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5 Lead Generation Strategies for Solopreneurs by @DONNAAMOS

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by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor 

There are tons of ways solopreneurs can make money online and offline, thanks to powerful digital technology, affordable mobile devices and the internet. And many of these micro-businesses can be started on a shoestring budget of under $1,000 – or even under $100! As long as your lead generation efforts are bringing in new customers, there’s virtually no limit to how quickly you can scale your side hustle into a full-time business.

You might be a blogger and vlogger, creating content for your subscribers on your website and social media accounts, making money through ad revenue and affiliate marketing.

Or perhaps you could do freelance work offering B2B services to local small businesses.

Or you might run a small brick-and-mortar biz out of your garage or public storage unit, selling products via online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Craigslist.

You can also provide services directly to consumers as an independent contractor and through online apps like Uber, Postmates, Rover and TaskRabbit.

As a solo entrepreneur, you have tons of options today. But whichever path you choose for your lifestyle business, you will need a steady flow of new customers coming in every month in order to be successful.

So with that in mind, here are five lead gen tips to help you get more clients and more sales this year. Most of these methods are designed to bring in new leads online, but there are also some offline guerrilla marketing tactics here that still work really well for certain types of solo businesses.

1. Optimize Your Website to Capture Leads

Before you start investing time and money trying to scrape up traffic to your website, first make sure that your site is ready to receive those new visitors and convert them into subscribers, leads and paying customers.

Give your website visitors and blog readers plenty of opportunities to subscribe to your mailing list and receive free blog content, updates, and promotions. You should have subscriber boxes and contact forms on every page of your site. In fact, having multiple forms on each page isn’t a bad idea. Make use of your site’s header, footer and sidebar areas along with including custom lead capture forms on landing pages and service pages.

You should also have free lead magnets set up on dedicated landing pages in order to build your email list. These lead magnets, such as ebooks, infographics, and reports, are powerful tools for quickly grabbing new subscribers.

Then you could also segment your list based on reader interest and engagement and set up custom email funnels for each group to minimize unsubscribers and spam reports.

Remember, it’s not always about the hard sell. Sure, some people on your site are ready to buy, so you should make it easy for them to do so without having to click on a million links to find the “Buy” button. But most of your site visitors aren’t yet ready to whip out their credit cards – they’re just browsing or killing time on their lunch break.

So if you can catch their interest, offer some free value with your blog content and lead magnets, then you can at least get them into your email funnel and social media channels to start building a relationship with them that will eventually pay off for you and them.

2. Buy Ads on Google and Social Media

Compared to old-school marketing strategies like TV and radio spots, billboards, magazine ads, and late-night infomercials, digital ads on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google are way underpriced.

Unlike “Big Media” advertising in the old days – when national ad campaigns could easily cost millions of dollars per month – you can start running social media ads for a couple of hundred bucks.

And if you target those ads effectively, you can actually start seeing results in no time.

3. Collaborate to Build Authority and Reach

There are tons of ways to build relationships with other influencers in your niche and piggyback your brand message onto their content and vice versa in order to rapidly expand your audience, brand recognition and industry authority. Here are just a few ideas on how you can get started:
– Guest blog posts
– Podcast interviews
– Youtube video collaborations
– Live local meetups
– Online hangouts
– Charity fundraisers

By offering time, content and value to other influencers, charities and brands in your industry and related industries, you can quickly reach new markets and new customers who have never even heard of you but are part of your target market.

The secret is to choose influencers that are a good fit and then give plenty of value first before asking for something in return. Don’t just spam a bunch of influential bloggers and brands who are light years ahead of you and expect them to jump at the chance of featuring you on their blog or podcast. Reach out and spend some time becoming a part of their communities. Contribute first – genuinely and sincerely – before asking for anything for yourself.

If you give and give and give some more, and assuming you are building a great brand that offers tons of value, you’ll find plenty of collab opportunities eventually beating down your door. That’s when your reputation and reach will begin to expand exponentially.

4. Go Where Your Clients Like to Hang Out

The tricky thing about the internet is that you can reach just about anyone and get your brand and your content in front of them – but you have to know where to look.

Facebook ads can be super-effective, but only if your target customers hang out on Facebook every day. If they’re usually on TikTok and Youtube but only have a neatly-scrubbed-but-never-used-dummy-account on Facebook to please their nosy parents, then you’re wasting your money on all those Facebook ads.

Once you’ve located your target market and the platforms, forums, subreddits and social media groups where they spend their time, you can then start pouring your ad spend into the places that make sense.

But don’t think that you can’t reach them without paid ads. Joining those groups and forums and contributing helpful ideas for free pays off too. You just need to follow the rules and avoid coming across as spammy and overly-promotional. If you take your time to build relationships and offer value first, you’ll get plenty of chances to slide into those DMs and actually pick up leads that convert.

