Tue, 30 September 2014
Today’s podcast is a special treat (pun somewhat intended!) Beth Walburger is the owner of Little Delights Cakes – a small business where she creates cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops. She does it with tons of artistic flair too!
Sarah and I were so excited to welcome our first “foodie” mom to the show. There are certainly some unique challenges to running a food-based business, and Beth guides us through many of those.
Beth’s business started when she began spending more time at home due to her youngest two sons’ disabilities. Knowing that she wanted to be around to care for them but also wanting something just for her, Little Delights grew from a hobby to a small business that helps their family.
(One important note: Beth’s business is still considered a hobby with income. Listen to the podcast to discover the important distinction and how it helps Beth to keep doing what she loves!)
Listen to Discover:
01:30 – How Beth Crafted a Business that Works Around Her Family’s Needs
Crafting a Business with Family First
Beth’s fourth son was born with special needs. With a tracheotomy and a feeding tube, their family’s life was drastically changed. Beth was home more often taking care of her son. 18 months later, their youngest son was also born with some of the same special needs.
What started as a hobby (making more elaborate birthday cakes for her own kids, creating the perfect frosting recipe, and emailing her friends to offer her services) became a small business as word of mouth spread throughout their California town and her own friends shared her talents with their connections on social media.
Too Much Growth – How Beth Staves off Overwhelm
As word of her talent at creating the perfect cake spread, Beth started to feel completely overwhelmed.
She avoids this by simply setting a firm cut-off date for more elaborate cakes. She’s completely honest with customers who may want something fancy on short notice. She simply can’t do it.
Beth says that most customers understand that if they want something very elaborate and specific, they need to get in touch with her many weeks in advance. If not, she can offer simple cupcakes or something else.
Simply saying “no” when she can’t handle any more orders has been a huge help to Beth.
(Sometimes it’s hard for us to say “no” when we feel like we’re turning business away, but when you have talent like Beth, the business will continue to roll in! Beth prioritizes her family and sanity by saying “no” when the time calls for it.)
Product Planning and Production
Inventory is a completely different beast with a food-based business. Beth’s secret is to make the cakes ahead, wrap them really, really well, and freeze them for up to two weeks. She decorates her cakes the day before the event. Fondant can be created off of the cake in advance as well.
(Check out this adorable Frozen Cake Beth made! Wow, she's got talent!)
60,000 Pinterest Followers – How She Did it!
In 2 years, Beth has built a following of over 61,000 (as of the podcast airdate, 9/30/2014)
(This is pretty incredible since many bloggers like Abby consider Pinterest to be their highest traffic-referrer. Way to go, Beth!)
Guidance for Her Business
At each step in her business, Beth re-evaluates things, prays about them, and asks herself, “do I feel good about this? Should I move forward?" So far, the answer has always been yes.
Beth says her first goal is to be a mom, and the other stuff is (no pun intended!) icing on the cake.
Hobby with Income + Happy IRS
Beth is able to work out of her home kitchen, because she is technically a “Hobby with Income.” If she wanted to get a business license, she’d have to re-do her kitchen in order to adhere to some very strict health codes.
Some moms in the food industry choose to rent out a kitchen so that they can be an official business.
Beth says, there’s a certain amount of money you can make before you have to be a business. It’s a pretty high level of income, so she’s not worried about it at this point.
As she says, being a hobby with income is a good way to go when you’re getting started.
(Seriously, what a great idea! For moms out there considering a food business, there might not be as many barriers to entry as you think!)
Best Business Advice
(Our takeaway: Passion + Value = Business Growth)
Beth's Website & Social Media
Wasn't it fun getting to know Beth and her story? What do you think: Will you give Pinterest some more thought and serious strategy? What about taxes and business details? Is there anything you'll change?
Let's chat in the comments!
~ Beth Anne
Direct download: Episode204520Beth20Walburger_mixdown20final202.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:27am EDT
Fri, 26 September 2014
If you're a creative entrepreneur or blogger, you may not have given much thought to creating an email list. "Isn't that for big retailers and marketers with product launches?" you might ask.
While email is certainly for those people, it's FOR YOU too.
Email is one of the most effective ways for any brand, Etsy shop owner, or blogger to connect with their readers, fans, and customers. Today on the podcast, I hope I can bring that point home!
