Advice for young wanna-be entrepreneurs from Peta Shulman

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When Peta Shulam was only 25 when she came up with the simple concept of sampling health foods.

Her passion for finding these products led to her creating the largest health food sampling service in Australia, GoodnessMe Box, where for just $25 her clients can sample 7-10 full sized products, allowing those products to be seen, and customers to save a tonne of money.

Since launching in 2015 GoodnessMe Box has, founder Peta Shulman has been up for a number of accolades, including being featured in Smart Company’s ‘Smart 30 Under 30’ in 2018.

The company turned over $1 million dollars in just the first 12 months of trading and now has over 125k followers across their social channels .

Peta recently turned 30, and has achieved this business growth all in her twenties. We asked her to share her advice and tell her story for other young people wanting to start their own business now or in the future and she gives us some brilliant takeaways for building your own success.

Did you have any fear that you had to overcome in building a business on your own, especially starting at 25? 

No, I was pretty naïve – and I think it worked in my favour. I was so passionate about inspiring people to transition to a healthy way of eating, and I truly felt like the business could make a difference to people’s lives.

At the time, I remember thinking to myself: If I could just help one person from falling into the diet trap, or save one person a trip to the hospital (a place I almost ended up before thanks to my autoimmune condition), then it was worth it. I was also excelling in my PR role, so I just thought I’d give it a go – and if it didn’t work, I’d be able to find a job again.

My optimism, determination and naivety was a winning combination. If I knew what I do know about running a business, I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to launch GoodnessMe Box.

How did you raise initial capital to start GoodnessMe Box? 

I didn’t. I poured $20,000 into the business, which was all my savings. I crunched the numbers and knew I had three months to turn a profit once it launched. It was make-or-break, and that was motivating in itself.

What experience did you have prior to starting the business?

I was working full-time as a publicist in the health and wellness sector. So, I had an acute understanding of the industry I was entering into with GoodnessMe Box (and my personal experience enhanced that knowledge base). I noticed a distinct shift towards the acceptance of wholefoods and healthy eating in 2014. It was becoming aspirational. People were curious and open to learning more, and the media was finally fuelling that interest. Before, journalists would push back on natural health story ideas, and they were starting to ask more questions.

Working in PR was invaluable in so many other ways. It taught me a lot partnerships and innovative marketing. At the time, I was witnessing a distinct change in the media landscape. Some influencers were becoming as powerful as publications, and community engagement was becoming a company’s currency.

Another life lesson I learnt was persistence. As a publicist, you get turned down day in, day out, so you have to be persistent! Finally, working in PR gave me an insight into what brands need to thrive in today’s landscape, and how to take care of clients. I knew that brands could be cost-effectively promoted via a sampling platform, so I pursued it.

What were the first initial stepping stones to bringing GoodnessMe Box to life? 

I wanted to promote the health food products I’d tried and help brands to reach a larger yet highly targeted audience. Above all, I wanted to get people excited about eating well. That’s how I came up with the idea for a health food subscription box. While I was working full-time, I spent every spare second I had nutting out the details, strategising and figuring out how I could combine something I was passionate about (wholefoods) and something I was good at (promoting brands).

I googled a business plan, and got to work!

I was negotiating and partnering with brands who not only believed in my business idea, but whose products met GoodnessMe Box’s strict standards – this is what helped to cut through the clutter in the health world and still sets us apart in the subscription box industry.

Creating a good product and service was key, but I was conscious that without a database and a captured audience there would be no brands wanting to supply product and as such, no GoodnessMe Boxes to deliver. With this in mind, I devised a marketing launch strategy designed to have a fast and immediate impact. And it worked!

What were the biggest obstacles on your journey so far? 

Website issues plagued us for a while. I was essentially entering the health space as a tech entrepreneur, and didn’t even realise. I had zero experience in the space, and that led to major hurdles in the early days that slowed down our growth. Every day was a crash course in tech! At the time, I wanted to be the first to launch the subscription model in the health food space. That advantage proved to be helpful, but it also meant compromising time in the long term to perfect the platform.

What advice would you give to young people who believe they don’t have enough experience or knowledge to build a successful business? 

You just have to start. If you have the drive, you’ll keep going. Any successful business requires perseverance and grit. It sounds simple, but it’s true. You just need to block out the noise and believe in yourself, and your idea.

Know your audience. Immerse yourself in your industry and learn everything you can about your audience.

Make sure you have complete confidence in your product. Without a good product (or service), you won’t scale – no matter how good you are at marketing.

Ask for advice. You’ll be surprised with how supportive and open people are with their time and wisdom. Meet with other like business owners and mentors. It’s important to get perspective from people who have ‘been there.’

Surround yourself with a support system. The start-up life is a bit of a rollercoaster, and I can’t express enough how important it is to have stable, supportive people around you.

When things are tough, go back to your WHY. Why are you doing this? Why did you start the business? GoodnessMe Box was designed to make a profound difference to peoples health by changing their food choices, and reminding myself of our purpose gets me through the challenging days.

The Deep Work of CX and Digital Transformation

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On 16 April 2019, I was invited by my dear friend Ross Quintana to join the popular, weekly Adobe series “#AdobeChat.”

I have to say that it was one of the fastest hours I’d experienced in a long time. In this conversation, we, along with countless forward-thinking executives, discussed “The Deep Work of CX and Digital Transformation.” Of course, I peppered in a bit about Lifescale and how it affects employees and customers.

Below, I’ve collected Adobe’s questions along with my answers to share with you here. There are also, hundreds of exceptional responses that are also worth your time.

I hope this helps you in your work…

Hello! Thank you for having me as your guest today! #AdobeChat @Adobe @AdobeExpCloud

Q1: Definition: #Digitaltransformation is the pursuit of innovative & agile business & operational models — fueled by evolving technologies, processes, analytics & talent capabilities — to create new value and experiences for customers, employees & stakeholders.

