Gabrielle Crumley - Rielle Social Media

In this interview with Gabrielle, she had her heart and mind set on one direction in college, and little did she know after taking one marketing class, how her world would change. Sometimes you have to just trust your gut and take the leap of faith. Gabrielle has created a life around something she has found a passion for, allowing her to create the freedom and flexibility she was looking for. While still having a passion for animals her path has taken her in a different direction. Listen and see how.

More about Rielle Social Media

Gabrielle Crumley is the social media expert and digital marketing strategist behind Rielle Social Media.

I am passionate about helping business owners overcome their branding and social media challenges to see real success online.

Do you stress about what to post, or spending way too much money on ads that don’t convert? Whatever your specific business goals may be, I can help you achieve them. Learn more about her and her services at https://www.riellesocialmedia.com/

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Ultimate guide for businesses for moms

How many blog posts have you read about businesses for moms or stay at home businesses for moms? They all include great lists of businesses you could consider, but let’s be honest, they don’t really share the steps to get started and thrive.

In this blog, I’m specifically looking at a handful of businesses that you can start today as a mom. These businesses include:

Creating a Mom Blog
Starting an Etsy Store
Building a Dropship Store
Jumping into Freelancing as a Mom

My goal isn’t to list off all the businesses you could start as a mom, but to give you the actional advice in this ultimate guide that you can follow to get your business off the ground and running.

Now before I dive in, any business you start should be driven by your passions, expertise, and values.

Why? as a mom, and more specifically, as a mompreneur, you will always face competing priorities. From swim lessons to soccer, homework, meal planning, even corporate jobs, starting a side hustle with the goal to grow it into a thriving business takes time, commitment, and a lot of energy.

Your success will come from wanting to work on your business after a long day or before the day has begun.

Your success will come from knowing your industry or craft like the back of your hand and utilizing tools to help manage those other business processes and technologies.

The mom businesses described below are not hypotheticals. I personally have spent years researching the most effective and efficient ways to start each of these businesses (in addition to an MBA) and have started a mom blog, etsy store, dropship store, and added to my freelancing business all since growing our family.

The guide to mom businesses below covers the exact tips and steps that I recommend to get you off the ground and running towards freedom and flexibility as a mom.

Quick 31 Steps to Launching Your Freelance Business

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Whether your goal is to build a creative outlet or start the foundation for a business empire, I am so excited to learn about you and your vision. As a mompreneur, you are allowing yourself to create exactly the type of business that fits your needs, interests, and goals.

Take a moment to consider your dreams.

  • Are you yearning for a creative outlet beyond children’s crafts?
  • Would you love the flexibility to make your own schedule?
  • Do you hope to contribute financially to your household?
  • Can you not go another day without adult interaction?
  • Are you trying to be the best positive role model for your children?

Moms start on their journey to becoming a mompreneur for a lot of different reasons. I’m here to help provide you with the actionable steps you need to turn your interests into a successful business that can help you fulfill your dreams. From bloggers to Etsy store owners, Amazon dropshippers, freelancers, and more, I’ve worked with individuals who seek to contribute and leave their mark on the world just like you.

With a background in digital marketing (yes, I’ve owned my agency for nearly a decade), my advice focuses on the online aspects of creating, growing, and sustaining your business. My resources aim to help you start strong, scale fast, and sell more while you use your own strengths to create the business of your dreams.

What does it mean to be a Mom Blogger?

Mom bloggers, or really all bloggers, produce content that is published on a website.

Mom Blogging often has the connotation that you need to be writing about parenting tips, home improvement, or recipes, but trust me, there are a LOT more mom blogs out there than just these topics.

Start thinking about your PASSIONS and INTERESTS.

Could you create high quality content every single week or multiple times per week on this topic? Is it something you would grow bored with after a year, or does this interest transcend into all aspects of your life?

To be a Mom Blogger, you need to be diligent about creating high quality content (between 2,000-5,000 words) each week and then sharing this information to gain readers and followers of your blog.

Bloggers typically make money through affiliate commissions, advertisers on their site, and digital products. You also may have the perk of freebies from other folks within your industry.

Is Blogging for You?

Blogging isn’t for everyone. To start a blog and see results fairly quickly you will need to spend about 4 hours per day growing your digital network, creating content, putting together your systems, building an email list and sharing the information you create.

To run a successful blog you can’t sit in a bubble and you should try to view your blog as a way to connect and communicate with others who share your interests.

When you have your systems in place and traffic is coming to your website, you will typically find that running your blog only takes 2 hours per day. From here, your income potential can really skyrocket.

Income Potential

There are many mom bloggers who make $20,000+ each month, but far more who only make a couple hundred dollars per year.

It’s not that these bloggers aren’t working hard, they may be focusing their attention on the wrong avenues or may not be giving their blog the chance to really thrive.

What if you don’t like to write?

That is okay! I’ve worked with a lot of bloggers who start first with video or audio and turn transcripts from these into content for their website.

Starting with video or audio allows you the chance to showcase your expertise and your personality. What better way to grow a blog than have this multimedia on your website.

What to do next as a mom blogger

Brainstorm a list of your interests or passions. Narrow this down to the idea that you would want to write about for years into the future.

  1. Who else is writing about this topic? What are they doing well? What would you improve?
  2. Is there one person in particular who you would like to write for? Who will make up your tribe? Be specific! If you know someone who would be interested in your blog, write down their name.
  3. What are your top 5 values? How can you incorporate these into your Blog’s Brand? What are your brand colors and is there any emotion or feeling you want your blog to elicit?
  4. Create a list of all of the topics you can think of that relate to your blog idea. Think about topics that you can tell stories about from personal experience, topics people likely are going to be searching for on Google, and topics that appear to be getting a lot of traction from blogs on the same or similar topics.
  5. Which other bloggers can you partner with?
  6. Jump into Technology! In order to run a blog, you will need a website and an email account. I won’t go into detail here, but I do have a blog post on this at SocialSpeakNetwork.com.

To jump start your blog, I recommend committing to write a blog every other day for a month. Why? This creates a database of content for your blog that you can then link to and share online.

After the first month, you can slow down to 1 blog per week. Just remember, each blog should be high quality (and at least 1,500 words long).

At the same time you are working on this first set of articles, start reaching out to people you know to see if they would be interested in joining your email list. As a blogger (or any digital business) your Email List is the most important asset to your business.

Wrap up to  Blogging as a Stay At Home Mom

Being a Mom Blogger can be incredible rewarding if you are willing to put in the time and energy. The first thing we think of when we hear bloggers is a website with articles on it, but in reality it is about building a community around your passion or interest.

Even if your goal is not to make money from your blog, being a Mom Blogger can be a rewarding creative outlet that connects you with others who share your passions and interest. Could there be anything better?

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Starting an ETSY Store for Moms

The next topic for mompreneurs is Etsy! I love Etsy both as a seller and as a consumer.

Etsy is a great avenue for converting your hobbies into a business through selling crafts and designs. Just as with any sales channel, you need to think about whom you are selling to and how you can best position your products to sell to them.

Broadly, Etsy is a platform for crafts (wo)men to sell their handmade goods online. Products include everything from greeting cards to knitted hats, digital downloads, screen printed t-shirts, and antique gifts.

I like Etsy as a mompreneur because it is already a portal that your tribe is using to find unique and handmade products.

