Small business ownership is for the strong. Late nights, the pressure to deliver on every aspect of your business single-handedly and ongoing doubt from family and friends are routine practice for many entrepreneurs. Running your own business can be challenging and along the way there are moments where you think about giving up. Your friends and family may even start to doubt you, making you wonder if you made a mistake and should quit.
We spoke with three Phoenix-based small business owners to hear their stories of overcoming this doubt and getting on a path to small business success and happiness. They’ll also share how Keap’s software makes a daily difference in running their business.
Bobbi Jo Thuet gave up a successful career as a full-time massage therapist to start her own health and wellness consulting practice -- a move which was met by doubt from someone who was supposed to be her biggest supporter, her Mom.
“So, as soon as I dropped my massage license and stopped doing massage, my mom especially thought it was the worst decision I'd ever made in my life ... I was a little taken aback but I knew I was supposed to be doing what it is I'm doing, and so I kept doing it, and low and behold I started making more money,” she said. She translated her Mom’s doubt into a powerful motivator for her business success. Failure wasn’t an option because she was determined to prove her Mom wrong while living out her dreams.
Although Thuet was motivated by passion and satisfied with her income, she focused on making small improvements to better serve her clients. In doing this, Thuet realized she was disorganized and overwhelmed with managing all her client details. She was keeping notes in a notebook and searching her inbox to remember where she left off with past clients. It was taking a lot of time and costing her sleep - something that’s very important in her line of work. Once she was able to name the problem, she knew she needed a CRM that helped her organize and better serve her clients as well as automate aspects of her sales process (like scheduling appointments or following-up on client emails) that took a lot of time. For her, it was imperative that she could do all these things from her mobile device because wherever her work took her.
“Keap helps me -- not only keep organized but it keeps me going. It keeps me going when I feel like all the balls I have in the air are going to fall and there's no possible way I can catch them. I know that Keap, in a way, has my back. And that's stellar, and rare,” she said.
Tanya Merritt, who co-founded Junk-Rite, a junk-hauling and removal business, in September 2017, can relate to Thuet’s dilemma. Merritt wears many hats as a business owner, and although she’s a proven entrepreneur with a decade of self employment behind her, some doubted that she and her female business partner would make it in the junk removal business.
But what many thought would be a hindrance, turned out to be something they would leverage.
“We've actually had customers tell us that they have googled “women-owned business … And we've done really well with that in gathering a social following with other women entrepreneurs that are in the service business,” Merritt said.
Even though Merritt and her partner had shattered stereotypes, like many business owners, she was still struggling with time management and attending to tasks. She said there were many times she questioned whether she could keep pressing forward. She knew she needed to do some digging.
“Being able to find tools, software, programs, support that will help you automate things and be able to better attract new clients coming in, closing out clients, making sure everyone's happy with your service, and just the follow through of the business is very important,” she said.
Merritt uses Keap to automate her sales process making her more efficient and responsive to new leads and clients. In addition to using Keap to manage internal processes like sales processes, coordinating appointments and servicing existing clients, Junk-Rite uses it for customers to share comments about their service experience.
“I've noticed that since we've automated that, they've been able to just click a link and we get a lot more feedback ...” she said.
Automating her business through software like Keap allows Merrit the opportunity to effectively run her business.
“Without Keep, Junk-Rite would be a hot mess,” she said.
Bryce Henderson, a realtor with Four Peaks Brokerage shared some of the same issues Merritt and Thewitt experienced when starting his business. He called the transition from his salaried, nine-to-five job to small business owner “nerve wracking.” He gave up a steady paycheck, benefits and stability to follow his dream of being his own boss.
While he was drawn to the flexible schedule small business ownership provides, he found himself spending much of his time on the basic administrative tasks like follow-up with clients via emails or texts or scheduling multiple appointments for showing homes or final walk-throughs He realized he was missing out on winning new clients simply because he wasn’t getting back to them fast enough when they called
Keap’s software saved Henderson hours of time by automating scheduling and his process for responding to new leads so he never misses an opportunity for a potential new sale.
Henderson said that Keap allowed him to free up time from emails, calls and texts to focus on expanding his business in other ways. He says it also helped him with her personal time as well.
“One of my favorite things about Keep is giving myself and my family a little bit more time,” he said. “As a small business owner, I love the flexibility. So yes, there are a lot of long hours, long days, not your nine to five type of gig. But the flexibility of being able to spend time with my family, being there for school drop off, school pick up, and bedtime is huge for me. So that's what I love about it.”