SallyAnn is a “marketing unicorn” who helps small businesses bridge the gap between “winging it” and “full in-house marketing team”. With her quirky, highly personalized approach to working with her clients, SallyAnn is the g...
SallyAnn is a “marketing unicorn” who helps small businesses bridge the gap between “winging it” and “full in-house marketing team”. With her quirky, highly personalized approach to working with her clients, SallyAnn is the go-to resource for businesses that are in growth mode.
SallyAnn started her business by experimenting with freelance work until she was able to find the right market fit for her services, and for her own desired way of working. With a broad skill set, she knew she wanted to keep the variety in her work, and be able to see the impact she was making.
In 2019, SallyAnn matured her own business by focusing on building processes and consistency in her customer delivery. This has helped her grow her revenue significantly and make her business more profitable. Today, she’s focused on bringing marketing back to focus on relationships and the different ways this works for all her client
Find SallyAnn at www.vervestheword.com
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Welcome to the real people real business show where we are talking with business owners who are in the trenches everyday, people who are working hard and have relevant and inspiring stories that you can relate to. Everyone we speak to is actively building and growing their business and is here to share their experiences, lessons, wisdom and guidance so you can be inspired to take action towards your own goals. Today. I am so excited, so excited to welcome Sally-Anne gray who is works with companies specializing in software, healthcare , fundraising, health and fitness, fashion travel, self-improvement , so she is just the marketing unicorn. She loves working with entrepreneurs and startups as well as established businesses and industry leaders. She brings a whole wealth of skills to the table around marketing and she is like the outsourced marketing manager, marketing's the CMO for these smaller companies with big ideas. So welcome to the show. Sally-Anne I'm so excited you're here. Thanks for taking the time to share your story today. Yeah, thank you. It's fun. Yeah, that's going to be super fun. Sally [inaudible] , Sally, Anna and I were telling jokes to each other before we started this episode. So I'm still, I'm trying not to laugh at those. All right . Okay. Salian like we do, let's get started. I want to hear how you got to where you are right now. What was your story? What was your journey?Speaker 2:
My origin story. Origin. Yes. So , um , I have been working with and in small to medium sized businesses for nearly 20 years and um, I have been working remotely for six years. I moved away from the company that I was working at and uh, went all virtual and was enjoying working from home, but I was very stressed out at my corporate job. Um, no surprise there, right? A lot of people have that story and um , saw a lot of opportunities around me locally. I'm in my new home of Portland, Maine and um, saw so many small businesses, so many entrepreneurs , um, that could use some marketing help that , um, were great at what they did, but they needed someone to help them get that message across. And so I dreamed up a dream of working for myself and instead of being , um, a marketing department or part of a marketing department for one company, which was a software company in the Midwest , um, to do that or multiple small businesses and um, focus primarily in Maine where I was because I wanted to provide more of a personal touch after , um , I had been for years as a remote employee and was craving more , um, real interaction , um , more so than just email. So , um , so that's where, you know, the I, the crazy idea was hatched. Um, and I started out with some pro bono freelance , um, just people that I knew and offering , um, not exactly pro bono but like trade, just to build up my portfolio, get a feel for it and see if it was something I really wanted to do, be my own boss and um, and honestly if it was even viable. And so did that kind of , um, training wheels thing for six months and then decided let's do a damn thing. And um , gave notice at my corporate job. And that was two and a half years ago.Speaker 1:
Amazing. I love this idea of experimenting through pro bono work. Like that's really, that's really unique and I think that that's a great way for people to really get a sense of this is what they want to do, right? Because once you go, you go and there's, you know, you can't sort of half do it. And , um , and so what did you learn when you were doing the pro bono work?Speaker 2:
I, well, I , I was also using it as an opportunity to , um, listen to the marketplace . And so , um , I was working with people that I already knew, businesses that I already knew how to relationship with, was comfortable with and listened. I just listened a lot to hear what they wanted , um, from a marketing person , um, what they needed in their business, what they were struggling with, why they were struggling with it. And so in some ways it was like really deep market research. Um, that helped form what I wanted to bring to market. Um, and, and it worked out to be what I imagined. Um, people often have an initial need, a thing that they think they need, which , um , in my case, often it's the new website , um, because you know, you need your website updated every two to three years. And , um, so often that was like a foot in the door and I realized people had that need, but I wanted to provide more as well. And so that could turn into a long term relationship where I , um, [inaudible] and my team act as a outsourced marketing department for small businesses that can't, you know, afford to hire an entire team but still need that support.Speaker 1:
