KEY TAKEAWAYS COVERED IN THE PODCAST
- A physical office isn’t required to be in this business. People will take you seriously even though you work from home.
- You don’t have to do business all by yourself. This includes social media management, content creation, blog writing and more. It isn’t deceiving to outsource work when you’re running a business if the project is completed and the quality is there.
- Spending money on tools and systems for your business is smart. Don’t make the mistake of letting them pass by. Invest in what will make your life easier.
- You must focus on your own social media, too. It must be right, and it must be consistent.
- Marketing is all about consistency. Going from completely quiet to loud is not the best option. Schedule your social media alongside your client’s social media.
- Pay attention to your mindset. Your business is entirely dependent on you, so stay motivated!
- You must stop thinking like an employee.
- Keep a positive, productive and motivated mindset to keep driving your business forward.
THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE…
Your time is valuable! Build in efficiencies to help you, spend money wisely to make your life easier, and reach out to others to support you. Yes, when you are first starting out, times are often tough. But failing to invest in yourself, your mindset and the right tools puts you at a disadvantage from the outset.
HIGHLIGHTS YOU SIMPLY CAN'T MISS
- Teresa’s path into social media management – 02:25
- Misconception #1: You need a physical office to gain trust – 05:14
- Misconception #2: You have to do it all by yourself – 06:53
- Misconception #3: You shouldn’t spend money on tools and systems – 10:50
- Misconception #4: You don’t have time to manage your own social media – 15:18
- Misconception #5: Mindset doesn’t matter; business is just hard – 19:52
LINKS TO RESOURCES MENTIONED IN TODAY'S EPISODE
Hey there, and a really, warm welcome to today's episode. I'm your host, Teresa Heath-Wareing, and I'm super glad you've decided to join me for what is hopefully going to be a really exciting episode. Now usually I like to do tools and tactics and strategies all around your social media and how you can use it for business. But every so often, I like to through in a different type of podcast episode that might be around running a business, or some of the mindset tools I've used, and this week I wanted to record on one those types of episodes.
Because I've just come back from social day 18, which is the UK's largest social media conference down in London. And I have met lots of entrepreneurs and social media marketing managers who have set up their own social media agency. So I wanted to do an episode today around me running a social media marketing agency. And the five things that I thought had to be done, or the common misconceptions that I had when I started, that now I know just aren't true and actually would have enabled me to got on with my business and developed and grown a lot quicker if I had realised these things.
So that's why I wanted to come on today and record this episode so if you are a social media marketing manager, if you have an agency, if your thinking about having an agency or if you just offer social media to businesses where you manage their accounts, then I think you're going to find this episode really, really useful. And I would love to hear your feedback, please. Find me on social media, obviously I'm everywhere. Teresa Heath-Wareing and let me know your thoughts.
And if you're not a social media manager, then don't worry about it. I think this is still going to be a great episode, as some of these points that I'm going to go through are just as valuable for people in other industries as they are in the social media world.
Teresa’s path into social media management
So for those of you that don't know, let me start by just explaining the set up I have and the business I have currently. I started my business back in 2014, and I guess the first thing I should say, was that I never, ever intended to have my own business. I loved being an employee and I joke that I was great one. I am really risk averse, and like I said, I just had no thoughts. It never entered my head for one second, that I would become my own boss, and have my own business.
Then a few fairly life changing things happened, and it set me on a path that maybe I wasn't expecting, but boy am I glad it did. And I am happy that I'm here today. Now I'm not going to go into the ins and outs of how I got to start my own business, although that might be a later podcast episode. However, when I first started the business, I thought I was going to be a social media and marketing manager for businesses that didn't want to employ a full time person within their office. So I had visions that I would consult for them, or I would work a day a week for them, and they would have access to a marketing manager with lots and lots of years experience, without the cost.
However, over time, that's changed, and I started to realise that, one that limited my time. And therefore, I could only sell out my time that I had available and obviously, there is a finite amount of that. The other thing I realised was that I could only help so many people. If I only had so much time, I could only work with so many businesses, and therefore I wanted to find a way in which I could grow the business and allow myself to work with more people.
Now, over the last four years, I have grown my business from me on my own, working with businesses and helping them do their social media where I did everything. Literally everything. And now I am up to a team of six people where we offer a range of services and I have them help me deliver all of those services. And some of the things I'm going to talk you through today are actually really crucial in that development.
