This interview project has been so gratifying for me - and beneficial I hope to the ladies I have interviewed. I know everyone who has read what they have shared has surely learned something! The project is winding down. There are a few interviews to go. And then - I have to figure out what to do with this wealth of information. I have an idea - which I'll share with you when it's all over. Meanwhile, prepare to be impressed by my latest "guest". Meeting her is an example of the power of networking. It all came about because I know someone who knows someone who..... Meet marketing expert Susan Gunelius!
1. Susan, will you please tell us about yourself?
I am a marketing and branding expert having spent over a decade managing and executing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Currently, I run my own business as a freelance writer and copywriter, marketing and branding consulant, and professional blogger. I'm in the process of launching a new company to run my business through called KeySplash Creative, Inc. The website should be up and running soon at http://www.keysplashcreative.com/.
I am also a published author with two nonfiction books currently available and two more scheduled for publication in 2009 (Harry Potter: The Story of a Global Business Phenomenon, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, Google Blogger for Dummies, The Playboy Brand).
You can find me blogging about business, marketing, branding, blogging and more at these sites:
Brandcurve: http://www.brandcurve.com/ (all about branding for b5media)
Women On Business: http://www.womenonbusiness.com/ (my personal blog dedicated to helping women succeed in the business world)
About.com Guide to Web Logs: http://weblogs.about.com/ (all about blogging for About.com, a New York Times Company)
Everyday Marketing: http://bizsuccess.kudzu.com/?cat=35 (all about marketing for small businesses for Kudzu Small Business Success Center, a Cox Communications Company)
Corporate Eye: http://www.corporate-eye.com/ (I provide corporate branding articles)
PlayLibrary: http://www.playlibrary.com/ (all about children's toys, games, books and more for b5media)
The Disney Traveler: http://www.thedisneytraveler.com/ (all about Disney destinations around the world for b5media)
2. Tell us about your business.
Until recently, I've been operating as a freelancer through my website, www.SusanGunelius.com. Within the next month, I'll be launching the website for my new company, KeySplash Creative Inc. (http://www.keysplashcreative.com/), and my freelance business will become part of that company. KeySplash Creative is a full-service creative marketing solutions provider offering article writing, book writing, copywriting, and blogging services as well as marketing and branding consulting services.
3. Why did you start your own business?
I left the corporate world in 2004 when my triplets were born. At the time, it wasn't feasible to return to a 9-5 job. In late 2006, I had an idea to write a book about copywriting and began to research the book publishing process. Through that research, I learned that an important component to publishing a nonfiction book is to have a platform to help promote it. As a stay-at-home mother, I didn't have the ability to deliver speeches, attend events, and so on to build a platform. Instead, I had to find a way to build a platform from my home. I used the expertise I had developed during my corporate career to begin offering my services as a freelance writer and copywriter then found blogging as a way to quickly develop an online presence and publishing platform. I experimented with a variety of tools to broaden my online reach and eventually, found the right mix to not only sell my book proposals but also to have publishers find me to write additional books and to grow my freelance writing, copywriting and branding and marketing consultation business. As my freelance business grew, I decided to incoporate and start my own company to provide a consistent and professional brand image for my business, and thus, KeySplash Creative was born.
4. What do you like most and least about being your own boss?
I like being able to select the direction that I want my company to take, the type of business and clients I want to take on to grow the business, and the ability to operate my business with integrity. So often in the corporate world, I felt like I had to market products that I didn't believe in. My goal with KeySplash Creative is to offer professional and honest services and become a true partner in helping my clients achieve success through compelling copy, articles, books and useful marketing and branding consultation.
The worst part of being my own boss is being on the clock 24x7. There is never a time when I feel like I can shut the door to my office and call it a day.
5. What personality traits and skills are needed to run a business?
Patience and persistence. Success doesn't happen overnight and you can't rest when it comes to pursuing new opportunities to grow your business.
6. What has been the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?
Starting a business requires a huge time commitment. For me, that commitment has meant time away from my children. That's the hardest part for me.
7. Do you have any resources you have used to build your business that you would recommend?
I highly recommend my Everyday Marketing blog, http://bizsuccess.kudzu.com/?cat=35, for help with marketing ideas for small businesses. I also recommend VistaPrint for marketing materials and Wordpress for a small business website rather than traditional web design. Using Wordpress as a content management solution (CMS) is not only economical, but it also makes it incredibly easy to make changes to your website on the fly. The learning curve is minimal and the benefits are huge. I also recommend the forums at http://www.absolutewrite.com/ for writers and the forums at http://www.wahm.com/ to learn about working from home. Finally, I recommend my About.com site, http://weblogs.about.com/, to learn about blogging.
8. Do you have any tips to share on promoting your business?
I have so many suggestions to help business owners promote their companies and services. In fact, there are far too many to list here. Read my Everyday Marketing blog (http://bizsuccess.kudzu.com/?cat=35) for marketing tips, my About.com site (http://weblogs.about.com/) to learn how to use a blog as a promotional tool, and my branding blog (http://www.brandcurve.com/) to learn more about branding your business and products.
9. What other advice do you have for someone starting their own business?
Don't jump in without conducting research and understanding the market first. Create a plan then stick to it, but don't be afraid to experiment, take risks and adjust your plan accordingly along the way. Be patient and don't give up. Finally, start a blog and leverage the power of the social web to boost your business to the next level.
10. How can we contact you about your products and services?
Currently, my website is http://www.susangunelius.com/. There is a contact form on my site to get more information about my writing, blogging, or branding/marketing consulting services. My direct email address is contact[AT]susangunelius.com.
11. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Yes. I'd like to reach out to female bloggers who write blogs about business. Whether you're an entrepreneur or corporate executive, please consider visiting www.WomenOnBusiness.com and either join the conversation or submit your blog using the Contact form to the Businesswomen Bloggers Directory. Additionally, Women On Business is currently accepting guest posts from businesswomen bloggers who can provide useful content for other women to help them succeed in the business world. Use the Contact form to submit your guest post query or volunteer to become a Weekly Contributor. You can get the details on the Write for Us page.