So what's that, what's that kind of segmentation? Who are those people? Who are those, those companies that are in that sort of perfect position to work with you?Speaker 2:
Um, I've done a lot of trial and error figuring out, you know, who is a great fit for me and vice versa. Um, so definitely the number one thing is they have to value. Um, I, I can't talk anybody into giving a shit about something they don't give a shit about. Um, so they have to have that value there. That's not something I could invent, but , um, they could either be starting out that happens , um, you know, launching a business , um, or they could be established. Um, and it's often solo preneurs , um, people , uh, that are just like a one person team who have been DIY ING for a long time and are ready to , um, to like graduate to hiring , um, experts. So I know that's a really broad definition, but , um, I've, I've kind of been able to find my people and they've been able to find me. And , um , it's through those initial conversations that I'm able to show them how I work and how our relationship will work and then we both decide if that's a fit. And that's really where the magic happens. It's hard for that too . Be defined before you have a conversation.Speaker 1:
100%. I absolutely agree. And it sounds like you have a pretty good idea of when the, when they need you and when they're going to stop needing you. And so do you have that kind of transition out as well?Speaker 2:
Yeah. Um, I've, I've done a great job at , um , not taking things personally. Um, I think, I hope , um , but it's a great lesson to learn is that , um, you know, some of the projects it has a beginning, middle and end, and that's appropriate. Uh, and that's great. Um, and some , um, they need me for one project and then they continue using my help. And none of that has to do with like who I am as a person. It is, it's always about their business and I understand on the cyclical nature of certain businesses in terms of revenue and how busy they are. And , um, and so sometimes people take a break and sometimes , uh , they need me all the time and , um, and just having constant, well, regular communication about what their needs are and, and how I can help them , um, helps that about the relationship and how it develops, pauses , um, restartsSpeaker 1:
in a sense. If you're doing your job well,Speaker 2:
you're , you're kind of working yourself out of a job, aren't you? Well, I don't think so. Um, because I, that's true though, that I try to , um, give them all of the tools and resources that they need. Um, I try to empower my is a big thing that I do. Um, it's important to me because that's how I want to be treated. I don't want someone to give me something fancy that works one day, but then I don't know how to work at myself and I am , um, I call it being held hostage by technology or vendor. Um, and if you have like a small tweak that you need to make , um, that's important to you and you want to do it right then I think you should be able to, if this is your business. And so , um , I do empower my clients so that they can, if I deliver a website for example, that they can make changes and edits. And so yeah, maybe I am , um , getting myself out of a job there, but often people , um, want my expertise and , um, continual help , um, as they continue to grow.Speaker 1:
So that's what I was kind of getting at is that if you are doing your job well, your clients are growing and eventually to the point where they actually need to hire a whole team internally. Right? Yeah. And wouldn't that be great? Yeah, totally. Yeah. Well that's awesome that you can be that sort of custodian of their brand and their marketing strategy without them having to accept the overhead of trying to keep a team busy. Cause sometimes it's a regular work, isn't it? Oh yeah. And oftentimes for my clients it comes down to , um , they either don't have the ,Speaker 2:
um, capacity, so time to do it themselves or the capabilities, they're not experts and they don't need to be like, that's, that's where I come in. Right.Speaker 1:
Um, and how you're working with them now, so what's the range of the services that you're providing?Speaker 2:
Um, well the , and that has evolved over time too, right? So here it is. It's the end of , um, 2019 and I'm perfect timing to talk with you because I'm really looking back over the year that I had and all the changes , um, that my business has seen and , um, [inaudible] taking a look forward as well. ObviouslySpeaker 1:
also, I forgot what your question was. I'm so serious. Tell me again why is what I wanted to know and it's totally cool if you want to jam on something else, but what I wanted to know is like what's the, what's the breadth of your services? I mean, what do these guys need right now? Got it. All right. So , um, for me, strategy drivesSpeaker 2:
everything , um, and , and marketing and everything, but you know, marketing's my jam. Um, so it starts with strategy and it's , it's always about what are your goals? Who is your audience? Um, and how do we reach them with the message that they need? Um, so that's, that's overarching, absolutely everything. And I provide services that fill that in. So marketing and strategy , um, like having a plan but also executing. So , um , I already mentioned , um, beautiful websites. Um, that's a service that I provide also , um, copywriting and content creation. Um, SEO that goes along with the website. Um, email marketing is , um, a place where people need a lot of help often. Um, and I, I love doing that. I am a total nerd and I still like email don't at me. [inaudible]Speaker 1:
so what, what sets you apart from, like, why are you the marketing unicorn? Um, I ,Speaker 2:
