Have ya ever wanted to pursue your dream of starting a business, but felt held back by the fear of leaving a secure job? Maybe you wanna create a biz so you can have more flexibility in your life, but the idea of leaving what’s comfortable just stresses ya out.
Or maybe you’ve decided to start a business, but you feel like you’re hitting a wall just trying to get clients and make a profit.
If your head and heart are nodding in agreement right now, then this episode’s for you, girl! 👏
FROM CORPORATE LADDER TO ENTREPRENEUR
My friend Shannon Lutz joined me on SHE to share all about her story of leaving a 10 year corporate job to pursue her own dream.
Shannon is the founder and CEO of The Social Bungalow, a company dedicated to providing education-based support to female entrepreneurs.
(And BTW, it’s been amazing to see how much she’s grown her company in the past two years!)
As a career-long marketer, Shannon also dropped a ton of knowledge on how to get clients and market your biz.
And guys, seriously, her tips are GOLD. 🔥
After she became the VP of marketing for a group fitness franchise, she realized that she wanted to pursue her dream of building her own business and serve a different group of people.
For a couple of months, she looked through Instagram and Pinterest to see other women who were running their own businesses and how they were doing it.
Then she made the decision to take the leap and pursue her own biz.
But she didn’t quit her job right away. She decided to build up her business first and to get to her first three clients before quitting her corporate job.
Pause right there and take note of that!
A lot of people have a dream to start a business, but are afraid to leave a secure job. But you don’t have to quit your job before you start building a business. In fact, that’s not how I did it.
Listen, you can start building your business and getting clients while still in your current job. Then set a goal for yourself to reach a certain number of clients or hit certain financial goals before you go 100% solo.
While Shannon was still in her corporate job, she took a month to map out her niche, target audience, and what she was going to offer them. Then she took another five months to build the foundation she needed.
She created a financial runway and got her first three clients BEFORE making the final leap to biz owner.
USE YOUR EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS TO PURSUE YOUR DREAM
Just pause here for a sec because I want you to hear this.
When looking to start a business, I hear so many women say that they don’t know what to do or what to offer.
I want you to ask yourself, “What experience do I have? What field have I been working in? What skill set have I acquired through my previous jobs?”
Too many people discredit their past experiences and their gained skills. They say, “I’ve worked as a nurse for 10 years, so I don’t wanna do anything with nursing anymore.”
Or they think, “Well, I worked this job, but I don’t have a degree in that area, so I can’t make a business from it.”
When you just fall into a job or skill set that you didn’t go to school for, it’s easy to feel like it’s not yours and it just happened to you. You don’t equate what you’ve learned to being ownable skills you can make something from.
Then when you’re thinking about starting a business, you feel confused about what to do, instead of taking ownership of the skills that you have to offer.
It’s time to own your skills, girl!
And if you have experience as a nurse, teacher, or marketer, that’s the experience and skill set you want to draw from when you start a business.
As a career-long marketer, Shannon decided to create a business that would help women entrepreneurs market their businesses.
She took her background and everything she had a skill set in and then did it in a way and format that she loved.
(And BTW, if you wanna learn more about how to find your best business idea, go check out episode #134 with Rachel Proctor). LINK
HOW TO GET YOUR FIRST CLIENT
Okay, so you’ve sketched out your business idea and you’re ready to take action, but you’re still not sure how to actually get a client. 🤷
Kinda an important piece, right?
Well here are a few tips from Shannon:
- Be proactive and use your contacts, girl! Don’t just wait for people to come to you. Reach out and ask if anyone knows a person who could use your services.
- Narrow down your niche. Sometimes you need to start serving people and then from that experience, you can narrow down your focus and figure out your true target audience.
- Share a free resource to get opt-ins.
When Shannon started her biz, she first reached out to her sphere of influence. She explained that she wanted to offer marketing advice and asked if they knew any entrepreneurs who could use some help.
