Get involved in Facebook and search groups specific to your client base. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
If you do it right, you could get your next client on Elance within two weeks. #vatipGotta Tweet!
Wanting it for yourself is essential to the success of your business. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hi guys! Today we’re going to have a more informal show. I got an email from an old client. I created her WordPress website for her real estate business and it looks like she’s transitioning to a different kind of business. She sent me an email with some questions and I thought it would be fun to answer the questions on the podcast because what I’m going to share, I feel like it would be helpful for you guys as well.
I glanced at the questions prior to getting started with the recording, so you’re going to get it fresh from my mind.
Her subject reads, “I need your help, please.”
Hi Tiffany. I’m doing a little prep before I launch my new Shopify store. Could you help me by answering a couple of questions? What one thing did you learn about starting your online business that you didn’t expect? What would you do differently if you were opening today? What skills are essential for success?” And then she asked me about, “Do you like plaques like this?’ So she attached some quote plaques at the end. “Gratefully,”
and then she signs her name.
Okay, so let’s go to her first question, “What one thing did you learn about starting your online business that you didn’t expect?”
At the beginning, the thing that I learned that I didn’t expect is that every time I learned something new, and I was always learning something new because when clients come there isn’t a set formula like every online business is using XYZ tools or they’re doing it this way. First of all, I learned that every client has their own way of doing things, their own tools they use, and so it worked out great for me because I learned different things.
Every time I learned a new tool, it seemed like that next client that came along was using that same tool. I remember when I first learned 1ShoppingCart. Had no idea how to use it, but my client had it and they were willing to show me. He had a project manager, he was willing to show me how to do it, and that’s how I learned 1ShoppingCart. The more I got into it doing it on my own, I was able to see how all things work.
Next thing you know, another client came along. They were using 1ShoppingCart. They were using it a little differently. They had the affiliate program, so then I got to learn not only the newsletter side of it, but also the affiliate side of it.
Then I had another client come along and they were using it for their products, so now I’m learning the products side of it. I kept learning, and I guess it’s multiple things that I learned since starting my online business.
Things are constantly evolving, you’re always learning, and just be open to learning.
This is back in 2008. I was surprised by how many people were using the Internet totally only to do business. That was surprising to me.
If I was to say now, bringing it current to 2015, one of the things that I’m learning is that the things I learned at the beginning, everybody doesn’t know it now. Just because I learned it seven-eight years ago or so, it’s still new. It’s still new to people, so I have to remember that it’s still new. It’s not old.
Even though technology changes quickly, things change, we don’t catch onto things quickly. Some of us do, but not everyone does. Even back in 2008, I mean, you know, the Internet had been around for a while.
I remember when email came out when I was in college, and I have to tell you this, when email came out in college, I went to UNC Chapel Hill. Go Tar Heels. Woo Hoo. March Madness. Email came out on campus and I can remember, you know, a few people I knew getting email. I’m like that email is just stupid. If there’s anybody I want to talk to, I’m just going to call them on the phone.
I can remember saying that because back then I was using a word processor in my dorm. I didn’t have a computer. In fact, none of my friends had computers either. There was a computer lab on campus. Most people had a computer processor or they went to the different computer labs on campus. So I’m thinking I’m not going to go into the computer lab to check email when I can just call them on the phone.
Fast-forward that. I won’t tell you how many years, but you know it’s been a while since I said email was new. Fast-forward to now. There’s no way you’d say that. There is no way. I don’t know what we’d do without email, you know, some people want to think email is dead, but it’s not. Email is alive and well.
Okay, so those are the things that I’ve learned. Let’s see what else.
“What would you do differently if you were opening today?”
When I first started, social media was not a thing, so I didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, nothing, no social media. I didn’t have a website. You guys know I started on Elance, and social media wasn’t a part of it. It was all, you know, in the Elance bubble and word of mouth.
If I were going to start today, the first thing that I would do is get involved with Facebook.
