Build a Badass Business Podcast #12: Q&A: Passive income, getting customers, and naming your business

BABAB-PODCAST-Square_Episode-12 (1)Listener Q&A:

  1. How can I reach a million people?
  2. What are some of your best strategies for getting customers?
  3. What are the pros and cons of using your own name as your business name?

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Build a Badass Business: Episode 12

Coming to you straight from her basement home office in suburban New Jersey, this is Build a Badass Business with Diane Sanfilippo. Diane is a New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. She’s here to teach you how to grow and develop a successful business you love, and how to create raving fans along the way. Here she is, your host: Diane Sanfilippo.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hey guys, welcome back to the show. Today I’m recording from a mostly empty room, so if there is a little bit of an echo, I apologize, but as I mentioned on a previous episode, I am not going to let the perfect setup, or lack thereof in this case, keep me from delivering episodes to you. So here we go. I’m going to get into a few questions and let’s see where this takes us.

Scott Mills: Jeffery asks, what different ways are there to reach a million people and generate passive income, or how would you go about it? I’m not exceptionally educated in nutrition or fitness, but I am certified as a personal trainer. I’m not sure if acquire a more thorough education is a must in order to make this work.

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, Jeffery. There are a lot of different ways to create passive income. However, I think the big myth about passive income is that it is an entirely passive process. What I mean by that is, in order to have income that comes in essentially while you’re sleeping, which is what a lot of people think about with passive income or while you’re doing something else you’re able to generate sales on a product, or maybe you have a course or something like that, or perhaps you have a blog or video content that has ads on it, and you can generate income from that. It still requires you to do work. It still requires that you create content that is valuable to people, whether that’s the product or program itself, or again free content that perhaps has advertising on it.

So, he’s saying here that he’s a certified personal trainer, so just a few ideas to throw out there if you’re looking for a way to create passive income. If you’re a personal trainer, maybe you can find a unique way to teach people different exercises, and video them. Maybe you are showing demonstration of just yourself, maybe you have a client who would sign off and say, it’s ok to have me in this video. There are lots of different trainers out there who do this, and just because there are tons of them doesn’t mean that you can’t add a voice to that community. I think that if your education in those fields isn’t at a certain level, then honestly the thing that you need to have besides just your certification is personality and a point of view. There’s no reason why people will even begin to follow what you’re doing if they can’t get to know you, they can’t get to know your personality, they can’t get to know your point of view and what you have to offer. So those are a couple of different things out there.

There’s almost no such thing as passive income, when you think about it. The only difference is, with passive income with nonpassive income, or active income, is that you’re not trading your hours for dollars. And of course, as a personal trainer, that’s kind of the cycle that you get stuck in. You’re trading exactly that, you’re trading hours for dollars, and I just wanted to kind of bust that myth a little bit, that passive income means you don’t have to do work. It really doesn’t mean that, it just means that you aren’t working for hourly rates.

Scott Mills: Claudia asks, what are some of your best strategies to get customers? Do you have a specific marketing strategy, like posting to social media X amount of times a day, or amount of times you market your products, do you market in person as much as online? She says, sorry that’s more than one question. It’s been a slow start to sell my online programs, as well as get a larger client base. So thanks!

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, this is really interesting question because it’s not {laughs} it’s not going to be the answer that you want to hear, and I’m sorry about that, but this is the truth. The best strategies to getting customers: connecting with people in real life. Hands down, number one. I just had a call with a business coaching client who, he actually won the 50,000 Instagram followers giveaway where I was giving away a 50 minute consultation, I don’t actually take coaching clients one on one right now, but I offered that as a giveaway, and I had this conversation with him, and let him know that that is absolutely the number way to get started, connecting with people one on one in person. I think people just don’t put enough value in that. I think social media is great, but you will never replace the connection you make with 10 people in a room, even with 100 or maybe even 1000 people that you’ve never met on social media.

This is kind of a core topic that I feel really passionate about these days, because people look back at the success of my first book, Practical Paleo, and I think a lot of people think it’s just because the book is great. And the book is great, it helps a lot of people, it answers a lot of questions, it fills a need that people had, it became a tool where somebody who learned about the paleo diet could share it with somebody else. But I don’t believe, in my heart that that’s the reason it started to do well in the beginning. I believe honestly it’s because I was traveling the country teaching seminars for at least 2 years before the book even came out, so I met thousands of people face to face. I sat with them, or stood and they sat, for 8 hours in a room and got to know them. And I was podcasting for probably at least a year before the book came out, maybe 6 months. I was podcasting for a long time before the book came out, so not only was I in front of people, probably thousands of them, then I was in people’s ears teaching them about nutrition and giving information away for free; the podcast is free.

