Why You've Got To Check Out Today's Episode:
[00:00:00] Kathi Burns: Hi there. I'm board certified professional organizer Kathy Burns. I'm really glad you're here. This podcast is designed for busy entrepreneurs just like you, who wanna take better control of your business and move forward with less trust and more success. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming. The Organized Energized Podcast is produced for your enjoyment and show notes are found at thepodcast.organizedandenergized.com. Come back often and feel free to add this podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow me on Twitter at Organized Energy and Facebook while links are in the show notes. Now let's get into the show.
Hi everyone. I'm so glad you're here. Today we're gonna talk about how to streamline your marketing and overcome your overwhelm. Yep. I know we all feel it from time to time, and we're going to talk with Sarah Noel Block. The reason we're going to have her on today is because she's an inbound marketing expert and she focuses on an education based approach to marketing for SMBs and solopreneurs. Sarah's approach to marketing systems make it easy for tiny teams to have a huge impact. She works with businesses in two ways. She does marketing, education and products for small businesses, and she also does strategy and executing content marketing and inbound marketing funnels for SMBs, so smb, small business owner. Anyhow, we're going to jump into it. We're going to learn from Sarah how to streamline your marketing and help you overcome your overwhelm. We'll see you in a jiffy.
Hi everyone. Welcome back to Organize and Energize the podcast. Today we're speaking with Sarah Block and we are going to talk about marketing. We're gonna talk about how to stay organized and how to overcome your overwhelm while you're doing it, which we know is always a thing as solopreneurs. So welcome to the show, Sarah.
[00:01:59] Sarah Block: Thanks for having me.
[00:02:01] Kathi Burns: Absolutely. So talk to me a little bit about your background. Why are you doing what you're doing and what are you doing?
[00:02:07] Sarah Block: Yeah, so I work with business consultants, primarily solo entrepreneurs, on how to create really streamlined marketing that works when you have a small team. I started because I was a one person marketing department for a seven company group Yep. Sums it up. I was really overwhelmed and I came up with a framework to be able to make that work when I was only me. I was only one person and I didn't have a big budget. So now I use that framework and I help other small businesses who don't have the, who are in the same position as I was and need a system to be able to market.
[00:02:53] Kathi Burns: Absolutely. What do you find what's this, what's your favorite way to, to get the word out for small businesses?
[00:03:01] Sarah Block: Like the best strategy for them to be able to?
[00:03:05] Kathi Burns: Or the best platform, is it advertising? Is it social? What, how does it work?
[00:03:10] Sarah Block: Yeah. So I work with a lot of business consultants, and I have found that there's a good combination of things that will that work well together. One, you have to have a full funnel of content marketing. So you're pulling in people at the awareness stage, but you're moving them down the funnel. And that's where a lot of people mess up is that they're all about the awareness and being present on social media, but they don't know how to move people down to okay, now I have this problem and they could possibly be a solution and shortlisting them. So content marketing that does that podcasting, which we're doing right now, works really well for that because people become aware you exist, but through your podcast they really learn to trust you and understand how you can solve their problem and the way you do it uniquely. So podcasting works really great for business consultants and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is my favorite for business consultants. It's a no-brainer.
[00:04:15] Kathi Burns: That's excellent. And so right now you're working, I assume that you're no longer working for the seven businesses also? Now you have your individual clients. Okay. That's great. And how do, what do you find where do they get stuck mainly? I know you said, they get the lead magnet, perhaps they've done it, but they've broken down the funnel to get people into it. Where is the main disconnect that they don't have that smaller product to move into and then a bigger product?
[00:04:42] Sarah Block: One disconnect that I see at the very top is that they only create awareness content. So people become, they like realize they exist, but they don't know what problem you solve or how they can work with you. And they're just not clear about what you do at all. You're just educating but not moving them any further. And then for the people who do know how to move people a little bit further and have that lead magnet, the disconnect I see is that they don't nurture afterwards. They grab that lead magnet, deliver it, but then the sales end, like they think that the sale will just happen naturally, but you should really be making that part of the system and it needs to be happening after that lead magnet.