it's me, it's me. I'm the unicorn. Um , people, people like working with me because I bring a personal touch to it and what I want to do for people. Um, I think it's working, which is I want to be a part of their team. I'm not like an outside source or I'm not a vendor. I want to be on the team. I'm helping you create the strategy and execute it. And I work with my clients in that capacity. Um, just a recent client that came on board , they were working with a , uh, like a conglomerate, like a marketing, you know, agency, this unknown big thing in middle America. And they always spoke to someone different on the phone every time they called. And they didn't understand exactly what they were getting from this company. And um, and I'm like the antithesis of that. Um, aye I met with them face to face, which they really appreciated, but I mean video's great as well, but um, understanding someone's business and being able to not only execute but um, provide guidance and um , be that marketing resource in a , in a just close capacity like that is, is where I shine and what my clients like.Speaker 1:
I imagine. So because I think more so even for the , the smaller businesses that personal touch from that, that that ability to become quite intimate with the business is gotta be really critical for being able to deliver marketing that is effective and OnPoint because a lot of times these areas are just starting out. They may not know themselves or have the experience to be able to know what's going to work for them. And so, you know, relying on the customer to bridge that gap is really tricky. Where it sounds like you're sort of slotting into that advisory role as well as the execution role.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And that helps all of us be successful, that that's making my clients be more successful when I know how their works and , um , what their, their goals are short and long term . And understanding their audience that I can provide new ideas , um, that wouldn't have been thought of otherwise. And if my clients are successful, I'm going to be successfulSpeaker 1:
hundred percent. Yeah. So how are you kind of leveraging that in the way that you're marketing yourself? What do you mean? What's been working for you?Speaker 2:
Um, can , making sure that I have a personal touch , um, right out the gate. So I , um, when people reach out to me or , um , a referral comes my way, which is, you know, often how it , it happens, which is fantastic. Um, often someone's already vouching for me saying you should work with Sally-Anne , um, and making that connection. But , um, I make sure to follow up quickly and , uh, personally and I always do research before I , um, talk with a person, meet with a person, they're like, Oh, well if you look at our website, and I'm like, yeah, spent a lot of time on your website already. Um, so going in with understanding , um, and having ideas already while still listening and being very present and um, and either in person or video , uh, in a way that they know that this is a relationship.Speaker 1:
Right. And isn't that what everything in businesses is about, right. As these. And so do you find that you have a lot of clients that are kind of repeat clients that'll, that'll continue working with you because of that sort of high touch service?Speaker 2:
Yeah, definitely. And you mentioned , um, because they're small businesses, it appeals to them even more so because that's how they operate. Um, so it just, it like jibes with their business in a way that they appreciate.Speaker 1:
So let me back up a bit. How did you get into marketing in the first place?Speaker 2:
Um, I, I love the way people's minds work. And when I was in college and stick with me on this. Okay. Cause um , in college I was trying to decide a major and um , I was totally interested in psychology, sociology , um, and ended up picking marketing instead, which sounds so strange, but [inaudible] it's all about how people think. And um, and that's, I mean that's marketing is, is getting the right message to the right people at the right time through the right channel. Um, and you have to understand how someone is thinking and how what's important to them. Um, so I just, I'm a nerd like that. Like I think you know about me. I love personality tests and I'm dissecting things. I'm just, I'm really a nerd at heart. Um, so that, that's where it came from. I was forced to , uh , pick a major and , um, I went with marketing because I like how people think.Speaker 1:
Well, you know, I , I, that makes entire sense to me. Like I remember being, after I did my masters , I was like, you know what, if I could go back and do the two things, that would be the most beneficial. Two being a business person , I would do a joint degree in economics and in psychology. Oh, that's cool. Because those two things are really the foundation for how you market, sell, run a business in all different aspects. Right. So it makes complete sense to me. And so are you finding that you're , you're pulling some of that stuff into the work that you do now?Speaker 2:
Definitely. I mean that's how I build relationships is um , meeting people where they're at. Um , so part of like a kickoff call or at the beginning part of a relationship with a client, I always want to understand how do they like to communicate. Um, so that, I mean I see my job is making people's lives easier and if they never check their email. Okay. Tell me how else to reach you. Because , um, I , I do need feedback so that I'm, I'm making sure that I'm delivering what they want and we have, you know, an approval process in place, but , um, I need to do it in a way that's conductive to their business , um, as well as mine.Speaker 1:
Well, I liked that. And I like, I mean, you and I have talked a lot about this, but I like the idea that you were considering your needs as important as your client's needs as well in building this business. Right?Speaker 2:
Definitely. So when I was , um, I , I continue to look back on this year , um, you know, part of success is numbers. It's, you know, looking at your bottom line, that's an important thing to look at. Um, but it's not the only measure of success obviously. And so in this like list of , um, wins in 2019 , um, I included the fact that I got to work from Germany for two weeks in November and I , um, and my clients saw no change. They, I mean, I worked it out. The time zones were crazy, but I still was available for my clients. Um, and I was able to work from New York city in June and I took two weeks off this summer and I'm taking time off around the holidays. And so, like you said about building a business that works for you. Um, I have learned , um, about how to better take care of myself and um, and those, those sort of things. Working from Germany, New York, taking time off. Um, that's how I am able to do this is have that work life balance. Sorry. You know, it's, yeah, it's , it's thrown around so much and people, whatever. But I mean it's, it's self care as well, and I'm sorry if anybody hates that word, but I, it's, it's really important to be taking care of yourself and the business and your clients.Speaker 1:
Well, I think you know that that's the platform I stand on, right? Is that you need to have a business that you actually enjoy. And that's not just about, Oh, I like photography, so I'm doing photography. No, it's what makes you actually enjoy your business is that it's not killing you. Right. And that it doesn't feel like you need to continually put more and more is the answer to , to growth is not more time putting more and more of your time into your business. The answer to growth is building something that's scalable and that you can , can, you can envision yourself doing for a very long time.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yeah. Without killing yourself, without like, yeah. Just being able to sustain , um, and bro and something else that , um, has helped me this year with all these different successes, quantitative and qualitative successes that I've seen this year. Um, our processes that I put in place. Um, I know I'm totally just going to like brag on Stephanie right now, but , um , going through the business accelerator program with you and learning , um, and not just learning about processes, but finding a way to make them work for me because everybody works a little bit differently. Everybody has a little different, you know, where your brain works and how your day goes. And um, and so slowly but surely and not too slowly, but definitely surely , um , adding processes that grew my business up. My business is so much more grown up than a year ago. I'm so proud of it.Speaker 1:
Well you, I remember when you finished up in the program, you sent me a message at one point in time, you're like, I have in Alaska , nine weeks, I've had 10 proposals come through that all they all signed. And I'm like, so what, like what is that thing that you unstuck UNSW , unstuck, unstuck, whatever , the past tense of,Speaker 2:
of stick. I'm going to go with you on that one. Um, I don't, it's so many factors. It's so many factors. So Mmm . Having a community which I got through the business accelerator program , um, was really helpful. Um, and being able to talk with you and um, work through issues, maybe ugly things I didn't even want to think about, but I knew I had the resources and support. Mmm . That was amazing. Um, slowly but surely , um , putting processes in place that if at the beginning of the year you had said selling in , um, you're going to get these seven big things done this year, I might've thrown up like it's, I can get overwhelmed and it's very easy to feel like you're , um, you're supposed to be doing like everything and that everybody else is successful and , um, everybody else is making million dollars and you're an idiot and you don't know what you're doing. Like it's real easy to let that get into your brain and just like you, it's toxic. Mmm . But with , with your help and with the pacing , um , that we took of focusing on things one at a time , um, it was really, I need that. I need that processing time. I know that about myself. Um , that things, I can't change things overnight, no matter how much I want to. Um, and so giving me the time to put processes in place, make them my own and then use them magic. I don't know. There've been so many amazing things that went on this year that all like coalesce , um , into, are you ready for this? Cause I have, I'm so excited. Are you ready? I'm so ready. So my revenue grew 50% this year, over last year. Shut up. I will not shut up. That is amazing. Okay. Are you ready for more? I want more. Um, my profit grew 100%. No. What, what is happening? So 50% revenue growth, 100% profitability. And from what I can tell that wasn't because you started to hustle hard and show up 10 times more than you did. What did you do differently? Um, I, I prioritized and I chipped away. Um, and it takes time and effort to realize what your priorities are. Um, and as I said, I can get overwhelmed. I want to do all the things I feel like any need to do, all the things. I don't feel that way anymore. I'm , I'm much better. But , um , chipping away at something, at a manageable rate. Um, and also learning and , and believing that you do have to walk before you run. Well, it's helpful. I mean, as a perfectionist who wants everything to be perfect immediately , uh, it's, that's a hard pill for me to swallow, but it is real. Um, and so I , I mentioned looking forward to the , the next year. It's taken me over a month for me to really like crystallize what my goals are for 2020. And because I had this huge list, I had this like Trello board. I had all of these, like these are the things I have to do or whatever. And um, after like a month of really thinking about this, but like not really thinking about like processing it in the background, I finally have a manageable list for next year and it's got six things on it and some are small and some are big, but it's totally manageable. And I'm like, I'm stoked.Speaker 1:
I love that. Love it. Not as much as me, maybe an AB . Um, I have the advantage of knowing your business quite well and , and the work that you have done this year. So one of the things that came up with you, I remember was around pricing, right? We had some conversations about pricing and I think that this is something that a lot of people struggle with and have some real roadblocks in terms of pricing. So tell me a little bit about what happened with your pricing this year.Speaker 2:
Um, I cannot believe how confident I feel about pricing now compared to before. Um, that's shocking. But one data always helps. So I, and I already mentioned I'm a nerd. I'm not kidding. Um, since the day I started like freelancing, I had been tracking my hours so that I could have an idea of how much time actually goes into a task, a project, whatever, so that I could bid accordingly. Um , because going in, I had no idea what, like the marketplace was charging for certain things. Um, and that makes you uncomfortable. The unknowns make you wildly uncomfortable, some more than others. But , um , so I had data that helped me. Yes. Um, what, what my time, well, how much things were worth according to my time. But yay , you're going to be very proud of me. I am really shifting more towards , um, value pricing and being like, yeah, I know how many hours ish goes into this. Um, but I also know that the value is higher than that number. Um, and so I have incrementally over the last two and a half years , um, increase my , um, and I, I have never backed down. I any price that I have given a person of cost and estimate of proposal, I've never discounted. Um, there have been times when when people said, you know, this is a lot for me to take or, you know, I'm , I'm at revenues zero. There are pre pre-revenue , um, and I've offered payment plans, but , um , I haven't walked back my price because I value my time and , um, and my clients do too. And it's, it's never been an issue. I've never had to fight over it. I've had internal fights , um, but I'm a lot better at that. And so I'm feeling super positive going into 20, 20 about how pricing is going to go.Speaker 1:
You even raised your rates, I'm one of your clients.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yeah. I raised all of my rates mid year, last year for every client. Um, yeah. And I'm, I'm raising them ever so slightly , uh, in the new year as well. And I , it's been fine. It's been great actually. It was scary to do. It was super scary to doSpeaker 1:
for sure. Yeah, that'd be, but because you've already built this, this confidence and trust in with your clients [inaudible] you know, they're, they're already in right. And they already, they already love you and they want to work with you, so get getting that out of your existing clients. But, you know, there's, there's a lot of courage that comes along with that. Right. A lot of people sort of balk at that idea. Um, I want to ask you, you've been in the marketing world for awhile . Um , you've seen it from the corporate side. You have seen it from the small business side, from the solo side. What's, what's changed in the last few years? Like how is this industry evolving right now? What do you think's on the horizon for us?Speaker 2:
Um, I think technology is further facilitating relationships. I think, Oh , a while back, people thought , um, that technology would almost, and no one said this, but like replace important aspects of relationships, like how people communicate, like, I don't know, automation and things like that, but the truth is everybody wants a personal connection. Um, and nobody likes bullshit and people can see through that. So just no problem. So , um, I think people are wising up to , um , technology as a facilitator for , um, relationships and, and just, you know, getting to know businesses, people because businesses are just made of people anyway. I mean, so that's not mind blowing. Um, information. I think we all know this, but I've really seen people take that personal , um , aspect of it just more,Speaker 1:
well, you know, I'm of the opinion and I've been, you know, I've been around for a while and, and you know, I, I don't think a lot has changed in terms of what we're trying to achieve. We just have different ways of doing it, different access to different data. You know, right now the data that we have access to is like, you know, 20 years ago we would have been gagging over it, right? And, and I think people sort of miss the stat , the fact that there are so many opportunities to , to do what we're ultimately trying to do. And that's credit relationships, right? Relationships mean something different in every business. But at the end of the day, everything that we're trying to do is create a relationship with somebody, right. Or a group of people. And so I , I am of the opinion that, yeah, we have different ways of doing it and we have different, you know, new improvements and things continue to get better and that sort of thing. But is that true?Speaker 2:
Yeah, I think it just needs to be augmented with, with the humans, you know, I totally agree though. It's, it's, it's always been about relationships. Um, we just have new ways of interacting and connecting and , um, you know, there's so much content out right now because everybody has a way to get content out. But , um, all S all too often, like in marketing , um, often people lose sight of the basics and they , they start chasing shiny things , um, because they think they're supposed to do or they have to or like whatever. Um, and then they lose track of the basics, which is the who, who is your audience, what do they need from you? [inaudible] and go from there. That is , that is the absolute basics and that transcends all channels. Um, so I think that's, that's where people kind of get lost sometimes.Speaker 1:
Yeah. Do you think we're trying to overcomplicate something that actually needs to be pretty simple?Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.Speaker 1:
Especially for the little guys. And I think the other thing that I see happen is that the , the , the smaller businesses get , um, starry eyed about all the different ways that they can pop up , possibly do things and it, it almost dilutes their efforts. So if you were a small business and , or a solo entrepreneur, where would you, where would you sort of focus your, your work focus, your efforts, two or three different channels? What would you, what would you be focusing on in terms of strategies?Speaker 2:
Um, it depends on your audience. So you have to, you have to define your audience and then , um, so who they are, demographic sort of stuff, psychographics sort of stuff. Um, you need to understand what drives them and then you need to figure out where they hang out. And so I think that's, that's part of your question is like which channel should you focus on? And , um, I agree it's, it's a matter of focus instead of diluting, it's a matter of like getting focus on one thing. I mean, I learned that from you too . Like pick one thing that you really want to improve upon, that you're going to see a great amount of benefit from [inaudible] and do that, do that thing well . And once you have that nailed, you can move on to another channel. If your people are in Instagram and that's where they hang out, go, go in, go all in as much as you can realistically. Um, and that's so key realism, but to Instagram and , and, you know, nail that. But slowly but surely , um , walk before you run. And then if that's working for you, but you see other opportunities try and another thing. But you're right, that small businesses, they do have to focus , um , cause they don't have all the resources to throw everything at everything. But who wants to do that anyway? That's wasted money?Speaker 1:
Well, I think that there's a temptation to though, because there are so many available options and when we get into that sort of scarcity mentality or the anxiety around, you know, what's happening in my business, it's easy to start thinking, well maybe we should be in other channels. Maybe we should start doing this thing. And you end up diluting all of your resources.Speaker 2:
Agreed. Yeah. And so I, I, that's where I come in for my clients. I'm like, I bring people back to the beginning and I'm like, okay, but what are our goals right now? Um, and our , is what we're doing. Does it need more time to , uh , to work? And, and I'm all about , um, analytics and actually seeing, does the data prove out that this is working or it's not working? And allowing things enough time to show that. Um, and so making strategic decisions rather than the shiny decisions.Speaker 1:
And do you find that there's a challenge with your customers?Speaker 2:
Mmm .Speaker 1:
Considering you to be a part of the team? Do they still S is there, is there anything lost when you're an external member of the, of the strategy?Speaker 2:
Yeah, I mean, I'm not there for every meeting that they have and I can't be in, it's not appropriate for me to be, but there's stuff that you could , um, gather if you were like in the office every day and then all those meetings. Um , so I have to be really proactive , um, with my clients and , uh , make sure I'm asking the right questions to help them focus on the right things. Mmm [inaudible] we have to know that about each other as well. Like, if they're going to get the most benefit from working with me, they gotta let me know what's up, like, what's going on, what's coming down the pipeline. Um, and so when we have that great understanding, we work great together, but, you know, nothing's perfect. And , and I've had , um, clients that didn't utilize me as a strategy person as much and it was to their detriment and I , I tried, I tried to be strategic for them and pull them back to the big picture and , um, and they just weren't capable at that time. And , um, I had to have a real conversation with myself about the relationship and, and if I even wanted to continue because , um , it was very frustrating for me to , um , just be given like tasks with no context in some ways and for me to feel like they were wasting their money by just having me do things. Um, so I had to have that conversation with myself and , and I finally on that client, I decided , um, [inaudible] I , this is what they want from me. So I will meet that need for them, even though I have tried multiple times to be more of a strategic presence for them. Um, I'll, I'll meet them where they can be right now. So, okay. And that was, that was a decision you got to make that choice. You put yourself in a position where you knew that you got to make that choice regardless of whether there was, it was, you know, something that somebody externally might've told you to do or not. And I think that power of choice is really important in your business. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, I asked myself if I wanted to walk away from the client as well , um, because it, it wasn't really a fit strategically with what I want to do. And this is my life. Like I get to choose what I do every day. Um, and if it wasn't matching up, then what, what the heck? So I'm , and I'm not working with that client any longer and I'm a happier person because of it. It's it . We weren't a great fit for each other. And that's okay. So let me shift a little bit. Tell me what's been the most pivotal moment in your business so far? Um, it , it , for me, the most pivotal moment was when I took the leap and , um, and I hired a contractor so I, I subcontracted out some of what I was doing and it was very intentional. Um, and I chickened out a few times before I did it , um , because it was an unknown. And , um, everything that I produce I have to be proud of. I ate , it represents my work, it represents my reputation. And so , um , I outsource to a graphic designer. I started working with a graphic designer and , um, I , I needed it to be someone I could trust that , um, was reliable, that did great work that we had a great working relationship with. And so it's scary cause you're trying to check all those boxes. But , um, that was six months ago and my business has grown greatly since making that leap.Speaker 1:
So that's been a part of your growth. Yeah. It's being able to outsource some of that work that wasn't necessarily like a perfect fit for you.Speaker 2:
Yeah, it wasn't my greatest skillset. It was things that I could do. Um, but I always knew I wanted to have a graphic designer resource. Um, yeah. So now I'm focusing on the things that I, I am a superhero at, you know , um, and that, that makes me happier and I'm also delivering better work for all the clients.Speaker 1:
Awesome. I have this question that I ask everybody and it's, you know, we're on the real people, real business show. We're all about being real. What do you think is the biggest gap between what we hear out there in the world, in the online business world and what's actually happening in reality?Speaker 2:
Oh, I mean, I already mentioned there's so much bullshit out there and you can buy it or you don't have to. And um, it is a little hard to be able to tell the difference between a bullshit artist and someone who's genuinely awesome , um , and worth listening to and working with or, or whatever. Um, so you have to just take things with a grain of salt. And I think what's really important is , um, really try not to measure yourself against other people. Um, because that, that is just, Oh no, like get ready for heartache because people can say anything they want. They can say, I make $1 million a year. Um, you don't know. So yeah, it is hard to tell like the real versus the bullshit. Um, and so I, I, I take people at their word that I know [inaudible] and respect. I'm Stephanie. I met you through a colleague and she, I admire her greatly. Shout out to Lynn . Some are men. Um, I admire her and she's successful and she's a badass . And she said, you were great. And I was like, I believe that, but I wanted to be certain for myself and I, I met you and I followed you. And then I was like, let's do this damn thing. Mmm .Speaker 1:
Well, I'm glad that we did. Yeah. Thanks . So , so there's a thread in everything that you've talked about today, which is like the, the, the validation, right? And the , um, the ability to connect, right. To really connect with people. And that's very much about, that's very much how you have built your own growth. It's very much about the things you do for others in terms of growth. It's very much about the way that you operate as an individual is, is that you create these deep connections, right? You want to connect, you want to, you think, you believe and, and you practice that being like an antidote to a lot of the things that are tricky for you.Speaker 2:
Yeah. I um , I even consider myself a connector. So it's funny to hear you say that word exactly cause that's exactly how I feel. I connect people, but I also , um, connect ideas , um , sometimes more creatively or insanely than other people. Um, but that energizes me , um , making connections.Speaker 1:
Awesome. What do you, what would you, what do you wish that you had known before you got started and what would be really helpful for all of the listeners to know as they're working through their business?Speaker 2:
Um, Oh man, I am so afraid that if like future Sally could go to pass Sally and like told her all the things she'd be like, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, you know how like before you have a child, people are like, these are the things, and you're like, Oh, sure, of course. And then they happen, you're like, Oh my God, they were serious. Um , and you just don't know until you're in it. Oh. But , um , so that's, that's my caveat there. But , um, a few things, like everything always takes longer and costs more than you expect, you know, so get used to that. Um, and account for that. Have people that you can talk to that you trust. Um, I , I went and got myself a business mentor , um, before I, before I had even written a business plan. Mmm . So that was really helpful to have someone in my court that I could just be like really vulnerable and confused and scared with that. Um , I trusted him so much and, and could unload on him and get advice as well. Um, advice to pass Sally and all other entrepreneurs. Um , Oh, I know. Um, you're going to have a lot of great days and a lot of terrible days. And um, for me it's a cycle. It's like every three months or so, I'm like, Oh, this is terrible. I'm terrible in . This has to end and I'm going to get a job. Um, and then like three days later, I'm like, this is amazing and I'm doing better than ever before. And it's like, Oh my gosh, seriously. Uh, so I just have to remind myself, Oh, Hey Sal , you did this three months ago. So just like chill cause it's gonna be fine. Um, I mean it's , it's good to be aware of like the world around you, but just calm the hell down. It's the long game, isn't it? Right . It really is. Yeah. And I think that it , if you, the antidote to that is consistency and continuing to be consistent in your business and the way that you're showing up and all of that sort of thing. Those short term fears will be alleviated pretty quickly. Yeah. Can I tell you a crazy story? Sure. Okay . So , um, and so when I was working for a corporation , uh , working remotely and had been with that company for six years, I , and