Now you may not want to be growing the business that you have. You may just want to be getting more structured, you may just want to find ways in which to make your life easier so you don't have to work as hard. I hear you. So I'm really hoping that these five points that I'm going to go over, will make you speed up your process a little bit and also, give you some confidence in your abilities and your ability to sell your service. So let's dive in.
Misconception #1: You need a physical office to gain trust
Misconception number one. I firmly believed, that when I first started, the thing I needed the most for people to trust and believe in me was a physical office. I know this sounds like a really small thing to start with, but I promise you, I wasted money and not only that, I had a negative opinion of me an my business because I didn't have this big amazing office. I thought to myself that if people couldn't come to an office, if I didn't have a big space, if I didn't have a work environment, that businesses would look at me and think that I was not real. That I was not to be trusted because I wasn't in an office. Because I worked from home. And like I said, I wasted money finding these offices and paying for them, when I had no need for them. Ii would go in everyday … and don't get me wrong, there is a mindset thing here. At the time I started my business, I was on my own, with my daughter, and I was living on my own. And working all day from home and not potentially going out at all, was really hard work.
And I don't think it was necessarily the most productive for me. However, I didn't need that office to be good. I didn't need that office to prove to clients that I could do what I said I could do. So if you sat there thinking people aren't going to take me seriously because I work from home, then get that thought out of your head. If honestly, the client is particularly bothered about that, then they are probably not the client for you.
Misconception #2: You have to do it all by yourself
Misconception number two. In the early days, I thought I had to do it all myself. And I mean everything. So from all the accounts, to all the marketing activities I was offering, to all the social media management, the content creation, writing the blogs and I don't like writing, as I told you before. So this was not something that came easy to me. And I used to think that in some way, I was cheating the customer if I didn't physically do it myself. I remember having a conversation when I first started. Talking to a, I guess a competitor at the time, although we shared an office. And he was telling me that he got someone else to write blog posts for a client. And I remember being really shocked, like this sounds so stupid now, I can't believe I'm sharing this with you. But I honestly remember being really really shocked thinking, “Well that's really deceiving. The client thinks it's you writing them, and you're getting someone else to do it.” And I think I must have been so naive, I had worked in employment for such a long time, that actually when I was given a task, it obviously meant that I had to do it.
However, that isn't the case. When your running a business, if you're given a task, then as long as that task gets done and to the level that the client is expecting, then it doesn't have to necessarily have to be you that does it. And therefore, I wasted so much time on projects and tasks that, you know, just weren't my forte. So for me to write a blog post for a client, it would take hours because that's not my thing. That's not where I excel. And therefore, I would have wasted so much time and ultimately, when you're running a business and you're just starting out and you are the business, your time directly equals your money. So obviously, I was wasting so much money by me trying to do all of these tasks.
I also know that in the early days, you are going to have to do a lot of the tasks, because there's only you. And I get that. Although it's tough, I think it is helpful, because when you then get into a position when you can ask other people tot start to do things, or bring on other people, then you are going to know exactly what you do. You're going to know how long it takes to get done, and the considerations that you have to think about in order to get those things done.
So like I said, it's not that I think there's anything wrong in doing thing yourself, , I think it was the fact that I thought you had to do everything yourself. And then when I started to get other people in, to begin with I did feel like I was cheating, and then I realised that it didn't matter. The client was happy because they got something that they were expecting, and that was good. I was happy because I wasn't having to do it. And the person that I was asking to the work was happy because they were being given some work.
So don't sit there and think, “I've got to do everything myself.” Also, just on a quick side note, some of the tasks, like the admin tasks, and the finance tasks, they were some of the first things that I actually shifted off my desk. Because those really don't have to be done by you. And again, I was finding that when I was thinking about my time as money, IE, if I'm doing my accounts on an afternoon, and not doing client work, or not selling myself back out, or trying to get new clients I am wasting my own time and money. My time is far more valuable than that.
So wherever I can, I now look to see is the work I'm doing meant for me? Am I the most efficient person to do it? And is there an alternative?
Misconception #3: You shouldn’t spend money on tools and systems
Number three is less of a misconception, and more of a bit of mistake that I made when I started. And it kind of links really well into the last point. Because one of the mistakes I made was not spending money on tools and systems that would have made my life a whole lot easier. Now, obviously, I completely understand when I started my business, I was on my own, as I mentioned and I had a house, a mortgage I had to pay. I had a four year old that I had to feed and clothe and make sure that she was okay. And I had no other income. I had no husband, no rich parents, and the money that I was making was the money I was living off. So I get it, when you're first starting out it's tough. Not only to bring in clients, but also, the money that's coming in, you've got to spend really wisely. You can' waste any, there's not lots of it, and therefore you've go to think really carefully where that money's going.