5. Pass Out Flyers and Business Cards Like Crazy

While the internet is all the rage these days, there are still some very effective ways to grow your solo biz and get sales without plugging in. Yes, we’re talking about flyers and business cards. It turns out that people still use them. If you’re operating a business that sells to local customers, then door-to-door flyer marketing might work really well, and it’s great because you can target your location easily.

And of course, no matter what kind of business you run, you should always have a few business cards in your pocket. Because every conversation is a chance to grab another subscriber and work on converting them into a customer.

Here’s an example.

If you’re starting up a lawn care company like this kid, with a few bucks you can have someone on Fiverr design a 8.5” x 5.5” flyer. Make sure it has a distinct discount coupon code to distinguish it from other deals you are offering through online ads or other marketing methods. Then email the file to your local print shop, go pick up the flyers and hire someone on Craigslist to pass them out to every house and business in your service area.

Solopreneurs have so many options for creating online and offline businesses today, and the low cost of entry makes it ridiculous for anyone to not take a shot and start one – or two or three. As long as you’re offering a product, service or content that helps people, you’ll be able to grow an audience and make money by selling to that audience. If you’ve already got your biz up and running but aren’t getting a lot of clients, try these five lead generation strategies so you can get more sales.

The post 5 Lead Generation Strategies for Solopreneurs by @DONNAAMOS appeared first on She Owns It.



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In this ‘new normal’ it’s not more time, but THIS, that’s the holy grail of life and business

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Has anyone else secretly worried that they accidentally manifested a worldwide pandemic? Because the top 3 things in my future vision journaling for about a year now have been:

  1. My husband works at home (so I don’t have to do all the childcare)
  2. I run my business in just a few short hours a day
  3. We spend lots of time together as a family

“Not like this!” I journal frantically on day 1 of lockdown.  It feels like those awful wish reversals you get in fairytales where your wishes are indeed granted, but only in the most ironic and terrible ways.

Abracadabra! The world’s now in peril, your kids rarely leave your side, your husband’s going to work from home (but only emerge to look in the fridge), oh and here’s your new work day: AKA the crack of dawn, and “crikey, it’s midnight!” Enjoy!

On day 2 of lockdown I realise I do not have the patience of Mary Poppins and that our teachers are indeed underpaid; perhaps my children are going to have to settle for ‘The School of Life’ for a few weeks (or even months?!).

On day 3, I have a mini meltdown in the shower and sob into the soap dish over the future of the world, my business and my children (who are apparently now destined to be educated by a mentally unstable mother who doesn’t even know what a number bond is).

But on day 4, something miraculous happens: I feel better!

Months and years of mindset work and gratitude finally kick in, and I emerge from that dark place of fear, mourning and worry we all seem to have been tipped into, and realise that:

Yes, we’ve been forced to slow down, and yes, we’ve been forced to create space, and yes, it’s happened in the most horrible way; but even with all the extra scariness and worry and uncertainty; without the rush of the old world and the necessity to live our lives around someone else’s timetable, I can finally see the truth in that saying that, with change, comes opportunity.

We can either use this time to freeze and bemoan all the plans and dreams that will now have to be postponed or forgotten; or we can stop focusing on all that we’ve lost, and redirect our attention to all that we’ve gained.

I hate to say this, but for me and anyone else with children and/ or a job that can be done from home, more time isn’t necessarily one of those things we’re gaining – so don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you’re suddenly going to be able to write your book or launch that new membership program…

But actually, after a few more days in our ‘new normal’, I realise that although my days are definitely longer and fuller and involve far more parenting and far less actual working than ever before; it has also meant that I’ve had to pare back everything to the pure essentials, and there’s no doubt about it, this forced simplicity has created something I now suspect is more precious than that holy grail of more time: it’s given me back my headspace.

Because without the rush that bookends my days; the school runs and the work trips, the homework, the social events, the clubs, appointments, obligations, and all the other mental acrobatics that go into running a 21st Century life, I realise that it’s not lack of time that’s been stopping me from doing all the things I want to do, like write my book, or tap into my business vision, have more self care, or be more present with my kids (time is just an illusion, after all).

No, the thing that’s really been holding me back, is a lack of room in my mind to see things clearly, a lack of space to daydream, and a train of thought that’s constantly being stopped and diverted.

Maybe it wasn’t the new skeleton schedule, or personal development seminar, or more help around the house that I needed to help me achieve those dreams. Maybe what I really needed all along was a pattern interrupt; something that would slow me right down. And suddenly here we have it; the mother of all pattern interrupts; not really holding us back so much as reining us in, so we can slow down and see the opportunities already here.

So 2020 isn’t exactly panning out how I’d planned it – I’m sure you know how that feels – and while I know there’ll still be moments of frustration, fear and sadness for all of us, I’ve decided to take what the universe has given me (more family time and more togetherness), embrace the change, go with the flow, trust, and look for the opportunities that were here all along.

