This post originally appeared at 22+ Property Management & Apartment Marketing Ideas To Get More Leases via ShivarWeb
Most apartment & rental unit owners would agree that there’s nothing like finding a good tenant. But it’s hard to find a good tenant if you don’t have lease applications coming in.
Some apartments have a location that brings in applications with nothing but a For Rent sign on the curb. But for most property managers, you have to go out and market your property to get a quality pool of potential tenants.
I’ve consulted on search marketing for several large, regional residential real estate service companies. Based on those experiences, here are some property management & apartment marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more leases.
Create Neighborhood-Specific Website Pages
For tenants, city searches are too big, street searches are too small, and ZIP code searches are not relevant. Neighborhood searches are just right.
That may sound obvious, but most real estate firms that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on neighborhoods. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.
If you list multiple apartments on your website, simply organize them by neighborhood (i.e., make neighborhoods your category).
If you have a single apartment complex, create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “apartments in [neighborhood]” searches.
Create Niche Amenity Pages
Lots of tenants have specific amenities and/or requirements that they want. Instead of listing your amenities in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “apartments with [amenity]”.
You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] apartments with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.
You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.
Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.
If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk.
Create Local Data Pages
Create resource guides for people moving to your city. Create lots of them.
Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.
Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews
You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.
But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.
First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.
Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.
You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.
Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.
Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses
I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.
No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.
With property management & apartment marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.
Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.
Here’s what you’ll see.
It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.
The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.
Work with Local Real Estate Blogs
Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in real estate. In Atlanta, where I live, we have a Curbed blog in addition to the AJC Real Estate, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and real estate blogs.
Find those and become a regular fixture. All real estate blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalist. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links.
That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.
Your neighborhood pages, rental listings, amenity pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.
Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads
A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.
Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.
Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested tenants.
Additionally, Facebook operates Facebook Marketplace, which is one of the largest local listing places online.
You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.
Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads
Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best tenant is someone who searches for “apartments for rent in [neighborhood]”.
But that search click will be very costly.
But like Facebook, you have an “in” – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.
Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.
Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads
Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.
Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.
But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.
List on Locally-Popular Apartment Websites
Apartment listing websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.
The key is to find a few key apartment websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.
You can use Google Trends, tenant interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.
List on NextDoor & Local Forums
NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising property manager.
These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for real estate.
Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits
Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for property managers and landlords for a couple of reasons.
First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.
Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.
Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.
However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.
You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.
Post Listings w/ Photos in Instagram
Think about how you can take listing photos & repurpose them across different platforms. I don’t think you should simply post listings on every platform, but instead use photos from listings to create a truly interesting feed on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.
For example, suppose a unit has an excellent skyline view. That should be a post. Suppose you put in native landscaping around your unit. That should be a post. Do further research around hashtags to make sure that your post shows up in listings.
Develop a Local Real Estate Pinterest Board
Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking to decorate & upgrade their living. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused Pinterest board.
Use local photos, decor, etc from real listings to provide ideas. Promote local artists, makers, etc.
Identify & Market Local Employers
Your tenants are all working somewhere. And your prospective tenants all will want to be close to their job.
Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential tenants nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).
Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.
Identify & Market Local Schools & Amenities
Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and resources.
Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood amenities & schools.
Identify & Market Popular Tenant Sources
Take previous & existing tenants and try to understand where those tenants came from and how they found you.
See if there is a way to build off that success.
Cross-Promote Local Real Estate Agents
Local real estate agents usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote the agents.
Cross-Promote Local Businesses
Your tenants will spend money nearby. Figure out what other businesses do well when you have 100% occupancy. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target tenant.
Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.
Use Events To Get Social Media Attention
Events like open house tours, openings, holiday showings, etc are marketing staples for apartments. But events have a bonus effect online.
You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.
Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media
Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of listings.
Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.
Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth
Referral fees are also a staple of apartment marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.
Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., apartment numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.
Find & Sponsor Local Charities
Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.
First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.
Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.
Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.
There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for property managers and apartments. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.
Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.
For some people, knowledge of Human Resources begins and ends with Michael Scott’s relentless feud with HR-manager Toby during several cringe-worthy (and amusing) episodes of The Office. HR can seem like the prerogative of a bigger company, but not necessarily something a smaller business could benefit from. However, in reality, the role of HR is vast (and commonly misunderstood) and can operate as a bridge between your employees, you, and the practical side of having and managing people.
Wondering whether a Human Resources Manager, a full Human Resources Department, or an outsourced service is the best fit for your business?
Keep on reading to find out what HR is and whether or not your small business could benefit from adding human resources.
What Is HR?
HR, as a department within your business, is the branch of operations that is responsible for managing a company’s human resources (or human capital; or employees). The Human Resources (HR) department streamlines many important facets of your business and becomes an important link between the leadership of a company and its employees. The umbrella term HR covers the various ways employees are led and developed within a business. For that reason, there are numerous avenues of expertise within HR itself or different ways an HR department can function within a small business.
In general, the tasks delegated to HR can include onboarding, hiring/firing, running payroll, managing employment laws and compliance, addressing employee complaints, running employee training programs, and analyzing job duties and descriptions. HR specialists can bring their own pet passions to a company, but in general, the tasks orbit around employee management and growth.
HR VS. HRM
Human Resources (HR) is the department set apart to manage employees and employment; Human Resource Management (HRM) is the approach to how a company manages its employees. Some of those management approaches are related to recruitment, hiring and firing, employee education and training, employment compliance, and maintaining company culture. An HR Management team will work with a company’s human resources (employees and leadership) to implement processes and set goals.
Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably.
What Duties Does HR Fulfill?
From talent acquisition to letting people go, the HR department follows the life-cycle of an employee and works with you as the small business owner to effectively manage your team. An HR professional needs to be knowledgeable about the law but also informed about the specific niche-needs required for your particular business. A person working in HR wears many hats and often becomes a de facto counselor while also juggling compliance, training, and navigating employee relationships. With that in mind, your HR department is the face of your company to a new employee and they should set the tone and display the culture you desire.
Specifically, in the HR job description, your HR department will take the lead on payroll, hiring and firing, employee benefits, employee documentation, compliance, continued training, and helping maintain company culture. The role is a fine balance between paperwork and people–business objectives that don’t often go together.
The facilitation of payroll is something a small business owner might be happy to hand over to someone else. Payroll can be a long and convoluted process, especially if you’re currently running payroll without assistance. Opportunities to outsource payroll are expanding as more businesses make their systems available for small businesses at competitive prices, and many of those leaders in payroll are expanding their platforms to include HR and benefits management online.
Online payroll systems like Gusto, SurePayroll, Paycom or Intuit offer cloud-based payroll platforms that streamline the payroll process and can assist with onboarding and maintaining employee records. Companies like Namely, however, not only offer payroll services but delve into a broader spectrum of HR services, too, and work best for small businesses with over 50 employees to manage.
Hiring (& Firing)
The HR department (either a team or a single person) will greet a new hire with a request for quite a bit of paperwork, and it is the department’s responsibility to maintain those documents related to hiring, compliance, and job performance. (Paperwork, however, is slightly anachronistic as most of HR’s tasks have been relegated to the digital world.) The entire life-cycle of an employee belongs to HR: It is HR’s job to help the company with best practices related to recruitment through termination.
In that capacity, an HR department can relieve some of the burden from a small business owner by shouldering the minutiae of managing employees. HR works with company leadership to outline an ideal job candidate, write job descriptions, conduct interviews, follow-up with reference checks, outline performance reviews, and monitor/manage all employee records.
HR can also take on the task of having difficult conversations with employees who are under-performing. In the event that an employee is terminated, HR will set up an exit-strategy for your employees and develop a system: HR can conduct an exit interview, remove the former employee’s access to company communication, and run a final payroll.
Positively, HR manages employee growth and education within a company, including announcing pay increases and bonuses. Companies thrive when there is a clear growth model, and HR can take on the task of creating a uniform growth model and communicating performance requirements to employees.
According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, a 2018 survey of full-time employees reported that 94% of workers said health insurance was “very important” to them when looking at an employer. Up until recently, some small businesses were shut-out from opportunities to offer affordable health care or retirement.
Setting up benefits, communicating those benefits to employees, answering questions about benefits, and monitoring open-enrollment periods are all functions of HR. Also, HR professionals also have the resources and knowledge to negotiate lower rates to help control benefit costs.
Paperwork: Infinitely tedious but monumentally important to your business. Ensuring proper documentation is a crucial component of mitigating risk and protecting both your business and your employees. An HR department will manage and facilitate documentation on the following issues:
Paperwork required for hiring
Job performance reviews that lead to a promotion/demotion
All discipline related to an employee
Harassment and discrimination complaints
Failure to document might leave your business in a fragile position, and one of HR’s purposes is to guide a business when situations with employees become tenuous. HR can also be a neutral place for employees to feel safe voicing concerns and can advocate for employees who need a go-between them and management.
