10.15.2014: I survived my first year in business!
My official first anniversary was on October 7th. That was the day I started marketing Kain DeFoe Communications. I mailed out business announcements on a Thursday afternoon and I got my first call the following Saturday morning. Pretty good, huh? But I’d know that business owner for 30 years. If I was going to make a real go of owning my own marketing and public relations firm, I was going to need a lot more than one dear, old friend.
The following Tuesday – five days after the announcements went out – I got my second call. It was from a Cape business owner I’d never met. I had my second client. Later that day, the phone rang again. I had my third client in under a week. Was I cool, calm and collected? Nope. I ran out in my backyard (where no one but my husband could see me) and jumped up and down waving my arms around like a little kid playing airplane.
I’ve learned a lot in the past one year, one month and one day. In addition to spending a lot of time developing my technical skills I realized that I’d:
– underestimated the power of social media: An active social media presence has resulted in my writing a children’s book. I followed up on a random Facebook post of someone I didn’t even know. The book is coming out shortly. I’ve landed new clients through my pro profile on Houzz (for staging) and my activity on Alignable. My efforts on Facebook and Google+ have also been fruitful for Kain DeFoe Communications. And I have clients who are getting tens of thousands of views a month on the social platforms I manage for them (Yes, I realize I’m blowing my own horn. But if you’ve actually met me, you’re not remotely surprised, are you?).
– overestimated the willingness of print media to give coverage to non-advertisers: Magazines are in business to make money. If you’re not advertising with them, they’re less likely to give you coverage. But that doesn’t mean they won’t! I’ve found the most success by making sure I’m presenting the right client to the right publication. I’m talking really targeting. It’s bad for my business and my clients’ businesses to just throw out press releases everywhere and hope for the best. I’ve been lucky to have clients who get that.
– overestimated businesses willingness to spend money on professional photography: Getting clients to spring for a professional photographer is proving a tough sell. It’s a pricey option, but I’m not backing down on this one. We live in a visual world. If you’re not showing the world what you’re doing with great images, you’re selling yourself short. So I continue to hammer away at people, pushing them to get great images. I’ve bought a decent camera and take a decent photo. They’re good enough to feed the hungry beast that is social media, but they’re not good enough for print publications. The battle continues.
– underestimated the need for marketing content: I’ve been a writer for years. Prior to that I was in marketing, so I find writing marketing copy that doesn’t scream ‘Hey, this is marketing copy!’ fun. I’m sort of shocked at how much of it I’m doing on a regular basis. Website developers aren’t writers and, in most cases, neither are business owners. So in addition to my clients that I work with on an ongoing monthly basis, fee-for-service content marketing has taken up far more of my time than I’d ever imagined.
This is my longest post ever (I also hammer away about keeping word counts to a minimum), so I’ll shut up…finally.