BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: MEET SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT TIMBERLEY JONES
For the aspiring business owner, the journey to independence–calling all the shots and taking every hit–is an adventure in and of itself. However, for social media consultant and newly crowned business owner Timberley Jones it’s more than that; it’s a lifestyle. Though she is relatively new to the small business scene, she has a very definite purpose and vision for her business. That is to work within the Black business community in order to help raise the consciousness of the Black community as a whole.
Jones is the owner of Timberley J Consulting which is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Her business provides social media services such as online campaigns and social media set up, as well as consultation regarding social media strategy and branding. Armed with a degree in Mass Communications, along with experience in sales and marketing, she spent the last four years honing her skills as the social media manager for various professionals and individual brands. A self-proclaimed free spirit, Jones admits that while she loved what she was doing, she felt stifled in her work. She quickly realized that it wasn’t a lack of passion for her what she was doing, rather a disconnect with who she was working with. “I struck out on my own, because I wanted to help people that I could connect with,” she shares. Jones–who was living in Virginia at the time–decided the only way she would be able to have that freedom of choice would be by starting her own consulting business. Soon after, she accepted a temporary consulting job in Atlanta and immediately fell in love with the city. “I was already searching for something different,” says Jones about her relocation. True to her craft, she is a planner. In the months leading up to her move, she had been downsizing, readying herself and her life for when the right relocation choice presented itself and Atlanta was it.
For Jones, the move was one of the best decisions she could have made for her business. As she shares, “Atlanta has a great market for the African conscious community.” This is very important to Jones personally and professionally. Her decision to go into business was spurred by her desire to wholly immerse herself into helping the Black community to prosper. She realizes that even in Black business diversity exists. Many Black owned businesses do not limit their market and therefore must be careful with their messages and approach, so as to not offend diverse audiences. However, for Jones, a top priority is being able to work with businesses that are not impacted by the constraints of pleasing other groups. “Our dollars go far, let’s make our own standards,” she declares.
Though still new in her own business endeavors, Jones is thoughtful and already has a grasp on what is key in business. To those who are looking to start their own business, she offers this advice, “Find who you want to help and who you enjoy helping.” Many times new business owners are afraid to narrow their market for fear of limiting options and money making opportunities. However, Jones cautions that when we cast our reel too wide, we leave too much room for settling. She shares her own experience, “In the beginning I would accept anyone, because someone wanted to hire me, but it became a strain because I wasn’t feeling it.” It wasn’t until she took the time to analyze what’s most important to her and how that aligned with creating her business, that she found what was most fulfilling to her.
Like many new business owners Jones admits that there have been a few surprises with the startup process. Especially true, is the need to diversify herself in an industry as saturated as social media [and] marketing. An since she is still new to her new home city, Jones spends a great deal of time visiting local businesses and introducing herself to the patrons and the business owners. This affords her the opportunity to introduce herself to her new community. As well, it gives her a chance to see what is needed and how she might structure her services to meet such needs.
Regardless of any unforeseen issues, Jones remains upbeat. She credits her mom’s support as her greatest motivation. Moreover, she believes that regardless of what one chooses in life it is really about knowing self. Referencing Jesse Jackson’s “Keep hope alive”, Jones says, “With so many ups and downs in life in general, you have to know what you want to do; what is the purpose behind what you’re doing.” That is what will keep you motivated and your hope alive when all else fails.
When it comes to Minding Your Black Business Jones believes that diversity in business in the key. Within the Black community there are certain types of businesses that seem to be defaults, such as barbershops and beauty salons. As Jones suggests, “Instead of opening a new barber shop, why not be a supplier; find a new angle so that you aren’t stepping on one another’s toes.” She emphasizes that we don’t all have to be at the “front” of business to be seen. Unfortunately, there are still so many who have failed to realize this and therefore don’t see that there are so many of possibilities to be successful in business. Instead they are blinded by the negative connotations of what it means to get ahead–which too often includes leaving others behind. As Jones says, “Negativity does exist. It comes from not knowing our culture.” Remember, harmonious business relations is a two-way street.
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IMAGE COURTESY OF TIMBERELY JONES