During my tenure as a public school teacher, I routinely spent warm August nights renewing my first aid and CPR certifications. It is a legal requirement that schools must maintain a certain ratio of adults with certifications to students in the building, and it is HR’s responsibility to have those numbers and photocopies of first aid cards in case they are needed. Every few years, I’d get nudged to renew my qualifications.
When it comes to HR and compliance, an HR manager’s job is to guard your company against employment/compliance lawsuits. Risk management is a huge part of the HR job description, so hiring someone with specific knowledge of your industry is important.
In recent years, company culture has become an important part of managing employees.
Company culture conveys not only your company’s personality, but also its fundamental value-system. More than ever, prospective employees are interested in a company’s values as a prerequisite before applying. People want to work where they will feel valued, supported, and understood, and it is your cultural environment that sets the foundation for your employees to feel that value, support, and understanding.
HR may be the first face of your company to new recruits and interviewees, and so it’s vitally important for HR to have a strong sense of the company culture you wish to convey. What does that look like? As a small business owner, you choose the culture of your company. So, hire someone who is well-equipped to assess your employee’s skills and know the needs within the company. HR needs to understand the small nuances within your business and must employee messaging that consistently conveys company culture.
Does Your Small Business Need HR?
All small businesses could benefit from some type of HR platform or person to help assist with the more tedious aspects of employment (payroll, documentation, compliance).Â Do you need an in-house HR manager? Maybe not yet. But the good news is that we are entering a golden age for cloud-based/remote assistance for small businesses in areas that were traditionally closed to smaller companies.
As companies grow, it’s important to know when it might be time to devote more attention/resources to HR. Think of the amount of time you spend on clerical documentation of employees or payroll; think about how confident you are in your knowledge of employment law; contemplate the systems in place for employee complaints– are you leaving areas of your business open to employment liabilities? Does new-hire paperwork take up a significant portion of your time?
HR professionals are equipped to navigate these facets of employment, but whether or not you need to hire in-house or outsource is up to you. If you still aren’t certain if you need HR at all, reflect upon some of the key functions of this department and see if they fit with your needs:
Streamlines the hiring process and takes over new-hire documentation
Runs payroll and manages benefits
Assists with employee retention and satisfaction
Manages employment law compliance
Writes and updates the employee handbook
Resolves employee conflicts and can mediate human resource difficultiesÂ
How To Choose The Right HR Option For Your Small Business
How much HR will your business really use? With one or two employees, simple payroll needs, and low turnover, you may find you’re not ready to invest in outsourcing or hiring when you can DIY. But companies that can afford to outsource the administrative tasks of HR should consider looking at the options available. In recent years, some old names in HR have developed new online platforms to assist businesses with every aspect of HR. Some of the bigger names like Namely are only available for companies with 50 or more employees; however, many other options, like Trinet, serve small businesses of all sizes.
Three HR options available for small businesses are:
1. The Startup Mindset: Handle HR Yourself
It may be a cliche that small business owners have an excess amount of drive and energy, but the evidence seems to support the image. When a business is starting, every saved penny is necessary to put back into the company, and those early months need all the stretching they can get. Simply put: If you can do it yourself, then you just do it yourself.Â With tight margins and an unclear path for the future, some business owners need a lot of convincing to pay someone to do tasks that they are capable of doing themselves. And it can be done.
Free accounting programs can assist with payroll and you can make yourself available to talk with employees. You can download or pay once for the creation of an employee handbook, and with time and creativity you could provide employee training. If you feel comfortable with employment law and know that you have the time and emotional resources to be a neutral advocate for your employees, then by all means, handle HR yourself.
2. Hire An In-House HR Manager
There are some businesses that are well-suited to have an in-house HR manager vs. heading the digital outsourcing route. Does working with employees require a significant amount of face-time? Do you hire/fire several times throughout the year? If you said yes to either of those questions, you might need to hire an in-house HR manager. People who work in HR are trained in a variety of different methods regarding the best practices for employee retention and keeping morale high, so you will want to find a good match. (Two different views about how to manage people or what to value in an employee could get complicated. Explore what types of HR methodologies match your business style before you set out to hire someone.)
Also, there is the possibility of hiring an in-house HR manager and then equipping that person with the ability to outsource some of their duties to a Professional Employer Organized (PEO) or Human Resources Management (HRM) company.
3. Outsource Your HR
There are also options to fully outsource your entire HR department to a PEO or an HRM. Employees and business owners alike might find that it’s easiest to streamline aspects of the employee life-cycle using online software. This automated system usually comes with a fee per employee, and offers in-software functions that cover many HR requirements. The best software includes easy employee log-in and navigation, mobile access, payroll, time and attendance platforms, expense tracking, benefits administration assistance, access to training modules, and a customer rep to call directly in the event of a question or concern.
Most of the savvy HRM platforms are designed to look like social media platforms and operate as a place to connect socially as well as send out important employee announcements. As the need increases, integrations grow and the software pivots to respond to client demand; and in that regard, outsourcing is a sure-fire way to stay on top of HR trends.
Final Thoughts On Human Resources
Maybe in the next reboot of The Office everyone works remotely and HR is a robot. That might have seemed like a left-field prediction a few months ago, but now, who knows? If you are spending an exorbitant amount of time on HR administrative tasks, it is highly likely that an HR professional (either in-person or via the cloud) is an important step to grow your business and give your brain a rest. While outsourcing costs can vary between platforms, the mid-line options are less expensive than hiring a full-time HR manager.
Above all, whether you hire in-house or outsource, the HR platform you implement should reflect your business values and make your day-to-day management of employees easier and more streamlined. For growing businesses with a handful of new hires a year, the benefits (and protection) outweigh the costs.
The post Small Business HR: What Is HR & How To Manage Your Business’s Human Resources appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Since its 2009 launch, Kickstarter has helped more than 180,000 campaigns collectively raise over $4.8 billion in business funding. Kickstarter has been key in assisting businesses to raise money and gain media traction, but if you want to use Kickstarter for business purposes, it helps to have a plan.
It may seem obvious, but it needs to be said: Running a successful Kickstarter campaign is no walk in the park. According to Kickstarter’s campaign stats, 37.63% of Kickstarter campaigns ultimately reach their funding goal. That means that over 62% of businesses on Kickstarter get no money whatsoever from running a crowdfunding campaign. Under Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing funding policy, if your campaign doesn’t hit its funding goal within the time frame you specify (campaigns have a maximum length of 60 days), you won’t receive any money at all — all the funds pledged to you are returned to your backers.
We tell you this not to dissuade you but to prepare you for the realities of crowdfunding on Kickstarter. If the current pandemic and resulting economic climate have you struggling to find traditional sources of funding and you’re looking to Kickstarter as a possible solution, we have some crowdfunding tips for you to keep in mind.
1) Be The Point Person Of Your Campaign
Look, I get it. You may not be a natural PR flack or salesperson, and you probably didn’t get into business to be the next Billy Mays. However, the reality is that people — your potential backers — are attracted to the idea of passion projects. They tend to identify with business leaders who convey enthusiasm and vision, and from there, it’s a short path to becoming a supporter. Just look at the fanatical social media following Elon Musk has been able to attract, despite his many missteps.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there as the public face of your campaign. It’s challenging to make people feel invested in a business project, but if you personify that business project — if you detail your life story and your motivation for doing what you do — people become more likely to share your enthusiasm. Kickstarter knows this. That’s why the company refers to those who launch crowdfunding campaigns as “creators” and not “campaigners.”
Of course, you’ll still want to be concise and not overwhelm people with biographical details. Just remember: People are more likely to become enthusiastic about what you’re doing if they get a sense of your enthusiasm. So while you may be an introvert, do your best approximation of an extrovert while touting your business!
2) Research Past Kickstarter Campaigns Similar To Yours
Imagine that you’re trying to get a business loan from your bank. Now imagine that you could look at every loan application any business had ever submitted to your bank as well as whether each application was granted or rejected. This would be pretty valuable for you in terms of helping you tailor your loan application for success, wouldn’t it?
Thankfully, this is essentially what you can do on Kickstarter before launching your campaign. Kickstarter campaigns never get removed from the website, regardless of whether they succeed or fail. With over 480,000 campaigns launched on Kickstarter to date, you have ample opportunity to study the ghosts of campaigns past. All this raw data is just sitting there waiting for you to examine and draw lessons from. Pay particular attention to old campaigns for business projects similar to yours. Look for patterns. Compare and contrast the campaigns that succeeded vs. those that never really got off the ground.
3) Come Up With A Good Business Plan For Your Kickstarter Campaign
Achieving your business goals requires a good business plan. Why would achieving your Kickstarter goals be any different?
You’ll want to research what elements are needed in a business plan for Kickstarter. To that end, Kickstarter has posted a creator handbook that contains helpful information for creators about telling your story, promoting your campaign, fulfilling your commitments to your backers (complete with a list of services that can help your fulfillment process), and more. Read through this handbook but also seek out feedback from successful campaigners — look for interviews and podcasts featuring them, and if you can secure a private chat, you should do so.
