Carla Williams Johnson CARLI Media

Carla Williams Johnson started her marketing and PR firm, Carli Communications because she was tired of watching small businesses get scammed by greedy coaches and so called business ‘gurus’. Instead she focuses on helping business owners understand what they need to do to effectively promote their products and services to customers. Today the Trinidad & Tobago-based entrepreneur is making sure her clients understand who their target audience is and how to organically increase their sales in response.

Williams Johnson’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:

Honestly, I started my business because I was tired of seeing business men and women being ill advised by greedy coaches and consultants looking to make a quick buck. These so called ‘gurus’ would use the client’s lack of knowledge against them to sell them a product or service that made no sense and gave absolutely no returns on investment. That’s when my business was born. I feel like a superhero sometimes. Like I’m saving the day (and the dollar) for people who are in danger of wasting their money. On the surface, I help clients with promoting their business but what I really do is assist my people with finding the best and quickest ways to truly connect with their ideal clients so that they can serve them and, of course, make some money in the process.

I think that success is measured by how many people you’ve helped. I’ve received so many emails, messages and phone calls from clients who literally squealed with excitement because I was able to get them published or because I helped them reach their 7 figure or 8 figure goals in record time. It really makes me feel good that I can help others build the profitable brand they’ve always envisioned because I know the people that I work with have the knowledge, expertise, passion, and desire in what they do and would like to share it with the world, but, they just need a little nudge on HOW to get it out there the right way to touch the lives of others……. that’s where I come in. I fulfill my dreams by helping others fulfill theirs. I love that I can truly support people who need it. My vision is to help as many business owners as possible promote themselves in the right way to the right people and to make their lives better.

To date my biggest successes have been being featured in Forbes, Huffington post, Thrive Global and various press, television shows and podcasts around the world including China, India, US, UK and the Caribbean – spreading my message and helping others grow their business. I love touching the lives of others and giving them the clarity they need to make the impact and the income they deserve in their business.

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Self-care has always been my achilles heel but now I schedule it like my life depends on it…because it does. There are times I get so focused and engrossed in what I’m doing that I forget to eat. It’s crazy! I had to learn the hard way that being unkind to my body and not giving my brain time to recharge can have terrible consequences. Being a CEO means others depend on me so I do everyone a favor and take a break every once in a while.

I remember this one time, very early in my business, I was working with a group of entrepreneurs to produce what was supposed to be an event that would take all our businesses ‘to the next level.’ The speaker of the event who happened to be a business coach started making demands of us which initially were fine but when she insisted that she and her husband (who was not a speaker) needed to be featured prominently to the top of the landing page, I pushed back. I stated that firstly, we compromised to place her at the top of the page when it was not her event, reminding her she was a guest and that I was totally against her husband being up there when he wasn’t even a featured speaker. Her response was a condescending “Well if you want to have a sold out event, you’ll need to have someone white featured………it’s just how things are……if you want to make it and be successful.” Then she added “I’m just telling you what worked for me…you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to…but this is what made me successful so if you want to sell tickets you should do it. ”

So basically, what she was telling me, was that the color of my skin was directly related to my success… or failure, rather? What’s worse there were others who agreed with her, as if this was some kind of unspoken rule that just needed to be accepted. I washed my hands of that event, and needless to say it never materialized. But I was determined to prove that the very thing people said would cause me to fail would be the very thing that will make me succeed!

[Related: Her Nonprofit’s Name and Message Are the Same: Buy From a Black Woman]

My goals for the business include more brand awareness for my own brand, while also helping others grow and develop their brand! I want to put myself out there to touch the lives of others. Seriously, with the current pandemic and literally everything else going on in the world, I am really focusing on helping others be a bit more strategic with their marketing plans. Building brand awareness and standing out is the name of the game right now because it’s the businesses who are seen and heard that’ll be the ones that will undoubtedly be remembered.

My goal is to show people how to use the online space more effectively as well as encourage business owners to include publicity into their marketing mix to give their brand that extra edge. With everyone moving to the digital arena, getting featured will definitely add credibility to their brand and put them in front of their customers and ahead of the competition. My vision is to help as many business owners as possible promote themselves in the right way to the right people, to make their lives better.

Honestly, I don’t really have a role model. But that being said, I do admire my clients and my colleagues when they achieve their goals.

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