I, I mentioned I was really stressed. This is before I went off on my own, which would be T dub is a stressful thing to do. Right. But , um, so I was like, Oh, I'm going to leave one stressful thing and do another stressful thing. Cool idea. Um, so I , um, at night when I sleep, I am a clencher. I'm not a grinder . I'm a clencher and I have a $200 mouth guards approve it. Right. And I was so stressed and I could always tell when I was most stressed because my job would hurt. And I, I quit that corporate job and I went off on my own and that first summer and ever since, I haven't had to wear my nightguard at all. Well , it's not like it's, it's amazing. So it's not like I'm not, you know, occasionally stressed or whatever. I mean, hi , we're humans and it's the year 2019 probably. Um, it's just, it's different and I feel in control and I think to me that's like, you're doing the right things , Sally. Like what you were doing was not working out for you. And this is,Speaker 1:
I think that's, I mean, this is something that I talked to my people all about about all the time as well, is just like listening to your body, right? I am not a particularly woo person. I don't have a lot of that going on, but I know that the money you need to make a decision, you can feel it in your body. You can feel it in the way that you react to things. You can feel it in the way that you, you know, the , that you, you, it's, it's in all different parts of your life, right? Your , your jaw clenching or for some people it's their skin and for other people it's something else, right? So if you're really aware of [inaudible] and tuned into your body, that's a very, that's a great place to start with most of your decisions. Okay. You talk to me about your plans for 20, 20. Tell me what's next for you. Like what is, what are the big plans? Mmm .Speaker 2:
In terms of my services, I'm, I'm going to , uh, I'm getting ready to enroll in a course , um, to shore up some of my skills so that I can offer , um , more strategic, social media , um, services for my clients. So I'm looking to do that and make that like bigger and better for my clients. And I'm also , um, looking to add more contractors to my like bench , um, so that I'm not overwhelming any one person. Um, but that I , I have the resources ready to be able to , um, give my clients the services that they need. Mmm . So those are two big things in, in service for me in terms of my offering. Um, I'm also looking to make some changes in how I do business development and , um, grow my pipeline. So I'm , I'm kind of finalizing these ideas for the new year.Speaker 1:
Awesome. And it sounds like you're really well organized on you. Got you got yourself sorted in terms of exactly how you're going to get those things done.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yeah. It's kind of amazing.Speaker 1:
Awesome. Okay. We are running up against time. I always love talking to you. Um, can you tell the listeners where they can find you?Speaker 2:
Yeah. Um, so Sam gray marketing unicorn , um, my business is called verb digital marketing and the web address is verbs, the word that com . Um, yeah, just search for me. You can find me in the social media is , um, LinkedIn,Speaker 1:
Facebook. Um, and we'll link to all of your, your channels in the show notes as well. Um, you mentioned you had an , uh , you had a free offer to share with our listeners, which is so, so generous. Do you want to tell them a little bit about that? And we'll also post the link to that in the show notes. I actually don't have it off or I'm sorry. Oh, I thought you had a, I thought you had some, you have to cut this part out, but yeah. Sorry. You had a, you had a live webinar with website strategy for small businesses. Oh no. Did a 30 minute or a 30 minute consult. Do you want to just not mention those or I just don't, I don't have a webinar legs scheduled at this exact moment. Okay. Okay, cool. We'll just take that whole part out. Okay. Okay. I'll let Stephanie know and I've lost my screen. Oh , right. Let's get back on track. Okay. Pause. Okay. Amazing. Sally-Ann thank you so much for being here with us today. I know that um, a lot of people have uh , have similar challenges to those that your clients are describing. So definitely reach out to Sally and get ahold of her and I'm sure she will be super happy to drop some of that knowledge and help you out. So that is a wrap for this episode. Such a conversation, Sally, it's always wonderful to talk to you. Make sure you go and check out Sally and her business verbs, the word.com and thank you for tuning in today to hear this story. The episodes you're listening to are all featuring members of my free private Facebook group called the real deal business coaching group where we have daily prompts to keep you focused on building your business and sharing your everyday challenges. Biweekly virtual coffee chats, open coaching and member support from an incredible community. We're also doing monthly pop up coaching. So stay tuned for those and you can hop on and get some free coaching if you would like to join our community or if you want to be featured on this show, I would love for you to come and hang out with us in the group link is in the show notes or search app , real deal, business coaching and Facebook to find us. And finally, I would love for you to join us on our next episode where we're going to talk to Nicole net, who has a really unique agency that works with unconventional businesses. She's got some super interesting stories from , um, from the market that you wouldn't really think about. Thank you again for being here. And if you've enjoyed today's content, I would love for you to give us a review on whatever platform you're on. This helps us share these stories with an even bigger audience. And until next time, keep building, keep dreaming, and keep being real.