The Writing Sparrow Episode 16: How to Go Full-Time Self-Employed in Your Author Career with Elisha Belden

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Sarina Langer  00:08

Hello, and welcome to the Writing Sparrow podcast. I’m Sarina Langer, and this podcast is all about writing, publishing and marketing your book. You can find transcripts on my website at sarinalanger.com. Let’s get started!

Sarina Langer  00:25

Welcome back friends and sparrows. It’s the fourth of January 2021, this is Episode 16, and I feel just a little bit like I’m tempting fate recording this in November 2020. Assuming that we’ve made it to another year. Today, I have the most successful person I know with me on zoom. Elisha Belden is a business coach, a co owner of Twistid Ink, and the director of marketing at Saniderm. And I feel so privileged that she’s agreed to chat with me today about how to take your business to the next level. Hi, and welcome, Elisha.

Elisha Belden  01:02

Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate all the nice things you said.

Sarina Langer  01:09

Oh, I mean, they’re only true. I mean, anyone looking at your Instagram profile can easily get the same information.

Elisha Belden  01:15

Yeah, well, that’s the great thing about Instagram. It’s there for everybody. So

Sarina Langer  01:20

There you go. It’s not like it’s empty flattery, it’s just stating facts.

Elisha Belden  01:24

Well, thank you! It was nice to hear it anyway. Um, but again, thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited to be able to chat with you about, you know, making your business successful. And it’s definitely one of my passions.

Sarina Langer  01:39

I’m really looking forward to hearing what you have to tell us today. So January, for me is possibly the most exciting month of the year because I love setting goals anyway. I love organising everything, and January for me is this chance to set new goals to assess where I want to go from here, and to hopefully figure out how I can make things happen. Doesn’t always work out 100% as I pictured it, but usually the first week of January for me has this really excited energy of new possibilities and seeing what I might achieve that year. So, what would you recommend we do to set realistic goals?

02:23

With goals, there’s things, there’s different levels of goals. Everybody always likes to talk about realistic goals. But there’s also a thing called a Genesis deadline or a Genesis goal. And you’ll hear a lot of higher end development coaches and people like that talk about these. A Genesis goal is something that you need to set kind of at the beginning of the year. And that’s your overall goal. If that’s your, your angle, that’s where you want to go. That’s where you want to take your business. And that’s the most important goal to set first, because you can’t divide it out into smaller goals without that original big goal. Now that big goal doesn’t necessarily have to be something that you want to achieve at the end of the year. It’s just where you want your business to go. So your your big goal doesn’t necessarily have to be realistic, in sense of what can be achieved relatively quickly. But you have to have that goal first. Once you’ve developed that plan, then you can break it into smaller goals. And from there, you want to do something, you want to set different levels of goals. So a goal that is for six months, and then you want a goal that’s for three days. You just basically need to make sure that you’re checking off goals as you go. So having smaller ones helps you complete the bigger ones, because you feel like you’re accomplishing more. And when you feel like you’re accomplishing more, you’re actually more likely to kick into high gear and accomplish the next big one.

Elisha Belden  03:50

So one of the mistakes that I see a lot of people making is they’ll pick a goal that isn’t measurable. This is what I want to do in six months. Well every single day they’re not working towards that six month goal because they don’t have smaller goals. So that’s the big thing that I like to tell people, is even if it’s something as little as putting down that you googled how to do something, put that on your planner and check that off, because that one little goal is a step towards the big goal. But it makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something day to day versus not being able to measure how you’re achieving that six month goal or that that 12 month goal.

Sarina Langer  04:27

See this is why when I write my to do lists, I even sometimes put on smaller things that I’ve already done that day, because then you can already tick it off and instantly almost got like a little energy boost of Oh, I’ve already accomplished something. Now I can go do the next thing.

04:44

Yep, yeah, that’s exactly it. And if you were to look at my planner, it looks completely smac full of things. But some of it’s smaller stuff. I’ll even put on my planner to schedule out my week, which is something that you’re doing anyway when you’re sitting down to write in your planner, but having that little goal, okay, look, I’ve done that I’ve taken my first step to this week, I’m already ahead, I’m already making strides and checking things off. And it just puts you in a different mindset. And mindset is really all that there is to business. You can have the skills, you can have the tools and the tricks available to you, but if you don’t have the right mindset, you’re not going to get where you need to go. So when you’re setting goals, those little, even if it’s something as silly as checking email, putting that on there makes you feel like you’re doing steps towards your bigger goal and keeps you on momentum.