After gaining a couple of clients through this, she was able to get clarity on who specifically she wanted to serve. She also realized that she wanted to focus on high-level strategic planning, instead of being the person who does the actual work.
So she set up contractors who could do the work. Then she set up packages and pricing that would still make a profit.
After that, she shared a free resource on IG and Pinterest. When people would sign up to get the resource, they would get an automated 5 email sequence that built value and also showed them the additional programs she offered.
That’s how she got those first clients (and more after that).
HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH A SMALL INSTAGRAM FOLLOWING
Shannon shared that she started making $10k a month before she ever hit 5K IG followers.
How did she do that?
She engaged her audience with these tips:
- Put out great content and use hashtags that will find your target audience.
- Go to your competitors’ pages to see who’s interacting with them and then start interacting with those people.
- Build relationships with your audience. Respond to them. Ask them questions. Provide valuable resources.
You don’t need a big audience, just an engaged audience.
Remember that your business exists to solve problems and support other people. Always ask yourself, “How does this experience serve them? How can I make this so excellent for them that word of mouth happens naturally and referrals help sell services?”
DO I NEED A WEBSITE BEFORE I PURSUE MY DREAM?
Sometimes the thought of needing a perfect website holds people back from starting their business.
I get it.
You feel like you need to establish authority through a website, but there’s so much to do and consider when creating a website and honestly, that all just feels overwhelming.
But you can still start pursuing your dream before you have a website. In fact, that’s what Shannon did.
She started out using an email marketing software that created a few landing pages with details about her free resources and her services.
But she mostly operated out of her Instagram page, using it like her website. She used the landing pages to advertise her free resources and then after a consultation call, she would create a beautiful personalized plan in Canva to deliver to the client.
A little while after starting her business, she then took the time to add a website that was in line with her brand, her niche, and her target audience.
SHANNON’S MARKETING ADVICE
I asked Shannon what her top pieces of advice are for marketing your business. Got your notebook? Trust me, you’ll want it!
Here’s what she shared:
- Don’t be afraid to give away really good content for free. It’s okay if there’s a little level of redundancy between your free teachings and your paid teachings. By giving high quality content, you’re gonna build up trust enough for people to buy from you. And once they’ve paid for something, their commitment to your business increases.
- Build engaged communities by gamifying your business. Have giveaways and challenges, and offer prizes. Make it fun so your business stands out. But remember: If the window for winning is too small, it will cause the person to feel like they don’t have a chance, and they will end up feeling resentful towards you. For example, let’s say you write a post on IG that says the first five people to comment get a prize. But one of your followers sees the post 20 minutes after it’s been published. They feel like they never had a chance and they start resenting the business. Lesson? Be careful to be inclusive when you gamify.
- Know who you’re serving, how you’re serving and what problem you’re solving. Really dig in: What’s the heart of the problem? What’s the dire need keeping your target audience up at night? How can you dig deeper and write content that makes her say, “Wow, that’s exactly how I feel. This person gets me.” Write your content so that when your target audience reads it, they’re nodding their head in agreement. Cut through the marketing noise by bonding emotionally with your audience and nailing the details of the problem they’re facing.
- Always stay rooted in customer excellence and in getting them results. Pay attention to adjustments that need to be made along the way so they don’t get confused or stuck and can implement what you’re teaching them.
HOW TO LEAVE YOUR JOB TO PURSUE YOUR DREAM
If you’ve ever considered leaving your job to start your own biz, but are afraid or confused about where to start, go no further.
Seriously, Shannon’s story and her advice are solid gold. 🙌
Tune into this episode to learn:
- The story of how one woman left her job to pursue her career
- How to use your skills and experience to start a business
- Tips to book your first client
- Whether you need a website before you start
- How to make money without a large social media following
Trust me, you’re gonna walk away from this episode feeling more confident and equipped to start your own business and book clients.
Once you’ve listened, let me know below: What fear is holding you back from pursuing your own dream?
P.S. If you wanna hear more from Shannon, go check her out on The Social Bungalow’s Instagram page.