Barbara Saunders delivered an excellent seminar last Thursday on business models based on multiple revenue streams. This article from her blog set the scene for the presentation. Barbara works with self-employed solo professionals (who she calls “Solo Pros”) to gain confidence, adopt smart business practices, and increase revenue. This is an excerpt of her article, full version here. Read her other posts on The International Association of Self-Employed Communications Professionals Blog here.
Be a Lion
The Cowardly Lion was the one that was always scared – “I do believe in spooks!” Yet he was the one that led the charge against the Wicked Witch and her monkey minions. Well, eventually…
Fear can be paralyzing. It robs us of our peace and potential. Being in business can be scary. Things can move fast – especially on the internet. You don’t have time for fear. I would love to empower you to turn your fear into excitement.
Tips To Help You Move On:
I’m not good enough.
One of the most common fears, especially for those that are recently laid off, is “I’m not good enough to have my own business”. Get over it already. You’re a professional with years of experience. Yes, there are some new technologies to learn to run your business. That’s good news. It makes business so easy now. Yes, there are some new marketing tactics to master. Think of it as on-the-job training. Jump in and start swimming.
There’s another angle to this. As creative professionals, we can tweak and edit until the cows come home. Guess what? No body cares if the comma is in the wrong place. Nobody cares if your image is a few pixels to the left. Just get on with it already. Get yourself out there. Listen to what your target market needs and create the solution for them. Keep it simple at first. The point is to move. The longer you wait and worry, the bigger your fears will become. Good is good enough, get on with it.
My own business might not provide me with a ‘guaranteed income’.
There are no guarantees in anything, move on. Remember that job you were laid off from? You worked hard and got laid off anyway. At least when it’s your own business you are the one that benefits from your own hard work. And when it’s not working, you can change it. You’re in control of where you’re going. That’s way better than any guarantees. Besides why should any guarantee put a limit on what you can earn?…
This is an excerpt of her article, full version here.
About the Author
Barbara Saunders is a publication designer and has run a successful solo pro business for more than a decade. She is the Director of the International Association of Self-Employed Communication Professionals and the Solo Pro Academy (www.IASECP.com). It’s our mission to build community and help creative solo pros build and run successful businesses by providing support, innovation, tools, and strategies. Our goal is to liberate our members from the feast and famine cycle.
By Elgé Premeau, eMarketing Strategist, and MCNW Seminar Presenter.
Most business owners think the only way to get customers from the internet is to put up a website and get it to show up on the first page of the search results in Google and other search engines. While this is a way to get customers online, it’s not the only way. For many businesses, especially service based businesses, it’s not even the best way to get customers online.
Building a website and optimizing it for the search engines is hard work so you might be surprised to learn that this is really Passive Marketing. Why is it passive? Because in order for you to get paying customers, you have to rely on people you don’t know to decide they need you, look for you online, land on your website and then contact you. There are a lot of points in this sales process where people can bail out which is why it’s an inefficient way to grow your business.
There is another approach to internet marketing that has the potential to be much more profitable in the long run. Instead of waiting for customers to find you, you find them. I call this Active Marketing. With Active Marketing you figure out what websites your customers visit, what blogs and publications they read, and what experts they pay attention to.
Websites, blogs and publications are moving from static, brochure websites to interactive online communities. So once you figure out where your target markets are spending their time online, you engage them there by providing helpful or entertaining information.
As you interact with the various online communities, you get a sense of what kind of content is appropriate for that setting. Most people don’t realize it but website and blog owners are constantly looking for new content. As long as it’s not too “salesy,” website and blog owners are usually glad to publish your articles or other content.
Writing is hard work and you might be wondering why you would give your content to another website or blog. I’ve seen in my business and my clients’ businesses that writing articles for others sites and then linking back to your own site is the single most useful method for increasing traffic, getting newsletter subscribers and generating leads. A few years ago I wrote an article for a print journal that got me 4 new consulting clients which translated into almost half my revenue for that year. Not bad for one article!
While Active Marketing can be more productive than Passive marketing, it’s more challenging too. Active Marketing requires you to know your customers on a much deeper level than Passive Marketing. You have to get inside their head, understand what is compelling to them and why they buy what you’re selling. Thinking about your customers in this way is an acquired skill and it really helps to talk this though with a friend or colleague.
Active Marketing is one of the topics we will discuss in the Internet Marketing Basics class. So join us Monday, March 14th from 6:00 – 9:00 PM and be sure to bring your questions with you.
Tom Howe came in last week and did his website optimization class with us again. We had 18 people come in and run through in three hours how to get rich, search-engine friendly content onto their websites, how to get registered with the different search engines, and how to measure their results. They left with detailed handouts and powerpoint information, and solid steps on how to move forward.
But if you missed this class, don’t worry – we’ve got Tom roped in for another couple months.
100 Ways to Promote Your Business – June 16 (6-9pm)
Social Media Marketing – June 23 (6-9pm)
Website Search Engine Optimization – July 13 (6-9pm)
Successful Selling – July 20 (6-7:30pm)
Social Media Marketing – August 3 (6-9pm)
Top 15 Legal Risks of Business – August 24 (6-9pm)
And remember, all of our upcoming classes can be found at http://www.mercycorpsnw.org/what-we-do/seminars/
On January 16th, we had our first Saturday morning seminar with Suzanne Feucht, accounting coach and trainer, to talk about basic financial tools. There were lots of participants and even more questions, so it was hard to get through everything Suzanne had on the agenda. They appreciated that she emphasized the basics: using the right accounting software, keeping track of paperwork, etc. The big message was they wanted more accounting and financial seminars in the future.
January 21st, Susan Rich joined us for a new addition to her Write it Rich! series. This presentation was on benefit-based copy, and how small businesses can think about what their product or service provides, and use that message to market themselves. We got to look at (and laugh about) some vintage ads, and point out where the key message was and what we were being sold… not a product, but a benefit. There was a lot of great discussion, so much so that we went a little over time. But no one seemed to mind too much – they were busy practicing their benefit-based copy and writing up their own blurbs and ads.
I got an email the other day from someone who wasn’t able to make it to Peter’s Marketing on a Shoestring class Monday night, but wanted to know if there was some sort of summary or resource online.
I tried, but it’s kind hard to summarize what Peter did. He said he’s taught this class before and that it always ended up being a laundry list of techniques that you could have googled “shoestring marketing” and found yourself. So this class he decided to make more discussion based, and started out by having everyone go around and introduce themselves and their businesses and any experiences they’d had with shoestring marketing. People came up with things like social media, networking with peer businesses, referrals, doing email newsletters with coupons and raffles, etc. And so they elaborated more on some of those ideas.
Then he focused on the second half about the main part of your marketing being building relationships and focusing on people. And so, maintaining good customer service and providing a good product so that that one satisfied customer will go out and recommend you to more. He suggested doing events that weren’t necessarily focused on selling your product, but that got interested people together and allowed you to demonstrate your quality or your expertise in a fun and memorable way. He emphasized in this relationship-building part that it was important not to pester and bombard people with your sale, but to remember that people want to do business with people they like.
Well, that was the best I could do in the way of summary. It was great to have such a discussion-focused class, even though it made it difficult to condense into any sort of handout! But one exciting development is that we’ve got a group who’s going to help us by filming our classes and trainings so that we can get them up on our website and make them more accessible – so next time (or more accurately, starting with Susan Rich’s seminar on December 14th) I can offer people like him something more concrete!