Interview with Braxton Cosby, CEO of Cosby Media Productions

IMG_0897Any smart entrepreneur or business person alike knows that in order to succeed and further one’s career, it’s wise to take advice from other entrepreneurs/business owners. I find that interviewing successful and creative people is the fastest way to learn about how they think while learning from their triumphs and failures.

Today, Dr. Braxton A. Cosby is a guest on the HelaWrite Blog, and he’s here to share about his new company, Cosby Media Productions. As the CEO of the company, there is much he is responsible for, but I really wanted to pick his brain in regards to what prompted him to start the company in the first place. So grab a cup of coffee and read on.

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1. Tell us about your company, Cosby Media Productions. What does your company do, etc.?

BC: Cosby Media Productions is a new full-service entertainment company that focuses on new intellectual properties in the areas of management, print/digital books, music, television and film. New content is already in the works with networking and partnership opportunities available for future endeavors. It was developed by me, the CEO, and my partner Leon Cosby III who is the acting COO. We truly endeavor to build and partner with other content creators to make fabulous entertainment in the same scope or even larger than the blueprint that my Uncle Bill Cosby started.

2. What prompted you to start this company?

BC: The lack of original content available for people. There is something missing in today’s entertainment. Good, original, family content that inspires people. I love stories that offer encouragement and display good role-modeling for young people to follow. I’m excited at the prospects of how well-received some of the many projects we have in development are.

3. Is it difficult to manage a company like this? What are some of the biggest struggles you face as a business owner?

BC: Not really. Leon and I make the tough decisions of deciding who we partner with, and I have the final say so on what content we run with. Bringing on partners who we feel we can trust to pass on managing one facet of the company is tough, but we believe in those people. So with God’s help through prayer, we walk in faith.

4. What are some of the benefits of owning your own company?

BC: Building and controlling you own content. We love the fact that once we get these projects funded, we will be able to keep the originality and purpose of the content intact, without compromising the messaging.

5. What kinds of projects are taking place at CMP right now?

BC: We have 5 divisions: management, film, tv, print and music. We have just finished completing deals that will ensure that our print and music divisions get the authors and singers the attention they deserve, and we are shaping out the animation and live action film and tv projects for first tier development. Action, story, and messaging is our focus and it is paramount that they blend together smoothly.

6. Is there a “dream project” you’d like to work on?

BC: PROTOSTAR. I really want the trilogy to make it to the big screen and it will. But it will require time to bring the pieces together.

***

I’d like to personally thank Braxton for taking the time to share a bit about his new company and his heart behind the creation of Cosby Media Productions. To find out more about Braxton and CMP, visit these sites:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Braxton Cosby headshotBio: Author, actor, entrepreneur. Multi-Award Winning Author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who evolved from concepts on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. Protostar: Book 1 The Star-Crossed Saga and The School of Ministry: The Windgate are currently two Young Adult series he created. Braxton is the CEO of Cosby Media Productions, a full-service media company with five divisions focused on developing Intellectual Properties that will “Entertain the Mind and Inspire the Soul.” Braxton lives in Georgia with his wife, three children, and a troop of crazy African Cichlids. 

A Plethora of FREE Resources

If you’ve ever watched The Three Amigos, then you can appreciate the word “plethora” in this post’s title. Here’s a clip for your enjoyment, before I share a plethora of resources with you:

http://youtu.be/-mTUmczVdik

Click HERE for the definition of plethora if you still don’t know what it means.

And now, for the best part: FREE resources! Who doesn’t like free? If you’re an Evernote user, or just use the Internet (insert sarcastic giggle here), then this is for you.

I am an avid Evernote user, and I’ve created a public notebook chock full of great resources–just for you! If you’re looking for business, entrepreneur, writing, SEO, or marketing advice, then this is definitely something you’ll want to check out. Just during the month of February, I’ve had several friends and colleagues ask me for advice about social media strategy, among other topics. And for each person, I’ve directed him or her to my special HelaWrite public notebook.

Access the notebook by clicking HERE.