4) Record A Professional Video & Post It
Kickstarter once posted an article about making promotional videos in which the company stated that featuring a promotional video in your crowdfunding project increases your likelihood of success from 30% to 50%. The article was posted several years ago, so the stats may be out of date, but it touches on an undeniable truth: The better your presentation is, the more likely it is that your Kickstarter campaign will reach its funding goal.
Your instinct may not be to invest precious time and resources into the production of a slick video. You might prefer investing those resources in your actual business project. Just remember that thousands of other Kickstarter creators have great business ideas too. Effective promotion helps determine which of these ideas get heard (and funded) and which don’t. A professionally-produced video can help you cut through the noise and draw attention to your campaign, so don’t be shy — put out the best video you possibly can.
You should also take care to ensure that your campaign design choices, including your logo, are top-notch as well. It may go against your instincts, but a professional sales pitch helps differentiate you from all the other worthy funding-hungry businesses on Kickstarter.
5) Recruit Backers From Your Network Prior To Launch
People who support crowdfunding campaigns generally don’t like to be the first to support a campaign. When people happen upon your campaign and see “$0 pledged,” it can be a deterrent to getting their backing, whereas if they see that your campaign already has some support, they may decide to join the bandwagon. That’s why you should mine your existing networks for backing before you officially kick off your Kickstarter campaign.
According to Kickstarter’s ever-helpful stats page, while just 37.63% of Kickstarter campaigns succeed, 78% of projects that raise more than 20% of their goal are ultimately successful, thus illustrating this bandwagon effect.
Don’t be afraid to go to your family and friends to line up commitments of support before your campaign goes live, then have them contribute once you launch your project. Try building an email list of potential backers from your personal and professional networks as well. Of course, if you have a significant social media following, do some prelaunch promotion of your campaign on your social media channels. Then, once your campaign goes live, notify everyone immediately.
Securing immediate funding is key to attracting subsequent funding from those who aren’t already familiar with you and your business. Success breeds success, so line up those early commitments!
6) Use The Data In The Project Dashboard To Your Advantage
Kickstarter’sÂ Project Dashboard gives you access to a lot of helpful data, such as the domain source your backers (not just internet traffic in general, but your actual backers) are coming from, the number of pledges from that source, the amount pledged, and the percentage of your total amount raised from each domain. In terms of helping you focus your marketing efforts on the right places, this information is golden.
The Dashboard also gives you information on the popularity of your reward tiers, assuming you offer different levels of rewards to backers at varying levels of financial support. This should help you refine your reward tiers to better reflect what the data shows people want. Kickstarter’s Project Dashboard data is your friend!
7) Stay In Touch With Your Backers
The act of backing your project is an act of faith on the part of your backers. These folks are putting their trust in you to deliver on your promises. They generally realize that there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to fulfill your commitments. That’s why it’s so important to show your backers the respect they deserve by keeping them updated on your progress. Be as open as possible — honesty is the best policy.
Try to monitor what’s being said about your campaign on social media. If people have concerns, respond to them and try to address their issues. Give people reassurance about taking the leap of faith necessary to place their trust in your campaign.
8) Don’t Be Afraid To Run An Ad Campaign
Yes, this is another point that touches on the marketing aspect of running a Kickstarter campaign. That’s how important the marketing side of crowdfunding is.
In the early days of Kickstarter, you may well have gotten away with not focusing on advertising. But as some observers have noted — not without a hint of bitterness — the backlinks directed towards successful Kickstarter campaigns often reveal a lot of traffic coming from Facebook or Google AdWords.
Don’t be squeamish about running an ad campaign. It’s simply what modern crowdfunding often requires. If you can afford it, you may want to hire a PR agency and/or an advertising agency to handle the promotional side of your campaign so that you can keep more of your focus on your business project.
9) Make Sure Your Funding Goal Is Realistic
Most entrepreneurs possess a healthy amount of self-confidence. If they didn’t believe in their ability to reach big goals, they would likely have found another line of work. However, if this is you, there are benefits to keeping your Kickstarter funding goal relatively modest.
It’s good to know just how much money you’ll need to accomplish your goals and cover your expenses, being mindful of Kickstarter’s 5% platform fee and the fees charged for payment processing. Don’t ask for more than is necessary. You’ll have better luck meeting a modest fundraising goal than a more ambitious one. As I said earlier, success breeds success, so a successful campaign can set the stage for more crowdfunding success in the future.
Additionally, with a modest funding goal, you’re more likely to have a campaign that blows well past what you set out to raise, which, in and of itself, can impress interested parties, perhaps including the media.
10) Don’t Go Overboard With The Reward Levels
Studies have consistently shown that when you offer people too many choices, they tend to feel overwhelmed, thus leading them to decide that making a choice isn’t worth the trouble.
Decide on rewards that are clearly presented and that appeal to your target audience. Offer entry-level rewards for small pledges to give the broadest possible array of potential backers the ability to feel like they’re a part of your project. Get them invested in your success. However, don’t offer an overabundance of rewards. In particular, don’t offer a plethora of similar rewards or variations on the same reward. It will prove to be counterproductive.
11) Don’t Try To Do Everything Yourself
When Kickstarter launched in 2009, it may have been possible to run every aspect of a successful campaign yourself. However, in 2020, you’re going to be competing with companies backed by angel investors and other deep-pocketed agencies. Hell, in some cases, their agencies have agencies.
Don’t spread yourself too thin — enlist help when you need it. Whether you have an agency to handle the marketing, business partners to help with your project, or your friend’s kid to take care of the social media outreach, Kickstarter campaigns are best approached as group projects.Â Remember, your project isn’t competing with a bunch of ragtag DIY folks. Your competitors are taking advantage of assistance any way they can get it. Don’t hesitate to do the same.
Report Back: How Did You Find Success Using Kickstarter For Your Business?
Crowdfunding has been a godsend to hundreds of thousands of businesses. Just remember that the playing field is not level and that you’ll be competing with projects backed by big crowdfunding agencies. That’s why it’s so vital that you use every tool at your disposal to meet your funding goal.
Have you been a part of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign? Does your experience with what works comport with our advice? Are there other things people should keep in mind to set themselves up for crowdfunding success? If so, please drop us a comment — we’d love to hear from you!
The post Raising Money For Your Small Business Through Kickstarter? Find Success With These 11 Tips appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
We are living in what might generously be called “uncertain times.” As humanity retreats indoors as much as possible to avoid the disastrous COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all searching for ways to keep the bills paid. One option that has become more attractive in this era of stay-at-home orders is podcasting. It’s work that can be performed from home and, crucially, consumed from home.
However, even if you have a solid idea for a podcast and begin to build an audience, monetizing a podcast can prove difficult. Monetizing a podcast to the point where you stand to earn a life-sustaining amount of money is even more difficult. That’s why we’re posting this guide detailing how a podcast can make money and the steps you can take to building a podcast that earns you serious revenue. It won’t be easy, but in these perilous times, what is?
How To Make Money From Podcasting
While it’s tempting to think that podcasting might be a way for you to make some quick money, the reality is that no podcast monetization strategy will work if you don’t have a listener base. Your first focus needs to be on releasing content that people enjoy — content that inspires people to invite you into their lives. The success of any monetization strategy depends on you having built an audience first.
Once you have an audience, you can implement monetization strategies. Essentially, podcast monetization strategies can be divided into two categories: direct and indirect. Direct monetization involves the selling of your podcast itself — we’ll explain how you can do this. By contrast, indirect monetization involves using your podcast as the means to sell other things. Regardless of your monetization strategies, just remember that your primary responsibility is to your audience. If you don’t cater to them and keep them entertained before all else, no monetization strategy is going to be worth the effort.
Now, let’s delve into the details and discuss specific podcast monetization strategies.
10 Ways To Monetize Your Podcast
1) Ask Your Listeners For Donations
This isn’t going to give you much of a revenue stream in itself, but it is something you can do, in conjunction with more lucrative strategies, that can help you earn money from your podcast. If you host your podcast on your own website — something you can do relatively affordably with services like SoundCloud and Squarespace — you can always include a PayPal donation button (or a link to donate to your Stripe or Square account — whatever you want to use for payment processing) and encourage people to donate.
To successfully monetize your podcast, you’ll need to do considerably more than just ask for donations. However, it’s something you can start doing immediately and without much hassle.
2) Sell Subscriptions To Your Podcast
Once people are in the habit of consuming your content, the next step is to start charging people for that content. Services like Patreon and Podia let you establish a subscription system where people pay to access your podcast. Many podcasters use Patreon to set up multiple membership tiers, granting subscribers increasing levels of content and other rewards.
Now, if you place all your content behind a paywall and reserve everything for paying subscribers, you might have trouble expanding your reach and attracting new listeners who aren’t familiar with you yet. That’s why it’s helpful to look into what other podcasters have done to solve this conundrum. For example, the folks behind the political podcast Chapo Trap House — currently Patreon’s top-earning account, pulling in over $168K each month — record two podcast episodes per week, with one episode released to everyone for free and the other reserved for paid subscribers.
Now, you can experiment with your free-content-to-paid-content ratio, but it’s generally a good idea to leave a portion of your podcast episodes outside your paywall to attract more casual listeners.
