The Entrepreneurs Radio Show 092 Melinda Emerson


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The Entrepreneurs Radio Show 092 Melinda Emerson

  1. 1. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 1 of 21 Episode #92: Melinda Emerson In this episode Travis talks with the Small Biz Lady, Melinda Emerson. Melinda is a successful entrepreneur as well as a best-selling author who has helped millions of entrepreneurs through her company. Her website, has various resources and materials that would prove valuable for entrepreneurs in establishing their business. Travis and Melinda shared a lot of valuable insights for the listeners to pick up in their business. One particular lesson that Melinda shares is that entrepreneurs should create a life plan first and then use that as a basis for their business plan. She also advocates the use of vision boards which would help guide business owners towards their goal especially when they lose sight of it. She also gave her tips on how to use social media effectively as well as the power of email and how to use it effectively. All these and a lot more can be found on this episode of the Entrepreneur's Radio Show. Melinda Emerson – Low cost ways to grow your business Travis: Hey, it's Travis Lane Jenkins welcome to episode number 92 of the Entrepreneur's Radio show, a production of Today I'm going to introduce you to the small biz lady, Melinda Emerson. Now, to give you a little background on Melinda, she is an internationally- known key note speaker, and her small business advice reaches more than 3 million entrepreneurs each week on the internet. Now, in this episode we're going to talk about how to design your most ideal lifestyle. We'll also cover some small things that you can do to grow your business that are low cost, and she's going to share her top 5 tips for using social media effectively. Now, one thing I want to cover with you before we get the interview started is I want you to listen to Melinda's journey, and really, each and every person that I interview, their journey to success. And the reason why I ask how they found success is because I want to deconstruct the path of success for you. You'll notice overtime as you listen to this each and every time that although their paths are different, you'll come to see that there's a lot of several common denominators for success, or really high levels of success with each and every person. So listen in close and take what applies to you and your current situation. If something gets by you, because I know that we cover a lot of things, just listen to the episode again. Don't stress out, just go back, and either you can hit the rewind button and go back, 20, 30, 45 seconds. Or sometimes just listen to the entire episode again. I assure you this will help you fast track your success. Let the show become part of your private mastermind that's committed to helping you find that next level of success.
  2. 2. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 2 of 21 So, now, before we get started I want to remind you that there's two ways that you can take these interviews with you on the go. You can go through iTunes or Android. And both of those I've put at I've placed them on the menu bar so that you can click on them and it will take you directly to the show. That way you don't have to fumble around and try to find the shows on each of those platforms. Also, be sure and stay with us until the very end if you can because I want to share some inspiration with you like I do on each every show. Now, I do have 1 favor to ask of you. If you find value on our show, then I'd really appreciate if you'd go to iTunes and write a review. This would help us reach more entrepreneurs like yourself, plus it would mean a lot to me. It would help confirm that you find value and you believe in what we're doing here. So, now that we've got that out of the way, let's go ahead and get down to business. Without further ado, welcome to the show Melinda. Melinda: Thanks so much for having me Travis. Travis: You bet. I know that you're snowed in over there 7 days, 8 days? Melinda: This is my son's 8th day out of school this school year, it's terrible. Travis: Does it mean that you're snowed in also, that doesn't mean you hadn't been outside 7-8 days? Melinda: Not 7, 8 days in a row. It's like once a week we lose a day or two of school. We either lose a day, then we get a 2-hour delay. So, it's been going on the past-- Travis: Are you able to carry on your regular life stuff, or have you been just-- Melinda: I work from home, my whole team is virtual. So our business doesn't stop. Travis: Right. Melinda: It's just that my son being here all-day makes me have to be a parent, and a business owner at the same time. Travis: Right. Melinda: That's right. But he's great, he's pretty self-contained, he loves his iPad. So as long as he's entertained he's not a problem. Travis: Right. He's going to be cutting in to our bandwidth today, isn't he?