[00:05:36] Kathi Burns: Yeah. It's okay, now you know me. Here's what I can do for you and here's how you can get that access, that service.
[00:05:43] Sarah Block: Yeah. Start off with a welcome sequence that makes it really clear what you do, how you solve their problem, where they can find you. I like to do a digital tour, I call it, where I show people the different places I am online and where they can interact, so I can meet them where they are.
[00:06:02] Kathi Burns: Oh, that's cool. Is that like on a video, you do it, or with an email? You just keep sending the links?
[00:06:08] Sarah Block: It's part of my welcome sequence. It's my second email that goes out. The first one is a gift. Here's a gifty for signing up for my lead magnet, and the second one is their digital tour. These are the places that we can hang out and get to know each other, and then I start talking about the solution I provide. And from there, you'll want to be able to mix in your nurture with your Evergreen sales emails. So you're actually selling and it's not going cold.
[00:06:38] Kathi Burns: And keeping in touch. I, yeah it's really needed. I think a lot of people I know in the beginning of my career, I was just like educate, just tell them everything. And then they would go into overwhelm. And I know the title of this show is to how to avoid Marketing Overwhelm. What are some tips that you would provide to the listeners here to help them stay focus and to not go into the overwhelm because marketing is a huge beast on its own.
[00:07:04] Sarah Block: Amen, sister. Yes, it is. And the first thing I do is I think about my marketing from the perspective of my ideal customer and what their journey is. And then I only do that. You don't need to overcomplicate it, just. Look at the top 20% of your customers, the ones that are the most profitable you love working with, and figure out what their common attributes are. And then you can put together a customer avatar and their journey. How do they become aware that you exist? What is it that converted them? I do this with surveys and interviews. And then just do that. You don't have to show up everywhere. You don't have to do all the things. Just do that because likely their journey will mirror other people similar to them, their journey.
[00:07:57] Kathi Burns: Yeah, absolutely. And what do you think about your avatar is yourself what do you think about that statement?
[00:08:05] Sarah Block: So well explain what you mean by that. Like you sell to someone similar to you?
[00:08:10] Kathi Burns: Yes.
[00:08:12] Sarah Block: I don't think there's anything wrong with that. So give me your scenario.
[00:08:18] Kathi Burns: What I think is I've spent years trying to develop who is my avatar? And then I realized that my avatar is really me, artistic, creative, organized, or people, artistic, creative people who need the skill that I have that brings in the organizing aspect. And women my age, women that are entrepreneurs, so people that are similar to me are the people that I think I can help the most because I understand them the most.
[00:08:45] Sarah Block: So this would be like historical you, the you before you figured out how to solve your problem. I think that makes sense because you understand the pain that you are going through when you lacked the systems. To be able to work efficiently. So you can really speak to that on an empathetic level, which matters a lot.
[00:09:10] Kathi Burns: Yeah, absolutely. Tell me about when you, so when did you launch your company? How long have you been doing this?
[00:09:18] Sarah Block: So it was a side hustle for 10 years. I was really slow to launch, like to jump all in and I've been full-time with it for three years now.
[00:09:29] Kathi Burns: I love it. So what were you doing in the interim and how did you manage the side hustle? Cause I know a lot of people listening are either thinking about leaving their job or they've just left their job or they're just thinking, I need to do something else. How did it work for you? What were you doing and how did you incorporate the side hustle to, to greatness?
[00:09:50] Sarah Block: Yeah. I'm the girl to talk to about that as someone who did it for 10 years. I was working as a marketing director during that time. I was head of marketing for a couple different companies and I started off with making it so it would be an easy, easily fit into my life. As a marketing director, so I started off like freelance writing and doing co webinars with people within the marketing niche, so it made sense for my personal brand and my companies weren't mad at me for it. And then when I decided that I wanted to take it full-time. I was honest and transparent with my team and I told them about a year before I did it, that was my plan, and I went all in. My first step was I did a lot of collaboration content. I partnered with product companies and other people who had a mirror audience to me so I could capture that audience and really, build my presence before I went full-time with it. And that was my first up. And then I started I, I got all of my contracts that would make up my salary before I left my job. So I had six figures of contracts locked and loaded before I left. It made it a lot more comfortable for me because it was scary.