You don’t need to build a complete ecommerce website and find ways to get traffic to the site, instead you just need to have your products to sell and optimize your titles and descriptions to gain traction.

Is running an Etsy Shop for you?

In order to run an Etsy store, you need to be able to make something handmade or have a collection of goods that others may want to purchase. If you don’t have a craft/hobby (paper crafts, sewing, graphic design, woodworking, etc) or if you don’t have a collection of goods (teacups, antique bread boxes, etc), Etsy may not be for you. Now there is some wiggle room if you don’t necessarily have something handmade to sell, which I’ll describe below.

If you do have a product(s) already, they running an Etsy shop may be a perfect fit. The marketplace is already built, making your shop easy to get up and running, but the most popular stores have at least 15 different products to sell right off the bat.

You’ll need to make sure you have enough of whatever you want to sell in many different designs and variations in order to build your store quickly.

The workaround to Handmade Goods

Okay, so you might be interested in selling on Etsy, but you don’t really have a craft that you could turn into a viable business. This is where you can have a little fun. Let’s say you are a graphic designer or have some Photoshop experience.

You can create designs and then place this design on t-shirts, mugs, dog bowls, bags, etc, using a print on demand service to actually create the products.

This is how I manage my Etsy Store for Yip Yap Woof.

In fact, I have it set up so beside creating the designs and product descriptions, I don’t touch anything when an order comes in.

My silk-screener gets notified of the order automatically and creates my products to be sent out with my branding to customers.

You can set up similar systems for your Etsy shop, too, by using services like Printful* to create the products.

How to get started with Etsy as a Mom

The next steps for Etsy are fairly straight forward and you can get up and running within a few hours! Of course in order to run an Etsy shop that is sustainable you should create an audience and build your email list, just as with blogging, but the first steps are straight forward.

  1. Just as with creating a mom blog, think first about your target market and brand before you set up your Etsy shop. Who will be your core customers? Who else is selling similar products?
  2. Next you can create your Etsy account and start filling in basic information, hold off on uploading your products for the time being.
  3. Creating your store is easiest if you compile all of your information before you get started. This includes:
    1. Keywords to use in your product descriptions
    2. Your product descriptions (make them fun and personal)
    3. Prices and shipping costs (I often just do flat rate shipping or free shipping with the estimated shipping cost built into the product price)
    4. Pictures (At least 3-5 for each product)
  4. After you have your products created and updated, it’s time to build a community around them. Instagram can be a great place to create your community, showcase your products, and post beautiful images.
  5. If you want to take your store to the next level, don’t hesitate to post the product information on Netxdoor App, Craigslist, and Ebay. Additionally, local fairs, markets, and festivals can help you gain local exposure.
  6. Just as with any type of business, your email list can make the long term stability of your new business much more achievable. Start building your list from day 1!

What ideas do you have for your Etsy shop? Can you see yourself growing a community around your crafts and hobbies?

Next up we’ll be chatting about Dropshipping businesses, which are where you resell products from wholesale accounts, but never need to hold an inventory.

This is the second half of my Yip Yap Woof shop where I resell dog beds on Amazon and Ebay and my suppliers ship the orders directly to the customer for me.

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Starting a Dropship Business as a Stay at Home Mom

Stay at home moms often don’t first think of dropshipping as a business solution when they are first getting started.

Why? Even though platforms exist to create your website and easily find products, it can be time consuming to figure out the ins and outs of deciding upon products, branding yourself, and growing your network.

As there Is quite a bit of competition in most industries for drop shipping, it can seem daunting to find a way to stand apart with a limited schedule.

So what can mompreneurs do to help decrease the amount of time needed to grow their online dropship store?

Just as with the other tips and techniques, I recommend first analyzing your passions and interests and formulating a game plan around what types of markets you should approach.

Below I talk about my experience of drop shipping as a mompreneur through first finding a pet product company I could stand behind.

I knew I wanted to help people find the top dog products for their pups, but didn’t exactly know where to get started. At first I listed and tried advertising every product under the sun, but soon found my margins (the amount I made) were WAY too low to:

  1. Cover my advertising costs
  2. Cover my time to actually place the order

Looking back at the drawing board, I realized there were products, specifically dog beds and extremely large dog crates with margins high enough to offer free or reduced shipping and cover extra fees like listing the product on Amazon, for example.

Here is my overview for sales through Amazon for a specific dog bed from 11/20-12/13

(Please note, I’m not trying to say that I’m the poster child for how well through this channel with sales, but it is just a REAL example of a fun side hustle that takes 10-15 minutes every few days)

After Amazon fee’s and the monthly subscription to Amazon, I netted $491.20. Now, this number does go down because I needed to buy the dog beds, ship them, and pay for the company’s dropship fee (their extra fee to pay for sending the package directly to my customer).

Let’s take a look.  

  • Sell for $129, my Cost (including shipping and dropship fee) $83.50. Gross profit: $26.10
  • Sell for $109, my Cost (including shipping and dropship fee) $73.50. Gross Profit: $19.14
  • Total $83.55 in my pocket

This is just for one type of dog bed I sell on Amazon and you see how the profit diminishes drastically when all fees are taken into account.

But hey, that’s another $1,000 in my pocket every year for very limited work and not selling to my network. Imagine if you are listing more products, larger margin products, and products where you’ve already built an audience of interested individuals!

In addition to these beds, I do sell a few other high-end dog bed options, as well as some dog food and health and wellness items via Ebay. All of these are drop shipped, so I never need to worry about moving my own inventory.

I must warn you, however, I just needed to purchase my order from another supplier for a product that sold and my profit was a whopping $0.56! Ha. Talk about cutting it close!

In the following video I provide an overview of drop shipping for stay at home moms as an option to gain more flexibility and freedom.

The next type of business we’ll be discussing is creating a Freelance Business for Mompreneurs! But, if you’d first like to read the dropship business transcript, please click here!

Start a Freelancing Business as a Mom

Starting a freelance business as a mom may be one of the most rewarding ways to get back into the business world and feel connected to adults outside of your family.

Yes, you can forge similar relationships through reaching out to digital business partners, but become a freelancer opens so many more doors!

As a mompreneur you will often find yourself alone with your thoughts and second guessing your ability to run a successful endeavor. Being a freelancer, however, allows you to form lasting relationships with your clients.

Do I sound partial to starting a freelance business? Perhaps. But this stems from the joys I’ve found in connecting with my clients as I work with them.

Please note, I find the same to be true for coaches, counselors, service providers, etc, but if your business is 100% online, it can be difficult for a lot of women to forge the same type of relationship because often communication boils down to Facebook posts, commenting, and emailing.

Unless you are committed to thinking about digital networking the same as face to face or networking on the phone, it is difficult to create real relationships with people you’ve never actually spoken to.

With freelancing, you are given an opportunity to turn one-off projects into recurring revenue streams for your business.

AND, working with your clients month after month creates an avenue for you to grow your new relationships in the business world without having to give up time with your children and family.

You can take on as many new clients as you have the capacity for and scale up and down as needed.

Types of Freelance businesses for Mompreneurs

As you think of your passions and interests, think of how you may be able to help other people and businesses with completing tasks that relate to these interests. In the digital world, some common freelance gigs include:

  • Graphic design
  • Website management
  • Branding
  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • Website Development
  • Copy Writing
  • Proofreading
  • Process Management
  • Etc

How can you structure your fees?