Sarina Langer  05:40

I think that’s a very great first point, actually, because I think when many people, who may be not used to setting goals for themselves, first sit down and decide, Okay, I see everywhere that goal setting is really important, so I’m going to this year, I want to finish a book. But at this point, they might not even have started the book yet. So I think that’s a, you know, it’s quite a common thing to go very overboard, maybe with goals when you know, just doing it, and you end up setting something for yourself, that’s very daunting, and probably unachievable unless you break it down. What you said about breaking it down into things, you know, maybe something small that you can do every day, to work towards that large goal, is very helpful. So if you want to write a book, or if you want to finish a book, maybe figure out how many words you may need to write everyday to make that happen. Figure out what else needs to happen for that, you know, like editors, cover designers, things like that. It’s not as simple as literally just writing a book, there’s always more to do.

06:42

Yeah, and when you’re doing things like that, um, you know, there are steps that you have to take in between, such as researching editors or book cover designers, researching marketers, and things like that feel like you’re not actually accomplishing anything because you’re really just sitting on the internet, you’re just scrolling, you’re just looking at different people’s accounts, different websites. But if you actually put it on your planner, like, okay, you know, I’ve written this many chapters, now I’m going to spend 20 minutes this day researching marketers, 20 minutes this day researching, you know, editors, and then keep working towards that, you’re actually going to feel like you’re doing more for your book, even though you’re doing the same that you would be doing anyway. But just having that written down, you actually feel like you’re doing more than you think, which is a big step towards being successful. And that’s with business, you know, writing anything like that, the more effort and energy that you put into the project, book business, the more likely you are to succeed in the end.

Sarina Langer  07:42

I think it comes back to what you said about having the right mindset for it. Because you know, there’s always going to be a lot more to any one thing then you might see just from the names. Obviously, when you’re writing a book, it’s not just writing a book. And as you said, you need to do research, you need to figure out who you may want to use to edit your book. I mean, when I’ve just published my last book in November – which right now recording this is two weeks ago, but when this airs, it will be roughly two months ago – I spent so much time leading up to that, just creating new character aesthetics that I could share as part of the marketing. And marketing is going to be probably the chunk of everything, no matter what your business is going to be. And you know, for you one of the big things that you do is you have a very successful tattoo studio, but, you know, it’s not just, you know, doing the actual tattoos, there’s so much more that goes into that.

08:41

Yes, yeah, it’s um, one of the things that made our studio so successful was the social media aspect of it. And a lot of people look at social media as just a fun thing -it’s not a job, it doesn’t help, it doesn’t, you know, that’s not going to build your business. But in reality, social media is kind of the, the pillar that your business stands on at this point. And when it comes to setting goals, and building businesses, or selling books, you know, whatever it is that you’re into, social media is a big thing. And it may feel like you’re not actually doing any work when you’re sitting on social posting about, you know, the character that you just developed, or the mood board that you created for your business or for your book or- but in reality, if you’re not posting consistently, you’re gonna fail. Because without marketing, without social, nobody’s going to know about it, no one’s going to flock to it.

Sarina Langer  09:36

How much- sorry, go ahead.

09:38

That’s okay! When you’re going back to the goal setting and checking things off that you would be doing naturally anyway, when you make a post on social media, put that on your goal list or put that on your schedule for the week. Okay, I’m going to post this day, this day, this day, and then you’re checking it off, but that time that you’re spent taking the photo, editing the photo, writing your caption, researching your hashtags. That’s all stuff that you’re doing to market or improve your business or your, your book sales. And that’s important to put down in your goals as well.

Sarina Langer  10:08

Yeah, I think it’s quite important to remember that, once you decide to have a business, social media isn’t just a fun hobby thing that you do, you know, it’s, it’s basically becoming your online platform where you market yourself constantly. When I was still marketing myself, as an editor, I was so hyper aware of everything that I was typing. I was so worried constantly that I would just have like one little typo somewhere, and everyone would go, she doesn’t know what she’s doing, we can’t hire her. You know, it becomes a very serious part of your business, really, you know, it doesn’t just have to be fun. Obviously it can still be, but maybe have a personal account for the fun stuff, and have, you know, maybe more of a business account for the business related things.

