There are so many different types of ittybiz owners in the world, but so often only the biggest or flashiest ones get represented in the media we consume.
To counter this, I've been interviewing real IttyBiz customers and clients so that you can see the variety and diversity of solo businesses out there – and the different ways that people run their business and manage their work.
So without further ado, I'd love to introduce you to IttyBiz customer…
Hay Shay! What do you & your ittybiz do?
We provide Done For You social media services for small business owners. We do anything from creating the social media posts to managing the social media accounts to running social media ads.
Where can people find your website(s)?
Right here: DoneForYouPosts.com & ShayBanks.com.
How long have you been running this business?
Since 2011. I left my teaching career to pursue this full-time.
Why did you start this business? What was the catalyst or “reason why”?
Well, I was a teacher when I started an online business. I didn't like the way the education system was going. I hated teaching my students how to pass a standardized test rather than learning how to learn.
I fought back in my own ways as long as I could, but I couldn't continue to contribute to the machine. These kids are future citizens who will have to make choices that will directly impact all of us. So to just turn a blind eye to the fact that one-fourth of my students couldn't read kindergarten sight words in the 6th grade was just too much on me.
To add to the pressure, a few months into building my online business, my mom was diagnosed with ALS and her job made her take long-term disability because she was not able to physically function at their required level any longer.
So now, I have to think about how to bring in new income to make sure my mom has what she needs. She was going to need 24-hour nursing care and her health insurance plan only covered 20 hours per week.
With my teaching salary….there was no way I could afford to pay for the additional hours she needed. That added to my motivation to monetizing my business asap.
What was the hardest part of getting started / the early years?
I started this journey in 2008. The “build an online business” thing was not as jam-packed as it now, but there was still a lot of noise.
I think the hardest part was knowing who to listen to and what actions to take. There were some major “gurus” when I started out and they all contradicted themselves or they made growing a business seem so fricking complicated.
Also it was hard learning how to monetize. The one thing they all agreed on was having a website and blogging consistently.
I am a writer by trade, so blogging was a no-brainer.
So in 2008, I started blogging about dating and relationships, my niche of choice at the time. After work, I would sit in front of my desktop and write blogs from 6 pm – midnight. And I would do that every night for about 3 months.
I listened to a very popular “guru” (and joined her expensive mastermind!) who told me to just blog every day and within six months, I would make six figures.
After blogging for a few months, I was nowhere close to six figures and when I looked at my Google Analytics, I saw that there was only two people visiting my website: me and my momma.
So I knew deep down (even if I couldn't prove it), that this “guru” was not really giving me the “meat and potatoes” to building a solid business so I could quit my teaching job. It was a very expensive lesson to learn.
I went on a quest of sorts and I started learning everything I could to get organic traffic to my site. I learned about SEO, commenting on other blogs, joining groups like StumbleUpon (remember them?), forum posting, guest posting, getting interviewed on BlogTalkRadio (remember them?), etc..
I did all the free strategies. All. Of. Them.
And slowly and steadily, I started to see some traction.
I had a $27 ebook that I was selling. And every week I started making sales. Then it became a few times a week.
I was excited.
This whole process took about a year to 18 months.
That's probably the hardest part of it all. Just sticking to your plan and seeing it through, even if you are making no money. Not getting swayed by shiny objects or the latest and greatest new thing.
Through using Facebook Ads and my Facebook FanPage (as it was called at the time), I was able to scale up and eventually make the holy grail of $100/day. And that income helped me take care of my mom and eventually quit my job in 2011.
What’s easier for you now than it was in the beginning of your business?
Now it's easier because I know what to do (strategy-wise, cashflow-wise), but there are days when I'm like “Ugh! But I don't wanna!!”
Now I have clearer expectations and I don't expect microwave results from anything I do. I know the importance of consistency.
In the beginning, believe it or not, doing the strategy is much easier because you don't know what you don't know.
You kind of have a child-like approach to your business, at least I did. I was curious and dedicated the time necessary to learn things in order to get results.
Now I am much more ruthless with my time. I'm not going to join every webinar on the planet and I am not going to buy every fricking e-course or product created. I'm not going to be at every networking event known to man.
I think now, what's easier than in the beginning, is just knowing the fundamentals of business: helping people with a problem in exchange for money.
Keeping things simple. Not getting too overzealous or looking at my shiny competitors.
How many hours a week do you work on average?
Depends on the week.
If I'm at full capacity with clients (in 2020 I was swamped), I can easily put in 60 hours per week. Because my company creates social media posts, manages the social media pages, and interacts with clients' followers, all of that takes time (especially if we're taking a London Blitz approach to their social media strategy).
Plus we also create and monitor social media ads. It's really in-depth process. On a slow week, maybe 10 hours. But if I'm fully booked, 60 hours is the norm.
How much time do you spend per week on social media?
About 20-30 minutes per day.
I used to be waaay more active on Instagram and decided to nix it for my marketing strategy. Most of my clients who don't balk at my prices come from LinkedIn and Facebook. So I am on those two platforms most.
I typically create a post and engage with my followers/connections by engaging with their posts.
I'm in a few Facebook Groups and I participate there. If I'm running ads for my business, I will check the ads and make sure they're doing what they're supposed to.
Do you answer your own email, or does someone else do it?
I answer my own email. I tried using a VA to answer it and… it wasn't good. (LOL) I like answering my own email anyway.
How frequently do you produce content?
Great question. I just started back blogging now. I am adding 1 blog post every other day or so on my doneforyouposts.com site.
Another way I produce content is by hosting webinars. I have a local meetup group with about 250ish members. I like to create content for them as well.
How frequently do you email your list?
I email my list 1-2 times per week.
Do you do everything yourself, or do you hire others to manage parts of your business?
I hire out keyword and hashtag research, scheduling posts, finding great stock photos to add to our collection, meme creation, quote research, and competitor analysis.
What’s the best purchase / investment you’ve ever made for your business?
The best investment has been a monthly newsletter I pay $99 per month for. It comes in the mail every month. It is better than any Inc. or Success magazine out there. It gives great business tactics and strategies.
It's definitely helped my business flourish.
What’s your favorite product in the Karma Store?
I love the Karma Store products!
I especially love List Explosion. When working with a new client, I listen to the audios from my client's perspective. It helps me create the correct social media strategy that will help them build their list.
More customer profiles are coming – maybe one will be yours?
If you're an IttyBiz customer and would like to be featured in an upcoming customer profile, get in touch!
And if you're not a customer yet, consider Shay's favorite product, List Explosion – or any of the pay-what-you-want products in the Karma Store.
100% of store profits go to help ittybiz owners around the world through Kiva, in over 60 countries so far!
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