How To Back Yourself To Create A Social Media Rocket Ship with Vanessa Cabrera - Ep107
How To Back Yourself To Create A Social Media Rocket Ship with Vanessa Cabrera - Ep107
Vanessa Cabrera was let go of her corporate job, only to find out she was pregnant with her first child and within the same week became a single parent - what a way to start your own business. Her passion, hustle and good fortune of finding a great strategic partner gave her the base to rapidly grow. In this podcast Vanessa shares rich insights into social media which every corporate escapee should pay attention to. There were lots of great takeaways in the episode, so grab that pen and notepad, and enjoy! Why is it important to focus on one or two key platforms for social media Why you should be growing your email list at the same time as growing social Why Instagram stories are so powerful How you get more speaking gigs by applying two simple but rarely used actions Why is it important to have multiple streams of income How to build your list from LinkedIn connections What are the best performing lead magnets/opt-ins? The value of day blocking Important Links & Mentions From This Episode: Vanessa's LinkedIn profile Vanessa on Twitter Vanessa’s Website Top 10 Ways to Grow Your List & Audience Acuity St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Constant Contact Leadpages WebinarNinja Amy Porterfield Podcast EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION: Announcer: Are you a corporate escapee and wasting valuable time attempting to figure challenges out on your own? Well, this podcast is for you. We bring you firsthand experiences of guests going through many of the struggles you face each and every day. We get real with no corporate BS, and now over to your host, Paul Higgins. Paul: Hello and welcome to corporate escapees, the podcast that takes you behind the scene of people who are successfully running their own businesses, hearing their war stories and motivations for making the jump from a corporate gig. I'm your host, Paul Higgins, and our guest today is someone who after years of working in corporate, met the perfect storm when she first started her new business, she found out she was pregnant and also her partner left her within a week, leaving her as a single mom with a new business. She talks about how she hustled her way through this. It was really inspiring. Also, she gives some really rich insights into email marketing and also social media marketing. So what I'll do now is hand you over to Vanessa Cabrera, welcome Vanessa Cabrera to the corporate escapees podcast. Brought to you by Build Live Give. So Vanessa, we're going to get to know lots about you today, but why don't we start with something your family and friends would know about you that we wouldn't. Vanessa: Oh my gosh. Okay. You hit me with a good one. All right. So let me see. I'll give you the scoop. Something funny that my friends, my close friends and family know about me that maybe others don't. Is that um, I'm. My last name is Cabrera. So I am Latina, but I oftentimes when I'm in a group of Latinos I oftentimes kind of like pretend not to understand Spanish, just to see if they're talking smack about me. True Story. Yeah. Paul: Very funny, very funny. And uh, have you ever had that situation where they were talking about you? Vanessa: I have, I have busted some. Let's just be real. Like girls can be catty. Okay. And women, we're no different. So yes, I have busted some, some people have called them out, some people I didn't. Um, but yeah, that's just something like funny I do. Paul: Yeah look I definitely, when we travel, especially at Italy, my wife's family's background is Italian, so she can't really speak it, but she can certainly understand it. And one day we've heard very, very entertaining conversations, especially when it comes to the local prices versus tourist price. It's like, hang on, I've just charged us three times the average. Vanessa: Yes Exactly, exactly. So you know what I'm talking about. Exactly. Paul: Brilliant. So what don't you tell us a little bit about your corporate escapee story? Vanessa: Yeah. Okay. So I, um, my background has been in marketing. I've been in marketing my whole career and as soon as I got out of college I was very blessed to be a marketing and communications manager for a trade association that represented the out of home entertainment industry. So think like Pacman, dartboards, jukeboxes, that kind of thing. Um, and so I loved it, loved every minute of it, and I'll be honest with you and your audience, it was, I'm second generation to that industry. So my dad totally hooked me up with that job straight out of college. And when I say Pacman paid for my college, it's true. My father's owed Pacman for like 30 years, so I loved it, loved every minute of it. Um, I was there for 10 years and was responsible for all their marketing, their website, events. I launched their email marketing program, which is when I graduated from college social media wasn't a part of what wasn't even in existence and totally dating myself, but email was launching. So that's where I really started was with email marketing. And from there I went to, um, after 10 years I loved it, but I needed something different. I needed a challenge and to be honest with you, Paul, I needed to make more money. So the gambling industry came into Chicago, which is where I'm from and let's just say we call gambling like amusements rich cousin, let's say slot machines are making much more money than Pacman is, right. So, so I got everything I wish for. I got a challenge. I got a ton more money and be careful what you wish for because I hated every minute of it. I went from loving my job to, you know, having the Sunday night blues to dreading Monday morning, and it was basically because it was a good old boys club. It was a very male-dominated industry. Right. And to be just honest with you, they just treated me not very well. They treated me like a secretary who, you know, a little girl that liked to play on Facebook, never really took me seriously, even though I was hired to be their marketing person, they treated me like a secretary. So I was like getting coffee and it just, there was other bad, bad stories that I won't even get into, but you could just imagine, you know, in a very male-dominated industry like gambling, like where really all the deals go down. It's not necessarily always in a boardroom. Right. So I was planning my escape and every night I would go home and I would work on my website and all that because I knew what I knew was valuable. I was, since the association days, people were always asking me, Vanessa, how are you