3) Sell Merch (Among Other Things)
This is often done by popular podcasters. In addition to selling access to your podcast itself, you can also offer branded merchandise (t-shirts, laptop stickers, mugs, etc.) to higher-tier subscribers. You can also offer paid access to such things as online courses, exclusive interviews, and other content that leverages demand for your product (that would be you).
You can even sell your consulting services if your podcast touches on a subject with which you have considerable expertise. The point is, once your podcast has become popular to the point where you and your brand are worth something, it may be time to cash in on that popularity.
Of course, this won’t pay dividends when you’re just starting out. If people aren’t familiar with your brand, you can’t use your brand to push sales.
4) Put Your Back Catalog Behind The Paywall
You may want to try this strategy once you’ve been podcasting a while and have built up a hefty back catalog of episodes. While it’s typically a good idea to keep at least some of your new episodes free for everyone in order to expand your audience, monetizing your back catalog is a worthwhile option once you’ve been in the podcasting game for a while.
5) Repurpose Old Content Into A Book & Sell It
While you make money selling new content, you can further monetize your old content at the same time. One thing you can do with your older content is repackage it and sell it in new forms.
If you’ve done a number of podcasts on a particular topic in the past and you have a particular fondness for them, you could transcribe them (either in full or selectively), add content as you see fit, and compile it all into a book, which you could then sell on Amazon. Don’t forget to promote your book on your podcast!
6) Publish Your Podcasts To YouTube
YouTube makes it easy to publish and monetize videos, so with a bit of video editing, you can earn money by publishing podcast episodes to YouTube. You could just add a static image as your video and run the episode audio along with it, or you can actually film yourself recording the podcast.
You could try taking an episode and breaking it into shorter segments for easy digestibility for YouTube. This way, you can get multiple pieces of YouTube content from a single podcast episode.
7) Affiliate Marketing
We’ve covered how you can make money by selling your own products related to your podcast. Let’s now discuss how you can make money selling products that aren’t yours. One way to do this is through affiliate marketing.
There are many affiliate programs that you can just sign up for; you’ll begin earning money as soon as people start signing up with your affiliate link. These programs don’t require you to get approval from the company, and these links can keep earning you revenue for months or even years to come so long as the program remains active. You may also want to set up a blog containing information on the products you mention on your show.
The products you sell should be related to what you do and what you actually use in the course of doing your podcast — otherwise, you could start to lose authenticity points with your audience. To this end, you’ll also want to disclose your affiliate relationships. Transparency is the key to selling products without making your audience feel alienated.
8) “Traditional” Advertising
Affiliate marketing is all the rage these days, but there’s still room for “regular” marketing and advertising to supplement your podcasting revenue. Look into the various podcast ad networks out there — these networks can connect you to advertisers and will take care of the details for you, though you’ll need a sizable audience to get their business.
If you have a small-ish (under 5K listeners per month) but loyal audience, you can try to connect directly with companies that want to reach your particular audience — particularly if yours is a niche podcast with an audience that may be attracted to products of a particular bent.
9) Host Live Events
Obviously, this isn’t something you should do at this particular moment in time (April 2020). But once it becomes safe to start having live events again, podcasters who have built a sizable audience can earn significant money from ticket sales by putting on live events. This is especially true for those whose podcasts are dedicated to covering TV shows/movies/etc. — if you can manage to get an actor or reality show star to appear at an event, you could be rolling in ticket revenue.
As an alternative, during these stay-at-home times, you could try doing a live streaming event where you sell access to your stream and connect with your listeners. People are especially hungry for human connection right now, so this may be a monetization strategy that fits the times.
10) Have Guests Pay To Appear On Your Show
This isn’t a monetization tactic that will fit many podcasts. If your appeal as a host is grounded in personal authenticity, this may actually be counterproductive. However, it may be on-brand for certain types of business podcasts.
If this describes what you do, try looking into finding guests for your podcast whom you can charge for the exposure. It may be challenging to make the podcast episode not feel like one long advertorial, and you’ll want to be transparent about what you’re doing. However, some podcasts do make this work.
Monetizing A Podcast: FAQs
Let’s quickly answer some common questions about podcast monetization.
Is podcasting a good way to make money?
It’s true that the majority of podcasts don’t generate significant revenue. After all, it’s difficult to build up an audience — and an audience is an absolute prerequisite for monetization. Yet the numerous examples of successful monetized podcasts show that it can certainly be done.
In the early stages, concentrate on putting out content that attracts listeners. Only after you generate significant interest should you explore the monetization techniques discussed here. You have to learn to walk before you can run!
How much money can you make with a podcast?
Earlier, I mentioned the fact that Chapo Trap House pulls in over $168K/month in Patreon subscriptions alone. However, Chapo is definitely an outlier, so don’t expect to make anywhere near that much — especially not from subscriptions alone.
Though it’s very difficult to estimate the average amount of money you can earn via each one of the above monetization techniques, a study by AdvertiseCast lists the current average CPM (cost per thousand listeners) for a 30-second podcast ad as $18 and the current average CPM for a 60-second podcast ad as $25. So, if your podcast manages to get a million listeners per episode, charging for ads at these rates can earn you $18K for a 30-second ad or $25K for a 60-second ad (minus the ad agency’s cut). Keep in mind that this is just from one particular monetization technique.
How many listeners do you need to monetize a podcast?
This will depend on the nature of your podcast and how aggressively you monetize it. Colin Gray of thepodcasthost.com writes that sponsorship agencies tend to require that a podcast has 3000-5000 listeners per episode before taking them on, but that it’s possible to earn decent sponsorship income with 1000-2000 listeners per episode, particularly if you have a devoted niche audience.
How long does it take to monetize a podcast?
This depends entirely on how quickly you can build a listener base. Remember, no audience, no revenue.
Try to focus more on building your audience than monetization at first. It’s not really possible to rush this step, so it’s impossible to estimate how long it will take the average podcaster to earn real money. Just know that once you’ve built an audience, you have a plethora of techniques at your disposal to earn money doing what you love.
Find The Best Ways To Monetize Your Podcast Through Experimentation
No two podcasts are the same, so there isn’t any particular monetization formula that will work equally well for all podcasters. This means that, once you’ve built an audience,Â you’ll have to experiment with different monetization methods before you find the right mix of techniques.
Are you a podcaster? Do you have experience with these (or any other) monetization techniques? If so, drop us a comment — we’d love to hear from you.
Remember that as you pursue your podcasting endeavor, Merchant Maverick has a bounty of resources that can help you in your journey. Here are just a few!
How To Accept Donations Online
Loans For Freelance Businesses: Your 10 Best Options
8 Ways To Finance Your Small Business
Crowdfunding For Startups: 8 Tips For Launching
The post Monetize Your Podcast With These 10 Proven Methods appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
So you’re creating an author website, and you’re looking for author website design examples for inspiration and guidance. You’re also wondering which website platform is best to use for your website.
But before we dive into examples of what professional personal websites look like in the wild on a variety of website builders and hosting platforms, there is one thing to keep in mind when you’re evaluating a website: it’s not just about how the websites look. The functionality matters too.
Think of it like buying a car. You have a make / model in mind, and you’re probably looking to see them drive by on the road to see how they actually look. However, you also care about how they operate. Does it accelerate well? Does it have the hauling capabilities you need? How is the gas mileage?
Looking at an author website examples should be done in the same way. Do you want the website to have ecommerce functionality so visitors can buy books? Do you want people to be able to book you for speaking engagements? This functionality needs to be consider before you start choosing a website builder + hosting platform.
We collected the following website examples not just to show you how they look on different platforms, but how they can function, so you can be sure you create a website that fits both the look and functionality you need!
Disclosure – I receive customer referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All data & opinions are based on my professional judgement as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Best Author Website Examples
We’ve pulled these examples based on functionality, design, and usability. Again, when you’re looking to build an author website, remember that you’re not just thinking about making the site look good. You want to think about what your site actually needs to do, and find a platform that supports all of your needs.
Software: Self-Hosted WordPress
Hosting: Continental Broadband
Homepage has everything you need right upfront. The slideshow of images allows you to preorder the new release for popular series, see upcoming events where Marie is speaking, and access her series on Kindle Unlimited. You can also sign up for newsletter updates, read about upcoming releases, or buy her other books all from the homepage.
We particularly liked how Marie uses the “Reading Order” button at the top of the homepage to direct to her Books page, which shows all of her books and series and allows readers to dive deeper into each one.
Despite having a lot of books and series to display, the layout is organized, which makes it easy for visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for.
If you’re wondering how to display your work and key information for visitors in a way that’s clear and organized, this author website example is a great place to start for inspiration.
Software: Self-Hosted WordPress
Hosting: Unified Layer
What stands out about this author website is how clear the navigation is. As soon as you get to Jody Hedlund’s homepage, your next steps are clearly laid out below her header image.
We also liked how Judy included buttons to all of her social media channels directly below her name. It’s a great way to send people to your other profiles without breaking the overall design of the page.
