As a business owner, how do I generate more business from the people that I know? Almost all of my business comes from strangers, why? It seems that I’m not being supported by the people I thought would support me, is this a normal thing? I live in Connecticut but I’m originally from NYC. Yes I’m always posting on Instagram. I also post on FB, have a website, rack cards, cards, etc…  -Felix from CT


Your facebook page is very inconsistent. You are not promoting your work in your cover page or in your photo section. I do not know what you do or who you are.

Good morning, Mr McDonald. I have a plan. What do you do when the finances are not there? And how do you get your brand started? My plan is to put up another website that’s not connected to my personal page. And do photos of table escapes and pictures of past events. Table escapes are table setting of weddings dinner party, which consist of tables decorated for the event or their theme. You give the client a visual of what their event would look like. -Annette from Calumet City, IL 


You need to start taking pictures shooting 25 second videos of your work and posting it on instagram. You need to start featuring two days a week to drive home your brand and offer advice. That advice will turn into business. Right now you are an expert with no promotion and when you discuss your business you don’t sell your brand. Look how I had to drag the information out of you. I would get a magnetic business sign and put it on your car door and let the hype began, because you don’t talk about your business enough.

Good morning. I am Chef Felisha Nichols. I would appreciate and welcome your input on creating a culinary blog. My goal is to post everything from live demonstrations, daily tips, recipes, suggestions, and answer any questions from my viewers. I am also currently working on a cookbook and would appreciate any fresh ideas for that project..lastly i have a culinary t-shirt line called chefcouture tee’s that i want to get off the ground. I need help with creating a website and in tying all three together to make me a full time entrepreneur. I will be updating the blog three times a cooking theme is Creole Cali Seoul .. I’m originally from California, lived in Louisiana for 15 years, lived in Georgia for 4 years and now Ohio for 4 years. I am well versed in different cuisines so i put them all together. My heart is definitely southern…currently I’m using social media, word of mouth, and tasting events. -Felisha


Your facebook page should change immediately. Your cover photo does not represent your brand. There is no need for personal pictures unless it promotes your recipes or catering experience. You have to lock down your brand 24/7 and right now you are not doing that. Changes have to start today.

Good morning Mr. McDonald I am a licensed counselor and have my own private practice that is currently out of my home. I am looking to grow my practice and rent or lease at a office, but funding is the problem. Do you have any suggestions? -Michelle from Camden, NJ


Have you looked at Regus Temporary office space? I feel with your tight budget this is the format for you and you wont be tied to a long term lease. If it is not working, then six months later you can go back home.

Is it frowned upon when you own multiple businesses each having separate Employer Identification Numbers? Is that a problem come tax time if you have meticulous records? -LM


Not this is a smart move. Except that you have to file taxes for each business and have separate Federal ID numbers for each business. I have a main company and it helps to spinoff smaller companies, because if I close it, the company will not affect my main company. This an example that large corporations use all the time. You have to be have stronger tax preparation and a good accountant, especially when you start transferring money from each company.

Good morning Mr. McDonald. I am a self taught baker. I work full time, take care of my family and I am running my business on weekends. My company, Cynful Bliss, LLC specializes in alcohol infused desserts for events and special occasions. I am trying to grow my business and branch out to corporations. I need help with creating residual revenue that will keep us going during the low times. Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated. -Cymande from Philadelphia, PA


I feel you are limiting your business by just catering alcohol induced desserts. That is not a dessert that will be popular on my list. But you can bake anything, Why not expand you menu and treat the alcohol induced desserts as a specialty. The goals is to reach the masses and when you are starting out, alcohol induced desserts seem very popular in the fall time period. But once you expand your menu, then you will be able to cater your specialty to more people.

I’m thinking of going into aeronautic interior design, but am keeping my options open for Hospitality and/or Production/Set Design. All these fields require a lot of travel. I was would like to know, how do you handle a career that requires constant travel when you have a family to raise? Any insight you can give may help me better decide what direction I want to go in as I near college graduation. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I look forward to your response. -Veronica from Chicago, IL


I have lived in NY in ’88-90, LA 90-2005, NY 2005-2007 and Atlanta 2007 to present. Plus I still have a home in Houston. Thus my life has required a lot of travel and way you make it work is through communication. I raised my 19 year old daughter on the phone. She was born in 1997. So communication with my family was key and also your spouse has to be supportive of your career decision. There is nothing fun about travel. It is a very lonely experience and thus you have to be prepared to constantly motivate yourself to success and definitely have goals in place. The final key to this travel management is making sure you are around for all of the important holidays and birthday and plan a family vacation each year. Your success in your professional and personal life is based on time management and keeping a strong open line of communication. If something is troubling someone of the family, please do not ignore it. I’ve been traveling for 28 years. I know it can work!! i am an evangelist and author. I do all the promoting, events myself. Looking to be paid for speaking engagements at colleges and universities and to get my books in all markets without a publisher. I have products, a marketable look and clothing line coming out. My latest conference focuses on Faith and Entrepreneurship. I’m also a business owner of a business development firm, IntelAgencia, LLC. I have got a lot going on but just trying to maximize my efforts with the least amount of resources. How do I get my image and books in front of taste makers that could help add visibility to my brand? Is a publicist necessary at this stage of the game? Thank you Mr. McDonald! -Shaunna from Nashville, TN


I would start volunteering your public speaking opportunities to spread your brand and promote your vision. Right now you are operating in a small circle. You want to get paid, but nobody knows you, but your growth can be tremendous if you volunteer your services and when people start asking for you, then you start charging. You cannot charge anybody if you are not being ask to speak. A lot of people make that mistake, by seeking money and the demand is not there. This larger audience can have built opportunities to sell you book and increase your digital growth.

Good morning, Mr McDonald. With the new year approaching, I will be launching my gifts and decor business. I still intend to keep working my full-time job. In addition to a business, marketing plans and website. What other tools should I have for my start up? Thank you. -Adrienne from Columbia, SC


Congrats on launching your business and it is very smart to hold on to your full time job as you build your business brand. You need to have a small launch party and let everybody know your goals and ask their help in promoting your new business venture. Do a show and tell with people that you trust, so they can critique your launch and promotional ideas. This will help be excited and help you launch with a clear path to success.