By planning out an entire years’ worth of content, income, and deliverables, I am able to be open and present to new opportunities. I write my blog posts, social media posts, podcast topics, and schedule my recording sessions all a year in advance.
Ezina is a bestselling author, TV personality, singer-songwriter, in-demand speaker, and founder and CEO of Victress Music & Publishing, the foremost authority on inspirational content for women. Ezina uses her infectious energy to empower women to take control of their lives and pursue their passions without fear. Motivational, inspirational, and always approachable, Ezina’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude is a refreshing approach that allows her to authentically connect with millions of women around the world through her weekly podcast Guitar Goddess on iHeart Radio.
Ezina hosts Indie Artist BootCamp and the 40 Day Book Challenge, they help musicians and authors, respectively, to get their work off the ground. She teaches musicians how to monetize their work and teaches authors how to turn their idea into a book that will get published.
Ezina has created innovative and inspirational content for top brands including Andersen Consulting, Mac Cosmetics, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, McDonald’s, JCPenney, Eli Lily, and AT&T. Ezina resides in Los Angeles with her husband and furbabies.
Where did the idea for Victress Music & Publishing come from?
I work in the male dominated business of entertainment and I wanted a name that represented a victorious woman so I chose Victress.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I get up around 4am to pray, meditate, and do yoga. I walk my dog, ride my horses, have breakfast, and get ready for work. I review my daily agenda at 7am and check my email and phone at 8am, 1pm, and 4pm. In between those hours I work in batches. I will have a 2 hour batch for phone calls, a 2 hour batch for meetings, 2 hour batch for pitching, and a 4 hour batch for writing. During those times I only do what that time is assigned for. My phone is off and my email notifications are off. I set a timer and work diligently until it’s time to switch to the next task. Working this way gives me freedom to complete projects and to not feel stressed when I have many projects happening at once.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have 11 guideposts that I have used for years. I use them for every product that I create. 1. Record my ideas into my phone. 2. Play them back to see if they sound sensible. 3. Research to see if anyone else has done something similar. 4. Journal about it. 5. Create a vision board around it. 6. Research possible customers. 7. Research Production & Design Cost 8. Design it 9. Price it. 10. Produce it 11. Launch it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
VIP Experiences. As an artist entrepreneur, I am noticing a huge trend in VIP Packages and one-offs. A few years ago, a rap group sold a single copy of an album for 7 figures. Fans are tired of the same boring offerings from artists. They want the true memory makers. They want the thing that no one else has or only a few people have. Artist Entrepreneurs enjoy creating and coming up with special events or deliverables for their fans. Right now I am in pre-production for a couple of one-off items to offer to my followers. So much fun!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Calendering is the one habit that has taken my productivity to the next level. By planning out an entire years’ worth of content, income, and deliverables, I am able to be open and present to new opportunities. I write my blog posts, social media posts, podcast topics, and schedule my recording sessions all a year in advance. I batch my photoshoots, video shoots, and recording sessions so that I can get more done in less time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To say yes to opportunities that scare you and to have more fun. NO is a complete sentence. To get comfortable being uncomfortable. To be brave. Travel as much as possible and to know that you are enough.
As a woman, you will be inundated with media messages that will attempt to chip away at your self-esteem. Don’t allow it. Turn off the TV if you have to. Turn off the radio, too. It’s important to know that you are perfect just as you are and that nothing outside of you is needed to experience peace, love, happiness or to thrive.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That you can start a profitable business doing any legal activity that you love. I see kids earning handsome sums for playing video games, skateboarding, snowboarding, and tons of other types of extreme sports. I see 5 year olds making big bucks giving makeup tutorials on YouTube, and bloggers, Instagram influencers, and podcasters making 6 and 7 figures by sharing their opinions. This is truly the Age of Aquarius. You can truly start a profitable business out of thin air.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Trust your instincts. Your intuition is an amazing guidance system that sometimes gets ignored.
When unsure of the next step in my business, I get quiet and listen to the guidance from within. Whenever I listen to my intuition and follow its lead, it pays dividends. When I ignore it, I am usually sorry as I am dealt a harsh lesson for not listening.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
With each new business idea, I focus on making sure that it can generate multiple streams of income. If a business idea only has one method of generating income, I tend to shy away from it. I focus on what I call 8 limb business ideas. Does the business have several legs? If so, I’m in. If not, I pass.
