Every Thursday, we feature a cafe member and highlight their business. It’s the time for you to reach out, say hi, and grow your network. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Penton. Connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Melissa is a friend with “life changing” benefits. Below are the questions I asked of Melissa and her candid answers. I’ve included seven takeaways to help you grow your business. Melissa and I are hanging out in the comments, so share your feedback!
Why did you start your business?
I had started my business about 3 years ago, but I went about it all wrong – doing things because that’s what other people were doing, following advice that I knew I shouldn’t follow, and getting lost in the tactics of running a business. When I re-launched my coaching business this past May, I did it the way I wanted to and with the original intention of me becoming a coach, which was to help people take the suck out of figuring it out – which ultimately became my tagline Take the Suck out of Success.
TAKEAWAY: FOLLOW A PLAN. FOCUS ON THE PURPOSE OF YOUR BUSINESS. DON’T GET SO WRAPPED UP IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF BUSINESS THAT THE CORE OF WHAT YOU DO COMPROMISED.
What strategies did you follow to gain expertise in your field/industry?
The best strategy I ever followed was to put your hand up and participate and follow your gut. Because if you never step out of your comfort zone (even if it’s just a little bit) you will never grow, learn and get experience.
TAKEAWAY: STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES THAT WILL HELP YOU GROW YOUR BUSINESS.
What sets you apart from your competition? What do you offer that they don’t?
The word life coach can be too fluffy for people and it also comes with an expensive price tag. I prefer to call myself a Friend with “life changing” benefits. My coaching practice will eventually be all online, giving people personalized affordable coaching tools right on their laptop or smart phone.
TAKEAWAY: KEEP FOCUSED ON YOUR CLIENTS AND GIVE THEM WHAT THEY NEED.
How many hours do you spend networking, either in person or online, each week?
Hmm, I just kind of go with the flow. In the beginning I would spend so much time on social media, but never felt like I was getting anywhere. Letting networking happen organically has taken the pressure off of getting it right and trying to be everywhere all the time. My goal is to create great online coaching content, so that’s where I want to spend most of my time. But I will say this – I have started timing myself. So if I jump on Facebook I will set a 10 min timer on my focus @ will app and that’s all I get!
TAKEAWAY: NETWORK BY IDENTIFYING WAYS TO HELP YOUR AUDIENCE SO YOU FORM NATURAL RELATIONSHIPS.
Do you ask your existing or past clients for referrals? Why or why not?
People want to know what other people think – I didn’t used to ask for referrals, but I know they are helpful…so if it feels right, I will ask.
TAKEAWAY: WHILE WE STRIVE FOR LIKES, SHARES, AND COMMENTS, REMEMBER REFERRALS ARE THE BEST ENGAGEMENT YOU CAN RECEIVE FROM YOUR AUDIENCE.
Do you regularly contact past clients?
Yes, I love my clients and I’m always so curious about their journey. Actually, I find more often than not my clients contact me to update me, keep me in the loop, ask for a quick piece of advice. I love it, like I said, I like to call myself a friend with “life changing” benefits. And that’s exactly the kind of relationship I build with my clients.
TAKEAWAY: RELATIONSHIPS SHOULDN’T END AT THE CLOSE OF THE SALE. IMPLEMENT A FOLLOW-UP STRATEGY TO KEEP YOUR BUSINESS TOP OF MIND.
Do you have a list-building strategy with your business? Why or why not?
I guess I have a strategy and that is to remember that everyone on that list is a real person. I want to make connections with people and I know that will come by creating great content. I look at my website as my actual office. The about page is my front door, my blog is them sitting in a chair in my office and us having a conversation, the courses and resources are incredible tools that they get to take with them.
I’m looking at list building as real humans choosing me and coming into my office – that’s amazing! So, to do that I will keep creating great content that is driven by my clients, get really clear on my coaching voice, and I really want to dig deep into what puts the suck in success!
TAKEAWAY: SPEND TIME DEVELOPING YOUR BUSINESS ASSETS (WEBSITE, SOCIAL MEDIA, BLOG). THEY ARE A REFLECTION OF YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS, AND SHOULD SUPPORT THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.