And as Daymond John, one of the Sharks from the TV show “Shark Tank” said
“Life is a cruel teacher. She loves to give you the test first and the lesson later.”
The lesson here is to fail forward.
And believe me, I’ve learned plenty of lessons. I want to share some of those lessons with you right now, because I think they’re super valuable… and my hope is that you can learn from my mistakes and get where you want to go much faster.
At the time, I thought my biggest failure was when I had my first handbag company that I built out of my garage and took it to 7 figures… only to watch the whole thing fall apart.
And during the five years that I loved and cherished my handbag company, I had more failures than I can count – failed product lines, failed marketing campaigns, failed sales pitches… the list goes on.
Luckily one day when I was reminiscing about all my failures and what …..one member of my team one upped me and told me how he lost over $35,000 in just under an hour!
I have to admit…….. I lost way more than that over time, but never in one hour! Eek.
But the grand finale was after September 11th, when my investors bailed and I had to fire my entire staff (including my sister, which was totally NOT fun… fortunately, we’re still talking!). And then I had to figure out how to pay back the $100,000 I owed to the bank and vendors.
Talk about failing fast…but I failed forward in the end and started another accessory business taking it to over $500,000 in just 2 years using everything I learned with my “Street MBA” leading me all the way to the bank.
But probably my biggest failure was when I started out online.
So when I first started Entreprenette, I knew how to coach other entrepreneurs (I was really good at that), but I didn’t know how to build my own business online… I didn’t know how to get customers to come to my website, how to convert them and make sales and how to get people to come back for more.
Online business was just totally new to me. Sure I’d sold my products online before, but I never looked at it as a business since I did most of my sales to boutiques.
So I found myself really lost.
So I did what you probably have done too – I took a bunch of (online) courses about online marketing.
Have you done that? Have you taken other courses?
And when I say a bunch, I mean pretty much all of them. I spent over $40,000 on all sorts of online marketing programs, many of them from people you’ve probably heard of. And while I got a lot of good sales secrets and fancy little tricks, none of them really worked for me.
I was still as lost as I was when I started.
And after a while, I finally figured out what it was… I finally figured out why none of that stuff was working for me. And the best way I can explain it is to use an analogy.
We’ve all played with puzzles, right?
Well business can seem like a puzzle sometimes, can’t it? I mean… sometimes it can seem like a puzzle with 10,000 pieces!
Have you ever felt like that?
But it was more than that. The way all these programs were taught, it was worse than trying to put together a puzzle. Because when you get a puzzle, it’s got the picture of what it should look like right on the outside of the box… so that you at least know what it’s supposed to be when you’re done putting it together.
But the way most of these courses are taught, it’s like getting a puzzle box with no picture on the outside. So not only do you have figure out how all the pieces go together… but at the same time, you also have to figure out what it’s even supposed to look like at the end.
And that’s totally what I felt like. I was just spending a ton of time really guessing… trying to fit together different pieces of a puzzle… hoping that if I just put enough of them together, I’d have some idea of what my business was supposed to look like in the end.
And so now I was just completely confused, and chasing every new thing, hoping that would be the magic bullet that would finally show me the whole puzzle… I just wanted to see the box cover!
Have you ever felt like that???
And what I finally realized, was that hardly anyone teaching about online business and online marketing had ever actually run a business before.
I’m not here to cast stones, but I do want to give you the truth… because I’m all about the truth.
And what I found out was that most of the people selling online training programs – not all of them, just most of them – had only ever sold their own programs before. So all they really knew how to do was to teach me how to sell exactly what they were doing and most of them have never sold physical products…ugh.
No wonder they couldn’t show me what this puzzle looked like… they didn’t know themselves!
And so what I did, is I threw out the rule book… I just got away from most of what was being taught online.
And instead, I went back to what I know best – and that’s street-smart business. Remember how I said I took my second accessory business to $500,000 in two years with my “Street Smart MBA” leading me all the way to the bank?
So I took everything I’d learned from years starting, growing and running my own businesses offline and applied it to my business online.
