Branding & Creative Consultant and Speaker
Occupation: Branding & Creative Consultant and Speaker
Favorite Productivity Tool: My Vision Journal. I think I’m addicted to writing lol. I’m all for technology, but I find that there is something rewarding in writing. I hold myself accountable to the things I write down and I reflect on my thoughts, goals, and visions many times throughout the day. When I’m not journaling I’m whiteboarding. I’ve been practicing using journals for years and over time it became something associated with my person and my brand. So much so, that I eventually made journals available as a product and I incorporate them into my workshops and boot camps.
Most Recommended App: CrowdReach (www.crowdreach.com) CrowdReach allows me to simplify and streamline my email, text, and social media marketing all in one place. As a branding & communications professional, managing multiple accounts and projects can become very time-consuming. Using CrowdReach I’m able to centralize and optimize my efforts as well as assess my results via mobile and web.
Last Thing You Read: From Stagnation to Transformation by Dr. Clifton Pettyjohn. This was the last book I read. However, I read blogs every day. I’m an avid reader. My morning reading routine includes WWD, The Business of Fashion, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider. In addition, I’m always getting great material to read from my LinkedIn timeline as well. My social media timelines are always filled with excellent recommendations of white papers, articles, news, etc.
Twitter / Instagram Handle: @elliotcarlyle for both
Tell us about your journey. My story is for sure that of an evolution. I began my career pursuit after making the decision to drop out of school at Northwest Florida State College leaving a full music scholarship for musical theatre and vocal performance. I then went to New York to check out what fashion week was like. I always had a vision of being a businessman, I just had no clue of what industry or area of business. I was immediately inspired by fashion and returned next season as a volunteer. My volunteer experience afforded me the opportunity to become a production captain for LDJ the company that staffs Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Taking the knowledge I gained from my experience I returned to Florida and began using social media (MySpace in particular) to build my brand as a fashion professional. I began providing public relations and events services to brands and individuals right from social media. After about eight years of working as a fashion publicist and brand consultant, I made the decision to return to school. In 2012, I moved to Charleston, South Carolina, to obtain the BFA degree in Fashion & Retail Management. I completed my degree program in 2015. Over the years, my professional experience has encompassed a number A-list entertainment clients, multimillionaire business executives, fashion events and brands. Today, I am currently the President and Founding Partner of Weston Carlyle Inclusive, LLC, known as WCI. Weston Carlyle Inclusive is an all-inclusive creative team specializing Art Direction, Brand Development, Creative Direction and Management strategies & solutions. WCI is a combined partnership with over a decade of success in moving ideas from content to creation and positioning brands and people for influence on a global scale. This is my journey in nutshell but there are so many more details lol. To sum it all up, I like to think of my story as a blueprint of connecting passion and purpose.
What is your favorite part of the day? Interestingly, I don’t consider myself a morning person because I’m not very interactive in the morning. Although, I’m an extrovert but my morning times are very introverted. I like to get “set” for my day. Once I wake up and get ready, I spend time thinking, reading, writing, and then I usually end up segueing with my business partner or a friend which then starts the day. This is routine for me even when I have morning meetings or conference calls. I just get up earlier to allow myself time to have and enjoy my “moment.”
When do you feel most successful? At my age, I feel successful at any moment. For me, success is not an event or a moment but a place you live in. The fact that I have taken the time to discover my purpose and tap into a channel, a technology, a way to execute my purpose which fulfills me and serves others. There is no greater success than that. Now, I am not done by far. I am still full of dreams, visions, and goals but when I look back and chart my course I have so much I’ve done for myself and others I know that what I have works and I can continue to build and grow with using these tools. There are moments when I don’t “feel” successful in some areas. Those are the times when I sit and talk to myself. I get in the mirror and remind myself of where and who I am. Mirror moments are valuable in my life.