But I think one of the mistakes I made when I first started was I never invested in tools that were actually going to make my life easier. I think it's really interesting, because when you first start, you're kind of living day to day. You're literally thinking, “Okay, if I can get this done, let me see if I can find another client. If I've got that client, what if I lose them? Where is there another client?” Or, you know “How long this project is going to be for?” And you're very much managing your money like that from a day to day point of view.
But the minute you get that confidence that actually you have got a regular income, or you've got some people on a retained level, IE, they are agreeing to pay you every single month, then think about some of the amazing tools and systems out there that are going to make your life a whole lot easier.
And I'm not necessarily talking about, you know, big work place systems that manage to this and all that sort of thing, although we do have that now. I'm more talking about tools like paying for Buffer or Content Cow or one of the scheduling systems. I'm talking about reporting tools. One of the things I hate doing the most in my business, is reports. Which is silly, because I love numbers and I love seeing the results. However, I just really struggle putting together reports. It's like I have a real block on doing the report itself. And I've never for whatever reason given this to someone else. Which again, is odd. And you know what? Literally just a few months ago, I found an amazing tool called Dash this. I'll link to it in the show notes, and it enables you to pull in all these feeds from every social media, from google analytics, google ad words, Facebook ads. And, it enables you to build a report that you literally just need to hit rerun on every single month. How amazing.
Now this reporting system is, well I think the lowest you can pay is $39 a month. Which, when money is tight things like that are going to be an expense that you may or may not need. However, don't be afraid to pay for these things, because again, back to my other point, is that the most best use of your time? If you are spending, which I was, a day messing around trying to do these reports, surely $39 is so much more worth your money then necessarily spending an entire day of you doing it.
So don't be afraid to look at systems and tools that will help your life become easier. And again, think about some of the tools that aren't just social media lead, so I use things like Cash Flow. We use Teamwork now that we have a team to help manage online to do lists. So just think about those tools that are available out there to you. And ask advice. Again, I have wasted way more money than I care to share with you on tools that ended up being rubbish.
So if it is something that you're thinking about, and you want to know if I have used a particular tool, either go check out the resources section on my website, or just drop me a message and I will happily let you know.
Misconception #4: You don’t have time to manage your own social media
Three down, two to go. We're on to number four. So my fourth mistake that I thought I made in my business, was not focusing enough on my own social media. And this is kind of laughable when you think about it, but it goes back to that old adage, Cobbler's shoes, or the Cobbler's shoes. I can't remember, but you know what I mean. IE, if you do something as a job, you don't tend to do much of it in your personal life, or for your own business. And this was so true about my social media when I first started. I tried, don't get me wrong, I tried super hard to manage my own on top of managing other people's and doing all the other stuff I had to do.
But I wasn't consistent and I wasn't structured. And sometimes I'd be brilliant, and sometimes I'd be terrible. And it would be really, really inconsistent. What's really funny is as a marketeer, I go into businesses, or businesses that I speak to and I tell them it's all about consistency. Not only would social media where it is very important, but also in marketing in general. And what I would find would happen is I would keep going through this cycle where I would be quite quiet, or I wouldn't have as many clients as I wanted and because of that I would start going into panic mode. And I would start tweeting and putting stuff on Facebook and really working hard on my own social media, getting into conversations on Twitter and that sort of thing.
And then I would start to get busy, because people would start to notice me or I'd start to get some additional clients and then of course, it would just disappear. Because I was busy. And it wasn't really through a kind of arrogance of, “Oh I don't need that anymore.” But that would just be crazy. It was definitely from a, “I've got no time to do this anymore.” But then of course, no surprise, what would happen is I would finish projects, client's agreements would come towards and end and I would start panicking gain and I would start thinking, “Oh my gosh I need more clients.” You know, “That project is about to finish.” Or, “I've only got a contract with them for six months.” And I would start to panic and I would start to lift my social media again, and I'd go through that entire process again.
And I found that even though I was growing, it was really hard work because I was only growing a little bit each time. The minute it got better for me, was the minute I decided that my own social media had to be right. And it had to be consistent. And there was a couple of things that I did at the time to help. One I decided to view myself as a client. That I had to schedule my things alongside scheduling other people's. That I had to take my own social media as seriously. The other thing that helped was I got into a position where I started to bring on people in the business. And do you know what? Do this very day, the THW accounts, so the Instagram and the Twitter and the Facebook, are manged by one of the team. So that they can consistently look after those accounts and consistently post on them. I tend to do my own stuff, because I am a bit of a control freak, and I like my own things, which means my Teresa staff isn't as consistent.