Another thing that stood out to us on this author website is how Judy implemented professional headshots and book cover images on her media page that journalists and bloggers can download without having to request them from her team.
If you’re looking for a good example of clear navigation and how to include additional assets for the press, this is a strong example to use for inspiration!
This author website example stands out for a few reasons. First, we really liked how Mike included his logo in the top menu bar on the site. It stands out in a way that’s creative, but unobtrusive. It doesn’t detract from the navigation, but it does add that extra “branding flair” to the site to make it look professional.
When you scroll down the homepage, you can read more about the book in detail, or watch videos on the book and interviews Mike has done.
This is a great way to incorporate different media types on your website to support and supplement your books and build credibility with your visitors.
Sometimes, people get so focused on a website’s design that they lose sight of the overall goal — and that’s to give your visitors applicable information about whatever your website is focused on.
Angela’s website is a great example of a simple, straightforward author website that doesn’t have a ton of design frills, but still manages to look clean, organized, and give visitors all of the information they need on her, her books, and how to get in touch with her.
If you’re looking for a way to get your content up in a simple layout, this is a great example to use for inspiration.
Lesley M. M. Blume
Software: Self-Hosted WordPress
Hosting: Media Temple
If you’re looking to create a more creative angle with your author website, we love this example from Lesley M. M. Blume.
Notice how Lesley intentionally uses design elements that capture the theme of her book. As soon as you get to the homepage, you get a sense of what Leslie writes about. It’s a great way to bring readers into the world of your work, and adds an element of creativity to your author website.
Software: Custom-built website
This website for Tim Tigner is another strong author website example that hits all of the marks. The homepage header image captures the theme of his books, and the subtitle under his name is a great example of using strong copy to “hook” your readers in!
We particularly liked the Book Club Info page, which includes Tim’s downloadable discussion questions for book clubs who are reading his books:
If you’re looking for an overall example to use for inspiration for your author website, check this one out!
Scott A. Winkler
If you’re looking for a more straightforward approach to your author website, this example by Scott A. Winkler is a great place to start.
This author website relies more on text than the other examples we pulled, but it’s an easy way to give readers an overview into who the author is and link out to his works and where you can buy them.
Remember, your website doesn’t have to be a design masterpiece. It just needs to give your readers the information they need and help them connect further with you and your work!
Now that you have some inspiration in terms of the design, colors, and functionality you may want in your author website, where do you go from here?
Well, it really depends on where you are in your author website building journey!
If you’re ready to decide on a website builder, check out my guide to choosing a website builder here.
If you’re looking to go DIY with a specific template to match your design and functionality needs, check out my Build a Personal Website: Templates, Design, and Setup Guide.
Lastly, if you’re wondering how to market your author website, check out my guide to creating a local marketing strategy.
The post 7+ Best Author Website Examples to Use for Inspiration appeared first on ShivarWeb.
Clover continues to be on the cutting edge of trends in the point of sale industry. Within the past year, it has released both new hardware and new software and is adding more services under its already large umbrella. Clover co-founder and CEO John Beatty recently sat down with Merchant Maverick to discuss some of their newer developments and where they see the company headed in the coming months.
On New Clover Products
Clover recently launched its restaurant-specific software, Clover Dining, on the heels of the release of the second generation of its popular all-in-one system, Clover Station. Clover Dining combines a sleek interface with specific restaurant-centric features that Clover hopes will help it become an even more significant player in that industry.
Along those lines, Clover also has released Clover Flex, a mobile ordering unit that frees up employees from a standard desktop unit. Clover Flex is compatible with Clover Station and gives businesses the ability to offer tableside ordering in restaurants. It also gives employees the flexibility to roam around a retail space helping customers and processing payments from anywhere on the floor.Â
According to Beatty:
Itâs a smaller, more affordable form factor that can be used as a payment terminal, as a replacement for a countertop payment terminal, or it can be used for a mobile payment terminal, or it can be used as a full mobile point of sale device to do order and pay at the table, which has been a fantastic complement to our full-service restaurant product offering.
On Clover Dining
On its website, Clover has a pair of purchasing options for Clover Dining: Clover Station plus Clover Flex for larger, more traditional full-service restaurants, and Clover Mini for smaller establishments. Both have an integrated card reader with chip card functionality, freeing up counter space.
Our hardware strategy was very much driven by the desire to have a best in class product for restaurants, which in the US means a large screen device that has the chip card reader integrated because, in the US, that’s still the predominant workflow. They take your card back to the back counter, where they have the large screen order entry payment device. And so Clover Station has a chip card reader built-in. Virtually everyone else has a device with some other peripheral attached to it, which we think is just less elegant. It’s more pieces to manage. It’s just more complex.
It has also designed its product to maximize efficient turnover in restaurants and to help businesses run effectively with smaller staffs.
We have a flat, per-location pricing structure, so if you want to get, say, three stations and add 20 Flexes or 30 Flexes for maximal efficiency, you can do that, and the SaaS fee doesn’t change. There’s no cost or penalty for adding additional devices onto your service plan.
On Clover Integrations
Clover is making a big push to streamline as many services as possible for its customers. As such, it has expanded its offering of integrations and added some major players across multiple platforms. Clover now integrates with Gusto to help businesses with their payroll and benefits. It also has a new partnership with Nav, a company that, in part, monitors the credit scores of small businesses. They also offer services that can help businesses determine the proper amount of insurance they might need to make sure they are adequately covered.
According to Beatty:
…the theme of both of those is really that Clover’s becoming a one-stop-shop and dashboard for managing your entire business, and really streamlining your entire operations. So those are some of the big thematic things we’ve been doing on the product side, in the past year.
On Clover Hardware & Processing Bundles
One of the more unique things about Clover is that, in the past, you needed to purchase its products with a merchant account, meaning that thousands of banks and merchant services suppliers could offer the product, often at slightly different hardware and processing costs. However, Clover is looking to simplify this process for interested customers as well. Clover.com has recently gone live with the ability to purchase bundles directly on its website with transparent costs and fees.
We certainly recognize that there’s a segment of buyers out there, that they want simple, easy, transparent, and self-service, where they just can come to clover.com, they can see the prices, they can see the hardware prices, they can see the processing rates. Everything is bundled all in one.
Clover appears to be committed to innovation in all facets and bettering its products for its customers. Beatty says that the company currently has no plans to open up its payment options to other processing companies besides First Data, which it integrates with exclusively.
If you are interested in Clover or its products, make sure to check out our reviews!
The post Merchant Maverick Interviews Clover CEO John Beatty appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Youâre an experienced mechanic thatâs been working for someone else for your entire career. Youâre ready to spread your wings and fly (or drive) right to your own auto body shop. Sound like you? If youâve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, then maybe itâs time to set out on your own.
Even if youâre the best at what you do, venturing out into the small business world can be scary. If youâre an employee at a collision center, you probably feel like you have some stability. Why risk a âsure thingâ to start your own shop, especially if you donât have any previous experience running your own business?
Starting your own business is risky and it takes hard work (and a lot of it). But opening your own auto collision shop can be an extremely lucrative venture. The automotive collision repair market brings in billions of dollars in revenue each year, and studies show that revenue will only continue to grow in the years ahead. Isnât it time you got your share?
If youâre thinking about starting your own auto body shop, this guide is for you. Weâll go through all of the steps of starting your own business, from creating a business plan to finding the right lender. Weâll review potential costs, hiring employees, and other critical steps to building a successful business. If youâre ready to take the next step into entrepreneurship, read on to find out how to get started.
Create A Business Plan
Youâve made up your mind: youâre ready to open your own collision or auto body center and you have an idea of how to do it. Thatâs good enough, right? Actually, you need to be more prepared before you even begin to move on to other steps in building your business. The best way to be prepared? Create a detailed business plan.
Letâs illustrate the importance of a business plan with an example. Youâre going on a hike in the woods. There are lots of paths to choose from. Some of these paths may bring you out of the woods — your end goal — but there may be additional challenges along the way, like steep terrain. Some paths may be wrong altogether â¦ and you’ll have to backtrack to right your course. In short, you can enter the woods without a map and risk getting lost. Or you can get a map ahead of time, plot out your course, and set out only after youâve planned your route and know what to expect.
A business plan works in the same way. A good business plan outlines how to get from your starting point (launching your business) to your goal. Every entrepreneur has a different goal. Maybe yours is to run a successful local business that sets your family up for life. Maybe you have bigger goals — starting your own chain of auto body shops, for example. The most important thing is to set a concrete goal and create a map of how to get there.
Not only will a business plan keep you on the right track, but you must have a plan to present to investors or lenders when youâre seeking capital.
New to writing a business plan? At a minimum, hereâs what you should include:
Executive Summary: A concise summary detailing each section of your business plan
Overview: A description of your business, including the legal structure, location, and type of business
Market Analysis: An overview of your market and a definition of your target market
Competitive Analysis: Strength and weaknesses of your competition
Management Team: The members of your management team and their responsibilities within your organization
Financial Projections: A forecast of the financial future of your business
Find A Location
As realtors say, âLocation, location, location!â As you plan your own body shop, location is key, but there are a few other considerations to weigh before you put your name on that lease or mortgage.