  3. 3. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 3 of 21 Melinda: Absolutely. Travis: Too funny. Hey, listen, you've had some pretty interesting accomplishments. Do you mind sharing kind of the back-story of what you feel like the turning point was in your journey in becoming a successful entrepreneur? Melinda: You know, I have been a successful entrepreneur two different times. So I started my original company in 1999, and within 2-3 years became very, very, very successful. And then I got pregnant with my son in 2005, and for me that was a major turning point in my career in my business because I basically went from being the worse workaholic you ever met in your whole life to being put on bed rest for 6 months and not being able to raise my voice above a whisper to anyone. And Wi-Fi and connectivity was not what it is today back then. Travis: Right. Melinda: And I really realize all the flaws in my business when I got put on a bed rest and had to leave my business to my team to run it. And I realized what all of their weaknesses were. But the interesting thing about having 6 months to rest, you get a chance to think about how you would've done it differently or how you could've done it better. And in that time, I started writing information down and taking notes. And that's how I developed what later became my national best-selling book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 months. And after I had my son and got him through his first birthday, and didn't permanently maim him in any way. I decided to really evaluate what were the most important things to me in my business. Was it my employees, was it all of my equipment, was it even my customer list and the contacts that I had. Travis: Right. Melinda: And it wasn't. It occurred to me was that the most valuable thing in my business was what I learned from running it. And I said, "You know what, I need to figure out how to bottle and sell that." And at the time you're talking about 2006, 2007. There wasn't anybody that, you know, when you looked in the media, that was sort of like a leading small business expert. It was like, there were financial experts, there was Suze Ormond, there was Jean Chatzky, there were these people. But there wasn't somebody on media, on TV every day, giving people small business advice. And I knew that, that was going to be the thing that became critical to everyone. I'm a firm believer that everyone, whether they're working a full-time job or not is going to have to be either be entrepreneurial or become an entrepreneur before it's all over. And I knew that most people have great ideas. I rarely hear a bad business idea. But man, poor business execution is everywhere. It's like a plague in the street. And I wanted to figure out how to help people live their dreams with a plan, and that's what became my life's
  4. 4. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 4 of 21 mission, to end small business failure. So, when I really kind of got down on my business and there was a lot of things going wrong in my life at one time. I had a brand new baby, I had a really struggling business after my pregnancy and being put on bed rest. And I had a marriage that was in trouble too. And when all those things were going on, I just started praying because I was out of answers. I was one of these Doogie Howser, young successful people, always been top 30 of this, top 40 of this. And I had no more answers, and so I had to lean on a higher power than me. So I started praying, and God gave me a vision at a dream 3 times to become America's number 1 small business expert. Travis: I like that. Melinda: After that happened, I had figured out what my calling was, what God had called me to do. And he moved so many mountains out of my way and made that happen for me. And I continue to try to be an example. So that people can know that they can be a believer and be good business person too. So, that's what I do. I'm all about trying to end small business failure and that's my mission. Travis: Well, you know it's interesting. I have a similar story so I completely understand what you're saying, a very different path but a similar story in many ways. As far as the timeline, give me a timeline. So how many years into being an entrepreneur before the light turned on for you? Melinda: Well, I've been an entrepreneur for 15 years, Travis. The light has come on a couple of times for me, right? Travis: It comes on and goes off? Melinda: It comes on and then you do this for awhile. Businesses have cycles and you have to constantly reinvent yourself and your business. So for me, I would say, within year 3 of my first venture which was a video production company, the light bulb came on for me and I really started understanding what I needed to do to make my business sustainable. Travis: Right. Melinda: And then I think in this business, since I've created this small biz lady brag and sort of built everything, I really think it took me from 2008. It was like 2008-2009. I think by the end of 2009 the light bulb really came one for me and I understood the power of social media. And once I figured out how powerful it was and how you just could connect with people from all over the world, that's what really gave me the full understanding of how to build a brand and really become an influencer. So I would say it's like 2-3 years of kicking the can down the road before you figure out, "Oh, okay, it's this thing over here."
  5. 5. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 5 of 21 Travis: Yeah. I think that your first awareness that you learning business, period. And then, later down the road you become aware after-- there seems to be, when we go through tough periods that's our biggest growth cycle, right? Melinda: Absolutely. Travis: I've experienced extreme success and I've experienced extreme failure and I could write reams of stories on what I learned from my failures, and very little from my successes. And it's just kind of weird, that's the way life works. I think you're going through a metamorphous phase. And so after going through that period of really tough times you've become aware that running a business is a skill set. Because I did the same thing, I've built a business to this really large level. And it was something that I'd learned to over running, building my first business and making a lot of mistakes, and figuring it out, and trial and error. And then, I never realized that there's a skill set in running that business where the light never turned on for me. It took me 15 years before that light turned on that that's an actual skill set. So I'm impressed that it turned on for you so much later, and maybe the 6 months of sitting there and not being able to be active is really what allowed you to go deep enough and think out what those problems are, right? Melinda: Definitely. I've never would have stopped if I hadn't been forced to. I was the worst workaholic you ever met. I used to