10:54

One of the biggest things that I have learned over my career, and this goes from working in corporate business before to owning my own business now, people don’t buy products, they don’t buy services, they buy an experience, they buy an emotion. With our studio, one of the big things that we do differently compared to many other studios is that we market ourselves. You’re getting an experience, you’re getting to come in, and you have this private studio setting, and you have the ability to sit with us and talk with us. We do everything one on one, individual. Everything’s done in advance. But what we do is we’ve marketed ourselves. So the business is actually owned by my husband and myself, and, you know, it’s called Twistid Ink. But we also have a hashtag that’s Twistid Family. And we have our friends involved, we have our kids involved, everybody that comes into our studio knows pretty much everything about us. And they follow our personal social accounts, they follow my Twistid Family account. And everybody’s involved. They feel like they’re actually a part of the family. And we actually find that that does better for reoccurring loyal customers. And when we post about ourselves versus about the work, we see a huge tick in traffic, we see way more interaction on the posts that are pictures of my husband and myself or pictures of our kids than we do about the artwork itself, which speaks volumes to how our client base perceives us and our studio.

Sarina Langer  12:29

How much time would you recommend people spend on social media marketing themselves and being active to get, you know, actual good engagement out of it?

12:41

That’s a tricky subject. It really does kind of depend on the business, it depends on you and your client base. There are people that post three to five times a day and spend pretty much six hours, six or seven hours, on their social account. There’s people that post three times a week. The most important thing is to be consistent. So if you don’t have the time to sit there and post several times a day, don’t start that. Do three times a week or two times a week, check your, your analytics on your social media and see which days have your most followers online and post on those days.

Elisha Belden  13:16

The key is to be repetitive and consistent. So if you can post two times a day or two times a week, post two times a week, no matter what you have to get those posts out, you have to be there, you have to show up, you have to be consistent. If you can post every day, great, absolutely do it. Obviously, you know, the more that you’re posting, the more likely you are to come across your followers. There’s really no right or wrong way. You need to find the one thing that you can do consistently and stick to that.

Elisha Belden  13:46

As for actual time on the platform, when it comes to particularly Instagram more so, it’s a social platform. The entire algorithm is set up to be social. The more you communicate with others, and the more that you’re engaging on other people’s platform, on their pages, more likely your posts are going to show up in the algorithm. So if you’re just posting and you’re not on there commenting or responding, your posts aren’t going to be seen nearly as much as someone who’s on there 30 minutes before they post, commenting on other people and 30 minutes after. So it’s very important that you kind of use the platform to be social as well as just post.

Sarina Langer  14:29

Yeah, that’s definitely something that I’ve noticed, especially on Instagram as well. It really takes the social aspect seriously, much more so than other platforms. Say on Twitter, if I just briefly pop in just to quickly check if I have a message somewhere, Twitter doesn’t care. But on Instagram, if I do that, I always feel like there is some very little Instagram bot going, Why is she just here observing something? Why isn’t she commenting on something? Why isn’t she liking things? She must be a robot. Penalty!

14:57

Yeah, exactly. It’s very important that you respond to comments on your posts as well as going through, whether it be hashtags, which unfortunately right now in the US are shut off, which is horrible. Hopefully by the time this airs, they’re back.

Sarina Langer  15:14

Why’s that?

Elisha Belden  15:16

Instagram has shut down recent hashtags due to the election situation. I’m hoping by the first week of January that that’s, you know, resolved. But possibly may not be until, you know, closer to February. But, you know, going through the hashtags and commenting on those, anybody that comments on your stuff, pop onto their page, go through their photos, just things like that. And scroll through location tags is a really good one to get, to boost engagement. And if your business, like a brick and mortar business that does local sales, that’s the best way to kind of promote your business, because you’re going into other local people and businesses and commenting that way as well. And the algorithm will favour you for it.

Sarina Langer  16:02

Definitely. I mean, if those people are already commenting and liking your posts, chances are they are interested or else they wouldn’t be there.

Elisha Belden  16:09

Exactly.

Sarina Langer  16:10

That’s what we call a warm lead.

Elisha Belden  16:13

Yes!

Sarina Langer  16:15

Look at me knowing all the language. So, for so many authors, and I’m sure many other people as well, writing full time is the dream. But what should we consider before we quit our day jobs and go full time self employed? Big question. No pressure.

16:31

Yeah, that’s that’s a loaded question. Be completely honest with you, I did writing full time for a little while. It was kind of one of my, my stepping stones before I launched Twistid Ink. And it was difficult. It was really hard to be able to provide a full time income, particularly, you know, I was, I have three kids, I was writing by myself. I found that the best thing for me was yes, writing. Obviously, I was trying to pick up clients wherever I could. But I offered other services. So I was doing editing on the side, I was doing marketing consulting on the side. So it’s important when you’re going into business, when you’re making that transition, you offer more than just one service.

