Can your love for The Backstreet Boys be good for business?

I can't remember the exact moment when I stumbled upon the greatness that is Shenee Howard, but it was likely when I was looking for someone smarter and more experienced than me to help navigate this crazy world of entrepreneurship. 

I was immediately taken by her brilliant business name (I seriously have to fight the urge to write HEY SHENEE! every single time I send an email to her), her super sophisticated website, her well thought out offerings, and her deep appreciation for all things 90s. 

The more I learned about Shenee and the more I immersed myself into her world, the more I grew to love her. So when Shenee agreed to a feature on the blog, my fangirl heart melted on the spot. 

I hope you enjoy getting to know Shenee as much as I have. And that you're able to resist the urge to start of your email her (or hit her up on Twitter and IG) with HEY SHENEE! Because that always feels a tad ironic and slightly uncool.  

X+O,
Emily

Name: Shenee Howard
Business: Hey Shenee!
Job title: Business Strategist
Links: www.heyshenee.com 

How did you get your start in the wonderful world of entrepreneurship? You mention getting your start at 22!

I got started because I graduated in 2010 and there were NO JOBS available in my field. People were getting rid of designers and marketing folk, not hiring. I got SO TIRED of applying for jobs I was like SCREW IT, I am just going to do this myself. I am already at my parent's house, why not? Haha. I started off designing and writing resumes and writing copy and it grew from there. 

Have you always known that branding is your jam?

I think so. I remember being an intern and being like "well what if I just want to create ideas and like figure out stuff vs. designing" and my bosses being like NO JUST DESIGN!!!!! I didn't know branding was what I meant when I said that. I've always been interested in the big picture. 

What has been the biggest challenge for you, as you've navigating the world of working for yourself?

OH GOD WHERE DO I START? I think for me it's just about being a better boss to myself and getting my head out of my ass, ya know? It's so easy to get lost because there isn't anyone guiding you or telling you what to do or where to go. People always complain about bosses but at least there is someone to help you understand wtf is going on. In business, we don't have that. My theory is that most people who seek out business help are just looking for a boss to tell them what to do, hahaha. 

We're big fans of your work and how you are always so unabashedly yourself. How do you encourage the people you work with to do the same?

I think leading by example is huge for me. I wish more business strategist would show more of who they are beyond the branded photographs and super styled pictures. I also just encourage an open environment of sharing and fellowship (I know, loaded word but true) so that each of my clients develops a little more bravery with each share. It doesn't have to be HUGE, just a photo of your dog or cat goes a long way. 

Where does your love for all things 90's, Backstreet Boys, and GIF's stem from and how has that helped to solidify your brand? 

HA. I am such a 90's kid. I think I get very nostalgic about it like every millennial. It feels like a simpler time and I just can't get over it. CLEARLY.

Honestly, it's crazy how I've become so well-known for that stuff, Initially, I just thought it was funny and thought it made posts more interesting to read and now it's become my signature. I have this lesson in my class, Hot Brand Action, and it's all about infusing personality in what you do and the first step is to just connect what you do with your interests. I am very interested in The Backstreet Boys so why not make that the thank you page for everything anyone buys, ya know?  

What words of advice or nuggets of wisdom would you pass along to other women entrepreneurs out there who are struggling to be true to themselves?

I think the big thing to know and understand is that in this crowded marketplace, being yourself is truly the one sure-fire way to stand out. You don't want to get caught up competing on price or bargain shopping, you want people to hire you because they love you and want to spend more time in your world. Just start by telling a story -- something you know your audience needs to hear but might make you feel a little vulnerable or unsure. SO MUCH POWER in just sharing in the humanness we all have.