What the Heck Is drop shipping? with Portlight & Freeeup founder Nathan Hirsch

What the Heck Is dropshipping? with Portlight & Freeeup founder Nathan Hirsch

The Nitty Gritty:

  • What the heck is drop shipping
  • How outsourcing some aspects of your business helps you to focus on what you do best
  • Why it’s important to know what you’re looking for before hiring

On the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast this week I speak with Nathan Hirsch, author of Free Up Your Business: 50 Secrets to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies, serial entrepreneur and cofounder of drop shipping company Portlight and FreeeUp.com, a remote hiring workplace that helps business owners “hire the top 1% of freelancers.” Nathan started his first business in 2009 out of his dorm room to drop ship products on Amazon.com and by 2014 he had sold more than $20 million in products. Through his learning experiences growing and scaling Portlight and building remote teams in the eCommerce space, Nathan co-founded FreeeUp.com to help other businesses around the world hire their freelance talent online.

What is Drop Shipping?

A lot of people don’t spend time researching what’s coming up and what’s on the horizon.

— Nathan Hirsch

When Nathan was a college student looking to make beer money, he didn’t have to look any farther than the campus bookstore to find an opportunity for entrepreneurship. He started buying and re-selling people’s textbooks and ultimately learned he was really good at selling baby products, toys and home goods online. Although he didn’t refer to his business at the time as drop shipping, that’s essentially what he was doing—his business listed and optimized products on Amazon and handled any customer service issues while passing on the order info to the vendor or manufacturer so they could fulfill and ship it. This business model doesn’t require the drop-shipping entity to hold any inventory. Drop shippers realize profit from the difference between what the customer pays and what the item costs.

Faster and Foolproof Way to Hire

Business owners can go back to expanding and growing their business instead of using all of their time recruiting and finding workers.

— Nathan Hirsch

As any business owner knows, as you grow and need to hire help you can get 100 responses (and oftentimes more) to each job posting. Before you know it, you’re spending all your time on human resources functions rather than on the things you do best. Nathan always wanted a better way. FreeeUp.com was founded based on Nathan’s own experiences building a freelance army to help support his first business. Today, FreeeUp.com has instituted a referral program for both workers and clients that is on track to pay out $150,000 in referral bonuses this year. This referral program keeps the business growing and helps find the top 1% of freelancers. Nathan said creating a referral program is one of the better business decisions he has made.

Spend the Time Vetting Your Employees

FreeeUp.com vets a candidate’s skills, attitude and communication, and Nathan only hires his own employees from the FreeeUp.com network. They look for people who are honest about what they can and cannot do and have a track record of success. Attitude is also very important, because a bad attitude can spread like cancer. Employees need to be good communicators and be proactive with communication. On the flip side, an employer needs to be able to outline expectations to an employee so they understand what is expected.

Tune in to the full episode to hear all of Nathan’s insights about entrepreneurship and online hiring, diversifying clients and team members, finding the right team and the lessons he learned growing two businesses very quickly.

Never miss a single episode by subscribing to the podcast. Each week I talk to today’s entrepreneurs about how they’ve built their businesses and teams and the learning experiences they had along the way.

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Creating a Personal Filter For Honest Social Media Marketing with Wild Soul Movement founder Elizabeth DiAlto

Creating a Personal Filter For Honest Social Media Marketing with Wild Soul Movement founder Elizabeth DiAlto

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How Elizabeth determines what she wants or needs to communicate to her audience
  • Why Instagram Stories is a great way to be authentic to your followers
  • How the Wild Soul Movement’s core offerings have evolved

My guest on this week’s episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast is Elizabeth DiAlto, an Integrative Spiritual counselor, creator of Wild Soul Movement, an author and host of Untame the Wild Soul podcast. Elizabeth is known for her raw, honest and grounded approach to self-help and spirituality, and we talk about how she determines what she communicates to the women who follow her, how she uses Instagram Stories and how her core offerings shifted based on how she can be of highest service.   

How to Discern What and How to Communicate

If I’m feeling obligated to respond, it’s always a red flag for me.

– Elizabeth DiAlto

Although most decisions about what to communicate to her audience are made moment-to-moment, she relies on what feels true and feels appropriate based on the conversations happening in her community and in the world. She doesn’t watch the news, but she does have a couple of sources she trusts and curates insights from.

“I really do my best to only source from people who are in alignment themselves as well who are not unconsciously feeding into the perpetuation of dramas, the traumas and injustices but are diligently and persistently educating themselves and also presenting things without a lot of spin or extra bias or drama to it,” she said.