Elisha Belden  17:16

So you may not be able to write full time right off the bat, but you can write as your primary, and then offer services elsewhere, whether it be transcription or editing, there’s sites out there that you can write reviews for companies, things like that, just to kind of get yourself going until you build up a list of clients to write for or until you get enough books going, that you’re generating an income off of those that you can continue writing from there.

Sarina Langer  17:45

That’s really interesting, I had no idea that writing for you was a stepping stone at some point. Isn’t it interesting how we all have so many things in common and we don’t even realise it?

17:57

Yeah, I am, I did the writing thing. I loved it. My problem was, it was time consuming.

Sarina Langer  18:04

It’s really time consuming.

Elisha Belden  18:06

Yes. And I need quiet when it comes to writing, but it was getting difficult between the business and the kids to have that quiet time. So I decided not to lean on that as my income anymore.

Sarina Langer  18:19

That’s a very good reason. And I think as you said, it’s very time consuming. So it really needs to be something that you do because you love doing it and because, you know, you want to do it hopefully forever as a full time thing. Because otherwise it’s going to weigh you down really quickly.

18:35

Yeah, I definitely love doing it. It’s something that I’ve decided to kind of put on hold as my full time until my kids are kind of out of the house. I’ve got plenty of time down the road that I can sit and write, but right now I’m just trying to feed family and do it the best way possible.

Sarina Langer  18:54

Yeah, I mean, there’s no rush at all. And I know that you’ve been a business coach and a mentor for a little while now. And I think you’ve already touched on this a little bit earlier, but are there any common mistakes you see people make over and over again?

19:09

Yes. First off, just jumping in without really knowing what you’re doing. When you just jump into a business, particularly if that’s going to be your full time gig, it’s really difficult if you don’t have a plan. You have to have a brand, you have to have a voice, you have to have a plan of what you’re doing business wise. So what are you going to offer? What services are you offering? What products are you offering? How are you going to sell those? You need to look at your customer and define your customer, you can’t just sell to everyone. As great as that sounds, you can’t. You have to pick your your customer base. So are you selling to single moms? Are you selling to, you know, a business woman who has no kids or are you selling to a pet owner, like, who is Your client? You need to really develop that before you can actually jump in.

20:05

And the branding is a big thing. If you’re all over the place, no client’s going to buy from you, no customer is going to want to shop with you. So it’s very important before you jump in that you have set goals, you have all the research done. Research is a big thing in any industry no matter what you’re doing. It’s very important that you know what you’re doing and how to do it before you just jump in. That’s one of the biggest things.

20:32

The second biggest mistake that I see a lot of people making is they just sell. That’s it. They’re not connecting, they’re not engaging. They’re not getting to know their clients or their customer base or their followers. They are just, every single post, every conversation they have out in public, they’re pitching, they’re pitching, they’re pitching. Nobody wants to hear it. They want to connect with you as a person, and then the purchase comes later. So that’s a big issue that I see particularly on Instagram. Every post is sale sale sales, and people just don’t like that, they don’t like to have it shoved down their throat. They want to buy because they want to, they they need to, they want to connect with you, not because you’re just shoving it down their throat.

Sarina Langer  21:15

I’ve seen that so many times. I mean, I think recently I’ve read a book by an author that I quite liked. And I thought that our writing styles, they were quite similar. So I thought maybe, you know, we might get along as people as well. So I looked her up on Instagram and on Twitter. But just as you said, you know, all of the posts are, this is my book, please go buy it. This is my book, please go buy it. And I don’t get any sense whatsoever from her profiles of who she is as a person. So instantly, I’m no longer interested.

Elisha Belden  21:46

It’s a big mistake. Everybody thinks that when you’re selling, you need to sell constantly. And that’s not true. You have to sell yourself before you can sell your business.

Sarina Langer  21:55

I think that comes back down to mindset again, doesn’t it? So it’s, you know, in a way, when you’re not selling outright by saying, I have this, this is where you can buy it, go buy that, that gets annoying really quickly. But you also sell yourself by just simply being there, by being you and being authentic, and maybe talking about how you’ve earned a relaxing weekend because you’ve worked really hard all week or, you know, maybe about the lovely mountain escape you’ve just had with your family?

22:25

Yes. Involving your personal life in your business, it used to be a big no-no. There used to be a separation. But as people we have developed much more of a social habit than we had 20, 30 years ago. And at this point, you are your brand, you are your business, you are your book, you are, you know, your service. And it’s very important that you sell them as a package deal. People don’t. There’s so many options out there now, particularly with social media, that you have to connect with your customer, you have to make your customer want to be with you and only you, and then you can sell your package from there.

