Becoming an entrepreneur is a tedious yet exciting journey and it takes a lot to get through “the birthing process.” As you are discovering how to nourish your brand independently, it is also important to know the things you shouldn’t pay a lot of time and energy on. I caught up with Kamari Chelsea, the founder of the creative production company liveDREAMS, who guides new professionals in birthing their personal and lifestyle dreams until they ultimately “go live.” Kamari dropped major gems on how to brand effectively!
Kamari Chelsea, founder of liveDREAMS
How did your coaching agency liveDREAMS get started?
KAMARI: “I started liveDREAMS (pronounced “live” as in “live television”) fresh out of college, because I always knew I wanted to own a multi-faceted corporation that – at every turn – empowered people to go after their purpose right now (versus putting it off or selling yourself short). liveDREAMS is my larger corporation, but the Kamari Chelsea brand is all about helping business owners build iconic brands that their target will love for a lifetime. With my team, we make up the who’s who of creative marketers. Through marketing and branding strategy, communications, design, production, event planning, social media strategy and community management, and more, we literally create the roadmap and playbook for clients to create strong brands that become customer magnets. “
What is the classic mistake entrepreneurs do wrong when they are branding themselves?
KAMARI: “The mistake most entrepreneurs make when they’re branding their business is that they focus heavily on “looks” (e.g. logo, website, etc.). I am a woman who believes in visual presentation through and through – it pays to invest time and resources into your “look” – whether that’s your website, photography, social media, or physical business spaces.
But, it pays even more – in dividends – to have a very clear understanding of your core brand message and to be able to communicate quickly and clearly the value that your brand brings and how that value separates it from all of the competition. Technically, you shouldn’t even be working on your brand aesthetic until you understand your brand story and can communicate it like a pro.”
◊”The mistake most entrepreneurs make when they’re branding their business is that they focus heavily on “looks”.◊
Your hard work has really paid off! What do you love most about being a business woman? What do you dislike about it?
KAMARI: Thanks girl, that’s flattering! Business women, by nature, are hungry ladies! So many of us work really hard and really long, and we begin to lose a gauge on whether we’re doing enough or being enough! And an insatiable hunger to grow, learn and contribute to your clients and the world as a whole can be a gift and a curse. The gift, you’re always elevating to another level and experiencing new “wins.” The curse, you can burn out and spend so much time chasing the next thing that you forget to acknowledge and celebrate how great you authentically are in the moment.
As I have grown, I have learned it’s so important to be present through all the hard work and remember that I’m intrinsically dope, so all of this hard work is just a personal choice. At every moment I have the right to throw my feet up and watch reality TV and love myself. Everyone deserves to give themselves that.”
What’s the first piece of advice you would give a rookie about strategic planning a brand?
KAMARI: “Invest in someone to partner with you in developing business strategy. The reality is that most entrepreneurs are great at their craft – baking, photography, design, writing – but they are not necessarily business strategists. Yet, they think their talent will take them around the world and back again. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If you look at many of the top business owners and brands in the world, they are supported by a team of really smart business strategists. So it’s silly, as an entrepreneur, to not hire one at the outset. I’ve watched talented people spin their wheels for years trying to come up with a plan to launch their business, and it’s a cautionary tale every time. Research and find a great business coach or find someone with deep marketing experience and invest in their support. You’ll thank me later!”
◊”The reality is that most entrepreneurs are great at their craft – baking, photography, design, writing – but they are not necessarily business strategists.“◊
How has blogging helped you mentally and business wise?
KAMARI: “At my core, I am a writer and orator. So blogging puts me in a space where I am able to organically be myself and give my clients a true glimpse of my personality. It also helps me tell my brand story over time, which is that I am here to inspire people to feel empowered enough in their truth to finally step out and create a life and business that allows them to *forever* thrive in their area of expertise or talent. One of the biggest gifts of this business is receiving feedback that people were inspired by a blog that I wrote. “
How do you create a balance running an empire and having a social life?
