I launched a special blog series to honor and champion other women in business. This is a companion service to a podcast that launched in 2020.
My intention is to share insights of lessons learned by businesswomen and also elevate their services to the greater community. The goal is to inform and inspire other women with ideas in order to empower them to grow their own business ventures.
Windy Lawson left her corporate gig in 2017 and took her leap of faith in helping female microbusiness owners with marketing strategies. She uses a ‘jump first, ask later’ approach because she believes this encourages women to soar.
1. What is your business?
I am a marketing mentor for female microbusiness owners who are struggling to overcome the six-figure hurdle.
2. How many years have you been in business?
I’ve had my coaching practice for nearly two years now. I spent 20-something in the marketing space before pivoting to a teaching and mentoring role.
3. Why did you pick this trade in particular?
I didn’t pick this life, this life picked me. Hahahaha. As a child, my big dream was to be a print journalist. I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. So, I went to college, got my journalism degree, and then discovered what the pay looked like for reporters. So, after college, I focused more on public relations, which eventually moved to marketing. I spent nearly 20-years working in entertainment marketing. I promoted concerts and other live events from Las Vegas to Florida. It wasn’t a bad way to earn a living.
When I decided to leave that industry and focus on coaching, I tried to leave marketing. But marketing is like the mafia; it pulled me back in. I love it so much. It’s the perfect combination of art and science. It’s the business equivalent of a salty and sweet snack. The creative side of the brain gets to play with colors and words and design. The analytical side of the brain gets to geek out over numbers and trends and metrics.
Plus, it’s constantly evolving. When I began my career in marketing 20-something years ago, social media didn’t exist. Hell, the internet was still in its infancy. Back then, direct mail was king.
And, there is no one right way to market your microbusiness. I don’t care what ad you saw or what a guru told you, there is no one right way. Just because someone had success using one method doesn’t mean it is the best method for you.
Finally, marketing is a skill anyone can develop. ANYONE! Marketing is based on a few key principles and there are a limited number of strategies that marketers can utilize. It’s not rocket science, no matter what you’ve been led to believe.
4. What are the top three reasons why a business owner should invest in your service/product?
First, I focus on marketing efficiency. The average microbusiness owner shouldn’t spend more than five hours a week on marketing. So, I’m going to help you save time, which is your most precious resource.
Second, marketing is only efficient if it’s effective. Marketing exists to support sales, so if your marketing isn’t working, you are not making as much as you should be. So, I’m going to help you make more money.
Finally, anyone who works with me is going to truly understand the basic tenets of marketing, which is going to increase their confidence in the marketing decisions they make for their business.
5. If you could go back to your younger self, what kind of advice would you give yourself about your pursuit to create your own business?
Just do it, already. I never had any desire to be a business owner. I resisted it for a long time, even though the writing was on the wall.
6. If you could go 5 years in the future, what do you think your future self would share with you?
Stop making everything harder than it needs to be! Future Me is hella proud, but she’s also annoyed that I tend to make things harder than they need to be.
7. Who influenced you – professionally?
My dad. My father started the family plumbing business in the 70s. He was in his 20’s, a single father raising this adorable little girl, and he just figured it out. He’s been a wonderful business role model, plus a pretty epic dad.
Right after college, I was sitting at the kitchen table, brainstorming business ideas. And every idea I had, he would throw these hard questions at me, showing me how the business could fail. I got so frustrated, and I huffed “Hey, no porcupines in my balloon factory, ok?”
And my dad said, “Win, I’m not trying to discourage you. I just want you to see the problems before they arise, so you can work through the solutions.”
That message has stuck with me through all these years. And is likely the basis for my love affair with strategy. Strategic thinking and planning are really all about finding the problems and solutions before they happen.
8. When was your moment of realizing, “you know what, I got this!”?
What a great question. I think the moment it all felt real and sustainable was when a client from another country found me and booked my services. A stranger, in another country. So I knew my marketing was working. And then, at the end of our contract, they wanted to keep working with me and signed up for another period of coaching. When a stranger finds you, gets value and wants to keep working with you, you’re doing something right.
