I need to partner with existing companies/manufacturers of products. My business model is similar to Birchbox, but I’m having the hardest time getting partnerships with existing brands. Can you provide some insight on how to develop these relationships/partnerships; or even how to get them to even give me the “time of day”? – Charlene


This is a very fast and growing business. Shirley Strawberry has a company that is doing the same thing and it’s called Sugarbash. You get products by guaranteeing exposure. Have you created a business plan for your business model? It cannot be similar to Birchbox, because they have national advertising.

I’m very interested in working in and behind the scenes of radio and television. I’m a huge fan of Steve Harvey, YET I don’t have any experience. How do I pursue intern/extern opportunities? – Charlie


You gain experience by working in the promotions department of any radio station. Please contact your local radio station and see if they allow volunteers for any of their weekend events. Also, I ushered in major concert venues in Houston. Most are volunteer positions and I gained a lot of great experience working a lot of major concerts. Next time you go to a concert ask an usher who is their contact and usually it’s an outside venue.

I have been wanting to break into doing voice over work for some time, but I don’t know where to start. I am always told I need to do this because of my voice and I have a passion for it. Where do I start? – Calvin 


You need to create a sample website of your skills. You will post various versions of your spec work. This will allow any potential client to hear your potential and hire you. Be very creative in your spec commercials or promos that you create. Also, do not limit yourself to the urban format.

I recently resigned from my position with a major television studio in Los Angeles, and relocated back to my home State of Alabama to be closer to family. I am currently seeking opportunities in the entertainment industry in and around the Atlanta area. Because of my past experience of dashing off to Los Angeles without a job, or any connections to the entertainment industry, I would prefer to secure a position before making a move to Atlanta.

Is there a website that list ALL productions happening in and around the Atlanta area? My savings are getting low, so I would like to secure something soon before I have to consider abandoning a dream career that took me almost a lifetime to finally pursue. Do you have any suggestions on networking long distance (3 hour travel time), please let me know. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. – Kimberly


I am sorry that you have to move back to AL. Here is a website that you might find very helpful and as far as networking. You know that takes time, so lets start with this website.

I have a passion, and I want to start my own business. While researching, I’ve learned that it can be a very complicated process to get copyrights for a trademark name. Your expert advice on how to simplify the process of getting the rights to a trademark would be very much appreciated. Even more so, a surreal moment would be if you would physically assist me in securing my desired business name as a trademark. – Cathy


The easier way to secure trademarks and copyrights is through an attorney. Jalene Mack handles all of my trademarks. Her cell number is 281-788-9494. She is based in Houston, Texas.

If I wanted to retire at 60 and I’m 41, how much money should I put it my retirement fund monthly? – Shindana


To figure this out, you will need a retirement calculator. Here is one that you can use.

I have a non profit organization, Diamonds & Pearls Inc, that means a lot to me, but I am just starting to get it up and running. What would be the best way to get grants and get more people involved?

Also, I would like to be able to be partners with JC Penny, Macy’s and many other clothing stores. What would be the best way to get them to consider become partners with me? – Greg


It is going to be difficult to get sponsors for a new event. Companies sponsor events based on data they can get on the people who attend the events. So you have to start hosting and promoting you event before you can approach a sponsor who will take you seriously. Now if you are looking for grants, then google “Charity Grants” and it will give you a lot of options of corporations that have grant programs.

I am a Director/Screenwriter. I completed my Associates degree in Filmmaking with a certificate in Screenwriting early last year. I have a pitch book with over 40 ideas for different feature-length films (live action and animated) and television series along with log lines and synopsis’. I have a completed screenplay- which is an incredible historical piece- on an event that took place in Houston. I am in the process of organizing and copywriting my material (some of which I have already done). I am also going to shoot a pilot for two of the television series.

Once my ducks are all lined up in order what would be my next step? How do I get it into the hands of someone that can make a difference and help me to try to see a few of these projects come to fruition? An agent? A production company?A show runner? I am looking for a “hand up” not a “handout”! – Reginald 


You need to focus on your number #1 project. If you have too many things the industry will not take you seriously.