It’s super easy to use. If you already have Evernote, simply “join” the notebook. If you do not use Evernote, that’s cool. You’ll turn over to the bright side soon. In the meantime, you can view the notebook without registering for an account. 

I hope you find these resources helpful and useful. I’m constantly collecting great articles, etc., with all of you in mind, and add something new every week. So take advantage of the FREE advice and strategy input.

You’re welcome.

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Help HelaWrite earn a $25K Grant!

Hello, awesome readers!

February has been quite a busy month. There are so many things I’ve been planning, just to make things better for you and my clients. As I continue to develop HelaWrite, I could really use YOUR help.

I entered a grant contest through FedEx, and if I receive a high number of votes, I could be a contender for $25,000. That’s a big chunk of money for a small business like mine, and it would be put to good use.

If you have a minute, click HERE to visit the HelaWrite business page on FedEx, and click on vote. Feel free to share with others–the more the merrier. I would greatly appreciate any and all efforts.

Until next time,

Tamar

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Monday Motivation: Read This Cool Stuff V

Happy February, readers! To start off a new month AND a new week, here are three great articles to get you motivated. I came across them last week, and they are AWESOME. Enjoy!

1. Clicks on Pinterest Generate 4X More Revenue Than Twitter [Infographic] by Pamela Vaughn at HubSpot

There’s not a whole lot to read here, which is a good thing. Most of the post includes an infographic that shows just how Pinterest is able to live up to the claim in the title of the blog post. I’d personally like to investigate the power of Pinterest this year and use my account for more than building my never-to-be-bought-dream-wardrobe. (Though, I might need an intervention…)

2. What Works For Me On Twitter by Rochelle Moulton

This was a great find. I can’t remember the exact events that led me to this post, but the destination was gold. Moulton doesn’t divulge every Twitter secret, but she certainly gives some great tips that can help any Twitter novice build their following in no time.

3. 4 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Marketing for Less than $1 Per Day by Jason Parks on JeffBullas.com

Before I read this, I was extremely skeptical of spending ANY money to boost tweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook. But the way the article breaks it up into small amounts of change–well, now I’m thinking I may try it out this month to see what happens. The other platforms mentioned–YouTube and Instagram–are not my main methods of marketing myself as an author and/or business person. But if those are “your thing,” the article provides some great tips.

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Wishing you all a very happy and productive week. And remember: if you’re in need of a copywriter and/or copyeditor, send me a message!

A Blog Challenge Over, But the Blogging Adventure has Just Begun

If you’ve been reading along since the beginning of this month, then you know I’ve been participating in HubSpot’s 30-Day Blog Challenge. Surprisingly, planning out the whole month kept me on track. I have now blogged for 31 days straight! This is a feat I have yet to accomplish on my author/writer blog.

By blogging for 31 days, I not only improved my writing and editing skills, but I:

  • Gained more exposure for HelaWrite
  • Increased traffic to my website by 26% from 2013 (woot!)
  • Improved my confidence in my writing, my business knowledge, and my company
  • Opened my eyes to the possibility of new products and services to offer this year
  • Became more credible by sharing previous knowledge and experiences

Here are some other things that also happened while I blogged this month:

My favorite post I wrote was Don’t Be a Slob: Organization, Part 2 in which I shared how to become digitally organized–something which we’ll increasingly need to do as technology advances.

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My most popular post was Zen and the Power of the Calendar. I shared how effective planning and using a calendar can be. I guess people are into calendars.

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My least popular post was The Problem with Being Good at Everything. To be fair, I didn’t really promote this post, but I’m going to take a look at it and see where I can improve to rewrite and republish.

Here are some stats, for all you number people:

  • HelaWrite website views to date: 1082
  • Views in January: 276
  • Unique visitors in January: 199
  • % increase of views from 2013: 26%
  • Number of blog followers gained in January: 8

During this process, I also gained some new business contacts and had decent interaction on Twitter because of my posts. I consider everything gained a huge success! I’ve already submitted my results to HubSpot. I don’t know if I’ll win the contest, BUT I feel like a winner. Cheesy, but true.

