I Determined To Be My Personal Boss And Began A $600K/12 months PR Company –

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Howdy! Who’re you and what enterprise did you begin?

I’m Erika Taylor Montgomery, the founder and CEO-President of Three Ladies Media, Inc. I oversee gross sales and advertising for the corporate. I’m additionally a spouse, mom and have a canine named Phoebe Ingrid Blu, a Jack Russell terrier combine, and a flock of chickens. Three Ladies is a full-service advertising and public relations company and provides a variety of companies together with social media administration, running a blog for search engine marketing, electronic mail advertising, media relations, and web site design and construct.

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We serve small and mid-size B2B and B2C firms. We work with purchasers in all industries who need to improve their model consciousness and identify recognition by way of varied advertising techniques.

Over the past 16 1/2 years, I’ve grown the enterprise to 10 workers and we gross about $550,000 yearly. We’ve been at that stage the final three years.

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What’s your backstory and the way did you provide you with the concept?

I began in school as a theatre main however transitioned to broadcasting after falling in love with it throughout an Introduction to Radio Broadcasting class. I used to be on air in San Francisco for over 20 years each on radio and TV. I finally determined to make a profession change and get into advertising and public relations. I went to work for a big Silicon Valley PR company, then transitioned to develop into the press secretary for the California State Legislature. Once I couldn’t abdomen politics anymore I used to be at a crossroads – ought to I’m going again to work for one more PR company and put in 70-80 hours per week, or ought to I do one thing else?

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The reply was clear! I made a decision to be my boss and launched Three Ladies Media, Inc. in June of 2005. I knew it might enable me to set my hours and spend extra time with my younger son. Work/life stability was extremely essential to me and being an entrepreneur gave me final freedom.

Sadly, I used to be broke on the time. A very good good friend of mine agreed to lend me $3,000 to get began. I paid her again instantly with the earnings I made out of my first shopper, and I’ve by no means borrowed one other penny for the enterprise.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of coronary heart and it takes an unbelievable quantity of dedication and laborious work to make a enterprise profitable. Lengthy hours? Test. Late nights? Test. Little pay to begin? Test. However in case you put within the work and see it by way of, the rewards are priceless.

Opposite to in style perception, Three Ladies Media wasn’t began by three girls. Once I was launching the advertising and PR enterprise I used to be certain of 1 factor: If you wish to unfold the phrase about one thing shortly, what do you have to do? Inform three ladies and the information will unfold like wildfire! The identify was catchy and the signature emblem we designed of women gossiping enhanced the message completely.

Take us by way of the method of launching a number of advertising and public relations companies.

Once I first began Three Ladies, it was strictly a public relations company. We represented services and helped get them media protection by working PR campaigns for our purchasers, pitching them on to the press.

For the primary six months, I ran the corporate on my own. Quickly although I had an excessive amount of enterprise to do it on their lonesome and employed my first worker. Because the web grew and social media emerged, we noticed a possibility to extend our companies and combine social media administration. I discovered to make use of the platforms for enterprise first, taking lessons when obligatory, and was then capable of practice new group members we employed to do the work. We did the identical factor when electronic mail advertising companies like Mailchimp and Fixed Contact launched; I discovered the platforms first and skilled my group to make use of them

As search engine marketing turned essential, I educated myself once more and we started to supply running a blog companies. Later we introduced a graphic designer on board to do the whole lot from creating logos to enterprise playing cards and brochures. Lastly, we began to promote web site design/construct and labored with a accomplice who specialised in that to offer these companies. At this time, we provide all these companies and extra and are a inventive group of 11!

Describe the method of launching the enterprise.

Web sites have been nonetheless comparatively rudimentary in 2005, however I created a easy one utilizing GoDaddy that defined our worth proposition and companies. The positioning was fairly bare-bones however offered clear details about our companies. With that $3,000 mortgage from a good friend, I used to be capable of subscribe to a public relations business database that allowed me to search out and attain out to journalists.