She always tries to get as close as she can to the details and facts of a situation, then she can discern for herself how she wants to sponsor or share with her audience.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are the place I get to show exactly the way I am on any given day.

– Elizabeth DiAlto

Elizabeth has a really raw and honest way of showing up on Instagram Stories—she really is the same whether behind the scenes or interviewing people on her podcast. She uses Instagram Stories to use 15 seconds to show up and share whatever. Sometimes that’s directing people to something she’s posted, but most of the time she’s just entertaining herself. In the process of doing so, she lets people know what her life is like on a day-to-day. And the quirky things going on help demonstrate her living her message and being her values in all areas of her life.

Being of Highest Service

I swung the pendulum to only do what I want to do, but that’s not going to take our mission and service to where we want to have the highest impact.

– Elizabeth DiAlto

After taking a break from one-on-one work, Elizabeth found herself in an online-only model and  Wild Soul Movement, her core offering, being virtual. But, people are craving to be together in real life and need the energy that type of connection provides, so she recently revamped her one-on-one and semi-private offerings so she could be with people in real life. She now offers two-day immersion sessions in her home and Untame Yourself Weekends, where four to six people attend a session at the same time. In November, she is leading an Untame Yourself Intensive Visionary Leadership. Next year, she plans to update the content for Wild Soul Movement, as well as create two additional courses that will help lay the groundwork—and create an even starting point for everyone—for the Wild Soul Movement course.

You’ll want to join me for the full podcast where we talk more about how Elizabeth’s authentic, raw approach helped her build a passionate group of followers and a business that serves.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. Each week I talk to today’s innovative entrepreneurs about the decisions they make each day about their service and product offering, pricing, marketing, team structure and more.

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Starting A New Business with A Bang—and Clear Priorities—with Edios Media founders Elizabeth Madariaga & Michael Karsh

Starting A New Business with A Bang—and Clear Priorities—with Edios Media founders Elizabeth Madariaga & Michael Karsh

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How you know when it’s time to head out on your own
  • What are key things to focus on to start off your business quickly
  • How to balance service delivery with planning for the future

On this week’s episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast I talk with Elizabeth Madariaga and Michael Karsh, former producers of this podcast and co-founders of Edios Media, a production agency and consultancy. Although they are in their first year of business they have skyrocketed to small business success. We talk about why they decided to head out on their own after great careers in production, what they did to sign their first two contracts within six weeks of opening for business and how they balance service delivery and planning for the future of their brand new company.

Time to Do Our Own Thing

Felt like now was the time to bet on ourselves.

— Elizabeth Madariaga

Michael and Elizabeth had gotten to the point in their own careers while working for start-ups, that they didn’t see a clear growth path. Combined, they have produced thousands of hours of premium education content and before that had acquired years of experience in entertainment and production. They were ready for and wanted something different. They started to realize it seemed like the right time to launch their business based on what the industry needed and where they were in their careers. There was a bit of a hole in services—a hole that their experience and capabilities could fill. As they considered the next steps in their own careers, they started to float the idea around about doing this on their own and the excitement built. They took the leap and as Michael said, “It was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

A Fast Start

Don’t wait until it’s perfect. It’s never going to be perfect.

— Michael Karsh

What started as brainstorming and dreaming in July of last year, accelerated when they both gave notice in November. They used November and December to finish up obligations they had and officially began working together as Edios Media in January of this year. Just six weeks later, their first two clients signed with them on the same day. Although they had a business plan and an idea of who their ideal clients would be, priority No. 1 was to get a website created to be able to articulate their abilities, experience and, most importantly, what they were able to offer clients.

We’re working with people we had no idea would even want to come to us. It’s scary, crazy and fun.

— Elizabeth Madariaga

So far all of their clients have been the result of working their network. After the site was launched, they crafted an email and sent it wide to their network with some very clear asks:

  1.       Please check out our new site
  2.       Does this feel like something you’d be interested in discussing further?
  3.       If not, please share with your network who could benefit from our services

A lot of those initial calls were catch-up calls rather than hard sales calls, just checking in to share what they were up to and finding out what’s new with the person they called. Elizabeth shared that they are still reaping the benefits of people they know telling other people and spreading the word about Edios Media that way.

Balance of Service Delivery with Future Growth

Right now, our focus is working with these clients and delivering incredible results for them.

—Michael Karsh

Michael and Elizabeth have written down where they want their business to be in three years, and schedule time in their calendar to actively work on those tasks that will get them there. However, in their production world, it helps to have a multi-track mind and the ability to reprioritize. So, it’s most important for them right now to ensure that their clients are taken care of. If they don’t do that right and deliver an exemplary product and experience to their current clients, they will lose that critical word-of-mouth that is essential for them to build their business.