And you know what? Maybe that’s how slowing down to speed up really works; because in the little under 2 weeks since this all began, that book that’s been sitting outlined in my google docs for months has already been turned into a mini ebook ready for my VA to make pretty in Canva (and the extended version is on its way); and that membership I’ve had all the content for but no ‘time’ or energy to launch – it’s going live later this month so I can serve more people who need what I’ve got.

Yes, the road ahead is uncertain right now, but I’m beginning to trust that I’ve got all the tools I need within me to weather the storm (or at least Amazon Prime, probably does). So now’s the time to stay out of fear and stay in momentum; to show up and serve with no other agenda than serving; to be scared without being scary (as Brene Brown very aptly said); and to look for the opportunities that were already there.

And hopefully, when this is all over, l may still not know what a number bond is, but at least I’ll be ready to rise with the tide. Will you rise with me?

Words by Cate Butler Ross.

The post In this ‘new normal’ it’s not more time, but THIS, that’s the holy grail of life and business appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.



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A Broken TV Led This Entrepreneur To Build A $3.5 Billion Business

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Girish Mathrubootham has built an incredibly popular startup from the ground up. A company that fuels businesses of all sizes, and is probably becoming far more important in the wake of the big events of early 2020.

Girish recently appeared as a guest on the DealMakers podcast. During his interview he shared how he has raised hundreds of millions of dollars through a Series H fundraising round, been through rebranding, built cloud-based global software solutions, and has even created what he calls an alternative model for designing software. His company Freshworks has even acquired 12 other organizations according to Crunchbase.

Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.

Everything Started With An MBA

Girish was born in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He grew up in the small town of Trichy. He left college in 1996, and the job market was tough. So, he applied for an MBA program and headed off to Chennai.

After completing his MBA he went on to work at software companies HCL Technologies, Cisco, eForce, and Zoho.

The Art Of Transitioning

Mathrubootham has become somewhat of a master of transitions throughout his career. He was a Java programmer, a trainer, an engineer, and then VP of Product Management. A position he says is great training grounds for becoming a CEO. Then as a founder, you add HR, finance, and sales.

In a recent Tweet, he wrote that “Building a company is like building a product where culture is the UX for employees and customer experience is the UX for customers.” Although he has clearly surrounded himself with some of the best minds and advisors today, Girish is a big advocate of just learning by doing. No matter how long you go to school there is a lot you’ll never be given to prepare you for real life. You have to allow yourself to be curious about learning new things.

Then it’s also about building a great team. He says the age of rockstar talent is over. It is now about building great teams. You want product managers who can see things from a user’s point of view. You want designers who prize craftsmanship and attention to detail. In developers, you want the ability to break down complexity to simplicity.

All Good Startups Begin With Experiencing Personal Frustrations

Girish Mathrubootham’s story started with a broken TV.

In 2009 he was moving back to Chennai, India from Austin, TX. Among his belongings being shipped was a Samsung TV. It arrived broken. No amount of emails and calls and requests managed to get any results from the insurance he had paid for.

A year later he hit an online forum to share his terrible experience with others. The very same day he was contacted by the president of the company and had the money in his bank account.

This was his eureka moment. He saw the shift in power from the companies to the people and individual customers.

Leaning on his experience of building help desks before he set out to build his own first product, Freshdesk which would later rebrand to Freshworks.

Building A Global Digital Business

Girish quickly assembled a team of six to develop the product. Finding product-market fit wasn’t much of a challenge. What appeared more challenging was to build a big business with this out of Chennai, India, and to ever hope of being fundable at the VC level.

After nine months of development, they launched. Within 30 days they had their first customer. It happened to be a college in Australia. Their first six customers represented businesses on four different continents. They had instantly gone international. They were doing it all remotely. This was back well before most thought of going 100% remote.

After hitting 100 customers in their first 100 days, and doubling that in the following 100 days, they got noticed by investors. Accel and Tiger Global gave them a few million dollars.

While they were doing well in the SMB sector with this remote business model, and even gained large international franchise clients, they saw they were missing out on a lot of business.

Many bigger companies were just used to being sold in person and doing face to face meetings. They weren’t the type to search for Google and buy software online.

So, they began setting up small teams and offices in Europe, Australia, and the US.

Today, they have 3,000 employees, across 13 offices, with customers spanning 126 countries.

They expanded their product line and kept adding services for small to enterprise businesses.

For others thinking about their own startups, Girish’s top advice includes to just go for it. If you are scared of becoming an entrepreneur, accept that it is hard, but look at how many others are doing it successfully. You can too. Learn how to learn, and start doing.

It has worked out well for Girish and Freshworks. They’ve already raised almost $400M, from tier 1 investors including CapitalG and Sequoia. Storytelling is everything which is something that Girish was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted.

Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:

  • The best practices for pulling off a rebranding
  • What was more important than the money when bringing in these top VCs
  • How the Freshworks Software Academy is lifting kids out of poverty
  • How a high valuation helps your startup
  • How they turned a Twitter attack into an epic PR moment
  • The concept of Indian Democratic Design
  • Alternate design models

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Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020 by @DONNAAMOS

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by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor 

There are trends that are occurring in social media that business owners can take advantage of to help them grow their businesses. As changes take place on platforms, it may benefit business owners to stay current on the changes so that you don’t use outdated practices that no longer work on social networking sites.

Growth of Tik Tok

This site has gained popularity as a social networking site for business owners. Tik Tok is a social networking site that has become very popular with Generation Z.

Individuals who are micro-influencers have gained popularity on this social networking video app. Influencers are aware that using the site to promote video can benefit small businesses because it’s not geared towards traditional sales. The lack of hard sales on the site is popular with users. By connecting with followers through good video content, it will help small businesses expand and provide opportunities to sell products. It’s expected that one of the social media trends for 2020 will include the expansion of Tik Tok to allow platform users to shop online like other social networking channels.

Increase in social shopping

Entrepreneurs can benefit from using social shopping on their company sites because of the growth of e-commerce. During the past decade, social networking sites have contributed to the growth of e-commerce. It’s now the norm for social shopping to occur on social networking channels. Customers enjoy connecting with brands and building relationships with them on social networking sites. Consumers enjoy having access to brands without leaving platforms to purchase products and services. Entrepreneurs can look to expand social shopping on their social channels.

The rise of small business owners as influencers

Small businesses can benefit from the increase in popularity that they have experienced as influencers. Users on various social platforms desire to connect with small businesses rather than huge companies. The ability to connect with an audience on a small-scale is something that small business owners can take advantage of because they have a unique following.

The use of social media to develop consumer confidence

Small business owners can benefit from using their social platforms to develop a relationship with followers that are based on trust. Followers can develop relationships based on the quality of content that is promoted that informs followers about the value that a business brings into the market. By having real conversations with followers and connecting on a human level, companies establish relationships on a much richer level because of the connection that is made by showing the company as a place where real people work.

Use of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful social platform because the site is geared toward business professionals. Business owners can reach decision-makers on LinkedIn to grow their businesses. If a company has products and services to sell and its budget is limited, being active on the platform can help generate sales and gain the attention of decision-makers.

Fewer boundaries between personal and professional lives

Social media trends include witnessing fewer boundaries between the professional and personal lives of business owners. Small business owners can grow their online audience by interacting with followers and showing them aspects of the personal and professional lives. Sharing unique content that shows followers portions of the daily lives allows followers to connect with business owners on a genuine level.

An increase in the number of brief posts

Businesses are posting new content that is online for a short amount of time, and this will continue to increase in 2020. These posts occur on sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Tikk Tok. The time-limited posts are primarily videos and allow businesses to share content that may be more personal and allows business owners to share special offers of their products and services.

Increase focus on customer interaction

Brands are working to focus more on customer responses in 2020. By responding to customer service issues that arise, businesses can learn what is necessary to meet the needs of their customers. Small businesses can gain attention from their followers by working to connect with followers and meeting the needs they address about the products and services they desire to purchase.

Expansion of the use of storytelling

Companies have increased their use of storytelling on social media sites using different types of media such as video and written content. By sharing what a company represents, it allows businesses to reach followers and potential customers. Business owners can engage with their audience telling stories on different social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Increase in video content

There is an increase expected in the amount of video content that brands produce in 2020 on social networking sites. Small businesses can increase their number of customers and followers by producing content that is appealing to followers. Business owners can determine which platforms work best for their followers and provide content that is based on what works best for their audience.

More social messenger apps

Small business owners can benefit from using social messenger apps to connect with their customers. The top messenger apps are used primarily by millennials. The top messenger apps include the following.

• Messenger
• WeChat
• Viber

There are over 2 billion messages sent on Messenger each month from businesses. The app is on over 1.2 billion phones. The potential exists for greater customer experiences to occur because of the growth of the social messaging service. Messaging apps that were developed using artificial intelligence have improved customer engagement. It’s expected that the customer experience will continue to improve because of the unique way that companies can improve the artificial intelligence they use to have more unique engagement with customers using social messaging services.

The use of messenger apps outranks the top social networking sites which include the following.

• Instagram
• Facebook
• Twitter
• LinkedIn

Small business owners can work to expand their businesses by using social networking sites and social messaging services. By working to create personalized experiences with customers and potential customers, businesses can expand and provide their customers with good experiences. Having an awareness of what their customers desire will help small businesses grow and effectively market to customers of all ages.

The post Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020 by @DONNAAMOS appeared first on She Owns It.



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