The Exotic Entrepreneur’s 3-Step Guide to Growing Your Business Online

The Exotic Entrepreneur’s 3-Step Guide to Growing Your Business Online

Reader Comments (44)

  1. Awesome post Betsy! Three valuable lessons from unexpected sources. I love it when writers are able to connect marketing lessons to experiences like these.

    By the way, I think #3 (limit your expertise) is particularly important these days as so many more people are empowered to start their own businesses. I think that’s one of the biggest and most damaging misconceptions that the modern entrepreneur has of success. The one-stop shop is becoming less and less relevant.

    Thanks and I look forward to the next post!

  2. Hi, Rishi. Thanks for your feedback. These lessons are all around us, and looking to see what works in our daily lives can be a real eye-opener for our businesses. I agree that trying to be all things to all people is the death blow to an entrepreneur (and think this extends to a personal level, too). Stay tuned for part 2.

    • This is really a great post! One that had me thinking of the different places you were in.

      And Rishi is right. It’s great to find writers who can connect the dots so to speak. Thanks!

    • Anabelle, that’s an excellent idea. What kind of sites do you think would generate the most in beer sales? I need to start putting my marketing plan together…

  3. Many thanks, Betsy, for both the education and entertainment!

    I especially like your point about managing customers expectations. Like Amazon, Moo (custom business cards, etc.) does this well – even down to the bright sticker that says “yay!” on their delivered packages.

    When promoting online classes and networking for women in business, walking people through each step inspires trust from the get-go. That not only helps them have a fantastic experience , it reduces my own need to clarify, explain or answer questions. Win/win!

    • Lynn, I do love a site that tells me what to expect, especially for a class or service to be delivered later. It just makes me me comfortable about the purchase so I can get excited about what I’m getting instead of worried I won’t get it.

  4. I enjoyed how you used your travel experinces to illustrate your point. When I met John Nordstrom his message was treat people like they were in your front room of your house. Would’t you not at least ask can I help you. I also liked the idea of knowing your expertise.

  5. This is a great post for a Monday… I love to travel!

    “Do you have any great travel experiences that inform your business practices?” Yes, I do.

    When you travel to a foreign country, you need to remember you’re the foreigner. It won’t hurt you to attempt to speak the language. Most locals will appreciate that you actually tried to communicate with them in their native tongue. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and ask the locals for directions or where the best nightlife is. Get to know the locals — show an interest in them, their country and culture.

    Another tip is to remember it’s not just about you. When I stayed in a hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2007, there were two twenty-something Americans from L.A. in the same room as me who were extremely rude. My odds improved when they left the hostel to fly home to L.A. I’ll never forget when they left because a girl from England told the girl from Spain not to apologize for her broken English. Of course, the English girl looked directly at me when she spoke. Thanks to the rudeness of the guy and girl from L.A., I was lumped in with them. I quickly told Marisol, the girl from Spain, that her English was fine. Lucky for me, speaking up smoothed things over.

  6. Amandah, this is a great lesson for speaking your customer’s language, too. Don’t use industry-speak if your customers don’t understand it, and Never make them feel dumb or reaching out to you. It’s bad practice in travel, business, and life to treat people this way, and you deserve to get what you put out. So glad you were able to right the situation in Scotland (one of our favorite countries, by the way, and on the list for part 3 of this series).

  7. Excellent article Betsy, I really liked the way you described the experience at Chez Antoine, I felt like I was there and I have never been to Belgium.

  8. Hi Betsy,

    I look forward to reading part 3 of the series. Scotland is a great country. The Edinburgh International Fringe Festival is a brilliant festival. It’s a great experience in more ways than one.

  9. Love this post, Betsy! Aren’t you the adventurous one?! Mongolia and Antarctica, indeed.

    Using the the Mongolian ger example to illustrate #1 — make your customers feel welcome — is spot on. Until I read this post I had completely forgotten about a similar experience I had (*much* closer to home, mind you). When I lived in New Mexico, I visited the Santo Domingo pueblo on one of the feast days where outsiders were allowed in, and there were many older folks there who spoke entirely in an eastern dialect of the Keresan language. I was there with a friend who is Santo Domingo and much younger, so she helpfully translated some of what was being said. The highlight of the day was traveling around from home to home eating all the amazing food. And no matter how full you become by the time you’re at the last house, you don’t dare turn down anything offered, so as not to offend; instead you accept as graciously as you did at the first home. My friend made sure I knew this going in — “You’re going to be eating yourself silly, so wear loose-fitting pants, haha,” she told me.

    I’m reminded that welcoming folks graciously and showing them the way on a website works much the same way. At the pueblo I was an outsider, and if not for my Santo Domingo friend, I would’ve been lost and might’ve said or done something inappropriate without realizing it. So it was great to have an “insider guide.” I recently did some editing on my site to make it more welcoming/easier to navigate, but after reading this post I can think of some additional ways I might improve it to lead people to the most helpful place for them, without them feeling confused, unwelcome, or in any way like they’re in the wrong place!

