Chatoya Antwine is the Creator of Creative CoLAB and she is on a mission to increase the skill-sets of entrepreneurs by teaching them how to shift their creative mindset and get to the next level in business. Chatoya is also passionate about women empowerment and lifting women as she climbs. Not only is she focused on her success, but the success of other women. Her motto is “To the top we go.” She strives to eliminate the negative stereotypes that women can’t work and collaborate with one another. She believes that there is enough success for everyone to embrace regardless if you are doing the same thing or are in the same industry. She truly wants to see all women win. Read our interview with the lovely Chatoya below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Since I was a teenager I have always wanted to become an entrepreneur. Being a self-starter, self-motivator, and ambitious woman always drove me to step outside the box. I desired to wake up every morning fulfilling my purpose and passion in life all while having a direct impact and influence on others. I finally got to a point where I was tired of having limitations placed upon me and waiting for opportunities to be presented in order to validate my success.
Tell us about your business.
Creative CoLAB is an exclusive virtual learning experience that provides entrepreneurs and creatives with the opportunity to accomplish more in a coworking community than individually. In short, we are a members only community and online institute that teaches entrepreneurs how to shift their creative mindset and get to the next level in business. My intensive curriculum helps entrepreneurs build successful and profitable businesses and teaches them how to make their business their new 9 to 5. The members only community includes monthly virtual worklabs, creative mastermind sessions, book study club, accountability partner, creative coworking, live chat discussions, live office hours, digital products, annual retreats, and access to a global network.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I recently self-published my “Shift Your Creative Mindset Journal”, a content journal that helps entrepreneurs manage the millions of ideas racing through their mind daily, set intentional goals, and learn how to use fear, mistakes, and challenges to their advantage. It is available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.
For those who are interested in joining the members only community for 2017, but want to learn more before you invest, you can join my free Facebook Group, Creative CoLAB Community where we push each other to higher heights, hold each other accountable to our goals, and celebrate each others wins.
I also have a free e-guide on 11 Ways to Conquer the Creative Mindset available for download at creativecolab.co.
Where is your business based?
The great thing about Creative CoLAB is that it is virtual. It is available online to everyone across the world 24hrs, 365 days a year. I enjoy running my business from laptop in Atlanta, GA.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I had a business coach who helped me tremendously with setting up the structure and vision of my business. I made sure that I got all of the legal aspects out of the way by incorporating Creative CoLAB. I secured my business name on all social media accounts and my branding manager created my logo, style guide, and website. Until my website was complete I had a landing page set up prompting individuals to sign up to learn more about my brand, which helped me to build my email list. Each person that signed up received a free e-guide to utilize until the website launched. This also helped me build awareness for my brand as well as allowed me to provide something valuable to my audience while they waited for Creative CoLAB to go into full effect. Once I launched my website I had a couple blog posts already live on the site. This shareable content helped me to build my online presence and tap into other entrepreneurial audiences.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
The most effective way of raising awareness has been hosting free in person and virtual events and sharing valuable tips and content via social media. I also have a free Facebook membership group, which allows me to build my community and allows entrepreneurs and creatives to get an idea of what to expect in my paid membership community. I have set up systems and processes that allow me to automate my business, increase my audience, and my sales. Specific systems that allow my business to function without me being physically present. This is very important when you are trying to grow and expand your brand.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge so far has been having my brand and content duplicated. It’s like a stab in the gut to have someone take what you’ve worked extremely hard to create and promote it as if they created it. I got to a point where I slowed down on publishing content and moving forward with my goals because I was afraid that it would be used to help someone else further in their brand. I had to realize that what’s for me is for me and no one can ever take that away.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I overcame this challenge by working with my lawyer to send cease and desist letters and also ensure that my brand was fully protected. I have learned that if someone is attempting to steal what you’ve created then you’re on the right track to success. You’ve produced something great. I also had to remind myself that no matter if someone intentionally or unintentionally is doing something similar to what you’re doing you have nothing to worry about. There is enough success in this world for us all to win. We all have our own separate target audiences and we can’t help serve every single person in the world. We all have specific individuals who are able to relate to us personally and professionally and trust us to lead them throughout their journey.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I stay motivated by remembering what my why is. What I do isn’t about me, it’s about the individuals I have to help through entrepreneurship. The longer I take to execute the goals and plans I have for my business, the longer I hold up someone else from accomplishing their successes. Someone in this world is counting on me everyday and I will not let them down and I will not let them fail.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I don’t get caught up in the competitors’ race. I focus solely on my purpose and my mission for my brand and I let me creativity lead me in continuing to stand out.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
The best advice I received lately was from one of my best friends telling me: “Pull it together!” and “Just 1 more level to go. We are rooting for you.” When I experience struggles and challenges I repeat this to myself. It is a reminder that I have to keep pushing forward and that nothing in life comes easy. We have to experience roadblocks and bumps in order to receive God’s greatest blessings. Things get harder when you’re almost at the finish line. Remember that you just have one more level to go. Even when I want to give up I know that I can’t because I have a tribe of people rooting for me and counting on me daily.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Find your light and let it shine. Don’t pick up a business idea just because you see someone else doing it and they are successful at. Figure out what you’ve been put on this earth to do by identifying your purpose and passion then let your creativity lead you to branding it to help others.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @creativecolabco @chatoyajaneil
Facebook Group Creative CoLAB Community
Hashtags #creativecolab #creativecolabco #tothetopwego #chatoyainspires
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Book: The One Thing by Gary Keller.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently looking to build a strong and solid team for my business. I have more ideas I want to launch within my brand, but I don’t want to be overwhelmed and burn out trying to do everything myself.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
The next few months I will be accepting applications for the members only community. My long-term goal is to help 5,000 individuals through entrepreneurship and with open enrollment for 2017 I am striving each season to get closer to that goal by implementing my 8 week launch plan to promote the membership program.