Michelle Y Talbert

Building Relationships And Supporting Small Businesses With Michelle Y Talbert

Last Updated on September 24, 2020

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Tell Us About Yourself And Your Background!

Michelle Y. Talbert is a recovering corporate attorney and relationship marketer who uses digital and social media to provide tools and resources such as podcasts, videos, live events, and written publications to empower women in business.

She has written for major publications and is a sought-after presenter and speaker on topics related to relationship marketing and networking in business. She is an expert tribe builder and has been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post and other major publications.

After attending community college part-time for 10 years, while working as a secretary by day as a divorced single mom, she transferred to Cornell University and then went on to receive her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania with a Business Certificate from Wharton. Michelle left the full-time practice of law in 2012 to explore all things blog, podcast and social media-related.

In January 2020 Michelle opened the doors to Her Power Space, a Woman forward, Men welcoming™ hospitality-driven coworking space, business event venue and podcast studio near Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

In spring 2020, in response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the small business community, Michelle launched the No Small Business Left Behind [Virtual] Summit series as a resource for business owners to get information, resources and forge connections with others to ensure their survival.

Tell Us About Your Company! How Did You Start It? Why Did You Start It?

Her Power Space is a Woman forward, Men welcoming™ hospitality driven coworking and business event venue available to book for your next client meeting and training or small conference.

And since we’re creatives too, we have a DIY podcast and video creation studio, with equipment to help your content shine! We also provide business services such as virtual office mail delivery, printers and hot-desk stations.

In 2012 I left corporate law practice to pursue all things social media, blogging, podcasting and entrepreneurial-related. I spent a lot of years going to and later speaking at conferences and connecting with incredible folks around the country.

It took me a while to figure out my “Zone of Genius” however my social media connections and media audience went on the journey with me. And as I was navigating tech startup life and writing for major publications and covering business events more and more women would inbox me to ask how I was getting opportunities and making certain connections.

It was then I realized 1. I wasn’t alone in trying to figure it all out and 2. that we had such a lack of information to help us start and grow our business ideas–especially as Black women. I launched the Her Power Hustle Podcast in 2015, and we grew an online community of over 1,500 women which led to Her Power Moves in-person #unnetworking events and then in 2020 we launched Her Power Space (Woman forward, Men welcoming™).

It was all very organic. We continuously look to service the needs of our community as we see them, and in some cases, before they arise as a prophylactic measure. That was the case with Her Power Space, I wasn’t sure if folks would “get it” or need it. But they did!

Now, with the No Small Business Left Behind [Virtual] Summits each month, we are again giving our Community what they (we) need to survive the current crisis and THRIVE even beyond. #weallwin

How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?

This was my very first brick and mortar business and we opened our doors in January 2020. We purposely launched a model that was geared for solopreneurs and side hustlers, who needed virtual office and spaces to work–other than at home–but who weren’t comfortable or generating enough cashflow to commit to typical monthly model of payment required by traditional coworking spaces.

Additionally, because I’ve been in social media and ecommerce for almost a decade, I spent a lot of time taking potential customers on our “journey” from the moment that I signed our lease, through our renovations and then through launch and now COVID and beyond.

Because of my use of media to share our stories, we had a number of customers sign up for mail services before we opened our doors and we were completely booked through March by the end of January.

Since the pandemic, we have instituted more plans and programming for our community and we currently have just under 20 regular monthly customers, with a mailing list of about 150 local business owners who have come to our events and used the space and our services on a “one-off” basis.

I recently spoke with the manager of a Florida location for a large national coworking space and they have about 35 members. That made me feel great! We’re less than a quarter of their size–for that one location!

How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?

Social media and word of mouth–which at this point are synomous, have been our life’s blood. Also, we have a clean new website, that includes a great 3D walkthrough experience, created by our community member, Frank Louis-Jeune of Veu & Xplor Reality.

We stay top of mind by hosting online events that add value to our community members like the No Small Business Left Behind Summits that I created in May 2020 after the devastating impact COVID had on our small business community.

And to be clear, when I say “Community members” I mean small business owners, solopreneurs, side hustlers and other folks building businesses wherever they are located. We are stronger together and because of social media we are connected in a way that can ensure our motto of #weallwin is a reality.

What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?

Be specific in the value that you offer! The clearer you can get about your offering the easier it will be to articulate it to potential clients and customers. And when they have less confusion they BUY!

First thousand dollars? Price yourself fairly to your customers but even moreso to YOURSELF! Offer amazing value. Show up and be present and own your mistakes (we’re human) quickly and work to rectify them.

DO NOT adhere to the Golden Rule. Don’t treat your customers how you want to be treated. Use the Platinum Rule–treat your customers how THEY want to be treated. Not only will they buy from you, but they will share you with their community and will become repeat customers.

And that’s my final advice, create opportunities for your customers to buy from you again. Spot where they may need something more than they offered to you. Talk to them, get their feedback. CONNECT!

I am a relationship marketer. That means for me relationships trump transactions. The transactions will always follow (even if it’s years later) when the relationship is solid and memorable in a positive way.

What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?

Multiple streams of income, even when you’re an entrepreneur, are key to our success and survival. Some from passive opportunities like investments and real estate, and some from active endeavors.

Right now pretty much all of my income is derived from my actions, however, I do have affiliate relationships (where I share a product or service that I believe in with my audience and receive a commission). While there’s some effort related to marketing, I do not create the good or service.

We are a coworking space that opened just months before the World’s population was told to ‘stay home.’ We lost 95% income in just one month! Once I grieved that loss and devastation I went back to my online and ecommerce roots and expanded even more.

Don’t forget your roots and what skills and income streams you may have had prior to a new endeavor. And most importantly, no matter your business, BUILD AND NURTURE RELATIONSHIPS. Compassion goes a long way if and when the storms come.

What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?

While still living in DC and blogging and podcasting I was invited to President Obama’s White House to cover his State of the Union from the Press Room as a “Social Media Maven”! That was the most surreal and awesome thing so far…I’m not done yet so we’ll see what comes along to top that.

What Are Your Favorite Books?

OMG, asking me my favorite books is like asking my favorite kid (I have 2 and they both are my favorite! :))

I really enjoyed “Hatching Twitter” and “Unfiltered”–reading historical business books (Twitter and Facebook/Instagram, respectively) that cover times that I lived and am living through is fascinating to me. I also love “The War of Art”–procrastination aka Resistance is real when you’re a creative aka entrepreneur. I also love “You Are a Badass at Making Money” and I’m currently obsessed with all things Mike Michalowicz, from “Profit First” to “Fix this Next” and finally I would say “Think & Grow Rich a Black Choice” and “Think and Grow Rich for Women,” along with “PowerNomics” by Dr. Claud Anderson are all in rotation, especially given our current economic challenges.

My favorite fiction is easy: “After the Garden” by Doris Jean Austin

Anything You’d Like To Plug?

I’ve created a totally free online social network for small business owners called “The UnChamber”. Think Facebook for business without the noise–and when you create a group YOU get the email addresses of your community members so you can own the community data that you create. I created this space because I believe that most Chambers of Commerce have outdated models and Facebook is, well, Facebook–a noisy, expensive place to transact business and argue politics with your coworkers Uncle Earl.

The UnChamber it’s a great space to cut through the noise on most social platforms and share and receive great resources while connecting with like-minded and ethical business owners all on our own journeys to building a life we love. http://theunchambercommunity.space

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