The purpose here isn't just to convince you that having an email list is important, but to hold your hand and show you how easy it can be to set up that list and start growing it. You can SO do this!
On second thought, holding hands feels a little weird. Why don't we just chat in the kitchen while our kids wreak havoc around us? That's a more realistic picture.
(P.S. I fully expect some hugs and high-fives a year from now when everyone reading this has a thriving email list. Nope, it doesn't matter how much you complain or drag your feet, we're doing this, and as I love to tell Holden: the sooner you start the sooner you'll be done and you can go play!)
On the podcast:
Stats on Email Marketing (convinced, yet?)
4 Places Where Your Email Opt-in Box Belongs
5 Ideas for a Compelling Opt-in Offer
Derek Halpern Twitter versus Email Experiment (you have to watch the video to hear about it)
What do you think? Are you convinced that your email list is important? If you have questions on getting started, putting your opt-in box on your site, or creating a great offer, don't worry! We'll be tackling email marketing for the next two weeks of 52 Weeks to a Better Business. Join us, we'd love to have you!
~ Beth Anne
Tue, 23 September 2014
We all have expertise on certain topics that could be of help to others. You may not realize that your current job or hobbies could be leveraged into a successful online business. Jocelyn Sams is proof that this is the case. In fact, she and her husband Shane have had a 6-figure month in their online business.
Talking with Jocelyn has taught us that if you focus, work hard, and keep going, six figures can absolutely be achieved. Jocelyn and her husband have transitioned from being teachers to working full-time in the online business space.
Jocelyn is a certified library media specialist for grades K-12, and her website is ElementaryLibrarian.com. She has a blog, podcast, and frequently does webinars where she shares great advice for elementary school librarians. This expertise has paid off in the form of lesson plans for elementary school librarians that Jocelyn sells on her site.
Listen to hear her incredible story, along with her best tips for growing your audience and becoming a pro at sales without being “salesy” about it!
On the Podcast
02:17 – From 11 Cents to a Successful Business
From 11 Cents to a Successful Business
Jocelyn’s husband Shane started listening to podcasts about growing an online business while he was mowing the lawn one day. He was so excited about everything that he was learning, that he stopped the mower, ran inside and told Jocelyn all about it.
Knowing that Shane is a “shiny objects” kind of guy, she smiled and nodded and assumed that he’d be onto his next big thing soon.
This time, things were different. Shane created some websites, and he kept researching and learning all he could about making money online. He was convinced that he could prove to Jocelyn that this would work.
Despite a lack of early success, Shane stuck with it and kept going. One night, as he and Jocelyn were relaxing with their computers, he started screaming excitedly that they had made 11 cents!!! Someone had clicked on one of the Google Adsense Ads he had on a site.
Jocelyn said that this was a lightbulb moment for her in thinking, “woah, people will actually give you money online.”
She thought to herself, “If he can make some money, then maybe I can too.”
Turning a Problem into a Solution that Others Will Pay For
Jocelyn was an elementary school librarian, and her principal had been asking her to create some very specific lesson plans that met national standards. She didn’t have time to work on these plans during the school day.
She wondered if there was a way for her to purchase lesson plans, edit them a bit to make them her own, and save herself a lot of time and effort.
She started searching and couldn’t find what she was looking for, but she knew that if she had this problem, chances were there were other librarians with the same pain point.
Over the summer, she created ElementaryLibrarian.com to test the idea that she could sell library lesson plans online. She knew in the back of her mind that if the project completely failed, at least she’d have the lesson plans ready for herself when she returned to school in the fall.
When Jocelyn set up her website, an email opt-in box was one of the first things she added. She had learned from Shane that collecting emails was very important for an online business.
For her email opt-in offer, Jocelyn gave away an entire MONTH of lesson plans for free! Essentially, she wanted to see if people were interested in the lesson plans and get them onto her email list.
After she gauged interest and had quite a few people who wanted her lesson plans, she went to market selling the second month of plans.
When Jocelyn first started selling, she only had two months of lesson plans completed. She continued creating more lesson plans throughout the school year. Jocelyn essentially worked two jobs that year. One, as an elementary school librarian, the second as an online business owner, and let’s be honest, the third and fourth jobs as a mom to two young children!