Sarina Langer  23:04

Yeah, I mean, social media I think has changed that landscape so massively, that the same tactics that worked maybe 20 years ago or even 10 years ago don’t necessarily work so well today anymore, because it’s just changed everything completely.

23:18

Exactly. It used to be in marketing in particular that you focus more on advertising. But advertising is in direct sales, like you, you were directly selling to your customer, your, your commercials, your advertisements, your radio edits, whatever, were directly a sales pitch. Now, that’s not so much the case. There isn’t so much television commercial, there isn’t so much radio ads, there aren’t so much magazine articles or, you know, things like that. Now it’s more of a content aspect. So most marketing companies are putting more of their money into creating content and not like sales pitchy content, just behind the scenes content, lifestyle shots, or you know, video content is a big thing, just showing the people that use your product or your service why this service benefits them, like the experience that they get. And everybody’s putting more effort into content than actual direct advertising now, and that’s a big thing. And that goes for any industry that you’re in. You want to create content that pulls your audience in, and that’s the best way to sell. And the best way to do that is by showing yourself. That’s why behind the scenes is such a big trending thing. Showing your workers, showing your desk, you know, or your workspace, showing how you make your products, how you do your services. People definitely want to know more about the experience of buying from you than actually why they should buy from you.

Sarina Langer  24:48

Would you say there are any, any key traits successful business owners have? How can we nurture those?

Elisha Belden  24:58

One of the biggest traits is work. No matter what you see on Instagram or on Facebook, it’s not like somebody just woke up and all of a sudden had this big business. Even the ones that are telling you, oh, I went from being broke to a six figure income. That’s not how it worked. They still had to get up every single day, and even if they were just on social media, they were treating it like a job, they were treating it like that was their day job. The work, the effort, the connecting that goes into it, that’s all a big deal. You can’t just become famous, you can’t just become successful. You definitely have to put the back work in. And that means spending an hour or two hours a day commenting on other people’s social or watching what other people are doing and adapting it for your own business. Just the little things like that.

Elisha Belden  25:46

Consistency is probably the biggest trait that you can have. Getting up every single day, even if you feel like you’re failing, and still doing it. You have to work through that fail. And unfortunately, a lot of people would get to that first fail and stop, and then go back to like a nine to five. And that’s not the case. You have to hit at least a couple fails before you go any further.

Sarina Langer  26:08

I couldn’t agree more. I mean, last year – no hang on two years ago – two years ago, in December, I quit my day job at the library and to go full time self employed the first time to do editing and writing and it got really exhausting really quickly. So this year, I’ve gone back to the day job to, you know, do some more money saving. But as we’re talking, I’m already preparing myself for the second round. So, you know, I’ve now figured out a few things that didn’t work so well the first time and I think I’ve now figured out maybe how I can do them better next time, and how maybe next time, it can be more of a success. But you know, it’s taken that first failure – which I don’t think is really a failure because I’ve learned something from it anyway, coming back to mindset again.

Elisha Belden  26:57

Yes!

Sarina Langer  26:58

Constantly coming back to mindset.

Elisha Belden  27:01

I personally, I was in retail. I did high volume multi store management for over a decade. I stepped out, I went to writing full time. It wasn’t quite working out for me originally. That was when I first initially went in and I was only doing writing. It wasn’t paying the bills the way that I wanted to. We recovered but we weren’t comfortable. And so I went back into retail, hated it, hated myself for it. And then really quickly realised that that wasn’t what I wanted to do, used it to save up some money, and then we opened the business from there, and never went back after that. I’ve kind of found other avenues to work for myself instead.

Elisha Belden  27:45

But I really hated myself that first time when I went back to retail, and I was miserable. Once you’ve gone self employed and you’ve had to step backwards, it’s, it’s definitely a mindset challenge.

Sarina Langer  27:58

I feel that very much.

Elisha Belden  27:58

I have to- Yeah, you have to acknowledge wait, this is just temporary, this is a stepping stone, this is going to get me where I want to go. Unfortunately, a lot of people go backwards and then stay backwards because they can’t get themselves out of that almost depressed mindset that they failed. And that’s where a lot of people differ.

Elisha Belden  28:20

It takes a lot of training to kind of go to work every day and be like, Okay, this isn’t, I’m not staying here, this is my stepping point, this is my savings account, is kind of how I looked at it. Okay, this retail job is my savings account, this freelance over here, this is my business. And you really have to separate that mindset to be able to go forward from there, but you can’t stop. And that’s a big issue with a lot of people.

