Q&A with Entrepreneur, B. Michelle Pippin
B. Michelle Pippin began consulting with small business owners on how to increase their income, impact, and influence in 2004 and began WomenWhoWOW.com in 2013. WOW was created to bring all of the support, accountability, encouragement, expertise women need to grow their business -- their way -- Under One “Roof.” Never one to mince words or dance around the truth, Michelle serves up hard-core, spot on, HOW TO advise and nuanced business strategy daily. Michelle lives in rural North Carolina and is passionately married to Chris, a public school teacher. They have three kids, Summer (19), Shelbey (17) and CJ (15) and a bulldog named Smallz who works full time at WOW.
Can you tell our readers about your background?
I’m just a girl who fell in love with being an entrepreneur. After meeting my husband at Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) we got married and started having babies. This was nearly 2 decades ago, so while I’d heard rumors of people working from home, I didn’t know any personally. Still, with a $50 investment, I set out to do exactly that. In the first year, I’d more than replaced my previous “corporate” income and was able to do it around my infant’s schedule. I was hooked! From there, each year I’ve grown not only my income but also my freedom… constantly tweaking how, when, where & with whom I work to suit my personal preferences. Today, this is what I do with and for other women entrepreneurs through Women Who WOW.
What inspired you to start your business?
I wanted my own kids to have a stay-at-home mom like I did. But being married to a public school teacher didn’t allow me to “just” quit my job. I had to do something to bring in a solid, full-time income, without giving up the time I desperately wanted to be available for my kids. We needed every penny just to keep our bills paid. I set out simply to “make money from home” and ended up an entrepreneur!
Where is your business based?
The small, rural town of Moyock, NC.
How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
Well, when I began, not everyone used email. So, the first thing I did was send a letter to everyone I knew. This letter generated $63,000 and simply let the reader know that I was a new mom and would be working from home. The letter went on to say that I had a computer, fax, printer, and access to the internet and would do anything they needed me to do. After I mailed the letters out, I waited about one week and began calling people who received a letter.
There was no niche-ing at this point and no positioning. I was calling for work. I ended up doing everything from typing water quality reports for US Embassy’s overseas to creating resumes for job seekers. I didn’t love the work, but I was living my dream of bringing in an income without leaving my babies with someone else.
This was 18 years ago today, but I don’t regret my humble beginnings. My financial need at that time allowed me to immediately go to market, make money quickly and learn what was necessary for business and what was fluff.
Today, I teach NO B.S., fluff-free business (and mental toughness) strategies to women entrepreneurs all over the world.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
Showing up daily and speaking to your target market (through a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel, or print newsletter) changes everything. She who creates more content wins! Content — when done consistently and authentically — shows the heart of your business and allows you to show up in a category of one. I recommend everyone — attorneys, physicians, veterinarians, authors, speakers, pet walkers — create regular content to separate themselves from any and all competition. What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them? My biggest challenge came from my own thinking. I thought that I HAD to play small because I started my business with such a small budget, or lived in a small, rural town, or didn’t love to travel. All of this was B.S. Today, I play on a global stage and market from the home I love. No travel required. And my small budget? Well, it’s what required me to become a masterful marketer and salesperson. It was my biggest and best differentiator of all.
How did I overcome this?
I started challenging and questioning my own thinking.
I started asking, “Is that true?” or “Who says that’s true?” or “Does it have to be true?”
How do you stay focused?
While my kids are no longer small, I still like to protect my time with my family. So I’m ruthless with protecting my time and energy. It doesn’t hurt that I now run an organization that pays me to simply show up and be me… to talk about business and marketing and sales and mindset, all things I can get lost in for days! So, I do what I love, but also have boundaries and routines that keep me focused.
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
There are a million “clubs” women entrepreneurs can join, but we are the most exclusive. =) In the early years of Women Who WOW, we grew membership by print invite only. We did this to maintain and attract only HIGH CALIBER members. We didn’t just want “any” member, we wanted those who are taking their industry by storm. We wanted women who were dreamers AND do-ers. We wanted women who didn’t settle for less and women who were determined to create wild success on their own terms. So, our members are incredible and that definitely differentiates us.
Women Who WOW is also very intimate. Despite having members in 50 states and a handful of countries, our members are involved, authentic and have real relationships with each other and with me. There’s no fluff, no pretense and no time wasting within the walls of WOW.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
Content marketing for sure.
I generate approximately 5,000 words of content each week and this not only attracts new followers and members but also nurtures those who are already under my umbrella and keeps them there!
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Do not settle for less than what you really want. You can create wild success, completely on your own terms and without compromising what you really value. So, GO ALL IN!
What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
Right now, I’m in the process of losing 30 pounds. (10 pounds down!! YAY!) So, my FitBit app is my favorite. Working from home is really sedentary! This helps me track (and increase) my movement and it has been a game changer!
My favorite blog is the Proverbs 31 Woman blog, which I get delivered to my phone every morning at 745 AM.
My favorite book is The Nightingale, which is a great picture of what women can do for themselves, for their families, and for a nation. I loved this book and have given it to so many women, BEGGING them to read it!
What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
My favorite business tool is my journal! This is where I get my mindset straight every morning, where I plan my day and my content, and where I challenge my own thinking. My journal is where every day begins, where all business “issues” are worked out, and where all ideas and opportunities begin to be leveraged.
Who is your business role model? Why?
I have two business models, both men. Steve Chandler is an amazing example of how to keep business simple (and profitable). His writing is prolific and he has a way of empowering you that keeps you in action and taking new ground. Dan Kennedy is another role model. He’s a brilliant marketer and has sold his business while remaining the voice of the business (and remaining on the payroll.)
What do you have planned for the next six months?
I’m launching Without Compromise: The Women Who WOW Manifesto… finally in print in March 2018. I am so excited to get this into the hands of women all over the world!
How can our readers connect with you?
I’d LOVE to connect with you guys. You can grab 10 years of articles on our blog at bmichellepippin.com, get DAILY content served up hot and fresh on Facebook (Facebook.com/WomenWhoWOW), watch over 300 videos on WomenWhoWOW.tv or connect with me on twitter (twitter.com/MichellePippin).