ZURIE BUSINESS SERIES : JENNIFER DUANN FULTZ
Continuing with our Zurie Business Series of introducing the awesome speakers we've got lined up, here's a conversation with Jennifer Duann Fultz--the woman behind A-Minus Mama. She is a Content Writer by trade! Jennifer uses writing, design, and teaching to help fearless women run tiny but mighty businesses. Her professional background is in science education but she has been blogging in some form for over 15 years. She helps her clients develop and authentic voice and engage in content marketing strategy. This year, she plans to do more group training and business coaching to help other entrepreneurs get off to a great start like she did!
Hey Jennifer! We are so excited that you are speaking at the Zurie Business Series! Thank you so much for taking the time to travel from Indiana to come here!
My pleasure! Columbus is home to me, and the creative business community there has given me so much. I'm excited to be able to give back.
Your topic in the series is: Getting Started With Content Marketing -- how did you become interested in content marketing?
I first learned about content marketing in 2012 when I started freelancing for Innogage, a digital marketing company based in Westerville. I used to think marketing was the same as sales (and I used to think sales was gross!) but I was surprised to learn that content marketing is about building relationships and teaching. Those are things I'm much more familiar with since I taught high school for three years before switching to freelancing as my main source of income. What I like about content marketing is that it focuses on helping the customer, not just trying to pull money out of their pocket.
When did you know it was the right time to leave your teaching job to pursue your freelancing career?
Well, I was pregnant so there was a definite end point to that stage of my life! I did not return to the classroom the year after my child was born. My husband was finishing his dissertation so we decided I would stay home that year. I laid the foundations for my freelancing business while I was at home, and then when we moved to Indiana and got settled in, I was able to pick up more clients and start bringing in a steady income.
That's awesome -- kudos to you for doing the new mom thing AND the new business thing ;) Any advice for moms starting a business?
It wasn't easy, that is for sure. Definitely find a supportive community of people who are also working on making their dreams a reality. I invested in business coaching with Adam Lehman of the Wonder Jam in January of 2017, and he helped me lay a really solid foundation for my business by clarifying my goals and establishing my process for working with clients. That gave me a lot of confidence that I badly needed.
That's awesome! (Here's a link to THE WONDER JAM, if you haven't heard of this incredible local business!) You help your clients find their "authentic voice" -- you're probably going to go into more detail during your talk, but could you describe briefly what that is?
As I have worked with other business owners, I've seen a lot of people trying to act and sound like something that's just not quite them. When I work with clients on their copywriting, blogs, or branding, I spend time getting to know their personalities and voices so I can express that in their copy and design.
What are some key traits you've noticed in successful, new small businesses? Or traits you believe are really important for a small business to have?
I'm going to quote one of my writer friends Chandi Gilbert here: "Passion and talent cannot do what practice can do. I think it's important to be willing to try and test things before they're 'perfect.' Taking smart risks but not unnecessary ones." Knowing your limits, and know ehn to push them. Holding firm to your values while keeping a light hand on everything else, at least at first. I wrote a blog post about how to be what I call, a fearless business owner: http://aminusmama.com/fearless-business/ Not someone who isn't afraid of anything, just someone who has a little less fear as they run their business. :)
Annnnnd I'm heading there now to read it ;)
Its a long one lol
I'm really looking forward to your talk, personally, as I'm also a small business owner! I'm digging this precursor to your talk :) When we were emailing about your talk, you sent over your description:
GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT MARKETING
Learn how to use content marketing to help your prospects know, like, and trust you before asking for the sale. The goal is for each participant to leave with 5 specific ideas for blog posts, e-mail marketing campaigns, or social media campaigns.
Anything else you might like for attendees to know to get ready for your talk?
Start thinking about the needs of your target market and your areas of expertise that help you meet those needs. Expressing how those align is fundamental to content marketing.
Well, I'm pumped. Any closing words of wisdom?
Learn about and be true to yourself: your personality, the way you work, your values, your needs and goals. I think a lot of business owners get distracted looking around to see what other photographers or web designers or florists or underwater basket weavers are doing. I know I did when I was doing photography. Focus (pun intended) on your strengths, get help for your weaknesses, and be proud of the work you do and, more importantly, how you do that work and who you are.
I feel like there should be stirring violin music playing right now but there's only the dishwasher.
Maybe I can arrange for that at the end of your talk...