The Pro and Cons of Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing

How Influencer Marketing is Learning a Lesson in Transparency

Influencers are so highly sought-after by brands because human recommendations boost credibility, visibility, and loyalty. Rather than shoving banner ads and pop-ups in consumers’ faces, brands are able to create personal connections with shoppers.

Unfortunately, nothing gold can stay. As influencer marketing has grown, it’s begun to carry a stigma. Brands and influencers alike have become giddy with power and started to take advantage of consumers’ trust.

It’s become harder for consumers to trust what they see and read. The age of internet innocence is over, and consumer cynicism is bad for business. Ethical brands are suffering because they’re being tarred by the same brush as deceptive marketers.

Online shoppers and surfers need to be able to decipher the good from the bad and the transparent from the deceptive.

We must hold each other accountable on social media. We all have a part to play in making the internet a more socially responsible place.

Read more on how we can call out shady dealings and why I feel leadership is not just about ability — it’s about responsibility, in my recent article published by PerformanceIN Here.

Want to Turn Your Dream Into a Profitable Business?

Turning your passion project into a lucrative endeavor requires some research, planning, and a little help from your friends.

Whether you telecommute, you sell products on Etsy, or you have started a new web-based business, an internet connection is the new cornerstone of commerce.

You love the idea of being your own boss, you’ve got a dream, but what you really need is to make money!

What’s most important – the dream, the money, or both? Should your personal passions be leveraged for money, or is that even possible?

Hard work, persistence, and planning are still critical to taking your business from a pie-in-the-sky dream to a profitable business endeavor.

Read my four tips, published in Startups.co, to learn how seize huge opportunity and claim financial freedom while turning your passion project into a lucrative business.

Read the Full Article HERE

Empower You Client Services Team for the Win!

Up Your Game

If you know me, you know how I feel about client services and team work! These are two of the biggest components when it comes to powering your company.

Your team has the ability to turn each customer into a walking billboard for your company, but how do you ensure that billboard is a sign of praise, rather protest?

In my article, published on Switch and Shift, you’ll learn about mistakes we’ve made, how we corrected them, and why I both empower my team and keep an ear to the ground!

It’s not uncommon for me, the CEO of JVZoo, to pop into our help desk or Facebook page and answer support questions myself to ensure we’re continually servicing our clients and understanding what their needs of our platform are.

There’s some valuable lessons we’ve learned and share here, as well as some awesome tweetables!

Check out my full article on Switch & Shift

Entrepreneur.com Article

Screenshot of JVZoo's CEO, Laura Casselman's, article in Entrepreneur.com

I am thrilled to have my article about JVZoo’s success “How to Reach the 5-Year Mark Without Imploding” featured on Entrepreneur.com

As the article is already published on their website, I’m providing the direct link. CLICK HERE TO READ!
I’d love for you to check it out and learn more about JVZoo.  Getting started is the hard part but the real challenge is staying alive.

The key to growing your six-figure microbusiness into a seven-figure small business is so simple that it’s easy to forget.

A Lesson On Glass Ceilings

Lesson on Glass Ceilings
(Clears throat and steps on soapbox)

Glass Ceilings are by definition the invisible, but unreachable barrier of professional advancement of women and minorities. Currently, due to the USA’s Presidential Election results, we are hearing increased discussion surrounding this topic. Today, in particular, I feel an overwhelming need to bring some pieces of this discussion presently being overlooked and/or buried to light.

When it comes to breaking down barriers, those of us fighting for progress, must acknowledge each and every advancement. In the days following our election results, I’ve read countless posts about the lack of advancement and how Clinton not winning is proof that females are ultimately pulling each other back. When I’ve pointed out the following, my responses have been deleted. Therefore, I’m posting this article which I’ll share on my social media outlets to ensure the females screaming injustice are not the only voices being heard.

Whether or not your candidate of choice won this election, history was made and a glass ceiling was broken by a female. Clinton did not gain the seat of highest office in our country, but a female did lead a successful, presidential campaign. I’m talking about Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager. Never before has this happened, yet there’s hardly any talk or coverage of this huge win for ALL females. You see, it does not matter if you supported Trump’s message or not, if you point out glass ceilings and scream injustice, then you must take note when a female plows right through one. There can be no cherry picking here. To do so boldly states that some glass ceilings are acceptable. In other words, the glass ceilings that prevent a female from succeeding when it’s a topic, candidate, or simply anything else that you don’t personally like is tolerable, but ladies, that sentiment goes against the core of equality.