You know, the seminar, of course, cost money the value you’re getting for that 8 hours, it was maybe about $100 to come to the seminar, some people maybe spent less and came for a shorter amount of time. I don’t think of it as, what’s my strategy to get people. I think: how can I serve the people I’m trying to serve. I’m here to solve problems for people; I’m here to help make their lives easier. That’s what you’re here to do. I don’t know what your business is, but it doesn’t really matter what it is. It’s our job to help people solve problems. So really turning things around and not thinking about people so much as customers, just thinking of them as people who have problems you’re trying to solve, I think that will start to shift things a lot for you.

Because the more you connect more deeply with people; and I listen to a lot of other podcasts. I listen to Gary Vaynerchuk a lot, and I love how he puts things that I’ve been doing for years into words. One of the things he talks about a lot is depth instead of breadth. And what that means is, you don’t need 100,000 followers on any of these platforms. You need maybe 1000 who are with you; really with you. And that you’re connected to, you’re responding to, you’re answering their questions. So if you’re not doing something where it’s reasonable or feasible for you to travel and meet people and do all that; because it’s not reasonable for everyone to do it. Connect with the people that you have their attention. You’re on Instagram, you’re on Facebook, wherever you are, respond to people. They’re going to ask you questions; make sure you’re responding to them.

I think, {laughs} I have a whole nother episode planned, and it’s probably going to be titled, You are not Taylor Swift, because this is what I think about how most people address social media. As their fans and followers become a larger base, of course it’s difficult for us to answer every question that’s there, but you are not Taylor Swift. You’re not Kim Kardashian; you don’t have millions of fans and followers. And you can handle answering the questions. I’m sure, less than an hour a day, through all of your social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, wherever people are asking you questions, it won’t take you an hour a day to answer all of them, and the amount of just credibility and respect that you build through that is unmatched. I can’t tell you how many times people say, wow, I can’t even believe you answered me, I’m so impressed, or I feel so valued. Literally, people are just floored that I personally answer their questions, and I feel that that’s my duty. I feel very much that that’s what I’m here for, and if I don’t do that, then I’m letting go of my business. You know what I mean?

I do have someone who handles all of the social media for my 21-Day Sugar Detox program, but everybody knows who it is. It’s April. She sign’s the posts, nobody assumes it’s me, it’s very transparent, as I mentioned that before. So number one strategy for getting customers, it’s not about thinking of them as a customer. It’s about really thinking them as kind of a friend that you just want to help out, and always assuming there’s a way you can help them.

“Do you have a specific marketing strategy like posting to social media X amount of times a day, amount of times you market products in person as much as online.” No, I don’t have plans like that. It’s just not how I operate. I always think I want a schedule and I want a plan, but it’s just not me. I’ve been listening to Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before where she talks about four tendencies that different people have and I happen to fall into the rebel tendency, {laughs} which is not the most convenient when you’re trying to be a business owner. But what it definitely means is, I struggle with figuring out, do I answer best to a schedule that someone else imposes to me, or that I create, or that is both something that I create and it’s imposed upon me by the rest of my team or a project manager. None of the above.

Some days I wake up, and I’m like, ok what does everybody need from me? Some days I wake up and I’m just doing whatever the heck I want. And most of the time, it’s I’m doing whatever the heck I want. {laughs} So I really don’t have a schedule, and I think that really varies. You were asking what I do, and so that’s what I do. But I do believe that April has a bit more of a schedule for the 21-Day Sugar Detox, and she tries to hit a certain goal of maybe 3 or 4 posts on Instagram a day and a handful of posts on Facebook. I don’t have any magic sauce for you on what works the best and optimizing that. I really don’t know. I think that it is kind of different for everyone based on your market and your product and all of that. But I just don’t. I try and really use those platforms as a way, once again, to connect from the heart directly with the people who are there.

I think the important thing to remember is that even if it’s not 1000 people seeing something, the 10 people that commented, they took the time and energy to leave a comment. So I think, even if they don’t ask you a question, you can comment back and say, hey thanks for the note, or just like their comment, or do something to make them feel like you looked at it and paid attention. I think that will take you a really long way.

Scott Mills: Lastly, Sherrie asks, I’m wondering about the pros and cons of using your own name or creating a business name. I have a couple of different websites that have their own names; one is in entertainment that I do with my husband, the other one is health related. I also do freelance copywriting, content, social media, and marketing consulting. I currently do that under my own name, and I’m going back and forth on whether to create a business name for it.

Diane Sanfilippo: I actually think there were a few people that asked the same question, so if you submitted a similar question, I will probably just ball it in right here. I do not have a magic answer for this question, and I have sort of two minds about it. I think that it depends on the type of business that you have and how you’re connecting with people most. So, what I used to tell clients, and this is actually what my former boss used to tell clients all the time, working with small businesses that were working business to consumer, they were working local areas, and would have a company, for example, named M&M Landscaping. And to the average customer, that means nothing, right. If you were to look in the yellow pages at the time; {laughs} we were still doing yellow page ads, this was more than 10 years ago at this point. So the yellow pages, or if you were to just search online for a landscaper in your local area and you saw a website listing that said M&M Landscaping, and then you saw one that said, Distinctive Designs Landscaping, which one might catch your eye? Knowing also that the vast majority of folks searching for a landscaper tend to be women, especially when they’re looking for something like landscape architecture.