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My future plans for this blog are to blog at least 3xs a week, create a free eBook of my best posts for new visitors and subscribers, and eventually create a more in-depth book inspired by my blog posts (current and yet to be written). Blogging every day for an entire month did more for me than instill blogging discipline; it reminded me that blogging is a crucial component of business success–especially for a sole-proprietor entrepreneur like myself.

Finally, and most importantly, I’ve been honored to gain a readership that is very supportive. After all, if there are no readers, what’s the point? I appreciate those of you reading this and I hope that in the future, HelaWrite can serve your writing, editing, publishing, or consulting needs. I look forward to writing more blog posts and connecting with you!

Tamar Hela

Tamar Hela

 

 

Make Your Own Damn Sandwich, Part 2

Make Your Own Damn Sandwich: Knowing When NOT To Delegate

There are times when we fail to delegate, and other times when we delegate too much or too often. Translation: being lazy or, sometimes, being fearful of the unknown. In today’s American society, our “microwave” culture is used to instant results, instant gratification, and instant solutions. But most good things take time–time that we personally need to invest into a project or job.

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When I taught Junior High, some of my students were big-time offenders, delegating too often (or just not doing something at all). Sometimes, they expected me or their parents to give them the answers! I often used our class time to create teaching moments where I empowered them to think for themselves and do for themselves, while still understanding the need for and importance of community. I focused on values like teamwork and integrity, and would explain that integrity means doing what you say you’re going to do.

Happily, most of my students “got it,” especially after having me as a teacher for 3 years in a row. They rose to my expectations and escaped becoming part of the Me Generation statistics. This lazy spirit doesn’t just affect the younger generation. I’ve sadly witnessed many adults doing the bare minimum to get by, or over-delegating tasks in order to take the easy road. No wonder my students had acted the way they did! They were just following the example set before them. But I think we can and should change that. 

Here’s my take on when NOT to delegate:

  • When you’re really good at the task at hand. If this is a job or project that’s aligned with your top strengths and skill set, just do it! It’s not about getting all the glory, but rather about doing what you’re good at.
  • If getting the job done will be more efficient if you do it. There are certain tasks that we loathe to do. I, for one, do not always enjoy organizing things–my stuff, or others’. But you know what? I’m really damn good at it and I’ll do what needs to be done in that area if it’ll make things go by quickly.

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  • If you’ll waste time by teaching someone else how to complete the project. Here’s a non-conventional example: I used to own a knitted apparel business and I needed some help from my friends to meet a large order. I was knitting clutch bags and had to figure out how to best meet the demand. My friends knew how to knit, but I had a specific design and pattern I was following and would have wasted time by teaching them how to finish each clutch the way I did. However, I also knew they could sew linings into the clutches and add some finishing touches–things I wasn’t excited about doing. So rather than delegate everything, I chose specific tasks for them to finish. Had I waited on them to finish the bulk of the product, I would never had met my deadline.
  • If you can do it, but you’re just being lazy. This is where the “Woman, make me a sandwich” comes in to play. Yes, we should be generous with one another and perform acts of service out of the goodness of our heart, BUT we also need to know where to draw the boundary line. If we are capable of doing the task, and have the time and the skills, then we should just buck up and get it done.  

 

  • If it scares you, but you’re totally capable of doing it. Sometimes, we need to learn a new skill or embark on an adventure. Being out of our comfort zone can be very scary, but when we’re vulnerable and have an open mind, we often learn more from the experience. (And, in the end, feel good about doing something different.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this 2-part post about delegation. If you haven’t had a chance to read part 1, click HERE to do so. And for pure entertainment, you can click HERE to see 18 GIFS That Are Lazier Than You by BuzzFeed.