(We think Jocelyn’s strategy of just creating one small product at a time was so smart! She didn’t kill herself creating a year of lesson plans before she proved that the market for her product existed. She created each month of plans only after she knew that there were customers ready to buy.)
Growing Your Audience
Jocelyn shared 4 Killer Strategies for growing your audience online. The best news? They’re all free!
The Power of Webinars
Jocelyn shares that she and Shane are still new to webinars, but hosting them has been wildly successful for their business.
Her tips and best practices for Webinars:
A Six Figure Month
Jocelyn and Shane had a huge product launch in the summer of 2014. Their goal was to have a six figure summer of sales between June, July, and August. Instead, they accomplished their goal in July alone!
Jocelyn confesses that sometimes their business and life still doesn’t seem real! They see themselves as just “regular people” who work really hard and don’t give up.
The Tipping Point
After Shane and Jocelyn had been doing business online for about a year, they had their first five-figure month in July of 2013. In August, they almost tripled their July sales!
The year before, they essentially had two full-time jobs with teaching and running their online business. They both knew that they were forfeiting their quality of life to grow their business.
In August of 2013, Shane and Jocelyn gave their notice and quit their jobs as teachers. Jocelyn confesses that she left a job that she really liked, but at the same time, she knew that if she wanted to have more time with her family, it was the right move for them.
What Does Life Look Like Now?
Shane and Jocelyn get to work when they want to (and play when they want to!)
They travel more frequently and do a lot of work on the road. They use childcare during the week, but they take every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off to have 3 solid days as a family.
Jocelyn’s advice for those who are trying to grow an online business?
Jocelyn and Shane’s “Flipped Lifestyle”
With their recent success, Shane and Jocelyn have been fielding many requests from others wanting to know how to start and grow their own businesses. Since there are only so many hours in the day, they started their own podcast and website dedicated to helping others achieve what they’ve achieved online. You can find it at FlippedLifestyle.com
Hiring and Training Virtual Assistants
Shane and Jocelyn use O-desk to find virtual assistants. They list job descriptions and wait for people to respond. After that, they do a basic Skype interview with their top contenders to see who will be a good fit for the job.
To train their VA’s and save themselves a lot of headaches, they create screen capture videos to explain exactly what they want done. Then, when the VA has questions, they can refer back to the video.
Jocelyn also tries to give her VA’s repetitive tasks that don’t involve a lot of independent decision-making to make the process run more smoothly.
She recommends Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker * to help you get started in hiring help online.
For website design, Shane and Jocelyn use Jocelyn’s sister Andrea Whitmer at Nuts and Bolts Media
Jocelyn’s Favorite Online Tool
Canva is a graphic design website that has so many templates to help you create cover pages, facebook ads, or just about anything you might need. Jocelyn says that it’s super fast to use and create something great.
Jocelyn’s Advice on Growing a Business
Focus on one thing at a time.
Jocelyn believes that simply getting things done is the most important thing. There are a lot of people who want to work on one project for a little while, then float to another project, then come back to something later. When you work like that, it’s difficult to fully complete a project or to really do it well.
She and Shane set long-term, short-term and immediate goals for their business. Based on those goals, they decide what they’re going to work on next.
Should You Walk Away?
Although Shane and Jocelyn have experienced great success online, she shares 3 factors to consider if you’re on the verge of giving up.
Jocelyn thinks that paid strategies will likely tell you more than free ones. If you’re paying for people to see your product and they’re still not buying it, that may indicate that the market is not there.
A Business Book to Help You Define your Customer
Jocelyn recommends Start with Why by Simon Sinek *
The premise of the book is that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. She says that the book will help you to define your ideal customer and solidify what you should focus on moving forward.
You’ll have to listen to the end to hear Jocelyn’s Funny Mom Moment, courtesy of her five year-old Isaac!
Where Can You Find Jocelyn?
(*asterisk denotes affiliate link. We use affiliate links for products that we have personally used and loved or products that come highly recommended from business moms we trust)
I love Jocelyn's advice on just focusing on one thing. What's the one thing you need to do to grow your business right now. See how we're focusing on one thing right now.