I think for a lot of businesses, actually having a name to your business that makes sense and tells somebody something about what the business is is completely valid. Now, the flip side of that is, in today’s modern world, a lot of people aren’t trying to identify with others based on their name, they’re trying to introduce themselves and say, this is for example. I own I still promote my website as, because I think that’s a lot easier for people, first of all to spell, and for the most part I’m talking about nutrition on the website, so it makes sense.

But I would say it was less than a year ago I decided to switch over as many of the social media accounts as I could to my name mostly at the time for two reasons; one a lot of folks were confusing me with other bloggers and authors, who did similar work but for me it, it wasn’t offensive it was just like, I want to make sure you know my name because I’m here trying to connect with you one on one, but if you’re calling me, some people thought I was Sarah Fragoso or Danielle Walker, or some other blogger that maybe had a similar coloring, something like that. Lighter hair, and who knows what. Or just a name that starts with the same letter. I have no idea {laughs} where people get confused.

I was like, ok I really want to make sure people know my name, and also at the same time, I knew in my heart that the type of content that I wanted to deliver in the next one to two or even three years was going to start to stray from nutrition. Maybe it would always kind of come back to that balance of healthy lifestyle and recipes and things like that, but obviously I’m talking on this podcast about business, and I’m posting this podcast episode, the show notes, transcript, everything to or, it doesn’t matter which one you type in, it will take you to the same place.

So I really wanted to make sure that people started to know my name, and have something kind of top of mind, I don’t have a very easy last name, you know someone like Robb Wolf, it’s very easy to type that in; Diane Sanfilippo, it’s a little bit longer ,a little bit trickier. But I did want to make sure people got to know me for my name, because there is so much more that I’m going to offer. I think this is a hard decision; I think if you’re trying to grow a following on a place like Instagram, for example, I think I really shot myself in the foot when I changed my account from Balanced Bites to Diane Sanfilippo, because if you’re looking at pictures through Instagram of food, for example, and you see an account name of Balanced Bites you very quickly know it’s probably about healthy eating, right. But if you see Diane Sanfilippo, you might just assume that’s another person who is just using Instagram not as a business and making comments or liking pictures or what have you, or just posting, and you might not click to see what that is.

But if you see something that says Balanced Bites or you see something that says Fantastic Copy, or Marketing Maven or whatever your company is going to be called, I feel like that prompts people to look and say, oh what’s that. That’s interesting. I know I do it. If I see somebody comments on my post and it says Social Media Marketing Guru, I’m like, oh. Let’s see what they’re doing. Are they really a guru, or are they just trying to tell me they’re a guru? So I think that for a lot of people, and I would probably say for the majority, if you’re going to use your name, find a way to incorporate the thing that you do with your name. Maybe even your account names on places like Facebook and Instagram either shortened and it’s kind of more specific to your business, and then in the description you can write your name. Or on a place like Facebook it can be the company name and then your name somehow along with that, so that people are getting to know your name, but they’re also seeing kind of what you’re all about. And I think that’s really all I would say. I really think it’s a personal decision.

This stuff is not set in stone; some things are harder to change than others. It can be hard to change a Facebook name or a Facebook page name. it’s not impossible, you can create a new one and merge them. It’s not impossible to create a new Instagram; it’s actually pretty easy as long as the other name is available. So you may want to squat on your name if you’re thinking that you might want to use that, and then go ahead with your business name to start out. And then you can always transition. I did it, Liz Wolfe did it, she went from Cave Girl Eats to Real Food Liz. She did keep kind of a combination, which is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s Real Food Liz; that’s very easy for you to know. She’s going to be talking about real food, right? It’s a little bit broader of a name than Cave Girl Eats, because it’s just a little more general to say real food than cave girl. So I think that’s a valid approach.

Balanced Bites was always pretty general, and I think you could use the name Balanced Bites to talk about balance in a lot of different ways. So, I haven’t abandoned that completely, and it is the name of my other podcast, the Balanced Bites podcast, where people go to listen about health, nutrition, wellness, and all that good stuff. But if you go to my website, it doesn’t actually say Balanced Bites anywhere except for the URL. It says Diane Sanfilippo, practical solutions for a healthy life. So I’m trying to make sure that I’m branding things in that way, but it really is going to vary. You have to follow your gut a little bit, and also what you think people will be able to connect with better. I think that you know in your heart if just suing your name is not really going to help, then don’t do it.

That’s all I’ve got for you guys today. Don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes so you don’t miss an episode. And drop me a review to let me know what’s speaking to you from the show. If you want to get in on the conversation and you haven’t yet joined the group already on Facebook, head on over there and join the Build a Badass Business group. I share insights and tips regularly, as well as answer your questions right there on the page.

Do work that you love, and hustle to make your business grow like your life depends on it, because it does. Thanks for listening, and I’ll catch you on the next episode.

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