What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained? Sleep! I love sleep and it’s healthy. When I’m feeling drained, I just go to sleep. Even if that’s in the middle of the day. I believe that the 10 minute power nap works. I will go to sleep anywhere. I practice that. My days can get very hectic and I’m on the phone for hours at a time. There are so many moments where I just hang up and crash, but it’s good though. I have a great balance with it and I’m never at a point where I can function due to overload. I won’t allow myself to get there. There are other times and moments when I just need a break “away” and usually during that time I just go for a long walk. Honestly, I end up having a phone conversation while I’m walking but I don’t mind. It helps me not to focus on the distance; especially on the way back.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur? Don’t be afraid to discuss money. Name your price and charge what you’re worth. Now, I believe and even teach that all currency isn’t money. But that’s another conversation. However, as it pertains to money I promise you there are so many headaches and “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” scenarios if you would get this from the beginning. While this is something that is often understood by many, for some, it really does take courage when you’re starting out to hold this standard. Today, I don’t look at this as a regret, I just see it as a lesson and when I reflect I can see some situations where I would have even been able to benefit my clients better had I held on to that. Personally, numbers were a struggle for me when I was in grade school. I really had a hard time in math and I believe it created some hesitation and reluctance in me when it came to money. If you want to be successful and you intend to build a business that sustains, you must embrace this conversation. This is me talking to my budding entrepreneur self.
How do you optimize your day? My schedule is built around deadlines. I know what needs to be done within the week so that dictates how I move through the day. I plan my weeks based on what all is happening within the month and I plan my months based on what is happening in the year. My schedule is both tight and flexible at the same time. The way my movements are executed I must allow wiggle room because as a consultant I’m talking all day long. Once I start, the conversations just continue. I go from a call into a meeting, from a meeting on to call, and then another meeting and then a networking social or business function in the evening. Then, when all that’s over, it’s social calls which usually incorporate business and consulting at some level. In between all that, somewhere I eat lol.
Who is the person/people who allowed you to imagine more? There are so many people I can name here! I must start with my parents, Eli & Rosetta. I’m an adoptee and an only child at the same time. I know for sure that everything I am today is because of the upbringing that I had because of my father and mother. My father instilled in me from an adolescent age that I had to be able to express myself and make decisions as a man. I always had the liberty to express myself and to be an individual and to see for myself. I was held accountable to that by a very strong standard from my parents. I did not understand it as a child but that wisdom is everything to me today and has carried me to some great places and spaces in my life’s journey. They made me imagine. Isn’t that incredible! There are so many other influences such as my spiritual covering and Pastor, Alvin E. Smith; my business partner, Michael Weston; my friend, Gayla Jones Singleton; and so many more! I have a powerful circle of influence. Because I am adopted, I know that only God could set it up that way. I was chosen and now I spend my life empowering and equipping others to “imagine more.”
What does imagining more mean to you and your story? It means the totality of who I exist to be today. I am who I am because I dared to imagine more. I had the courage to go beyond what I could see. I believe the imagination is the seat of our superpower as human beings. You can be as influential and as impactful as your imagination allows you to be. It is what I’ve imagined that has governed and dictated the decisions I’ve made. The good, the bad, and the ugly, to be honest lol. One of my most favorite quotes is by fashion designer Diane Von Furstenburg, and it reads, “I always knew the woman I wanted to be so I became that woman.” My translation: I imagined the woman I wanted to be so I became what I imagined. We do it with ideas, concepts, and business strategies but we can even do it with ourselves. Powerful!
If you could do more of one thing every day, what would it be? Tell my story to one more person. Unearth more depth in a coaching or consulting session. Much, and when I say much, I mean most of what I do is one-on-one. It’s such an intimate operation. My work is behind-the-scenes but then there’s key elements of it that show up on the scene. I think that the end of the day what I deal with is that there is always something I can dig deeper into with someone that’s going to enlighten them or empower them in some way at a greater dimension. It just takes time.
Favorite social media platform? Instagram. I had to think to answer this. I only use a few but I find Instagram to be great for business and personal use. I truly believe that pictures are worth 1,000 words and Instagram gives you a way to tell stories in a fun and interactive way.