Our Meet the Members Interview Series is back! Join founder Jen Wilner as she hosts fun and casual interviews with Business Connects members. Check out this week's interview with Shanequa Wilson from Blue Moon Estate Sales on our YouTube channel.
Following is a full transcript of the interview.
Jen: Hello! I’m Jen Wilner, founder of Business Connects and welcome back to the relaunch of the Business Connects “Meet the Member” interview series. Joining me today is Shanequa Wilson of Blue Moon Estate Sales. Hey Shanequa!
Shanequa: Good morning! Hello!
Jen: So if you’re not familiar with who Business Connects is, we are a professional business relationship networking company in New Jersey. We meet in person weekly at a number of local businesses, and virtually. So please feel free to check out our website businessconnectsnj.com and if you’re so inclined, visit us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. So, without further ado, let’s get started and learn a little bit about our friend, my friend, Shanequa here.
Shanequa: Hi! Hello everyone! I’m Shanequa Wilson, owner of Blue Moon Estate Sales. Within the last year, I’m celebrating my one-year anniversary. So just a little bit about me. New Jersey born and raised, I am a mother of two, one boy, one girl, one of each. And I now have a beautiful grandson! So, in my spare time, I like spending as much time with my family as I can, and then I can also be a bit of a couch potato. But if I want some excitement, I also enjoy hitting a good casino or two here and there.
Jen: Cool. I didn’t know that about you, Shanequa!
Shanequa: Yeah. Yeah. It’s something about the sounds and lights that just, you know, relaxes you and gets you excited all at the same time!
Jen: Let’s just say relaxes, I wouldn’t think of, but hey that’s cool and congratulations on the grandchild. Shanequa: Thank you, thank you. Well, he’s four, but he’s still new to me, my one and only, so he will forever, for now, be my new grandbaby.
Jen: Aw, fantastic. Fantastic. So, Shanequa, can we ask you what prompted you to invest in Blue Moon Estate Sales?
Shanequa: Yeah, so prior to doing Blue Moon, I was in the airline industry for 25 years. I spent time in various operational, administrative, and human resources roles, and when the pandemic hit, my job went away, so I decided to kind of figure out what was next for me. And rather than trying another corporate role, I decided to see if going into business was a good idea for me at the time. So, I worked with an executive coach. We researched several different franchise opportunities, so Blue Moon is a franchise. I am the first and only franchise in New Jersey for the moment, so that’s been an experience. And I ultimately chose Blue Moon because it was something completely different than what I’ve done previously. There’s a community element to it, a family element where we’re helping families in the community at the same time, and the benefits that came along with it was what I needed at the time. So that’s why I chose Blue Moon.
Jen: Fantastic! That’s great! I did not know that they were, that you were, their only franchisee in Jersey.
Shanequa: Yeah, so the closest one to me is actually in New York and there’s another one in Connecticut, but they are continuing to grow across the US. They started out in North Carolina and have been spreading north and east and west all over.
Jen: That’s wonderful, that’s wonderful! And who would you say is your perfect referral partner and perfect customer that we can connect you with?
Shanequa: Sure, my perfect partner would be real estate agents, you know. They’re the ones at the first, the head of the line, when someone is looking to sell and trying to understand what they need to do with their home belongings that they can no longer take with them. Or, you know, right up there along with realtors, our senior living facilities who have incoming residents where they can’t bring their belongings with them. In terms of a customer, it’s anyone who loves finding new treasures, loves repurposing items, anyone who’s looking to furnish a new home. So, anyone who’s recently purchased the home, who wants to find a great deal on some great items, you know, at a very reasonable price. Those are ideal people who want to come shop with us.
Jen: Fantastic! All right, that’s great! And, okay, this is a little bit of, I don’t know if you saw this question earlier, but what process do you go through, business to business, on a daily basis and how do you ensure that you don’t get distracted from accomplishing this process, these processes for whatever they are?
Shanequa: So I like to, of course, go by my to-do list right, so we prioritize our to-do list, and usually what’s the high priority for me is following up on any request that I received for people who are interested in potentially having an estate sale. I follow up on those as soon as I can. If we’re in a week where a sale is upcoming, I want to make sure that we have all of our staging done, all of the pricing done, and that where the staff has accepted their shifts for the week. And then, I also, you know, am always looking for new business, so I spend time searching different leads that I have online, and, you know, seeing where I can either network more or just get my branding and my name out to the community a little more.
Shanequa: Yeah, and as far as staying on, staying on task, that one can be a little tricky. But I do use various, you know, online tools to help me do that and to make sure, you know, my tasks are in order. You know? It’ll give you a ding if you’re overdoing a task. I do a lot of email, Outlook scheduling on that calendar as well to make sure I stay on task there. But, you know, if I have my to-do list and I get, you know, some days I get calls like throughout the day where I have to pay attention to those because those could be potential leads or a current client that has questions and you need some things they have to have done as well. So, you know, I just kind of try to keep the priority of what’s due first always at the foresight and kind of work it that way, so no day always goes as planned. There’s always something that comes along, but as long as I have, you know, my list. I stay true to my list and I make sure that I at least go through it to make sure nothing is missed throughout the day.
Jen: Absolutely. I’m with you on the calendars, emails. Do you ever email yourself?
Shanequa: I do, which is interesting. I email myself and I also leave myself like voice reminders on my phone, so it’ll send me a reminder of what to do.
Jen: Yeah, right, right. I mean anybody in Business Connects know that I am, I always, I learned the trick years ago with the “mark unread” so that it doesn’t disappear in the email strings. And sending myself, like you said, voice memos and voice text messages to people or to a fictitious cell phone number so they’re like “Oh wait! They’re still there!” Shanequa: Yeah. I haven’t done that one. Jen: Not really fictitious, but like a Google Voice that you just don’t give out.