Thu, 18 September 2014
If you are a handmade crafter, selling your products at craft shows can be a great way to earn money and get instant feedback. Customer feedback is a vital part of running a successful handmade business, and there is honestly not a better way to get feedback than by talking to customers in person.
For those of you who don't know, Beth Anne and I got started in business initially by selling handmade jewelry with other family members. After several years we decided to go in a different direction, but ultimately the experiences we gained running that handmade business have been invaluable for us in our other endeavors. With the handmade jewelry business we attended several craft shows each year, so these tips are derived from my personal experience. Picking the perfect craft show to sell your goods is important because craft shows cost money, and they take a lot of time. And time and money are obviously things you don't want to waste. So follow my tips to picking the perfect craft fair for selling your handmade artisan wares!
#1 Start Visiting Craft Shows Now!
The best way to discover if a craft show is a good fit for you, is to visit it before you apply. Scope out the fair for attendance, type of customer, type of vendors, table setups, and more. Vendors are a friendly bunch, so talk with them about their success at this particular event, and other venues they regularly sell at. Also keep in mind that applications for fall craft shows are often due in the spring, so get your name on the application mailing list early.
#2 Consider the Audience of the Craft Show
Does the demographic of the craft show attendees fit well with your product? If you have a hip product geared for 20 somethings and the average age of attendees is 75, take that into consideration. In addition, are the other vendors selling outdated crafts, or would your product fit in nicely with the selection offered? Also consider the neighborhood in which the craft show is located. A craft show in an area with more disposable income will probably result in attendees willing to spend more money, which is always a good thing!
It may help you to think in terms of what you will need to sell to break even. If a show costs $80 per table, and your product costs $8 each, you will need to sell 10 items to break even. Also keep in mind that the cost of a show is more than just the booth fee. There will be costs involved in making a pleasing display as well as cost of goods sold.
#4 Bigger is not Always Better
We once participated in a show (without attending first!) where the tables were so close together, the aisles were cramped, there were two buildings to get through, all of which did not make for a pleasant shopping environment for patrons. In addition, if you saw something early in the day, it would have been next to impossible to get back to their booth later in the day to make a purchase. Although this event was well attended, our sales did not reflect that. In this particular case, the big show was not better. On the other hand, we sold at a very large outdoor show each year that had a very pleasant shopping environment with wide aisles and easy access. This show was consistently our best each year.
#5 Consider Outdoor vs. Indoor
There is something about an outdoor craft event which is just so nice and makes for pleasant shopping. The outdoor event we sold at each year was consistently our best show, except for the one year we had bad weather. Weather can be a major draw back for outdoor shows, in addition, the cost to set up an outdoor booth is often greater than an indoor booth. An outdoor booth requires a tent, tables, chairs, and extra provisions, while at an indoor event the tables and chairs are often provided, and tent is not needed. It certainly takes more effort to set up an outdoor booth, but the atmosphere for an outdoor show can be really nice.
#6 Consider Amenities
The main amenity to consider here is electricity. If you rely on electricity for your display or product, be sure to look into availability early. Many venues have limited electricity or they charge extra for electricity.
#7 Only Handmade?
A craft and "vendor" show is going to have more than just handmade crafts. A wide variety of businesses will be present. Most likely you will have the most success at a show that only features handcrafted items.
#8 Is it Juried?
A juried show requires you to submit photos with your application. High quality craft shows are most often juried. If a craft show is willing to accept anyone, the quality of combined crafters will be lower.
#9 Is it Online?
I mention this one with a caveat, most of the shows we attended were well established local events that did not necessarily have an online presence, and we did very well at these shoes. But obviously everything being online is the way of the world, so especially if your item is geared to a young crowd, then I think a craft show with an online presence would be important.
#10 Mix it up
Even after finding the perfect craft show to sell your products, you may still need to mix it up a bit. We found that year after year the same people attend the same craft shows. So if they bought from you last year, they may not need to buy more, even if they loved their purchase. Market saturation can occur with your products, and therefore sales will decrease a little each year. Attending different craft shows in different areas will help.
Hopefully by following these 10 tips, you will find a fantastic craft show to sell your handmade items and make a killing! Craft shows are a time-intensive endeavor, so you want to choose carefully.