doing this? How are you sending out these emails? How did you grow the Facebook page so quickly? You know, things like that. So I knew in the back of my mind that that's what I knew was valuable and so I was planning my escape, but unfortunately or fortunately the slot machine that they have for the marketplace was not the right product and I knew that. So I lost my job and about a week later I found out that I was pregnant and about a week after that, I found out that I was going to be a single mom, so my world got turned upside down within three weeks time. And I was like, how did this happen to me? Right. I did everything right, right. I went to school, I studied hard. You know, I, I'm, I'm a good worker. I pay my taxes, like, you know, all this stuff that we're supposed to do. And here I was, you know, jobless, pregnant and alone. So I don't know what to tell you, Paul. I just knew in my gut literally and figuratively, that this was gonna work. And so I didn't even touch my resume, I don't know what came over me. I'm like, you know, what, if I don't start my own business now, it's never gonna happen. So I did. I just put one foot in front of the other and just really worked my ass off for nine months straight. Obviously, I can't go out party. So I say I stayed home and continue to work on my website and you know, would speak in front of anybody who would listen. And it was just like really hustle and go time. So that's how I escaped. Paul: That's an amazing, amazing story. And, and what was it harder or easier than you expected when you, when you did finally start your own business? Vanessa: In the beginning, I think it was just, if it was somewhat easy just because I knew what I was doing when it came to marketing per se, right? Like you have to build an audience and you'd have to get your social media channels up and you know, all those things. So I think I was just in such a grind for nine months and I was like, okay, this is how I get clients. So, you know, when it's fear-based or the fact where I cannot fail, it's not just about me, it's now about my son. Um, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be probably that first year. But to be honest with you, Paul, I was such in hustle mode because I couldn't fail. Um, that it came relatively easy to me. But that was only year one. Okay. And entrepreneurship. And now I'm, I'm proud to say I'm now in year six. I'm coming in and my sixth year, um, and it's, uh, you know, and I have a thriving consulting business. I have a waiting list of clients wanting to work with me. But if you would've told me this six years ago, I've been like, you're crazy. So it was a little easier for that first year. But again, for me specifically it was just because I knew what I had to do and I just kept pushing and grinding. But it wasn't always easy. Like, I had never worked this hard in my life. Now in your six, it's really a grind now. I love it because I love what I do, so I'm extremely blessed, but it's a lot of work. It's a lot of work to, to sustain the business. Paul: Yeah and with you know giving birth, etcetera. How did that transition occur? Did your clients stay with you or did that sort of interrupt the business? Vanessa: So I was planning ahead. I knew I would take two months off. Um, and to be honest with your audience, your listeners, when I was let go, I was a little saver. So I did have money in the bank. I thought I was always a little saver. Um, so for those who are wanting to escape, this is one piece of advice I would say save every dime you possibly can because you're going to need it because even though I saved, you know, that money goes quick. So I knew that I was going to take two months off after my son was born. Um, and like I said, I just kept grinding. I mean, there's pictures of me where I'm like very pregnant and you know, doing a seminar about email marketing back in the day. So it was just about getting, you know, building that list and getting in front of as many people as I could before I became, you know, a mom. Paul: Great. And what sort of help did you get along the way? Vanessa: So, uh, my, my email service provider tool, the tool I use to send out my emails is constant contact and so I have been a constant contact customer since 2001. I'm totally dating myself. So I've been in email marketing a very long time. Um, and so there was always local seminars about email marketing and social media and I would always go to them on behalf of the association. WelI got very chummy with the speaker and he was the first person I turned to when I lost my job. I'm like, okay, this is what I'm planning to do. And he said, Hey, do you know that there's a partners program that constant contact has? And I'm like, what? He's like, you'd be perfect for it. So it just so happens, right, everything happens for a reason. Um, the week I found out I was going to be let go the, within two weeks there was the first constant contact partners conference that was gonna be held in Boston. So I booked my ticket. It was the first plane business plane ticket I ever bought with my own money since that. Before then it was always, you know, my, my company paid for it. So I was like, Whoa, that's a big wake up call. I'm like, oh my gosh, I can't expense this. Right. So I went there and I'd say that was a huge help because they then helped me get some speaking gigs. Um, obviously I was telling constant contact that would, that's like the call to action at the end of the seminars. But to be honest with you, Paul, it's happened so organically because I was doing that anyways. Like I said, back from the association days when I first got our first email campaign where no one saw that had seen something like that before, like our board of directors and our members called me and was like, what is this? So, so I was already doing that. There are like, what, what is this? Oh, it's constant contact and I would just tell them what I was doing and how I did it. That's pretty much the monster help and I really got that really helped me in the beginning with partnering. Yeah, partnering with constant contact. Paul: Excellent. And we'll move now into the build section. So when someone says to you today, Vanessa, what do you do? How do you answer that? Vanessa: So, um, my go-to answer is I'm an online marketing consultant and I help small business owners, particularly women entrepreneurs. That kind of happened organically too, and it's probably because of my story and the style that I teach, but I helped them put together an online marketing plan. I see so many small businesses, solopreneurs and things like that on social media, but they're just posting, just to post. There's no