work 6-7 days a week. I would leave church on Sunday to work 5 more hours. Travis: Right. Because we're also busy being busy, right? Melinda: Oh yeah, absolutely. And what is clear to me now is that you got to have something you'd like more than work. I had convinced myself that I could outwork people and that was going to be my secret sauce in my business. Well, that's crazy because I almost destroyed my entire life being like that. And I was unhappy. And I don't think it makes any sense to work this hard if you're not happy. Travis: Right. Melinda: And so, I now have a life that supports me as opposed to me chasing a life I think I'm supposed to have. And I think that's the big difference. In my book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, one of the things I talk about, the first thing I talk about is how you need to develop a life plan before you ever write a business plan. So that you can get clear about what you want out of life and then build a business that aligns with that. I'm seeing start businesses and they actually were even good business but they weren't good businesses for them and their family. So, it doesn't work. It's like you have to figure out why you got to start this business. You have to figure out how much money you need to make to be happy. You need to figure out what you will and won't do. Do you have the
  6. 6. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 6 of 21 discipline and the energy to start something from scratch again? Do you have any competing priorities? Do you have little kids, or do you have ageing parents that need you more than your business does? You've got to really evaluate all this stuff before you quit your job and think you're going to start this business. And that is what I got really clear about in the 6 months that I was on bed rest. Travis: And so, the things that you just mentioned, those are the components of creating a life plan? Melinda: Definitely. You got to figure out, what is it you love, what is it that you're a rock star at, what is it that makes you laugh, what is it that you want to learn? You still have to learn. Those are the 4 quadrants that make up a life. How do you live, but then how do you want to live? What do you love or who do you love? What makes you laugh? Travis: And so, how quickly can somebody get to that quality of life? Is that something that happen immediately. A start-up is kind of like an infant, a newborn baby it needs a lot of attention and nourishment. And so, how do you find that balance between those two, say, in a start-up phase. Melinda: Well, I think that before we get to start a phase, you have to have a really honest conversation with yourself. And you really have to evaluate some stuff about yourself. And then, you build a vision board of what your ultimate life looks like. And then, you have to understand that you're not going to get in a day, right? You got to work towards that, you got to earn that. And let's be honest, start-up phase of a business is the hardest phase. You don't own your business, your business owns you. And you got to be prepared for that level of sacrifice to get to your ultimate vision for your life. And if you're not prepared to work that hard or sacrifice that much, it's no big deal, keep your job. It's just as easy as that, if you can. It's getting harder and harder for people to keep good jobs these days. So I always believe everybody should have what I call an A hustle and a B hustle. But I just think that you have to be really honest with yourself and create your vision. And the reason why I like people creating vision boards because you need some physical manifestation of your goal. And you need to put it on the wall really close to where you work every day so that you can remind yourself on those days when you don't feel like cleaning the bathrooms or locking and unlocking the door at your business. You need to remember why you're working so hard and what you're working towards. And that's why I love vision boards. Travis: I completely agree with you. It's all the stuff that gets your juices going, that gets you excited, that makes you decide, "I'm going to make this leap and I'm going to go out on my own, and I'm going to do my own thing." Because ultimately we're risking everything, right? Melinda: Absolutely. We are risking everything and that's not going to work ultimately if you're not really clear on why you're doing it. Your why is the most important part of it.
  7. 7. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 7 of 21 Travis: You know something interesting also is I made the jump when I was very young. And in the beginning my why was not very noble. And so, I think it's important to give people the permission to say, "Your why does not have to be a noble cause." Now, over time I changed, I grew, and my whys became more noble and more deep, and it's just the cycle of life. How you grow and evolve as a person, right? Melinda: Absolutely. I started my first business at age 26 also so I was pretty young. And I do think that you do change over time. I remember when my business was the most important thing in the world to me, and making money was so important to me, and recognition, and stuff like this. And then when I had my son, my son became the most important thing to me. And I didn't care. I couldn't wait to go to work in the morning. And after I had my son, I had to be dragged to the office. I didn't believe my baby with a baby-sitter, you know-- So I think that your priorities in your life do change. But that's just a part of how life changes you and how experience has changed you. I didn't know I could love anything in this world like that little boy, you know. And then handed him to me and I was like, "Oh my God, he's so cute." Travis: I get it. Once it happens you get it, right? Melinda: Absolutely. Travis: And so even your dreams for your business can change. I find that it's common mistake to believe that since you founded the company you need to run the company. That's not always the case. Melinda: Absolutely it's not the case. And it's also the kind of thing where you need to be really clear and be honest with yourself when your business has outgrown you too. There will certainly be time when you outgrow your business, and you have to be honest and above board with yourself so that you can move on. And that's really important. It's hard sometimes because we do fall in love with our businesses, we do take ownership of our businesses. But the reality is we need to be honest with ourselves and be willing to walk away. Travis: Yeah. You don't need to hold the top position. An example is we've got a lot of things going on in the background that requires more, and more, and more of my time. And really, I want to travel the world. And I want to travel the world and meet entrepreneurs, and give classes in Paris, in Australia, all over the place. I want to live vicariously through my business, right? Melinda: Sure.
