Velocity Media and Communications founder Amanda Jesnoewski has used a myriad of tactics to promote her own business and found the key channels that work best for her. Here’s her story and how she does it…
What were you doing when you decided to create your own business?
I was inspired to start my first business at eighteen when, despite trying, I couldn’t get a part-time job while I studied – so I decided to create one.
Having started investing at 16, I noticed some obvious holes in investment education with educators often pushing bigger products or courses in specific investment areas, but none giving independent information that covered all areas of investing from mindset and risk tolerance right through to property and the share market. So, in partnership with my mum, we decided to create one.
Getting a taste for entrepreneurship and loving it, I started listening to what the market wanted, and looking for needs that were going unfilled. This led me to my next business venture, ConnectWorking, a business networking and marketing company, which then led me to Velocity Media + Communications a copywriting, marketing and public relations consultancy.
What inspired you to start the business? When did you officially start it?
In addition to the flexibility that comes from owning your own business, and always being passionate about writing, I founded Velocity Media after noticing numerous business owners were struggling to articulate their value and generate sales from their marketing material.
I also had many requests from clients in my networking business who, having seen the results I was getting from doing my own copy, marketing and PR, wanted to know how they could do it too or have me manage it for them – so in 2007 Velocity Media + Communications was born.
What was your start-up cost? How did you acquire the money and what did you use it for?
I managed to keep my start-up costs quite small, spending only on establishing the brand, developing a website and printing business cards for networking, some of which I managed to contra with relationships I had already established.
I then focused my efforts on building a buffer in my business account that I wouldn’t touch unless I absolutely had too. I was quite fortunate in that I already had another business with clients and alliances that I could leverage off to help build Velocity Media a little quicker than I would have been able to otherwise.
What was the biggest obstacle?
In the beginning my biggest obstacle was myself, in my lack of confidence and self-belief. While I had been in business a while, when I start something new there is always that voice that questions if I’m doing the right thing, if I am good enough and if I can do it.
How did you rise above the tough days? Those days when people said no, things fell through or someone said they didn’t “get it’’.
It doesn’t matter how many times you tell yourself that business isn’t personal, there will always be some things you take personally.
I have found that keeping an encouragement book which contains a list of the goals I’ve achieved, significant business milestones, client testimonials, “thank you” letters, award certificates, media articles, favourite quotes and stories of adversity from successful people and pictures of my greatest inspiration, my family, is a great way to pick me up and put things in the proper perspective.
How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
Keeping my overheads extremely low, it didn’t take too long for my business to be making a profit, though like so many business owners in the beginning I would reinvest that into the business to fuel its growth and further my resources.
What do you love most about being your own boss? What is the downside?
I love the challenge, the responsibility and most of all the flexibility. I get to be on hand to watch my kids grow, reach their milestones, look after them while they are sick and be there whenever they need or want me around – without having to answer to anyone else. I also get to do what I love, have a fulfilling career, help support my family and feel like I’m making a difference.
I do, however, find it very hard to switch off. I love what I do so much that at times my passion and dedication to my business can be a little…unbalanced. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sacrifice everything for work, in fact most of my work is done after my family is asleep or before they wake. There’s just a certain satisfaction I get from ticking off my to-do list, slaying emails and achieving my business goals, that keeps me up a little later, gets me up a little earlier and pushes me to work that little bit harder.
How have you been using social media to grow your business?
Social media has been quite powerful in my business. It has been a great way to meet new people I wouldn’t have ordinarily met, get to know my existing customers a little better and it has opened up a wide range of business opportunities.
I tend to use LinkedIn the most in my business, to network with contacts I want to connect with, showcase my expertise by participating in groups and selectively send targeted sales pitches via direct messages. In saying this, I have also found my Velocity Media Facebook page and Adventures and Misadventures of a Mummypreneur blog Facebook page to be quite useful in generating leads too.
How have you been using public relations to grow your business? What strategies have you used?
Generating publicity for your business can be incredibly valuable and great leverage for a mumpreneur like me who can at times be quite time-poor. Tactics I have used throughout all of my businesses have included sending media releases, piggybacking off the news, public speaking, running events, blogging, guest posting on other blogs, writing articles and the list goes on.
By far the most effective strategies I’ve used for Velocity Media though have been public speaking, blogging, writing articles and being a contributor to blogs and e-courses.
Where do you work from?
I currently work from home so I can have the best of both worlds – caring for my three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter and having a fulfilling career.
Who are your entrepreneurial role models? What’s so inspiring about them?
There are so many! I admire Cornel Sanders for his persistence, Steve Jobs for his innovation, Richard Branson for his risk taking and of course the incredible female entrepreneurs we have in this country like Sonia Amoroso, Natalie Bloom, Janine Allis, Naomi Simson and Sue Ismiel to name just a few. I love hearing their stories of humble beginnings and seeing what they have gone on to achieve.
How have you acquired the skills and knowledge you have to make your business successful?
I strongly believe in furthering my knowledge and skill set, so I regularly read articles, books and blogs, as well as do webinars and courses (both online and offline). I have also had a couple of coaches throughout my business ventures and continue to surround myself with successful business owners who I respect and admire, and learn by their example.
What’s the best piece of business advice you ever received?
I have received so much great advice though the phrase that has stuck with me the most and is so much more relevant now that I’m a mumpreneur is “you run your business, your business doesn’t run you”. This helps me to keep things in perspective and prioritise properly.
What is your favourite product/service that you offer?
I just love to write, so it doesn’t matter if I am writing a media release or website, brochure or blog post, speech or advertisement or something else entirely, I just love the challenge and helping different businesses articulate what they do to get the best results.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
1. Do what you love – life’s too short not to
2. Believe in yourself and your dreams – if you don’t others won’t either
3. Celebrate all your achievements, no matter how small
4. Make your work portable so you can work your business around your life
5. Make time for you
What have you done to further your education to help grow your business or blog?