Sarina Langer  28:47

And that’s also going to be very tiring for quite a while probably. If you are dedicated to building something else alongside the day job, you know, maybe you’re working full time, which is going to make it so much harder. But if you are dedicated to building something else alongside it, you will effectively have to work two full time jobs at the same time for a little while.

Elisha Belden  29:08

Yes.

Sarina Langer  29:09

And I think that’s likely to put a lot of people off. And to be honest, I can’t say I blame them because it is really exhausting, but on the other end, you know, I think if you really want it, then it’s going to be worth that initial exhaustion and one of those two jobs you probably enjoy doing, which is going to help a lot.

Elisha Belden  29:30

Yeah, it’s… You had asked earlier, you know, what was a trait that successful people have, and consistency is still going to be my main answer. But one of the things that you look at when you look at people like Gary – Gary Vee – or Bill Gates or any of those guys, they all get up and go. No matter what. They don’t take a day off, even when they’re on vacation they’re still kind of working and they just keep going. They go through the failures, they go through working your 14, 15 hour days, every single day, seven days a week, and eventually it gets to be where you can work a little less. But through that early stages, and even into when you start scaling your business, so you hit a certain point, you’re successful, great, you can take a couple weeks off, you can go down to eight hour days instead of 10, or 12, or 13. But when you hit that scaling point, you’re going to have to go back to those 14, 15 hour days, you’re going to have to go back to working seven days a week.

Elisha Belden  30:35

And having that mindset of not sitting down and binge watching a TV show, or if you’re doing it, do it with your laptop on your lap. You have to give up some things to be successful. It’s just, it’s a big thing. These guys are multi million dollar, multi billion dollar in some cases, and they still get up at 6am every single day, and make their bed and do all the work even though they have staff members. They still work every night, they still walk around with their phone in their hand 24/7. And that’s the big difference. A lot of people just want to sit on the couch and grab a bag of chips and watch it, you know, a whole season of a TV show and you can’t do that.

Sarina Langer  31:21

No, I think that’s… Yeah, I think if that’s your expectation of what it’s going to be like to become I’m self employed, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening.

Elisha Belden  31:30

Exactly!

Sarina Langer  31:32

But it’s fulfilling!

Elisha Belden  31:33

It really is. I went on vacation this past week, and I worked the whole time I was there. But the good thing was I was still making money. And I was still having fun. I actually got my kids involved. I did, we did a content photoshoot in the cabin that we stayed in for Saniderm Medical. And my kids were there, they were helping, they were getting the Christmas – it was for our Christmas shoot, and we were getting all the tinsel out and all the lights unravelled and things like that. But we were- I was not in my office, I was not at my desk, I was still making money. I was still working. But I still had fun. I still got to spend the whole day with my kids. We went out, you know, hiking in the mountains. And then at night, I came home and instead of sitting on the couch and just vegging out, I got to work. And it’s, it’s definitely something that a lot of people don’t realise that you have to do no matter what.

Sarina Langer  32:23

I think it’s those small things, you know, like just answering an email just to confirm a new client, maybe, you know, they don’t take very long to do at all, but they can make potentially a really big difference.

Elisha Belden  32:34

Yes, and copy and paste is your friend.

Sarina Langer  32:37

Oh, yes.

Elisha Belden  32:38

Your phone is like, that’s my private tool, my private weapon. While we were, I was on a mountain literally on a suspension bridge, copying and pasting emails to clients that had sent in requests because even though we weren’t in the studio, I couldn’t let that sit for a week, I needed to capitalise because there are other businesses out there. There are other studios that they could have went to. So when that email came in, I made sure that I responded to it right away. And it only took five minutes. I was still able to talk while I was doing it. I was with my kids. I was on this bridge, I was, you know, checking out these really cool water fountains, but I just copied and pasted really quickly, and that in the client’s eyes made all the difference.

Sarina Langer  33:20

I bet it did. I mean I just from watching your Instagram like a hawk – well, or a stalker, no matter how you want to look at it – is that you know, you’re always there. I mean, every time I messaged you, I get, I think I got a reply from you within five minutes, which is impressive. I’m not convinced that you sleep at this point.

Sarina Langer  33:46

Let’s talk about taking that really big step for a bit. So eventually, you know, I mean, having the constant paycheck every month of still having a day job is lovely and all but eventually, if you really want to grow your business, you’re going to have to be brave and take the risk of leaving your day job and really going full time with what you love doing. But that’s really terrifying. I mean, the first time I did it, it was supposed to be really exciting because I had this moment of, oh my god, I can do it. I saved enough money. I could actually do this. And it was mostly very exciting, and I loved telling my boss that I was leaving. He wasn’t happy, he was, I think he was in denial for about two weeks, bless him – but for me was really exciting. But now just thinking about it, I’m thinking, can I actually take this risk again? And what if, what if it goes wrong again? What if I have to step back again? And I think for many people this is just because it’s such a big step and there’s so much risk involved, there’s also a lot of fear involved.

