interviews

Featured Entrepreneur: Cheminne Taylor-Smith

Cheminne Taylor-Smith

I love celebrating fellow entrepreneurs & business owners. Today's featured success story is a branding & marketing strategist I've known now for many years. I adore her and you will too, especially after reading this fun interview that dives into her day from sunup to sundown. Ready? Enjoy! 


Tell us what you do?

I’m an idea generator – it’s what I love to do. I guide business owners and companies to find or redefine their focus and better communicate core messages to target audiences. It’s about being true to who they are while making their companies memorable. That can include branding, business practices, marketing and communications, or exploring new ideas together.

How did your professional journey lead you here? What pivotal moments or stops along the way led you to launch your business?

I was a journalism major and started out working for newspapers and magazines. I tell people all the time that having that central understanding of communication gives you the skills for marketing and social media, in particular. It’s all about knowing who the audience is and how to get the right message out there.

Working for large corporations like Conde Nast and Hachette gave me key strategic, financial, negotiating, and management skills. And my time as VP of marketing for the High Point Market Authority let me really delve into idea generation, like launching the Style Spotters program.

Who is your typical client and what does he or she really need from you?

My typical client is someone who has a passion for their business and has become mired in minutiae. They feel like they can’t quite get their heads above water with everything they have to do and that’s keeping them from moving up to the next level, or for reaching a key goal. They need someone to help them look up and out, to define new strategies and ideas, and to show them an organized plan for making those ideas happen.

What’s the top mistake you see entrepreneurs or small business make time and time again?

Not actually taking the steps to reach goals. It’s one thing to have a plan or an idea, but it’s another to make the moves to implement the plan. Day-to-day business can trap you into thinking you don’t have time, money, or the energy to make a move or to shift strategically. But usually it’s just our own fears holding us in place.

Without naming names (but if you do, we’re totally here for it!) can you share with us one of your favorite client success stories?

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a vault when it comes to clients and what they’re doing – maybe it’s the Scorpio in me. But I can say that I have a client who just signed a multimillion dollar contract for her cybersecurity firm, another company that is about to have a big product licensing announcement, and a third person who is hitting her goal of getting published in a major national magazine. For me, I really want each person or company to understand what their own version of success is and work toward that. I don’t want people to compare themselves to others in their definition of success.

What do you want to be known as the best in the biz for doing?

Generating ideas. I love thinking differently about anything and everything. There’s always another way to do something, or a new way of communicating, or a unique strategy that will get you to your goal.

How do clients typically find you? Online marketing, networking or word-of-mouth?  

Just like any other business, networking and word-of-mouth are the best drivers of new business for me. I like that, too, because it’s about communication and trust. Two of my favorite things.

For those of us who’d love to connect, which social channel is your absolute fave & where can we find you?

I’m just as crazy about Instagram as anyone else who loves a visual world – but connecting on Facebook is my go-to spot for the business. You can find me there as @cheminnets.

I believe success is the result of great rituals & powerful habits person, thus, the next few Q’s will dive into your life processes a bit more...

Rise & shine: Tell us your morning routine. What do the first few hours of your day look like?

I get up so so early. But I love the peace at that time of day. My first move is always coffee and then my yogurt/oatmeal/fruit concoction. Depending on the day, I either go to kickboxing or start walking. I live near a 240-acre preserve, so there are lots of trails. If it’s dark or stormy, I walk on the treadmill while yelling at the news. I have great ideas in the shower, so that’s always a must in the morning. And I like to read or write to get centered just before I turn the Open sign around. Sounds like a lot, but I’m up so early that it’s easy.

Drink up: What’s your favorite “power up” beverage? Tea? Coffee? Green juice? Water? Other? Do tell…

I only have one cup of coffee per day – more than that and I’m hard to handle. And then it’s water water water.

Schedule: Early bird or night owl?

I believe I’ve made that clear. I will always get the worm (laughing).

Books: are you a Kindle-type or is your nightstand piled with hard copies?

That’s complicated. The short answer is both. The long answer is that I love the smell and feel of real books far too much to give them up. My house looks like a library. But I love my tangerine-colored Kindle, too.

Great reads: fiction or non? And what are you reading at the moment that’s rocking your world?

I’ll read anything – my mom said I would read shampoo bottles, cereal boxes, and fine print on medicine bottles if I couldn’t find anything else. She’s right.

Lincoln in the Bardo was an amazing book I just read – incredible writing. I also liked The Alice Network, and I’m just finishing The Girls in the Garden. I also read, and loved, The Power of Nice. I’m a big believer that nice guys (and gals) finish just fine, thank you very much – and with less drama, too.

Short cuts: are there any tech tools (apps, services etc.) that really help you optimize your workflow or business communication?

For me personally, Quickbooks Self Employed is terrific, and really keeps me on track. I’m an app geek, so I have way too many. I like Expensify, ClickMeeting, GSuite, Trello, Spotify, VidLab, Genius Scan – and on and on.

Do tell: what’s the last thing you downloaded to your phone?

#Slack.

Screentime: Favorite app?

I should be all cool and say something really biz-oriented, but it’s Spotify. It’s always Spotify.

Tuning in: what type of music powers your day?

Inside information about to be imparted – I put myself through college as a DJ at the on-campus station. So I know the words to way too many songs and love to listen to just about anything at all. That includes ‘80s, electronica, swing, opera, old-school rap, punk. My head is filled with lyrics I don’t really need to know.


Swing by and say hello to her at Cheminne.com and tell her Franki sent you ;)