[00:11:21] Kathi Burns: Yeah, it's scary and it it's good that you weren't jumping into a different career, made it for an easier transition, I think. And the fact that you're open and honest with the people that you're working for, I think that's what really counts, is just tell people where you are coming from and just be straightforward. I think that the right companies would, allow you to do that.
[00:11:42] Sarah Block: They were cool. They actually became a client. So it worked out really well.
[00:11:47] Kathi Burns: Yeah, absolutely. They're like, you go for it, Sarah. You can do it and by the way, we'll just hire you instead of you being on staff. We'll just keep you doing what you're doing.
[00:11:56] Sarah Block: They were super supportive.
[00:11:58] Kathi Burns: I love that. That's fantastic. So tell me about a time, so after you launched, you had your contracts done, did you have a valley, did you have something that happened that just, you were, your world was rocked out and you're like, oh no now what am I gonna do? And how did you get out of it? Do you have one of those type of stories? Because I, I think we all go through the ups and downs of our business, and it's always good to hear stories about how you climb out of something that wasn't such a great space.
[00:12:27] Sarah Block: Yeah, I mean there's been a lot of hills and valleys in this experience. I would say the hardest one for me was it, I had such fast growth and I wasn't prepared for that. I didn't have a team for that. I wasn't ready to scale at the beginning, so that was a lot of it. That felt like a lot of pressure. I was really overwhelmed with that. And I actually brought on my VA before I left my company because I had to start working with some of those clients while I was still working there. And it was nights, weekends, and then I had my VA helping me with stuff that had to be done during the day. So I added on, she helped me a ton and I added on some other team members to help me support that, and it made it a lot easier having that team. And we had weekly meetings where we could just collaborate and get everything done at one time, so we weren't back and forth all the time.
[00:13:30] Kathi Burns: Yeah. It's so smart to already have a VA before you really go full-time. And I think that's a problem with what I've seen with other fellow entrepreneurs or solopreneurs, is it's hard to know what to delegate, but the fact that you had someone in place already that could be your backup and support, your wing so to speak, would be fantastic. And delegation is so important and as entrepreneurs it's hard to delegate. I know this to be true because I watch it with my clients. It's like they, they're going to screw it up. They're not going to do it, they aren't gonna be my voice or whatever. But kudos to you. And so you grew your team and then you're able to scale. Because without a team you can't scale for sure.
[00:14:08] Sarah Block: No, you can't at all. I tried so many different ways to make it work while keeping it tight. But I needed my team and I'm so glad I have them.
[00:14:22] Kathi Burns: Yeah. I'll never give my team up. It's once you have 'em, it's fantastic. Yeah. Then they can do what they can do what you hate anyhow, so I say what you hate, delegate.
[00:14:32] Sarah Block: That is exactly right. If I don't want to do something, it'll take me forever because I procrastinate. I'd rather just hand it off to someone who loves doing it.
[00:14:41] Kathi Burns: In the beginning of my career I tried to do all the tech and I am just not, I know tech, but doing tech stuff just drives me bonkers half the time and having someone that could just take it away and deal with it is fantastic. And then I can do, you know what I do best. So I think that's what it's all about. I, and as a word to the people listening out there, if you find yourself in your business and you're not liking your business anymore, and you're feeling like you're just overwhelmed and not happy, you're probably not delegating this stuff that you hate. You've lost your juju and your passion on why you started your business to begin with.
[00:15:21] Sarah Block: You are spot on with that. I had a period where I just didn't need one of my team members as much as I used to, and I ended up losing her. And now I am just needing her so badly. I'm like, come back. Because she took on and loved to do all of the things I hate doing. It was just so you know, December, it's slow.
[00:15:47] Kathi Burns: It's if you can think of something to keep them going I have one of my staff members, I'm just trying to, or one of my team, I'm trying to give her other work too, from other people that need her skills, that way it's a win-win. She's enough. I don't have to worry about complete support, but I need her cause she does stuff I don't wanna do and she's really good at it. So why not pass on the good? Because there's so many entrepreneurs out there that need just a little bit. And I think that's what keeps us stuck is that we think, I can't afford that. I can't afford that. But what you know, is you can do, so to speak, time sharing with talent.
