From working at home with 2 kids to multiple business award nominations, North-Auckland business owner Margriet O'Reilly is an inspiration to New Zealand women in business.
Together with a team of 5, Magriet and her husband run the industry-leading boutique printing company Pinc.
She always knew that she wanted to be a graphic designer, and has about 14 years experience to her name.
Over time, she re-branded and became the designing, foiling, determined business woman that she is today!
She lives in the Hibiscus coast with her husband, 2 kids, a small petting zoo (complete with alpacas), and she is this month's She Owns It success story!
Everybody knows that we are in a global trash crisis- but business owners like Tasha Gray are here to help us do something about it!
Tasha runs GoAgain, a business that helps New Zealanders make low waste lifestyle changes with their range of no-plastic products. She is a yogi, traveller, beach lover and entrepreneur, so a low waste business was an obvious path.
She lives in surf-crazy Piha with her partner and two lively teenagers, and she is on a mission to make New Zealand a better place for future generations- one bamboo cutlery set at a time.
She Owns It Success Stories
Every month we interview an amazing lady in our community, and this month I want you to meet the amazing Debbie Mills Robertson from Task Diva.
Debbie is a virtual assistant that puts life into all the creative tasks you want in your business, but don't have time to do yourself!
For her, this was the logical biz model- previously she owned 2 other businesses, so she's had 11 years to learn exactly what busy women need.
She lives in Christchurch with her daughter, silver-fox husband, cat and dog, and I am SO excited for you to hear her story!
It's no secret we all need support when it comes to growing our businesses. In this Q and A Anika from Meet Anika shares why she loves her brand design business and working with clients like Mega Foods, Bambino and The Wedding Shop.
Getting exposure for your business can be a tough ask- and with some many avenues to choose from it's hard to know what to focus on when. In this Q and A Julie Keegan shares her learnings around taking Wool on Wheels on the road- literally- and the impact this has had on her business.
Have you been wondering how to gain confidence you need to put yourself out there more? In this Q and A Carmen shares her personal journey with us- from starting out in the photography business to gaining confidence at big events and working with celebs.
Do you want to build a strong online presence and brand for your small business but you're struggling to make an impact?
This month in the Members Club we're talking how to build a brand with depth that differentiates you from your competitors and drive sales.
Member Michelle Sokolich has done this really well and today I wanted to share with you 3 clever things she's done that you can do too! So here goes...
1. She 'get's her target market and knows her core message
I talk about this all the time but I can't stress how important it is!
Once you know your target market you can start talking to them in a language they understand. And that converts to sales.
When you talk to everyone, you attract no one. So get tough on yourself and narrow your niche and you might just see results.
Michelle owns Show and Tell, a content marketing agency that helps small businesses tell their story online.
This is what she says on her Home page:
I love this because in just a couple of sentences Michelle has:
- Told me who her target customer is. Someone who has a small business and a dream but maybe isn't getting that across to customers very well
- Highlighted the importance of her skill sets. How powerful storytelling is especially combined with the strength of using video
- Touched on a result- that if you get your storytelling right, your customers will feel a strong, authentic connection with you = big win!
Because Michelle knows her target customer well, she is able to speak to them in a way that resonates. She's not talking to big business here.
She's talking to small business, and she makes it clear that she 'get's your struggle. It makes her relatable and professional all at the same time.
2. She backs her messaging up with strong visual imagery
Strong visual imagery including video, photos and graphics will help you build on your brand image and define a consistent look online.
When you get this consistency you're telling people- hey, I get it. I am a small business but I have my ducks in a row. I know what this brand stands for, who I'm talking to and what I represent.
Your brand personality will start to shine through.
This is what Michelle is amazing at and you can see how she uses imagery herself by:
Using video on her homepage, Facebook page and Instagram accounts to tell both her own story and the stories of her customers.
Using high quality, professional brand images that help you get to 'know' her and feel familiar and welcomed to her service.
3. She shares her content consistently
The clincher is that once you have created your content you actually need to share it! Don't let your content get sucked up into cyber space- if you find creative ways to share it with your audience you will start to make an impact.
Michelle is also amazing at telling people about her services consistently. She knows how to share her own journey and regularly shares to our community on Marketday:
Check out the responses she gets to her posts- amazing!
For some of you promoting your business online might feel overwhelming. There is a fine line between 'spamming' people and sharing your business details.
But you can be clever with your online marketing strategy using Facebook groups and I've shared a few tips here on how to do just that.
How you can start using these strategies
If you're reading this and thinking "YES! I definitely need to up my game. But all of this sounds time consuming and expensive" don't worry, there is a way forward.
Being a successful small business owner is all about having big dreams and working in small steps! So you could break it down into phases and do this over time. For example:
PHASE 1 (allow 1-2 months):
Research and read up on how to develop your brand strategy, niche and core messages. Give yourself time to learn about these things and get to know your own business and key strengths better.
Hone your messaging on your own and if you feel like you need to, reach out to a copywriter or coach to help you fine tune your message. We've got some great copywriters on The List who can support you with this if you need guidance.
Once you've got strong core messages in place, reassess your visual presence and decide if your existing branding and imagery do the trick.
If you need to and you can afford it, now is the time to reach out to designers who can help you develop a visual brand, or to a storyteller like Michelle who can help you prepare to get your message out there online with video.
Once you've got your core messaging and smart visuals ready, it's time to start getting that message out there.
Research online FB groups filled with your target market. Some- like She Owns It if you're a Members Club Member- (doors will be opening again soon- get on the waitlist here), will allow you to directly promote your service. You should make note of those groups.
Other groups that don't allow promotional posts you may still be able to make use of by creating a presence as a regular contributor and adding good value.
And then of course you can use Facebook Ads and your own FB page and social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to drive traffic to your site.