  8. 8. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 8 of 21 Travis: But I don't want to run the business all the time. And so, I'm okay with hiring someone, and I'm considering that. Hiring someone to come in and kind of run the overall, whole thing, and keep everybody accountable and make sure that we're following procedures and all of that stuff. And I think very few people realize, they just think since I started it, I always need to be at the head of it. Sometimes I've been involved in a business where the thing really grew beyond my skill set just like you talked about. Or sometimes it grows to a level to where it just doesn't align with what your personal vision is. So, you really need to kind of-- I think the benefit of creating that life plan that you're talking about allows you-- when you start drifting, because we always drift, right? Melinda: Yeah. Travis: No matter who you are, you drift off, a little bit, course. And sometimes you need to go back to that board and say, "This is why I'm doing this, and this is taking me further, and further, and further away. Who can I hire, who can I put in this position to take care of that so that it doesn't keep me from these dreams that I started this for?" Right? Melinda: Absolutely. Travis: Yeah. So you said something else earlier on. You said, you began to evaluate what was wrong with your business. What was wrong with your business? Melinda: Well, I had built a business around myself. So even though I had 8 employees and another 10-12 freelancers, when I was out sick, on bed rest having my son, none of my customers wanted to talk to anybody but me. And the other thing I had done in my business was I had setup a culture where you kind of had to come ask Mama, right? So I hadn't empowered people to make decisions without checking with me. So thus, when I wasn't there nobody made decisions about anything and it was just a mess. And I did it, I created it, and I couldn't even blame anybody else because I did it. Travis: So, did you end up systemizing your business after that? Melinda: I did, I systemized my business, I laid off the vast majority of my employees, and I completely reorganized and created a whole new niche and focus for the business after that. Because I realized the way I was running it, it would never really grow in the way I had set it up. Travis: Right. And so after you made those changes, were you able to, I would assume, that's when you started experiencing-- How long after that did you start experiencing growth?
  9. 9. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 9 of 21 Melinda: Oh, it was almost immediate, it was within 6 months of making all these shift changes. We really started to thrive again. But it took a minute and it was really, really hard. And I had a really small child, and I basically decided to change everything about my business all at one time. Travis: Right. Melinda: And it was like, I would never tell anybody else to do that because that was crazy. And I'm very fortunate that it worked out. Travis: Okay. So take me down some of the paths of other things that you teach, that you're really passionate about. I know just business in general, and I completely agree with you. There's tons of ideas but there's very little execution and a lot of the execution is wrong. As far as your sweet spot that you really love to focus on and help entrepreneurs grow with. What are those things? Melinda: It's definitely marketing. So many entrepreneurs, either they love selling or they hate it. And I tell them, "Look, your marketing is what leads to sales. Your marketing is the life's blood of your business, without marketing your business will die." And it used to be that the company with the most advertising dollars was the one that won. But now, that's not the case anymore, the fast eat the slow, which is the real advantage for small business owners. So I love to talk about low cost marketing ideas and things that people can do right now to generate business today. Travis: Oh, everybody does. Take me down that path. Low cost marketing is, I think, on everybody's list. Melinda: Well, definitely think there's small things people can do, like keeping in-touch with their customers, using email marketing. If you have less than 2,000 people in your list, MailChimp is free. You don't even have to pay for email marketing. Now, if you're going to do something and email's going to become a key part of your strategy you might want to use a program that's a little bit more robust. A constant contact or even an Infusionsoft if you're really doing hardcore internet marketing. But you really need to keep in-touch with your customers because it's much cheaper to keep a customer than it is to go out and get a new one. The second thing you got to do is leverage your website. Your website is your welcome mat into your business. You have to make sure that it is helpful, and that people can find what they need quickly and easily. You got 3 seconds when someone lands on that website. If they don't see what they're looking for they are gone. You also got to make sure that you have a way to capture their contact information. Do you have a great, desirable download to give away for free? I have over 8 eBooks on my website, Succeed your own boss, that people can come and get. How to develop a successful crowd funding campaign, 10 Reasons why your social media marketing campaigns fail, How to write a business plan, The art of selling. I've got a bunch of them because you
  10. 10. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 10 of 21 never know what people are interested in. But again, I'm very much trying to grow my email list. So that's the reason why I have so many different offers. But typically, you should have at least 3, ask them to sign-up for your newsletter, ask them to sign up for your blog. There's all kinds of things you can do. In your actual email signature make sure you're pointing people to your website, to your social media handles, so that you could use that as just one more way to push your brand. And then you certainly want to be using social media, but do you have to be using every social media site? No, absolutely not. You need to be where your best target customers are hanging out online. In my business we focused on Twitter first, and that is basically where I built the majority of my brand. I have over a quarter of a million followers on Twitter. Then I went over to LinkedIn, and then third I went to Facebook. So there's all of these different areas where you can leverage it. But when you use social media you should do 4 things. Number 1, you should just be helpful to people. Answer somebody's question, share a helpful article. The second thing you want to do is engage with people, learn people's names. It takes anywhere from 7 to 21 contacts with someone on the internet through social media for you to turn that contact into commerce. So you got to spend the time building the relationship. Social media is not a quick fix kind of thing, it's not going to start raining money in your business the minute you start using Facebook. You got to make sure that you become a part of their community. The third thing you want to do is listen. Do not assume that you know the different cultures of the social media sites. You want to make sure that you're not communicating Facebook people like they're Twitter people because they don't