People think, oh, you don’t get results on Facebook, but that’s where most people are. I mean, what do you think when people say, oh, I don’t do Facebook? It’s like I’m kind of in my mind looking at them sideways. You don’t do Facebook, what’s up with that?
It’s not that they have to be posting every day. In fact, you know, the average person working nine to five, not interested in the Internet, I still expect them to have a Facebook profile even if they haven’t posted at all in 2015. Just because having Facebook is like having email or having a cell phone, you know, you just assume people do and when they don’t it’s weird.
So Facebook, hop onto Facebook and I would search groups that were specific to my client base. Then I’d create a profile on LinkedIn and get that all set up, and look for groups specific to the client I wanted to serve as well. Then after that, I would start listening.
Because my clientele, mostly it’s been business coaches, health coaches, some type of coach. Fill in the front and then a coach. They’re on Facebook. They’re on LinkedIn. The other social media profiles are important too: Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. But for that group, because it may not always be visual, their first places are Facebook and LinkedIn.
I would also listen to podcasts. I’d look up podcasts specific to the community that I wanted to serve. For example, right now I’m enjoying listening to a podcast called Natural Born Coaches, and he interviews coaches. Every single day, there’s a new coach and he’s interviewing them. They’re my ideal clients, so I’m listening to them and how they do their business. But me being a virtual assistant coach, I’m also getting information for them as well.
Those are things that I would do, and I would still hop on Elance. I would still do that because I feel like that’s more immediate than Facebook or LinkedIn. Facebook and LinkedIn, you’re doing more courting. You’re doing more engaging, more helping. It’s going to take a while on those ends.
Whereas Elance, they’re coming to Elance because they need somebody now, even though some people drag it out. But they’re there for the purpose of finding someone, so it makes it easy. You also get practice writing your proposals, calculating your bids, and then getting projects, getting started.
I believe that on Elance, you could get your next client, if you do it right, within two weeks, and that’s being generous. I do believe that.
Okay, what’s our other question?
“What skills are essential for success?”
That’s a good question. Skills essential for success: determination. You have to be determined to see that your business is successful. You have to be determined to get what you have out into the world, and your determination and your drive, your belief in yourself, all of that will push you to get it out there into the world.
You don’t worry about whether it’s perfect, whether it’s right. You get it out there and the people that you are serving will let you know whether it’s valuable to them or not. They’re going to tell you, just like you guys tell me.
You let me know if you’re enjoying the podcast. You send me questions. You send me emails to let me know that you found me or you appreciate what I’m sharing, and that’s helpful to me because then I know what I’m doing is on the right track because of your response. Get it out there.
Determination, drive, and belief – that will get you through.
I can remember working in Corporate America. The last time I was in Corporate America was 2008. My last day was September 17, 2008, and I remember that because it was the day before my dad’s birthday. It was on a Thursday because I was going to make my last day Friday, you know, finish off the whole week. But my manager, she was like, “No Tiffany, let Thursday be your last day.” I was like, cool, okay, fine. Thursday’s the last day.
I totally forgot where I’m going with this, but I’m getting giddy all over again because you have to be a risk taker to put yourself out there and to be vulnerable. That people are going to give you feedback in what you’re doing.
I posted a quote yesterday on Facebook. I want to read it to you because it speaks to us and how we feel before our “baby” goes out into the world. We want to be great. We want it to be good. We want people to like it, but how will you know if you don’t put it out there?
Here’s the quote that sums up what I just said, “Remember, before you can be great, you’ve got to be good. Before you can be good, you’ve got to be bad. But before you can even be bad, you’ve got to try.” That quote is by Art Williams, and I love that.
I love that. If that doesn’t cause you to push play on your dreams, or to not worry about is it just right, and I speak to myself. I’m always like, oh, is it just right, you know, all kinds of plans on notepads, this and that.
For us, it will never be right because you are you. You put it on there. You’re unsure, but you’ve got to get it to the person you want to get it to. They’ll tell you if it’s right or not, and then tweak, tweak, tweak along the way.
