Over the past eight months I have come in contact with so many amazing entrepreneurs. Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself that I have manifested such an energizing journey for myself…because not only do I come in contact with them, but I feed off of their energy, law of attraction right!? At the same time, I have also been able to notice some similar struggles that these hardworking women face. So many are running a one-woman show, trying to do it all. And while many do an amazing job of getting by, it leaves me wondering…what if they had MORE time to focus on their number one skill and passion, their CREATING. A solopreneur has to spread themself so thin and many insist that this is the way it has to be because finances wouldn’t allow asking for help. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Taking a chance and outsourcing something may seem like a big decision initially, but it will leave the maker more time to MAKE…which is what they are good at! This in turn creates more business, and thus, more income. The number one “something” that stands out to me, the thing that many entrepreneurs either don’t have a great handle on, or quite simply don’t enjoy putting time into, is the online aspect that is so necessary with running a business in 2017. The website (with e-commerce!), the social media accounts, the logo design, the personal connection that can be attained through use of video…and the list goes on. This is why I am so excited about what Fresh Voice Media has to offer all of these women who I’ve come to know and love! Owner, Allison Grange, “gets it.” I truly hope that this feature reaches the people that are NEEDING this type of assistance, because I know partnering up with Allison will do wonders for your business, and your stress levels!
You’ve had some pretty cool jobs, your experience is certainly something to share! Do you feel like you took a bit from each position to really figure out what motivates you, leading to the creation of Fresh Voice Media?
Yes, most definitely! When I think back to my different experiences, I’m so grateful for them because they allowed me to learn new skills and realize what I love doing. Without those experiences, I wouldn’t have been able to start this business.
After graduating from Humber College with a diploma in journalism, I was hired by Oxygen magazine to be an assistant editor, and later, fitness editor. I learned all about researching, fact-checking, pitching, editing, photoshoots, editorial calendars, time management and collaboration. It was so cool to see the final product in print!
Two years later, I had the opportunity to work at Walden, a small business marketing company, as a search engine optimization copywriter. That opened my eyes to the world of marketing, communications, web writing, search engines, and online advertising.
I worked briefly as a junior writer at NKPR, a boutique PR firm, where I learned about brand promotion, press releases, and event planning.
A few months later, I was hired by the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) as a school communications specialist, which later turned into a communications officer/manager position. I worked there for the longest period of time – about eight years.
All of the skills I had gained from my previous positions were useful at the UCDSB. We focused on all areas of communications, including video production, which I now love to do.
I’ve always been obsessed with learning and trying new opportunities. Even if something doesn’t work out, there’s something to gain by trying.
For example, I’ve already owned two businesses – a cleaning business and a jewelry business. They both failed, and at the time I thought I was a failure. But, those experiences helped me realize that what I actually loved doing was creating the marketing and communications tools to promote the services/products. Plus, those experiences helped me realize that I LOVE entrepreneurship.
What would you say to a company owner who feels completely overwhelmed by social media, as in, they don’t even have an Instagram account?
This is a great question, because I’ve just experienced this myself. Me – the person absolutely obsessed with social media – felt frozen and stuck when it came to my own company’s social media presence!
It was because I hadn’t planned out my own strategy. I hadn’t written out what my goals were, who I wanted to reach, why I wanted to reach them, and what I wanted to say. Of course, I wanted to promote my services, but how could I do it in a memorable way?
I think, sometimes, we put too much pressure on ourselves to have the perfect online presence and use all of the popular tools. It can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not really sure what tool to use or why you should use it.
A website is great for static information that doesn’t change too often, but social media is great for two-way conversations and for making connections. It’s important to have both for different reasons.
I truly believe that every company and organization should have a social media presence of some sort – one that makes sense for them. It’s an expectation of your target audience. You may feel that you don’t have things to share, but you really do, and there are people who are interested. You just have to start.
It doesn’t mean you have to have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. It means you should plan out your company’s communications goals, and think about the best way to reach those goals.
For example, perhaps you sell soap. Your goal is to reach people who want to learn about your products and purchase them. It might make the most sense to have an Instagram account and a Facebook page because they offer more visual opportunities. They are great tools to use to share photos and videos.
You could use those tools to:
Introduce yourself – share a video of the “maker”
Share photos of your finished products
Share behind-the-scenes photos or videos of your process, the ingredients you use, how you select your ingredients, people buying your products, etc.
It may not make the most sense to use Twitter because it’s a more text-based tool (you can share visual components, but that’s not its main purpose).