I recommend freelancers try to steer clear of hourly work, but often that’s what it comes down to. As a mom, however, trying to track your time doing freelance gigs while running to sports practices, cleaning dirty diapers, and figuring out preschool options can be quite the challenge.

Rather than setting an hourly price, do what you can to create monthly packages or retainers. In my marketing agency, we collect fees from:

  • One-off projects (Marketing strategies, website development, etc)
  • Group Coaching (6 month small group coaching on social media and digital marketing)
  • Marketing Management (We become your outsourced marketing department with set tasks we agree to complete each month)
  • Hourly consulting (even I haven’t been able to get away from this after nearly a decade)

How to get started as a Freelancer

Starting your path towards being a successful freelancer can be fairly organic. Some freelancers wish to jump in head first into their new business while others are okay growing their client base at a pace that fits their lifestyle.

As you get started, think about:

  • How quickly you want to grow
  • The hours per week you wish to spend freelancing
  • Your availability for meetings, travel, networking, sales
  • Current commitments during the working day

Depending on how much time you have available to commit to your new freelancing clients, you may find that a slow growth fits your current commitments.

Knowing this can help you identify the steps you wish to take to get your new mom business up and running and to set your goals appropriately.

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Quick 31 Steps to Launching Your Freelance Business

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Start your #freelancing business in 31 days, 1 month to start freelancing, mom freelancing, freelancing as a mom, how to start freelancing, learn to freelance Start your freelancing business in 31 days, 1 month to start freelancing, mom freelancing, freelancing as a mom, how to start freelancing, learn to #freelance

Steps to kick your freelancing business into high gear

Now that you know your availability, it’s time to get started! Just as with the other mom businesses you can start, it is paramount you first identify your ideal client.

  • Create your client avatar: what industry or business do you want to target, what are their fears, how many employees do they have, what revenue do they have, who makes the buying decision?
  • Build out your service offerings: within your target industry, what services can you offer, what will you charge?
  • Make a list of personal connections that fit your target market or may know someone who would benefit from your services: think about your connections from your pre-kid career, as well as, family, friends, neighbors, etc.
  • Think of complementary services that you could build into referral partners. For example, if you are a copy writer, partnering with website development agencies could lead to immediate work for your business.
  • Create a quick website describing who you are, your services, and providing a glimpse into your expertise.
  • Reach out to your connections and your potential referral partners to introduce them to your new business.
  • Join local networking groups to increase your exposure to local business owners.
  • Sign up for Thumbtack and Nextdoor to browse for folks looking for your services.

Now, you notice I mention only building a quick website at this stage. Contrary to popular belief, though some folks may look at your site, only a handful of referrals actually will.

Your first freelancing clients will most likely be people you know personally.

Additionally, as you talk with prospects and start selling your services you will find that your target market may respond more favorably to one way of describing your services or that the packages you should be offering are slightly different from your initial brainstorm.

You don’t want to spend months making the perfect site when in reality your messaging and offerings are completely off.

Through using BlueHost you can get a website up and running for $3.95/mo with a domain-specific email address and easy 1-click WordPress installation. It’s worked as a great platform for my clients and for my own sites.

With Freelancing as a mompreneur, the best way to get started is to put yourself out there without worrying about not having all the answers.

Top three steps to starting a freelancing business transcript available here.

As I mentioned before, the best way to grow your new business as a mom is really to dive into something that you are passionate about, an expert in, and that aligns with your values. Without this, it is much more difficult to push through and really experience that freedom and flexibility through business ownership as a mom.

If you are interested in learning more about how your values can shape your business, please take a look at the following posts!

Quick 31 Steps to Launching Your Freelance Business

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Ultimate guide to mom businesses, business for moms, stay at home mom, start a business, #sheboss #dropshipping #etsy #freelancing #momblog, start a business as a stay at home mom, earn money as a mom

Ultimate guide to mom businesses, business for moms, stay at home mom, start a business, #sheboss #dropshipping #etsy #freelancing #momblog, start a business as a stay at home mom, earn money as a mom

Ultimate guide to mom businesses, business for moms, stay at home mom, start a business, #sheboss #dropshipping #etsy #freelancing #momblog, start a business as a stay at home mom, earn money as a mom

Starting a Dropship Business as a Mom [Transcript]

Today I am going to discuss with you about dropship businesses. What are drop ship businesses? How do they work? How can they fit into your lifestyle?

Basically, drop shipping is when you have an online storefront. When somebody places in order, you then turn to the wholesaler and they actually ship that order out for you. I run a business, Yip Yap Woof, and amongst other things, we sell dog products. One of our top selling products is a dog bed from a company out of Montana that uses organic cotton and it’s made in the USA.

It’s a great dog bed and we get a lot of sales through Amazon for this, as well as, through our website. So how drop shipping works in this case is somebody places an order through Amazon or through our website (or even through eBay). Now we don’t have an inventory, I don’t have a closet in my house just stocked up with dog beds, but I just quickly jump over to the wholesale website, place an order with my own credit card information, and then they charged me a small fee on top of the typical fee for shipping. Then the customer gets the dog bed. It’s packaged in the West Paw Design packaging and everything, but the package slip does have our information on it. I can offer more discounts and promotions for other products that I offer, as well. And so with each of these orders, yes, I’m not making the full $30 or $50 markup that I would have if I did hold my own inventory and do the shipping myself, however I still do get you know between $10 and $20 dollars per order.  I can the either reinvest this back into the business or enjoy them a nice lunch out.

How to Start a Dropship Business

Starting a dropship business is actually pretty straightforward there are plenty of websites out there that have whole databases or products. Again, taking dog products, there’s a Pet Store USA and Wholesale Pet USA, as well as a bunch of other stores like this where there is a database of different dog products. It also lists whether or not the company dropships the product or if you just get the wholesale account.

Once you find the products that you’re looking for, you can then list them on Amazon, Ebay, or on your own website. If you’re listing these products on Amazon or Ebay, you will find that there are additional fees that you will incur. Amazon’s fees are actually quite a bit, so that $20 margin or markup that that I  would get ends up going down to about five or ten dollars.

You have to pay attention to whether or not you’re actually going to be making money from the product or if it’s all just going away in these fees. It does definitely take some calculations. On Amazon, for example, I won’t sell a product that’s under $100, just because it’s not worth my time and energy to make fifty cents for an order that comes in.

I’d much rather see a thirty dollar kickback rather than just a couple of dollars here and there.

So, setting up that dropship store is quite simple once you have the product that you are going to be selling. You can set it up on Shopify, for example. Shopify is great because it syncs with a lot of these different dropship networks.

If you have an order placed on Shopify, they can actually make it so the order automatically flows through to the wholesale or drop shipping store. This way you don’t even have to touch the order.

You can also make a storefront on WordPress, for example, if you don’t want to have that monthly fee like Shopify. The benefit of Shopify is it’s really easy for you to manage taxes and things like that, but I actually just got rid of my Shopify store and I’m working to just building a more simple blog storefront with WordPress.

The reason is because most of my orders come in through eBay and Amazon rather than through my store itself. I think that that’s just a product of being a newer store, so I haven’t done a lot of work to build up my own audiences.