You want to make sure that you purchase or lease the best location you can afford. Sure, that commercial property on the outskirts of town is much cheaper, but your customers have to be able to find you. Find a property thatâs convenient for your customers and is located in a high-traffic area or at least off of a major road.
Another consideration is whether youâre going to buy an existing business or start from scratch. Buying an existing business comes with definite perks, including an established clientele, equipment, and even licenses and permits. However, there are a few drawbacks. This is one of the most expensive options, especially if the business is successful. You may also have to put additional costs into the business for renovations, like replacing outdated equipment.
If you start from scratch, youâll rack up costs with the price of equipment, licenses, and building renovations.
Unsure of which to choose? Build a business plan looking at both options, calculate costs, and determine which makes the most sense financially, both in the short- and long-term.
Another option to consider is opening a franchise. With a franchise, you have less flexibility in terms of designing your brand and shop. However, youâll have a working business model that takes a lot of the guesswork out of owning your own business.
Register Your Business
Before you open your auto body shop to the public, you need to register your business. Not only will you be seen as a legitimate business by your customers, but registering is also required when you want to hire employees, protect your assets, or seek capital from investors.
To register your business, you need to first determine what form of business entity to establish. There are several structures to choose from, including:
A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure. This is best for businesses with just one owner. Sole proprietors can file their business profits and losses on their personal income tax returns. No paperwork is required to register as a sole proprietorship. However, this structure isnât without its drawbacks. Raising money as a sole proprietorship is difficult, and you are personally responsible for the liabilities of your business.
A partnership is a good choice for companies that will be owned and operated by two or more people. There are several different partnership types to consider:
General Partnership: Doesnât require filing with the state and has few requirements
Limited Partnership (LP): One partner has unlimited liability and the others have limited liability. The personal assets of the limited partners canât be used to satisfy the debts and liabilities of the business.
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): Used by professional service businesses, this type of partnership offers personal asset protection for all partners.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
An LLC has several benefits for business owners. With an LLC, a business owner will receive liability protection without paying the high tax requirements of corporations.
This is the most complex and expensive business structure. More regulations and tax requirements are put in place for corporations. This structure is best for businesses that plan to raise capital through the sale of stock.
The type of structure you select for your business varies by the number of owners that you have and the future plans for your business. In most cases, however, single owners of auto body shops lean toward LLCs, while businesses with more than one partner select the partnership business structure. Before choosing your business structure, talk to your accountant and/or lawyer to find out which makes the most sense for your business.
Once youâve determined your business structure, youâll need to select a name for your business. Choose a name that reflects your brand and the services you offer. You also want to choose something thatâs catchy and/or easy for customers to remember.
Your business will need to be registered with city, state, and federal governments. Youâll need to sign up for an employer ID number through the Internal Revenue Service if you plan to hire employees. To learn about the specific business license and permit requirements in your area, contact your local Chamber of Commerce, Department of Revenue, or Small Business Administration office to learn more.
Calculate Your Startup Costs
Every new business has one thing in common: the need for capital. In order to start your own collision center, you need money. The big question, though, is how much do you need?
One of the first steps to starting your own business is to calculate your startup costs. In order to do that, begin by making a list of everything you need for your business.
One of the biggest expenses for your new business will be equipment and tools. While your list may look a little different, some of the most common equipment and tools in this industry include:
Pneumatic Tools (Air Tools)
Additional startup costs to consider include your business licenses and certifications, insurance, hiring employees, and shop rental or mortgage fees. You should expect to spend at least $50,000 to get your shop up and running. However, as you make a list of your costs and research pricing, this number could potentially rise.
Before you seek funding for your business, a good rule of thumb is to always overestimate your costs by about 30 percent. For example, if you calculate that your expenses will be $200,000, plan to seek $260,000 in funding. In other words, always plan for the unexpected.
Now that youâve calculated your startup costs, itâs time to figure out how to pay for it all. If your bank account looks a little low, donât worry. Most entrepreneurs donât have the funds to cover these costs out-of-pocket. Instead, they turn to a lender to get the financing they need. Consider these loans and other funding options when you need capital to start your new body shop.
And if you can’t find the option you’re looking for here? Check out more recommendations in the post, Business Loans For Auto Repair Shops.
If you have money in a savings account, consider using these funds to pay your startup costs. There are several benefits to using your own money. You wonât be indebted to a lender, so there are no monthly or weekly payments to worry about. You also wonât have to pay interest or fees. On the downside, though, if your business fails, you risk losing your savings.
Friends & Family
If you have a friend or family member with extra money to invest, consider pitching your business to them. Present your business plan and tell them why they should invest in you.
There are two ways to go about this. You can stick with traditional debt financing. This means that you would take a loan from your friend, family member, or colleague and pay it back over a set period of time, along with interest and fees.
You may also consider equity financing. Instead of taking out a loan, youâd receive capital in exchange for ownership in your business. The investor would get their money back over time through a share of your profits. While the risk falls on the investor and you wouldnât have to begin paying back money immediately, you would have to share your profits and lose some control over your business.
Unsure of which option is right for you? Learn more about debt financing vs. equity financing.
Personal Loans For Business
One of the biggest challenges a new business owner faces is meeting the requirements for a business loan. Many lenders â especially the ones with the lowest rates and best terms â want to work with established businesses with high revenues and solid business and personal credit histories. If you havenât even opened your doors to a single customer, meeting these requirements is impossible.
However, if you have a high personal credit score, you can take out a personal loan to use for your startup costs. Time in business, annual revenue, and business credit history arenât required to qualify for personal loans. Instead, you use your personal credit score and your own income to qualify.
If you choose this option, itâs important to make sure that your lender doesnât have any restrictions prohibiting you from using funds to pay startup costs or other business expenses. Most personal loans donât have restrictions and can be used to purchase equipment, hire employees, pay operating costs, or use as working capital.
Recommended Option: Lending Club Personal Loans
Time in business: N/A
Business revenue: N/A
Personal credit score: 600
Credit history: 3 years
Borrower requirements for personal loans (click to expand)
Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lender that provides personal loans up to $40,000 to qualified borrowers. Repayment terms are 3 years or 5 years with APRs starting at 6.95% for the most creditworthy applicants. APRs for less creditworthy borrowers go up to 35.89%.
To qualify for a Lending Club personal loan, you must meet these minimum requirements:
Be at least 18 years old
Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or live in the U.S. on a long-term visa
Have a verifiable bank account
Have a personal credit score of at least 600
In some cases, Lending Club may recommend adding a co-borrower to increase your chances for approval. If you meet all requirements, you can get funded in as little as 7 days.
As you grow a more established business, you can later take advantage of Lending Clubâs business loans. Lending Club offers up to $300,000 in business funding with terms of up to 5 years and fixed monthly payments.
Lines Of Credit
A line of credit is a form of financing you should consider if you want instant access to cash without having to wait for lender approvals. Once youâve been approved for a line of credit, you can make draws as needed to inject cash into your business.
Hereâs how it works. You apply for a line of credit with a lender. The lender looks at a number of factors, such as your personal credit score or business performance, when determining whether to approve your application. These factors will also be considered when setting your credit limit.
Once youâve been approved, you can initiate as many draws as youâd like from your line of credit up to and including the credit limit. Funds are typically transferred to your bank account immediately, and you can access the money in 1 to 3 business days with most lenders.
As you repay the borrowed funds plus fees and interest charged by the lender, the funds replenish and become available to use again.
Lines of credit are useful for unexpected expenses, emergencies, or to fill revenue gaps. Having a line of credit allows you to access money when you need it without having to go through the application and approval process over and over again.
Recommended Option: Fundbox
No time in business requirements, but must have used a compatible accounting or invoicing software for at least 2 months, or a compatible business bank account for at least 3 months.
Business revenue: $50,000 per year
No specific personal credit score requirement
Borrower requirements (click to expand)
Fundbox offers lines of credit up to $100,000 for qualified businesses. The lender charges a one-time fee for each draw that starts at just 4.66% of the draw amount. Terms of 12 weeks or 24 weeks are available, and automatic payments are drawn from your bank account each week. You can save by paying your loan off early, as Fundbox will waive all remaining fees.
There are two ways to qualify for a Fundbox line of credit. The first is by linking your business bank account or submitting bank statements. These will be used by the lender to evaluate the performance of your business. If you have unpaid accounts receivables, you can use these to qualify. All you have to do is link your supported accounting software.
Minimum requirements to receive a Fundbox line of credit are:
Business checking account
At least $50,000 in annual revenue
At least 3 months of transactions in a business bank account OR at least 2 months of activity in accounting software
Once youâve filled out Fundboxâs quick application and have linked your accounts or submitted documentation, you can be approved in just minutes. Then, you can instantly put your line of credit to work for your business.
Business Credit Cards
Another option for fast funding is a business credit card. Once youâve been approved for a business credit card, you can use it any time. You can use your card as often as you wish provided you stay within your set credit limit.
