A self-taught entrepreneur, Brandy Kennedy is a not only a millennial tech enthusiast, she is also a wife and mother of three daughters. With an 8 year military background in the legal career field, a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, and a passion for all things legal, it was destined for this overachiever to become an attorney or legal professional, but like most stories, her dreams didn’t end there! I mean why should they? A girl can have it all right?
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I started my first online business in 2011. I was coming out of a really bad relationship and I was expecting my second child. I was really depressed and was looking for a hobby and some extra income. I had a few friends that all dabbled in entrepreneurship, so I decided that I would give it a try. My success was not as deliberate as some may imagine. I had no idea that starting my own online business would change the course of my life.
Tell us about your business.
Chyc Studio Digital Marketing (CSDM) is an online marketing firm that offers quality stylish digital marketing at an affordable price. I offer my clientele visually appealing content, graphics, and web design with a woman’s touch. I also offer marketing advice and other digital products to those wanting to start an online business in the beauty and e-boutique markets.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Yes! I’m currently offering a select number of new or aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to book a “Build with Brandy” session at half price. So many young women reach out to me and tell me that they need the guidance and information but they just don’t have the budget, so I wanted to make sure that I am making myself accessible to as many young women as I can.
- 2017 Dr. Ophelia DeVore Unsung Hero Honoree
- Speaker at the 2017 Ladies Who Bruch ATL “Girlz Busines Camp”
- Wix Web Design Expert
Where is your business based?
CSDM is based in Columbus, GA. The amazing thing about owning an online business is that I get to enjoy the perk of working from anywhere.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Once I decided that I was going to go for it and start branding my services, I built my website. Building my website took me about three months and in that time, I honed in on what my mission was, who I wanted to serve, and I started building my community – The Chyc Circle. The Chyc Circle has grown tremendously since I launched on March 7, 2017 to over 25k followers, subscribers, and recurring website visitors.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Instagram has been the most effective way to raise awareness for my business and get new customers. I get to meet and work with women all over the world. Although I am based in Columbus, GA, the majority of my clientele are located in different states and in 7 other countries.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenges thus far have been coming out of my shell and being the face of my brand. I have offered web design and other services for years, but taking the step to brand myself has been a challenge. Another challenge I recognize is time management. Being a wife, a mom, and having other obligations, time is always scarce.
How did you overcome these challenges?
When it comes to being the face of my brand, I have committed myself to learning my craft to the best of my ability. Being knowledgeable makes me feel most confidence. When I’m at an event or doing a speaking engagement, I’m most confident when I’m prepared and I know my stuff! When it comes to time management, I’ve learned that my time is more valuable than money, so I’ve had to prioritize tasks and people. If you are wasting my time and I’m not getting paid, your priority in my life is really low. Everything I do has to make sense.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My daughters keep me motivated. We all have bad days and feel like maybe we aren’t doing the right thing or that it won’t work out. When I think about my girls and how I want them to remember me when I’m gone or when they are having a rough patch is what keeps me going. I want them to know that their mom did her best to make sure they were always taken care of and thriving. I want them to be able to pull from my experiences and be better women than I am.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I’m a perfectionist. Whether I’m doing work for myself or a client, I want it to be the best that I can give. I don’t book clients if I’m not in a head space where I’m going to give my best. I always want to be reassured that when my clients walk away with their new website or product that are satisfied and they feel like they can be successful and reach their goals. Helping someone start their business is a huge responsibility. I have to make sure that I’m channeling their enthusiasm without selling them a dream and still making sure that they are committed to the road ahead. It’s a fine line to walk and a huge deal to me.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
To invest more in myself. I think in business we all get to a point where we ask ourselves, “What next?” At that point it’s time to start investing more in yourself. Knowledge is power. In a service based business, you can’t teach what you don’t know. So I’m investing in more classes, networking events, and traveling to different markets that I have been introduced to.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Find your influence. There is so much fluff and trends shoved in our faces everyday with social media and the internet. I urge my clients to take some time to identify what makes them or their vision different. People shy away from words like quirky or weird, but I embrace the quirks about myself. A lot of times your quirks or flaws can be explained and identified when you tell your story. So whether you are telling your personal story or the story of your brand, make sure not to hide behind your ‘flaws’. When others can relate to how you overcame, managed, or triumphed – that is where your influence lies. Once you find your influence, making sales are much easier.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
My favorite business resources is Entrepreneur.com. Every morning, the first thing I do is log onto their blog and sip my cup of coffee. There is a ton of information on there. They always have what’s latest in tech news i.e. social media updates and a bunch of other resources that are valuable. I also appreciate that they share stories of small business owners who implement new ideas and systems. I have had some big “ah ha” moments reading their material.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
My latest read is “Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets” by Al Ramadan, Christopher Lochhead, Dave Peterson, and Kevin Maney. I really love this book because these are tech and marketing professionals giving a lot of information on how to work with other people to grow a business.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently learning more about Facebook Ads, Facebook Pixel, Google AdWords and other advertising channels. My goal is to master monetizing my website alone to create residual income so that I can in turn teach my clients. There is so much untapped earning potential for websites that have big traffic imprints. A lot of female entrepreneurs don’t know much about the tech industry or the mechanics behind websites so they are unaware of the extra money that they could be making.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goals for the next few months are to expand my reach. Focus less on creating more products and focus more on reaching more people. Working smarter and not harder. I also want to bring on another female web designer in order to diversify CSDM’s offering and delegate some of my clientele.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @chycstudio, @chyccircle
Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/thechyccircle