What I recommend doing is creating a blog for your business where you’re just working to send out valuable content and information. I found the blog to be a great way to gain exposure and also Instagram. Again, I’m just posting pictures of my dog and my daughter. We now have over 1,500 followers on Instagram and so that’s been a great way to get traffic to the Etsy store.

Building up an audience and an email list is should be your number one priority if you are running any type of e-commerce store.

Creating a Dropship Brand

Additionally, you should know who your brand is and you can think of it almost like a real retail store with a storefront. So think about, what’s your brand? What type of customers are you trying to attract? Then post things that these people are interested in and try and grow that network online. This way, when you have the products that you’re going to be selling, you can easily turn them on into it. They already know, like, and trust you.

These individuals have found value from following you, so you can start reaching out to the wholesale companies and organizations.

I always recommend not just listing any old product if you want to make your business more fulfilling. I recommend finding products you have tried and ones where you believe in the company brand of mission. As you’re getting started, try to create a selective group of products that you’ve tested yourself and that you know people are just going to absolutely love. Typically someone is actually searching for these products on Amazon or on eBay, so again, if you’re listed there, you have a better chance of being found.

This is just a quick introduction of what it means to dropship. Dropshipping is definitely very rewarding and easier to set up than businesses where you need to carry an inventory.

 

 

Top Three Tips to Starting a Freelancing Business as a Mom [Transcript]

Today we’re going to be talking about creating a freelance business from your passions and your expertise. Now creating a freelance business is a great way to add be creative, have adult interactions, and to find freedom and flexibility.

Until MK was able to walk, she actually came around to every single meeting with me. We were just coffee shop buddies and bounced around here and there. She’d be sleeping most of the time at meetings, but the flexibility that I had with my clients just to bring her along wherever I went was really quite incredible.

At the time, I was even the president of a local networking group and she came to many of the meetings with me. As long as I didn’t act as though I was distracted by her being there, other people followed suit. Owning a freelance business as a mom really is a great way to kind of have the best of both worlds.

MK recently turned 2 so we are finally looking at daycares and preschools that we can potentially have her attend towards the end of the summer. But, keeping her at home until she was 2 was a big goal for us. The flexibility of running a freelance business created the opportunity for this goal to come true.

Now, the BIMS Team is much more than a Freelance business. But freelancing really did create the foundation for all the work and services we provide today.

Different Types of Freelance Businesses for Moms

What types of freelance businesses are there and you can be a freelancer? There are many different types of Freelance businesses you can jump into including:

  • A graphic designer
  • A website developer
  • A freelance copywriter
  • A social media marketer

There are a lot of different freelancers out there and you might hear some freelancers referring to themselves more as consultants rather than just freelancers.

The big difference here in my mind is who’s doing the work.

Our team provides consulting for a lot of our clients where we are teaching them how to do the marketing themselves, but we have other clients where we are really taking on their voice and managing the marketing on their behalf.

It can be kind of a blurred line whether you call yourself a consultant or a freelancer. Either way, you can go into a lot of different industries.

How to decide on your Freelancing focus

As a mom, you probably have limited time between work (if you are starting freelancing as a side-hustle), children, family, and your own commitments. This makes it incredibly important to make sure you choose freelance projects that you already have the skills to complete.

Think about the areas of expertise or focus that you had in a previous career? Consider your own passions and interests. When you combine these two elements, it won’t even matter to clients that you don’t have a lot of experience working on your own and they will appreciate what your past experience can bring to the table.

If you are worried about lack of experience, that is fine, too. You can even be honest with your first few clients, but position this as a strength because you will be incredibly focused on their business and the work you can do for them.

As a new freelancer, how can you get new clients quickly?

There are a lot of different ways that you can go about getting clients when you are a freelancer. I have three favorite techniques.

Right when you get started, head on over to thumbtack.com. Thumbtack is like Craigslist for freelance jobs. Folks post there from different businesses that need help with X, Y, or Z. You can find local companies or ones that are in other parts of the US.

My husband recently started his own freelance business and I instructed him to go to thumbtack. Sure enough, he quickly was able to reply to a handful of folks requesting exactly his copywriting services. These were job proposals he was sending out the first day of running his own freelance business.

Now my husband had never actually run a copywriting business, and he was the director of software development at his last job, so nothing to do with copywriting, but he was an English major and enjoys writing. On the side he actually had been writing for years for some of our clients, but he never mentioned to his first clients that he was just kicking off his business. He knew he could fulfill his promises.

What about Upwork (formerly Odesk and Elance)

In the past we did utilize Elance for finding projects to bid on, but it is easy to get caught up in pricing and not being able to charge what you are worth.

If you do find yourself on these job sites, I found success submitting bids for Project Based freelancing work, such as creating a marketing plan or a LinkedIn Strategy, and then offering to implement the strategy. We actually are still working with a handful of these businesses 7 years later.

Again, make sure if you are submitting bids you aren’t selling yourself short. I remember one client I got right when I started my freelance business ended up being a $750/mo client, but at $20/hr, I was hardly living the dream.

It’s much easier to manage five freelance accounts with each of them paying $5,000 a month versus 50 accounts with $100 a month.

Attend Networking Events To Grow your Freelance Business and Refine your Messaging

The next place to look for clients is going to networking events to meet local business owners who can benefit from your freelancing services. The strategy typically has a slightly longer turnaround, but is very fruitful and something Amber and I both still do.

Beyond meeting new people and getting that adult interaction as a mompreneur, networking is wonderful because it allows you to refine your message.

When I first started my freelancing business, I thought that I was going to be doing mostly data analytics. In my mind, marketing decisions should be driven by data. I am a math nerd and data analytics geek and trust me, that doesn’t get many other people excited. Some of my favorite clients truly appreciate data, too, but a majority of our clients don’t care about the data behind the scenes.

As I was talking to folks in these networking events, I would just see their eyes glaze over. I realized that people understood they needed someone to help manage their marketing, but would be doing it themselves already if they cared about the solutions.

When you attend networking groups as a freelancer, you will be able to more quickly refine your messaging.

Now networking groups do require you go somewhere in person, so it may not be worthwhile to pay for a babysitter while you attend.

I’d look for groups that meet first thing in the morning (so your significant other can lend a hand before work) or ones that meet later in the day, again, so you can more easily find a helping hand.

These networking events also come in a lot of different forms.

One issue I see over and over is that new freelancers waste too much time attending groups that don’t actually lead to new clients. Don’t just go to the most popular Meetup group or group that meets over happy hour.

I’m an introvert, so I always found myself listening to conversations more than engaging with others in these more open events.

However, I came across BNI about 5 years ago and absolutely LOVE their meetings (and the clients/referrals that come from members).

I’ve since been the president and vice president of the chapter and as a member, you feel like you are actually creating relationships with the folks in your group, who then actually do go out and sell for you.

There are plenty of other more localized groups that follow the same structure as BNI, but BNI is an international organization, so most likely you have a chapter or two (or more) in your area to check out.

Be selective about the networking groups you choose to attend as a freelancing mom.

So, we’ve covered thumbtack, networking groups, and then the third way to grow your freelancing business is through referral partners.

How to use referral partners to get more freelance clients

As you’re going to the networking groups, you will be meeting new partners. You don’t want to just sell to the people in front of you, you want to gain access to their networks. This third piece is taking creating referral partners a step further.