Business credit cards can be used anywhere credit cards are accepted. You can make purchases online or in-person. You can also use your card for recurring payments, such as utility bills, which is even smarter when you use a rewards card that gives cash back or other perks.
Like lines of credit, business credit cards are revolving forms of credit. This means that as you pay down your principal balance and interest, funds will become available to use again. Once youâre approved for a business credit card, your card is ready to use immediately whenever you need it. This makes it a great payment option for emergency expenses, purchasing supplies or inventory, or for paying recurring expenses.
Recommended Option: Chase Ink Preferred
Chase Ink Business Preferred
18.24% – 23.24%, Variable
Required credit: Good, excellent
Bonus offer:Â 80,000 points if you spend at least $5,000 within the first three months of opening your account
Purchase intro APR:Â N/A
Balance transfer intro APR:Â N/A
Foreign transaction fee: None
3 points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media and search engines each account anniversary year
1 point per dollar on all other purchases
Notable Perks & Benefits:Â
Points are worth 25% more if redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards
Points can be transferred to other travel programs on a 1:1 point basis
Points do not expire while your account is open
Employee cards at no additional cost
Cell phone protection
More card details (click to expand)
If you have excellent credit, consider applying for the Chase Ink Preferred card. With this rewards card, you can receive 3 points for every dollar spent on combined purchases in travel, shipping, cable, internet, phone services, and advertising. Even though earning three points on these purchases is capped at $150,000 per year, you can still earn one point per dollar spent with no limitations on all purchases.
If youâre approved for the Chase Ink Preferred card and spend $5,000 within 3 months of opening your account, youâll receive an additional 80,000 bonus points. Points can be redeemed for rewards including vacation packages, gift cards, Amazon purchases, and cash back.
This credit cardÂ comes with a variable APR of 18.24% to 23.24%. A $95 annual membership fee is required.
To qualify for Chase Ink Business Preferred, you must have good to excellent personal credit.
Rollovers As Business Startups (ROBS)
Withdrawing retirement funds may be tempting, but who wants to pay penalties and taxes for early withdrawal? Luckily, thereâs a way that you can leverage these funds to put capital into your new business. This method is known as rollovers as business startups, or ROBS.
How does ROBS work? The first step is to create a C-corporation. Then, a new retirement plan is created for the C-corp. Next, the funds from your existing retirement plan are rolled over into the new plan. These funds are used to purchase stock in the new C-corp, giving you access to the capital you need to get your business running.
Sound too complicated for you? Then consider working with a ROBS provider. A ROBS provider will get everything set up for you legally and ensure you maintain compliance. In exchange, youâll pay a one-time setup fee and a monthly maintenance fee with most ROBS providers.
When you use this type of financing to fuel your business, you donât have to worry about repaying a lender. After all, youâre using your own funds. However, be aware that if your business is unsuccessful, you risk losing your retirement funds.
Recommended Option: Guidant Financial
Time in business: Unknown
Credit utilization: Less than 50%
Credit score: 690+
Borrower requirements (click to expand)
Guidant Financial is a ROBS provider that can help you leverage your retirement funds. All you need is a qualifying retirement or pension account. Qualifying accounts include:
Qualifying accounts must have a minimum of $50,000. You must also be an employee of the business.
By working with Guidant Financial, you can receive funds in as little as 3 weeks. The setup fee is $4,995. You must also pay a Plan Administration fee of $139 per month.
Unsure if a ROBS plan is right for you? Donât worry — Guidant Financial offers other business financing options including:
SBA 7(a) Loans
SBA Working Capital Loans
Unsecured Business Loans
If youâre looking for a way to pay your vendors that frees up some of your cash flow, purchase financing might be the solution youâre looking for. With purchase financing, your vendor gets paid immediately for your purchases â think tools, fluids, and other critical shop supplies. In the meantime, youâll get additional time to pay. Instead of paying off the full balance of your purchase up front, youâll be able to split it into more affordable regular payments.
Purchase financing gives you more control over your cash flow, freeing up funds and allowing you to pay back on a schedule that works best for your business. Of course, like withÂ other financing, you do have to pay interest and fees for this service.
Recommended Option: Behalf
No specific time in business, revenue, or credit score requirements.
Borrower requirements (click to expand)
Behalf offers purchase financing of $300 up to $50,000. Youâll receive up to 6 months to repay the lender and can choose between weekly or monthly payments.
Monthly fees for the service start at 1% and are based on creditworthiness. There are no additional fees for using Behalfâs financing.
There are no time in business or revenue requirements to qualify. However, Behalf performs a hard pull on your credit, considers business credit history, and looks at other business performance factors to determine if you are eligible for financing.
Choose Business Software
To keep operations flowing smoothly, you need to pick the right business software for your repair shop. Business software helps you more efficiently run your business, from keeping up with customers to tracking your finances for tax purposes.
Accounting software allows you to perform various accounting functions so that you can track and record all financial transactions. With accounting software, you can track accounts receivable and accounts payable. Most modern accounting software also offers additional tools including bill payment, payroll, and invoicing. You can purchase accounting software or pay a fee to subscribe to an online service.
Accounting software not only allows you to keep track of your finances at any time, but it also can be used to run financial reports that may be required to receive financing. These reports will also serve you well when it comes time to do your taxes.
No experience in accounting? Don’t worry — we have you covered. Check out our free eBook “The Beginner’s Guide to Accounting” that breaks complicated accounting concepts into ones that are easy to understand.
Auto Repair Invoice Software
Accounting software often has a feature that allows you to create and send invoices. However, you might want to invest in specialty software for auto body repair shops.
Auto repair invoice software includes a variety of tools that can be used to track service requests, create invoices and estimates, track leads, and manage inventory and orders.
Payment Processing Software
No longer do we live in a cash-only world. Now, customers almost always make their purchases using debit cards, credit cards, and even smartphones.
In order to be able to accept these forms of payment, youâre going to need a payment processing service. The payment processor serves as the communicator between your customerâs bank and your own bank, allowing you to process credit, debit, and other forms of payment.
For your auto collision business, you might want to consider getting a point-of-sale system. With POS software, youâll be able to process credit cards, scan barcodes, print receipts, track inventory, run reports, and perform other functions. For a fee, your business can receive the software and hardware needed to best serve your customers.
While you may start your collision center as a one-man operation, you have to hire employees if you want to grow.
One of the first hires youâll make is a mechanic that will work on repairing vehicles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanics make approximately $39,550 per year. An auto body and glass repairer averages around $40,580 annually.
As you bring in more employees, youâll also want to hire a manager to oversee them all. Salaries for managers vary widely based on experience and how many employees they will be overseeing. Managers may bring in anywhere from $45,000 upwards of $60,000 per year.
Eventually, you may also want to hire a front-desk receptionist. The role of the receptionist is to greet customers, answer the phone, and make appointments. This employee may also take payments from customers and handle some of the companyâs bookkeeping. The average salary of a receptionist is around $27,000 per year.
Do some research to find out more about salaries in your area, as these numbers can vary. You also need to take into consideration that there are additional expenses associated with hiring employees including:
Onboarding & Training
When youâre ready to hire an employee, there are a few ways you can find quality candidates. The first is to ask for referrals. If you know someone in the industry, ask if they know of any potential employees. Even if you donât have connections with anyone in the industry, ask around among your friends, family members, and colleagues.
You can also post your jobs on online job boards. Make sure that your job listing has an overview of responsibilities and requirements for all candidates. As resumes hit your inbox, you can set up interviews and hire new employees for your business.
Bolster Your Web Presence
Before you even hold your grand opening, you need to start your marketing efforts. The best place to start is the internet. When researching new businesses, most people use their laptops or smartphones. If you donât have a web presence, how will your customers find you?
Getting your business online is easy. Start with these simple steps.
Create Social Media Profiles
It seems like everyoneâs on social media these days, from your teenage nephew to your grandmother. Social media doesnât just connect friends and family members, either. Itâs also a great place for users to find new brands and businesses.
Setting up your social media profiles is free and easy. Consider starting with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Add your logo, contact details, and important information like services provided and hours of operation. As you build your business, you can update your profiles with specials, coupons, photos of your completed work, and other information.
Create A Website
You also want to make sure that you have a website that provides important details to your customers such as your shop hours, specials, and services provided.
No web design experience? No problem. These days, any small business owner can create a professional website with easy web builders that feature templates, drag-and-drop design, and other tools to create a website in just minutes.
Your website should be a reflection of your brand, so make sure to choose templates, photos, and colors that best represent your shop. Your domain name should also represent your brand, so make sure itâs easy to remember and avoid numbers, symbols, or very long URLs.
Your website shouldnât be overly complicated, and it should be easy to navigate. You donât have to load down your site with lots of information. Start off by including key info such as hours of operation, services performed, and contact information. Also make sure to highlight any features that make your shop stand out, such as certifications, free estimates, or rental car/shuttle services offered to your customers. In the future, you can add additional features such as a signup option for email newsletters or online scheduling.
This is all just the tip of the iceberg. Learn more about creating and maintaining an online web presence for your business.