So, in short, write out your goals and don’t get caught up in perfection. Just begin!
Alternatively, what about the person who feels like they have a good handle on social media, but feels their growth is stunted?
I love a challenge like this because it just opens the door for new ideas and opportunities. It’s another reason why FVM offers many communications services – I want to have the opportunity to try all strategies!
Your social media presence is amazing, but you want to do more. First, consider what your goals are.
Do you want to:
Reach more people?
Make more sales?
Promote a new product line or service?
Connect with the media?
Promote an event?
Get feedback from your audience?
Etc. etc. etc.
Once you know what goal you’d like to reach, you could consider sharing messaging through:
A hashtag campaign
A weekly tip
A video series
A promotional video
A media release
Partnering with one of your business besties to start a new campaign
A website redesign
Etc. etc. etc.
There are so many opportunities to explore once your goals have been nailed down!
The service industry allows for different perspectives and approaches for clients, as your business name alludes to. Do you believe that a service/client relationship can sometimes not be the right fit, but that their best match could be right around the corner?
Definitely! When I came up with the name, Fresh Voice Media, I wanted it to imply that I’m always open to fresh ideas and new perspectives. I want to offer a fresh voice to their communications strategies. Every client needs an individual strategy, and I love that challenge.
However, there could be times when a service/client relationship may not be the best fit. For example, if a client wanted family portraits done to include on their website, I would refer them to a photographer who I believe would be the best fit.
What’s most important is giving a client the best possible outcome.
How did you discover that THIS is your THING, the “work” that gets your juices flowing?
I absolutely love getting into the flow of working on a project and losing track of time. I think that feeling only occurs when you truly love what you’re doing. I’m so lucky to say that I get into this groove each and every day.
Everything I offer now in my business, I used to do for fun. For years, I built websites and blogs, shot photos and videos, played with social media and studied cool marketing campaigns. Even at 13, I was obsessed with emails. I was so intrigued by that form of communication. I remember running up our dial-up Internet bill, spending too much time emailing people (sorry Mom!).
But, these interests helped me realize that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. It doesn’t feel like work.
Sometimes the goals that need to be communicated can get lost in misguided social media tactics. How do you help them focus on the right approach for them?
Planning is everything. With every client, I meet with them first to talk about what goal(s) they’d like to reach. We talk about key messages and determine their target audience. Then we come up with messaging that is clear, concise, engaging and authentic. Authenticity is everything. Consumers, clients and customers must trust you and your brand before they can make a purchase. If the trust isn’t there, there will be no purchase.
Every business needs an individual communications plan. Social media tactics that may work for one company, may not work at all for another company. In fact, some tactics may have a negative impact. That’s why it’s so important to let your goals lead the way.
You have two gorgeous little girls, what would you want them to know about entrepreneurship?
Thank you! They are my inspiration (along with my husband, Mitch). My girls are part of the reason why I started Fresh Voice Media – I want them to see their mom following her dreams.
I want them to see me taking risks and working hard for something I love. I want them to see that there are so many career opportunities available to them. I want them to know that they can do whatever they want as a career, as long as they work hard, are open to learning and are resilient.
Entrepreneurship can be seen as risky, but it’s the most rewarding career I’ve had to date (and I haven’t been doing it too long!).
The Kingston community has some sort of magical vortex of supportive entrepreneurship going on (#truestory), what do you think some key elements are that fuel this fire?
I LOVE KINGSTON! I’ve met so many amazing entrepreneurs and makers. I think the main element that fuels this great community is kindness. Without kindness, the community wouldn’t be the same. This kind group welcomes, promotes and helps others grow. This mentality benefits everyone! I’m so grateful to be a part of it.
Tell us three hashtags that would describe a typical day for you!
If you are a fellow entrepreneur reading this, I sincerely hope you will reach out to Allison and have a chat with her. She has some exciting packages inspired by our talks, about the need that is out there! Partnering with a company like Fresh Voice Media is NOT out of your reach. I have been wanting to make some changes to my own website (ESPECIALLY on the landing page) and with my recent venture into selling candles the thought of somehow adding e-commerce brought on instant neck tension! So yes, Allison is shaking things up for Arrow It Forward #staytuned, the thought of which leaves me feeling like I just had a nice glass of red….ahhhhhh.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored in collaboration with Fresh Voice Media. Don’t forget, I promote what I love!
Would you like to see your brand’s story featured on Arrow It Forward? Email me at email@example.com for a copy of my media kit.