For example, my album, “Surrender,” has a book, an audio version of the book, music CD, a behind the music CD, sheet music, a film, a card deck, t-shirts, a meditation retreat and a meditation CD.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I started a clothing store in downtown Chicago for professional women. My idea was to sell custom suits and dresses to professional women. Instead of having a boutique full of retail clothes, I had a boutique full of samples for the ladies to try on. My seamstress would take their measurements and the garments would be custom made to their exact measurements and shipped to them within 6 weeks. The issue was that every woman who walked through my door had a big event in less than 6 weeks that she needed to look amazing for. If someone needed an outfit ASAP, I would leave my shop and run them over to Saks, Barneys, or Neimans to help build their ensemble. My custom clothing business was failing but my stylist business was thriving. The problem was, I didn’t enjoy running all over town gathering garments for my clients and the ROI was terrible.
This continued for 6 months. I was paying rent for a boutique I hardly used and paying a seamstress who barely worked. I was losing my shirt. I was spending more time out of the office than I was in it, but the stylist business was good. Ladies loved my attitude and the way that I pumped them up before big events. They called me their cheerleader and referred me to their friends and colleagues.
The styling business was good but I was unhappy with all of the schlepping so I made a decision to close my doors. As I looked over my client rolodex, I wondered if some part of the business could be saved. After a long, deep meditation session I got the thought that perhaps I could sell my client list. I began searching and after weeks of meeting with several stylists, found a home for my clients. I sold my list and began transferring the ladies one by one to their new consultant.
Losing this business taught me the importance of doing thorough research before launching and the power of a strong client list.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Create a subscription business for something that people use every month. Subscription services are really big right now and it helps people save time and energy. People love their pets. How about some sort of pet subscription? Or a comic book subscription service or coloring book subscription service. There are a million different subscriptions you could come up with and launch today.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I’ve been working on my tennis swing this year. My coach can’t be at every match so I found this really cool Zepp 2 Swing Analyzer. It takes a video of your swing and shows you what corrections you need to make. It tracks practice and compares your swings and gives instant feedback of your evolution on your iPhone app. I love it because I believe in tracking everything. The more I track, the better my match.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Google Apps for business. I have no idea how any business runs without it. We use Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Advertising, Google Voice, and we use apps that are part of the Google Suite services such as: Asana for task management, Slack for staff communication, Acuity for meeting scheduling, Google Hangouts for video meetings, and YouTube for all of our online classes.
With Google, you can add your domain to their service and run your company email through their service. The emails will come from yourdomain.com but will be on the Google system. This allows you to have full company backups of all of your emails, docs, calendars and data. It’s like having your own private server without the huge price tag or the staff to manage it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting” by Lynn Grabhorn. I love this book because she breaks down how everyone should go after their dreams with gusto. She talks about energy and how we waste so much time comparing, complaining, and holding grudges. Instead of staring, comparing, and glaring she demystifies the law of attraction into action steps so that everyone can achieve their goals if they take action.
What is your favorite quote?
“Life is not a dress rehearsal.”
I love this quote because I feel like there is so much fun to be had and so many experiences to enjoy. I remember being told as a kid that I had to wait for an upcoming religious holiday to wear a new white dress. I didn’t like hearing this so I stormed off and wrote this quote in magenta crayon inside my very first childhood journal. Not sure if I heard it somewhere or made it up myself but it has been a lifelong favorite quote of mine.
• Use the 11 guideposts to figure out if your business idea is worth exploring
Any business idea worth doing is worth doing the research to see if it is viable. Use the 11 guidepost as a starting point to vet your ideas.
• Make sure your business has 8 limbs to guarantee success
Every product you launch has to have legs. Use the 8 limbs to mine your idea for multiple streams of income. Sometimes the first angle may not work but the 7th or 8th one will be the one to win out. Look for multiple ways to package and sell your product.
• Don’t duct tape your business together. Make sure your business tools work in harmony together. Your software and web services should save you time and money. Find systems to maximize your business. Look for all in one systems or systems that work perfectly together.
• Use batching daily to get things done. By segmenting your day into blocks of time and grouping tasks together, or “batching”, allows you to stay organized and get more done in less time.
• Plan & Calendar your annual content, profit, and deliverables
If you take the time to plan out your content and deliverables for the year, you will see an uptick in your revenue. This type of planning and forecasting is a way to stay on top of your business growth. It gives you the freedom and flexibility to take on last minute opportunities as they arise without shifting course. You can set your annual revenue goals and plan accordingly so that you can reach each business milestone with clarity and confidence.
Ezina LeBlanc on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ezina
Ezina LeBlanc on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ezina
Ezina LeBlanc on Instagram: www.instagram.com/ezinatv
Ezina LeBlanc on Spotify: www.open.spotify.com/track/6xWCzhoGt3ieZ6ayoCzOXm
Ezina’s Books: www.ezina.com/shop-books/
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.