Then, I needed to discover my first shopper! I began chilly calling native companies to share what I may provide, however the preliminary shopper I signed discovered me by way of my web site. It was a husband and spouse group that owned a French bulldog named Brie they wished to make well-known. I’d by no means represented a pet earlier than, however I used to be decided to get the job performed.

Proper off the bat, I’d discovered the ability of a superb web site and that’s a lesson that has caught with me. Though web site design and construct have modified dramatically over time, the basics stay the identical.

At Three Ladies Media, we consider there are 9 web site fundamentals.

  1. Be Clear About Function – Your web site must have a transparent intent that enables the consumer to simply work together with it. Some functions are explaining your experience, producing leads, gross sales, and buyer care, and constructing your organization’s fame.
  2. Preserve It Easy – This could apply to the imagery, typography, and shade of the location.
  3. Simple Navigation – In case your web site’s navigation isn’t clear and straightforward to comply with, customers will get annoyed and take their enterprise elsewhere.
  4. E-shaped Patterning – Your web site design ought to comply with the best way we naturally learn in western tradition – left to proper and down the web page – forming an e-shaped sample.
  5. Set up Visible Hierarchy – Prepare the gadgets on the web page so as of significance. Ensure your customers know the place to focus.
  6. Compelling Content material – The phrases on the web page are simply as essential as design, make them rely!
  7. Use A Grid-Based mostly Format – Designing in a grid will assist the location really feel balanced that’s effectively organized.
  8. Quick Load Time – There’s nothing fairly as irritating as ready for a web site to load, If yours takes greater than two seconds it’s an issue.
  9. Make It Cell-Pleasant – Extra individuals than ever are visiting web sites on smartphones and cellular gadgets like tablets. Ensure yours seems to be nice on them.

Since launch, what has labored to draw and retain prospects?

Though my web site initially labored to attract in prospects and nonetheless does, I by no means discounted the ability of different varieties of advertising. One mistake I believe entrepreneurs and small enterprise house owners typically make just isn’t together with advertising funds of their price range. You must make investments 10 p.c of your gross annual earnings into advertising campaigns.

At Three Ladies Media, we spend money on social media advertising, Google advert campaigns, electronic mail advertising, and networking teams, in addition to promoting on key web sites, equivalent to our native Chamber of Commerce web site. Most of our enterprise comes from both phrase of mouth referrals or natural searches on Google. We’ve tried Yelp promoting prior to now nevertheless it ended up being a waste of cash and we by no means bought one lead from it.

Search engine marketing can also be an essential a part of our advertising technique. Frequency is essential for website positioning so we put up new weblog articles 5 occasions per week they usually’re all written with stable website positioning strategies in thoughts. This contains the whole lot from key phrase analysis to utilizing a instrument to grade the put up headline, in addition to meta descriptions, alt tags, keyword-rich captions for pictures, and far more. Our aim is to drive natural site visitors to our web site.

Many individuals initially discover us by looking out Google for issues that we’ve written a weblog article on. As soon as they learn our article there’s a call-to-action on the finish that entices them to schedule a complimentary session.

As soon as we land a shopper, we’re extraordinarily excessive contact and supply world-class customer support. By creating high-quality content material particularly for every shopper’s viewers and being tremendous aware of their wants and communication, we get quite a lot of referrals, and purchasers stick with us for the marketing campaign after the marketing campaign. Our oldest purchasers have been with Three Ladies for practically 12 years!

How are you doing right this moment and what does the long run appear like?

After being in enterprise for 16 ½ years I’m excited to report that we’re nonetheless rising and very worthwhile! Most of our purchasers first contact us by way of our web site which has common month-to-month site visitors of 18 thousand guests. From there we organize a complimentary 30-minute session following which we’re normally capable of put together a proposal for the companies the potential shopper is concerned about. We’re averaging about 35% year-over-year progress.