9. How do you celebrate your wins?
I believe it’s so important to celebrate all wins. Big wins, little wins, they all count. Some days that means celebrating that I showed up when I didn’t feel like it and I could have blown off work, but I didn’t.
I’m a little obnoxious with bringing my husband into the celebrations. When I launched my membership program, I spent the day sending my husband screenshots every time I’d get a new sale. Once I hit $10K, I figured he didn’t need more texts.
Every day, I identify three tasks that need to be done that day. And I don’t leave my office until those three tasks are crossed off my to-do list. As I shut down for the day, I give myself a little pat on the back for moving forward on my goals, showing up and doing the work.
10. What advice would you share with someone who is thinking about, or just beginning, managing their own business?
Marketing has to be a priority. No business is sustainable without it. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money or a lot of time doing it, but there has to be marketing engine from day one.
And, you can do this. I guarantee there are people with less experience, less knowledge, and less integrity doing what you want to do. They just have more confidence.
11. What surprised you the most as a business owner?
How inherently lonely it is, at least as a soloprenuer. Before I made the leap to start my business, I always worked in an office with other people around. I had a staff to brainstorm ideas with. And then, I was all alone.
My first week as a business owner, I went to Panera for lunch, just to hear other people in the background and feel their energy.
Once I started actively networking with other women, it helped a lot. Just to have conversations and connections.
12. How do you describe your entrepreneurial spirit?
Reluctant. I honestly never wanted to own a business. I watched my dad manage a large plumbing company during an economic downturn, and saw how hard it was for him. He felt the responsibility of being the source of income for every single employee he had. That weight, that stress, stuck with me. I honestly never thought this life was for me. Yet, here we are.
13. How do you feel about the word ambition?
I love it. Ambition is not a bad thing. It’s what you do with it that matters. If you’re willing to put your morals, your principles, your integrity aside because of your ambition, that’s not ambition’s fault.
We should all be ambitious. Our time on this planet is so limited. We should be filled with determination to get as much out of this ride and do as much good as possible.
14. Are you more of a every little bit counts kind of person or an all-or-nothing kind of person?
Definitely an “every bit” counts. All-or-nothing is a lie and kills so many dreams. Every step, no matter how small, is still movement. Even moving in reverse is movement.
Think about it like this. Imagine I’m holding your favorite cake, and I offer you a piece. Are you going to turn down a piece of this delicious cake because you can’t have the whole thing? I mean, if you are, I don’t think we can be friends. It’s free cake!
Even if I only offered you a forkful of cake, it’s still free cake.
We need to think of success in those terms. A forkful of cake tastes better than no cake.
15. How much time do you devote to professional development/learning each week or month?
For the most part, I budget one hour a week for professional development. Yes, I budget my time more closely than my money. I can always make more money, but I can’t make more time.
The struggle for the small business owner is that personal development can become a procrastination tactic if we’re not careful. Training gives the illusion of productivity, but if you never use what you learned because you jump from one course to another, what’s the point?
So, during my work-time, I budget one hour a week. But, on Windy time, I read a lot. And most of my reading is business-related books. Biographies, entrepreneurship and things like that.
16. Five things to know about you:
a. How did you get the name, Windy?
There’s no real good story; it’s not short for anything, a nickname, or a family name. I was born in 1972, my parents were hippies.
b. What is your favorite flower?
It’s weird, but I love gladiolus. When I got my first management position and had a fancy office, I would bring fresh flowers to my office every week. And they were usually a bunch of gladioli because they were cheap. So began my love affair with grocery store flowers.
c. Coffee or tea?
Coffee, and lots of it.
d. Tahiti or Paris?
I’m definitely more of a beach person. But, I’d pick Paris. I studied French in high school and college, so it would be nice to put those years of study to work. Plus, I live in Florida, so even though it’s not nearly the same as Tahiti, I can get my beach on at home.
e. Are you an intention setter or goal setter?
Yes. I use both. I set quarterly goals, monthly goals, and weekly goals. And every day, I set an intention for the day. When I ordered my customized planner this year, I even included a space to write each day’s intention in it. It really forces me to choose what I want the day to be.
f. Favorite quote?
“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this- you haven’t.” Thomas Edison
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Juicy Marketing Goodness: ShoestringCMO.com