Q1: In my research at @altimetergroup, I’ve found that advanced #digitaltransformation & #CX are linked. Focusing on customers gives DT purpose that unites the organization around innovation, delivers new value and brings about change that impacts customers + business

Q1: The problem with separating #DigitalTransformation and #CX is that, without a human-centered purpose, i.e. CX or #EX (employee experience), we emphasize the “digital” in digital transformation. We lead with technology and that’s a mistake that many companies make.

Q1: @lifescaleu shows how customers/orgs are connected also leads to a parallel thread of how employees and customers are connected. They/we are people and things like living a distracted life affects behaviors, well-being and happiness. This is a chance to add value!

Q2: We live in a time of #DigitalDarwinism, technology and society evolve and so do markets. Investing in modern technology to modernize businesses is no longer enough. The key is to adapt business/operational models & innovate product/services to be relevant. 💡

Q2: Without the deep work, companies miss what it takes to truly be relevant, to compete in ways that survive and thrive #DigitalDarwinism. This is why #innovation inspired by the people (+ data) defining #CX and #EX are so vital to meaningful #digitaltransformation!

Q2: In my latest book @LifescaleU, I wrote directly to individuals and not executives for the first time. It was intended for them to see the need for deep work personally and professionally…to see the value of human centeredness in #digitaltransformation  😁

Q3: Customers, + you and me, are incredibly distracted, busy, multitaskers, who live life online, spending 4+ hours a day on mobile devices consuming the feeds of others while sharing slivers of our own lives. We are competing for attention in a time of personal chaos.

Q3: Without understanding + emphasizing customer & employee distractions and the effects of personal tech in their lives, we cannot guide #digitaltransformation and #innovation to deliver true, relevant value in every state of their life cycle. We’re missing humanity.

Q3: These insights lets us connect how individuals, consumers, employees & leaders all must do personal deep work and focus to impact the greater whole. We can also show how organizational problems in creativity, focus & purpose are inherently people problems.

Q4: Organizations are too focused on dashboards, numbers and technology 🤖 instead of people, employees and customers. If we don’t know the problem, we won’t know where the huge opportunity lies. It’s human. It’s people. There’s a human side of #digitaltransformation!

Q4: The #1 challenge in #digitaltransformation and #innovation is organizational culture. It’s also the #1 catalyst in advanced orgs. This is a time to spotlight the humans inside and outside to become fully aware of the real threats/opportunities we’re dealing with.

Q4: Many organizations I study suffer from “out of touchness” where execs are not the customers and employees they’re trying to reach. They’re an incredible disconnect, which over time leads to “#experience divides” and sets the stage for #creativedestruction.

Q5: On average we are distracted ~200 times per day. We spend 4 hours a day on our phones. (not talking about those who are far more connected). Each distraction takes ~23 minutes to get back into the groove. We are all distracted in our own way without knowing.

Q5: Employees lose ~2 hours during their work day to personal distractions. This has tremendous costs to productivity and output. We #multitask, we move faster, our brains are less creative, our work is shallower, we are moving and reacting without space to innovate.

Q5: Even I was distracted. I failed 2 years ago to deliver what would have been my 8th book because I too struggled with distractions. My output stalled because I skimmed over the deep work. I couldn’t spark creativity. Meaningful transformation starts here. @lifescaleU

Q6: Where to start? Ironically, deep issues are tied to human roadblocks, i.e. egos, cognitive biases, ignorance/arrogance, fear, entitlement, et al. The other side is that change is seen as a cost center and not an investment in the long-term #shortermism

Q6: As #changeagents, we have to build bridges to colleagues, the C-suite and other stakeholders/shareholders/boards. They don’t know what they don’t know. So, we have to link the human story to business growth + value to customers/markets. Those that do, win.

Q6: When we miss the human issues, we miss true connection to customers and the ability to genuinely guide, inspire and empower employees in new directions. We all need to work on ourselves and help others to do so as well. @lifescaleU

Q7: My friends at @gapingvoid have some of the best, most creative answers when it comes to designing cultures for #innovation by focusing on the emotions and aspirations of people through art and science. Here’s one such story.

Q7: #innovation #culture is intentional, purposeful, relatable, inspirational + cultivated. Culture is often not a priority nor is it largely understood by execs. It’s not a vision/mission statement. It’s not employee engagement. It’s the foundation of why we work.

Q7: #innovation #culture is the social construct for what binds & drives us. It’s why #EX is so important. We need to invest in motivation, learning, unlearning and also #digitalwellness to connect the dots between employee experience & customer experience! @lifescale

Can I take a minute to acknowledge all that is amazing about @Ross_Quintana? He’s genuine, compassionate, thoughtful, so so so smart, witty, sweet, funny, helpful, creative, and loving. Thank you for being a friend Ross. 🙌🏼

Q8: Successful orgs in #digitaltransformation + #innovation journeys are #agile #open #empathetic #flat #empowering #experimental #reflective #humancentered #adaptive #aware #directed and #motivated. This is a time for #leadership, not just #management + scale

Q8: Successful #digitaltransformation is shaped by data, social science, culture design, innovation + human beings. #Changeagents who challenge convention & unite everyone around a more meaningful and value-added future are the leaders we need right now. That’s you.

Q8: Define your values, find your purpose, define your vision, articulate success in steps, visualize your path forward, create an action plan, and take your first step…then the next one…and the next. Soon you’ll be far along and inspiring others to follow along!

Thank you 🙏 for this opportunity to be with you. I wanted to share these links to help you…

Lifescale book

Lifescale site

The Digital Change Agent’s Manifesto

The State of Digital Transformation

The Six Stages of Digital Transformation

binary copy trading

binary copy trading is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is a world renowned keynote speakerand 8x best-selling author. In his new book, Lifescale: How to live a more creative, productive and happy life, Brian tackles the struggles of living in a world rife with constant digital distractions. His model for “Lifescaling” helps readers overcome the unforeseen consequences of living a digital life to break away from diversions, focus on what’s important, spark newfound creativity and unlock new possibilities. His previous book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, explores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design.

