This week, he answers questions for Cass, who wants to convince her sister to buy better quality material and raise prices accordingly, Kenny, who wants more time for his side hustle but consistent time from his employer, and Sasha, revisiting the question on ‘content marketing’ she posed in Episode #16.
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Question #1: I am helping my sister manage her catering company. She is using lower quality and generic food products to keep costs low, but her business is booming, and I think she should charge more and could use higher quality food in the process. How do I convince her the upgrade to selling a higher quality product if it is so easy to sell people a mediocre one? (Cass)
Answer: First, make sure you understand whose business it is (your sisters) and why she is using the products she chooses. Maybe her aspirations are not as high as you want them to be, and she is working at a margin and price where point she is comfortable. Maybe she wants to serve people who love her ‘low quality’ (your view) food and this is the right price point for those people. She might miss out on opportunities to grow because she can’t see them, so help her realize the possibilities and let her decided what is best for her business. If she just wants to do it her way, it’s up to you to choose to support her. I hope you choose to support her, and not push her to turn her functional business into something dysfunctional.
Question #2: I took a chance on myself and started a side hustle, and that effort is quickly producing substantial money, but it needs consistent hours to make products and sales. I work a wildly fluctuating schedule to cover the needs of my ‘real’ job. Should I tell my employer I need steady hours on the schedule? Will bringing up my side hustle help that argument? (Kenny)
Answer: Probably not. This is a tough situation that you will have to take an honest look at your employer and how well you fit within the organization. If your employer is the ‘jealous lover’ type (most are), they will not be to keen on you requesting time to work for someone else, even if what you are really asking for is work with more consistent time blocks with them. If your employer works well with students and parents who have varying schedules due to their obvious other commitments, it might work to your advantage to ‘sacrifice yourself’ being saddled with routinely scheduled time blocks, or it might be better for them to have you free to fit wherever they think the real needs are. They don’t have to be experts in scheduling to make it work; they just have to schedule you enough hours to not quit working for them. The trickiest part is letting your employer know about your side hustle. If they are really supportive, they will openly support you. If not, they will assume you aren’t going to give your full effort on the clock for them if you really just want to work for yourself. This all comes down to that honest look at you, your work for your employer, and the motives and desires that you both share.
A Question Revisited: I was recently hired as a marketing assistant for my city’s Chamber of Commerce, and given the task to contact businesses in the area that were finding success using the internet as their main marketing tool (social media, email mailing lists, podcasts, viral videos, etc). The problem turned out to be the definition of ‘success,’ because the traditional business seem to use social media and email as just extensions of their normal marketing, and the smaller independent operators are pulling all the stops on producing social media content. Some are getting great social media run, all are spending good money and time on production and distribution, none are making significant money after expenses. The project this research was meant for is getting shelved, but I want to salvage what we got to turn into a lesson learned. What lesson can we learn and why do so many ‘business people’ give away so much content and material for free on the internet if there isn’t a real return. (Sasha, Episode #16)
Answer: I’m going to give a more generic answer addressing the pros of using content marketing, specifically using free content to pull people into sales funnels and email mailing list. For starters, create plenty of good, quality ‘content’ in whatever form you prefer, or adapt anything you have in to easily relatable, digestive, and create-able content in your preferred medium. Then you setup your delivery system to regally drip out some of the content. You are not looking for a viral hit, you just want consistently descent results. Over time, the know/like/trust thing that all the internet marketers insist will happen should happen, and when enough people really do know/like/trust you, you can offer suggestion that they will bill willing to jump through the necessary hoops for (key examples being things like signing up, showing up, and hopefully paying real money). This requires real effort to create, real time to target an audience and set bait, and really good and consistent content to actually work. When it works, it’s a thing of beauty. When it doesn’t you get frustrated and wonder what went wrong. The answer to that is reviewing the process from the very beginning, assuming you are working on great content to begin with.