Do you have any more tips for selecting a craft show?
Tue, 16 September 2014
Talking to go-getter business moms is always a great time! What I love most about Sandy’s story is that she saw a gaping hole in the marketplace, and rather than throw up her hands, she got to work creating the perfect product to meet her need. By creating SpenceBaby, Sandy solved not only her own problem of finding fashionable, organic baby clothing, but she solved the problem that many other moms were facing as well.
Did we mention that Sandy and her husband have created and grown SpenceBaby while both of them continue to work full-time day jobs? As Sandy says, “Sometimes you have to make some sacrifices in order to make things happen.”
Sandy and her husband Paul are definitely making things happen. They recently returned from the ABC Expo in Las Vegas - the largest baby and child expo in the world! Scroll down to see pictures of their booth – it looked AMAZING!
If you’ve ever considering launching your own clothing line, this episode is packed with some insider info on how you might be able to get started. For any other moms out there with a brilliant business idea that seems too big to achieve, listen on!
On the Podcast:
01:06 – Turning a Problem into a Business
Learn even more on the podcast, such as what a GOTS certification is all about, why it’s so important to Sandy, who designs the clothes for Spencebaby, and what customers have to say about the quality of their product.
Turning a Problem into a Business
When Sandy discovered that her sister-in-law was pregnant and expecting a girl, she began the hunt for adorable, organic baby clothing. Although she was able to find some organic options, there wasn’t much style involved! The same uninspired onesie and romper styles kept turning up.
Not long after this, Sandy discovered that she was pregnant too. Creating fashionable, organic baby clothing became a passion. Her husband, Paul, has always been entrepreneurial, so together they started SpenceBaby, named in honor of their daughter, Spencer.
Finding a Supplier & Manufacturer
Finding the right manufacturer for their clothing line, as well as the right suppliers to source their fabrics proved to be a long process. Sandy and Paul knew that they wanted to use GOTS-certified suppliers and manufacturers.
For fashion newbies like us, Sandy explained that a GOTS certification covers so much more than just being “organic”. Organic fabrics are created without the use of pesticides, but a GOTS certification means that every step of the manufacturing process must be free of harmful or toxic chemicals. This regulates the dyes that can be used in the fabrics, the materials that can be used in the buttons and zippers on a clothing item, and so much more.
To find a GOTS-certified manufacturer that was reputable and trustworthy, Sandy did lots of searching online. She found Alibaba to be an excellent source as it’s user-friendly and provided tons of options for her to explore.
Once she found some different options, she was able to get samples made and sent to her and then decide which suppliers and manufacturer to use.
The Beauty of Bootstrapping
Sarah and I were so surprised to learn that Sandy and Paul started SpenceBaby using only their own capital. They are bootstrapping it all the way!
Sandy says that they thought long and hard about this venture. They really believe in their product, so they decided to jump in and do it!
Guess what?! Sandy designs all the clothes for SpenceBaby too. She has 20 years’ experience as a visual merchandise manager, and she considers everything from the cut, sizing, colors, style, and all the little details in each piece.
1 Day, 8 Babies, & a Beautiful Photo Shoot
We’ve included a link to SpenceBaby’s Fall Lookbook (isn’t it gorgeous?!) and we just had to pick Sandy’s brain on how she pulled this one off!
(If it had been up to me to handle a photo shoot with 8 babies, we all would have wound up in a crying, spit-up-filled heap!)
Tips for a Great Photo Shoot
(This cutie certainly looks happy to be photographed! Sandy gave us so many adorable, gorgeous photos that we just had to share as many as we could with you throughout this blog post! Hope you enjoy them!)
How She Does It
Sandy still works a full-time job, so she’s up at 6, gets Spencer up at 7, then it’s off to daycare and work. At the end of the day, she and Spencer take the dogs out, then her husband arrives home. Then it’s cooking dinner, watching Spencer, bath-time, bedtime for baby, and then finally at that point, Sandy can begin work on SpenceBaby.
"Everything happens when Spencer is sleeping,” says Sandy.
She also mentions that her husband, Paul does the website work, and he does most of that on the weekends while Sandy is watching Spencer.
As Sandy puts it, “we’re looking at it as a small sacrifice now for a big win later.”
