Have you ever considered starting your own blog and business? How about writing an E-book and being a freelance writer? If either of these things are in your future, you’ll want to read this interview with Lise from Hustle and Groove!
How did you get started as an online entrepreneur and how long have you been doing this?
In January of 2011, I remember coming into work after the Christmas/New Year break, I’d had two weeks off. It was a Monday and I had an extreme case of Mondayitis!
I remember sitting down at my desk and thinking, “What am I doing with my life? What’s the point?”
I know, pretty deep for a Monday morning, but I’d woken up feeling pretty yucky and I couldn’t explain why. Most people that know me know that I’m an optimistic, outgoing, happy person, so it’s pretty rare for me to feel this way.
So when I do, I sit up and take notice.
It was at this point that I decided that the job I’d been in for the past 2.5 years just wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. But, I had no idea what I wanted to do instead. I did know that I didn’t want to find a new job, only to be faced with the same feelings in another few years time. I’d been through this cycle a couple of times to recognise that getting a new job just wasn’t the right option for me.
For the next few months, I spent a lot of time researching ideas, looking for opportunities, trying to figure out what my next step was.
I knew that I needed to make some money in a side hustle before I could quit my job, because I didn’t have the luxury of a lot of savings behind me, so whatever I was going to do, needed to not take up a ton of time.
I’m not sure how I came across Location Rebel, but I know it was from some email newsletter I’d signed up for. I discovered Location Rebel in July 2011 and deliberated whether it was the right option for me.
I clicked “buy now” in early August following an enlightening conversation with my boss, that went something along these lines:
Me: “Denise, I’d like to chat with you about career progression. I’ve been with XYZ now for nearly 3 years, and I’d like to look at progressing further. I’m good at what I do, but it’s no longer challenging to me.”
Denise: “Lise, why would you want to change your job? You’re great at what you do, and you make my life easier. The next step for you would be to step into my shoes, but I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.”
Me: “So you’re telling me that there are no further options for me?”
Denise: “Only if you want to move into another department, and let’s face it, our department is the best!”
After that conversation went down, I got home from work and bought my first ever online purchase – Location Rebel. It was for $450 USD, which is a lot in Australian dollars. I was scared but excited.
Location Rebel is a course that provides you with access to multiple business blueprints that provide you with the skills to start a freelancing business in a specific area, such as freelancing writing, SEO consultant, copywriter, affiliate marketing, product creation etc.
For the next few months, I consumed as much information as possible and decided to start my freelance writing side hustle.
I landed my first gig on oDesk (now Upwork) within 30 days of starting Location Rebel and was rapt at how everything just seemed to slide into place.
I started my blog about 8 months after joining Location Rebel because I needed a place to connect with potential clients and I also wanted to share my own experiences in starting a side hustle.
I was able to quit my full time job in June 2012, all thanks to Location Rebel and learning the ropes as a freelance writer. I’ve been working for myself since then, so 4 years this June (2016).
You have some really great testimonials on your ebooks! What do you attribute your marketing success to?
When it comes to ebooks, it’s all about your pre-launch and post-launch plan. I connect with my ‘street team’ 2-3 weeks before a book is due to launch, to get them to read (or skim) the book and then leave reviews, so that when the book launches, it’s already got some social proof.
I then also line up some key marketing for the book. I normally launch a book at $0.99, so I’ll submit my book to as many book submission sites that I can, who will then share the book with their email list. I’m fairly picky about the sites I submit to, so I can track which ones make a difference. I’ll do a combination of both paid and free submissions.
Then, during the launch week, I’ll share the book on my own social media accounts at least once a day (up to 3 times per day) and ask my street team to share it as well.
I’ll also reach out to key influencers in my network and ask them to tweet or share the book with their followers as well.
Post-launch, I’ll make sure to reach out to anyone that signed up to my author list from within the book and remind them to leave a review, as it’s really important early on in the life of a book that you get as many reviews as you can.
From that point on, I’ll generally run a special on my books every quarter and collaborate with other authors to cross-promote.
What are your favorite tools you use to grow your business?
Twitter has probably been my biggest tool for driving traffic, followed closely by Pinterest. I’m fairly active on both of these, so I believe that because of that activity, that increase my exposure to people, and they then come and check out my blog.
Up until recently, I was using Mailchimp + OptimizePress to grow my email list, but I’ve just switched over to ConvertKit + OptimizePress and I’m loving how easy ConvertKit makes it to set up automation rules and autoresponders to keep in touch with my readers.
The other tools I use on a daily basis within my business include:
Sunrise Calendar app
I just love that you’re teaching people how to freelance and where to find opportunities! Where does your personal and professional inspiration come from?
Personally, I’m inspired by all those people out there who are still stuck in a job, but actively doing something to change that by starting their own side hustle. I was once there and I know how hard it can be, so that also pushes me to help others so that they can achieve that amazing feeling of handing in their notice at work and walking out the front door with not even a cursory glance back!
Professionally, I’m inspired by ladies like Melyssa Griffin, Natalie Sisson, Marie Forleo and Liz Forment.
I’m also inspired by guys like Steve Scott, Pat Flynn, Sean Ogle and Dave Chesson. All of these people have decided to head out on their own and pursue a life they want to do, and I love it.
What’s something that people might not know about you – ya know, personally – but that you don’t mind sharing?
I’m married to an Australian and I’m a New Zealander… so there is a lot of rivalry between our two countries, much like there is between the USA and Canada.
What people might not know (unless you know me personally) is that I, very emphatically, swore that I would (or could) NEVER marry an Australian… you can imagine how that went down when I revealed this to my husband! He thought it was hilarious…
I have a very bad habit of making this types of statements… only to eat my own words 😉
What keeps you busiest during the day?
Writing content for my two blogs, Hustle & Groove and Author Basics as well as whatever writing project I’m working on at the moment.
My days are very creative, I spend a lot of time pounding away on the keyboard with classical music playing in my ears.
For people who are just starting out with their first business or blog, what is your number 1 all-time tip and why?
“Done is better than perfect”. As a writer, or entrepreneur, we can get caught up in trying to make everything perfect before we launch a product, hit publish on a blog post or start a podcast, or “insert your own thing here!”
Nothing is ever perfect and rather than wait for it to be so, I recommend getting something done to 90-95% and then hitting publish, send or whatever it is you need to do to ship it.
By freeing yourself from needing everything to be perfect, it allows you to ship everything with it almost perfect, secure in the knowledge that you can refine it as and when you need to.
What does the future hold for you?
More fun! My husband and I are planning to start a family in the next 12 months, and I’m excited and scared sh*tless about that chapter starting. My plan is to build my business to a 70-80% passive level so that when bubs does come along, I’m not having to be in my business so much.
I’m lucky in that my husband also works from home, so we’ll be able to share baby duties, but I know that from being the oldest of 5 children and having several nieces and nephews, that in those first few months, it’s gonna pretty much all be me. So I want to plan ahead as much as I can.
Last question: What is your favorite blog or business to follow and why?
Hmm, this is a tough one, because there are a few that I regularly read. I think I’m going to have to go with ProBlogger, because I consistently read Darren’s stuff and it’s always full of actionable content, that’s what keeps me coming back for more!