Make Your Own Damn Sandwich, Part 1

Make Your Own Damn Sandwich: Knowing When TO Delegate

Free Stock Images: Salad Roll Picture. Image: 205579
© Photographer Max Blain | Agency: Dreamstime.com

The topic of delegation is so important to me that I thought this post needed the extra title right above ^. Delegation is a much discussed topic, and yet many leaders, employers, and business owners have yet to master the “art” of delegation. And it’s not for lack of resources. Google “the art of delegation” or “how to delegate,” and you’ll get pages and pages of pertinent search results. Some articles even hail from the Harvard School of Business and Forbes.

Yet, knowing WHEN TO delegate is entirely different than actually delegating. We can read about this so-called art form till the Zombie Apocalypse, but if we can never identify the situations in which we should actually act upon delegating, we’ll be stuck in micro-manager and burnout mode. 

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Here’s my take on how to identify those circumstances in which you should delegate:

  1. If someone can do it better. This is a no-brainer. If there is a team member or freelancer who is better than you at a particular task that needs to get done, give the task to them. It saves you time, makes you look good, and will get done right the first time.
  2. If the task or project takes away from what you’re really good at. As you develop in your career, you begin to identify the things in which you really shine. The strengths that you have which greatly contribute to your business. Don’t engage in projects that are a mismatch for your strengths and amplify your weak areas. Instead, find someone who can do said task and let them tackle it.
  3. If you just don’t know how to do it (and shouldn’t waste time learning how). Sometimes, it’s a good thing to learn a new skill for our job. But sometimes, it’s just a bad idea. If you are crunched for time and want to be efficient in getting something done, delegate the unknown to someone who knows how.
  4. If delegating will make you and your brand better. If you can afford to hire an expert, then do it! Give a job to someone who can partner with you and your company, making you look good while you focus on other important tasks.
  5. If you need (more) time to get essential things done. Just because you can do something (or many things) doesn’t mean that you should. Part of brand-building includes being efficient. And being efficient often means appropriately delegating tasks to others. Find someone you trust to get the job done and focus on the other things that matter most to your brand and your message.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at when NOT to delegate, so be sure to come back for that. What are other ways you’ve learned how to know when to delegate? Feel free to share in the comments.

Articles to read that are about the art of delegation:

6 Tips to Master the Art of Delegation by Nellie Akalp

Be a Healthy Leader, Master The Art Of Delegation by Amanda Ebokosia

The Art of Delegation: 11 Ways to Work Smarter Today by Emily Copp

P.S. How did I come up with this post’s title? I’ll give you a hint: someone of the male species (in my household) legitimately asked me to make him a sandwich when he was fully capable of doing so himself. I wasn’t trying to be mean or shy away from serving others, but I was in the middle of something important and simply gave a “really” look, and then he proceeded to feed himself. That whole “Woman, make me a sandwich” thing aggravated me for about 2 minutes until I decided to write a blog post about delegation and sandwiches. I know: I have a strange thinking process. And I honestly don’t mind making people sandwiches; I just don’t particularly want to do so when I’m in the middle of a project.

Tuesday Tip: The Importance of Brevity (In less than 500 Words)

As a writer, it will probably be my life-long struggle to pare down my words and get to the points that really matter. Even in fiction, there’s a line you shouldn’t cross when it comes to the overuse of details. It’s more obvious in non-fiction, especially in journalism-type writings. No matter what the communication avenue, brevity plays a key role in successfully conveying a message.

“Good things, when short, are twice as good.”
—Gracián

As an editor, a key component of my services to my clients includes helping them to develop their projects while getting rid of the chaff. We’re not in high school anymore, so we shouldn’t write bullsh**. If we do, our credibility is apt to go down the toilet. With so much quality content just a Google search away, it is crucial to be clear and concise with our words.

Even editors need editors. My first novel, with notes from my editor. Which is also what I do for my clients.

Even editors need editors. My first novel, with notes from my editor. Which is also what I do for my clients.

