your blog or other entrepreneur platform

Or should an entrepreneur tell it like it is?

I’ve been an entrepreneur for 16 years. And my thinking on this has evolved over time. In fact, I can remember those early days well.

The Early Days

When we started our business, I was in my 3rd year of homeschooling. At that time I had a 2nd grader, a kindergartener, a one-year-old toddler, and a brand new baby. It was a little bit crazy, I will admit.

It was 2001 when I decided to start this business. Now that’s another story, but I remember the moment when we realized, “Oh, wow! We need to move this stuff off the dining room table.” The dining room table was our office and our packing center. Losing the table was just a little bit too crazy for what we were wanting to do as a family, like eating meals together and homeschooling.

So we moved our office into this little, tiny entryway. The best way to describe it is that it was a little entryway just inside the front door that nobody used. At that time, our front door that was around the house and not visible when you pulled up. So everyone came to our side door. It was a really strange layout for a house, but it worked for us to use this little tiny, almost closet like space for our office.

I will never forget that time when a friend came over and she said, “Can I see your international headquarters.”

I looked at her sideways and said, “International headquarters? What are you talking about?”

And she answered, “Do you sell your products internationally?”

We were in our second year of business at that point and I said, “Well, we’ve sold a few books outside the United States.”

She said, “Well then, you are an international business and I want to see your international headquarters.”

I led her to the little entryway room and opened it up the door to show her our tiny, cramped office and assembly room. We both enjoyed a good laugh because she too was an entrepreneur with a home business and she said, “Well, my international headquarters is in my bedroom.”

This is the reality of being an entrepreneur who is working from home. Why do we try to hide the fact that we are small and homey from the world? I think we are afraid of ridicule and not being taken seriously. I definitely get that because there were many times when I would answer the phone and say something to the effect of, “Let me check with my team, or partner, and I’ll get with you on an answer.” Somehow saying, “Let me talk to my husband” sounded like I was admitting that my business wasn’t a real company.

Our Business Grows

Eventually, we needed more space, so we moved the office out to the garage. My husband also built a shed so that we can store our inventory of books. Of course, we refer to the shed as our warehouse. I remember my husband telling a customer over the phone, “Oh, hang on a moment. Let me go check the inventory in the warehouse.” It made us sound like we were much bigger company which added to us feeling like we were acting more professional.

In fact, my husband, the funny entrepreneur that he is, used to joke that if anyone called with a complaint, he would say, “Oh, can you hold on a moment. Let me put you through to the complaint department.” And then he’d get back on the phone and say, “Complaint Department. This is Todd.”

The other thing I noticed that when we were really small company, I would kind of hide behind the computer and I would refer to myself as “we.” I’d say, “we this” and “we that” when literally, for the first 12 years of our business, the only “we” was just me, occasionally my husband, and sometimes our kids. That’s just the way it was.

In fact, for the first 12 years of running our business, the only employees we ever had were our kids and occasionally their friends. Sixteen years later, we’ve grown a little bit. We actually do have a staff. But guess what? I still work from my garage. Maybe someday, I will have an office in the house when a couple more of my kids move out, but until then, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. An off-site suite with a corner, executive office doesn’t appeal to me as an entrepreneur. I worked there in my pre-kid days and frankly, I wouldn’t go back. I really love working from home. I love working with my kids. I love working with my husband. Most days, that is. 😉

So all of this backstory leads us to the question, how much should you let on about your business, the size of it, and/or what it looks like? How much should you appear professional and how much should you just, let it all hang out, so to speak?

Professionalism vs. Realism

Here is where I draw the line. There are two things that you need to instill in your customers. One is confidence. And the other is relatability. Now, my computer says that relatability is not a word (it wants to auto-correct to reliability, which of course we want to be too but that is not the concept I’m getting at.) You should be working towards having your customers should know, like and trust you.

Act Like a Professional

So how can you instill confidence for your ideal customer? You do this by acting professional. And there are 5 ways or places where I believe you should act professional, and these are:

  1. How you answer the phone
  2. The look and design of your website
  3. How you package your product,
  4. Or perform your service
  5. How you speak
Answering the Phone

When you answer the phone, this is the very first contact they have with the voice of your company. That is a time when you should be professional and have something prepared to say that sounds professional. This is how I answer the phone – “Knowledge Quest. This is Terri. How can I help you?” Our manager, Josh, answers the phone, “Countryside. This is Josh. How can I help?” Come up with something short and flowy you can say that sounds professional when you answer the phone.

Your Website’s Appearance

Design is important. It speaks care and quality. Sometimes we have to pay someone to make our websites look professional. Or maybe you can pull it off yourself. There are a lot of great tools out there that can help you make really nice web pages that look professional. As you all know, my favorite web page builder is Leadpages. In fact, an opt-in page for Knowledge Quest was one of the top 10 pages built in April 2017. I’m pretty proud of that, especially since it took no design skills of my own to pull this off. 🙂

Packaging your products

Products can either be physical or digital. At Knowledge Quest, we have physical products. It matters great to us and our customers what the physical product looks like, how it is packaged and the condition it’s in when it arrives at our customer’s door. This is another one of those first touch points when a new customer is seeing for the first time who your company is and whether they can depend on you to deliver value. You are instilling confidence when you take care to provide good packaging.

