6 Questions Answered: Business, Balance and More
I had the pleasure of collaborating with Administrative Consultant, Artesia Swindle, for an interview last week. She asked me a few questions about business, achieving work/life balance and what we have brewing at BLPR Digital Strategies. Check out the few words of wisdom I have to offer below and take what is useful to you on building a business, a community and a life when you are an entrepreneur.
I met Nicole virtually at the beginning of last year after she commented on one of my lifestyle posts here on the blog. Upon visiting her website, I was immediately intrigued by her work and have enjoyed watching her business grow since that time. Quite naturally, it was only right that when considering successful female entrepreneurs to feature, she would be at the top of the list.
Meet Nicole Bedeau, Digital Strategist and found of Toronto-based BLPR Digital Strategies, a full service digital marketing and public relations agency focused on connecting companies with their customers in a new digital world. Learn more about her and her company with my 6 Questions series below.
How do you describe yourself in one sentence?
I am a black woman who is endlessly curious and passionately driven to emphasize the positive power in others.
What are some current trends in digital marketing and how does your company help clients navigate them?
Digital marketing has become specialized, personalized and focussed on "bespoke" experiences. It is no longer enough to try to sell all of the things to all of the people. Digital marketing now uses information and technology to find out what individuals think and how smaller groups behave. Digital marketers use data and devices to find the most passionate and loyal potential customers for a brand to sell to. My company helps businesses and entrepreneurs to identify their passionate and loyal target market then develops and executes strategies to sell to those ideal customers. We use digital tools to communicate with and sell to niche markets in a more powerful way.
What has been one of your biggest challenges in entrepreneurship and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge so far has been the administrative tasks of running a business. I am a specialist in my work in communication and marketing, but I am a novice in accounting, mentorship and talent management, which are all skills you need to run a business. Developing a community of other entrepreneurs around me has been very helpful. A business cannot grow in isolation. A company needs partners, colleagues and supporters who will send referrals, give each other information, be each other's customers, show each other how and what to do. Managing a community is just as important as doing the work.
What advice would you give someone looking to get serious about marketing their business/brand but not quite sure how?
Call a professional. Of course, this is my advice because this is the service I provide, but also I have witnessed the difference between the entrepreneurs who learn about marketing on the job and those who get professional help. Either way you pay: when you do it yourself you spend money where you shouldn't and waste some of your time learning what does and does not work; when you work with a professional the person you hire brings a level of expertise that will guide you around pitfalls, plus most of their time is spent on the one activity of marketing which frees you up to do the other important things you should be doing to run your business. I provide a Strategic Marketing Blueprint which gives business owners a look at how the next year of their business could be marketed no matter how long their company has been operating.
As a female entrepreneur, how do you balance the demands of running your business while maintaining a personal life?
Balancing professional and personal life has been a learning exercise for me. Starting BLPR Digital Strategies the first couple of years meant that I had to withdraw from my friends and family to invest the time and energy it took to put my best effort into starting the business. It was difficult to focus myself so completely on one thing that my immediate circle did not always understand and it was not balanced. Since then, I met my husband and I worried about how all-consuming my business life was. But Kyle has only made my business and personal life better by multiplying the expertise, time and energy that is invested in BLPR. He is a true partner who is fully supportive of BLPR. Actions demonstrate support more than words and he is fully involved in making BLPR what it needs to be. The company has also grown to a small team of professionals. I no longer do all of the work alone and that gives me more time to invest right back into developing more of the business and frees me a bit to spend a little more time and energy enjoying my personal life.
What's next for Nicole? And BLPR?
BLPR is growing better in its ability to help companies with communicating with their audience and ideal customer. With more access to products and services than ever before, there is more competition than ever for your customer's money. I love helping large and small companies compete in the current digital marketplace. BLPR is just getting bigger and better with what it already does.
What BLPR is doing for business also touches on a personal passion of mine, which is books. I love toread books, blogs ...anything! The publishing industry has changed much like the music industry and people are more interested in paying for interesting experiences with music (like going to festivals or concerts or hearing their favourite music in the club) than they are interested in paying for the music itself. I believe there is a parallel revolution in book publishing where people are more interested in the experiences around reading books and blogs than they are interested in the books and blogs themselves. I am interested in helping self-published authors with creating these experiences around their work that audiences will be excited about and pay for. Check out leopardlit.com to learn about self-published authors, publishers and bloggers from around the world more.
And there you have it!
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Artesia Swindle is an Administrative Consultant providing support to creative entrepreneurs. She works with bloggers, media/pr professionals, photographers, stylists, etc., and has 10 years of administrative experience. When she's not working or writing, she enjoys adventure by travel, good food and spending time with family/friends. Visit knowartesia.com for more!