Here are 5 simple rules to follow when constructing a communication piece:

  • Write it ALL (Similar to “free writing,” write without abandon and get all your thoughts out of your brain.)
  • Re-read it while doing a simultaneous edit, at least 3xs (This is where you begin to make sense of everything and weed out the garbage.)
  • Read it aloud (Reading to yourself is one thing; hearing it spoken is a whole different bear.)
  • Ask someone to look over it (If it’s an important piece, another eye is always good. If that’s not an option for you, however, just go over it one more time by yourself; you’ll be surprised to find that it still needs tweaking.)
  • Send it, publish it, deliver it (Release your baby into the world!)

Sometimes, it’s necessary to write something not so brief. However, most of us are guilty of adding in too much fluff. Maybe it’s a culture thing, maybe it’s how we’ve been taught. Either way, in my personal and professional experience, the more clear our communication is, the more beneficial it is.

And, a well-expressed piece of communication is just damn good.

Try the above “rules” when you construct your next e-mail or blog post. You don’t have to be a professional writer; you simply need to take a few extra minutes to do some rewriting and self-editing. The more you practice, the more effective you’ll be with writing and communicating. You can become a better communicator if you put some effort into it.

“Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”
—William Strunk, Jr.

Do YOU have tips to share about the importance of brevity? Leave a comment!

Click HERE to read an article from WebAIM about writing clearly and simply.

Looking for an editor? Contact me TODAY and get a free quote! Let’s work together.

 

Monday Motivation: Read this Cool Stuff IV

Happy Monday to all you readers!

I’m continuing the Monday Motivation series and have some great articles for you to read. I recently came across them, and they’re all brilliant! Take a break, grab a snack, and put everything on hold while you take a few minutes to read each one.

1. How to Sell Loads of Books by Russell Blake, Suspense Writer

This post is exactly what every aspiring and active writer needs to read. Even if you’re traditionally published, there’s so much to learn from it. Russell Blake shares his personal experience in regards to independently publishing his books. He doesn’t beat around the bush and is very honest. Though it’s a longer reader than most blog posts, it’s worth your time. I think I need to read it again myself, and this week, I plan on sending it to all my clients and writer friends.

2. Top 10 WordPress Plugins That You Need To Be Using In 2014 by Jeff Bullas

I guess my radar has really been on Jeff Bullas the last few days! Yet another great post on his site, written by Mr. Bullas himself. Since I do all my own IT and design my websites and blogs by myself, I am always on the lookout for advice about everything techy–specifically advice that will make my life easier and my lack of tech skills almost unnoticeable. Read this post to learn more about WordPress plugins that will help your WordPress site or blog get to the next level.

3. 25 Ways to Marketing Your Business for Free by Marlee Ward

Though I’d prefer the title to read: 25 Ways to [Market] Your Business for [Nearly] Free, I’m not going to be overly picky. The author admits up front that some of the methods she writes about are not necessarily “free,” especially in regards to spending time on said methods. And we all know that time=money. However, the tips and examples she gives in the post are very creative, cost-effective, and just plain do-able. Read the article to get some ideas as you tweak your marketing/PR plan for the remainder of the quarter.

I hope you find these articles as useful as I. Keep pressing on towards those goals and you’ll see them accomplished! And go ahead–treat yourself to that 3rd cup of coffee this afternoon. It’s Monday, so why not?

Writing Tips: Using Synonyms

This is a recycled blog post from my author blog and I thought it’d be very useful here as well. Most of my clients are writers and publicists/marketers. Therefore, communication–specifically, communication in written form–is part of what they do, day in and day out. Therefore, they often need a little “spice” for their wording. And spicing up sentences with synonyms, especially to avoid repetition, is a GOOD thing!

One of my writer friends, Robin Woods, made a great chart that she has shared for FREE with the world! Isn’t that great? In today’s post, I’m bringing it here to the HelaWrite blog so that you can download if you’d like. This particular chart, though geared for fiction writers, can be used by anyone. It’s a chart that contains synonyms for “said” and “walk.”

If you click on the graphic below, you’ll be able to download the chart for yourself (it’ll take you to DropBox). And to read my original post on my author blog, click HERE. I also posted a rebuttal to that post (so many strange opinions about synonyms) and you can read that, too, by clicking HERE. Enjoy!

Other Words for SAID & WALK