Performing your service

Maybe you don’t provide products. Perhaps your form of value is a service. When this is the case, you want to be very professional in the way you perform your service by making it convenient for them, making it quality, top notch.

How you speak

Be professional in the language that you use when you talk to your customers and potential customers. When I’m training my staff, something that I tell them is “I never want you to swear, and I never want to hear you talking negatively about anybody. We always talk kindly to our customers, about their pets, and about other people.”

Keeping it Real

Those are the 5 ways that you, as an entrepreneur, should show professionalism. Now, on the other side of the coin, we want to be relatable, right? We want our ideal customers to know, like and trust us. And relate to us. So here are some ways that I think we can and should do just that.

  • Our blogs or other content platforms
  • Our social media channels
  • Video productions
  • Livestream video (such as Facebook Live)
Through our blog posts

Our blogs or any platform where we share content, our products, ourselves, or our business, are a great place to relax a little bit more and show more of a “behind the scenes” peek into our business. This is where we can let our personalities shine and allow our little quirkiness to come out.

Our social media channels

This is a great place to share a little more about who we are, the person behind the business.

Video

People can relate to you better when you use video to share more about yourself and tell stories about yourself, your family, your business. Your fans and followers will relate to you more on a personal level and in more of a personal way.

Livestream video

More specifically, Facebook Live. Facebook Live is allowing us to show the authentic and real sides of ourselves, quirks and all.

For example, in a recent Facebook Live on the Mompreneur U Facebook page, you can see that I’m still working from my garage and because it’s cold in there, I had to put on my sweatshirt. You’ll often see my kids playing outside the window behind me as I’m doing a Facebook Livestream. Video and Facebook Live show the real side of you and the backstage of your business.

Give it Facebook Live a Try

If you want to share a little bit more about you and your business to your customers and your potential customers, I would suggest you try your hand at Facebook Live. Yes, I know it is scary. And it feels vulnerable. You’re putting yourself out there to say, “Here I am. Here’s my entrepreneur environment.”

Many of us find excuses not to do a Facebook Live because we think “I don’t like the backdrop” or “I don’t have a professional set-up.” Honestly, I don’t like my backdrop either. I really don’t love the way my garage office looks. I will often think, “I don’t really like the way my hair looks today” or “I’ll wait until I lose a few pounds.”

Don’t do this to yourself! You are beautiful, talented, and extraordinary entrepreneur just the way you are!

On that note, I am going sign off, but thank you for reading through to the end. Remember this, you are incredibly talented and have gifts to share with the world that only you can share. So be yourself, be real and don’t forget, I’m on the journey with you.

Read more

A Mompreneur is creative and resourceful!

Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard the pitches for the productivity and time management courses. And then, of course, you’ve seen all the planners that promise to turn your chaos into instant order. The problem is that so many online business courses and productivity tools assume that you have 8-12 hours per day to work on your business. That is just not the case for many people. Especially for a mompreneur who has her kids home all or most of the day.

I’ve had kids home all or most of the day for over 23 years because here’s the thing… I’ve been homeschooling since my oldest was in kindergarten. I have 6 kids and my youngest is nine. I’ve been a mompreneur for 16 of those years, so I’ve HAD to figure out how to get work done with my kids around all day.

So, let’s address the elephant in the room and talk about your day and your schedule. Starting and growing your business is not an easy, effortless task. It requires work. But just like any other worthwhile endeavor, growing a business is worth the effort we put into it.

And, as you know, pretty much anything worth doing in life requires some effort and planning on our part. Continue reading 10 Ways a Mompreneur Can Get Stuff Done

Read more

Fast growing email list

Because email subscribers trump views and fans!

We’ve already discussed this question regarding email list building in a previous blog post:

Would you rather have…

  1. 100 email subscribers
  2. 10,000 Facebook fans
  3. 100,000 views on your video

Wow, hard question, right?

Doesn’t everyone want their videos to go viral and get hundreds of thousands of viewers? And 10K fans on Facebook is a big deal. But there is a right answer to this question and it is… Door #3!

The truth is we all start at the same place… the beginning. Ground zero. No one is born with a list, and that means we all have to start growing our list at some point, preferably as soon as possible. The other fact to consider is that getting the first 100 people to sign up for your email list is usually the hardest. After that, you will gain momentum.

So, how do you go from 0 to 100 when it comes to building your list? Here are 3 simple steps to gain your first 100 subscribers: Continue reading How to Grow Your Email List from 0 to 100 in just 3 Steps

Read more

burnout

Have you ever experienced bone-weary burnout?

Burnout has a way of creeping up on us. It begins with a quiet sensation of listlessness, followed by annoyance, accompanied by an occasional outburst of unexpected anger that you didn’t see coming.

burnout

Great idea, huh? Well, maybe not!

