Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Entrepreneurial Road

~Entrepreneurship~

Growing up I never heard of the word entrepreneur.  My parents were both teachers so there was never talk of anything else other than teaching. I knew there were business owners and employees. I never imaged that I could be a business owner. That concept was so foreign to me. Those people – business owners – seemed like they must be rich to be able to start a business and be able to pay people to work for them.  I, never in a million years, thought I would be able to be a business owner.

employee frustration

Fast forward to adulthood when I became an employee. There were times in my different careers that I would become frustrated with being an employee and wanting to quite my job and move on to bigger and better things. I think we all feel that frustration of being an employee at one point or another. That feeling of wanting to ‘throw it all in’ and not have to ‘work for the man’ anymore.

 

It wasn’t until I had my daughter, she was the catalyst for me wanting to figure out a way to make money and stay at home. And even when I did quit my job and started teaching My Smart Hands classes out of my living room did I even consider myself an entrepreneur – but I was! And even though I was only running a few classes out of my home – I was my own boss, making my own money – I was becoming an entrepreneur. And I LOVED it! My original idea was to teach a few baby signing classes, just enough to float my boat and then go back to teaching when my daughter started school. But the freedom of being my own boss was intoxicating and I wanted more!

Entrepreneurship – beyond every reasonable doubt – is difficult. It is almost like a religion. It not only takes sustained belief in one’s idea and value system but blind faith in your own potential. Entrepreneurship is not about immediately stepping into a cushy position. It’s about the taste dirt as you fall flat on your face until you finally succeed. That sweet taste of victory after all the dirt along your path is the sweetest taste of all!

So who is an entrepreneur? A restaurant owner is an entrepreneur and so is a writer. A guy who paints houses is an entrepreneur and so it a mother who is doing designs at home in her spare time. All of them have one thing in common: Them. They believe in themselves and their single most important investment is their talent and belief. An entrepreneur starts at square one and is not afraid to take chances to get to square one hundred and one.  An entrepreneur is an observer, listener and a continuous thinker. An entrepreneur never stops thinking unless asleep and even then often dreams of new projects, ideas and next big things.

The one thing that all entrepreneurs have in common is they are willing to take a risk – that very first risk – a leap into the world of being your own boss. The world where you start to create something that is meaningful to you. That thing you are passionate about because it is your creation. You are the one making decisions, making things happen. You no longer have to ask permission or follow anyone’s rules. You are your OWN boss – there is nothing greater and more liberating! And yes it is scary. But what is a life that is lived without a little fear? If you are considering becoming an entrepreneur I suggest that you step outside your comfort zone, take a risk and believe in yourself.

Someone once asked me if I had any bad experiences on my entrepreneurial road. And of course I had some difficult things happen, some roadblocks and unexpected blips along the way. But they were not ‘bad’ experiences, they were just experiences. Experiences that I could learn and grow from. I chose not to dwell on BAD but change my thinking of what a ‘bad experience’ was. Don’t be afraid of falling on your face or making the wrong decision. Instead change the way you think about things. If you make a wrong choice then simply learn from it. Don’t let it drag you down. Being an entrepreneur is scary, I will not lie. But it’s scary in the way you feel when you are on a roller coaster climbing up that huge hill before the drop. Once that roller coaster crests the hill and you begin the ride it becomes very exciting! Being an entrepreneur is a lot like riding a roller coaster there are ups and downs and turns you may not expect but all in all it’s a damn good ride!

happy young businessman on spring field

My Secret Closet – Rent Frock Repeat

Rental gownAs an entrepreneur it’s important to get out and network – go to events, conferences, dinners etc. I love networking, mingling and meeting interesting people. But I hate the part where I’m trying to figure out what to wear! I feel like I’m back in high school wanting to call the other entrepreneurs who are attending the event and ask what they’re wearing. I hate that men have it so easy in the clothing department. All they need is one or two great suits and they are set.

I do have my two go-to fancy dresses that I absolutely love and feel very confident in. They have served me well over the years. Recently, the more successful and high profile I’ve become the more events I’m being invited to. And worse, many of the events have the same people each time. I can’t get away with wearing my go-to dresses all the time. But I also don’t want to buy a new dress to wear just once!

