This is the launch of my new blog, and I’m so excited! Why? Because I love marketing. Creating strategies. The science of it. Researching trends, marketing best-practices, and tips. Writing about it. Here’s where I’m going to share my love and knowledge of marketing with you. The small business owner. Sole proprietor entrepreneur. The freelancer. The indie creative.
Why did I start this blog?
I live in an area that has a small “commercial” area, a few short streets really. The street is lined with sole proprietor shops and family owned businesses from a grocery store to a bakery to many restaurants, clothing stories, shoe repair store, and even a nonprofit movie theater. I think that this is what makes the area that I live in unique, special, and charming. There is no other place like this.
One of the main reasons that there is no other place like this is because of the people who own those shops. It is the people who make this area unique. People who live and raise families in this community. Having unique communities enriches all of us. When I shop, I’d prefer to buy handmade soap from an Etsy shop than buy it from a chain store. Why? Because of the love that went into making that soap. Those artisans love what they do so much that when you get the soap, it’s like opening a present with how they package their item. That love shows through in the shops and restaurants in my area. The owners care about their customers and care about what they do. They are not alone.
Small businesses make up about 99.9% of all businesses in the US. Home-based businesses make up 52% of all small businesses. Careful planning is essential for the growth of these businesses. For me, small businesses are more than just numbers. They are the people at those shops that I like visiting.
Seeing small businesses thrive brings me joy, because behind the business is a person who is passionate about what they do.
Freelancing means freedom for so many. It provides a way to do something that they love and get paid doing it. It means making extra money, so that they can live more freely within their budgets. It means being able to be geographically free. For others, it is a way to pursue lifestyles that they find more spiritually rewarding. I want to help support that freedom by helping freelancers with their marketing.
Almost all mass media is owned by six companies. Our culture is in part created and curated by mass media. Mass media isn’t set up to help foster diverse voices, partly because they are too big. They can’t represent niche audiences, because their budgets can’t afford to market to that kind of audience. The big corporations are built to serve the masses, not niches. Indie writers, who are their own publishing houses, can afford to represent and market to those niche audiences. Representation is vital to diversity inclusion and empowerment. Indie writers and other creatives are not only vital to representation for diverse audiences, they also represent diverse audiences. The creatives are diverse. In my work with the World Indie Warriors that I founded and lead, we are creating a community that is dedicated in expanding the stage for diverse voices. As a marketer, I want to help you, the indie creative, find your audience.
The purpose of this blog is to give sound advice and foundational information that both stands on its own and is complementary to the paid consultation that I do. The consultation is available for those who want or need more personalized service.
What is this blog all about?
What can you expect on this blog? My plan is to give information that you can use to aid in your marketing efforts and background information into the science of it:
- Quick Reads
- Postcards from rabbit hole dives (Little summaries of things I find on my rabbit hole dives)
- Tips lists
- Quick book reviews
- Quick summaries of news, techniques, tactics, etc.
- Featured Posts
- In depth analysis
- How tos
- How whys
- Book Reviews with commentary
- Summaries with commentary of rabbit hole dives
I will also include FREE Tip Sheets and worksheets that will help you in your marketing efforts.
Who is this blog for?
I have friends from graduate school who use their doctorate in psychology in marketing, because psychology is the foundational science for marketing. I think that small business owners deserve the same kind of expertise in their marketing strategy plans as corporations. In fact, I feel passionately about providing the same level of advice that corporations get, but for small businesses.
This blog is for small businesses (less than 5-10 employees), sole proprietor entrepreneurs, freelancers, and indie creatives. People who wear many hats in their business and need help with their marketing plans.
Your business goals can include ones like this is your career, this is a second or part-time job, a side gig, or even a hobby where you’re hoping to make just enough to pay for your hobby. In all these cases, you are concerned to one extent or another in selling your product or service. This means that you need a marketing plan.
How did I get here?
My first foray into marketing was when I was in college, studying English Literature. I trying to figure out how to be a writer and make a living. Public relations seemed like a good way to do that. I did a PR internship, took newswriting and public relations writing from the Communications Department, and took marketing classes from the Business Department. I didn’t end up going into public relations at that time, but years later, I volunteered in an art museum in the public relations office.
