Danielle McDonald is The Clarity Architect and Founder of Brands of Colour. She is dedicated to helping individuals gain clarity, develop the right mindset and take action for results. Danielle has over 15 years of experience within retail and has worked with incredible brands such as House of Fraser, Ms Cupcake, Urban Outfitters and Topshop. Her tips and advice have been featured in Business Insider, Addicted2Success, Career Girl Daily, YFS Magazine, NU People Magazine and Ms Career Girl.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
It stemmed from having freedom to choose and decide the direction of my path, and the ability to use my God given gifts and talents to support others.
To expand on this, at the age of 16 I kind of knew I wanted to run my own business ‘in the near future’, but I never knew what it would be or when it would happen! Here are my exact words I wrote in my record of achievement:
“I also hope to own my own business in the near future. I’m an independent person and want to be able to rely on myself.”
It always brings a smile to my face to read that statement and the many others I wrote, because 16 years later what I hoped for became a reality.
Tell us about your business.
There are a couple of things to cover here as whilst I have my personal brand, my business baby is Brands of Colour. Brands of Colour is a leading and award-winning membership platform committed to helping black female entrepreneurs to step up, step out, own it and become more business savvy. We act as the cornerstone for women by helping them build the foundations for a better business.
To expand on my personal brand, I’m known as “The Clarity Architect” for being on-target, succinct, concise and to the point. I have a natural gift for bringing about clarity to situations by finding accurate solutions to complex problems and simplifying things down into actionable, practical and logical steps. Through this I help individuals gain clarity, develop the right mindset and take action for results.
- Created Brands of Colour from idea to reality in four weeks
- Won an award for best entrepreneurial business. A nomination that was received within three months of launching Brands of Colour.
- Featured in Business Insider.
Where is your business based?
London in the UK, however I work with individuals outside of the UK. That’s one of the great beauties of technology!
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I learned from the best. I invested a lot of money and time into self development, learning from those who were where I wanted to be and had successful businesses. I surrounded myself with mentors, and those who were smarter than me. It’s so important to have a supportive network of people that support your growth, and you do the same for them, because it really is a two way street. The steps I took also included understanding the basics of business such as setting up a limited company, insurance, purchasing a domain name and so on.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
For Brands of Colour, word of mouth, social media (in particular Instagram) and social proof has effectively contributed to raising awareness and on-boarding new members. I also spend a great deal of time reaching out to brands directly, networking, partnering and collaborating with those we have a synergy with. In business you have to do the work because just putting a product or service out there isn’t going to cut it. You have to be prepared to be visible in a multitude of ways and deliver value, pick up the phone and make the calls and in some cases, work for free for a short period of time to build social proof and case studies. Those are just some of the things I’ve done to build my client base and more.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
When I first started out in business, I would spend time in tons of different Facebook groups, but they only ended up distracting me because instead of focusing on what I had the ability to produce, I was taking in all the noise of everything I was seeing which led to comparison. What that led to was me creating a business that was an amalgamation of what I was seeing, and a brand that just wasn’t me. It was only when I silenced the noise by removing myself from those groups and other things I was doing, that I realized the impact it was having on me creatively, personally and in my business.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I reclaimed my power, I silenced the noise. I have no interest in what everyone else is doing because there is absolutely no competition for my life’s purpose. I’m 100% focused on what I’ve been called to do in life, my purpose and I let nothing or no one distract me from that. Where I mentioned Facebook groups, the only groups I make a conscious effort to spend time in are the ones that are part of courses and programs I’ve invested in.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I look beyond whatever my current circumstances may be and keep the faith, because for every negative there is a positive and for every problem, there is a solution. I don’t have time to moan or complain about stuff because it’s a waste of time. Failure is inevitable and you just have to deal with it and move forward. Dust yourself off and stand taller each and every time. It’s about turning that failure into success. Finding the strength and determination to keep on getting back up every time you get knocked down, every time you get a no and every time when things don’t go according to plan. Every knock, no, and diversion has and continues to make me stronger.
I’m also I huge fan of meditation. I meditate daily and I also teach and take others through meditation sessions via my YouTube channel and podcast.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I don’t focus on what some consider to be the competition or look at ways to be different. I’m dominating and winning in my own lane because of who I was born to be and the gifts and talents I’ve been blessed with.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
To put myself out there even more than what I am currently doing.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
If you’re an entrepreneur and you expect others to invest in you and your business, you have to be prepared to do the same. I do it consistently because I have experienced the benefits of learning from those who are experts within their field.
I truly believe that if a person running a business is not prepared to invest, they shouldn’t be running one. To move forward and progress to the next level, it requires investment. Whether it be in a coach, mentor, course or something else. Be prepared to invest in the support you need whatever that may look like.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
That’s a hard one, I have so many! I adore Evernote and use it every single day. It’s seriously like my content marketing machine!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith” by Gabrielle Bernstein. Absolutely loved it and it really helped me learn how to step back and surrender because we cannot control everything.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m focused on really diving deep and putting into practice everything I’ve learnt recently about obtaining publicity for my business. Taking steps to work through my dream list of publications to be featured in.
I’m very interested in running my own high ticket events and retreats in the near future so it would be fab to connect with anyone who is doing this consistently, and successfully.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
To continue to on-board incredible product and service based brands to be part of Brands of Colour. The three main strategies to achieve this include:
- Increase leads using social media marketing
- Build awareness through speaking engagements
- Increase publicity – interviews and featured articles
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @msdmcdonald, @brandsofcolour
Twitter @MsDMcDonald, @BrandsofColour
Facebook @msdmcdonald, @brandsofcolour
Podcast iTunes Stitcher
Website daniellemcdonald.com, brandsofcolour.com
Hashtags #blackgirlmagic #brandsofcolour #womensupportingwomen
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