Please, invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire colleagues and fellow executives/boards.

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Small Business Sales and Marketing Secrets from the Pros

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April 17, 2019 FB Live - Small Business Sales and Marketing Secrets from the ProsThis week on #Smallbizchat LIVE, our show featured three guests: Online Marketing Secrets with Neil Patel @neilpatel, How to Use a Book to Promote Your Business with Stephanie Chandler, @Steph__Chandler, and How to Drive Retail Sales with Romina Brown, @ssiconsults.

 I pulled three of the best questions from each of them to share with you. Every third Wednesday of the month, Smallbizchat LIVE is broadcast on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube channel and on Twitter @SmallBizLady.

Neil Patel is a New York Times best selling author. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations. Learn more at

 SmallBizLady: It can be overwhelming when it comes to figuring out what is the best strategy to drive traffic, increase conversions, rank optimization. If you were to recommend a CRO plan for those just starting out, what would it consist of?

Neil Patel: CRO starts with data gathering. If you just run tests based on your gut you will just lose money. I would start off with both quantitative and qualitative data. Based on what common objections that keep coming up, I would then run tests that answer those objections and go from there.

SmallBizLady: Digital marketing is changing at a rapid pace. Where do you see it going in the next 2-5 years…and how can we be proactive and prepare?

Neil Patel: You will start seeing it integrated more offline. From your fridge to physical devices you use on a regular day, marketing will become tied in with these devices. For example your fridge will eventually tell you what food you are about to run out of and automatically order it for you. It will eventually display coupons and deals for other competing brands… that’s where digital marketing is heading.

SmallBizLady: What are some tips you have for entrepreneurs just starting off? What are some mistakes they need to avoid to ensure they launch a successful company?

Neil Patel: You are going to make a lot of mistakes. Focus on speed and learn from your mistakes. As long as you avoid making the same mistake over and over again, eventually you learn what not to do.

Stephanie Chandler is the author of several books including The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan: The Professional Guide to Profitable Self-Publishing and The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan: Online and Offline Promotion Strategies to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books. Stephanie is also founder and CEO of the Nonfiction Authors Association, a vibrant educational community for writers, and the Nonfiction Writers Conference, twice-yearly events conducted entirely online. Learn more at

SmallBizLady: How can a book help promote a business?

Stephanie Chandler: Authoring a book makes you an instant AUTHORity in your field. It can impress prospective clients, help to generate leads, add credibility so you can raise your rates, attract media attention, and help you get booked for speaking engagements. A book is truly the ultimate business card!

SmallBizLady: How can a book help to generate leads?

Stephanie Chandler: Send copies of your book to potential clients and watch the magic happen! I like to think of it this way. If I were going to hire a personal trainer to get in shape, I would interview at least two trainers. Most likely their programs would be pretty similar, but if one of them handed me a book, I’d immediately be impressed and far more likely to hire that trainer.

The same is true for financial advisors, consultants, coaches, medical professionals, computer pros, and anyone else with a service-based business.

 SmallBizLady: For business owners who want to land speaking gigs, how can a book help?

Stephanie Chandler: Simply adding “author” to your title can go a long way in helping you book speaking engagements. You can also send books to key contacts and decision-makers who book speakers. Every speaker I know would tell you that a book helps speakers land more opportunities.

Romina Brown is a founder and CEO with a deep background in strategic planning and integrated marketing — having worked for and with world-renowned CPG, Beauty, Apparel and Real Estate brands. Romina leads a team of executives and project managers in illuminating insights to inform, strategic development and execution of best-in-class programs for our dynamic base of clients. SSI represents some of the largest and fastest growing brands in their respective industries. Learn more at

SmallBizLady: What do you think are some of the major challenges retailers are facing and how does it impact CPG manufacturers?

Romina Brown:

  1. They must recognize that Online and B&M go hand in hand because the competitive landscape has shifted.
  2. They have to solve for challenges they have not had to consider in the past.
  3. They must re-imagine and maximize shopper ROI.

SmallBizLady: What are some of the key strategies that manufacturers can use to drive their retail sales?

Romina Brown:

  1. Understand the market and the consumers within that market.
  2. Integration of Deep Contextual Insights from Category Management.
  3. Focus on Innovation and Disruption.
  4. Become Category Partners with Key retailers.
  5. Understand retail levers that drive sales (seasonality, consumer demand, promotional merchandising, pricing, etc…).

SmallBizLady: What exactly is Category Management and how can it be used to drive retail sales?

Romina Brown:

  1. It should now be considered Category Growth Management – It is an objective approach to any category where experts gather, evaluate and integrate data points to illuminate insights that create opportunities to allow manufacturers and retailers to innovate in the white spaces.
  2. The purpose is to arrive at insights that will lead to Real Growth.  Real Growth is Consumer Driven, Sustained Growth.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a guest on #Smallbizchat? Click here to submit your pitch.

Join us every Wednesday from 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter to stay up to date on our upcoming guests.

Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat:

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Experiences are the way to capture the hearts (and wallets) of bank customers

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Byline: Todd Handcock, President, Asia Pacific, Collinson

Banks are facing increasing pressure to grow their business in the era of digital disruption and open innovation. Profound changes in consumer behaviour, technological innovations, the availability of a massive amount of data and the connected lifestyle of customers have led to a blurring of industry boundaries.

Today’s consumers are choosing to spend their time and money on enjoyable experiences that enrich their lives. While everything a brand does – the way it does its marketing, research, customer services and more – all play a role in shaping the customer’s experience, it is worth noting that customers’ expectations are shaped by their interactions within different industries. In the financial service industry consumers expect more from their bank given that their customer relationship would typically go back many years, if not decades.