We’re on monitor to proceed to develop the enterprise for the following a number of years. Right now, given the demand, we’re placing extra concentrate on social media administration companies and fewer on public relations.

In 2022 I’d prefer to develop our shopper base, enabling us to rent extra group members. I’d additionally prefer to deliver bigger purchasers on board in each the brief and long run.

By beginning the enterprise, have you ever discovered something significantly useful or advantageous?

One of many largest and hardest classes I discovered was to be exceptionally cautious when contemplating a enterprise accomplice. Early on within the lifetime of Three Ladies, I introduced on a accomplice to concentrate on gross sales. She had no expertise in advertising or public relations and it seems she and I had elementary variations of opinion in how the corporate ought to be run. She ended up going behind my again and making an attempt to shut the enterprise down, trying to fireplace all the workers in at some point. Fortuitously, her plan didn’t work, nevertheless it left me battered and bruised and far more cautious about who I’d belief as a accomplice.

Don’t be afraid to ask for assist. I’m a management freak so asking for a hand was a tricky lesson to study. Nonetheless, as what you are promoting grows you’ll shortly study you can’t do the whole lot your self. Whether or not it’s from a good friend, member of the family, or neighbor, don’t hesitate to ask for a serving to hand whenever you want it.

One of many issues that helped me construct my enterprise was the truth that I used to be prepared to provide it my all. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of coronary heart and it takes an unbelievable quantity of dedication and laborious work to make a enterprise profitable. Lengthy hours? Test. Late nights? Test. Little pay to begin? Test. However in case you put within the work and see it by way of, the rewards are priceless.

A talent that’s significantly essential as a enterprise proprietor is group. There are numerous totally different instruments individuals use to remain organized, however Google calendar and Google Preserve are a few my favorites.

What platform/instruments do you utilize for what you are promoting?

We use many alternative instruments at Three Ladies Media. One we use all day, every single day is Slack. One in all my workers described it as “on the spot messenger on steroids.” It lets you create totally different channels, invite group members to them, after which you possibly can chat in these channels in real-time. It’s an exquisite instrument.

We additionally use Trello for the group. Trello lets you create totally different boards and pin playing cards to them with info that’s related to every board. You may add notes and feedback and customise the boards visually.

One other instrument that’s confirmed to be extremely helpful, particularly given the pandemic, is Zoom. We not solely use it for employees conferences as our group is totally distant, however I take advantage of it for gross sales consultations as effectively.

What have been essentially the most influential books, podcasts, or different assets?

There are a number of nice books associated to content material advertising. A few my favorites are Content material Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content material Advertising and marketing and Social Media Advertising and marketing Workbook: The best way to Use Social Media for Enterprise.

In the event you’re in search of an awesome podcast that can educate you the whole lot it’s essential learn about advertising what you are promoting, take a look at Two Minute Advertising and marketing Suggestions, out there on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

Recommendation for different entrepreneurs who need to get began or are simply beginning out?

One of many issues that helped me succeed, particularly within the early phases of my enterprise, was looking for the recommendation of mentors. Don’t be afraid to ask enterprise individuals you admire in case you can take them to espresso and choose their brains. One of many items of recommendation that I took to coronary heart was, “Don’t be afraid of change.” Whether or not that was including new companies over time, revamping our web site every now and then, or making an attempt new advertising strategies, we’ve remained nimble and it has served us effectively.

In the identical vein, don’t be afraid to ask for assist. I’m a management freak so asking for a hand was a tricky lesson to study. Nonetheless, as what you are promoting grows you’ll shortly study you can’t do the whole lot your self. Whether or not it’s from a good friend, member of the family, or neighbor, don’t hesitate to ask for a serving to hand whenever you want it.

The place can we go to study extra?

When you have any questions or feedback, drop a remark beneath!


 

Erika Taylor Montgomery
 
Founding father of Three Ladies Media, Inc.

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