We must be better! There is no choice here if we truly want to remove all glass ceilings.

We cannot loudly demand equality and then crouch down and whisper or outright ignore when equality is achieved. We must emphatically celebrate all wins! We must not make excuses when a female succeeds and claim that particular female has so much self-hatred deeply ingrained that she does not even realize her success was wrong. We cannot claim the 42% of women who voted for Trump must also be pitied as they, too, are full of self-hatred and fear. We cannot claim these things because they are inaccurate. We have polls that prove women (and men) feel that it is time for a female leader, but they did not feel Clinton should be that leader. We have statistics proving many educated women and minorities did not trust Clinton. To ignore those statistics and claim those educated and informed females should have gone against their doubts and distrust of Clinton is an insult to those women. To claim “oh their self-hatred is so deep, they aren’t even aware” is not only false, it’s a miscategorization and an injustice. I’m sorry ladies, but that is comparable to claiming a rape victim asked for it! Kellyanne does not hate herself. She isn’t conditioned by society to lack self-love or respect and to claim that for her, or any female that made a decision not to vote for Clinton, is not only done in gross ignorance, it is the epitome of hypocrisy.

This week, whether or not you are saddened by Clinton’s loss, whether or not you are peacefully protesting, and whether or not you are looking ahead to the day a female FINALLY does claim the title of President of the United States, if you truly want equality you must acknowledge and celebrate the glass ceiling Kellyanne Conway shattered into millions of pieces.

I see you Kellyanne! I am celebrating your victory! I won’t cherry pick the victories I celebrate, especially one of this magnitude. You, Kellyanne, are proof that intelligent women are rising up and outperforming others. I’m loudly celebrating your victory because it does not matter if I supported Trump or Clinton, your win was a first of its kind for women and I will not cower in a corner and pretend I’m ashamed of your accomplishments. Your success does not represent Trump, but rather a job well done!

I love successful, intelligent, hardworking, passionate, and driven women. I like to consider myself one of those women. And I will not be belittled or take part in the belittling of another woman by claiming “ingrained self hatred” because we may or may not have voted differently. I support every, single, woman and minority out here hammering hard away at the glass ceiling and blowing it to pieces.

#kellyanneconway #glassceilingbreaker #strongwomenunite #nocherrypicking #selfloveandrespectdoesnotmeanwehavetoagree #celebratesuccess

Misspellings and Your Bottom Line

Misspellings and Grammar Mistakes cost online sales

It’s a pet peeve of mine: misspelled words in professional publications, business sites, group pages, emails, and/or blogs.  It frustrates me that the person writing the article or post could not be bothered to take the time to proofread, ensuring what they deemed important enough to write was spelled correctly.

While this topic is something on which my boss and I disagree and playfully argue, I both blame my mother and thank her for emphasizing the importance of proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as research proves I am not alone in my lack of tolerance.

In fact, and most importantly, studies show that even one spelling error can reduce a company’s online sales in half.

With the average reader spending fifteen seconds or less on your website before deciding if he will continue reading or move on, it’s imperative that whatever the consumer decides to view in that fifteen seconds is correct. Errors in punctuation, grammar, and/or spelling repel potential consumers, who often link such mistakes with a lack of credibility and security.

I am reminded of a substitute teacher my class had in the fifth grade. On her first day, she wrote “Congradulations” on the blackboard. I did not trust her to teach me anything after she misspelled that one word. Misspellings equal distrust.

Whether you personally feel strongly about taking the time to ensure your company Facebook posts, advertisements, emails and announcements have no errors, you should feel strongly about the bottom line. It’s worth the additional time and money to have someone proofread all public communication.

Remember that even one error can cost you up to 50% in online sales!

5 Tips for Organizing Your Business

5 Tips for Organizing Your Online Business

5 Tips for Organizing Your Online Business

The following tips will help in creating goals and implementing strategies to see them realized along with maintaining the motivation to keep yourself on track while running your online business.

1. Use online resources to create a schedule.
It only seems appropriate that your online business should use online resources.  This is effective as you can keep focused on what you need to do with a click into a browser instead of switching your focus to paper, another program or another device.  This is also great for anybody that happens to use more than one computer or device for their work as you can quickly access your schedule, as long as you’ve got an internet connection, which is necessary for your business anyway.