In the full episode of the podcast we talk more about the logistics of starting a business from figuring out how to create repeatable processes to finding the right contractors who have the same work ethic and values, the easiest and most challenging part so far, plus the particulars of how to start a business with a good friend.

Join me each week by subscribing to the podcast to get all the Nitty-Gritty details from today’s business owners.

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The Evolution of CreativeLive and Online Education with CreativeLive Co-Founder Chase Jarvis

The Evolution of CreativeLive and Online Education with CreativeLive Co-Founder Chase Jarvis

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How CreativeLive has evolved since it started 7 years ago
  • What’s new and exciting in the online education industry
  • What enhancements to self-education should be expected in the near future

My guest on the 100th—yes, 100th—episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast is Chase Jarvis, co-founder of CreativeLive, the online education company that co-produces this podcast with me.

In celebration of this milestone, CreativeLive and I are thrilled to announce that we’ve put together an amazing giveaway for our listeners!

You can win my hand-picked bundle of 14 CreativeLive classes—taught by some of your favorite Profit. Power. Pursuit. guests—valued at $1,486 dollars PLUS a trip to CreativeLive studios as a studio audience member for an upcoming class of your choice!

Listen to our 100th episode interview with Chase Jarvis for details and information on contest rules.

Here are the incredible classes you could win in the contest bundle!

  • Instagram Marketing for Small Businesses with Sue B. Zimmerman
  • The Art of Networking with Jordan Harbinger
  • A Brand Called You with Debbie Millman
  • Mastering Your People Skills with Vanessa Van Edwards
  • Personal Branding for Creative Professionals with Dorie Clark
  • Make Your Dream Trip a Reality with Chris Guillebeau
  • How to Leverage the Power of Live Online Broadcasts with Joel Comm
  • Become a Better & Funnier Public Speaker with David Nihill
  • Think Bigger, Make More with Jason Womack
  • The Personal MBA: The Foundations of an Effective Business with Josh Kaufman
  • Heroic Public Speaking with Michael Port
  • Make More Money & Discover Your Worth with Sue Bryce
  • Branding Strategies to Grow Your Business with Jasmine Star
  • Create Your Dream Career with Michelle Ward

In the special 100th episode interview, Chase and I chat about the evolution of CreativeLive since its inception, the state of the online education industry and the exciting time we’re entering to enhance the experience of self-education.

Evolution of CreativeLive

Our goal is to unlock the power of creativity that’s inside of every person.

– Chase Jarvis

The concept for CreativeLive started when Chase and co-founder Craig Swanson began toying with the idea of making workshops to inspire and support creators with a fresh approach to education. They wanted to give students access to the innovators, visionaries and leaders who are doing the work. After their first pilot class on Photoshop, they knew they were onto something. Today, they have more than 1,500 classes, 2,500 articles, this podcast and much more that help creators live their dreams.

While there’s much that’s stayed the same since the company started, the biggest thing that has changed is the scope of content they have to offer students and how they give those students access to precisely the class they need. CreativeLive has more than 10 million students who consume 3 billion minutes of video on the platform. Listen in to the entire podcast to hear how they are “growing into our own skin” and how they hope to connect students with the learning that will unlock their biggest need or challenge. Doing so will help them make a living and a life doing what they love.

Today, the CreativeLive team is much more intentional and sophisticated when determining what new content or classes to provide and how it finds instructors than it was in the early days.

Online Education Industry

In the future, all CEOs will be considered artists.

– Chase Jarvis

Education is this amazing glue between brands and customers. In the future, Chase believes that education is going to decentralize away from schools and become integrated in every brand/customer relationship. Education is the most authentic content marketing that exists. Content marketing adapts to education rather than the other way around.

Companies that care about you will provide great education. If their products are part of that, then that’s a nice incidental thing. As brands provide value to consumers’ lives over time, when it’s time to transact, those consumers will be there for you. That’s a massive global trend.

Opportunities to Enhance the Self-Education Experience

I think we’re just getting started.

– Chase Jarvis

Now, CreativeLive is working on how to make the website and the platform better with the use of technology to help the student journey. The team is trying to solve problems such as how to string a lot of lessons together to enhance the self-education process. Because they’re getting smarter and more experienced, they can leverage technology and create a better user experience. Data is also helping inform the classes that are created and offered and to develop solutions to what students want. Just as the CreativeLive team has become more intentional and sophisticated, self-education platforms will be as well.