I recently attended the Blissdom Conference where I discovered a great new service for women called Rent Frock Repeat – you canrental dress rent fancy dresses and make an impression in a beautiful gown! I love this service! No longer do I have to stress about what to wear to an event. I don’t have to feel like I’m back in high school standing in front of my clothes screaming at my mother that I have nothing to wear (insert whiny teenage angst voice here). Rent Frock Repeat has an amazing concept for women. You can either go into their location to try on different dresses or you can shop online. They make the shopping online process so very simple! You see a dress you like, you order it, they ship it to you, you ship it back…easy! But even better is they ship you two dress sizes just in case! And no need to dry clean, they take care of all that for you. It’s brilliant really!

If you are a woman who has an event to attend and you don’t want to go out and spend a fortune on a new dress you must check out Rent Frock Repeat.

Rent Frock Repeat Customer Satisfaction

This post content is sponsored by Rent Frock Repeat, however the views and opinions expressed herein represent my own.

Guerilla Marketing: Low Cost Advertising Case Study

In guerilla warfare, armies look for ways in which to surprise their enemies in order to gain a competitive advantage. By using unexpected tactics to trick and confuse the enemy a much smaller army can defeat a much larger using far less resources and energy.

Just like in war, startup companies are faced with a battle between the massive market of potential consumers and the means by which to market to them. Similar to how guerilla armies can overcome their limited resources with boundless creatively, startups can apply the same concepts to marketing referred to as guerilla marketing. Coined by author  J. Levinson, guerilla marketing is a low-cost marketing strategy that focuses on atypical means to promote a product or service.

Being resource and capital strapped startups are faced with the proverbial chicken and the egg dilemma: money is required to gain customers and customers are acquired as a result from spending marketing money to which startups have little to none. So how do startups gain customers without initial capital to compete in an aggressive market? Just as guerilla armies who use little resources to create massive destruction, startups can apply the same philosophies to marketing to create maximum leverage.

Let me share a creative guerilla marketing strategy that our company adopted that allowed us to be featured on over 70 fashion bloggers across the country in 10 days.

Our companies desire was to build relationships with fashion and beauty related bloggers. They are the influencers in our target customer base and they have access to a large social network to whom would benefit from our services.

The first step was to start build a contact list of bloggers. We began networking with bloggers at events such as BlissDom – an annual weekend event attracting over 400 bloggers from across the country. We had a booth setup at BlissDom and gave away gift cards as a means to draw people to us. Throughout the 3-day event we spoke to and received about 100 different bloggers business cards.

After the event we followed up with the bloggers about providing content for their blog. Having being recently being featured on Dragons’ Den we had something that was worth talking about. Most of the bloggers were receptive to this idea but at a cost ranging from $100 – $500. With close to 100 bloggers the cost would sink our company and comparatively would drain the budget of even a much larger company.

We went back to the drawing board and discussed creative ways in which we could create a win-win scenario. Bloggers wanted the same things we did: enhanced engagement, more subscribers, and of course money. Based on satisfying these mutual desires we developed a marketing campaign that would not only get us featured on the bloggers website but also allow us to acquire the bloggers as customers.

The world’s first Blogger Fashion Week was born – a 7 day online event in which established and emerging fashion related bloggers had a chance to feature their fashionable clothing styles and their blog to a community of like minded individuals. Bloggers could earn money by selling their clothes within our marketplace comprised of women all across Canada.

Blogger Fashion Week featured 10 bloggers each day to our members showcasing their personal style, their fashionable items they wanted to sell, and their blog profile. Our members had a chance to shop the closets of Canada’s best fashion bloggers while receiving a preview of what their blog was focused on.  To enhance engagement we asked the bloggers to answer quirky questions about themselves while a collage of pictures of them were featured on our social feeds.

The week-long campaign resulted in our company being featured on over 70 blogs while receiving media attention by Fashion Magazine. The bloggers were happy to feature us amongst their community because we appealed to their desires in such a way that no other company has done before. Dale Carnegie (author of How To Win Friends And Influence People) would be proud. The entire campaign actually made us money rather than cost us money which was an added bonus.

Guerilla marketers always look for and seek out hidden opportunities that others don’t see. In order to survive in this fast pace world of online marketing you must stand out, find areas where no one else is and try something creative. Successful marketers don’t focus on competing, they focus on creating.  If you become consumed with competing you’re focusing on and comparing your company to the best efforts of others. Being focused on creating gives birth to new opportunities that never existed before.

TrendTrunk

Guest post by:
Trevor Lash
He is the Account Manager at TrendTrunk.com, an online marketplace  for fashion savvy and stylist women that enables them to make money and save money through the sale of their existing clothes in a safe,  social and simply way. Connect with Trend Trunk on Twitter, or Facebook.