Selling One Customer at a Time with Showcase Workshop Founder Millie Blackwell

Selling One Customer at a Time with Showcase Workshop Founder Millie Blackwell

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Why one-on-one sales strategy is beneficial and how to identify a new prospect
  • How to court prospects
  • How being “ridiculously helpful” gets customers to a success point

My guest on this week’s episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast is Millie Blackwell, the CEO and co-founder of Showcase Workshop. Showcase Workshop provides a sales content management tool for large businesses with sales teams that sell face-to-face and who need to be armed with videos, presentations, brochures, spec sheets and more on-site to make the sale. With a mission to eradicate ring binders and printed sales collateral, Millie and her team work to ensure that every field sales rep has the content they need on their tablet or smartphone.

Millie and I discuss one-on-one sales strategy and how she identifies a new prospect, the steps she takes to start courting them and how her team is “ridiculously helpful” to new customers and that makes it easy for them to stick around.

One-on-One Sales Strategy

Face-to-face selling is how large corporate companies buy things.

–Millie Blackwell

Like a lot of entrepreneurs, Millie and her co-founders had the idea that if they built it, sales would come. However, they quickly realized that one of them needed to go out and be the face of the company to sell the product. Even though traditional face-to-face selling was what Millie knew, it was also what the prospects of Showcase Workshop—large corporate companies—expected, so that remains a key sales strategy. This is also the strategy deployed by companies you might not expect from Facebook, LinkedIn and Salesforce who all have teams dedicated to selling face-to-face.

Millie learned by trial and error which industries would be interested in the Workshop’s tool and determined that her ideal prospect needed to be companies that were selling products with a fair amount of complexity, have a sales team that sells face to face and use collateral to sell. She shares all the nitty-gritty details about the Showcase Workshop’s sales process in the full episode.

How to Court Prospects

Create some credibility right from the start.

–Millie Blackwell

The Showcase Workshop has a two-pronged approach to sales. They advertise on LinkedIn to reach small- and medium-sized businesses. For enterprise customers, Millie narrows down her search on LinkedIn Sales Navigator to specific job titles and sends intro emails to those contacts. Since enterprise deals are more expensive to acquire, Millie works a small number of those leads. She spends about one-third of her time on sales at the enterprise level which involves searching for a new lead, contacting those leads and nurturing them.

“Ridiculously Helpful”

Showcase Workshop is a little more complex than other software systems, so when prospects are within their free trial window and Millie’s team sees them sign in, they will be “ridiculously helpful” and reach out to the prospect based on certain actions they are doing. Their goal is to help the prospect get to a “success point.” After they become a client, the Showcase Workshop team continues to provide exemplary customer service which allows them to boast a client churn rate below 2% annually.

When you tune into the full episode you can learn more about Showcase Workshop’s sales process, Millie’s learning experiences with content marketing and what’s next for the business.

I invite you to join me each week by subscribing to the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast so you can listen and learn from today’s most innovative entrepreneurs.

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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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