FIGURING IT OUT:
Reflections on Growing My Business With Intention
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I built my business by accident, but I’m growing it with intention.
“Figuring It Out” is a collection of casual conversations with female entrepreneurs, and Melissa is great at pulling out what has driven these women to build their businesses and how they serve their clients and customers with heart.
I sat down with my journal to prepare for my interview, because writing is how I best prepare for anything. I’m much better at processing my thoughts with pen to paper than out loud.
Of course, the second I started speaking with Melissa, I didn’t refer to my notes at all. I recently found them and thought you might actually like to hear more about my hopes when it comes to my small business and its future.
First of all, I always say I built a business by accident. And then I immediately regret that I said that out loud. It’s a story I tell often, but it doesn’t reflect how intentional and thoughtful and painstaking my team and I are about how we run the business today.
It’s true, I studied dance and journalism in college and I first worked in PR for the performing arts when I moved to New York. And it’s true that I wanted to flip the script of begging for review space in the newspaper to sharing our artists’ stories in their own words. That’s when I discovered my love of marketing, and that’s when I found my obsession with crafting a message could be useful elsewhere.
I kind of stumbled into marketing, and I secured my first client because he convinced me to do some freelance work for him. Thanks, Christopher! ?Since then, I have redefined the way my team and I approach work for our clients. First, we zoom out and consider a strong strategy for marketing success, then we build systems to keep marketing plans running when you inevitably don’t have time to pay attention to them.
what does a business by accident look like?
My business has evolved SO MUCH. I used to do anything related to marketing and publicity – connecting artists and small business owners with publications (print and online). Looking for exposure and traffic that could move the needle for their companies. Posting on social media for them. Managing Facebook ads. Copywriting and editing.
My energy was pulled in 100 directions every day.
Now my business is mainly focused in creating big picture marketing strategy for a client and helping them to understand and put in place the systems to reach the goals in that strategy.
Breaking big picture into bite-sized action steps.
HERE’S HOW WE APPROACH MARKETING FOR OUR CLIENTS:
?WE'RE REALISTIC ABOUT CAPACITY
First, we approach marketing with the understanding that you absolutely cannot do everything and be everywhere at once.
We work with solo entrepreneurs, with nonprofit organizations, and with artists, and we know that they’re often implementing all our teaching and coaching alone or with a very small staff. They have little time, and they’re conscious about expenses.
So we develop marketing systems that work for you and your business without overtaxing you, your time or budget. We don’t go by a one-size-fits-all philosophy, or even a do-it-all philosophy – we make marketing plans that fit your actual capabilities and capacity.
? WE SET YOU UP FOR SUCCESS & HAND YOU BACK THE KEYS
If you teach a man to fish… Well, if you teach a #boss to love marketing, you get similar results.
When we develop a marketing strategy for a client, or build an email automation system to increase sales, we provide in-depth tutorials for them to take the reins after we’ve wrapped the project. We do not believe in longterm retainers for email marketing or daily posting on social media, because we know that goals shift, services change, products come and go, and our clients need to remain nimble and in control of their messaging at any given moment.
By teaching our clients and their teams to manage their marketing in-house, we are giving them back the flexibility, finances and freedom to ride the waves of change in their business.
What does this mean?
Our business model is shifting from one-on-one marketing services to an education-based model where group programs, coaching and online courses teach a heck of a lot more business owners how to systematize their marketing so that it’s successful, streamlined, and dare I say, fun!
As we speak, my team and I are re-shaping our six-week marketing program (which we successfully piloted this year) to create a six-month group mastermind where female-identified business owners can learn together the process of defining their ideal customer or audience, building their website to inspire action, creating the right copy and content, and using social media as a strategic support system for sales.
It’s the same marketing coaching I do with every client who comes in the door, but the women in our group program will also have the benefit of growing with a group of like-minded business owners. A community of support and feedback and kindness. I can’t wait to tell you more about it in 2019.
I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.
Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.