However, I noticed a big difference when we started doing that. I noticed that those dips were less and less and the consistency of clients and inquiries maintained. I know it's difficult do to your own social media, and I know, do you know what? Sometimes you get a bit sick of it. And I think we can all secretly admit that. However It I super important not only from a visibility marketing point of view, but also practising what you preach. One of the first things I suggest to people, if they're looking to take on someone from a social media point of view, is do they do on their own accounts, what they are suggesting you do. Because if you are growing your own business through social media, then you are in a much better position in order to go and sell that service to someone else.
So like I said, I know it's tricky, I know it's hard, but try and view yourself as a client and try to make sure you provide some time to manage your own social media.
Misconception #5: Mindset doesn’t matter; business is just hard
On to point number five. Last but absolutely not least. And this point might surprise you. Because it's not so much talking about strategies or teams or growing because of tools that you are using. This last point is that I didn't pay enough attention to my own mindset. Now, business is hard. There is no doubt about that. Running your own company, running your own business, trying to get clients, paying people, it is difficult. I was so naive when I started. I used to watch an old employer of mine run around like a crazy fool working so hard and I used to think, “Gosh, just be calm. What do you've got to do? I manage to look after the same clients as you and yet, I don't seem half as busy.” Well of course I wasn't half as busy. I was completely naive as to what it took to run a business.
And therefore, when I started, I thought that running a business was entirely down to, do I have the knowledge, IE, can I actually provide the service I am offering and some of the business tactics out there. But of course, I worked in marketing, how hard could everything else be? I new the bit, the important bit, or what I thought was important, anyway. However the one thing I didn't pay any attention to was my own personal mindset. And do you know what? There are points in my business where this held me back more than anything. Your business success is entirely dependent on you, and therefore, if you wake up in the morning and think, “Do you know what? I don't want to do that today.” And you'd rather sit on the sofa all day, then you've got no one who is going to tell you otherwise.
And also, let's say for instance that you do manage to drag your backside out of bed or off the sofa, and you sit down at your computer and you think, “Right, I'm doing this.” Your mindset is so far detached from wanting to do work and progress and be motivated by what you're doing. That the chances are, and again I am talking through experience, because I've done this. You will literally just sit and look at your computer. You have to get out of your head that this is no longer and employee mindset. This is a business owner, entrepreneur mindset. If you wake up like that, you've either got to A, find a way to get yourself out of that, or do you know what? Go, “it's not going to work today.” Or, ” I'm going to forgive myself and give myself the morning off, and when I'm feeling much more productive I'm going to pick that thing back up.” Or, “I'm going to do my work in the evening when I will feel much better.”
But obviously, that's just dealing with the thing at the time. One of the things that I do now is I work really hard on my mindset. More harder than I've ever done. In fact, as a human being, my opinions have changed massively about me and my mind and the universe and some really crazy deep stuff. But, it's all down to the fact that I have my own business, and I know how every important it is that I keep a positive, productive and motivated mindset in order to keep driving the business forward. It doesn't mean that you're striving to get a huge agency, or a massive turnover. It can just be keeping and maintaining that level you've got already. Or, working out your day so that you can reduce the amount of hours you work, wouldn't that be amazing? And spend more hours with your family.
But if your mindset isn't right, if you are not in the right frame of mind, then this is going to be so difficult for you. One of the podcasts that I listen to now and I highly recommend is James Wedmore Mind Your Business podcast. He is fantastic at mixing together all of the business strategies alongside some of the more, what I like to call a little woo-woo type strategies about keeping you an your mind set in a good place. But like I said, I focus an awful lot on me now in terms of how I am as a person, I meditate, which I never used to do. I plan, I do kind of affirmations, I journal. All these things to try and ensure that I keep my mind where I need it to be, so that I can be focused on growing and developing the business.
So, there you have it. The five misconceptions or mistakes that I made when starting out in my social media marketing business. Like I said, I would love to hear what you thought, and if you are a social media manager, or you have your own agency, or you're managing social media for other people, then please listen out, because there is going to be some really exciting stuff coming your way because I want to help. I know how hard this industry is. I know how hard it is to build a business in what is the fastest moving industry in the world. And I want to help you develop and want to help you get that business that you want and that lifestyle that you want.
So like I said, I would love for you to connect. Come and find me on your favourite social media and I will be there. Thank you so so much for listening and I will see you next time.