Earlier this morning I spent about two hours in the ocean. Now when it’s a little on the rough side, like it is today, I tend to stay out of the water and instead throw some ice cubes down my pants to cool off. However, being that the heat index is well into the triple-digits, I threw caution to the wind and hoped that the swimming lessons my mother forced me into taking would save me from drowning.
Those lessons were as popular with me as the piano lessons my mother insisted I take. I remember every Wednesday at 4:30pm my piano teacher would show up at the house, I’d lie about practicing and she collected her $7 after listening to me pound the Wurlitzer upright for 30 minutes.
Needless to say, I’m not able to swim or play the piano if my life depended on it.
Well, maybe chopsticks and a doggy paddle.
But my lack of swimming ability doesn’t stop me from going in the ocean. Just because you’re not an “expert” in something doesn’t mean you have to stay away from things you want or like to do. You can always learn (or muddle along)!
An aspiring entrepreneur sent me an email the other day asking for ten minutes of my time to talk about eCommerce. This young lady recently became unemployed when the company she worked for lost a government contract and they were forced to lay people off. Being a 15 year employee, she thought she was safe, but the cuts ran deep.
She had done some research about opening an online store but she felt she didn’t have the knowledge or expertise to pull off opening her own business. I explained to her that most of the eCommerce stores you see out there today were opened by people just like her – ones with a dream of owning their own business and the passion for making it a success. They weren’t built by following a step-by-step guide or by wasting money on some “get your business online” seminar. They were built by people who learned as they went along making mistakes along the path to success.
I spent well over an hour talking about what she’s going to need to get started, what she’s going to need six months down the road and what she’s going to need on an ongoing basis. For the most part, it was all Greek to her, but she was willing to learn.
And that’s the important part.
By the way… she’s 62 and based on her passion, she’s going to be a success!
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From the mailbag:
Via email: I just signed up with a company to manage my email marketing. They are going to be sending two emails a month to my customers. Should I be doing more than that?
Two a month is about average and is a good place to start. One thing you don’t want to do is bombard your customers with email so much that they hit the unsubscribe button. After a few months, you can try increasing the number of blasts, slowly, then gauging the effectiveness. The company you’re working with should be able to provide you with reports that show the performance of each email sent and can work with you to establish what you both feel will be an optimum amount of emails to send per month.
Via email: We have a Facebook page but we really don’t post to it that often. We have 2,653 followers and would like to start using Facebook to reach them. How often should we post?
With as many fans as you say you have, I would be posting something at least once or twice per day. Keep in mind, people aren’t going to Facebook to buy things. Don’t hit your fans with sales pitches each time you post – that’s the fastest way to get them to “unlike” you. Post pictures of people using your products, fun things that go on in the office, links to relevant sites or blog posts, ask questions, etc. Make your Facebook page a fun place for your customers and fans to visit and keep sales pitches to the minimum.
Via Facebook: Do you still have eCommerce stores?
No. I sold the majority of my eCommerce stores in 2006. The last of them were sold in 2011 ending a very exciting 17 years of selling online. I often consider opening another store, but I’m happy helping other eCommerce store owners be successful with theirs. Besides, on hot days like today, I don’t miss helping the guys in the warehouse pick and pack orders.
Via email: I see the company you work for signed a $100 million deal to be a PGA sponsor. Does this mean you’re going to start golfing?
Nope. I don’t like the game. Besides the last person the beards in corporate are going to take to a PGA event is me! However, I am looking to become the official sponsor of a Beer Pong league. If you know of any looking to sell naming rights, let me know.