like all that hash tags that we do over on Twitter. So make sure you know your audience and how your audience is using the particular social media sites. And lastly, promote yourself with care. You should be promoting other people's content of a 4:1 ratio of your own. I tell people be sweet, retweet other people's content, because it's about friend raising as much as it's about generating a sale. And you'll never generate a sale if people weren't sharing your content and pushing your message out there for you. Travis: I like that. I'm jotting all of this down as we go. Okay, so let's go back. You did a good job of explaining each of those. I'm going to dig in a little deeper just to make sure that I'm getting the full message and to help everybody retain what we're talking about. So, the small things that we can do, the low cost things that we can do to really increase sales in the business, ultimately is setup an email service. So who writes the copy end, and do you write one email at a time? Do you sit down and create a story arc of 20 emails and plan it out over 10 weeks? How do you go about doing that? Melinda: Well, first of all, I think you should focus on writing your blog content first, because your blog content is going to be very key to developing your email content. And I do believe that you write 10 at a time, I don't think you write 1 at a time. Because you want to make sure that you know the kind of story you want to tell through email. The other thing too is you want to make sure that your emails are helpful. They cannot be too much overt selling, it's got to be about sharing helpful information. Certainly you want to throw a little thing in there about a coupon or a special you got coming up. But that cannot
  11. 11. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 11 of 21 be the main focus of any email. Again, I like to start with pain. What is it that your best customer is struggling with? You want to tell a story or give some tidbits about that kind of pain so that you can show them that you know how to handle their problem. People want to hire people that are specialist in solving their business challenge. So you want to demonstrate to them that you're used to working with customers just like them. And that you understand them because at the end of the day we all seek to humanize and create an emotional connection with our target customers. And the best way to do that is to talk about how you solve their pain with a customer just like them. Travis: Excellent point. And there's a lot of people out there that get this wrong, and there's a lot of people that are doing. First and foremost, there's a lot of people that are not doing email, period, right? Or follow-up email on the scale that you're talking about. And secondly, there's a large number of people that do actively pursue the email channel, but they're constantly selling stuff. I'm a capitalist, I don't mind you selling stuff, but there needs to be some value in the relationship. It's kind of like a friend that always wants something from you. Melinda: Right. Travis: You grow to dread seeing him because it's not a friendship really. They view you as somebody that's got something and they always want to take something from you. And it frustrates me. And so, I just go on binges where I unsubscribe to all of those people that are constantly asking me. Now, if you find that balance that you're talking about, walk me down a path, let's build some rapport, let's talk about why I joined your email or newsletter list, or whatever it is in the first place. And then, as I grow to know, that I can trust you I want to spend money with you. When I have a choice to go somewhere else I'm going to try to spend it with you, right? Melinda: Absolutely. I think that when you are building an email relationship with a new prospect or an existing client, you should send the first 3, maybe even 4 emails should be all content driven and no pitches at all. It really should be, "Hey, I saw this. I thought it could be helpful to you." And you want to just share it. And I think that that's the way to do it. And then on that 5th email, that's when you make an offer. But you want to build that relationship. If you don't build a relationship, they're going to unsubscribe from you, and I don't think that that's what you want. Travis: Right. And then, the other thing about email is it gives you the ability to stay top of mind during a buying cycle. And a lot of people don't realize that buying cycles can last up to 18 months and even longer. And some, depending on what you offer, there's repurchasing cycles that happen much more often than that. And if you just maintain, providing consistent value, that email keeps you top of mind. And I think that's the other big aspect that you're pointing out with email here, right?
  12. 12. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 12 of 21 Melinda: Absolutely. You want to use email to stay in touch and build a relationship. But again, you cannot send them junk, you cannot send out a stupid press release that nobody cares about. You want to make sure that you always focus on your target customer when you are developing content. Travis: Right. Melinda: And if you do that and you always keep it valuable, that is how you're going to have a customer for life and a great referral source for your business. Travis: Yeah, that's how you build a reputation. So, moving on to the next, you'd mentioned your website and you have 3 seconds to really capture somebody, so the most frequent button used is the back button on the computer, right? Melinda: Absolutely. Travis: And so, go deeper on that. Now, I understand that you've got 3 seconds to capture them. Does this mean they need some type of whiz-bang website. What grabs somebody? Melinda: What grabs somebody is when they get to your site, them knowing why they're there. Do you have a great header with a tagline that tells them who you are and what you're about? Does your website worked properly, do all the buttons work, is your social media button prominently displayed, do you have a capture offer at the top of the page? These are all the things that you want to make sure work really, really well on your website. And you want to make sure that there's a clear listing of your products and services, how people can hire you. And you want to make sure that there's contact information prominently displayed, if you can, on every page. But bear minimum that there's a good content page on there. And that too often small business owners are hiding their identity online. That's ridiculous. You want to make sure that somebody knows who you are, that they can Google you and make sure that you are actually the owner of the business. Particularly if you're an ecommerce business and all you have is the website to face people, you've got to make sure that it functions well, that your shopping cart works well, and that there's a great user experience when people get to your site and they can find exactly what they're looking for. Travis: Hey, how do you feel about do not reply emails? I don't get those personally. I don't know how you feel about them but-- somebody's sending me an email but don't reply to this email. I don't get that. Melinda: Yeah, that's like one of those annoying email marketing things. I'm not really sure why they happen but it's unfortunate. But that is how people do things.
