We were lucky to catch up with Beth Wand recently and have shared our conversation below.
Beth, appreciate you joining us today. Before we talk about all of your success, let’s start with a story of failure. Can you open up about a time when you’ve failed?
Eight years ago, I knew I wanted to do something, I just didn’t quite know what that something was. I finally was able to define that internal push as the fact that I wanted to be paid to write. I had started my own blog and it was a wonderful creative outlet, but I didn’t know if it could be monetized. I wrote for free for two local blogs hoping to gain some followers of my personal blog and make some connections, but over time it became more work than it was worth
I stumbled upon an online course that had a connection to someone I knew professionally. The course would teach you how to generate ideas and then pitch them to publications, hoping they would then pay you to write the article. It sounded amazing! I reached out to the owner and she told me that the course was designed to have multiple students, but since she didn’t have one starting anytime soon, she would do the course just for me. I was thrilled! I happily handed over the fee for the course, downloaded the materials, and got to work.
After completing the first set of assignments, I scheduled my first touch base call with the instructor to go over the work I had sent to her. I was prepped for feedback – I knew I was there to learn and grow and so I was ready to hear how I should do that. And then she rescheduled the call. And then rescheduled again. Still eager to hear what she had to say, I pursued that call. When we finally did connect, we had a little small talk and then she said:
“You know, I see a lot of writers’ work. And I’m looking at your work and I just think…you don’t have it. This just isn’t very good.”
Stunned, flabergasted, and frankly hurt, I managed to point out that this was supposed to be a course, something I should be learning from. Was I supposed to come into it already knowing how to do the work? Wasn’t I supposed to be learning that stuff here?
I didn’t complete the course. I never called her again. While I didn’t believe her, I was still shaken by her negativity. As the years went on, her words echoed in my head as I built a business. I started taking that gut punch and using it as motivation. The first check I ever received for a bio I wrote for a friend, I felt like sending her a picture.
Flash forward to 3 months ago. I got an email with a subject line that was something a friend would send you, except I had no idea who it was from. And then it hit me – it was the course instructor. It wasn’t just an email to me, it was her new newsletter. It explained that she had gone through a terrible divorce (at the same time I was taking her course) and had fallen off the radar because of it. Now that she was finding her footing again, she was diving into a new business venture – podcasts! And did I want to be a part of it with her? If so, her new course was available for me to check out.
I literally almost threw my phone across the room – I couldn’t get her away from me fast enough. It took every ounce of effort not to reply to her newsletter and let her know the terrible damage she could have done. What if I wasn’t as stubborn as I am? She could have completely derailed what has grown into a very successful and satisfying business. One that has expanded to be able to bring on several friends who are able to earn some extra money and still be full-time parents. So much amazingness could have swirled down the drain with her one, thoughtless comment. She let her personal world potentially destroy someone’s dream.
The Dude said it best, “yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion man.” If you have a dream, don’t let idiots stand in your way. You never know what their motivation is for trying to slow you down – and you may never know. I’m grateful for some closure to that crappy situation, but even if it had never come, I have all the satisfaction in the world when I get to pay my friends each month, and when a client calls and tells me how pleased they are with that month’s post, and when I hear my kids say “my mom’s a writer”. So screw the haters, go get that dream
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
When I started out creating a business over eight years ago, I didn’t have a website, a logo, or even a business name. All I had was a deep desire to create.
I began very simply, I wrote my own blog as well as for two local moms’ blogs. Then a friend needed his bio and website content redone and so I wrote those. Then more site content followed. A friend and colleague hired me to write her client’s blog posts and then another to write site content. Several years in, I got an inquiry asking if I could manage a business’ social media. When I explained that it wasn’t something I had done before, but that I was willing to give a shot, they happily agreed.
That attitude of being willing to learn and grow has allowed me to scale my business to take on more clients and to hone in on my service offerings. I am very proud to contract with three amazing women who are able to work for BW Concepts on their schedules and also allows them to pursue dreams and chase their kids. Having them on the team affords us the ability to provide an outstanding and timely product for our clients.
In addition to getting to work with amazing people, I absolutely love working with small businesses! I am always so honored that a company will look to me to help them continue to build and grow something so important to them. I also believe in supporting our communities by giving back to nonprofit organizations. I currently offer both discounted and pro bono services to several organizations in order to assist them with their mission.
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
The most effective strategy I’ve found is to be willing to say “I don’t know” with confidence. It’s never easy to face a client and tell them you don’t know the answer. But what I’ve learned is that many clients don’t expect you to know the answer, what they really want is someone who knows more than they do to help them. I’ve learned that by being honest, and then following up with an answer later gains the trust of my clients and their loyalty as well.
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?
The best way to build an audience on social media is to know your ideal customer. I can tell you all day about engagement and insights, but if you’re engaging on a platform that your ideal customer isn’t utilizing, it’s a waste of time. For example, if you have an older client base, they are more likely to use and engage on Facebook rather than Instagram. Which means you should focus your energy on that platform over another.
Also, utilize your page insights. Know what kind of content people are responding to, as well as what days and times they’re engaging (at a minimum). Analytics are powerful, use them to your advantage in order to get the most bang for your marketing buck.
- Website: https://bw-concepts.com/
- Instagram: bw_concepts1
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bwconcepts1
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/beth-wand-21548a4/
Stephanie Slezak Photography