Google Calendar is a great option for this.  You can sync Google Calendar with an iPhone or Android device and set it up to notify you in different ways of upcoming entries in your schedule.  Create a strict or casual schedule – whatever you feel is best for you – and if you tend to like the paper approach you can print off your schedule as well.  As with most Google products, it’s quite customizable to your preferences.

2.. Use online resources to create a ‘To Do’ List.
All the little jobs that you want to do or need to get done should be written down on a list.  This list will be comprised of thoughts and ideas that pop into your head, tasks to do to move toward your goals and regular tasks that you need to do in the operation of your business.  Using an online program for this has the same benefits as using an online calendar

Trello is a flexible and user-friendly option for organizing your ideas and projects in one area.  You can create many boards and different organizations, which is very helpful when you want to start a new project in your business.  A board consists of a 3 column listing of “To Do” “Doing” and “Done” (which you can change the names of) and you can add in comments, checklists, due dates, files and customize to your liking in several different ways.  You can also share a Board or Organization with other people, so you can collaborate with others on a project and see what’s been done, who has done it and what needs to be done.  It’s also beneficial to share your task list with some that can simply check up on your progress to add that bit of accountability motivation.

3. Make it official and make a business plan
Many home businesses never get the benefit of a well thought out approach to operations and expectations.  Although business plans are especially popular for those who are in search or financing, every person that would like to make money with their business should have spent the time creating some type of business plan.  You don’t need to focus on the financial details as much as a traditional plan would, but you want to create a plan of how your business will operate and what the products and/or services are.  A business plan makes you think about various parts of running a business and clarifies its viability in the marketplace.  It may also force you to think of a more viable business venture if your original idea does look as good written down as it did in your head.  The Internet is full of great resources to assist you in creating an effective business plan.

4. Make a Today List
Similar to a To Do List, a Today List is an informal yet intentional way of thinking about what you want to accomplish in your day.  Get yourself a pad of sticky notes of whatever size you would like to be able write down daily tasks.  You may want to consult a ‘master’ To Do list or some type of schedule that you have created to be aware of what your overall tasks are.  Write down short, to the point notes of what you plan to accomplish in your day then stick this somewhere where you can easily glance at it throughout the day.  You can add to this list as the day goes on as you might think of a phone call you need to make or new task that comes up.  The most important part of this exercise is the conscience thinking about your day and writing down your intentions as you begin working.  This little list should get chucked at the end of the day and don’t make any judgments on yourself about whether you did what you had planned to at the beginning of the day or not.  Start a new list at the beginning of a new working day.  If there are tasks that you want to remember to do that didn’t get done from your ‘Today List’ then just transfer them to your schedule or business ‘To Do’ List.

5.. Do the small, but essential tasks first
Attending to email, making phone calls or updating your social media accounts may be possible essentials that need daily attention.  They are also things that can be distracting if you are returning to them throughout your working time so that is why it is effective to do these jobs to begin with and possibly to finish off with as well.  You will likely have other responsibilities that fit into this category, depending on the type of business you run – think of all those little things you do that take focus away from other jobs.

BONUS TIP: Don’t get caught up on getting everything perfect.
Many precious hours can be wasted on spending too much time perfecting something.  Although you want to portray a certain level of professionalism, don’t be overly concerned with getting the perfect look, the perfect words or the perfect plan.  You can always add something on your ‘To Do’ list if you’re not really satisfied with how it initially worked out.  This allows you to at least complete the task at hand and move on to other productive tasks.

Stay Relevant

Staying Relevant
  1. One of the most important attributes for success in any path is the ability to stay relevant.
  1. Relevance isn’t popularity. It isn’t dedication. And it isn’t knowledge.
  1. Relevance is simply the concept of connection between topics, ideas, things or people. To be relevant, one must be connected or in association with the topic at hand.

Story:

A week ago, I attended a conference. Like most networking events, you meet people from various fields, geographic regions and social/economic castes. I asked a group of people why they decided to attend this particular conference. One person responded, “Well, I want to stay relevant.” I quickly asked, how does attending this conference make you relevant? The person replied, “I can tell people I was here and they will think I have grasped new concepts presented at this conference.” I then asked him if he did grasp new concepts. He replied, “I have no clue what anyone was talking about, though it seemed interesting.  But, my clients and bosses don’t know that.” I smiled inside and walked away. This is an example of perceived relevance, as his bosses will believe he is connected to the information simply because of his attendance at the conference. However without being able to demonstrate his connection (remember he stated he did not grasp the information presented), his relevance will be short-lived.