  13. 13. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 13 of 21 Travis: But you don't agree with that? Melinda: I don't think it's a good practice to not have people have an opportunity to reach you. Even in all of our emails, like we have some eBook downloads and things that people can buy off of my website, like my How to be a Social Media Ninja eBook. And whenever someone buys that product from us, we always have it on our email that comes out to them with the link and then the download. We want them to know that if there's a problem, how to contact me to say that they had a problem with their download product. Travis: Yeah, there you go. Good point. Okay, so, let's see, opt-ins, another thing. You'd beat to the punch, I was going to ask you to give me 5 and boy, I think you gave me 10 which is wonderful. So, you talked about opt-ins, you have multiple things that provide value if they're willing to exchange their name with you and let you follow up with them. And so, how do you come up with what those opt-ins are or what's going to be valuable to them? Melinda: Well, one of the things that you should be doing if you are a professional service business is you need to be blogging. And if you're blogging you should be looking at your Google Analytics so that you can know what content is resonating most with your target consumer. For me, for my company, we look at micro analytics once a week, we know what content people are reading, what they're sharing. And whenever we sit down to make another set of eBooks, we just use the content that we know people are most reading. Well, we looked at the eBooks that we just launched in January with my brand new website, we looked at who were the top blog post people looked at, read and shared in 2013. Once we found out what those were it was real easy to figure out what the topics of the eBooks should be. That's why we developed 1-hour crowd funding, that's why we developed 1-hour social media, and that's why I did one on the top 10 mistakes people make in business. Because those were the top 3 pieces of blog content that people read on my site. So, I think people need to use their analytics and measure what the referral traffic is and then you measure what it is that people are reading the most. And that's what people are really struggling with. Travis: Interesting. There's so many times-- I’m pretty good at writing headlines and you think you know what everybody's going to like, and then you float 10 pieces of content out there. And then you stand back and watch, and let them decide. So, I've never really thought about it, I've never really been a big blog person. But that's a brilliant way of going about doing it. Because I don't know how often you feel like you could pick the 2 or 3 top things, and when you look at it it's actually different things that your Google Analytics say that everybody's interested in. Does that happen with you? Melinda: Not really. I'm very fortunate because writing is part of my core business. I know if a piece does well or if it doesn't do well pretty quickly, and people give me tons of feedback. I average 400 to
  14. 14. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 14 of 21 500 retweets a week. So, we're really good at looking at our analytics to sprout social and some of the other tools that we use. So we know pretty quickly what's resonation with people. Travis: Yeah, but that's what I'm saying, it’s analytics that tell you. You may think something's going to do well but it's the analytics that really tell you. So many people do it reverse. I'm interested in this so I think it's going to do well, and they never look at the other side of things, right? Melinda: Yeah. I agree. Travis: Although that's definitely not you. Sorry about that. Melinda: No, I think it's something that too many people don't do. But Google Analytics is free, it's crazy that people aren't using it more to really evaluate what's going on with the backend of their website. Travis: Yeah, I agree with you. Sorry about stepping on you there. Let's see. Then the next thing is, then you transitioned to social media. And so, the 4 topics that you mentioned is engage with them. How do you go about getting people to engage with you? Let's say that you're just not getting people to leave comments or feedback. How do you go about initiating that engagement? Melinda: Well, I think one of the things. If you want engagement, you have to go out and engage others. You should be out here leaving comments on other people's blog posts. You need to be participating, for example on Twitter and TweetChats, and commenting. When you retweet somebody's article you need to say why you're retweeting it and talk about why you think it's so great. You know what I mean? So there's all kinds of things that you can do be engaging yourself. And what happens is over time, once you engage with others and you do what I call earlier friend raising, people will come and support you. So let me give you an example. When I first got on social media, all I did was share other people's content for like 6 months. I never tweeted out any single article that I wrote, I only shared other people's information. I would answer somebody's small business question every day, and then I will share something personal about myself. I mentioned to you earlier that I have a son. He gives me great materials. So I would tweet something like, "Had to act like an ape to get Jojo to eat a banana this morning," something like that. And people engage with me because they thought I was, A, helpful, and secondly, interesting. So then 6 months later when I launched my blogs,, I had 6 comments the first day. And I did that because I had become a part of the online community before I launched my site. And that really made all the difference in my business. Travis: So, what I'm hearing is the engagement first start somewhere else, and then it comes back to you in time as you build that. And I think a lot of people don't understand that. Again, I haven't done any