According to recent global research from Priority Passcustomers value experiences over material goods, especially those experiences that can be shared. In the survey, the top five favourite activities of respondents across Asia Pacific were travel focused. Cultural holidays overseas received the biggest injection of cash, with respondents spending an average of US$1,437 a year on them – more than 50% the amount spent on luxury items (US$942). What’s more, if given a US$300 cash gift, a quarter of respondents (23%) in APAC would spend it on a trip away, with only 5% opting to make a purchase.

Customers look for more meaning from their expenditure, time and hobbies. When financial brands deliver great or valuable experiences, they take steps towards a more powerful and engaging type of loyalty. So what does this mean for banks looking to capture consumers’ hearts and wallets in this new age of experience?

Rethinking loyalty options

Banks and traditional card providers have been forced to shake up their strategies in terms of technologies to match the services they deliver and the ways they boost brand loyalty. Banks need to identify opportunities to enhance customer experience across not only their staple financial products but also anything that touches the personal lives of the consumers. As travel has become a key indicator of the quality of life for connected consumers, banks need to engage with customers at the centre of a lifestyle ecosystem, providing them with relevant, compelling and smarter travel benefits to truly differentiate their brand. This will become an integral reason for customers to remain loyal.

Reinventing cross-industry collaboration

In the era of the experience economy, regardless of whether it is directly attributable to the brand or not, an experience can enhance or taint a customer’s overall perception. Also, customers expect each experience to be at least the same as or better than the last. With the study revealing that customers love to share their experiences during travel, this should encourage bank marketers to look beyond their core offerings and establish cross-industry partnerships for delivering seamless travel experiences for their customers. Banks should put themselves in their customers’ shoes and consider the option, for example, of offering their customers access to an airport lounge in the event of a flight delay. This would be a great opportunity to create a moment of truth for emotional loyalty for their brand.

Experience is king, and it won’t be dethroned anytime soon.

Is half of your marketing spend wasted?

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Byline: Drew Bowering, Senior Director of Market Management, Expedia Group

Most of us in business have heard the old adage, “half of your marketing spend is wasted, but you do not know which half”.

We now no longer need that to be true. Why? Well, you see we used to talk about how many people are online, now we talk about how many are online constantly.

We’ve been saying that the future is mobile. Well, two thirds of all online traffic is now mobile [1]. Mobile is not just the future, mobile is now.

My point is that with so much searching and shopping happening online, we have very specific data to understand how to target effectively, which means online marketing spend can be optimised as there is true visibility.

Expedia Group conducted a lot of research in this space, and from that we’ve identified four fundamental themes that we need to hit for online success; (1) relevance, (2) trust, (3) convenience and (4) value [2]. By masterfully taking data and applying it to our online businesses, we can deliver on these while also eliminating wasted online spend.

For me, the first focus is relevance. It’s the theme technology has fundamentally turned on its head.

Relevance in the digital age is about identifying the correct intent in the exact moment it is intended. Put simply, the Netflix generation want it all, but they want you to find it for them and serve it up on that first page so that they don’t have to go looking for it.

Whenever you interact with your consumers online, you have to understand their needs at that precise moment or else you may end up wasting the spend you have invested to try to get that view. This is true whether this is through a marketing message, through Google search, or someone looking at a room photo on a website.

So what can we do? At Expedia Group, we’re tackling this through various ways, including the investment in technology. Specifically, data science technology.

As the world’s travel platform, our interactions with the consumer give us millions of data points that we can leverage to understand what consumers’ intent is, and how best to assist them in their conversions. We are harnessing the power of our global platform to take these millions of data points, wrap supplier tools around them, and provide insights that matter for their businesses.

In other words, we’re providing our hotel partners with value in the way that can masterfully take data and apply it to deliver relevance.

So is the implication that the world belongs to the large platforms who can access masses of data on a global scale? Absolutely not.

Instead, what we’ve seen is the rise of two types of platforms. On one side, we have the largest players – like the Alibaba and Amazon of the world. On the other, we have those with such a super tight specificity that they can drive equal relevance without needing to rely on big data.

Over time, we’ve witnessed that it is not just the big platforms that will continue to excel, but equally a rise in niche players hollowing out of the middle.

The niche players have a specialism which, when marketed correctly, allows them to drive as equal relevance as ‘the biggest’. It’s where relevancy can narrow marketing spend in such a targeted way, that nothing is wasted.

Relevance is the common denominator between the big and niche, and a direct response to the demands of today’s highly particular consumer.

For global platforms, that’s about harnessing the power of data science and machine learning, but for the most niche, that’s about delivering a particular and highly specialised experience.

It might seem odd to think that consumers can be loyal and simply swing between both, when the offering is so vastly different. Again, it comes back to relevance. Get relevance right and, no matter which side of the spectrum you sit, you’ll be able to crack the intent factor that our technology-driven world demands.

Drew has been with Expedia Group for more than a decade – including various roles in the company’s supplier operations across the UK, Pacific Islands, USA and APAC/Oceanic regions. He is the most senior LPS executive in Australia, responsible for the strategic direction and execution of the company’s account management and sales approach in the region. A thought-leader on technology, distribution and booking trends, Drew and his team work with hotel partners to help maximise their Expedia Group relationship.


1 – Stone Temple, “Mobile vs Desktop Usage in 2018: Mobile takes the lead”, April 27th 2018. AdWeek, 2IAB/PwC Internet Advertising Revenue Report, HY 2018
2 – Five Retail Trends Shaping The 2018 Holiday Season and Beyond”, November 9th, 2018

Jessica Sepel on mastering organic Instagram growth for a $7m year

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From influencer to big business, this nutritionist organically grew her company – JSHealth – through effective online personal branding. She discusses how she manages to organically grow a 231K following, the ups and downs of having a personal brand and how it Instagram became her revenue stream.