[00:16:23] Sarah Block: Yeah. That is a great way to put it. That's how most of my people are with me. It's a timeshare among the entrepreneurs.
[00:16:33] Kathi Burns: And we just help each other grow. They help me grow and I help them get more clients to do what my clients shouldn't be doing. They don't want to, they shouldn't be, we can't do it all. That's the thing is as solopreneurs, we can't do it all we think we can. But like you said earlier is you can't scale when you do that.
[00:16:51] Sarah Block: No. No, and you end up getting frustrated and burned out and losing interest in your business like they, during that time I was like, what was I thinking? Why did I do this? I know why I did this. I did this because these loud kids on the other side of the wall, because I can be here when they're on summer break or after school.
[00:17:14] Kathi Burns: And you're supposed to be, you're supposed to have your own freedom and do what you want to do when you want to do it. And you definitely cannot do that without a team. For sure. Yeah, I'm with you on that.
[00:17:22] Sarah Block: Now I'm going to go hire more people.
[00:17:25] Kathi Burns: Yeah. So how do you manage what organization what organizing systems or apps do you use to keep your team together and for communication?
[00:17:36] Sarah Block: I am glad you asked that. I love systems and I love tech. Ask my accountant. She's you need to stop buying tech. Teamwork is my very favorite project management tool. That's what I use with my team and it also has a slack like tool built right in. Yes, for communication. So everything happens there. We still have a Slack, which has become more social than work. Teamwork ends up being work. And then Slack is our social. Let me think what else. Oh, we use Google Meets because everything is integrated because we use all Google Suite.
[00:18:17] Kathi Burns: Yeah. Love the Google Suite.
[00:18:19] Sarah Block: Yes. That's pretty much, oh, I love Airtable too. Airtable is a great database to make it so easy to like sift through data.
[00:18:32] Kathi Burns: Absolutely. That's good. That's good. So if you had to tell your 18 year old self a little bit of advice about where you are now and where she was then, what would you tell her?
[00:18:48] Sarah Block: Jump faster. You don't have to be so scared. I was an absolute chicken. It took me forever to take it full time, and it was so much easier than I thought it would be because when you think about it okay, so I graduated right around the recession and I got laid off from my first job in marketing. As did everybody else pretty much. Distributed income is so much more safe than relying on one company. I don't know why I let that fear hold me back for so long. No security in someone else owning me.
[00:19:27] Kathi Burns: Yeah, I love that. And I think you're right. During the, the recession, marketing's the first thing to go, which in my opinion should be the last thing to go, if you're in business, you can't not market let go of other things, not marketing.
[00:19:41] Sarah Block: Yes, it was. It was marketing and then half the sales staff was next.
[00:19:49] Kathi Burns: Yeah. That's good. So yeah don't be afraid, just jump. Lose your fear. And that's what we do as entrepreneurs anyhow, every single day. There's something to lose your fear over. I really think that, you know something to jump over and to get over about what's going on in your business. For sure.
[00:20:06] Sarah Block: Yeah. There's 100% hurdles in your brain that you have to get through. So much fear, but. As long as you plan, you're good to go.
[00:20:17] Kathi Burns: So once you have a success, what do you do to celebrate your success?
[00:20:22] Sarah Block: At the beginning, every time I got a new contract, I would pop, I had a little bottle of champagne, I would pop. So that's what I did at the beginning. I feel like I've gotten worse about celebrating my little successes. I need to start that again.
[00:20:36] Kathi Burns: Yeah. This is the reason I'm asking this on most of my podcasts is because I find that I don't pause to take, I don't pause to accept success or even acknowledge success. I just keep plowing on down the road. It's like intentionally celebrating all the little things that happened because there's so many cool things that happen throughout the work week that it's like huge, but really it's ah yeah. I'm 18 years in. Good. Okay. That happened.
[00:21:04] Sarah Block: You get a good review. That should be something to celebrate. Your client is happy and there's no revisions type of project. That's something to be happy about. Stop and celebrate.
[00:21:16] Kathi Burns: Yeah, absolutely. Now is your team virtual or are they in person?