Tune in to the full podcast to hear more from Chase about his predictions for the online education industry, how he integrates creativity as part of building a business and what’s on the horizon for CreativeLive.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you will be with me every week as I get the Nitty-Gritty details from today’s thriving business owners.

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One of my Favorite Time Management Tricks

Want to get more done?

You need to put more on your to-do list. Yeah, I know, it sounds counterproductive. After all, one of the reasons you want to get more done is because your to-do list is already too long.

The thing is, it’s not so much that you need to get more done as you have an unrealistic expectation of just how much you can get done.

Your to-do list is likely full of big, open-ended items that are hard to check off. Your tasks begin with things like “Get started on…” or “Work on…” instead of manageable chunks of finite work.

My guest, friend, and former client Emily Thompson, founder of Indie Shopography and the co-host of Being Boss joined me on Profit. Poer. Pursuit to talk about her management tricks.

Here’s how she handles her to-do lists:

“My trick for myself is breaking down those tasks so minutely that sometimes I can check off 5 things in 5 minutes because I really broke them down that small.”

Because Emily breaks her tasks down into items she can process quickly, she’s better able to manage her time overall. She has a much better expectation of how long things take and where she can fit them in her busy schedule.

It’s a small change that yields huge results in productivity, time management, and satisfaction!

Emily and I also chatted about the time she bought a tanning salon at the ripe ol’ age of 18, how she turns her detailed to-do lists into systems, and how she balances the demands of running 2 businesses.

Click here to listen to our full conversation!

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The Power of a Profitable Niche with Content Copywriter Jessica Mehring

The Power of a Profitable Niche with Content Copywriter Jessica Mehring

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How niching your business affects your pricing
  • How niching can expand—not limit—your clients
  • Why expanding your network can be your marketing secret weapon

On this week’s episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast, my guest is Jessica Mehring, CEO of Horizon Peak Consulting, where she combines sales-focused copywriting with content marketing to help IT, software and tech clients turn content into revenue. She’s also the creator of The Content Lab, where she trains content creators and copywriters how to get better results from their written content—while putting their careers on the fast track.

Like many business owners, Jessica at first resisted defining a niche for her business, but once she did she found it completely transformed her business. During our conversation, she shares how she’s created a profitable niche service for high tech and SaaS companies, how a niche affects your pricing, how her niche actually helped her find more clients and why her referral network is her marketing secret weapon.

Finding Your Niche and Increasing Your Revenue

When you are a generalist it is more limiting than limiting yourself to a niche.

– Jessica Mehring

Jessica started out being a generalist copywriter when she left her corporate job to build her business full time. Even though all the experts said to niche, like many business owners, she resisted it because she was worried she wouldn’t get enough work, she didn’t feel like she had enough expertise in a niche to claim one and her favorite excuse: she liked the variety. Once she started working with her mentor Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers, who was also my guest on the podcast, the power of a niche started to sink in. Jessica ultimately combined her specialty for writing marketing copy for high-tech companies that she developed over years of freelancing with her natural affinity for high-tech work and voila! She had herself a niche!

Once she really clarified her marketing message to “I write marketing content for IT, software and tech companies,” there was no doubt what her niche was. Crystallizing this message really helped Jessica in her sales process and to pre-qualify prospects. It also allowed her space to really master what she does. Because she is a master, she gets really good results for her clients which opens the door for higher rates.

Niching Expands your Clients

When I got very clear about what I do and who I work with it completely transformed my business.

– Jessica Mehring

Jessica explains in the podcast how niching expanded her client base even though many business owners fear that it will limit them. Because her focus was on serving a particular client and she is able to share with others in her network very clearly what she does and who her ideal clients are, it makes it much more streamlined to find clients. Jessica connects with her ideal clients by writing guest posts on sites that she knows they are reading and going to conferences where her clients or potential members of her network will be.

A Strong Network: Jessica’s Secret Weapon

An effective network is a two-way street.

– Jessica Mehring

Jessica’s network understands the work she does and what kind of results she gets and this network includes her clients, other copywriters that are part of her mastermind and those she meets online and at conferences, at Meetups or even at the coffee shop. She also maintains a robust file of copywriters that she knows personally. When a prospect wants work done that’s outside of her niche, she happily refers them on to another professional from her list of vetted copywriters because an effective network is a two-way street.

Tune in to the full podcast to hear more about the power of a profitable niche. Jessica shares her intake process and how she juggles her time and energy between Horizon Peak Consulting and The Content Lab. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss my conversations with thriving business owners who share their secrets to success every week.

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