The important thing to remember is that sales posts don't sell! Don't forget to check out this post on how to create engagement and interest online using storytelling, it'll give you a great idea of how to generate sales without yelling 'buy me buy me!'
Good things take time
Developing a strong presence like Michelle can take time for a small business owner. Not everyone knows about branding, copywriting and marketing their business so the learning curve might be steep.
But if I can give one piece of advice it is this. No matter how interested or good you are at marketing right now, if you are a small business owner, the biggest gift you can give your business is to better your understanding in this area.
You are the driving force of your business and even the best products and services can get lost without good promotion. That does no one any favours! Your business loses out, you lose out and the amazing customers who would've loved your product lose out if they never find you.
So apply yourself to learning about these things and you never know- you might find you enjoy it and I certainly know you'll enjoy the results!
Beautiful Business - www.beautifulbusinessnz.com
Tell us about your business. What is the problem that you solve and how do you solve it?
Having a great idea for a new business is a wonderful feeling, but soon turns to frustration and overwhelm if you are not making progress towards your business goals.
As an accountant, I have come across so many business women who either want to launch (and have absolutely no idea how to do it, or what to do first), or have started but have ended up chasing their tail and not making any real progress.
I work with business women who are tired of not gaining traction and together we create a road-map to achieve their business goals.
One of hardest times you can ever have in business or in life is when you feel totally disconnected from what you are doing. You know the feeling. Things aren't going well. More losses than wins. Constant pressure to do more, earn more. And you just wonder why?
There's been a run of members in The WE Community struggling with these feelings this month- maybe it's the change of season heading into winter? Maybe business is just getting tougher. All of those posts resonate with me so much because I've been there too. And I know to get through it, you have to look to your heart.
Which is exactly what Tara does for people- helps them look inwards to focus on what really matters, and then get results. I love that Tara is so aligned with what she loves and has built a successful business around her passion. Thank you Tara for sharing your story!
When I first read Denise's biz story I was so impressed by what she was doing in her biz I skimmed over the rest of it. Then I re read it and realised she has 6 children! That is amazing and I am so blown away by what Denise is doing in her business and for our community. Thank you Denise for sharing your story!
Are you a WE VIP who has had some success through your business? Maybe you've had a period of fast growth, success on social media or overcome personal adversity to grow your business?
If you're not a part of it already I know you'll be wondering "What type of woman loves the WE VIP Members Club? And why?!" Well I could go on forever about how the WE approach to business has changed my life (and how I hope it can change yours too) but hey, it's the Women of WE that make this community so special, and they can tell you best why WE is a great thing to be a part of...
As I write this- my first blog post ever for The WE Network, I am one part excited about what’s to come, and one part ‘omg what was I thinking?!’
I have a young family. I already have a business. I am grateful to have scaled out of it but it is still my first baby and my responsibility. Here’s me on the left with my amazing business partner Karen (who is doe to have her first baby in December!) and the KiwiOz Nannies London team:
We’re doing a renovation. I’m swimming uphill at the moment to even fit in time with my family and my friends, or to exercise. I must be seriously crazy to be taking this on as well!
But then I sit back and think about the 1400+ NZ women like you who have joined me in The WE Network over the last few months.
You are ALL busy. Many of you have much much more going on in your lives than me. Some of you have three or four children. Some of you are working full time jobs while raising families and starting a business. Some of you have overcome harrowing life experiences- or are in the throes of them- and you still want to be challenging yourselves and putting yourselves through the rigiours of entrepreneurship. One of you even attended a webinar while having contractions (no names in public- you know who you are you incredible/ crazy/ dedicated/ passionate mum and business woman!).
And it’s when I think about all that you are going through- that WE are going through, I know that this is all going to be worth it.
I started The WE Network because I work from home and I felt isolated, and frustrated. I wanted to feel connected to a community of women in business. I wanted to give back and share some of the experiences that I've had, so that your journey to scaling your business is faster and smoother than mine was!
I have already got back tenfold what I have contributed to the WE Community. I have made friends. Gathered a loyal team of supporters and advisors around me. Learnt more and more every day about community building, empathy and developing strong culture.
So the WE Community has become a facilitator for positive change for me, for you, and for NZ women in business. It has become a place where you can come and share you business problems to get quick answers from your peers. To learn from others about how to become a better entrepreneur. To collaborate and push your business to the next level.
So what now for The WE Network?
Today is the first day on a new leg of this journey. We are on this journey together you and I, and I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to you for being a part of it so far.
My dream is that The WE Network becomes the first place NZ women in business turn to get support on their business journey. No matter what stage of the journey you are at- from total newby to experienced entrepreneur, I want you to know that this is the place to find the connections and support you need to overcome that obstacle and uplevel your business.
I want to extend a warm welcome to every women in New Zealand who owns a business or is thinking about it. There is a place for you here in The WE Network, and we want to see your business- and you- thrive.
If you are in business support- a marketing or social media specialist, accountant, experienced entreprenuer, event co-ordinator, business coach or mentor please join us.
This is an entry level business platform and it is NOT a one stop shop! WE need you to help us create a thriving base for the female entrepreneurs of New Zealand. From here, NZ women in business will be able to find your service. You will be able to speak to them on a personal level, offer support to their business and help them get to know and trust you.
So let’s do this together ladies!
Let’s figure out and help each other reach our goals. There is a way forward that will work well for you and for us as women and as a community.
Together we can navigate this tricky path and make it smoother for ourselves, and for the women of the future.
Are you with me?
••••••••••••••• GIVEAWAY! ••••••••••••••••••
Do you want to be in to win FREE membership for 12 months to the The WE Members Club?
To enter comment below and tell us why you jumped on the entrepreneurial train!
**Winner drawn December 2016