Shanequa: Right, right, yeah.
Jen: So would you mind taking a moment to just speak on what your involvement with Business Connects has been like, the impact, if any, it’s had on your business, or relationships that you’ve built within Business Connects and the impact that they’ve had?
Shanequa: Yeah absolutely. So, relationships, that’s the most important part. So we do a lot of networking, which is great. You know, people learning about what other people are, what their businesses entail, and what they’re working on. You know, it gives you an opportunity to always learn something new from the other members as far as relationships. Absolutely. Things that, sometimes you need to step away from work. When I use work and air quotes and focus a little on the personal side and through Business Connects you get the opportunity to see people at that personal level, not always just around business. And I have been able to make connections with, you know, someone who’s in the field, the same field as I am, and we’ve been able to kind of bounce off each other in terms of questions or other resources we may need. Or, you know, I’ve been able to, you know, filter referrals that way and they’ve done the same on this end as well. So, I think that’s another perk of being able to network and kind of, you know, build relationships with people through Business Connects. It’s awesome that there is a virtual component to it as well as in person. And there’s different chapters to move between so that you’re seeing different people and hearing new ideas across those.
Jen: Well, I’m glad to hear that the business is happening and you’re making these connections and sometimes, even if somebody’s in the same industry, would agree that we don’t know what we don’t know what we don’t know and we do know that we don’t know everything.
Shanequa: Right, right. And, I mean, that’s, that was a great addition for me because, again, I’m new to the industry, right, and you know the other business is more established than I am, have more experience, and although, I am a franchise and I have a great resource and network behind me, it’s also good to hear a perspective of someone outside of that as well, so it’s been a good resource. Jen: Right, right. And if you had this, if you had one tip for somebody looking to go into business right now… I mean, it’s been crazy past few years and things are always changing, and we have to keep pivoting about on our offerings and who we’re connecting to and everything. But if someone said to you, “Shanequa, I want to go into business and I don’t know what I want to do, but I want to be an entrepreneur,” what’s like one tip that you would give them as they’re considering what to do? Shanequa: Yeah, you know, they don’t know what to do. I think they first need to understand what their passion is and what would be the reason, like, why are they choosing to be an entrepreneur? And kind of understand what that means and what that looks like because it’s, you know, there’s been some eye-opening moments for me that just, you know, kind of when you… When I thought about it initially, I didn’t consider it so they’re, you know, just kind of socialize the idea with people from the industry that they just, they decide, or if they need help deciding, which industry to move into. Socialize that with some people. Maybe they have a mentor that they’re aware of, or there are some free coaching sites out there that can help people kind of understand where their strengths are and their passions and guide them that way. But don’t jump into anything, you know, just because you want to be an entrepreneur. Really take the time and understand what it means, what it looks like, and how it’s going to affect them going forward.
Jen: Yeah, great great advice. Great advice. So if someone was looking to contact you, I’m going to share my screen in a second of the website, but would like you to be able to tell them your website and any additional contact information or maybe events that are coming up that they can find you at?
Shanequa: Yeah, absolutely. So my website is bluemoonestatesales.com/unioncounty-newjersey, but if you just put in bluemoonestatesales.com and then search for New Jersey, you’ll find me that way as well. We are on Facebook and Instagram at Blue Moon Estate Sales NJ. My direct number is (908)494-0961 and my email is email@example.com.
Jen: Fantastic Shanequa: Oh, and speaking of upcoming sales, I don’t, this may be shared before then, but there is our next sale at the end of July, the 29th and 30th for Friday and Saturday in Union, NJ
Jen: Fantastic, and if somebody’s looking for the details, are they on your website about the sale? Shanequa: Yes, all of our detail, all of the details are on our website as well as pictures. The full address is not available until the early morning prior to the sale.
Jen: Right, makes sense, makes sense. Okay, great, so here is, on my screen, you’ll see Shanequa’s profile on the Business Connects website and with links back to her website, Instagram, and Facebook. And by the time you see this video, this video will appear in this space as well. As well as Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram. Also, thank you, Shanequa. Also, any Business Connects, where can they, if somebody came to Business Connects and they were looking to meet you, where would you say is the best chapter that they could meet you at? Shanequa: So, the best chapter would be the Middlesex Chapter.
Jen: Middlesex Chapter, okay, fantastic. It’s always good to know.
Shanequa: Or on virtual. Jen: Or any virtual, or any virtual right. So, this is just a quick tour through the website everybody. Here’s our home page and when I searched for Shanequa, I typed in the name of her company. But you can also go to this little search option and type in the service that she provides. So, if you type in the words “estate sales,” Shanequa’s profile will come up as well. And here are the events that Shanequa was mentioning as well. So, our Virtual Chapter is next on Tuesday, the 19th of July, and then again Wednesday, the 27th of July and you can find out about all the chapters. Our Edison Chapter that meets Friday mornings, every Friday at 8:15 a.m., with the exclusion of national holidays. Our Middlesex Chapter, that meets alternate Wednesdays. Our South Plainfield Chapter, that meets in person alternate Tuesdays, and our Wednesday Virtual Chapter. But everything is always on the Business Connects events tab of the website and always on Eventbrite as well. So, thank you again Shanequa. We appreciate your time and it was great introducing you to everybody through the kickoff of Business Connects “Meet the Members” series. Thank you so much for being a part of this and we really value you as a member and a part of the family and the community of Business Connects.
Shanequa: Thanks Jen! I am enjoying being a member.
Jen: Fantastic! Alright everybody, so that’s a wrap for today. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel and the website to meet our next Business Connects member on the Business Connects “Meet the Members” interview series with yours truly, Jen Wilner. Have a great day!