Wings of inspired business with Melinda Wittstock Talking About Personalized Marketing
I finally got together with Melinda Wittstock to do a podcast on her show, Wings of Inspiration – a podcast that teaches entrepreneurs valuable lessons from real people who have been there and faced the same challenges you’re facing. Melinda has driven millions to her BBC TV newsmagazine and interactive mobile app, so it was a real joy to have a chance to speak with her about my journey in business as a minority woman.
Why I left the corporate world
Melinda immediately opened the floor for me to discuss my story and where I came from. I always felt it was important to share my story — about how I got here and what it was like to get here. This is why I was so excited to talk with Melinda and dive into my journey to becoming one of Houston’s top CEOs and running an INC 5000 company.
I started my journey through corporate America in accounting. Believe me. It wasn’t anything glamorous. I worked hard and always tried to exceed expectations. But I realized hard and fast that this was a club I wasn’t invited to, and it’s one of the main reasons I would decide to leave and start my own business.
“You can tell there wasn’t room for you at the table.”
The problem with exceeding expectations as a woman of color in corporate America is that people didn’t change their expectations of me no matter what I did. I had to realize that for real change to occur. I had to stop trying to exceed their expectations and start listening to what I expected of myself.
After realizing there wasn’t a place for me at the table, I decided to make my own. At the end of the day, that’s what matters. I leverage my position as an entrepreneur and expert marketer to help other women make the same decisions and, at the very least, tell them that it’s possible.
One of the greatest barriers for minority women in business isn’t a matter of finding the resources. It’s knowing that they are there. Out of any demographic, minority women are starting more businesses than anyone else. What’s the catch? Well, minority women only secure 2% of available venture capital and grants.
Imagine what women could achieve by coming together to support, promote, and guide each other along a path not often walked by people like us. This made Melinda and I a perfect fit, as she uses her platform to help educate women about the opportunities that exist and to create a strong and supportive network.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other people expect of you. What’s most important is listening to your expectations and pushing yourself to exceed them. It shouldn’t matter where you come from or what you look like. What really matters is how much work your willing to do, how many hours you’re willing to put in, and ultimately, what you are capable of.
What are the moments I learned the most from?
The best lessons aren’t free. The moments you learn the most from are usually the failures. You’re going to fail a lot on your way to success, but that’s ok. In business, you need to accept failure as a part of the process because if you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying.
Melinda calls this the “failing forward” approach, and I think that’s a great way to look at it. Don’t fall into the trap of perfectionism because if you do, you’re only going to fail yourself. What’s really important is how you deal with failure and if you decide to keep bouncing back.
You can’t build a house out of glass the same way you can’t make a strong woman in business without the capacity to fail. The moment I learned from the most was when I realized this and decided to press on, focusing on what matters – my business, goals, and expectations.
Social change starts with entrepreneurship. You’re building something that you can leave behind, creating wealth for your kids, and paying it forward for women who come after you. You need to understand the why of your business and for me, this is the why.
“A lot of women-owned businesses tend to hire late.”
When you realize your value, you also have to remember the value others can bring to you. Melinda brings up a great point about women-owned businesses tending to hire late when they need them instead of before.
Start looking at the people you hire as investments, not expenses. Be clear with what you want and what you expect so there won’t be any confusion down the road. I have weekly meetings with my team to discuss what they’ve accomplished and the expectations moving forward.
Nowadays, it’s a little harder to determine when you need to hire someone. Many tasks can be automated, and the number of tasks you can automate is probably a lot higher than what most people think. In my own business, I rely on a team of people as well as automation. The trick is to carefully determine what needs a human touch and what doesn’t.
Anything that needs a human touch and is not something you have the time for yourself demands the need to hire. To have the best success with hiring, be clear as possible about what you expect and how things are done in your business. It makes onboarding much faster and it helps to keep your team engaged.
Running a full-service marketing agency
I was thrilled when Melinda and I began discussing the role that automation plays in my business. Masterly Business is a full-service marketing agency. We do everything from web design, marketing, copywriting, sales, and anything to help grow a business. Our team handles strategy, brand design, digital ads, audience research, SEO, and analytics.
What this means is that we deal with a lot of numbers and a lot of people. Automation plays an integral part in our strategy to target thousands of daily interactions with your ads and website. Depending on your business, there will be different things you can automate. We aim for a streamlined process that turns cold prospects into customers and keeps customers coming back again and again.
With all the ways you can market nowadays, it’s difficult to determine where you should focus your efforts. This is why we begin by creating customer personas. We need to understand who you are talking to, and from this, we could determine where you should focus your marketing. Ultimately, it comes down to testing.
One of our primary goals is to build trust. But to do that, you need a personal touch. People need to know who they are talking to and you can’t do that by just putting up a logo. This is why automation is critical. We focus human effort where it’s needed the most, with other people.
“It’s hard to find a really good marketing agency.”
Melinda also brought up an important question about how businesses should determine if a marketing agency is right for them. A marketing agency can help make or break a business, so it’s a decision you shouldn’t take lightly. Want to know an easy way to see whether or not you’ve found a good marketing agency?
Just call them. Talking to real people is a rare commodity these days and talking to someone who isn’t giving you a rehearsed speech is even more rare. What you’re trying to find is someone who is just as invested in your success as you are. If you feel like they’re giving you the same speech they’ve probably given a hundred other people, you shouldn’t expect them to take a personal interest in your business.
Keep up with the latest from Wings of Inspired Business
Wings of Inspired Business is a podcast that dives deep into the personal journeys entrepreneurs take, giving them the floor to share their lessons and valuable insight. You don’t want to miss out on what can potentially be ideas that could completely change the way you think about your business from the ground up. Our episode is phenomenal and you can find it here.
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