First things first, jump over to LinkedIn and clean up your profile. Then, start researching other professionals and businesses that service your same target market and provide complementary services to your own freelance services.

I had my husband run through this when he was starting his business and within a month he had signed two $5,000 dollar contracts. One of them is still sending clients his way and then the other one actually now is my client and we have my husband do the blog writing.

It all comes down to figuring out who else is servicing your target market.

For my husband, a copywriter, I told him to email social media agencies like mine because I had been sending him business frequently. We also decided on website developers. Now he ended up just emailing the website developers because of the technical side of his background.

After proving himself in an initial blog or writing sample, some of these initial contacts send him any new website build that needs content created.

By creating these relationships with referral partners even if there’s a little bit of overlap in services, there can be short term success landing new freelance clients and provide long-term growth of your freelancing business.

The best thing about tailored and individual email outreach like this is that it takes a whole lot less time than attending 50 networking groups every single week. [Insider Tip: You can also write the emails after your kids go to be and schedule them to send the next morning with the Boomerang App for Gmail).

As long as you’re clear about the expectations with your new referral partners, you shouldn’t have any trouble really diving into those relationships.

So there you have it! The three steps to getting clients as you are starting your freelance business: Use Thumbtack, Join Local Networking Groups, Cold Email Referral Partners

First, immediately respond to those freelance proposal requests on thumbtack or create your profile on Upwork and see what projects are out there.

Secondly, join a local networking group and get to know the business professionals in your area. Again, I recommend finding a group that has structure and that actually shows that it’s passing leads and referrals with each other. I like the structure because I’m an introvert, but you might really thrive if you’re an extrovert with less structure. Still don’t join a group if they aren’t accountable for passing leads.

We see a lot of leads being passed within our group, as do other BNI groups, just as an example.

Lastly, the next item is figuring out who your referral partners could be and reaching out to them.

Now if you notice I’m not focusing on building your website or anything like that.

As you are working through these three steps to starting your freelancing business, you will be learning a lot about the language people are using to describe your specific services.

Just have a home page or landing page to start and then build up more from there.

See how many freelancing clients you can get through the three ways described above and you will be well on your way to a successful freelancing business!

My best advice is to start a business now and give freelancing a shot. Freelancing is incredibly fruitful and it allows for that creative outlet, adult interactions, and again that freedom and flexibility that we all crave as moms.

Thank you so much for tuning in.

Again I’m Caitlin with the Social Speak Network.

Please feel free to subscribe to our channel and head on over to our website. We have a lot of great blogs, videos, and different resources that can help you on your journey to becoming a freelancer.

Interested in learning more? Take a look at these articles:

Search Engine Optimization, Keyword Research, and Blogging for your Business [April Overview]

Podcasting and Video Marketing (The Real Benefit to Your Business

6 Reasons You NEED to be Using Instagram Stories for Business

By Christina Savage
Owner & Technical Consultant
Christina Savage, LLC

In late summer 2016, I jumped off a metaphorical cliff. I quit my six figure, salaried management job to start my own software consulting business from the ground up.

As a single mom of a 9-year-old son and the sole earner in my household, taking this leap posed a significant risk. Given this fact, you’d think I would’ve created an elaborate business plan, but I didn’t; I just rolled up my sleeves and got started.

But, why?

After years of working in high-pressure software and IT management roles, I was ready for more autonomy and flexibility. I wanted to build something all by myself. Starting a business is, in my mind, a creative process – and I desperately needed to create.

How I got started

In the software world, there’s a saying, “fail fast, fail cheap.” I knew that if I over-thought things, I’d never start. So, I just started getting things done. As an example, I didn’t create a fancy brand; I just used my name as my company name.

christinasavagewebsite

Here a few practical steps that will help you start a service-based business:

Buy a domain name

I bought my domain name from GoDaddy, but there are a lot of domain name registrars out there. It’s fast and easy and will typically cost you less than $20.

Name your company and register it with the state

I formed an LLC by registering it with the state, paying the fees, and filling out the required paperwork. Visit your state’s Secretary of State website to find out the process. Depending on your line of work, you may also need a business license.

Set up a mailbox

I bought a P.O. Box at my local post office, but I’ll likely move to a virtual postbox in the future.

Set up a business phone line

I knew that I didn’t want my personal cell phone number posted publicly, so I set up a Google Voice number. It’s free and forwards all calls to my cell phone. If you plan to build a business with more than one person, be sure to look into other VoIP options like Grasshopper or Fluentstream.

Create a logo

I hired my graphic designer friend to create a logo for me. I love it and I have it on everything – my website, my business cards, my invoices—you name it.

Hire a professional photographer

I hired a professional photographer to take headshots and I used them on my website and LinkedIn profile. Professional photography makes a huge difference, especially when you work with people who find you online.

Launch your website

Even though I’m technical and I’ve worked on a lot of websites in the past, I’m not a website designer. I knew that I’d spend too much time banging my head against the wall over my website theme and design if it was too customizable, so I just went the quick and easy route and chose Squarespace. It’s affordable and really easy to use. In the future, I’ll likely move to WordPress because I think it will scale best for me and offer me better SEO, but for now, Squarespace works.

christinasavagewebsite

Set up your email

I’ve always been a fan of G Suite because I love the Google platform. I’m a huge proponent of a paid email platform, as opposed to using a personal @gmail.com account. It’s one of the most critical tools in your business. Plus, G Suite makes it easy add and manage users and it offers some of the best collaboration tools on the market. My Google Drive files are well-organized, allowing me to keep my personal and business documents separate, but to also access my documents at any time, from anywhere, and on any device.

Get your financial tools in order

Set up a business bank account. Be sure to keep your expenses separate from your personal expenses. If you decide to move to an S Corp or other type of entity in the future, you’ll need to keep these separate anyway.

It’ll make accounting a lot easier, too.

Set up a cloud-based accounting software. I use FreshBooks and absolutely love it. It’s made for entrepreneurs and small business. It allows me to track my time in real time (I typically charge hourly), quickly generate invoices, and automate payment reminders. It’s also integrated with my bank transactions and credit card gateway. Plus, their support is outstanding. Having FreshBooks allows me to spend only 10 minutes per month on invoicing.

Finally, consider getting business insurance. Many clients may require it.

Start using a CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a central database to track client communication. I consider it the ‘brain’ of my business. Most CRMs integrate with website forms, sales and marketing tools, accounting software, and reporting dashboards. My CRM allows me to track my prospects, organize my projects, build reports, and market to my clients. It’ll also allow me to easily onboard and communicate with future employees.

These initial steps took me about two weeks. It doesn’t take much. Just start!

 

How I grew (and the emotions that ensued)

Once I set up my systems and processes, I had to figure out how to get clients. I’ve never considered myself a salesperson and I’m not into self-promotion. However, the primary skill that’s contributed most to my career success has been my ability to build and maintain relationships.

I’ve kept in touch with everyone over the years—former coworkers, employers, employees, clients, and vendors. So, when I started my business, I reached out to everyone. I scheduled coffee meetings and a lot of phone calls. This quickly led to a couple of key software partnerships, including my CRM software partner – a referral source that contributed 48 percent of my revenue last year. Other significant projects and clients came from referrals from friends and former clients.

I don’t mean to make this process sound easy. It took a lot of work and even more persistence. There were many days when I literally had no projects. I spent about eight months dipping into savings before my revenue became significant.