Sarina Langer  34:48

So what would you say to those people who think that they might be ready to take that step but who are afraid to do that?

Elisha Belden  34:56

When it comes to getting ready to leave a corporate job, a supportive job, to go into a self employed business, my first thing is always gonna, I’m always going to tell you to start your business before you leave your day job. Don’t just immediately jump in and be like, I’m going to do this startup, because you’re gonna fail. You’re not gonna, you’re going to be too scared, you’re going to hold back on the risks and the risk taking, because you, that’s the only income you have. You need to be able to make sure that you can take those risks. Marketing, how you put your business out there, products that you’re buying, things like that, they’re risky. And you have to take a risk to have a payoff.

Elisha Belden  35:39

If you start the business while you’re still working your other job, you have a backup, you have this money is coming in no matter what. And you can take this risk, you can buy this product that you hadn’t tried before, or you can buy the supply or you can market yourself a little bit differently, you can test a few different things out, try different markets, different marketing approaches, and you still have that support from the other business.

Elisha Belden  36:06

As you begin to grow your self employed business, that’s when you can start to venture off. So at this point, you’ve developed your, your brand voice, you’ve developed your marketing plan, you figured out what products or supplies work best for you. And you’ve started to build your client base or your follower base. And you, you’re a little bit more comfortable, you’ve also developed your savings account, that’s a big thing. If you’re getting ready to go, you know, from a full time job to self employed, you’re going to make sure that you need a safety net there, you’re going to have to have a huge savings account. I usually tell people to have a couple months worth of bills put away. And when I say bills, not just, okay, this is my electric payment, this is my my mortgage payment, this is my car payment. You need to factor in a couple hundred dollars every month for emergencies or grocery bills like roughly estimate what you, what you spend in groceries every month to make sure that you’ve got all that put aside. And that’ll make it a little bit easier for you to make that transition.

Elisha Belden  37:06

But even though you still have your full time job, you have to treat the other job like your full time job. Even if you’re doing it part time before you can go full time, you have to put your all into it, you have to show up, you have to be present in the business, even though you’re working both at the same time.

Elisha Belden  37:23

When you do get ready to go, make a big deal out of it because at this point, you’ve developed your customer base. Let them know, Hey, you know, I’ve decided to serve you better, I’m leaving this, and make this big event out of it, run a sale or run a promotion or just make a big marketing push on the fact that you’re going full time in your business. People really react to that, they like to see successes. Sure, you know, there’s people out there that don’t, and you’re always going to run into those, but the majority of people on your social are going to want to see you succeed, or that are watching your website or visiting your business if it’s a brick and mortar. And when you make that big deal, people will support you. But you have to have connected with them beforehand.

Sarina Langer  38:10

Yeah, definitely. I mean, you know, as we were saying earlier, social media is such a big, it’s going to be such a big part of your marketing. And that’s where all those connections that you’ve just mentioned are going to come in. If you’re already, if you’ve already talked to those people, if you’ve already made those friends, and you know, maybe already found a few clients that way, then they will be really rooting for you when you say that you’ve been able to leave your day job so that you can work with them even more.

Elisha Belden  38:38

Yes, there is… Honestly, I don’t remember the gentleman’s name. The CEO of Saniderm had actually introduced me to this concept called 1000 True Fans, and it’s something that unknowingly I had been building my business concepts off of. Now that I’ve read the article, it’s definitely something that we focus on in Saniderm’s marketing as well as in my own personal businesses. And with this, the concept is if you have 1000 true fans, you can build a six figure business just off of 1000 true fans.

Elisha Belden  39:11

You don’t need 100,000 followers on social media, you don’t need this huge million, you know, email list. If you can build 1000 true fans, so, say one a week or one a day, you can actually build a completely six figure income successful business off of just those people. And to build those you have to connect. And it goes back to being personal, mindset, all those little things that we’ve already talked about. It all plays into it. And you have to have these loyal fans before you can really let loose in your business. And that’s just from letting people see you, not just your business, but you and building emotional connections with people and getting people that are so involved in you that they’re checking your, your Facebook or your Instagram constantly. They’re constantly checking in. If you have a business, like a brick and mortar business, they’re stopping in. We have people at the studio all the time that pop in just to see how we’re doing, see if we’ve, you know, made any changes or just to come in and, for lack of a better word, just kind of bullshit. And that’s really important, because those are people that I know, when I have a cancellation, I can send them a quick email, and I’m good, I’m covered. I have that spot filled. And those 1000 true fans are really what you have to build your business on.