[00:21:22] Sarah Block: Virtual.
[00:21:23] Kathi Burns: Okay. And do you have, do you meet with them? Have you met them yet?
[00:21:27] Sarah Block: I have not met any of them in person, which is so weird. I feel like I, I feel like I have.
[00:21:33] Kathi Burns: Yeah, it's a really weird thing. I've had I've had a team for eight years now, and I have not met, I have not met them. So this September actually, when I'm going to be in your area in Chicago, we're actually going to have a retreat.
[00:21:47] Sarah Block: That'll be awesome.
[00:21:47] Kathi Burns: I'm actually be able to see people in person in Michigan and have just a little weekend to get to know each other. But isn't it so funny that we do all this virtual stuff and then we don't ever meet their body?
[00:22:01] Sarah Block: Yeah. It is weird. I feel like I have so many good business friends. I have. It's rare that I see them in person. I've met two in person.
[00:22:15] Kathi Burns: Wow. Yeah. It's, that's the way it is right now. But it's, it is interesting. Yeah, for sure. Okay, so what have we not talked about that you think that we're missing here in this conversation? Is there anything that you really wanted to discuss? . Any hot tips?
[00:22:32] Sarah Block: Hot tips for solopreneurs. Batching days. If we're going to be talking about marketing as a solo entrepreneur, you need to just set up batching days because you get bogged down with your client work and then your own business falls off and you don't spend the time doing it. So yeah, I set aside Fridays as my marketing day, and I just plow through it. I have my list and I go through it, listen to some good playlists, and it's so much easier and I'm not worrying about it. I'm not thinking about it anymore.
[00:23:14] Kathi Burns: I love that batching days. I call it umbrella of an intentional for each day, and there definitely needs to be a marketing day in your week as an entrepreneur for sure. So that's smart. And on top of that, when you're on a roll, you can just slice and dice and, do all the content you want very quickly.
[00:23:31] Sarah Block: So much easier when you batch. You're right, repurposing and scheduling it all at once. Imagine that feeling of relief, the pressure off of you knowing everything is scheduled already.
[00:23:43] Kathi Burns: Yeah, absolutely. That's what I do with podcasts. I typically do five one day a month, and that way I always have a month's worth of content plus an extra just in case I need to take some time off.
[00:23:54] Sarah Block: Some five, the five week months too that throw everything off.
[00:23:58] Kathi Burns: Exactly. But yeah I'm with you. I think that's really good advice. Okay. So I know you have a free, valuable resource for the kiddos out here. What are we going to offer them today?
[00:24:09] Sarah Block: Yeah, so if they go to Sarah Noel Block, Dot com slash organized for this podcast. They can find everywhere that I hang out online, but they're also gonna get a free DIY customer avatar and journey bundle, which is, it's one of my paid products. It's $27, but they're getting it free. There's a promo code on there organized. Earlier I was talking about how you can create your entire marketing plan around that one customer avatar and their journey. This is, this will help you do that.
[00:24:44] Kathi Burns: Excellent. That's a huge tool. Wow. That's pretty generous. Thank you. So you guys grab it. Don't pay money, it's for free because you're on this podcast. And appreciate you. Yeah, absolutely. That's cool. Okay, so everybody go to the website, it'll be down below as a link underneath the podcast as well. But you want to say the URL one more time?
[00:25:05] Sarah Block: Yeah, it's my name, Sarah Noel block.com/organized.
[00:25:10] Kathi Burns: And it's Sarah with an H? Just for those out there listening there.
[00:25:13] Sarah Block: And Noel spelled like the boy name. N o e l
[00:25:17] Kathi Burns: N o e l. Okay. You got it. Thanks for being on the show. I wish you much success and have a great summer. And guys, we will see you next week. And thanks Sarah. I really appreciate your time.
[00:25:29] Sarah Block: Thanks for having me.
[00:25:31] Kathi Burns: Absolutely. We'll see you soon.
Hey, thanks for listening to this podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode, and if you want to hear more, feel free to subscribe on the platform of your choice. Also, if you feel so inclined, I would truly appreciate a good rating from you to me. Have a stellar day.