I also had a lot of job offers and people trying to get me to come work with them. As someone who’s used to saying ‘yes’ to almost everything, I had to say ‘no’ to a lot of great opportunities and stay focused on my goal of building a business.

systematize your business

What I’ve learned

Once the momentum starts, it keeps going. There will be many days in your journey when you have no idea where your money will come from next month—when your projects wind down and you have few opportunities in the pipeline. It’ll be scary, but you need to keep moving forward. Schedule more coffee meetings, attend a local networking event, reach out to an old colleague, or teach yourself a new skill. If you keep the momentum going, your business will continue to grow.

business organization

Structure your day. Even though you may want to sit around in yoga pants all day—and will probably do that most of the time—you need to stay focused. If you work best in the morning, do your most important work before noon. Schedule your meetings, calls, and business development tasks in the afternoon.

Do great work. You have to put your clients first. Make it as easy as possible to work with you. From your contract to the way you accept payment, it needs to be easy. I accept credit card payments from my clients and I wouldn’t dream of passing through the transaction fees. I invoice clients once a month, my time records are clear and detailed, and I give my clients 30 days to pay. Trust is key.

Systematize everything. Even though you may be starting out as a solopreneur, you may bring on employees or consultants in the future. The more clearly-defined systems and documentation you have in place, the easier onboarding and offboarding will be. Even if you just need to hire a consultant, you’ll save yourself so much time and money if they can easily review your documentation and devise solutions for you. Trust me on this.

Say yes. In the beginning you’ll say yes to almost any work that comes your way. As you grow, you’ll need to start learning how to say no and specializing, but the work you do in the beginning will teach you so much. You’ll also get used to facing brand new problems. Every. Single. Day.

You’ll have to tackle projects you’ve never done before. I’m not sure this ever stops. You’ve gotta be confident that you are smart and you’re a problem solver. In the words of Marie Forleo, “everything is ‘figureoutable.’” Don’t shy away from hard things. Focus and figure it out. You’ll get there. I promise.

You’re going to wear #allthehats. I run my business by myself. I’m the business development rep, sales rep, sales engineer, proposal writer, project manager, technical lead, researcher, marketer, visionary, customer service rep, tester, bookkeeper, and accounting department. I even did my own taxes the first year. Because I worked for small, lean businesses for years, I had experience in all of these areas. If you don’t feel comfortable doing these tasks, delegate or outsource them so you can focus on the highest and best use of your time.

Stick to your vision. As I previously mentioned, I received many job offers and invitations to discuss employee-type roles. It’s flattering and sometimes tempting, but I’m proud of what I’ve built—there’s no salary that could pull me away from doing my own thing.

Track your progress. For me, tracking my revenue is an easy metric to monitor. It took me 8 months to start making consistent and sufficient revenue. I gave myself many pep talks and I had to look at my consulting revenue chart every single month to prove to myself that my revenue was trending up. These trends showed me that I actually had a viable business and that I wasn’t blindly following a dream. Supportive friends and family are also key!

Where I am now

More than a year-and-a-half in, I’ve got 28 clients in 12 states and three countries. I’ve provided consulting on CRM, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), call center, and help desk software. I’ve written enterprise software manuals and marketing collateral, and I’ve managed a few big projects. And now, I’m starting to narrow my focus to the services I enjoy the most.

growthchart

I’m starting to consider re-branding and doing some marketing campaigns. To date, I haven’t done any marketing besides partnering with a few software providers.

I also started working with a CPA to reduce my tax liability and I put myself on payroll (yikes!). Finally, I’m focusing on larger, longer-term projects and building a recurring revenue model.

My current areas of focus are intended to help my business grow and reduce the chance that I’ll burn out over time. Next year, I may be focused on completely different objectives. It’s critical to be able to pivot and scale as your business grows.

“A year from now you may wish you had started today” – Karen Lamb

If you’re eager to start your own business, just start with the steps outlined in the “How I got started” section. Take one step forward every day. You may be surprised where you’ll be a year from now. Good luck!

Any questions? Comments? Get in touch! I’d love to hear from you.

Interested in learning more? Take a look at these articles:

How Social Speak was Born

5 Social Media Goals To Get You Started

Defining Your Core Values

 

How I jumped off a metaphorical cliff to start a successful software consulting business, #business, #momprenuer, how to start a business, steps to start a business, how to become a mompreneur, tools to use to start a business

How I jumped off a metaphorical cliff to start a successful software consulting business, #business, #momprenuer, how to start a business, steps to start a business, how to become a mompreneur, tools to use to start a business

With Search Engine Optimization becoming more and more difficult as competition continues to emerge, your business can set itself apart by Podcasting and Video Marketing.

4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to be Podcasting

Podcasts are a powerful marketing tool. Over the years, it has garnered immense popularity, with more and more businesses discovering how it can benefit their company. If you still haven’t incorporated podcasting into your marketing campaign, then you’re losing out on a lot of business opportunities.

Here are 4 reasons why your business needs to be podcasting.

Brand awareness

As mentioned above, podcasting is a powerful marketing tool. It can help you reach new audience, drive traffic to your site, and even build a community. By broadcasting podcasts regularly, it will help develop your company’s brand to make it a household name.

Simplicity

A lot of people are put off by the seemingly confusing technical aspects of recording a podcast. Producing a podcast is not as complicated as what most people think. You do not need a lot of money either to start a podcast.

To start, all you need is a microphone, a headset, a recording device, and editing software. A good wifi connection is also important for uploading the files.

Easy to consume

Humans have a very short attention span. In fact, an average person has an average attention span of 8 seconds. If you want to get your message across, then you need to make it easier for your audience to consume and understand what you’re trying to say. Podcasts can help you do that.

A 1,500-word article may provide your audience the information they need. However, not everyone will have the patience to read through the entire article. With podcasts, you can convey the message in a more interactive way. Plus, people can listen to podcasts during their commute or while doing other things at work or at home.

Build better relationship with your audience

Podcasts provides a more personal way of getting information. Instead of just reading content on your blog or email, they get to hear your voice through podcasts. This makes your brand more personable. Overtime, people will be more familiar of your voice and presentation style.

Building a relationship with your audience helps in building trust. Once you gain their trust, it would be easier for you to turn them into paying customers. After all, people are more likely to buy something from someone they trust.

4 Reasons Why Your Business Should Use Video Marketing

The use of video in content marketing is on the rise. A lot of businesses are centering their marketing strategies on videos to present content in a more personal, compelling way.

Here are 4 reasons why your business should use video marketing.

Capture the attention of people

Among the different types of content, video content seem to be the most effective in capturing people’s attention. With the sheer amount of new content being published on a daily basis, it can be difficult to cut through the noise. For some people, reading a long blog post can be boring. In an age of short attention span, video makes it easier for time-constrained viewers to consume and digest complex content in a shorter amount of time. If you want to capture the attention of your target audience, try creating more videos.

Higher engagement

According to a study that was conducted by Moz, videos get a lot more engagement as compared to other types of content such plain text posts or photos. In the said study, they revealed that posts with videos receive nearly 300% more inbound links.

There are numerous types of videos that you can use for your business. You can create demonstrations, animated explainer videos or how-to videos. You may also compile photos and videos from people who use your products and use it to promote your products. No matter what video you choose, make sure that the videos you create are congruent with your overall style and ethos of your brand.