Marketing – what works & what doesn’t
Thinking about partnering with bloggers for your business? Grab more info here.
Order Fulfillment, Inventory, & Staying Organized
Sandy and Paul fulfill all the orders from the website themselves. Some of their products are selling on Amazon, so fortunately those items are fulfilled there.
SpenceBaby has an excellent inventory system built into their website, and beyond that Sandy uses OfficeOnline and OneDrive so she has access to her excel and word docs whenever she needs them.
She uses Trello to make lists and organize her workflow.
Even Go-getters have Low Points
Sandy confesses that her lowest points are when she allows the fear of failure to take over. When she starts to wonder, “what if this doesn’t work?” she knows she’s keeping herself from simply doing the work that needs to be done.
Her husband Paul sometimes believes in her more than she believes in herself, and he pushes her to be better, work harder, and helps her when she’s feeling overwhelmed.
(Many of the other mom entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed talk about the importance of having their husband as a business partner and/or huge supporter of them. Having that extra support can make a huge difference!)
Making this Muddled World a Better Place…
Sandy’s favorite quote:
The ABC Expo
The ABC Expo (All Baby and Child) is the largest trade show for kids and baby in the world, and Sandy and Paul almost didn’t get in!
After first learning about the Expo, they realized that they had already missed the application deadline. Not easily deterred, they reached out to the expo and just asked, “Is it too late? We’re a new company and we’d love to be a part of this.”
Someone from the expo responded back and let them in!
Sandy reported back to us that the expo resulted in some great orders and lots of potential new clients. Congrats to you two!
Below are some photos of their booth at the expo. Isn’t it incredible?
Stay in touch with Sandy and SpenceBaby!
Thu, 11 September 2014
There are a number of ways to be a consistent blogger. The first is to blog on a consistent schedule. You want your readers to look forward to the next post that they know will come out on schedule. The second way to be consistent is to be consistently you. Write as if you were having a conversation with a friend. If you are trying to write like you're someone else, the façade will be difficult to keep up. By being genuinely and consistently you, a level of trust is developed between you and your readers. The third way to be consistent is to reliably produce good quality material. Followers will keep coming back to quality work, but will quickly lose interest if the quality is not there. Increase comments by being consistent; consistently blogging, consistently you, and consistent quality.
#2 Honor your Reader
Your readers are your most important asset and they should be treated that way. Kristen of The Frugal Girl does a great job at this. She takes down ads if they are too annoying to her readers, and she is very careful to only recommend products she truly loves. In this way she is developing a deep level of trust between her and her readers. A follower who feels like they can trust the blogger is much more likely to comment. Another way to honor your reader and build trust is to reply and respond to as many comments and emails as possible. Readers will be ecstatic that you took the time to reply to their comment or respond to their email, which will only encourage them to comment and engage even more.
#3 Ask for Feedback or Help
Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy does a great job of asking her readers for feedback at the end of each post. She says things like "What do you think about this? How do you handle that situation? Have you ever done this?" By just asking for feedback, you are much more likely to get that feedback from your readers. Asking readers for help and advice can also really get the ball rolling. In one particular post, Kristen asked for some help to find a good recipe for extra cabbage she had. Cabbage! And the response was huge. People love to provide help when they can. Ask for help and you will get floods of comments. Related to this, Kristen was getting inundated with reader questions emailed to her. She wanted her answers to benefit more than just one reader, so she turned reader questions into Q&A posts. Genius! After she answers the question, she asks other readers to weigh in on their answers too. By showcasing reader questions, she is showing that she truly values the questions and input of her readers.
#4 Be Interesting and Brave
The fact of the matter is, if you're not interesting, no one will read, and no one will comment. People want to hear about the part of you that makes you different from everyone else. Discuss things that truly matter to you. And if you're willing, be brave and share your opinion on a controversial or sensitive topic. Controversy always generates a lot of comments! Share your opinion in a conversational way, not like a lecture. Set a tone for kind discussion, and your readers will follow suit in their comments. Be prepared to listen to what your readers have to say on the topic too. Sensitive subjects don't have to be taboo, they can result in a lot of great discussion.