Because there’s this myth that online business is somehow different than offline business. And it’s not. They’re almost identical. The same principles, the same strategies, the same things apply.
You’re doing the same things… it’s just that online you’re doing them a little bit differently.
Basically I took the online methods of attracting customers and getting sales and applied them to everything else I knew about how to run a business in general. And that’s when Entreprenette really took off and changed forever.
We went from really struggling to just make enough money for me to pay my monthly bills, to now… where we not only coach other women how to grow their businesses, but we have numerous training programs teaching women how to grow their product-based companies into the business of their dreams.
And so that’s really what motivated me to grow Entreprenette…
I’ve been on so many business journeys and had so many ups and downs, that I really want to give women like you…. entrepreneurs with a dream and the passion to achieve it… the advice and the tools that I wish I had when I was starting out so that you don’t have to spend all of the time and, frankly, experience all of the anguish that I did.
I wish I’d had someone to help me piece together the puzzle so I didn’t have to figure it all out.
I just find business to be the most fascinating, amazing things in the world.
I really do. I live it, eat, breathe it and sleep it.
And just seeing an idea come to life, to see it actually become a business that’s making money and just working smoothly… it’s really like a piece of art. It truly is a beautiful thing. It’s like a symphony.
So what I’m going to do is help you cut through all the noise and confusion and all the gimmicks and tricks and the 80 million different ideas out there… and show you how we create businesses – in a really simple way.
I’m going to take that puzzle, and show you exactly what it’s supposed to look at the end… so you know exactly where you’re going and what your business should look like so it’s successful the way you want it to be.
So to make that happen, I’ve created a brand new membership program and I want to see if you are a good fit. Click here to book a discovery call with me and let’s find out!
And I’m sharing all this with you because it’s the difference between businesses that struggle and businesses that kick butt! And when you do this, not only will your business thrive, but you’ll have time for all the other stuff you want to do in your life.
Believe me, I’m a single mom with twin girls… and work-life balance is really important to me.
So come hang out with me and learn from my mistakes so you can do it right the first time!
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3 hours ago
Building an email list can be tough, I totally agree. But an email list is just as important as social media in my opinion. Social media is fleeting. Your customer might not see your post flash by, the FB or Instagram algorithm changes all the time so you never really know if anyone is seeing your posts (as much as you hope at least), and unless they purchase, it’s hard to tell if it is driving traffic or not.
When I started my handbag line, the internet was just getting started, and people were just beginning to get online for the first time and the biggest thing since sliced bread was www.match.com.
Note the www…… everyone used that back then so you’d KNOW it was a website. LOL.
And to get on the website, even just to learn more about it, you needed an email address to get past their “paywall”. The Paywall was a pop up of sorts that asked for your name and email in order to “grant” you access to see what was behind the curtain. They built a list of millions in a few short weeks and that was more valuable than anyone just “knowing” about their company because they could market to them incessentanly.
Daily. And I mean sometimes multiple times a day. I’d never seen anything like this.
They were the first company that I knew of who “collected” emails, then turned around and marketed to you to get you to sign up for their services. And they were relentless……
I’m not saying you need to send emails daily, or emails multiple times a day, but if you don’t email your list at least weekly, they will forget about you and end up buying something similar chez someone else who is sending them emails.
So Why are Pop ups so important? Pop ups are a way to collect emails via your own “Paywall” and continue to market to potentially interested customers. If they take the time to sign up (first baby step) then they are showing you that they are on the first step of the staircase and want to keep walking up. It’s your job to keep enticing them to the top! AKA buy something.
Step 1: Sign up with a content management system like Active Campaign, Mailchimp, Klayvio or whichever one you like best. I like Active Campaign and have been using it for over 10 years. Some people choose to use the forms that come with these programs and I have too in various situations, but I also recommend Privy if you use Shopify, and Ninja Pops if you use Wordpress. They can easily be installed and connected to these CMS systems.
Step 2: The first and easiest way to collect emails is to have a homepage pop up with an offer for a % off the first order. That is a way to ‘collect” emails and give something in return. It’s the first step in building rapport with your potential customers. It’s like saying, let’s be friends, I’ll give you something you want, and you give me something I want, your email.