Improve SEO

Contrary to what most people think, Google doesn’t just use text-based content to assess the relevancy of your web page to a specific keyword. It also takes into account other types of content you use, including photos, videos, and a combination of text and photos.

For best results, we suggest that you include a transcript of your video. Not only will it be beneficial for your audience; it can also help search engines to understand the relevancy of the video. Also, don’t forget to include the keywords in your video’s meta tags.

Video is mobile-friendly

Most people do almost everything on their smartphone. They use it to communicate with their family, friends, and colleagues, research information, schedule meetings, and even order a pizza. Almost half of the adult population say they can’t live without their smartphones.

In today’s digital world, videos can easily be accessed with a click of a button. By incorporating videos to your marketing strategy, you get to communicate your desired message and encourage your desired action.

In the last decade, social media became the most influential marketing tool. Every business, big and small, has incorporated social media into their marketing campaign.

Social media can benefit your business in a number of ways. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of business owners fail despite their hard work. Myths about why and how to use social media persist. Believing these myths will only cripple your marketing campaign.

Here are some of the most common social media myths that hold business owners back. It’s time to bust these myths.

Social media is only for young people

Some people think that social media is just for millennials and the younger generation. That’s not really an accurate picture of social media users today. In fact, studies suggest that a huge majority of the U.S. adult population is on Facebook. 52% of adults aged 55-64 has a social media account.

Almost everybody is on social media. Having a business account will help you reach your target audience. If you don’t already have one for your business, then you’re losing a lot of great opportunities.

Set up an account in every social media channel to maximize reach

We all know that social media makes it easier for businesses to connect with their audience. But that doesn’t mean that you should set up and maintain an account in every platform. If you do, you’ll only be wasting your time.

In order to yield great results, you need to know which platform your audience frequently use and then focus your marketing efforts there. Maintaining a presence across different platforms can help your business, but if it isn’t helping you out, just cut it loose.

You need a lot of followers to succeed

Most people think that more is always better. Sure, having millions of followers is great. It means that people are familiar with your brand. But more than the number of followers, what’s more important is the type of followers you have.

Let’s say you have 100,000 followers. Sure, that’s a great thing. But it won’t benefit your business if majority of these people are not reading or responding to your posts. What you need to focus on is interaction. It doesn’t matter if you only have 1,500 followers, just as long as these people are actually interested in what you’re selling. Having lots of likes is only valuable if you have the right people following you.

Not too long ago, people would visit the local stores and endure the long lines just to get the things they need. Today, however, people prefer to shop online. In fact, studies revealed that consumers make 51% of their purchases online.

With the growth on online retail and shopping, many of you probably have an existing e-commerce business or looking to start an online business.

Here are some tips for creating a successful online business.

Bring your products to life

Product photography can mean the difference between losing customers and making a sale. High quality product photos are a must when trying to persuade people to buy your stuff.

Internet users are bombarded with ads, emails and news stories. With so many businesses vying for their attention, you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of your target audience. Unique and visually appealing photos can help you do just that. If you’re selling clothes, we recommend that you hire a model. This way, people will have an idea how the clothes look like when worn.

Clean and user-friendly design

A professionally-designed and user-friendly website can go a long way in the success of your online business. It also adds credibility and will help increase trust in your company.

According to studies, 42% of online shoppers base their opinion of a business based on the overall design of their website. Majority of consumers didn’t push through with the sale because the site has poor aesthetics.

Fast loading time

An average person has an attention span of 8 seconds. Yes, you read that right. They want to get things they want fast. This is why we’re in the age of fast – fast cars, fast foods and fast websites.

Survey revealed that people expect websites to load in 2 seconds. They would leave the site if it doesn’t load within 4 seconds. Slow loading time can drastically affect your sales. People aren’t going to stick around if it takes a while for your website to load.

Easy payment process

Most people prefer to shop online because it’s more convenient. As such, you want   to make the shopping process easier for them. The more methods of payment you offer, the more likely a customer will buy.

Credit cards and Paypal are the quickest and easiest ways for customers to pay. You may also offer cash on delivery, money order, personal cheque, direct deposit into your bank account.

Tips for creating a successful online business | How to create an online business | Internet business | Ecommerce business | Online business | How to create an ecommerce business | building a business online | successful business | ecommerce how to

Nothing is more frustrating than spending time, money and effort only to find out that you’re not getting the results you want. You sent out emails, printed flyers and blasted your social media followers. Despite the effort and hard work, you’re still not getting the leads you need to grow your company.

If you’re having trouble generating qualified leads, you are not alone. There are several reasons why you’re not getting the leads you deserve. Here are some of them.

You’re targeting the wrong audience

When working on your marketing campaign, the first and most important things you need to do is to identify your target audience. This is a critical step that shouldn’t be skipped. If you don’t know who your target audience is, how could you possibly attract one?

Learn as much as you can about your target audience – demographic, interest, buying habits etc. If you fail to identify accurate buyer personas, you may end up reaching too broad of an audience or marketing to the wrong customers.

Your content sounds like a sales pitch

Creating new content is a great way to capture the attention of your audience and generate leads. But if your content sounds like a sales pitch, then people are not going to notice them. With the amount of advertisements we see every day, people learn to ignore them and focus on things they need instead.

If you want to capture the attention of your target audience, you need to come up with unique, interesting and informative content. Share your knowledge with them. Write blogs on a regular basis and make sure they are share-worthy. Eventually, people will see you as an expert and convert into a loyal reader or a customer.

You didn’t provide a call to action

A lot of marketers and business owners will take the necessary steps to acquire qualified leads. Your customers are actually where you want them to be. The problem is that you failed to provide a clear call to action.

People don’t know what exactly it is you want them to do unless you tell them. Keep your call to action simple – subscribe to our newsletter, get a quote now, contact us today.

You’re not active on social media

We know how powerful social media is. It allows you to interact and build a relationship with your target audience. If you are looking to drive traffic to your website, we highly recommend that you share your content on social media. With just a few minutes, you’ll be able to reach thousands and thousands of people. Not everyone who visits your site will turn into a paying customer, but you need traffic to get qualified leads.
How your business can generate leads | Business leads online | Email incentives | Email opt-ins | Content upgrades

How your business can generate leads | Business leads online | Email incentives | Email opt-ins | Content upgrades

 

Running a business in the digital age has its perks. It also can be incredibly difficult. Retail stores need to rethink their sales channels and social media networks get you sucked into a deep abyss if you aren’t careful. Over and over again, however, we see business owners make the same mistake. It is based off a misconception that can not only hurt the long term success of your business, but can also keep you from ever getting off the ground in the first place.

The most common misconception about digital marketing is that digital marketing replaces the need to make personal relationships.

When we first create social media accounts for clients, we have to consistently change our client’s mindset about what their networks will do for them. Our clients want to see their networks boom, which can be a great goal, but to what end? Would you rather have a small network of devoted customers who trust you and help sell for you or a large network of individuals who don’t even recognize your name, let alone buy from you?

Many times the client who wants and expects the large network then stops their in person networking and relationship building thinking that one post per day is actually going to lead to new sales. Though, again, if your network is active and trusts you, this may do the trick, but for businesses, you can and should never stop your personal relationship building.

The digital age has made many business owners lazy when it comes to getting their word out. They sit online wondering why nobody has come knocking on their door. Those who hustle, however, reap the benefits.

