Meet Heidi Caswell
Thanks to Heidi, I have learned the importance of staying in touch. She has taught me that all the technology in the world is useless if you don't build a relationship with your customers/clients. She has built a successful business herself doing just that. Now you can learn from her expertise too. Meet Heidi Caswell!
Heidi, tell us about yourself.
I have 7 of the brightest, sweetest children (mostly grown) you'll ever find and 4 grandkids. I've been richly blessed. I love the outdoors, mountains, lakes, oceans, forests. Love to hike, take pictures outdoors, write, garden, cook, be creative, and encourage others.
Can you describe your business?
As a Personal Touch Consultant I help others create “Personal Touch in a High Tech World”. My specialties are a very cool greeting card system which I'll help you set up, amazing how easy it can be to send out those customized holiday cards or any greeting card; and I design Wordpress sites for others, teaching them how to run their own website.
Why did you start your own business?
I was a stay-at-home mom with 7 kids. At times I babysit for others, and sometimes I worked at a daycare center. As they got older, my husband joined a network marketing company which he sort of handed over to me to build. That company was sold too many times, and basically went bankrupt. I worked for a while as a tax consultant for HRBlock, tax season was crazy, too many hours, but rest of the year was free for other things. Working taxes taught me more about business.
Some of my team members in the network marketing company that went bankrupt said find us a good company. We were being bombarded with emails and phone calls from other companies. Gritting my teeth, not looking for myself, I checked with others to see what they were doing and ran into SendOutCards. I was still working for Block. The original plan was for me to go into full-time employment, once the kids were all in school. Yet tax season, 40+ hours, while doing things with my kids, volunteering help in their various activities was insane.
We didn't want to do that year around. We needed additional income, but not full-time hours. Needed flexible hours. Easier to do as my own boss. I became an independent distributor for SendOutCards. Later I quit HR Block. Not having business contacts, wanting to work with other business owners, who knew how to use computers, I learned how to network online, made some very good friends, and learned much. One thing I learned was how to use Wordpress, another cool tool you can use to keep in touch. Word of mouth brought me clients, so I also design Wordpress sites and teach how to use them.
What do you like most and least about being your own boss? You control your own time, when you work, how you work, etc. Easy to work into a busy family's schedule, but also easy to procrastinate work. Do you sew up that costume for the school play, wash the dishes, weed the garden, or find a new client? Now if my business had an office outside of the home, that separation of work and home would be a little easier.
What personality traits and skills are needed to run a business?
Persistent. Willing to learn, to find the answers for yourself. To step back and evaluate results, how you can improve, what to keep doing, when to outsource the parts you're not as good at, Ability to take action.
What has been the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?
It doesn't come with directions. By joining a network marketing company I had directions, mentors, etc. but branching off and including wordpress services I realized how overwhelming a lack of systems to manage customers, work, etc. could be. I was spending more time figuring out what I should charge, how to send an invoice, how to collect when client doesn't pay as promised, etc. than I was doing on the actual work, and I didn't budget that time cost into my fees which I later had to adjust.
Do you have any resources you have used to build your business that you would recommend?
Social media, go where your prospective clients hang out. At one time Ryze worked well for me. Now it is like a ghost town. Now I meet more people on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Send an unexpected greeting card, a note of appreciation not a sales pitch. Blogs (wordpress). Local networking groups such as BNI.
Do you have any tips to share on promoting your business? I'd use a combination on offline and online promotion, be creative. Don't downplay the value of social media. If you under promise, over deliver, your clients will tell others about you. My best clients are from word of mouth.
What other advice do you have for someone starting their own business?
Discuss with spouse so they understand what it is that is needed to be successful, decide what resources you need, a plan to judge your progress, but most importantly to take action, easy to procrastinate doing while learning and organizing. Have a way to scale your business so you can make more money without taking more money.
How can we contact you about your products and services?
Heidi Caswell (870) 667-4035 firstname.lastname@example.org @Heidi_Caswell (twitter)
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