Step 3: Make sure you have an automation set up in the CMS system. This is an automated email series that will be sent to anyone who gives you their email address on your pop up. I call it the Hello Series. The idea of this series is to again, build rapport, and tell the customer a bit about you and your company over a 2 week period. This series has nothing to do with your regular email marketing emails. This is a sole and separate email series to build rapport so just set it and forget it. Yes customers will probably get some of these on the same days as other marketing emails but just don’t worry about it.
This is how it works:
The first email to go out immediately is the one with the coupon code they just signed up for. Add something about your brand and photos of your products linking to your website.
The second one goes out the next day and asks them if they had a chance to use the coupon yet, and then tells them to whitelist your email so they don’t miss your promotions and special offers for people on your list. Always have images of products that link to your website.
The third email goes 4 days later and in this one I like to tell a story about how I got started with the business. Add images and links here too.
The fourth email shares something cool about your business. Could be some nice stores you are in, a press placement, a celebrity who has your stuff or perhaps posted about it on Instagram. It can also be a tutorial about how to use your products, or a blog post you wrote on a topic they’d be interested in. Share something that will make them feel happy for you, and encourage them to hang with you.
The fifth and final email in this sequence encourages them to follow you on social media. I like to entice them with “doing” something in exchange for a gift. Could be something like “post your photo using or wearing our product, and be entered in our monthly drawing for a free X”.
Step 4: Now that you have collected more emails with a pop up, your ongoing marketing efforts will start to pay off faster. As the list continues to build, you’ll have more people to market to, invite to events you do, and share your good news with. Hopefully they will become loyal customers, share your site with friends, and continue to be an active part of your social media channels. Keep sending emails weekly ( at least) to your list so keep them active and engaged. I’m sure you’ll see a big difference.
If you want ideas to help you fill in the blanks about the above, drop me a comment below and I’ll be happy to help out. ... See MoreSee Less
5 days ago
Anna shares a few of her start up mishaps, her successes, and how important her trips to visit her factories can be.
Want to learn more? Drop me a comment below.
#sarahshawconsulting #podcast #annalecat #celebrities #business #fashion #apparel #boutiques #magazines #getastreetsmartmba ... See MoreSee Less
Have you ever seen the product you’d dreamed about developing in stores and on TV and thought, “Why didn’t I do that?” The reason is, most likely, that you didn’t have the information and connections to do it.
Want to learn more? Drop me a comment below.
#sarahshawconsulting #lisavogt #everbetter #interview #podcast #entrepreneur #celebrities #business #fashion #celebrities #press ... See MoreSee Less
Shows are cancelled: Buyers still need new products. Book a call with me today and learn how to get through this crisis. Want to learn more? Drop me a comment below.
#sarahshawconsulting #buyers #buyer #clothing #business #fashion #apparel #boutiques #consultation #dropshipping #ecommerce #dropship #dropshippingtips #reseller #boutique #accessories ... See MoreSee Less
2 weeks ago
Do you know how to set the right price for your product line? Lordy knows I sure didn’t when I first started my handbag line. But once I learned the correct way to do it, I never mispriced anything again! Now I want to share this method with you so you can be profitable and not wonder why you can’t pay yourself.
It took me years to figure out how to set the right price for my product line when I first started out, so I can imagine you might be in the same situation. If you are not sure if you are making any money, then there is a good chance you’re not pricing your products correctly.
Proper costing is the lifeline to your business and profitability. Taking into consideration and finding all the hidden costs, is the key. So many people forget little things that they add up and then BOOM, you are not making any money. Once you have the actual cost (cost of goods sold) then it is easy to figure out the wholesale and retail prices so you are always making money.
I’d love to share this formula with you. It totally saved my rear when I was in year 3….. Just thinking of all that lost money in the first 2 years…. I want to cry!
Drop me a comment with “PRICED FOR PROFIT” and I’ll reach out and connect with you. ... See MoreSee Less