Jessica Sepel is a bestselling health author and international health and wellness influencer who took her business from half a million to several million in 12 months.

Her business initially was her blog, endorsement deals and sales from her books, however in February 2017 she launched the JSHealth 8- week program which grew the business from 400K – $7 Million in 12 months.

She credits her success to having authenticity online and building a loyal community of engaged followers from that real, personable approach.

In 2018 she launched new new game-changing App, the JSHealth App and her Vitamins range and in the past 5 months. In just the last 5 months, the vitamins range revenues are already up 326%, total business revenue is up 400% and community engagement and growth has increased by 430%.

Jess has achieved all of this at just 29 years of age. We had the pleasure of learning all about her journey and how she has achieved an engaged, ready-to-purchase 231K audience on Instagram.

What are the main reasons you believe your organic growth has been so successful on Instagram?

We believe that JSHealth’s biggest strength has always been the community. Instagram is an incredible platform that helped me foster this. A strong, loyal community naturally leads to organic growth for a brand, so we’ve been very lucky in that respect.

Another factor that has contributed to our growth is my willingness to be open. I’ve always been honest and vulnerable about my journey. That’s just how I am. From the beginning, I opened up about my fears, my daily struggles and how I’ve found healing. In fact, I still do this today. It’s so important to share who you really are on social media. We’re so surrounded with everyone’s ‘highlights reel’, so it’s important to share the real day to day.

Honestly, I think that’s what connected so many people. I feel fortunate that they’ve been on this journey with me. I always listen to the community, ask them questions and create content to keep them inspired and connected. For me, it’s always been about that connection and genuinely wanting to help others.

What are the biggest challenges in having a personal brand with your image and name?

To be the face of JSHealth is enormously beneficial, as the community have someone to connect and relate to. Having a name and face associated with a brand is powerful and comes with responsibility that you cannot take lightly. That said, I don’t think of myself as a ‘brand’.

I’m just another girl, like anyone else out there, going through the motions of my daily life. I’m sharing my truth and opening my heart to others, in the hopes of helping them do the same. Truthfully, I think of Instagram like a big friendship group where we share our thoughts and experiences – both good and bad.

When did you realise you could make an income from your social following?

I don’t really look at it like that. When I first started out, I was sharing my health tips, healthy recipes and advice on nutrition. In fact, I still share a lot of this with the community. I’ve always believed in providing people with a service and being of value. I guess that’s why my Instagram has grown; it has really helped people live a healthy life and overcome dieting, calorie counting and deprivation.

The products I’ve created have been requested by the community. They wanted more in-depth health guides, so I created my first e-book The Clean Life and then our signature 8-week Program. Then, I had a lot of requests for an app to make day-to-day nutrition advice more accessible, so we set out to build one.

The same goes for the vitamins. I chatted with the community and saw the need for extra nutritional support. Plus, I’ve always believed in the therapeutic benefits of good-quality supplements, so we set out to create our own. The transformations we’ve seen from our program, app and vitamins are phenomenal. They make all of the hard work worth it.

How important has Instagram been in your business & success

Instagram has been instrumental in the growth of JSHealth as a brand. It’s the tool that allowed me to share my innermost struggles, fears and desires. It’s also the tool – in addition to my blog – that allowed me to connect with other people all around the world who were struggling with health issues and disordered eating like I did.

Instagram has been incredibly important because it’s helped me connect with my audience. Some people might not realise this, but it’s actually me logged in to @jshealth, replying to every message and comment. To me, success is helping people live healthier and happier lives – it’s that simple.

Jessica Sepel is a clinical nutritionist, best-selling author, international health blogger and the beloved voice behind JSHealth and @jshealth. She is passionate about helping people overcome fad dieting and disordered eating, having gone through her own struggles with food. Her philosophy is focused around balance, rest and building a healthy relationship with food. She recently launched the JSHealth App, which features a world-first nutrition clinic, hundreds of healthy recipes, a daily meal planner, health guides, body love support and much more.



Transcript of How to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers

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Transcript of How to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Donna Cutting. She is the founder and CEO of Red Carpet Learning Systems and she’s also the author of a book we are going to talk about today called 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers. Donna, thanks for joining me.

Donna Cutting: Hey, John. It’s really great to be here. Thanks for having me.

John Jantsch: So, 501 ways. Don’t you think it would be great if you will just do one thing?

Donna Cutting: Oh, yeah, definitely for sure. It’s funny to me how people picked up on that 501 ways and find that amusing but what I’m trying to do is give people enough action ideas, tangible ideas that they can actually take right from the book and implement into their company or at least being inspired by some of these ideas so that they can raise the bar in the service in their organization.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think there are a lot of books that have a lot of theory in them and there’s certainly a place for theory and strategy. But I think there’s also a real need for these books that just … Give me a couple of ideas, give me a couple of things I can go out and do and see how I could do that in my business. And so that’s one of the things that really attracted me to want to have this conversation today.

Donna Cutting: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. And you’ll know in the book there’s actually a chapter called Get Red Carpet Ready and that’s because that theory is important and it is really important to have a strong basis if you truly want to give consistently excellent service to your customers. You got to be looking at who you’re hiring and how you’re encouraging them and all of that. But today’s midlevel manager or entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily have time to be as creative as they want. So why not look at what other people are doing and go from there.

John Jantsch: Before we get too deep. You are in Asheville, North Carolina. Is that right?

Donna Cutting: Yeah.

John Jantsch: I just visited there with my wife and we canoed the north broad right through Biltmore and went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a beautiful, beautiful country.

Donna Cutting: Yeah. The French Broad River, is that what you’re-

John Jantsch: Yes.

Donna Cutting: Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful area. Oh, I’m sorry I missed you but I’m glad you had a good time.

