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Your monthly source for the latest news for your micro-business. From operations and marketing to legislative updates from Capitol Hill, SelfInformed has it all!




SelfInformed - April 2019

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In this issue, read about how to expand your social media, synergistic self-employment and retirement security.

In this issue...

 

Tips for Expanding Your Social Media Presence

So, you’ve started a business and now you have to get the word out. What many business owners are guilty of is assuming that everyone will catch onto their idea, product, or service with ease and it’ll just go “viral.” The problem is this normally is not the case. The concept of virality is for another day ­­­— for now, let’s focus on the main topic at hand — how do you expand in building your business from the ground up?

We’re aware that social media has been on the rise and will remain on the rise. We live in a digital-driven world and if you aren’t marketing your business online then you will fall behind. Here are some realistic tips for small business owners on how to grow your business through your social media presence. Let’s dive in.

Social Media Platforms: Where to Market My Small Business
Business owners have a tendency to overthink which platforms are best to market for their business. The answer is simple — market to the platforms that are popular. Now, we get it. The National Association for the Self-Employed understands that as a small business owner, you most likely don’t have the money or the time to market to each one of these popular platforms. Fortunately, that’s not at all what we are insinuating.

Tip 1: Make your content different on the platforms you choose to market for your business.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Youtube and Linkedin are all examples of popular social media platforms that entrepreneurs are using for business.

Each one of these platforms serves a different purpose. Many businesses make the mistake of distributing the exact same content to each platform literally by copy and pasting. We encourage you to steer away from this approach.

TAKE-AWAY POINT:
If every business and user posted the same exact content to each platform, there would only be one platform. The reason that there is several is that each sets a different tone and experience for the user. Therefore, create content accordingly.

Tip 2: Don’t try to market to every single platform that’s popular — instead, do market research to decide which platforms would be best for your target audience and get started there.

As a small business owner that is hungry for growth, you’re already stretching yourself pretty thin considering your the president, manager, strategist, and accountant of your company. You wear all the hats and now, you’re supposed to create customized content to each one of these platforms every day? (Impossible).

Whether you have a marketing team or you’re just wearing the hat today, sit down with yourself and/or team and figure out where your target audience is on social media on a regular, most-often basis.

Here is an example of discovering where to market:
You are a startup business that specializes in mom gear and you are wanting to promote your latest product launch. You know the possibilities in profit from marketing online but you don’t know what platforms to get started on. Did you know that Google has an answer for pretty much anything? Start researching online about where your target audience is. We just searched into Google, “social media platforms that moms are most active on.” Around 80% of US mothers are active users on Pinterest.

Well, there ya have it, folks! You know where to get started. If your brand involves motherhood, Pinterest is a safe bet.

TAKEAWAY POINT:
Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to be on every popular platform. All it will result in is your business under-performing on all rather than making a big impact on one.

TIP 3: Delegate when it’s time.

Once you start growing and start to receive a return on your hard work, it’s time to delegate. If you attracted the right audience, more sales are being generated which means you should look to hire an account manager. Once you find the right fit, allow them to expand onto those platforms you didn’t have the time for when you first started.

Content vs. Spam
If you want to be considered an entrepreneur and run a successful business, then you know better than to take the shortcut to gain followers, likes, and sales on social media. Expanding your social media presence works the same way as running your business. You have to do the work, create something that brings value, and keep showing up every day.

TIP 4: Be authentic with your content.
Content drives everything. Every situation is different so whether you are a micro business owner, you just took over your family business or your scaling in business — your idea, product, or service brings some sort of value in your eyes. That’s why entrepreneurs go for it, right? All entrepreneurs are trying to fill a gap that they find in some sort of industry.

TAKEAWAY POINT:
In the world we live in, you can optimize your brand and increase your revenue just by creating content around that fundamental. Share your story. Be authentic. Don’t take shortcuts.

TIP 5: Repurposing and spamming are not the same. Know the difference and use it to your advantage.

Now, repurposing content is not spamming your viewers — you’re actually giving your viewers the opportunity to not miss out on great content. Your content can go so much farther than you think.

Here’s an example of repurposing content:
1.  You create a Snapchat video one day in the car on a topic that inspires you. You also share it to your Facebook and Instagram Stories. It gets incredible feedback and your followers are highly engaged. (Don’t stop there!)

2.  Expand on that video. Write a more in-depth blog post that will bring more people to value it. You already had their attention, give them a reason to keep showing up for more.

3.  After you create a blog post, go ahead and design attractive graphics that highlight one of the key points in your video and/or blog. Make a Pinterest graphic (that’s formatted for Pinterest), one for Facebook (formatted for Facebook), and of course, the famous squared graphic for Instagram.

TAKEAWAY POINT:
From one random video you took in the car, you just created three forms of content that are shooting out in about 10 different ways. To learn more about creating great content, we suggest using Gary Vaynerchuk as a resource. Check out his blog post, The Gary Vee Content Strategy: How to Grow and Expand Your Social Media Content to learn more on content strategy.

One Final Message
All in all, social media marketing is different for every business. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to this process but one thing that will always be true about social media: consistency is key.