Reflection:

In order to command an audience, but more importantly, elicit respect from an audience, one must possess something the audience finds valuable. Whether you are a parent or CEO, scientist or author, your relevance is defined by your audience. And whether it is a child looking to you for answers or an auditorium full of people who have traveled from all over the world to hear you speak, relevance allows you to have a direct impact on every person in your audience. Relevance isn’t regurgitating facts and proof of attendance to superficially impress peers. Or to pretend to grasp new concepts. Relevance is reality. You can’t fake it. You don’t get to decide if you are relevant or not, the world does.

Becoming Relevant:

Pick something, anything you want to be an expert at. Then along your journey of becoming an expert, learn how to communicate, either on a personal level or on a stage size of your choice. After you have developed your craft and refined how you communicate with people, put yourself out there. It’s that simple. It’s that simple because the majority of the people, like the person I met at my conference, fake being relevant. They fake their expertise. They fake their connection to the information. And as long as you can find something you unequivocally can call your expertise and as long as you can communicate that expertise, you can obtain relevance.

Relevance is relative. And whether you have 1 person or 100 or 1,000,000 who listen to you for guidance on a certain topic, the power to persuade, the power to connect, makes you relevant. Attendance does not make you relevant. Speaking in front of people does not make you relevant. But rather the power to continually convince people that you are directly connected to the information or matter at hand, implying that you may influence that information or matter due to your connection, is what makes you relevant.

Staying Relevant:

Remember when you picked something to be an expert at? Remember when you were going to pick up communication skills to better express to others your expertise? Well staying relevant is both of these things, but the ability to do them over and over and over again, never being satisfied until one day the world decides you are deemed forever relevant to a certain expertise or field. When your name becomes synonymous with a concept, topic, or thing that is how you ‘Stay Relevant’ and that is how you succeed at becoming one of the best in your field.

Got Relevance?

 

Get Down to Business with Your Startup

Get down to business with your startup

When you’re first starting out in creating your own business, it’s both exciting and at times, overwhelming. You know why you started and what you want to do, however the many steps it takes to get to where you want to be can seem daunting. The following steps can help you get down to business with your startup while keeping focused on the important tasks at hand.

 

The experts or gurus will tell you that you need to find your niche and most importantly, a niche market that will pay for your product or service. And while they are correct – it’s not always straightforward.

 

When you start out, plant your business seeds far and wide. Be prepared for failures and non-starters, and rather be disappointed, use these as a guide to narrowing down your niche and create a base for building your business. This base will be your target market.

 

Finding customers at the beginning can be a challenge. Using your personal network (friends, family, colleagues, etc.) is a great way to start spreading the word, especially if you have a consumer-focused product. Word-of-mouth won’t get you far when you’re just starting out, but it will get you started, so don’t be shy when it comes to spreading the word or asking for personal favors with your new business.

 

Balance is key when offering free options. Allowing people to sample your product with no financial risk to encourage them to sign up for the paid service is a great way to build your customer base. When offering free services, keep two things in mind: 1. Your free offering has to be of value to the customer 2. You must hold enough back to make people want to upgrade.

 

Knowing and understanding your customer is vital to creating a product or service that basically sells itself. Whether responding directly to every comment on social media or customer support, or following review sites, use each of these situations as a chance to survey your customers on their wants and needs. The better you know your customers, the easier it is to tailor your products and services.

 

Happy customers (which you’ve created with your stellar customer service and tailored products) are the best salespeople. They know the value of your product and feel taken care of. Incentivize customers to share (sell for you) by giving them a reason to get other people to sign up or purchase your product.

 

Once you start receiving traffic to your website, you’ll need to focus on converting visitors into customers. From website design to product pricing, many factors are involved in determining your conversion rates. To determine what works best, you’ll need to test, test, and test again. You’ll find that the most successful entrepreneurs never stop testing and never assume. They’re always running split tests or A/B tests to determine the best conversion rates.

 

Starting your own business isn’t an easy task, which is why 9 out of 10 startups fail. As GI Joe said, “Knowing is half battle” while the other half is having a product that meets the needs of your customers and working diligently, intelligently, and consistently.

Rarely do successes happen overnight. If you really want to succeed in your startup business, take the tips offered above, hunker down, and get to work.