I was so excited about this one, as you hear advice from entrepreneur experts all the time, like 'hire before you're ready', or 'just build it, and they will come.' However, after promising her husband that she wouldn't go into debt, building her business, over 10 years later, Shannon Cherry has kept that promise. Now she teaches others how to do the same thing. Shannon gives some great advice on how you can remain debt free, tips and tricks for getting creative in growing your business, and how she's managed to stay out of the red all of these years.
When starting a business should you take out an initial investment? It's really going to depend on the business, but it's really about sitting down and figuring out what you really need to get started. Also Shannon suggests making sure you're never spending outside of your means. She's proud to say she doesn't have any kind of debt for her business.
When it comes to marketing, how do you suggest getting your name out there on the 'cheap'? First of all, Shannon has never bought an advertisement in her business career, and she doesn't recommend it. Most of the time, the value on the return isn't there. Her background is as a reporter and a television anchor. She took the publicity route for promoting her business using press releases and media pitches. She suggests contacting your local reporters and starting a relationship with them. You just need to get a track record going.
How can you turn publicity into paying clients? The one thing Shannon recommends is creating a specific website to drive traffic to that only is media generated. The only thing she has people do is opt-in for a free gift.
What are some tips for building those relationships with media outlets? What you want to do is to first see what news they're covering in your niche. First, put out a press release. What she does is have people write letters to the editors in response to what's going on. Now this isn't a way to promote your business, per say, but it's a way to start showing your expertise. Letters to the editor are typically the most read sections of a publication, and are typically the least contributed to.
What is your suggested strategy around networking? Shannon found that when she was in New York, she had so much competition that networking just wasn't something she found a lot of value in. She worked more on the referral marketing versus networking. She met with people 1:1 through Facebook. They just sat down and found out if they were a great fit.
How do you recommend starting to build those relationships? One of the first things Shannon did when moving was look in her local town and found people on Facebook of who she could meet. She friended them, started commenting, and then invited them to lunch.
How do you combat the advice of 'hire before you're ready'? Shannon suggests to outsource the stuff you're not so great at, but you really need, like accountants. However, you don't want to hire people until you really have the money to pay them. If you are not a graphic designer, there are great options like Fiverr.com and hire someone for $5 to do it for you. Or if you want to do social things, use something like Power Point, and it can lay out images and be saved as .jpeg.
Do you recommend starting on a consulting basis? Shannon had a dream that she was going to run a huge marketing firm, and when she got to a point where she could afford to get an office, she decided she didn't want to do that. She didn't need the big building to prove her worth. She started as a consultant. She found that most people couldn't afford her services, so she created products that could fill that need. Since she is an anti-debt person, she wanted to give people the option.
Shannon also suggests diligently reading any contracts that you are about to get into. Understand how long you'll be paying for the service, etc. Also remember that a contract is just their contract and you can revise and negotiate a contract. Just because you want to work with someone like that, you have a right to modify that contract or walk away if they won't agree to your terms.
Investing will help get you there faster. Start looking, explore, and then negotiate. You can negotiate a payment plan.
Here's also a great tip. If there's an event you want to go to, plan to go, but don't buy the ticket til the end. You'll then most likely get it much cheaper. You can ask if there are any tickets available, and a lot of times they'll give it to you for free. They're primary goal is to get butt in seats. So wait to buy it towards when the event is about to start.
Is there advice you have on finding more time? Get 3 major things done every day, and then the rest is gravy.
More About Shannon:
Shannon Cherry, a business and marketing pro with more than two decades of experience, helps you to make more money in your business without adding more time.
She founded her business, ShannonCherry.com, in 2002 to help helped experienced and ambitious entrepreneurs grow the business they desireñ without compromising on their principles. Her focus is to provide laser-targeted solutions to get fast results.
Shannon's business has been debt-free since its inception and she consistently works only 15 hours per week to spend more time with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Grab her free video training on how to add more profits in less time at http://ShannonCherry.com
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