Advertise Your Business
Your website and social media profiles are a great way to start advertising your business, but in order to grow and scale, you canât stop there. You need to plan a marketing and advertising campaign to get the word out about your business.
Consider paying for social media ads or pay-per-click ads on search engines, or sign up with Yelp For Business. These options can be affordable for new businesses and are easy to set up.
You can also look beyond the internet to advertise your business. Consider placing flyers or door hangers in the area around your business to bring in new customers. Before you take this route, though, make sure to understand the local laws in your area regarding the posting of flyers on public and private property.
As your business grows and becomes more successful, you can explore options including radio and TV advertisements and mailers. However, these ads are typically quite expensive, so hold off on these options until your business is bringing in steady revenue.
One of the most important things to remember here is that word-of-mouth advertising is one of the best forms of advertising. If you perform a great service, your customers will tell others about your business. Keep customer satisfaction high to increase those referrals and draw in more revenue for your body shop.
While you may be itching to get your auto body shop off the ground immediately, a business isnât born overnight. Take the time to plan out your business, and youâll increase your chances for success. The hard work doesnât stop after your grand opening, either. Youâll need to continue working hard to bring in customers, increase your revenue, and become a successful entrepreneur.
The post How To Start And Finance An Auto Body Shop Business appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Dan McAuliffe. Big Dan. Dan the Man. Danny-Boy. Dan-the-Destroyer-of-Worlds. Clearly, we’re still workshopping the nicknames here on one of our newest team members. Dan is the content strategist here at Merchant Maverick, a mostly thankless job given our historically laissez-faire attitude toward content creation. What makes Dan tick, other than SEO? Read on to find out.
Name: Dan McAuliffe
Title: Content Strategist
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Current city: Los Angeles
Education and background: I studied economics in school and have a degree in international business management.
Proudest professional moment: Convincing all my co-workers to jump out of a plane in a gambit to prove we’re not nerds to a client.
Favorite Merchant Maverick post/moment/opportunity: The best things are yet to come.
What do you do when you’re not working?: I like to listen to rap music outside wearing a big hat. Always haggling with the sun — “How much sun is too much?” — Still no definitive answer, but there’s a tan under every sunburn!
What superhero do you identify most with and why?: Lex Luthor. Seems like a cool guy. Kidding. Batman. His powers are business and technology.
Favorite 90s song: Big Pun – Capital Punishment
Favorite 80s movie: WarGames
What is your breakfast?: Eggs. If they’re fried eggs, there has to be toast to soak up the yolk.
What skill have you always wanted to learn?: I’m gonna go ahead and use “MacGyver” as a verb here
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you live and why?: I’d live on a large boat that changed homeports every month or two. What better way to see the world? But I’d have to do some big-time nature philanthropy to absolve myself from the eco-sins of yacht ownership.
Mac or Windows?: Been riding with Mac since before Nanosaur.
You’re given anÂ unlimited budget at any retail establishment. Where do you go and what do you buy?: I’m coming for every single slide style sandal at Discount Shoe Warehouse.
So that’s Dan McAuliffe. He is a perpetually sunburned, sandal-wearing rap-enthusiast who likes runny yolks. And while we absolutely do not believe him when he demurs about not identifying most with Lex Luther, we hope he’s here to stay for a while, because we desperately need someone to MacGyver up a lasting content strategy for us. (Simply grow a mullet, and we will supply you with all the duct tape your heart desires.)
Interested in reading about other members of the Merchant Maverick staff? Check out our team interview series.
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This week on “Meet The Merchant Maverick Team” — the world’s least conflict-driven reality show — we’ll get to know Frank Kehl, one of our merchant accounts writers. Frank gets the award for “most amazing careers outside of Merchant Maverick,” but what else is interesting about him? (Hint: a lot.)
Name: Frank Kehl
Title: Merchant accounts writer
Hometown: Berwick, Pennsylvania
Current city: Paso Robles, California
Education and background: I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Penn State and a Juris Doctorate degree from The Ventura College of Law. Prior to joining Merchant Maverick, I served as an officer in the United States Air Force and California Air National Guard for 28 years. I flew as a navigator on both the B-52 and C-130 aircraft, and ended up logging a little over 7500 hours of flying time around the world.
Merchant Maverick department/specialty: I write about merchant accounts, payment gateways, and, occasionally, mobile payment systems.
Proudest professional moment:Â Passing the Bar Exam here in California after graduating from law school. It was a three-day exam and only has about a 40% pass rate, so I felt really good about getting through it on the first try.
Favorite Merchant Maverick post/moment/opportunity:Â The 5 Best Small Business Credit Card Processing Companies. It was the first post I wrote when I first started at Merchant Maverick, but it’s generated a lot of interest and I still get comments on it almost every day.
What do you do when you’re not working?:Â When I was young and single, I had quite a passion for mountain climbing. I’ve climbed a lot of the classic peaks, including Mount Whitney and Mount Shasta here in California, as well as Mount Rainier, Pico de Orizaba in Mexico, and Kilimanjaro. These days, it’s mostly family hikes and the occasional camping trip here on the Central Coast or up in the Sierras.
What literary character do you identify most with and why?: My son has recently shown a strong interest in The Lord of the Rings movies, so I’m going to say Gandalf. I just need a staff…
Favorite song: I’m not sure that I have a single favorite, so I’ll give a shout-out to ‘Lawyers, Guns, and Money’ by Warren Zevon. It’s funny as hell, and the lyrics are rather timely. Check it out!
Favorite classic movie:Â I suppose I should pick something serious and inspirational. Nah. Monty Python and the Holy Grail still cracks me up.
What is your ideal dinner out?:Â Getting a sitter and having dinner with just my wife. It’s usually a ‘romantic dinner for three’ these days, unfortunately.
What skill have you always wanted to learn?:Â In retrospect, computer science might have been a good major to choose in college. I took a few programming classes in school, but I’ve never found the time to go back and brush up on my coding skills since then.
If you could travel back in time to any stage in your life and observe, where/when would you go?: Just observe? No do-over? Then probably the first few years of my life, since I don’t remember very much about them.
Mac or Windows?: I’ve been a Windows guy since back when they were called “IBM PC-compatible.” However, all my mobile devices are from Apple. It’s the best of both worlds, I think.
You’re given anÂ unlimited budget at any retail establishment. Where do you go and what do you buy?: I’ve already lived out this fantasy, but without the unlimited budget. Let’s just say I’ve built up some pretty impressive dividends at REI over the years. You can never have too much gear.
I think it’s safe to say that Frank is the coolest member of the Merchant Maverick team. An ex-Air Force navigator who has climbed Kilimanjaro? Please. Come on Frank, you’re making the rest of us look lame.
Interested in reading about other members of the Merchant Maverick staff? Check out our team interview series.
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On this week’s episode of “Meet The Merchant Maverick Team,” we’ll be exploring the life and times of Linda Leewaye, our newest Maverick. Linda is an SEO expert and an Idaho potato who currently hangs out in sunny California. But what makes Linda LeewayeÂ really tick? Let’s read on to find out!
Name: Linda Leewaye
Title: Digital Marketing Manager
Hometown: Boise, ID
Current city: Temecula, CA
Education and background: Bachelors in Communication, Emphasis in Public Relations, from Boise State University
Proudest professional moment: Organizing an Aveda Earth Month Trashion Show charity event with my PRSSA group and donating the money to a clean water initiative for those who don’t have access to clean drinking water.
Favorite Merchant Maverick post/moment/opportunity: The opportunity to work with the friendliest people on the planet and work from anywhere is a dream come true.
What do you do when you’re not working?: Obsess over the latest superhero movie and play games with my friends.
What movie character do you identify most with and why?: Batman. In all honesty, I am not as cool as he is, I just wish I was! I appreciate his crazy ninja moves and detective skills to go with it…along with the billions of dollars from the Wayne family fortune.
Favorite song: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin.
Favorite â80s movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark.
What is your ideal midnight snack?: Digging into a bag of Kettle Brand’s jalapeno chips
What skill have you always wanted to learn?: Playing the guitar
If you could travel to any time period to live forever, where/when would it be?: The Egyptian Era, so I could cure my innate curiosity of how the pyramids were built.
Mac or Windows?: Windows
You’re given anÂ unlimited budget to travel. Where do you go? For how long?: I’d travel closer to the North Pole so I catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights! And after that, I’d go to every tropical island on the face of the earth to thaw out. Then, I’d backpack around Italy, Spain, and France, seeing as many cathedrals and monuments as I can. I’d love to travel as much as possible and for as long as possible — well, until I become unbearably homesick and miss the States!
We’re so pleased to have Linda on the team now — not only because her SEO skills are lifting us to new heights, but because it’s nice to have another superhero-loving geek in our posse. We look forward to many future hang-outs together, getting the Led out and watching a little pre-ruined Indiana Jones. Linda, you bring the Kettle chips.
Interested in reading about other members of the Merchant Maverick staff? Check out our team interview series.
The post Team Bio Series — Linda Leewaye (The SEO Queen) appeared first on Merchant Maverick.