You now have access to millions of people, if you only reach out. My recommendation for clients is to find the individuals who are are your level or a step above you that you admire and wish to connect with. Start following their social media accounts and commenting on their posts. As you do this, share their posts, too, and tag them so they can a notification that you are publishing their content.

From here… reach out! Write an email or direct message the individual. Let them know how much you’ve enjoyed their articles on X, Y, Z and then get straight to the point. What are your goals for reaching out for them? Do you want to run a joint webinar? Do you have an article that you think their audience would enjoy or benefit from?

The more clear you are, the more likely you will receive a reply. Of course, leading up to this point you’ve been interacting with them on their social media and blogs, so you should already have some name recognition.

In addition to digital networking, keep up your local networking.

Meeting with people and groups keeps us on our toes and from moving away from what the market needs. It helps us refine our message and get real time feedback from individuals we know and trust. This blog post  goes into more detail about why networking groups can transform your business and how to get involved.

To make sure that you aren’t making the biggest mistake in the digital age, continually get out of your comfort zone and form actual relationships with people you admire who are one step ahead of you. Even if the relationships start online, you are still treating the account handle or email as a person, and that individual respond accordingly.

Do you still network in person? Have you succeeded at reaching out to an individual you now partner with online?

Be sure to share your success stories!

The Most Common Misconception About Digital Marketing. Running a business in the digital age has its perks. It also can be incredibly difficult. Retail stores need to rethink their sales channels and social media networks get you sucked into a deep abyss if you aren't careful. Over and over again, however, we see business owners make the same mistake. It is based off a misconception that can not only hurt the long term success of your business, but can also keep you from ever getting off the ground in the first place.

The following template can be used to build a sales page that converts!

Step 1: Your headline: Keep your course title clear, but use the subheading to be descriptive and focus on how the item can transform your life. Below this include your first call to action button.

Step 2: Description: Keep this to 2-4 short paragraphs and focus on what it can transform.

Step 3: Add a Case Study or Testimonial: Include an image or video, name, and links to appropriate pages. If you are just started, ask your friends or other people you have helped.

Step 4: Add your second Call to Action button

Step 5: Introduce yourself! Give a bio block or a video. Make sure you answer the questions of why people should work with you.

Step 6: Add details about your offer or course. Start bringing up the class curriculum. Here you want the module titles and lecture titles.

Step 7: Include a second Case Study or Testimonial

Step 8: Answer any questions you often receive from your students or clients. Focus on answering objections people may have. Think about why would people not purchase your course?

Step 9: Add in your third Call to Action button

Take a step back and you are all set!

9 Steps to Create a Sales Page that Converts. Incredibly easy guide for your sales pages [Sales Pages for Online Course]

Working with businesses owners we see a lot of mistakes and successes. Especially for the new business or freelancer, the mistakes below can completely destroy your business before it has the chance to succeed.

Mistake #1: Striving for Perfection

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

– Salvador Dali

As a type A perfectionist, I struggled with this. It also is the number one thing I see people starting a business struggle with, as well. Your business is your baby and you are pouring your heart and sole into making it a success, but being too wrapped up in the little things can keep your from actually going out and finding clients. If you find yourself:

  • Stressing over your logo
  • Tweaking every aspect of your website
  • Rereading your introduction email over and over to make it just right (but still not hitting send)
  • Working on perfecting your elevator speech before you attend your first networking group

then you may be focusing too much on being a perfectionist. Trust me, though thoughtful branding can help you land more clients, if you are receiving personal referrals, it isn’t going to stop you from getting paying clients. People choose who they are going to work with based on your personal connection not because of what your logo looks like. Then there is your website… Perfection for every site is a moving target. Your products and services will change. You will notice contacts respond more to one aspect of your business rather than another. As for the next two points, you are procrastinating! It is okay to want to define your messaging, but just getting out there and putting yourself out to prospects is far more important. Sure you want to make sure your messaging is just right when you reach out to that dream prospect or mentor, but these shouldn’t be your first contact. The best part about putting yourself out there before you think you are ready is that you get to understand what the market actually wants and needs! When I first started Boundless Marketing, I had my dream service offerings in mind. Turned out that nobody even understood what I was talking about! There wasn’t a market. I drastically shifted my messaging and began signing contracts almost immediately.

Mistake #2: Thinking you can get clients just by posting things online.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Marinate on that for a minute.”

– Robert T. Kiyosaki

The internet and social media has shifted many of our mindsets about how you can get clients. Even through online channels you need to create a personal relationship with your network. Just posting your blog posts online isn’t going to cut it. I recently signed up for a program to Gain 100 Followers in 3 Days, just to see how other professionals where growing and starting their email lists. Guess what, these influential bloggers and business owners all start int the same place – asking friends, colleagues, clients, and prospects individually if they wanted to join their email list! If you find yourself:

  • Wondering why your networks haven’t converted into paying clients
  • Haven’t asked your mom, sibling, aunt, and grandparent if they want to join your list
  • Are frustrated seeing all these other people succeed

Then you may just be making this mistake. Start going to networking groups and collecting business cards. Take the email address you collect and shoot out a quick note following the template below :

“Hi NAME, I recently met you at EVENT NAME and loved learning about your business. I am in the process of starting an email list focusing on 3 TOPICS YOU WILL BE WRITING ABOUT, and was wondering if you would be interested in receiving the emails. My goal with list is to LIST BENEFITS. Are you interested in learning more?”

Not everyone will say they are interested, but the ones who do will help you grow your contacts quickly! We work with a lot of businesses who see varying amount of success through their social media marketing. The ones who see a return quickly are the clients who are complementing our marketing management services with their own outreach and networking. To see the best results from your marketing, you need to treat social media as you do in person networking. Create personal relationships and treat handles and usernames as individual people not just another account.

Mistake #3: Not Understanding Your Own Values

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”

– Roy E. Disney

Okay, so this one does tie into the branding of your business, but it really is getting out being your authentic self. Knowing your values helps you to better manage your time, set priorities, and work with clients you enjoy. If you find yourself:

  • Wishing there were more hours in the day
  • Being drained after meetings with prospects
  • Continually wishing you had done X, Y, or Z

Then you may be making this mistake. One of my first clients taught me this lesson the hard way. My values are Relationships (family), Creativity, Challenges, Health, Experiences, and Knowledge. Shortly after I began my business full time, I traveled to my brother’s wedding. I was ecstatic to see him tie the knot and spend time with my family. Unfortunately, a new client nearly ruined my weekend. As a people pleaser, I started bending over backwards for the client and found myself anxiously checking email during the rehearsal dinner. I wasn’t being present. Finally, I recognized I would resent my actions if I didn’t shut off all devices to be there for my family. Sure there was a nasty email from my client, but we worked through our differences once the owner understood my boundaries. If you find yourself stressed about client conversations, I urge you to lay out boundaries, guidelines, and a list of responsibilities. You may loose some clients, but they are the people who take up 80% of your time. Think of all the other things you could do to grow your business if you had 80% of your time back!

What mistakes have you made in your own business that kept you from success?

3 Mistakes that can Ruin Your Business and What to do About Them. Working with businesses owners we see a lot of mistakes and successes. Especially for the new business or freelancer, the mistakes below can completely destroy your business before it has the chance to succeed.