That’s the beauty of the Internet. You can change things.
In fact, you can do it offline. Look at Domino’s. Domino’s was Domino’s Pizza. Now, they want to make sure we all know their name has changed to just Domino’s. They dropped the Pizza. If they can make a change, then so can we.
Let’s see, what other skills are central to success? I really believe those are the basis.
Oh, now I know what I was getting at talking about Corporate. When I got my first job out of college, I was excited to have a desk, excited to have a phone. Oh, I had my own computer. Oh, you know, in my little cubicle. I was all excited, yay me, excited, new worker.
It was an annuity company, so people would call and check on their annuities. We’d let them know the value of it. Or if they request withdrawals, then we’d process that, and so we had these forms we were writing on. I forget specifically what the form was for, but I can remember, you know, they had been copied so many times you could barely see the words on the paper anymore.
I was sitting there one day bored and I decided to recreate this form and I was like, oh, excited, you know, finding myself something to do. Turns out I was doing somebody else’s job with these forms. Because once I printed them, showed them to my supervisor, she’s like, oh, so and so does those, because I didn’t know. I’m new to the workforce. I don’t know how it worked, so I’m stepping on somebody’s toes.
But it worked out because I ended up connecting with her. She was the secretary of our group. I ended up connecting with her, and enjoyed sitting with her and she was showing me what she does. I learned how to do mail merge with her and some other things that I didn’t know.
Her job seemed more fun than mine, even though in Corporate they’re ranking you. Hers was a lower rank than what I was doing, but she seemed to be having more fun than what I was doing, you know, talking on the phone to people about their annuities, something I wasn’t interesting in.
But over time, six months into working, eventually my excitement started to wane and I was like, you know, I want to work at home, like I want to do something from home. I wanted more flexibility.
Before I had gotten that job, when I initially graduated from college, I didn’t have a full-time job. I had three part-time jobs. I was an after camp counselor, a cheerleading coach, and a lunchtime teller, so I did the lunch hour at the bank. That schedule was good because I wasn’t doing the same all the time and I didn’t wear the same thing all day because each job required a different look. It was cool just to be able to, you know, have this crazy schedule.
Then when I got into Corporate full-time and after that initial six months, it was like, uh, I don’t like this. I want flexibility. I want to work from home. I want to be able to do other things. That was always in the back of my head is that I want to do my own thing. I want to take it to the house. I didn’t know what it was, but it was always there.
That’s something else that’s essential to success in business is wanting it for you, because sometimes it’s easy to want it for somebody else.
We can easily want it more because we see the giftings and talents of somebody else. But that person has to want it for them, and that’s essential as well for the success of your business is wanting it for yourself because it’s easy when things are on the up. It’s easy like, yeah, this is good, this is me. But when things are on a low, are you still saying that?
Are you still believing? Are you still pushing? Is the drive still there? Are you still determined? Is it still for you? Are you still excited about where you see things going even though things are on a low? If so, then you’ll keep riding until you get back up, keep riding until you get back up.
It’s awesome. It’s awesome when you see your dreams fulfilled, and the thing is it’s a journey. It keeps going because there will be more things, the next thing, on and on.
You know, I wanted to work from home. I started working from home. It’s easy to create a job for yourself as a VA, but now it’s like I want a business. I don’t want just a job. I want a business. Creating a business means having a team or having or system, or whatever that looks like for you. I should do another podcast on that.
But anyway, those are pretty much all of her questions. The quote plaques, I’m not really into that. I would post it on Pinterest, but I wouldn’t buy it for my house. So I’ll let her know about that as well.
But I thought these were great questions and I thought it’d be really cool to answer them here on the podcast so you guys can get my answers as well to these great questions.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you heard, stay tuned. We’ll be back. Tell me what’s going on with you. Come on over the Facebook page: facebook.com/tiffanyparsonbiz, or if you prefer a little shorter message, come on over to Twitter: @tiffanydparson.
See you next time.