Can blogging really be a stepping off point for a business? Actually, yes, it can – and that’s what the Blogging as a Business edition of Blog Idol Interviews is all about.
Blogging for many of us began as a social endeavor and one where we got to share our personal stories with others in an effort to connect. Over time, some of us have used it as a stepping off point for professional ventures. Over the last several weeks, I have featured women who have done just that. The first feature had the SITS Girls sharing their tips for success while the second had the fantastic team for Girls Lunch Out.
This week, I’ve brought in the ladies of Eli Rose Social Media to share what they’ve learned along they way.
Tell us the backstory of Eli Rose Social. How did this idea come to be and how did you decide to become partners?
Kristin and I began talking back in 2010 about building a “how to” site because we were each receiving several emails a week asking for help, advice and suggestions. We figured that if we were taking the time to write a 3 or 4 paragraph answer via email, we might as well put that on a blog post. But then, out of the blue, we were approached by some small business owners we knew asking for help with social media and online marketing. It was then that one of them suggested we offer our services and knowledge as consultants. Kristin and I both have educations and work backgrounds in marketing, so combining our business knowledge with our social media experience made perfect sense.
As for us as partners? Kristin and I just gel. We don’t argue and we rarely disagree. We have always been “What’s next? I’ll grab it.” with our work. I don’t know how to accurately put it into words, but there’s a natural rhythm to our workflow and relationship.
A little known fact about us: Kristin and I are both from Chicago, grew up – literally – 1 town apart and attended rival high schools, but we met for the first time in the blogosphere.
You seem to evolve over time with the services that you offer, how do you go about making those decisions and how do you decide what is right for your business?
We’re constantly thinking about things from the view point of our clients. We know that each client has their own needs; some need very hands-on help while others only need a bit of guidance or short-term strategy advice.
We also work to identify gaps in the existing services offered within our business and elsewhere. We’ve added a few services based on these gaps alone.
For other bloggers and entrepreneurs starting with a new venture, what tips can you offer for making decisions about price points for services? How do you determine when to raise those rates?
I think the issue of pricing is probably the top struggle for most small business owners. I think a few factors come into play:
-Amount of time it will take to perform a given task
-Amount of specialized knowledge needed for a given task
-Market averages for that type of service
As your client list or portfolio grows, or after – say – additional specialized training, you may consider it time to raise your rates. Also, if you are going to be bringing on additional consultants to help with your work load, you’d need to consider their costs in your pricing.
You are in the business of helping others grow overall in their online and social media presence – what are your go-to resources for keeping tabs on the ever changing social media world?
You can be easily bombarded with too much information. What we’ve found is we’ve signed up for several subscriptions via email and have greatly thinned out that list over time. I’d suggest Social Media Examiner for anyone interested in learning specifically about that. HubSpot has loads of downloadable ebooks. There are also several niche social media blogs that may be geared to your specific industry. For example, I have a realtor friend who follows social media real estate sites.
There is a saying, “all in hindsight” – is there anything you wish you knew at the start of EliRose that you know now?
Honestly? No. And I say that because we never put any expectations on it. We felt from the beginning that we could make a difference with the small business owners out there, and we have. Along with making a profit that is supplementing each of our family’s bottom lines, and growing our business to empower three other women to add to their family’s income streams as well, we feel very strongly about the “good” in our work.
I hope you’ve been enjoying Blogging as a Business edition of Blog Idol Interviews. Next week, I’ll have another feature for you, so be sure to check back! You may even want to add my to your RSS or email to make sure you don’t miss the upcoming features in this series. If you have that entrepreneurial spirit but aren’t quite sure how to start, this is the series for you!
What’s the biggest take-a-way from Liz and Kristin’s interview that you can apply to your blogging as a business goals?