbook response and listened to his patient. Writing is my forum, stress relief, and life. I started BitterSweet: Real Talk to share the bitter, sweet and ugly moments on my road to recovery from a chronic illness. My goal is to inspire others to turn adversity into triumph.
Tell us about your business.
As an educator who has transformed adversity into triumph, I use motivation and storytelling to inspire young people daily. Whether it be a group of students or adults, I bring the same motivation to inspire one to live his or her best life. I’ve been speaking to large and small audiences for over 20 years. Presentations include keynote, workshops, and master of ceremonies. I offer workshops on education, student engagement, curriculum, life skills, purpose, leadership, and more. As a published author who holds a doctorate, I have countless hours of proofreading and editing documents. With years of editing experience and content production, I provide highly skilled editing services.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Giving away a free ticket to #ShesWithMe, women’s empowerment event in Danbury, Connecticut.
- Gates and Hord Scholar
- Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Teaching (through a dual degree honors program)
- Certificate in School Building Leadership (SBL)
- Doctorate in Criminal Justice
Where is your business based?
Connecticut – home based.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
- Researched other blogs
- Designed a website
- Developed strategies for launching my business
- Spoke to a social media manager and an accountant
- Set up two LLCs, a holding and operating company
- Copyrighted my blog and trademarked my name
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Having a social media presence on all platforms and hosting a Virtual Launch Party on Facebook.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Increasing my following, getting loyal subscribers, and advertising my services.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I hired a social media manager, researched more efficient ways to advertise and used paid advertisements as well.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I don’t have a sense that I can’t do it. I have will-power and a fighting spirit.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
As a woman of color, I speak about chronic and mental illnesses which is almost like a taboo topic in the black community. As far as my editing and speaking services, I have over 20 years of professional experience and know how to engage with the audience.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
To follow my dreams and to be patient. All happens in God’s timing.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Do your research, speak to an accountant and possibly a lawyer for legal advice.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Page Manager – allows you to get insights into your demographics when managing your business pages.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Facebook Group www.facebook.com/bsrealtalk
Hashtags #bsrealtalk #entrepreneurblogger #womensupportingwomen
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“The Magic of Thinking BIG” by David Schwartz.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I would like to learn how to gain more followers and learn the best advertising, and promoting techniques.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
- Host my very first women’s event
- Increase my clients for editing services through advertising and offering free consultations
- Increase my brand awareness
- Consult with my social media manager – @blatinawiththegoodhair
- Read tips from other entrepreneurs (blogs)
- Check out what my competition is doing