  15. 15. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 15 of 21 blogging so I really-- I prefer an oral rather than written anyways. And so, these are aspects that I never think of. And so, the engagement starts with at other places first, and then in time, leads back to you, right? Melinda: Absolutely. It should all be integrated anyway. Social media is just one method, email is another method. Podcasting, or video blogging, blogging is another aspect of it. If you're not a writer, you don't like writing you don't have to. I want to be a journalist since I was in 8th grade. I'd write every day. Travis: Right. Melinda: But that's me, you don't have to do that. But you can communicate any kind of way you want to, you just have to provide high quality content, and you have to do it consistently. When I look at social media, I really think there are what I call 6 C's of social media. So the first thing is you should be connecting with people through social media. Once you go to a networking event get a business card. When you get back home, you need to find these people online. The second thing you got to do is communicate with them. Don't just connect with them on LinkedIn and then never talk to them again. The third thing you've got to do is develop a compelling content. Content is king, and you can share other people's content or your own, but you have to share your really good content consistently. Nothing's worse than going to a blog that hasn't been updated in 6 months or a year. Travis: Right. Melinda: You can hurt your brand as much as you can help your brand with that. And then you've got to-- over time, once you share other people's content, become a regular with the social media site that you're focused on, you will become a part of the community. And once you become a part of the community, once people know your name or miss you when you're not there, that's when you can turn those relationships into commerce. But again, it's like face-to-face relationships. You got to develop, like, know, and trust with people. Travis: Right. Melinda: If they don't have that with you online or in person, you're never going to turn those relationships into commerce, you just won't. Travis: Yeah. And my team is working on taking all of these podcasts that we do and turning them into 7 different forms of content. And that's something that we have not been doing in the past. But I think the important thing here is everybody has their own preferred format. For me, it would be easy. I tell
  16. 16. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 16 of 21 people to leave a comment. Just click the button, and like leaving a voice message. Well, some people don't want to do that. They're nervous, or it's just not the way they want to communicate. They'd rather write me something, right? And so, all these different modalities ultimately are different ways that bring different people to you. And if they're not modalities that suit you, we'll skip them, until you can have staff help you and fill those voids for you, right? Melinda: Yes. Travis: Okay, great. And so, the second thing that you pointed out was help people, and that really kind of aligns with engaging with them at the same time, right? Melinda: Definitely. You want to just answer somebody's question without always having to turn them into a client or get a check from them. Travis: Yeah, no agenda. Melinda: You can just be nice. It's amazing, if you're nice to people you'd be amazed people are actually nice to you back. Travis: Right. Melinda: So, it really just comes down to answering their question given a great referral. It all depends on what it is you're trying to do. Travis: Yeah. And then listen so-- I spend time with a lot of business owners and I do an assessment in their business. And they're always floored because we go very deep in asking a bunch of questions about their business. And what they're floored about is nobody's really taking the time to answer their questions and listen to their problems, right? And I don't know if you found this in your business also, is most people out there, and I don't want to paint everybody with a negative slant. But there's a lot of businesses that are so busy selling their solution that they don't take time to listen to what the real problem is. Melinda: I totally agree with you, and that's really unfortunate because that's what you need to do in order to be successful. That's what you need to do and people aren't willing to do the work, which is why other people are running their business or taking the customers. Travis: Right. And you know, listening in this interactive way that you're talking about here. If you take the time to listen and understand on a deeper level what they need really. Now a lot of people are really
  17. 17. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 17 of 21 struggling and they can't afford to waste money. And maybe the best answer is that you refer them to someone that fulfils their immediate need and gets them back on the road to being financially healthy, rather than offering whatever your good is. And so that really frustrates me that there's a large number of people out there that put their own self interest in front of what's best for the person that they're trying to help. So let's move on to the last one, and I really like that. Promote yourself with care. There's way too little of this. Do you feel like the majority of people get this rule wrong? Melinda: I do. I think too many people get online and they want to go, "Buy my stuff, buy my stuff. Oh by the way, buy my stuff." It's like, nobody wants to be sold to, nobody. Some people are just not interested in that. Travis: One guy had sent me a cartoon, and the cartoon said that if you talk to people the way you advertise they'd punch you on the face. Melinda: Exactly. You have to talk to people, you got to build rapport, you got to build trust, you got to position yourself as a resource. Travis: Excellent. I completely agree with you. So listen, we're running a little long on time. I did send you 3 questions and did you get those 3 questions that I sent over to you? Melinda: I did. Travis: Perfect. And so did you spend some time figuring out how you wanted to answer those? I'm sure you probably knew immediately how you wanted to answer them. So the first question was what book or program made an impact on you in your business that you'd recommend to other business owners? Melinda: I think the E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber was the best book I have ever read in business. I felt like it freed me up from so, so, so many things. And so, I definitely feel like that book is important to help people really understand whether or not they're creating a job for themselves or whether or not they are-- whether they're creating a job for themselves or if they are really able to run a business that's going to be scalable. Travis: Right. Melinda: And I think that, that is so, so, so important. As you think about how you're living your life and what kind of business you really want to set-up. There's a lot of people basically create a job for
