Guest post by Dan Chappelle
For many years, I counseled travel business owners from the comfort of my corporate office. I didn’t have to worry about paying the bills, I doled out advice and collected my salary. That all changed three years ago when I made the leap back into home-based business ownership. It was baptism by fire! I had to adapt rather quickly. Five things come to mind that helped me to thrive in this environment.
#1 – Manage financial risk
In the corporate world, risk management is about minimizing the negative impact of financial and managerial decisions. Most are made by committee or die a slow death from analysis paralysis. In my new world as Founder & Chief Commode Cleaner, that risk translates into overhead. I have learned to ask myself, “Is this an investment or an expense, and more importantly – will I use it.
Many of the tools are available via monthly subscription such as Office 365, Go-to-Webinar, and Clientbase. These costs add up quickly! It is easy to get caught up in the “30-day free trial” sales pitches. Salesforce.com, in particular, will chase you down like a rabid dog. I consider the essential tools and coaching to which I subscribe to be a sound investment, but out of control monthly overhead is not a risk worth taking.
- Social Marketing Tips by Catherine. Some of my favorite free or nearly free tools that help grow business include:
- Zoom or Skype – you can easily meet with a client via video (using the free Zoom or Skype program) to get a real sense of their interest thru their body language and also showcase YOU! You know the saying that a picture is worth 1000 words, now research shows that video is worth 1.8 million words.
- Loom – is a free video tool that lets you send quick video messages. A powerful way to send someone a short video explanation or how-to.
- Video slideshow tools – consider the value of creating a video (and getting the best reach and engagement socially) using your own still images. Tools like Adobe Spark, Animoto, iMovie and MovieMaker are all free. Using the Video Slideshow tool on Facebook is free and a super easy way to create a short video. Here’s a quick how-to guide.
#2 – Setting boundaries
When I sold my travel business, I had a non-compete and left the industry for a while. I went to work for a national builder selling new homes. I was the guy sitting in the model home in a large master-planned community in Houston Texas. Tuesday & Wednesday was my version of what the rest of the world called a weekend. Since most buyers tended to contact me during their working hours, my phone would ring off the hook on my days off. It was during this period that I learned the concept of “My Time / Your Time.” In fact, David Weekley Homes taught the concept to all employees to help prevent burn out. Guess what, it works!
If you set the boundaries with your clients, in the beginning, they will, for the most part, respect them. Set business hours and make sure not just your clients know, but also your family. As we all know, since we don’t “go to work”, we aren’t really working, right? Make sure your spouse and other family members respect your working time instead of sending you on a Costco run.
- Social Marketing Tips by Catherine. Setting boundaries with your clients is easy when you set up auto responders on your Facebook business page and Facebook Messenger.
- 24/7 is attainable. If your clients are night owls or continue to seek out your guidance after hours, consider creating Live streaming videos that you can later repurpose as social posts. This give you the advantage of providing travel tips and building stronger, personalized relationships ….24/7.
#3 – Create your own space
For many years, I traveled so much that I literally worked out of my briefcase. I could set up shop anywhere. That is until I decided to make the jump back to home-based entrepreneur. I just assumed that I could work from our dining room table.
I quickly learned that my wife’s expectation and mine were slightly askew. She made it clear, I had to gather up my things at the end of the day and bring them back out each morning after she left. That didn’t work for me, so she set up a desk in the only unoccupied space in the house – our “Slashy” room. This large space operates as a guest room, laundry room, and now office. I was spending a lot of time in the garage on phone calls – so clients would not hear the dogs bark every time a squirrel taunted them. I liked the garage, the air is fresh, it was my space, so I moved in. Now I summer in my “Garoffice” and winter in the “Slashy” room – everyone is happy!
- Social Marketing Tips by Catherine. Setting space boundaries applies not only to ‘Garoffice’ but also to your social sites. Make sure you separate your social profiles and do business only on your business pages.
- For example, make sure your Facebook business page is set up properly to ensure you’ll be found in a Facebook search. Also, make sure your business shows as your ‘Work & Employment’ on your personal profile. Occasionally, share a post from your business page to your personal profile.
- If you find that you’re using Instagram more for business than personal, switch to a business profile to maximize your exposure and opportunity.
#4 – Get out of the house!
I don’t know about you, but I can only take so much staring at the computer. I was going nuts, so I started doing a couple of things. I go for a 45-minute walk every day. This keeps the blood flowing and the pounds off. I also try to work from my local coffee shop one day a week. The energy I get just from being around people is huge. The weekly visits also help me keep my Starbucks Gold Card status which makes it affordable because I get free refills on coffee & tea!
- Social Marketing Tips by Catherine. Getting out of the house to meet clients, network and connect with other business owners is not only good for you, but good for business too. You’ll be collecting contact information from people you meet and growing your email list. Here’s how to create an ad audience using your email list.
#5 – Build a great team
I don’t care who you are -no one succeeds by themselves. I consciously surround myself with a team of trusted colleagues and even (yes) competitors, as well as a paid business coach. My wife is in the industry and one of the smartest people I know. She & my team help me recognize opportunities and are instrumental in my decision-making process.
Even good business advisers need a good coach. Elite athletes and business people employ coaches, so it makes sense for us to do the same. My coach holds me accountable for executing action plans and staying focused on the mission of my company. This is one of my best investments and one of the main reasons for the successful growth of my business.
- Social Marketing Tips by Catherine. Being part of a great team can be yours in the world of social marketing as well. Consider joining Facebook groups as a strategic maneuver. You’ll want to consider joining groups that serve very different purposes.
- Facebook groups that support you! Join industry groups where you can learn from peers, brainstorm and give back to our industry.
- Facebook groups that you can offer professional value to members. Joining groups where you can meet potential new clients with similar interest is a valuable networking opportunity. Perhaps you have a keen interest in photography. How about joining a photography lovers Facebook Group. Participate in conversations as a personal interest, then after establishing yourself within the group, begin asking travel questions and learn from other members. Like conversations at a cocktail party, you may pick up new friends and/or potential new clients.
Thriving and being a success in our industry is easy when we manage our clients and ourselves. Putting these 5 key strategies into place will help grow your business and keep you sane!
Dan Chappelle is a professional business advisor, sales consultant, author, and speaker. His training and consulting firm helps develop sales oriented business leaders and entrepreneurs, His best-selling book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com.
©2018 Dan Chappelle, CCI Inc.
Social Marketing Strategies for Travel and Tourism
About Catherine Heeg
Catherine Heeg is a recognized social media trail blazer passionate about social media and marketing in the tourism and hospitality industry. She takes the mystery out of marketing!
She creates and delivers meaningful, dynamic workshops that meet your unique needs in the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Industry.
Catherine and her team help travel, tourism and hospitality pros design and implement social media marketing strategies and tactics that drive traffic to their social and web sites. Learn more…
Professionals who are serious about taking consistent, winning actions every day to build their business and achieve measurable results love working with Catherine.