KAMARI: “Mindfulness of how I am feeling in my body. Feelings may not be facts, but they’re a beautiful guide. Some days, I may not feel like posting on social media or writing a blog or taking a client call. If in my core, I don’t feel connected to something, I won’t force it (and honestly, when I force it, things always turn out badly anyway). That also goes for my social life. If I want to Netflix and chill instead of brunch-so-hard, I’m doing it. My body is my guide and I’ve learned that it will offer you natural balance if you listen to it. Balance actually isn’t too tough to achieve when you just trust your gut about where you should be putting your mindful energy. But, ask me again when I have kids one day. 🙂
Who is your biggest influence and why?
KAMARI: “This is easy: Beyonce Giselle Knowles Carter. Because, work ethic and brand. Period. (P.S. I’m not a fairweather fan; Bey’s music helped me through the most difficult time in my life when I was only 12 years old… so I’ve been riding with her the majority of my lifetime.)”
What were some hiccups when you started your agency a decade ago? How did you overcome them?
KAMARI: “Everything is a hiccup when you’re on a journey of running a business, and I am grateful for every bump. My biggest hiccup early on was taking on clients who weren’t ready to work at the frequency, or level that would bring them results. I thought I could force people to be ready to invest in themselves, when in fact, that is a personal decision.
For example, I had clients who would show up small – either they did not want to invest money into their brand or they never made time for the brand. Ultimately, it prevented us from truly being able to do our best work together.
I’ve learned that in any business, you have to make sure your clients are all in and excited to be doing the work with you – or else, it will be a wash for everyone. (Can you imagine the poor hair stylists whose client goes straight to the gym for a HIIT session after a blow-out? Total waste of her efforts!) You, as a business owner, won’t be able to use that client’s business as an example of your great work and that client will have wasted their investment.
I now make sure that when I explore a business relationship with a potential client I feel their energy out and get a solid sense of whether they’re excited to grow their business, or if they’re not yet in the space where they’re ready to scale. If they’re not ready yet, but truly want to expand, I recommend a great coach to do inner work with them on their confidence and frequency first – because it all starts there.”
When did you realize that you “made it” in your career?
KAMARI: I haven’t “made it,” by any means, or else I’d be dead! I love that life is a journey of constantly striving and being in awe of what’s around the corner. Buuut, I realized that my work may not be half bad when I was named one of the top 30 under 30 PR professionals in the nation by the biggest industry media outlet, PR News. That was pretty cool and it came from a nomination from one of the start-ups I worked with. Majorly humbling moment!
◊”If they’re not ready yet, but truly want to expand, I recommend a great coach to do inner work with them on their confidence and frequency first – because it all starts there.”◊
What tactics do you use to overcome obstacles you face?
KAMARI: “Self-awareness is probably my #1 tactic for overcoming everything in life. When something isn’t working or I am having a difficult time (in my business or personal life), I’ve learned how to get silent (usually through 30 minutes of meditation) and ask God, “What do I need? What do I have that I am not seeing?” Those moments always get me on track because they allow me to see my truth with pristine clarity.”
Kamari Chelsea is the founder of liveDREAMS, a creative marketing, production, and business coaching agency. There, she supports creative professionals every step of the way through the process of birthing their professional, personal and lifestyle dreams until they ultimately “go live.” From personal brand development, to new business launches, to marketing and media events, Kamari has brought myriad creative visions to life over a decade-long career. In 2015, her extensive public relations, media, and branding experience in the creative (music, beauty, fashion), corporate, and start-up industries landed her on the PR News’ short list of Top 30 Rising Stars Under 30. Previous corporate clients include Procter & Gamble, The Coca-Cola Company, Parkwood Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and more. She has also coached many of the next generation’s rising and established stars in the entertainment, journalism, fashion and beauty industries, as they launched independent business and personal brands.