"Disable your social media push notifications" with Liz Theresa
Liz Theresa, business mentor and founder of LizTheresa.com, has been helping entrepreneurs find clarity and uniquely market themselves with confidence for the past eight years through her strategic website design and clever copywriting services. She wants every entrepreneur to rise and be the star of their own business. She’s also the creator of Concept to Creation, her flagship branding and web design program and you can download a free copywriting training video from her at freecopyvideo.com.
Can you tell our readers about your background?
Sure! I’m a business mentor, web designer, and copywriter. I’ve proudly been helping small businesses and entrepreneurs find clear and unique ways to market themselves with confidence since 2011 at LizTheresa.com.
I started this business after I completed my Masters of Arts degree in English at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. I graduated with my degree knowing I wanted to help entrepreneurs improve their online presence. To give you context, 2011 was two years after Twitter was invented. Online marketing was a hot new field - so I didn’t have a ton of competition. And then it hit me, my web design hobby (yes, hobby) was essential to businesses who want to improve their online presence. Because let’s face facts - your marketing doesn’t work if your website doesn’t work!
What inspired you to start your business?
Before I had the realization I could start my business, I was applying to jobs in the online marketing world. Most positions required 3 to 5 years experience - even though, like I said, Twitter was 2 years old. How on Earth could you have 3 to 5 years experience doing online marketing in 2011? Nearly impossible.
Anyway, I finally got ONE interview for a company in Massachusetts to write product descriptions for wigs. Yep. You guessed it. Like “Let loose and wear this sassy wig out for a fun night with the girls!” Believe it or not, I was over the moon excited about the job opportunity, especially since they invited me to interview for it. There I was, in a brand new outfit with a tricked-out, graphically designed resume. The art director looked at my resume (and me), sighed, and said, “You’re way too creative for this job. It will literally suck the soul from your body - and I can’t do that to you.”
I remember nodding respectfully and thinking, “I wonder if this is a compliment or not.”
Next thing I knew, I was back in my VW Beetle, calling my mom (my unofficial business) and telling her what happened.
“Mom, I know I want to help people market themselves better. Why won’t anyone hire me for that?”
And she said something so revolutionary - I never forgot it. “Liz, you don’t need permission to help people with their businesses. Just go do it.” And LizTheresa.com was born.
Where is your business based?
Norwell, MA (a small town south of Boston, MA).
How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
I started by creating a website - which is something I’d known how to do, but for some reason, didn’t see as a monetizable skill. Silly me! I ended up launching under my legal name (at the time) - LizDowney.com. I realized that there’s a lot to naming a business - and I felt hampered by my own name as far as how I saw myself, which is why it became LizTheresa.com. LizTheresa.com (to me) symbolized a clean slate and allowed me to feel free to show up as the best version of myself.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
Success in business is 100% who you know. Meeting the right people at the right times can take you to some amazing places. In the beginning, I’d met a girl on Twitter who was doing social media marketing (very cutting-edge for 2011) - and she taught me so much in the early stages. She was my mentor - for sure - and ended up introducing me to my first few clients. Things exploded from there - and I’ve had different mentors and coaches since my beginnings, all of whom lift me higher.
My podcast Liz on Biz, as well, has connected me to some incredible minds in the business world and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
Our biggest challenges can also be thought of as our biggest growing pains. In 2015, I remember going to bed late one night - to only get up 2 hours later because I had a client launching a program at midnight. As I lay in bed waiting for midnight, I thought to myself, “This is not life. This is not living. This is not the business I started.” It was then that I knew I needed help - and I hired my very first contractor to support me in times like that.
How do you stay focused?
I absolutely love time hacks - and I’ve blogged pretty extensively on how to make the most of your time. Especially for service-based businesses like mine, time is your #1 asset - above people and above money. Those two things are replaceable but TIME is the only thing you don’t get back.
Once you realize that about time, it will level up how seriously you take the hours you get in a day - and then you can start implementing some time management strategies. I always recommend people start with time auditing - because you need to critically examine how you’re spending a typical day in order to know what needs improvement.
Something quick you can do right now - disable your social media push notifications. Those things can eat up an hour if you’re not careful!
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
When you’re a service provider, it’s your best bet to differentiate yourself based on service rather than on price. In other words, competition should have very little to do with how much you charge - and more to do with how you position yourself, the quality of customer service you provide, and the quality of your product (outcomes). Service is definitely how I stand out. You know that - and my huge personality. People love the way I show up in my business so I try to bring that in as much as possible.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
Word of mouth and networking. Leveraging and nurturing my professional relationships has been the most impactful part of growing my business.
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Don’t quit early and don’t expect results immediately. Work on your idea and do everything you can to make it work, and you’ll be OK!
What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
App: The Calm app. Meditating for 10 minutes a day has greatly improved my mental health which, of course, leads to a clearer head so I can stay focused on my business.
Book: Wuthering Heights - This was the first book I ever loved. I read it my sophomore year of high school and it really lit up my love of reading. I would have never majored in (and got my Master’s in) English had I not read this book.
Blog: Elephant Journal - I read this for spiritual and mindset tips and I’m proud to say it was the first place I’ve been published.
What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
I use Freshbooks all. the. time. Freshbooks is amazingly underrated. It gets slotted in the same category as Quickbooks but does a TON by comparison to invoices and expenses. It has a pretty slick project budgeting and time tracking system built for teams.
Who is your business role model? Why?
I have a few role models but I would love to tell you about Farnoosh Torabi. Farnoosh is a personal finance expert and host of an amazing podcast called So Money with Farnoosh Torabi. I absolutely am so inspired by following her. Knowing her has taught me so much about business.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
My biggest plan is actually maternity leave! I’ve done a lot of preparation to keep my business and team fully operational during leave time which will go from July to August. I take great pride in having a team that works well together and look forward to the unique challenge motherhood will bring to my business.
How can our readers connect with you?
You can find me over at LizTheresa.com, on Facebook in my group: Internet Fame (http://internetfa.me), on Instagram @LizTheresa, and on Twitter @LizTheresa.