John Jantsch: A lot of companies think in terms of departments, marketing, sales and service. And I really think … It’s probably always been true but I really think today when there’s really nowhere to hide. If you have bad service, we’re probably going to see a YouTube channel dedicated to it at some point. I’ve come to believe that there really is no room for these departments anymore, that service quite frankly needs to run through the entire sort of outcome with the customer, doesn’t it?

Donna Cutting: Yeah. Customer service is so much more than a department. It really is the … Well, for one thing, there is a direct link between sales and marketing and service especially today because of the experience that you’re giving your customer, they have more choices and louder voices than ever before. Regardless of how great your sales and marketing is, you could lose that customer the minute they walk in the door if the experience they’re getting is not fantastic.

Donna Cutting: They have so many other places to go. And so customer experience is really part of that whole marketing and sales as well.

John Jantsch: Because you sell training that has a cost associated to it and certainly doing customer service well has a cost associated with it. How do you help people make the leap to being an investment rather than a cost, so to speak? What’s the value? How do you measure the value of good service. I think we all know a pissed off customer is a bad thing but how do you measure that doing the basics right?

Donna Cutting: Yeah. Well, I think it varies from the company. But it’s really understanding the lifetime value of your customer. And so understanding that we’re not just talking about one transaction here but how many transactions could they potentially do with you in a year’s time, in five years’ time, in the lifetime of that customer.

Donna Cutting: And I would even add to that how many new customers could they bring to you because they’re having such great experience. I don’t really see that in the typical measurements of lifetime value but I think that belongs there as well.

John Jantsch: Great point. I think that … We all know people that I’m sure you run into them and every company … Hopefully, every company has one or two of them. That person that is … They’re just nurturing. They’re just, “How can we serve you?” They’re just wired that way. But I suspect that you do a fair amount of teaching people that are not wired that way. Is it possible?

Donna Cutting: Well, first of all, you do have to have a heart to serve people to a certain extent. And I think when it comes to the customer experience, making sure that you have the right people in the right roles is very important because depending on the position, it is more important in some positions that you have the people who are the warm, fuzzy, going to make people feel good. And then in other positions, it may be more important that they have the technical piece that they know that job really, really well but they just have to have the ability to be friendly and caring to the customer.

Donna Cutting: Having said that, can you teach empathy? I don’t know that you can. I think that that comes with how they grew up and whether they have an empathetic heart. However, what I have noticed is that there are people out there in organizations that have empathy and they have a heart to serve but the leadership has not necessarily been really great about defining what the service experience looks like. And giving them the tools and the training that they need in order to deliver on that service experience.

Donna Cutting: A lot of times people said to me, “Oh, well, it’s just common sense.” Well, not necessarily. If you’ve got a young person who grew up in a home where they may have … In fact, I’ve met many, many people. They were warm, very warm caring heart but they didn’t grow up learning about the importance of eye contact and smiling and giving a good handshake and caring phrases and all of the things that you can teach if somebody has an open heart to receive it. Did that make sense?

John Jantsch: Yeah, absolutely, and I think that you kind of hammer home a belief that I have that is that service, good service, red carpet service is really kind of culture. And so, I think organizations that it seems to run throughout. They hire for it. That’s a qualification for the job is to maybe measure the idea of empathy but then they also empower folks.

John Jantsch: I was on a flight this week, Southwest Magazine always has stories about their people doing good and then we all know companies that really tend to empower their employees to do things. There was a layover that the person wasn’t changing planes but they’ve laid over ironically in my hometown, Kansas City, and the person was … Their son really wanted a Royals’ baseball hat but they just didn’t have time to get off the plane. And the flight attendant heard, went in, bought a Royals’ baseball hat at a shop, came back out, gave it to him.

John Jantsch: And of course, then the person wrote a letter talking about how great it was. I think that that flight attendant is empowered to make that kind of thing and rewarded for doing that kind of action. And I think that that has to run really deep, doesn’t it?

Donna Cutting: It definitely does. And it is. And getting back to that whole chapter in getting red carpet ready, that really is all about culture. The question that’s asked of me a lot is, “How do you get an hourly employee who maybe has never received the red carpet service to give that?” Yeah, you have to model it for them by the way you’re treating them and empowering them and encouraging that kind of behavior. So what a great story, I love that.

John Jantsch: One of the things that I think a lot of companies, they get it. Okay, customer service is great. We got to do something to really be over the top and it comes out sort of robotic. I think the best customer service is something like that story I told but it’s often very personalized and I think that’s even trickier, isn’t it?

Donna Cutting: Yeah, I think it is. And also, I wanted to say, I don’t necessarily think that it has to be over the top. To me, there are three areas of customer experience to pay attention to. One is that technical piece, so that is what the customer is buying for, the service or product that they’re purchasing that it works the way they expect it to work, all of the logistical things that go along with delivering that product and service. And you obviously want that to be proficient.

Donna Cutting: Then the next piece is warmth and hospitality, so how are you delivering it? Do you have a team of people who have that empathetic heart and are warm and hospitable. Really, if those two things are rock solid, people are going to feel like they have a great customer experience if it’s consistent, so meaning every employee is delivering that to every customer at every opportunity, every single time or close to it.

Donna Cutting: And then the third piece would be that wow or I call it movie moment, those moments you remember and want to repeat from the movies, making those kinds of moments for you customer. But to be honest, the first two have to be rock solid but before that over the top, wow, really makes a difference. And I think you’re right. That has to come authentic and that comes from just allowing your employees to come up with their own ideas about how to do that.

John Jantsch: Yeah. And I’m not sure you’re really saying this but I think you make a good point. In some cases, the bar is not very high. Just getting the basics right. Returning phone calls, doing things that people expect or unfortunately have come not to expect. That kind of part the basics are so important and many companies miss that even.