I used my public relations and marketing skills throughout the years, but never formally went into marketing or public relations, until now.
Recently, I fell into giving marketing advice. After finishing my doctorate that took way longer than it should have (long story for another time), I was in a place in my life where seeking traditional employment was not a good option.
With my degree I could get a job as a professor of some sort or work in the private sector applying my psychometric skills – statistics applied to people. Those sorts of jobs require a lengthy lead time. I had friends who spent years trying to get their professorship. I was willing to work as an adjunct at a community college, which would have been easier than a tenured track position. Even still, they take a while to get. That was the problem. Time.
By the time that I finished my doctorate, my husband and I were ready to start our family. We were going to adopt. The logistics of adopting a child and looking for a teaching position were complicated to say the least. Plus, I really wanted to stay at home with the kid, at least until they went to kindergarten. Working a traditional job was out of the question. So, what to do? What to do? For a while, I spent some time in grassroots politics. I’m deeply passionate about social justice and decided to apply my skills I gained in graduate school to help there. I oversaw messaging for a grassroots group and had some success there in terms of helping to motivate people through our messaging. But, it took a lot of time, so once we did get our kiddo I just couldn’t stay in the fast-paced world of politics.
That’s when I had the brilliant idea of returning to an old love: writing. Before I went to graduate school for psychology, I was on a track to become a writer (another long story for another time). I wanted to go to graduate school to get an MFA in writing. Well, that didn’t happen, but I could still write. That’s what I decided to do.
I did research into what I could do for writing and decided to go the indie publishing route. I thought if I was going to have to do my own marketing that I might as well have full control. Plus, I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, so being an indie was a great fit.
I’ve met some amazing people in the indie writing community. In fact, I was in love with the people that I decided to found and lead a community of indies, called the World Indie Warriors, to support and develop indie writers (long story for another time). I had a dream to expand the stage for diverse voices and that dream is coming true thanks to some amazing people I’m happy to call friends, like JD Groom, Cassidy Reyne, Dr. Aparajita Jeedigunta, Ally Aldridge to name a few. I plan to transform this group into a nonprofit in the Summer or Fall 2020.
One of the things that I noticed when I talked with my fellow writers was that the marketing advice that was floating around made no sense whatsoever. The data did not support some of the advice. Marketing science did not support much of the advice, at least not in how the advice was being given. There was much confusion from conflicting advice and outright bad advice. I had to do something.
I started giving advice to people individually. Then, I started writing blog posts on my other website. Before I knew it, I decided that I really liked marketing and the results people were getting suggested that I was good at it too.
The problem with the advice indies were consuming was that, in general, it lacked the big picture – a foundation as to why one tactic could work under certain circumstances and why it wouldn’t work under other circumstances. In helping indie writers, I also came across small business owners, and I found similar confusion about what to do for their marketing. That’s where I came in.
Although I don’t always explain the bigger picture, I do have that and science as a foundation for the advice that I give. As such, I can problem solve when things don’t go the way one would hope. So, I began offering services from the limited liability company that I formed, in part to publish my books.
Then along the way, Michelle the writer got muddled with Michelle the marketer.
I knew for months that this was a problem, but it was a problem that I put on the back burner, until I got a phone call from a colleague and friend from graduate school. I had helped her on a project, and she received feedback from a couple of people about being confused about why I, Michelle the writer, was part of the project. Fair enough. A writer doesn’t mean that I’m qualified to be a marketing strategist but having a doctorate in psychology does. I realized, of course, that this was a branding problem.
So, it was time to rebrand. I started this website and created the social media platforms that I would need to establish a new brand. I set up content creation systems and worked to figure out my new brand. I needed to make a mark that says, I’m here. And, I did.
Now, I have two websites and two social media identities. (Well, three if you count leader of the World Indie Warriors). This blog is where I’m be donning on the marketer hat.
Thank you for visiting my website and reading my blog. I hope that you find the information here useful and practical.
If you have any questions or ideas on topics that I should cover, I’d love to hear from you. Just give your suggestions in the comments below or contact me directly.
Check out the services that I offer. I plan to offer more packages as time goes on, so check back soon.
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©2020 Michelle Raab, PhD
Some parts were originally posted on michelleraabwrites.com on April 13, 2020.