5-9er Interview: Caroline Wood
- What is your “day job” and how many hours do you work in a week?
Theoretically my day job is as a Finance Manager for a not for profit but in reality because it is a small not for profit I do a bit of everything including things like IT and Facebook ads. I work 38 hours a week and I try very hard to stick to those hours so I am not too exhausted when I get home to work on my business.
- What is your business? (What do you sell/who do you serve and why?)
I help female solopreneurs who are starting to get traction in their business to get their business blossoming with Facebook ads and sorting out the tech behind their email lists and landing pages. I knew I wanted to work with female solopreneurs and while there is quite a bit of Facebook ad training out there, there wasn’t much being offered on a one to one basis. While the training courses that are out there are good, there is nothing quite like virtually sitting down with someone and walking through your ads. And then as the businesses I work with grow I am able to take Facebook ads off their hands. The tech side is a smaller part of my business but it fits nicely with the Facebook ads. While there are some circumstances, when you are just building brand awareness where it may be worth running ads without a landing page and sales funnel, but for most solopreneurs to get the best bang for your buck you need these things in place.
- For how many years have you run a business alongside your regular job?
Only 4 months for this current business. But I was food blogging for two years. I am not sure the food blogging really counts as I didn’t make much money – food photography is not my forte. But I did learn a lot about email list building and other tech aspects of running an online business that I am now putting to good use.
- Why did you decide to start a business?
I am not sure I decided to start a business initially. I started food blogging to make a bit of money on the side – rather than as a business per se. But as I joined food blogging groups and read what other food bloggers were doing, it opened my eyes to this whole online business world. And while food blogging wasn’t making the most of my strengths, I loved the creativity of it, the ability to grow something of my own. I started looking at what my strengths were and how I could put them to use helping others. I also love the idea of more freedom, particularly in terms of when and where I work. Not that I think I would work less but rather I would have more options around exactly which hours I work. The idea of having a day out on a Wednesday when everyone else is at work and then working on Saturday appeals to me.
- In your first 6 months of starting your business, please list out the top 3 pain points you struggled with:
- Feeling overwhelmed with how much there was to do and how much advice there is out there.
- Finding my first clients – I really wasn’t sure where to find them.
- Putting myself out there. I still really struggle with this one. I am not very comfortable with promoting myself.
- How did you overcome these pain points?
I am not sure I have, particularly with putting myself out there. But I am getting much better with focussing on what I want to achieve over the next month and my business coach has certainly helped with this. I try not to have more than 2 big things I am working on at any one time. I have also cut down on signing up for every new challenge or course out there and now try and only sign up for things when I specifically need them for the next thing I am working on. I haven’t quite nailed this yet – some shiny objects still suck me in but I am much better than I was! For finding my first clients I tried a few things and then went with what worked and have been repeating that. But it is definitely something I am still working on.
- How good are you at delegating tasks to others?
I am not very good at delegating. I am a bit of a control freak. But as an accountant I know that as my business grows I want to outsource my bookkeeping! There are other specialist tasks that I would love to get off my plate as I earn more. There are some things I would love to change on my website and while I am sure I could figure them out eventually, they aren’t worth me spending time on at the moment. I am working hard on accepting things being good enough. To be honest, they are often small niggly things that most other people probably don’t even notice.
- Do you feel you have a good balance between your job, business and personal life. If yes, how did you achieve this? If no – why not?
I don’t have a great balance at the moment but I am still really in the start-up phase and I think that is often the most time consuming part. I am hoping once I get a steady income to go part time in my job. Having said that I am enjoying working on my business and I don’t resent the hours so maybe it is the right balance for me. Ideally I would work less on my job and the hours I free up there would go towards having more free time for my personal life.
- What are your top 3 tips for people starting a business alongside their regular jobs?
- Get super focused on what you want to achieve each week and don’t overschedule. It is too easy to get distracted by new things to try out.
- Make sure you give yourself some time off from work and business.
- Don’t get caught up with what everyone else is doing. One of the beautiful things about setting up a business is doing things your way (to a point – you still need to offer what works for your clients).
[ctt template=”5″ link=”e35x4″ via=”no” ]Get super focused on what you want to achieve each week and don’t overschedule. It is too easy to get distracted by new things to try out.[/ctt]
- If you could change one thing about your start up process when you started your business what would that be?
Talking more to potential ideal clients to get a better sense of the services and products they wanted. Not only would it have meant having a clearer idea of what to create for my clients from the get go but it also would have helped with having the right words to use in copy on my website. Much easier to speak your clients’ language when you know what it is!
- Do you have plans to transition to full time business owner? Why?
I do want to transition to a full time business owner. I love the creating aspect of the business and the idea of building my own little empire of one that supports me. But I also have other ideas I would like to pursue so I could see myself having a side hustle of a second business if I make this one full time. Find out more: http://carolinemwood.com/custom-audiences/