Donna Cutting: That’s exactly right. It is surprising to me when I ask my audiences, “Tell me about the best service you’ve ever received?” How many times people will just tell me a story about how they walked into a hotel or a department store and everybody was friendly and smiling and they’re bending over backwards to do what they can for you. I think that’s just what customer service should be, never mind the over the top stuff but that’s what people are wowed by today because unfortunately, we’re not receiving that as often as we could be.

John Jantsch: One of my favorite and I’m not even sure this is customer service. This certainly is marketing in my mind, but one of my favorite things is when somebody surprises me, when they do something I didn’t expect. I ordered some shoes from a running store and got some powerbars and socks thrown in there. And that had me targeted. In fact, you’re probably about the 10th person on air that I’ve told this story to. And I think there’s almost a product roll for that type of thing.

Donna Cutting: Oh, definitely. And I love … That reminds me of … I’m trying to remember the name of that company. One of the examples in the book is Retrofit and they are a company that sells sportswear. I’m sorry, RecoFit compression gear. And they sell compression gear for cyclists and triathletes and runners. And one of the things that she does is she came up with the idea of just thinking about that crackerjack box and remembering how exciting it was as a child to get that crackerjack box and while the caramel corn were delicious, that’s not really what we’re excited about. What we’re excited about are the free stuff, the little prize.

Donna Cutting: And so she does exactly what you were just talking about. Susan Walton, the owner of the company, she’ll just put something, a free little gift that people aren’t expecting in every single box. And that’s what people get excited about. That’s the little extra. I love it.

John Jantsch: Seth Godin actually had a book, you probably remembered called Free Prize Inside that really kind of talked about that whole concept. To give you a moment to define your red carpet phrase, how do you go about making people feel like stars and should you be looking at it as that over the top, kind of roll out the red carpet approach?

Donna Cutting: Well, to me, ultimately red carpet service is about making that person in front of you right now, so whether they’re physically in front of you or on the other end of the phone or even the other end of an email, feel like the most important person in the room or the most important person in that transaction.

Donna Cutting: And so it really does just start with being 100% present fair for them, making people feel like you … Even if you’ve heard and this is the challenging part. Even if you’ve heard this question 15 million times from every customer, delivering service in a way that I would consider the illusion of that first time. So like in the theater, we have people do the same dance steps, the same speech, the same lines 20 million times depending on how long that show goes on. And yet for every audience, it’s a new show. And so really looking at it that way. It is finding the fun things that you can do to really make them say, “Wow, you know I didn’t expect that.”

John Jantsch: So, I warned you about this before we started with the book 501 Ways, I’m going to ask you to pick maybe four or five of your favorite ones that you can tell us a little vignette about just to give people a sense of the abstracts of each of these kind of ways.

Donna Cutting: Sure, absolutely. Well, I’ll start it with Ruby Receptionists. They’re a company I actually give business with for many, many years. And I’ll start with them because there’s such a great example of those three areas that I talked about. They are a voice answering service but so much more than that. We referred to them endearingly as Call Ruby.

Donna Cutting: When they would pick up my phone messages, technically, it went perfectly, 99.9% of the time. They would get my message. They do their transfer right to the person it needed to go to on my team or we would get a voicemail and a followup. And it just worked perfectly. If it didn’t work perfectly because they were having software issues or something, they were communicating with us every 10 minutes until it was back up and running was amazing.

Donna Cutting: That piece is really perfect and then the second piece is I never had to worry about the receptionist that was answering the phone. They had many, many people working for them but they were all upbeat, friendly. I certainly secret shopped myself. My customers would talk about what friendly people I had working for me. It was just amazing. They had those two pieces rock solid. But then, they would add the wow and this goes back, John, to your whole piece of empowering employees because every person that works for Ruby Receptionists is empowered to practice wowism is what they’d call it but make these surprising delight moments for their customers.

Donna Cutting: For instance, when I had my dog, Snowball, one time they sent me a little package of dog treats for Snowball in a little frame with a picture on it that looked kind of like Snowball. And they would just do little things like this on a regular basis. I know other people who use them as well and that we’re always comparing the little gifts that Ruby Receptionists send us out of the blue. So, there’s such a great example of those three areas of service.

Donna Cutting: And then one that I was thinking of when you were talking about your airplane, the Southwest Airlines example, is this gentleman who worked in Tampa airport. And I loved this. When this little boy left his beautiful Hobbes, his precious doll, if you remember the old Calvin and Hobbes. He had a little tiger and he named him Hobbes and he left it at the airport, and one of the employees picked it up. And of course, they let him know, “Absolutely, you can come pick it up. Hobbes is here. He’s fine.”

Donna Cutting: But in the meantime, they took all kinds of pictures of Hobbes doing things at the airport working in the control room, working in flying the plane, all of these things. And they put it together in a little album so that when the parents came and they actually picked up Hobbes, not only did they get the doll but they got this album of memories that Hobbes shared. That’s such a great example again of an employee just taking responsibility and wowing the customer.

John Jantsch: As I hear you say that and after reading many of the tips or the ways in your book, I think a lot of ways the underlying thread or theme is fun. I think a lot of the companies that do this stuff is because they’re having a good time and so they look for ways to bring a little bit of fun and joy into people’s lives regardless of what they’re selling. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that might be … If you’re going to nail sort of one emotion, that might be it.

Donna Cutting: No, I think you are … Absolutely, you just hit the nail on the head. I mean the next one I was going to share with you is the Village Coffee House in Boulder, Colorado. If you are there for the first time and somebody gets wind of it, you’ve been dubbed a village virgin and they announce that there’s a virgin in the house and everybody applauds and everyone’s kind of in on the fun even all the customers that have been there before. And then of course, there’s ways for you to earn prizes if you bring in new virgins to the coffeehouse. So, it’s definitely a marketing tool but it’s also just like you said, having a great time with your customers and for your customers.