Some homeschool moms may carry on for years before experiencing burnout, while others may experience it yearly, generally in the spring. Because, goodness, by then we are just plum worn out from teaching school all year long.

If you, like me, are feeling a sense of despondency, fatigue, or angst, it is time to head off burnout at the pass. This is the time of year that we can intentionally set up our children, routine, and schedule for success as we finish the year strong. Continue reading Help, I Feel Burnout Coming!

Read more

the paradox

Have you heard these reasons before?

I read this question on a blog recently and it made me sit up and think for a few reasons. Here’s the gist of the question:

Would you rather have…

  1. 100 email subscribers
  2. 10,000 Facebook fans
  3. 100,000 views on your video

Wow, hard question, right?

Doesn’t everyone want their videos to go viral and get hundreds of thousands of viewers? And 10K fans on Facebook is a big deal. But there is a right answer to this question and it is… Door #3!

best reasons

While 100 email subscribers may feel like a pittance, this is the best case scenario of the three options above and I’m going to give you 6 compelling reasons why. Continue reading 6 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Email List

Read more

give through your blog

How your platform – blog, podcast, or video channel – integrates seamlessly with your business.

When you are running a small business, it can feel like there is so much to do and so little time to do it. The idea of blogging or podcasting or creating video can feel overwhelming. But incorporating a platform where you give free content, such as a blog, can boost everything from your email list growth to the goodwill felt among your tribe to your financial bottom line. Continue reading Give and Get the Most from Your Blog

Read more

Behind the scenes

How I Manage 5-Figure Launches

Last week, I shared with you the tools that I use to create and manage my launches for new products, courses, and curriculum. I’m no wizard. When I pull back the curtain, you can see that behind the scenes I use ordinary tools that have been proven to deliver predictable results.

Here is my list of tools:

  1. Infusionsoft
  2. LeadPages
  3. Keynote
  4. ATR2100 Mic
  5. Screenflow
  6. Vimeo / Youtube
  7. WebinarJam
  8. Facebook ads

In Part 1, I walked you through how I use the first five tools on the list and I mentioned that of them all, I am especially fond of Leadpages because it delivers great results and cuts my workload in half, at least. Because I love Leadpages so much, I have teamed up with Tim Paige of Leadpages to bring you a special live training on The Conversion Training. I hope you will join us! You can sign up here:

https://my.leadpages.net/wl/terri-johnson-tim-paige-webinar/

Behind the scenes with Leadpages

We have 3 more tools to cover to finish our list of best tools and best practices. Continue reading Behind the Scenes of a Re-Launch, Part 2

Read more

Behind the scenes

Behind the Scenes of the Re-Launch of Mompreneur 101

If you’ve been reading this blog or following me online for the last few months, you know that I just re-launched my business course for homeschool moms, Mompreneur 101. I now have the privilege of teaching a new group of students. I love teaching everything I know about business. So, in this blog post and the next, I’m going to take you behind the scenes to show you how I pulled off a 5-figure launch.

Behind the scenes

First, I will list the tools that I used and then I will explain how I used them to create a successful launch for my course. I should mention that I use these tools every time I launch a new product, whether it be a book, curriculum, online app, or course: Continue reading Behind the Scenes of a Re-launch, Part I

Read more

the paradox

Do you ever feel just a little bit crazy?

It’s no wonder!

You have children to teach, the family to feed, laundry piling up, and if you are an entrepreneur, you also have a business that needs attention or it’s going to shrivel up. There is so much that you need to do on any given day that you may lack focus. And even more so, you may lack clarity. If you don’t know what you are working towards, then how can you possibly know what you should be working on? See previous post for some help.

This, my friend, is the homeschool mompreneur’s paradox – you have a business for the purpose of supporting your family and yet little time to devote to it. You have an incredible idea for how you can serve others and yet lack a clear direction for how to reach your target audience. You have a passion to support, encourage, and inspire others through a business venture and yet lack the funds to get it off the ground.

Would you be surprised to hear that you don’t necessarily need more skills, more money, or more time to start or grow your business? You have been especially gifted to bless the world with your unique gifts and talents. There is just one thing you need:

The roadmap! Continue reading The Paradox – Homeschooling and Running a Business

Read more

My Review of Leadpages, the Landing Page Provider

If you are a student of mine, or a reader of this blog, or a member of any one of my Facebook groups, then you probably know that I am a big fan of Leadpages. But I don’t think I’ve ever created as many landing pages using Leadpages as I have in these last few months, so I feel that it’s time I do a proper review.

Since October, I have created landing pages for the country unit studies I’ve been giving away, as well as some of the promotions and launches I have been working on. I will show examples throughout this blog post.

After all this time, work, and effort, I still cast my vote for Leadpages as my landing page provider. But I want to give you some very down-to-earth pros and cons to consider if you are looking for a landing page provider to drastically reduce the time you spend creating web pages as well as greatly improve their final appearance.

Let’s start with the Cons! Continue reading What I Really Think about Leadpages

Read more