How can you sale your products and have people buy what you created? I often have people tell me “I want you to make this and that for me,” but can I change that around to them buying the items I’ve already made? I’m a fashion designer artist. I make handmade yarn outfits, handmade jewelry, and I am a sketch artist.
-Debra from Atlanta, GA


Are you marketing your products? I would have my clothes tailor made, and when I went to the tailor I only wanted what was expected, which are the things that he made for me. So, I feel that you have to start marketing your items and have them on display, so people can understand that you are selling and making specialty items. Do you have a website or are you promoting your brands on social media? Now it is not going to happen overnight, but you have to start marketing today.

Hello, how are you?

Besides social media, what are some cost effective marketing tools? Social media has been good to me, but I feel like I need more exposure. –Heddrick from Queens, NY


Other forms of promotion can be tied to radio. If you don’t try to buy prime time radio spots, buying late night or Saturday radio spots in your local market can be very effective in your media bill. The commercials can be 30 or 60 seconds long. This form of advertisement is very effective, because it’s direct marketing and you can see immediate results. It can also lead to an interview on your local radio station that can be used to promote your book locations or any book signings.

Hi Rushon!

I’ve been told, for years from many people that I need a representative or agent to market my designs and works. As a visual artist, no doubt inherited from my amazing mother who transitioned awhile ago, my creations are plenty. I rather produce and create designs than selling. I have two sites set up under Sharrisworks (www.zazzle.com/sharrisworks). How is the best way to present my creations for financial success? -Shirley


I went to your website on Zazzle, and you are not doing a very job of marketing your product. Your cover page picture has nothing to do with your product and that is very important, because it immediately confused me. Also, I feel that your t-shirts need to be more than just white t-shirts, so that your artwork can pop better and sell your brand more. But changing the artwork at the top of your cover page on your site is very key.


We have many distinctive characters in our books. I am thinking about creating merchandise as my next step. Do I need any additional protection other than a basic copyright? Same question for an animated series.  -McBride Stories from Queens, NY

McBride Stories,

Animation and characters are just like logos, you have to submit them for trademark designs and approval.

A couple of weeks ago, I was saying I wanted to start a website. I am not a techie. So you told me to reach out to someone I trust. I did, but everyone is too busy. So I’m at a standstill.
-Caron from Brooklyn, NY


You can build your own website through platforms like Wix and Shopify. Shopify would only be good if you are selling a product. Wix is good for selling products or just talking about your company.

The Improv and its partner in crime, the Funny Bone, are at the top of the food chain as it relates to standup comedy, but there are 100’s of urban comedians who have no place to perform regularly. Do you think it would be a bad idea to have a black owned comedy club chain? Here in Houston, the Improv is making $90,000 a weekend on average before expenses, and even more when headliners like DL Hughley and Arnez J are performing because they raise the ticket price. -Malik from Houston, TX


I had a successful comedy club in Houston, so I know it can work. But you also need a liquor license otherwise you will not make it. So I would start one comedy club and get it up and running and create a chain by booking the bars in hotel chains. This was the model for the Comedy Zones and you can use that same model for your idea.

I want to build a strong foundation for my business, which is a production company. I produce video commercials, cover red carpet events, etc., but I need to work on the structure of the business to make sure I have things in order. How do I start? Do you have a book to recommend or any advice? -April


Please read this article and let me know if it helps you.

I have a friend who is passionate about starting her own business. I want to be a part of it and help make it come true as an investor as it will provide her a better quality of life. How do I go about getting my investment back? I know that the most strenuous time for a business is within the first 3 years, and with that I want to be understanding but also realistic. -Le’Rae


Banks do not wait three years until you have to start paying them back. It needs to be a gift or you need to have it as an official bank agreement. Make out a loan agreement with terms of payment. Make sure both parties are comfortable with the agreement. It needs to be official; a handshake will not cut it. You need to make them turn in a business plan before you invest.