John Jantsch: I’m visiting with Donna Cutting. She is the founder and CEO of Red Carpet Learning Systems. And she’s also the author of a book 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customer. Thanks for joining us and hopefully we’ll see you out there on the road somebody.

Donna Cutting: Thanks for having me.

How to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers

disadvantages of robo advisors

How to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Donna Cutting

Podcast Transcript

Donna Cutting

My guest on today’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Donna Cutting, CSP, Founder & CEO of Red Carpet Learning Systems. She is also the author of 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers.

Think about how much time you spend trying to get clicks, drive traffic, make the phone ring. Now, compare that to how much time you spend making sure your customers have an amazing experience every single time they interact with your company.

See any gaps? We’re all so busy trying to generate leads that we forget the most potent source of new business is a whole bunch of very happy customers.

Donna knows all about providing exceptional service. She leads a team of experts that train organizational leaders to turn prospects into delighted customers and delighted customers into raving fans. Today, Donna and I discuss what it means to give your customers the “red carpet” treatment.

Questions I ask Donna Cutting:

  • How do you measure the value of good service?
  • What are some ways that companies can go above and beyond to deliver a memorable experience?
  • With the title of your book starting with “501 ways,” can you pick a couple of your favorite ways to roll out the red carpet for customers?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • What actionable and tangible ideas you can use to raise the bar in service for your organization.
  • How the customer experience is directly related to your sales and marketing.
  • What the three components of great service are and why consistency is critical.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Donna Cutting:

  • Learn more about Donna Cutting
  • Order your copy of 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Follow on Facebook
  • Connect on LinkedIn

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Let’s Talk: The big 4 banks

disadvantages of robo advisors

This week we hear from two leaders on the big 4 banks, discussing whether they are becoming redundant to small business.

It is becoming increasingly challenging for small and medium enterprises to secure bank finance as rejection figures are on the rise. 

An analysis of business loans by financial comparison site has found staying loyal to the Big 4 banks could cost you thousands of dollars in unnecessary interest each year. Staying with a Big 4 bank could cost you $6,007 in extra interest on a $250,000 business loan over 5 years.

With this information becoming clearer with new studies and research, is it true to say that the big 4 banks are becoming less and less relevant for SMEs?

Leo Tyndall, CEO and Founder Marketlend

In the wake of the Royal Commission we’re seeing a tightening of finance for SMEs with even long time customers being turned away for loans.  The issue is bigger than the Royal Commission though. For years, banks have taken too long and required too much, like property collateral, from SMEs.  Innovations like marketplace lending are giving SMEs transparent and prompt access when they need it. This is the revolution. Hopefully banks will learn from this, but we might be waiting a while

Stephen Barnes, Principal at Byronvale Advisors Pty Ltd

I would say that the term ‘redundant’ may not be so appropriate but certainly through a number of factors the ‘Big 4’ may be less able to meet the needs or timeliness requirements of small business.  A large number of small business owners need to use personal assets, usually the family home, as security for loans.  With falling house prices these business owners’ capacity to borrow is diminishing.  I recently contacted a ‘Big 4’ CEO directly regarding a refinancing transaction that had taken almost a year, during which the Banking Royal Commission had occurred.  The CEO responded within half an hour, and apologised and said “The world has changed, and we are probably over shooting here but our front line (in all banks) are scared. Scared they expose the banks and themselves to risk. The rules on responsible lending are vague and complex. The rules do require us to take reasonable steps to prove any loan is responsible. Hard to define “reasonable” and we probably get that wrong a few times.” There has also been the rise of the low-doc non-bank lenders that look at cashflow rather than security and have a fast turnaround on approvals.  These factors combined may mean the ‘Big 4’ may not be meeting the needs or timeliness requirements of small businesses.


Let’s Talk: The big 4 banks

disadvantages of robo advisors

This week we hear from two leaders on the big 4 banks, discussing whether they are becoming redundant to small business.

It is becoming increasingly challenging for small and medium enterprises to secure bank finance as rejection figures are on the rise. 

An analysis of business loans by financial comparison site has found staying loyal to the Big 4 banks could cost you thousands of dollars in unnecessary interest each year. Staying with a Big 4 bank could cost you $6,007 in extra interest on a $250,000 business loan over 5 years.

With this information becoming clearer with new studies and research, is it true to say that the big 4 banks are becoming less and less relevant for SMEs?

Leo Tyndall, CEO and Founder Marketlend

In the wake of the Royal Commission we’re seeing a tightening of finance for SMEs with even long time customers being turned away for loans.  The issue is bigger than the Royal Commission though. For years, banks have taken too long and required too much, like property collateral, from SMEs.  Innovations like marketplace lending are giving SMEs transparent and prompt access when they need it. This is the revolution. Hopefully banks will learn from this, but we might be waiting a while

Stephen Barnes, Principal at Byronvale Advisors Pty Ltd

I would say that the term ‘redundant’ may not be so appropriate but certainly through a number of factors the ‘Big 4’ may be less able to meet the needs or timeliness requirements of small business.  A large number of small business owners need to use personal assets, usually the family home, as security for loans.  With falling house prices these business owners’ capacity to borrow is diminishing.  I recently contacted a ‘Big 4’ CEO directly regarding a refinancing transaction that had taken almost a year, during which the Banking Royal Commission had occurred.  The CEO responded within half an hour, and apologised and said “The world has changed, and we are probably over shooting here but our front line (in all banks) are scared. Scared they expose the banks and themselves to risk. The rules on responsible lending are vague and complex. The rules do require us to take reasonable steps to prove any loan is responsible. Hard to define “reasonable” and we probably get that wrong a few times.” There has also been the rise of the low-doc non-bank lenders that look at cashflow rather than security and have a fast turnaround on approvals.  These factors combined may mean the ‘Big 4’ may not be meeting the needs or timeliness requirements of small businesses.