#5 Make a Spelling Mistake
This tip, that I got from a ProBlogger article, I think is hysterical! People love to correct your spelling mistakes! Can you spot the spelling mistake on this blog post? I'm sure I made a boar load of grammar errors too! Find them if you can!
So how about you? How do you think that Anne and Kristen get such great reader comments? What are things you do to increase comments on your site? We would love to hear from you!
Tue, 9 September 2014
Kristen of thefrugalgirl.com is a perfect example of blogging your passion. She was just the kindest, friendliest lady to chat with. (Do we say this about all the moms we interview?! Probably because it’s true.) Every mom just amazes us with her talents, resourcefulness, and motivation to keep going. Kristen is no exception. She’s been blogging about food waste, frugal living, and being content with less since 2008. Did we mention that she does all this while homeschooling her four children?
Thu, 4 September 2014
You work hard for your money... in the wee hours of the morning when your house is finally quiet and you can hear your own thoughts...in stolen moments during naptime or playtime... you've worked hard to grow your business or blog. You're ready to take it to the next level, but to do that, you might need to spend some of that hard-earned money.
A conference could be a great way to learn tons of new skills, come up with new ideas to market or grow your audience, or give you the opportunity to meet and connect with other influencers in your niche.
How do you know which conference is right for you?
It seems like there are about a million to choose from. (We haven't counted, but we're pretty sure there ARE a million!)
Although we wish we could push a magic button and out would pop the perfect conference for you, that's just not possible. (Or is it.... someone get on this business idea STAT!)
Instead, we'll walk you through 10 factors that we think are really important to consider as you decide on which conference may be right for you.
After all, your money and time are worth SO much! Before you click "buy now", we'll help you find the perfect fit.
The 10 Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Conference as a Busy Mom Entrepreneur
So I promised you a comparison chart with at least 8 conferences on it. I'll be honest, it doesn't look very pretty! The goal was to be really helpful, though, and if you open up the PDF of the conference chart below, you'll find that it's much easier to read and copy and paste the info that you need.
What do you think; is it helpful to have a comparison table like this one? I'd love to break it down further into just handmade conferences, blogging conferences, social media, etc. There are just SO many, and each one has unique offerings.
And a Pinnable Image so you won't forget to reference this list when you're ready to pick the perfect conference.
Will you be attending any conferences in the next year? If so, which ones? We'd love to hear from you and how you made your decision! Stay in touch!
~ Beth Anne
P.S. The only conference on our agenda at the moment is Social Media Success Summit. In the podcast, I talk a bit about our decision-making process. We hope to add more conferences to our schedule in 2015, and we'll keep you posted on where we'll be. It'd be so fun to meet some of you in person! We already think you're the best!
Tue, 2 September 2014
Jessica Rhodes is the founder of Entrepreneur Support Services, Inc. - the parent company to InterviewConnections.com. Interview Connections helps podcasters to find incredibly interesting, engaging podcast guests that match the focus of their show. Jessica has built a business around connecting others, and she has an incredible knack for it!
Interviewing Jessica was like catching up with an old friend. Maybe it’s our similar ages or the fact that despite having a successful business, she’s so laid-back and approachable.
Grab some coffee, kick your feet up, and follow Jessica’s journey from her colossal jump off of a cliff to a successful business as a young mom. We have a feeling you’ll be thinking of Jessica as an old friend too….(an old friend who has TONS of great advice on growing and running a business!)
What You’ll Learn on the Podcast:
01:49 - Jessica’s Huge Jump (and how she built the parachute on the way down!)
Jessica’s Huge Jump
When Jessica found out she was expecting, she knew she wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom. She told her boss that she would be leaving her position in 6 months when the baby came along. She had no “Plan B”, and her husband’s job wasn’t enough to support the family.
I think a lot of entrepreneurs are like that. We just jump off a cliff and build the parachute on the way down.
(We love Jessica’s bold move! She knew the life she wanted, and she went for it!)
How Connecting Others Became a Business
Jessica first starting working as a VA (virtual assistant) for her dad, Jim Palmer. One of the first things he asked her to do was to book him for interviews on podcasts. She and her father quickly realized how time-consuming this process can be, and she realized that there were probably other busy entrepreneurs out there who needed help booking interviews for their podcasts or being featured as guests on other shows.