That’s why we encourage you to market to the best of your ability on fewer platforms so that you can remain focused and consistent in driving out amazing content for your audience. We’re not saying that you have to post content every day of the week, multiple times a day (if you have the time, more power to you!). When you’re just starting out, create a schedule that you can maintain and then work your way up.

Running a business is hard and there are many moving parts but leverage the possibilities of being present through social media. Focus on what you are doing to better your brand and remember to expand on what you know and that will separate you from others online.


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Synergistic Self-Employment

Marilyn Green is the President & CEO of JFY Consulting, Inc. that is headquartered in Belleville, Illinois and has satellite offices in Charlotte, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. JFY Consulting, Inc. offers Strategic Process Planning; Grant Mining, Coaching/Reviewing; Leadership Development Workshops; Business Development and IT Strategic Solutions. When working with JFY, you will get a synergistic think tank that combines the knowledge, experience and wisdom of baby boomers and the creative, tech-savvy connectivity of millennials.

When and why did you join the NASE?
We joined NASE in 2016 because we wanted to take advantage of all the benefits offered to a self-employed business for just $120.00. It was amazing the perks associated with joining. We are also wanting to be an advocate for the rights of NASE members and other self-employed organizations.

What inspired you to enter the field you are in?
What inspired us to be in this field is that fact that we were all being asked for sound wisdom from all age groups and decided that we should capitalize on our expertise and assist people with their dreams.

When and why did you start your business?
We officially started our business in January, 2013.

Historically, our family has an entrepreneurial spirit from my paternal great Grandmother (this is what I was told) and we wanted to place our own spin on the spirit by a developing a legacy of think tanks that we believe generationally could be sustained. Our think tank feeds our insatiable knowledge/research hunger and we decided, why not assist others and monetize it.

How do you market your business?
We market our business by participating in many expos, relying on word of mouth, participating in social events, distributing business cards, utilizing social media (Facebook, Twitter), and any other mode if the opportunity arises. I stay tuned in for anytime in any conversation that I can inject what we can offer a potential client and/or referral. Having a successful business is in our hearts and we love what we do, so it makes it easy to talk about the services we can offer.

What challenges have you faced in your business?
The biggest challenge we have faced in our business is working the business full-time in our heart but part time as far as actions. As we transition from working our jobs for the “man”, we sometimes do not have all the time we believe is necessary to nurture our relationships with our clients. We have overcome these challenges by setting up lunchtime, evening and Sat/Sun hours and we make sure that we follow up with our clients via texts, emails, phone calls and blogs. We have also created a Google Client Inquiry Form and we use Calendly for scheduling to help us with time management.

Do you have any employees?
We have 3. We have three full-time employees. We have added a consultant to develop, design and implement our marketing plan.

What’s your schedule like, what’s a typical day for you?
My schedule at this time is focusing about 7 hours or more a day to the business as I work a full time job. I work during my lunch hour, when I am driving home and until about 11 am. I communicate with my clients and potential clients via phone, email, or text. Typically, my day with clients may include working on a 501c3 for a young boys group to working with a client that wants a food bank. The diversity of needs is really, really what motivates us.

What’s the best thing about being self-employed?
The best thing about being self–employed is the potential to have a supporting role in the dreams of others and in return, they are an active participant in my legacy building goals. They become a part of our history and we become part of theirs and that is all good!

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?
The best compliment that I have ever received was, “Your insights do not insist.”

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting their own business?
I would tell them to be passionate about their vision and actionable and deliberate about their mission. Further, I would tell them to make their foundation sure, so that they do not have to go back to repair.

Which NASE member benefit is most important to you?
The most important benefit to me was the Growth Grant opportunity. After we received the funds, we continue to develop the deliverables we wrote about in our proposal. The funds were a game changer for our company and served to place even more “wind beneath our wings”. It created an urgent need to put visible action in our plans to design, develop, implement and evaluate our web-based cultural business repository called Ink Whale. Ink Whale is alive and healthy and we are in the process of working on a viable and sustainable marketing plan.

Any other information you would like to share?
If being your own boss is your dream, please get ready to have the position of servant leader and understand that really “the customer is always right”. They are the best gauge for present and future profitable journeys. They are the same as fans to an entertainer. Their actions allow you to understand the mind of a consumer that allows you to have a pretty good idea of the best direction for your business.
 

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NASE President and CEO Keith Hall Testifies on Retirement Security

On Wednesday, March 27, NASE President and CEO, Keith Hall, provided testimony to the House Small Business Committee on the opportunities and challenges the self-employed face as it relates to retirement security.

In his testimony, Mr. Hall cited, “recent data from the AARP found that “the average household has only $3,000 saved for retirement. In fact, 18% of retirees in the next 15 years will retire with more debt than savings.” This is a staggering statistic – and is the foundation for our conversation today as to how we can best help provide the tools and resources for the 27 million self-employed and micro-business owners to elevate retirement security as a business issue.”

Mr. Hall cited four opportunities for the self-employment to achieve retirement security:
1.  Newly developed state programs that facilitate savings.
2.  Ensuring Congress facilitates a legislative and regulatory environment for multi-employer pension plans as outlined in the August 2018 executive order.
3.  Identify opportunities for simplifying retirement accounts.
4.  Increased communication to new business owners the importance of planning for retirement.

Read Mr. Hall’s testimony here.


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