real strategy on how to use these tools that are literally at our fingertips on how to sell, basically sell their products, sell their services. So that's, um, that's what I do. Paul: Great. And what do you know about coming up with social media plans that a few others don't? Vanessa: No, I think when I run into with all the clients I've had the pleasure of working with is that they, there's, there's so many options out there with social media that it gets overwhelming, right? It gets overwhelming for them and there's no plan. So I just like to really simplify marketing because it can be so overly complicated and if you just pick one or two social media platforms to focus on and master those because one of the things I've seen is that everyone's on every single social media platform on the planet, right? Like I have a strategy session with clients and I'm like, okay, tell me, you know where you live online. And so they're like, okay. So we have a Facebook page, we have a Facebook group, we have a LinkedIn profile, we have a LinkedIn business page where on twitter we have a YouTube channel and we are now on Instagram. Okay. How many of those can you sufficiently run effectively and putting out killer content? You can't. There's no. Unless you have a team. And I'm talking about like you know, small business owners that they're doing their own marketing. There's just no way. Right? So my first advice would be just to focus on one or two social media platforms that A, your target market is hanging out and B, that you actually enjoy. I think that's like a big myth that people think they have to be on twitter. Well if you hate twitter, right? And you know, then you have to be on there. Your audience is going to know they can smell the BS when someone doesn't like what they're doing. So I would say just to one or two social media channels, master those. And what I mean by master is that you actually bring in money with that you have a system that is actually bringing you clients and customers and then move onto another one. Paul: Look it's a great point. And I think, um, know let's use me as an example. So, you know, corporate escapees just like you is my key target audience and know that they're probably in all channels like you said, but um, if you were advising me which channels I should focus on, which, which are the key social media channels you would recommend? Vanessa: So my first question would be would be, what is your target audience? Paul: My target audience is probably slightly more male than female, but between 40 and 50 and you know, uh, either have left like you because of, you know, we'll let go. Um, because of something though, there was maybe a redundancy involved or they've just had enough and they want to spend more time with their family. So similar to you spend more time with your family and really being in control. Uh, so that's. Yeah. So they've all had a corporate background and now they're effectively running their own business. Vanessa: Yeah. So I would say just based off of that, that I, if I were you, I would stick to Linkedin, um, because when people are looking for an escape or looking for new jobs or things like that, they generally tend to go to LinkedIn if they're corporate backgrounds. And I've met several people who have seen my story and connected with me on LinkedIn. So I would focus on LinkedIn. For you, Paul, and then as well as your podcast. Paul: Great. Well, I'm glad you said that because I, uh, definitely because, you know, I had a facebook group, I had Instagram, I was the classic where I had everything. There's so many people listening right now are probably thinking, Oh gee, I'm like that as well to spread too thin. And they doubled down on LinkedIn. And I think with LinkedIn where you can also retweet, I think, you know, you don't have to that, that's quite easy. So look, that's great advice. And I really, you know, I know so many times in our community when people do double down, they get such a better improvement of being spread too thin. And, you know, other than being spread too thin, what are some of the other classic, um, mistakes that you see people make on social media? Vanessa: Well, I'd say using social media, you know, again, just to keep it simple is that, you know, it's phenomenal that we have all our social media channels. However, really what we want to use social media for is lead generating. That's it when you, when it comes down to it. Okay. And so, um, when you're first getting started or even if it's your third or fourth year in business is my advice is that you have to have an audience to sell to, right? I mean, I know it sounds, but like people get so focused on, you know, the numbers and the followers and you know, all of that where there needs to be some sort of system in place where they're continuing to grow their audience and their email list at the same time. So they actually have someone to sell stuff to you. I can't tell you how many times I have these phenomenal entrepreneurs and you know, they get a little bit disappointed because, you know, they only had about 10 people registered for the Webinar or whatnot. And then I asked them, okay, how big is your email list? And they say maybe 40 or 50, and then I'm like, okay, well how are we generating more people into that list? And they're like, well, I'm not. And so I'm like, okay, well let's just do the math. Right. So I would say like just a commonality is to use social media as a way to generate leads and by leads I mean to grow your email list at the same time. Paul: Yeah great. And we've got so many people and probably the people listening right now and say, look, you know, I've got really good connections based in LinkedIn, but I don't particularly own that and I have, I haven't converted that into my list. So what are some of the key tips you've got for getting people from LinkedIn into your list? Vanessa: Yeah. So nowadays it's all about content and providing real value to people to connect them with your expertise. Right? So you need to have some sort of opt-in, opt-in, Freebie or you know, a giveaway in exchange for their email address. Right. So you no longer can say join our newsletter, right? Just click here to join our newsletter. This is 2018. Okay. So you have to give them some sort of value in exchange for their email address. So that's it. Like a guide or a video tutorial or you know, whatever the case may be that you're an expert in. And then once you create that often right, that guide and set up your email automation, right, set up that welcome funnel. Then you'd have to put it out in the universe. Right. I've had so many clients where they have all this, but I'm like,...