Life as a Work-at-Home Mom
Jessica admits that life with a busy toddler looks much different than it did when Nathan was an infant. He used to sleep much more, and she would work on her laptop with him sleeping next to her.
Now that Nathan is a busy little guy (who sleeps much less!) Jessica needs more time to grow her business. She uses a stay-at-home Mom as her in-home nanny, which allows her to work from 9-3 on most days.
How Jessica Prevents Her Business From Taking Over Her Life
Jessica recently made the resolution to not look at email or facebook until she’s in her home office. This means that Nathan gets her undivided attention in the mornings and the late afternoons/evenings. (She admits that this change happened recently, so we should check in on her to see how it’s going!)
Firing Clients (and other challenges)
Jessica has had clients who made decisions that she didn’t agree with, and so she had to let them go. She admits that it was really discouraging to hand over a refunded payment, but ultimately, she has to do what’s right for her business. (Way to stick to your guns, Jessica!)
Other challenges that Jessica has faced included hiring the wrong people to outsource her work.
“It’s better to pay more to someone who does better work than to just spend a couple of bucks and annoy your clients.”
Where She Finds the Best Virtual Assistants
Jessica uses Elance to find her graphic designers.
She found one of her VA’s in a facebook group for VA’s. She now has a new VA to help her book interviews for her clients, and this VA happens to be a podcaster herself. (a win-win!)
Insider Advice: Jessica does not recommend using Fiverr to outsource your work. Individuals on Fiverr will publicly display their work to others, so your clients might be a little annoyed if they see their designs on the site!
Writing the Perfect Job Description for Freelance Work
• Be as specific as possible (spell out every task and detail of the job).
The Power of Relationships
Jessica has leveraged live conferences, mastermind groups, and business coaching to grow her business.
At conferences, she has the chance to solidify past relationships made online, meet new people and clients, and get new referrals for her business.
Through masterminds and coaching, Jessica gets really high-level advice from successful business people. She highly recommends investing in yourself and your business in these ways.
Jessica’s Killer Conference Strategy
This one is too good to spell out in writing! Skip to 19:24 to hear her story.
Choosing the Right Conferences
Jessica learns tons of marketing advice by attending the Glazer-Kennedy-Insider Conferences.
New Media Expo and Podcast Movement are two of her other favorites. Essentially, Jessica says, her clients are podcasters, so wherever they get together, she’s going to make sure she’s there too.
In addition, her dad, Jim Palmer, hosts the Dream Business Academy which she always attends.
Jessica’s Key to Project Management
Jessica uses this cloud-based project management software to keep track of all the projects she and her VA’s are working on.
She can set a task, give a due date, upload files, and avoid emails and spreadsheets.
Each of her clients at Interview Connections have access to their own projects so they can log in and check the status of things. (What a great idea!)
Why She Pays Herself Very Little Despite a Six-figure Business
A few months ago Jessica incorporated her business and started paying herself a salary from her business account.
She confesses that despite having a six-figure business, what she chooses to pay herself is very, very little so that she can keep re-investing in the business.
(There is an advantage to owning her own business; if the budget gets a little tight, Jessica can give herself a raise for the month!)
Jessica’s Plans for Growth
Jessica plans to take many of the day-to-day working in the business tasks off of her plate so that she can do everything she can to market her business.
She plans to put out another e-book and start doing tele-seminars. (Her first e-book is Podcast Interviews, and you can grab it in the Kindle store! yep, we're endorsing it with an affiliate link!)
As Jessica puts it, a business is something that you can leave, and things are still getting done.
The Best Business Advice
Jessica’s mastermind group has offered her great business advice as she grows.
The very best advice?
Focus on marketing and growing the business you already have instead of coming up with new ideas and services to offer.
(There may be a member of our team here at Brilliant Business Moms who REALLY needs to take this advice! Who me?! Naaaah.)
Why Moms Get Made Fun of the Most!
Jessica’s funny mommy moment had us all laughing. It’s totally true that as soon as you become a mom, your cool factor just disappears. (Who cares, right?! We’ve got bigger concerns.)
Where to Find Jessica:
Direct download: Episode203720jessica20rhoades20final_mixdown202.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT