35 Reasons it Rocks to be an Enterpreneur

35 Reasons it Rocks to be an Entrepreneur

“Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucius

As an entrepreneur, I can honestly say that I have chosen a job I like. Yes, I do have to work. A lot. And a lot of hours. But I do work I enjoy and I get satisfaction from.

My business celebrated its fifth birthday this year and man have I learned A LOT in five years of owning my own business but I wouldn’t trade being an entrepreneur for anything.

Here are 35 reasons it really does rock to be an entrepreneur and be your own boss –

 

#1 – I get to set my own schedule. If I want to get up at 6am to get started, great! If I want to work from 8pm-12am, great! The ability to set my own hours is freeing.

 

#2 – Speaking of freeing, the freedom. I get to do what I want when I want. There’s no boss to check on you, however you do have to have some sort of accountability going on.

 

#3 – I can be ‘mom’ and ‘business owner’. I LOVE being able to take my girls to school and pick them up. I love getting to go on their field trips or take them to dance. It’s the little things.

 

#4 – Feeling accomplished. Owning your own business gives you that feeling that you’re really doing something – you are following your dream and seeing it come alive.

 

#5 – Not wearing makeup. Have I mentioned how much I hate wearing it?

 

#6 – Working in my pj’s. Yes, every entrepreneur has done it or will at some point.

 

#7 – The tax deductions. Ah, I love being able to write stuff off so Mr. Taxman won’t take as much.

 

#8 – Meeting awesome people. I wouldn’t know about half the people I know if I didn’t own my own business. You meet so many interesting people who are walking the same path as you.

 

#9 – I get to really use all of my college education. If you told me when I graduated college (with a marketing degree) that I would actually use the 3 accounting classes I took, I would have laughed at you. I’m not laughing now. Also, thank goodness my college BFF/roommate is now a CPA!

 

#10 – The recognition. I would be lying if I said I didn’t like being recognized for my work.

 

#11 – More opportunities than I could imagine. When I started ME Marketing Services over 4 years ago I had no idea that I would be, in 2015, working with one of the biggest names in my industry AND teaching through our local college and tech school.

 

#12 – The swag. I love me some swag. Thanks to Canva and Sprout Social in particular 🙂

 

#13 – Becoming global. Everyone who owns a business wants to see it take over the world. Well, maybe not literally. I know people on just about every continent. I’ve been on a marketing podcast based out of Africa. I have contacts in Europe. I have a client in Canada. Still amazed.

 

#14 – Having pool time. Yes, that’s the bribe to my daughters for letting me work during the summer – afternoon time at the pool.

 

#15 – Unlimited vacation time. Gone are the 10 days per year, bring on the unlimited days per year! Of course, like all business owners, if we don’t work, we don’t get paid, so we can’t go crazy.

 

#16 – Gym time. I love to work out. Since I have the freedom (#2) I can go work out, then come home and work without worrying about taking time off or getting up at 5am.

 

#17 – The ups and the downs. As bad as the downs can be sometimes when owning a business, the ups are pretty dang good, if I may say so. You have to have those downs to appreciate the ups.

 

#18 – Mobility & flexibility. I can work from anywhere. Now, not every business owner has that ability, but since I work from an office at my house, I can take my work with me – to the pool, to my parents’, on trips, etc.

 

#19 – Being able to treat my family. I’m a solopreneur with a part-time marketing assistant. I don’t have a lot of overhead. 2014 was a really good year. Because of that, my husband and I were able to take our daughters to Disney World before Christmas to celebrate their birthdays (one is in November, the other December). I love being able to treat my girls to special things and I couldn’t do that without my business.

 

#20 – The never-ending learning. Working with social media especially, there is always something new to learn. Continuing education always keeps our minds fresh and staying on top of the latest gives us an edge too.

 

#21 – The people I get to work with. When you own your own business you get to work with some pretty awesome people. From peers I’ve collaborated with to working with an industry giant, it’s pretty cool. Being the (American) football but I am, having a NFL player as a client isn’t too shabby either.

 

#22 – The hustle. As a business owner, you are always promoting and selling your business. At school, at church, in the grocery line – there’s always an opportunity to talk about your business. Being one who loves to talk, I could talk endlessly about social media and how you can use it for your business.

 

#23 – The rare, precious quiet times. There are weeks where I feel I’ll never get it all done, but when I finally do, it’s nice to sit on the couch with my husband, have a glass of wine and enjoy a favorite TV show, not worrying about something that didn’t get done.

 

#24 – Showing my daughters that women can do it. I’m not one of these psychotic feminists, but I do believe women should have the same opportunities as men. Owning a successful business and my daughters getting to see it and be a part of it is amazing. They’ve been able to see first-hand that they can do what they set out to do. If they want to own a business, they can do it. If they want to go to med school, they can do it.

 

#25 – Getting to help others. I do my best not to do a lot of free work, but if it’s for a worthy cause I will. For example, we may not be able to write a massive donation check to our daughters’ private school, but I redesigned their website for free. There are times when giving your time and knowledge is just as valuable as a monetary donation. Be selective though or you’ll get taken advantage of.

 

#26 – I’m never bored. Seriously. There’s always something new to work on or tinker with. If I am bored, something’s wrong.

 

#27 – I get to say “my company.” There’s something about saying you are a business owner that makes you puff your chest out a little bit more.

 

#28 – The challenge of it all. I’m a VERY competitive person by nature, so I’m always working to get on a list or bring in more sales than the previous year or just be better in general. The challenge of owning a business is enough motivation to keep all the wheels rolling.

 

#29 – A post-graduate degree isn’t necessary. When I graduated with my undergrad from business school, everyone was talking about where they would work for a few years, then where they would complete their MBA. Here’s something about me – I don’t have a MBA. I don’t need it. For what I do and the industry I work in, you really don’t need a college degree (if definitely helps though). For me to get a MBA now would just be for vanity reasons and as much as I would love to have one, it’s not worth the $60,000+ just to put those 3 letters behind my name.

 

#30 – No 2 days are the same. The exciting thing about owning a business is that each day is different, especially in social media. I enjoy looking forward to what each day brings.

 

#31 – It’s okay if my home office doubles as my daughters’ playroom and it’s (most of the time) messy. Right now on their half of the room there are Wii games out, Barbies on the floor and books that need to be put up. It reminds me of what I’m working for – them and their future.

 

#32 – It sums up a few of the points above, but when you’re a business owner (especially a solopreneur), you get to what you want, when you want and how you want. There’s not better freedom than that.

 

#33 – I’m the boss. The buck does stop here. My first grade teacher told my parents I was bossy and I got in trouble all the time for it. She said it would help me later in life, but just not in first grade. Well, Mrs. Benton, look at me now, LOL.

 

#34 – I feel valued. I had a previous job where my boss’ wife (who also worked at the business) made me feel like I didn’t know anything and always made me feel like I wasn’t valued. When you own your own business, you feel valued because it’s you – you’re doing the work, making it work and reaping the rewards. You make yourself feel valued just from what you do.

 

#35 – Lastly, I get to hang with the best fans and followers any business owner could want. Without you, my business wouldn’t be here, so thank you from the bottom of this redheaded football-addict’s southern heart 🙂

 

Those are my reasons, so what’s yours? Share below in the comments!

 

Why Your Content Should Be the Centerpiece of Your Marketing

Lately content strategies seem to be everywhere. I have clients adding them to their social marketing plans and I’m working a project based around content analysis.

 

Let me tell you now – if you are not actively and regularly creating fresh content – and I’m not talking about social media posts – you and your business are missing out. In the age we are in, you have to be constantly creating content. Yes, I know all about content shock, but you still need content to be relevant.

 

Okay, social media posts are content, but that’s not what matters. What I’m talking about is content from your website. Blogs. Infographics. Video. Podcasts. You know, things that will get indexed by Mother Google. If you’re not feeding Mother Google on a regular basis, she’s going to forget about you and you’ll be lost in the Googlesphere while those who are feeding her will get prime spots at the table.

 

Why have a content strategy and distribute regularly?

 

Content drives people to your social networks

How many times have you visited someone’s Facebook page or Pinterest page after reading a blog post or an article? Continually publishing new content gives people something to read and while they are on your website, they’ll stay and look around or click and visit your networks.

Content drives people to your website

Once you write it, you have to get the word out. When you publish fresh content, one of the first things you do is share it all over social media and maybe email it out. People will see it, click on it and go to your website. Having regular fresh content gives people a reason to keep coming back.

Content conveys a message to your audience

Your content is a way to provide value to your audience. This could be through tips, testimonials or helping them solve a problem. No matter what it is, you are sending your audience a message. Hopefully it’s one that shows you care. This is their way to get to know you.

Content sets you apart from your competitor

If you are a small, local business, I can almost guarantee your competitors are not publishing fresh content. If they are, that right there gives you a reason to start. If you’re the first one doing it – great! You’ll have an easier time getting those people’s attention and web traffic. If you aren’t first, don’t worry – provide great content of value and share it and people will come (with a strategy of course).

Content can give you authority

The longer and more regularly you publish content, the more authority you build in the search engines. However, you’ll also build authority in your audience’s eyes because they see someone (or some business) that knows their stuff and is helping them out. Look at the people you consider to be influential and have authority – they’re publishing new content all the time.

 

How do you spread your content?

 

Share on your social networks

Of course this is a no-brainer. When I publish something new, I share it to Google Plus first (for indexing reasons), then Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest – in that order. You want to share it as many places as you can. You have a similar, yet different audience on each platform you are active on. You can also share content to sites like Flipboard, Scoop.it and Stumbleupon.

Ask your employees to share

Having an employee network that is active and shares is a goldmine for your business. Your employees are vested in your business – ask them if they would share the business’ content on their social networks and sites. Empowering them to take an active role in promoting the business will help ignite your content. I have a client that does this and we see a uptick in traffic when their staff members share.

Syndicate it

Content syndication can be your best friend. This is an easy way to get your articles out in front of more than just your audience. You can take advantage of sites such as Triberr or Business2Community. An example of how this can work – I published an article, 4 Reasons Social Media Marketing May Not Be Working for Your Business. On my site it did okay, but I syndicate my content on Business2Community. They picked up this post and to date it’s been shared 977 times (650 came in the first 48 hours). In the first 48 hours, I saw a dramatic increase in retweets with my Twitter handle and traffic did spike on my site. Syndicating content can work for your content.

Befriend your influencers

Your influencers want to get to know you. Build a relationship with them – tweet them, mention them in an article (and tag them), send them an email. Befriending influencers and sharing their content first will help your content. I befriended one of my influencers and since then this person has shared my content on their social networks, allowed me to guest post twice on their site and now I’m working on a project with them. Building an authentic relationship with those in your industry will pay off – not immediately though. These things take time.

 

Your business’ marketing strategy has to now include a content strategy. You have to know what you are going to publish and where and to whom. The days of ‘just’ posting on Facebook or Twitter are over. You have to have a plan behind it and the right people to execute it.

 

My friend Mark Schaefer shared this awesome Slideshare presentation last year giving you ways to spread (ignite) your content. Scroll through it below and you’ll get some great ideas to use in your content strategy (if you’re not doing some of these already).

 

When you’re done, check out his book based around content, The Content Code. I’ve read it and highly recommend it to anyone wanting to amp up their content strategy.

 

 

 

So, let me ask you – what’s your business’ content strategy?

 

Photo Credit: Flickr.com/proflowers & ProFlowers

4 Reasons Social Media Marketing May Not Be Working for Your Business

4 Reasons Social Media Marketing May Not Be Working for Your Business

You can make social media marketing work. I’m not going to lie – it’s hard and does take time, but it can work.

 

I come across business owners everyday who struggle with using social media in their business’ marketing plan. I eat, live and breathe it so it’s like second-nature to me, however most business owners are focused on what their business does, whether it be food or clothes or B2B services.

 

If social media isn’t working for your business, you need to figure out why. There’s always a reason something isn’t working or lining up. Figuring out what it is will help you know what to fix in order for it to work because when it does work, it’s a beautiful thing.

 

So let’s take a look at why social media marketing may not be working for you right now.

 

You’re trying to do every platform.

 

I understand wanting your business to be everywhere, but realistically, it can’t (not unless you hire a person for each social media platform). If you attempt to give every platform 100%, you are going to fail. You’ll spread yourself thin and things will fall through the cracks. What I suggest is to start with the platform that the majority of your market is on. Start with one and give it 110%. Once you have that platform thriving, add a second one. I know everyone is saying you have to be on Instagram or Pinterest or you have to Snapchat because it’s hot right now – don’t listen to them. Listen to your audience. Go to them.

 

What you need to remember: Tip: Focus on the platform that the majority of your audience is on and go to them. Click To Tweet

 

You are broadcasting sales pitches instead of building relationships.

 

The last thing anyone wants to see in their newsfeed (on any platform) is sales pitch after sales pitch after sales pitch. Social media is about building relationships. Sales will come from that. It’s not all about you, it’s about them. Think of how many Facebook pages you’ve unliked because of what they do (or do not) post. Don’t be like that page. Ask your audience questions – get to know them. Show them that you care.

 

What you need to remember: Tip: People buy from people they have a relationship with. Click To Tweet

 

You are doing too much online.

 

You could google “how many times should I post in a day?” and get a different opinion from everyone. The one constant piece of advice you’ll get is not to overpost. Ideally, 1-2 times per day on Facebook is fine. Not once an hour for 10-12 hours straight. If I see too many posts in my Facebook newsfeed from a business in a short period of time, I quickly find the unfollow button. You may be posting awesome content, but I don’t want to see only you in my feed. Likewise on Twitter, don’t send out 30 tweets in 60 seconds. You will overload people and turn them away. My recommendations? 1-2 posts/day on Facebook and 5-6/day on Twitter (depending on how active you are).

 

What you need to remember: Tip: Posting too much in a short time span will cause people to unfollow or unlike you. Click To Tweet

 

You’re trying to do it all yourself – and run your business.

 

I’ve had over a dozen business owners tell me that they could spend all day doing just social media for their business. Rarely can a business owner effectively (and successfully) run the social media for their business and run the business itself without something getting left behind. Don’t get me wrong – it can be done. However for most business owners, it’s in their best interest to pass it off to someone else or to hire someone to handle it. Your primary job is to do what you love, what your business is. If you’re a designer, you need to be designing, not scheduling Facebook posts. If you’re a photographer, you need to be taking pictures, not figuring out what picture will look best on Instagram. Trust me, you’ll spread yourself too thin if you take on too much.

 

What you need to remember: Tip: Sometimes it’s worth it to hire someone to handle your social media. Click To Tweet

 

If any of these seem familiar to you – I encourage you to take a hard look at your marketing plan. Sometimes it’s worth it to outsource the social media portion or hire someone (who knows what they are doing) to handle it for you. As much as it can benefit your business, it’s not your primary focus – running a profitable business is.

 

What are some other stumbling blocks you may face making social media work for you?

 

5 Tips For Growing Your Instagram Brand from Reebok

5 Tips For Growing Your Instagram Brand from Reebok

According to Unmetric, Reebok has expanded its presence on Instagram by nearly 170% in the past year, surpassing Nike, Asics, and New Balance.

I recently read an article from clickz.com on how athletics brand Reebok is targeting its female audience on Instagram differently from that of Nike, perhaps its largest competitor.

Reebok Women’s unique targeting approach centered around motivation, engagement, and an “every woman” attitude, acknowledging that while fitness is tough, so are girls. By successfully establishing its voice and a clear indication of where the brand is headed, Reebok has also inspired a few of these tips for implementing and maintaining your brand via Instagram:

1) Learn your audience.

What kind of people are interested in your product? Carefully study your target demographic in order to create a voice for an audience that will be drawn to you, and continue to study outside trends within your audience. For example, if yoga was the hot fitness activity a year ago and now it’s Crossfit, you’ll want to post content parallel to the lifestyle of your target market.

2) Come up with your own hashtags and stick to them.

It’s a no-brainer to be creative and stay consistent within the social media marketing realm. What is most important, perhaps, is to be authentic. What kind of hashtag can you cook up that is not only original, but has viral appeal? Imagine the combinations of words and phrases that can be put together to act as a bookmark or indicator of your brand. #GetItGirl

3) Engage with your audience.

Reebok was successful in their engagement tactics on Instagram, often times reposting pictures previously ‘grammed by their followers. This type of strategy shows a personal side to a worldwide name by taking a keen interest in individuals who are loyal to Reebok and reciprocating that loyalty in a manner that will be seen by that follower and other followers, creating a kind of ripple effect. It is crucial to build a relationship with your audience in a macro sense, but engaging on a micro level gives you as the brand a personable vibe that followers will appreciate time and time again.

Neutrals X Classics. #OOTD Repost from @sincerelyjules

A photo posted by Reebok Women (@reebokwomen) on

4) Focus on quality.

Everyone has access to technology to make posting to social media multiple times a day quick and simple. But quantity is not synonymous with quality. Yes, building a presence does require more than one tweet or Instagram post, but do not fall victim to sacrificing the quality of your photos for the sake of posting just to see your picture on the news feed. Be sure to establish consistency within the quality of your photos as well. For example, while @nikewomen posts more “lifestyle” pictures of happy women in the latest Nike Pro tights and Flex Runs, @reebokwomen showed women on the workout grind, pouring sweat, truly humanizing the hashtags #BeMoreHuman and #ToughIsBeautiful. You are more than your sports bra.

5) Always think like a user.

Setting this mentality will help to manifest insight into your brand and produce (hopefully!) successful results. Think about what types of accounts you follow or what you like about your favorite brand accounts that others do not seem to do. If you maintain this mindset, you will be better able to identify strategies that work and which ones don’t. Your brand is unique, and your followers are just as unique if not more; remember to keep in mind not only what is popular but what is right for your target audience.

 

Any business can take these five tips and start using today. Will you?

Social Media Tips from 3 Wise Southern Women Entrepreneurs

Social Media Tips from 3 Wise Southern Women Entrepreneurs

Here are some stats about women entrepreneurs:

 

  • Women start companies at 1.5 times the average rate in the United States.
  • The absolute number of startups in Crunchbase with at least one female founder has more than quadrupled in the last five years, from 117 in 2009 to 555 in 2014.
  • Women entrepreneurs in the United States rank their happiness at nearly three times that of women who are not entrepreneurs or established business owners.
  • The U.S. ranks No. 1 among 31 countries considered by Dell on the support of women’s entrepreneurship.
  • Today, 18 percent of all startups have at least one female founder.
  • There are just over 9 million women-owned companies in the United States.
  • A net new 340,000 jobs were added by woman-owned businesses between 2007 and 2015. At the same time, men-owned businesses shed 1.2 million jobs, according to a 2015 study by Womenable and American Express.
  • Forty-six percent of the privately held companies in the U.S. are now at least half owned by women.
  • Financially, women entrepreneurs outperform everyone but blue chips over time. In the last couple decades, the growth in the number of women’s businesses (up 68 percent), employment (up 11 percent), and revenues (up 72 percent) blows past the growth rates of all but the largest publicly-traded businesses, and tops growth rates among all other privately-held businesses over this period.

 

Source: http://www.inc.com/lisa-calhoun/30-surprising-facts-about-female-founders.html

 

Being a female business owner, I’ve gotten to know others like myself from many different industries. Living in the South, there are thousands of us alone. I am a part of a group call The Southern Coterie, or more commonly referred to as the Southern C. This is a group of phenomenal Southern female entrepreneurs who come together to share their experience and knowledge to help each other. Through this group, I’ve gotten to know many of these wonderful ladies and today three of them are sharing their social media experience with us.

 

monicaMonica Lavin
The Lavin Label

 

Monica is an independent content publisher, stylist and founder of Lavin Label. She is also a contributor for Southern Living’s The Daily South and the Southern C. Her work has been featured on Pottery Barn, Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James, The Glitter Guide, Savannah Magazine, Golden Isles Magazine, Southern Living and more.

 

Her Lavin Label offers entertaining, style and travel inspiration through unique visual storytelling.  Monica is well versed in emerging technology and social influence through her work at NASA and most recently her job as Communications Director for Information Technology at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. Monica’s knowledge of technology and her well curated taste in all things lifestyle lend themselves naturally to a fresh perspective on storytelling that captivates her followers and inspires them to become part of that story. I personally enjoy reading her blog when I get it via email 🙂

 

What is your #1 tip for using social media for your business?

 

Just that — Use it for business. In other words, don’t post images that don’t relate directly to your brand/business. That’s the fastest way to lose followers.

 

What is something you wish someone had told you about using social media for your business when you started?

 

Managing social media is a full time job. If you’re going to manage an account then you have to commit to it 100%. Keep in mind that all of the social media channels are completely different. Knowing that I do know, I probably would have just created an IG account and focus solely on that platform rather than have to keep up with Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and now Periscope.

 

What has been your greatest success using social media for your business and how did you achieve that?

 

I’ve learned that my social media feed is my online portfolio. I’ve been contacted to work with Pottery Barn, Savannah Magazine, Golden Isles Magazine… (and more) because of my Instagram feed more so than my actual blog.

 

Follow the Lavin Label on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

 


 

 

alesyaAlesya Opelt
Alesya Bags

 

CEO & Founder of Alesya Bags, work bags for successful women. In my career, I’ve worked for tech companies—my first job was for a Silicon Valley startup and later VP of a digital marketing company. Like you, I had invested in my wardrobe (ahem!), but always felt the clunky masculine laptop bags on the market totally undermined my look.

 

Revisiting my first true love of fashion, I took a deep breath and began the Alesya Bags journey.  After much research and development (under the category of “What Women Want”) the ?rst bags were born in 2010, putting style ?rst, with organized, accessible storage a close second.

 

What is your #1 tip for using social media for your business?

 

Promote others as well as yourself.  Like, comment and share with others.  Don’t think it of as box you can’t leave.  It’s not a stage – it’s cocktails where everybody knows your name.

 

What is something you wish someone had told you about using social media for your business when you started?

 

Grab your username on every platform ASAP.  Even if you don’t think you’ll ever use it.  You never know what is going to get popular.

 

What has been your greatest success using social media for your business and how did you achieve that?

 

My entire business has been built on social media.  The most surprising success was a Sample Sale I ran on Instagram.  I sold 20 samples within minutes and gained 200 followers  Since then I’ve used Insta tell sell one offs that normally would just sit in my warehouse.  

 

Follow the Aleysa Bags on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

 


 


unnamedAngie Tillman
Phickles

 

Angie is the owner of Phickles – which can be described on their site as “Phickles…. a family owned and operated small batch pickle company located in Athens, Georgia. We source our vegetables responsibly from certified naturally grown farms as close to home as possible…. supporting local farmers as best as we can. Pickled okra, green tomatoes, carrots, snap beans, jalapenos, asparagus, cucumbers, and other seasonal goodies…..seasoned with fresh, whole garlic, peppers, and dill. Phickles pickles are excellent with charcuterie and make a bloody mary or martini extra phun!”

 

These are sold locally here in Statesboro and you definitely need to try some!!

 

What is your #1 tip for using social media for your business?

 

Always be positive and respond to people who take the time to share positive feedback with you.  Those people are your company’s fanbase, your cheerleaders and your best advertisement!

 

What is something you wish someone had told you about using social media for your business when you started?

 

This one’s hard for me to answer…as among my circle of friends and colleagues… I started using social media before any of them. 🙂  One thing I’ve learned though…. is that by sharing mine and my company’s story daily through social media platforms… I have a responsibility to BE the same in person as I am online.  It’s sometimes tough to be ON all the time.  We all have sluggish days…but I’m not allowed to have them. haha!  One of my favorite memories of meeting someone in person that I met through Facebook…was a few years ago.  This person said to me:  “Wow!  You’re the SAME in person as you are online!”  I hugged the heck out of that girl!

 

What has been your greatest success using social media for your business and how did you achieve that?

 

I believe my greatest success I’ve achieved through using social media for my business is collaborations with stores, bloggers, events, and a very supportive fanbase.  I owe so much to the people who have helped the Phickles Brand grow through their support….whether it be from them purchasing my products, writing about my products, liking and sharing on Facebook, retweeting, instagramming pictures of my products, and more!  We are who we hang with! And I hang with some really nice folks online! 🙂

 

Follow the Phickles on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

 

 

Please go follow these fabulous ladies! They are doing wonderful things with their businesses via social media and you’ll want to keep an eye on them in the future 🙂

 

 

 

 

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