  18. 18. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 18 of 21 themselves. And I think that that's a mistake that people make. And his book breaks it down so well. And he's the godfather, he's the master. Gerber has been around a long time. Travis: Right. Melinda: And he's got plenty of wisdom to stand on to write that book, and it's a terrific book. Travis: Yeah, excellent. You're a wonderful multitasker. Women are so much better at multitasking than men. I hear you handling that line over there while you're still answering. Melinda: I was trying. Travis: Very talented. Good job. What's one of your favorite tools or pieces of technology that you've recently discovered, if any, that you'd recommend to other business owners and why? Melinda: I love Dropbox. Dropbox is my favorite, because I can access my files and my information anywhere in the world. If I got Wi-Fi I can get into my files. I no longer fear the blue screen of death and computers crashing because I won't lose anything, because everything I need is already on Dropbox. There are many, many others but I definitely love that. And I also love back-up and restore on my Android phone. There's an app called GO Backup which is the best app in the whole planet for a cell phone. And that has saved my life a few times because not only does it save your contacts, but it saves your text messages and it saves your phone logs. So, a lot of times your call to say people over and over again, and you don't want to just be dialling, looking for people's phone numbers. You want to have the last number you called handy, and that's why I love, love, love GO Backup on my Android phone. Travis: I haven't used that one. I've used Dropbox. And actually what I've done is I've moved my entire computer files over to Dropbox. Have you done that and synchronized it? Melinda: Absolutely. Everything is on Dropbox, and what I also love about Dropbox is I have a team folder on Dropbox. So everybody that works for me, when they can't find me or I'm somewhere, they can get into a folder and get the information without having to have my passwords, or login, they can get it too. So it's a great way to manage group projects as well as my own personal files. Travis: I do the same thing. A couple of folders are just shared with them. All the other stuff they don't have access to. I love it. Melinda: Exactly.
  19. 19. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 19 of 21 Travis: Okay. So, what famous quote would best summarize your belief or attitude in business? Melinda: Well, my favorite quote in business is one that I created. And I think too many people think about business the wrong way. And so, here's what I tell people is you never lose in business. Either you win or you learn. And when something doesn't go your way that was just another learning opportunity. And some learning opportunities are more expensive than others. But basically, you never lose. Travis: I really agree with you. Melinda: You win or you learn, that's it. Travis: Yeah, I completely agree with you. If you had to start over today, what would you do to get back in the fastest results? Melinda: If I had to start all over today, I probably would create an ecommerce business. Travis: Why? Melinda: Because I think there's just so many opportunities for ecommerce businesses now. It's so easy, there's so many really, really good ecommerce templates and things out there from folks at Shopify, or Bigcommerce, and stuff. It is really, really easy to setup an ecommerce store right now. Travis: Yeah, something with recurring income. Melinda: Yeah. Travis: Yeah, excellent. Melinda, it's been wonderful hanging out with you. Melinda: Well, I have appreciated it as well Travis, and I hope I've imparted some wisdom that'll be helpful to you and your listeners. And certainly if I could anything to assist you, please do not hesitate to ask. Travis: Oh, definitely. How can people connect with you? Melinda: Well, I am the Small Biz Lady so all you got to do, if you can't remember Melinda Emerson you can remember that. Or please come to my website,, you can grab a copy of my eBook, How to be a Social Media Ninja, or my best-selling book become your own boss in
  20. 20. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 20 of 21 12 months. Or you can check me out every Wednesday night from 8-9 eastern on Twitter for Small Biz Chat, where I answer people's small business questions every single week to help you start and grow a profitable and sustainable small business. End of Interview Travis: Excellent. Thank you for that. Remember, I want to remind you that you can find all the links to the books and resources mentioned in the show in the show notes of course. Just go to In case you're new to the show, it's a fairly new site that we've building out that's completely focused on giving you the resources to grow your business. Before I close the show today, I want to remind you about the favor that I asked, if you find value in the show then I'd really appreciate it if you'd go to iTunes and write us a review. This would help us reach and instruct more entrepreneurs just like yourself, and it would mean a lot to me. And it'd be a great way to let me know that you find value in what we're doing here. My quote for today comes from Les Brown, and the quote reads, "Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else." This is Travis Lane Jenkins signing off for now. To your incredible success, take care my friend.
  21. 21. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 21 of 21 How We Can Help You We know that finding someone that you can trust online today is hard and that so many “so called gurus” are self-‐appointed and have never really even done what they teach you to do. That’s exactly why we created the Double Your Profits Business Accelerator. This is an exclusive offer for our fans at a fraction of its normal cost. Here's what to expect. We'll Schedule a 'One on One' private session, where we'll take the time to dive deep into your business and tell you what is missing, so that you can have your best year ever! We'll do this by performing a S.W.O.T. Analysis. This tells us your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats within your business. This will be an eye opener for YOU, for several reasons, however some of the most common reasons are. As the 'Business Owner' it’s difficult to see the big picture of your own business because you’re in the middle of a daily management. And you are too emotionally involved to completely impartial. This is a common problem for EVERY business owner. It doesn’t matter if you are a one-man army, or an army of 150, the problem is still the same. Travis Lane Jenkins Business Mentor-Turn Around Specialist Radio Host of The Entrepreneurs Radio Show “Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs That Grow Your Business"