    Thanks for a super interesting read!

    • Kimberly, I love your story (partly because I’m from New Mexico myself). Some of the best memories of our travels are when we are with local people who show us the way, point out the things we would have missed, and explain what the heck is going on. It takes the experience from interesting to amazing, just like your trip to the pueblo. And isn’t that how we want our customers to think about us? Thanks for sharing your story!

  10. You are very right about not trying to reach everyone. People who attempt to do that end up miserable with no sales. The best way to make an income and keep your sanity is to specialize according to the needs of your audience.

    • MaLinda, I think we’ve all made that mistake to some degree or another, anxious to get every possible customer we can without regard to fit or expertise. It does get better as your business grows, and I think most people eventually figure this out. But it is a hard lesson to learn at the beginning! (or was that just me?) Thanks for your feedback. 🙂

  11. Very interesting article, especially the “limit your expertise” which can be so hard to do. Some of us can be a “master of none”. I really got a lot from this and I am so glad I stumbled across it and will pass it on to others!

    • Hey, David. Like I said above to MaLinda, it is harder to hone in on an expertise at the beginning, but it does get easier over time. I’m glad you found the article helpful. 🙂

  12. Hi Betsy,
    Thank you for such a fantastic post. Your souvenirs are a helpful way to stay on track with my daily business activities. Thanks again!

  13. ‘It’s behind the big rock out back’ … love it!

    Great post Betsy, and I 100% agree with your closing statement – more and more these days, building a successful online business doesn’t need to depend upon any location – in fact it’s better if it doesn’t,

    take care & best wishes,

    • Hi, Sherrell. I love hearing the brainstorms from people who see something and attach meaning to it in a totally different way. It’s the only way a message comes alive for me sometimes, so I like to share it when it hits me, too. Thanks for reading!

  14. Customers need to be given the first priority, they are the main reason why we engage in business. They are our reliabilities and they do add fuel to our diminishing spirits.

    • Hi, Wiley. I differ a little bit with you on this. I think if we don’t make ourselves and our mission first, then the customers will never appreciate what we have to offer (and trying to be everything to everyone will DEFINITELY diminish your spirit). Sometimes it means turning some customers away to be true to your expertise and your mission (but the customers who are your exact target? – yes, they are priority!). Thanks for your feedback.

  15. This is amazing work Betsy! I really was encouraged here for both your inspiring experience and the awesome entertainment! Was actually pleased with your point of view about managing client’s potentials. Sounds so educative also in the part of approaching your customers in the field of business and I utterly would adore such an business atmosphere. Thanks a lot for such a nice share!

    • Hi, Rickie. Thanks for reading. We all have such different experiences to share, even though we’re all working in an online business. I love seeing how the different perspectives all merge into a similar goal. The world is huge, but it is also very, very small. 🙂

  16. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts Betsy. It’s all stuff that we kind of know, or at least should know, but sometimes we don’t use it or do anything with it.
    A lot of the time the warmth of the welcome is down to staff. Engender hospitality in your team and your customers will keep coming back. I think of the charming receptionist who greeted me at a Normandy chateau with a warm and open smile, and I know I’ll be returning. But one place I won’t be going back to is the German themed restaurant in Chernovitsi, in the Ukraine, where the manager merely glared at us when we had the audacity to ask to be served after an hour’s wait.

  17. Hi, Alan. Thanks for your examples. I think many online businesses don’t have staff, which is why making your website welcoming, informational, and easy to navigate is key. You certainly don’t want to make them wait for an hour! 🙂

  18. Great post and an interesting way to draw parrallells to customer experience. In reference to one of your earlier points about “who we are”, I’m always amazed when I open the “who we are” page to find another page of generic, third person sales copy.

    My instant reaction is usually “Ok, this is a one man band pretending to be a big business”. I want to do businesses with people, faces, teams or otherwise. If you’re a single consultant, be proud of that and don’t waste the opportunity to “Brand You”. If you’re a team, show that off. Get up photo’s, fun trivia etc.

    This also helps with expectation management – corporates wont expect SLA’s and 24/7 support from a consultant, and likewise they wont be surprised to find £750 day rates from agencies with a team of 20+

  19. One part really stood out… Where you mentioned building your website, that it need to be inviting and easy to find the information they are looking for. I can’t even count how many times I go to websites and get frustrated at not being able to find simple information.

  20. Every website owner should have “about us” page. It is where the visitors should start from in knowing all what the website is about and individuals/company behind it. Thanks for sharing this information, it is useful when it comes on how to handle/help visitors(clients).

  21. Letting others know who you are builds connection. The minimal thing to do is having an “about us” page. It applies to Facebook too. Some Facebook users use dog photo, cartoon characters to represent them. I usually won’t add them as friend, even if they add me unless I know the person.

  22. Awesome post – I love the combination of humour, fascinating experiences and hands-on tipps that can easily be applied. And its fun to read marketing tipps from a person like you – I can feel that you love what you do.
    Thanks and be well

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