Sarina Langer  40:34

I think the pronunciation there really needs to be on the true fans, you know, the loyal fans.

Elisha Belden  40:39

Yeah.

Sarina Langer  40:40

Because having a mailing list, for example of maybe 100,000 subscribers, means absolutely nothing if not one of them is really interested in what you’re doing. But likewise, if you maybe only have a mailing list of say, maybe 50 subscribers, but each one of them is going to go out and buy your next product and recommend it to people, then that is really where your success is going to be.

Sarina Langer  41:03

So don’t think that just because you have more followers, you’re instantly going to be more successful. It’s the true followers who are actually interested. And that’s where the connection is coming in, you know, you need to talk to them, you need to build that emotional trust, so that you’re not just profile picture or name on the screen, but you’re someone they know, you know, that someone they actually know something about, someone they want to talk to.

Elisha Belden  41:27

And someone that talks back.

Sarina Langer  41:29

Yes.

Elisha Belden  41:29

That’s the big thing. You know, you can hop on all these celebrities pages, and they’ve got, you know, tonnes of these, you know, million followers or whatever. But if you actually look at their engagement rates, they’re not that great, because yeah, they’re there, but they don’t communicate back. So what’s the point in commenting? What’s the point in talking to them? What’s the point in having that connection, because you know, that they’re not going to respond. Whereas if you go into someone with four or 5000 followers, and you look at their engagement rates, they’re interacting with their people. Those are the people that generally are going to have six figure businesses, taking, you know, celebrities out of that factor, but they’re more likely to have a successful individual business because they are communicating and they are personally involved, and they are hands on.

Elisha Belden  42:15

Obviously, a celebrity is going to have a six figure business, but that’s a whole different ballgame, but they don’t talk to their people. So when they do go to sell something, sure, they’re going to have a couple of people that are like, Oh, so and so use that, so I have to buy it, but for the most part, when you see celebrities pitching like a hair tool or makeup, you’re more than likely, you’re just going to scroll right past it. Because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t care. But that person that you’ve been talking to for weeks, going back and forth with and checking in on and they’re checking in on you, when they tell you that they’re you know, selling something, you’re more likely to listen.

Sarina Langer  42:51

Absolutely. I mean, I’ve just, I had an, I’ve an advanced reader copy of the book that’s going to be out in February. So next month. And I have posted a review of it on Instagram and on Goodreads, and the author contacted me to thank me for you know, taking the time to read the book and, and for reviewing it. And I asked them how they’re doing with writing the sequel, and they ended up buying my book. So that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t talked.

Elisha Belden  43:21

Exactly. Yep.

Sarina Langer  43:23

It’s all about the communication and the connection.

Sarina Langer  43:27

And finally, what can we do today to ensure success tomorrow? Cheesy as that is.

Elisha Belden  43:36

Ah, it’s a great question, though. And it seems so so basic and generic, but in all honesty, it’s important. The biggest thing, it goes back to the very first question that we talked about, and that’s goal setting. You can’t be successful if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. You have to have an end goal, you have to have a goal. Now you can continually move that as you get closer to hitting your goal, move it up a little bit further, make it more of a Genesis goal. But you have to sit down and you have to plan it out. You have to tell yourself, okay, this is what I want to accomplish, and this is how I’m going to get there. And without those steps and without those goals, you’re just flailing, you’re not aiming for anything, you don’t have a set plan or path to follow. And you’re likely not going to get anywhere.

Sarina Langer  44:23

Very well put. Well, sparrows, that’s your action step for today. Figure out what your main goal is this year and then break it down into monthly steps and weekly steps so that you can actually achieve it this year, and so that this year is the one where you’re not just talking about writing and finishing the book, but you’re actually going to finish a book. Wouldn’t that be great?

Elisha Belden  44:45

Major goal for everybody.

Sarina Langer  44:47

Definitely. Thank you so much for coming in and talking to me about marketing and making 2021 our year. It’s been a privilege. Thank you so much.

Elisha Belden  44:56

Thank you for having me.

Sarina Langer  45:00

If you enjoyed today’s episode, maybe learn something along the way, hit the subscribe button. You can also connect with me on Twitter @sarina_langer, on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, and of course on my website at sarinalanger.com. Until next time! Bye!


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