Hudson Valley Magazine Speaks with Katie Hellmuth Martin, Co-founder Tin Shingle
Days after attending the 3rd Annual Women in Business lunch hosted by Westchester's business magazine, 914Inc., I picked up a copy of the Hudson Valley Magazine from my local drugstore here in Beacon, NY (yes, we still have a local drugstore that isn't Rite Aid!), to read the December issue of our regional magazine. This month covers how female entrepreneurs, CEOs and small business owners are taking care of business. I was honored to be included in the editor's letter that kicked off the issue.
Olivia Abel, editor in chief, interviewed me for my take on what special challenges women entrepreneurs face these days. The challenges that women entrepreneurs face are quite different for each circumstance and usually relate heavily to family and time. She included a few of my thoughts in her editor's note, which I'll share here with you as well:
Perfection. Women are natural organizers and can multi-task very well. These are ingredients to a recipe for success. However, women who can quickly foresee the success of a business venture can be easily let down or disappointed in themselves if things aren't going exactly as planned. It's important for women to forgive themselves when they are working their hardest and sacrificing personal time for the pursuit of their business. (Alli Webb, founder of Drybar, also feels this way, as we learned in our business success secrets interview with her.)
Guilt. Women are consumed by guilt, and it's a really hard habit to break. There is no room for guilt in business relationships. Guilt about having a negative conversation with someone when a situation needs improvement can often lead to no conversation at all, and thus no improvement in a situation.
Family. Women are nurturers, and in business this can work very well as they listen to the needs of their businesses and shift accordingly. But the pull of family responsibilities is strong, and women often are taking care of household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and directly caring for the children. This is quite time consuming, thus leading to time away from growing their business. On the upside, however, unplugging in this digital day in age has become increasingly difficult, so a forced unplugging when spending time on family or household can lead to a recharged brain and fresh ideas.
Networking. It can be difficult to find a networking group that gets to the core of your business needs. But once you fine one, you'll realize that women are great at sharing and like to help each other.
Being "Worth It". Entrepreneurial women have created something from scratch. There is no boss telling them to stay after 5pm, or working on a family vacation. Entrepreneurs decide to work these extra hours, not take personal calls during the day, and sometimes say no to personal invitations when really, she needs to be working on her business. Women sacrifice for others, but rarely for themselves. And as a business owner, a woman must think that she and her business are "worth it" in order to do what needs to be done.
Tin Shingle's Katie Hellmuth Martin Featured in The MomShift for Maternity Leave
Just like our Tin Shingle members, I peruse the PR Leads that come in daily to Tin Shingle, looking for media opportunities that might be a fit for our business. When I saw a lead from Reva Seth, looking for working mothers who felt that their children actually helped their careers, I was hooked. Usually the media feature stories on the opposite, so I was eager to contribute to this theme. The book is called The MomShift and it was published this year and has a companion website following more career success stories of women.
My children have helped my career, in that they have forced me to make career decisions I was putting off or avoiding. This included forcing me to let someone else do something that I am quite capable of doing (ie delegating and not drowning in my todo list), being more selective with clients and thus happier, closing a door of my business that was bringing me more stress than joy, only to open a door to another area of my business I'd had on the shelf for years.
However, running a business with children is not easy. One has less time that one's competitors, and traditional things like maternity leave will be different for an entrepreneur than for a mom with a 9-5 job who may have an official maternity leave policy written into her employment contract. During my interview with Reva, we discussed maternity leave, as it was something I was going through at the time when I was pregnant with my son, who is now 2 years old. I'd written an article about it for Tin Shingle, and Reva ended up publishing my thoughts from that article in her book.
It's quite an honor to be included with so many other important and eye opening stories of how women have found career success after having children, and how they approach it differently and in ways that work for their families. Reva guides the reader through the stories with gentle yet spot-on insight from her own observations and experiences. This book is my new best mom-friend. It is a comfort to read, and I don't want to reach the last page! Always a sign that I have a good book in my hands. :)
Tin Shingle In USA Today - Talking Social Media & Small Business
Extra, Extra! Read All About It! Tin Shingle's Co-founder, Sabina Hitchen, had the pleasure of sharing some Tin Shingle-approved tips with USA Today regarding small business owners, and how (and why, really) they should make time for social media in their own businesses.
Over here we are big believers that the "big three" most businesses need include Facebook (a business page), Twitter (for your business) and LinkedIn (often a personal LinkedIn is a fine way to get started). Sure there are others you may already be using or considering using like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and more, and by all means if they're a great fit for your business you go and use those, but we really believe the three mentioned above are non-negotiables!
Read the USA Today piece for our advice, and see below for more of our recommendations! And while you're reading USA Today, notice their USA Today Small Business series in general as a go-to resource for you. Scroll down below to get a few more or our "truths" and tips regarding your business and social media, and to get your hands on a few podcasts that will help you as well!
Social Media & Small Business Truths:
1. Yes, you must have a Facebook page that is for business and not use your personal page for this (besides, do you really want business colleagues having access to all your and your family/friend's photos?).
2. Yes you should invest in Twitter, and you should post/reply/check it a couple of times a day. Not investing time into getting to know Twitter means you won't be learning about how to reach out to press, cultivate powerful media relationships, connect with customers and more - all of which you can do on this free platform! I promise you, it may feel like a strobe light now or a monster that needs feeding way too much, but it WILL get better and when you understand how to unleash it's power you'll thank me ; )
3. Yes you should have a personal LinkedIn page that highlights your business skills. This is not a place to talk about your family and your favorite foods. This can be a powerful space to connect with potential partners, investors, cross-promotion partners, colleagues in your field and more! Be sure yours is always up-to-date (I check weekly!), linked to any blog or Twitter feed you want to share, has your contacts readily available and even houses a professional photo of you!
4. No, you should not leave your social media posting to an intern/assistant/son or daughter/etc. until you really understand it yourself! This is your company's VOICE online, it is a representation of your brand and business. Not only do you have to craft it and decide on a strategy and flow that works for you, you have to be sure that people are connecting with your brand and business ethos and spirit! Until you decide what that is, how can you teach it to anyone else? Start out doing it on your own, create a "handbook" as to how your posting schedule and strategy should look and then perhaps we can talk about you passing the job along to someone else!
5. Yes, you do need to check into your feeds regularly. And post regularly! Social media is a constantly flowing river and if you only post once a day or once a week your posts will be missed by most. Also, when people get to your page if they don't see it actively connecting with people they'll be less likely to invest their time into attention into it.
6. Yes you need to stop being a wallflower while making sure you don't become a much-too-chatty-Kathy! You need to be a person at the social media party that people want to speak to! That means you should:
- ask questions
- curate information that people who are into your business would be into (not just information about you!)
- share images
- share quotes or other inspiring bits and pieces and...
- really have conversations with your followers! That way, when you want to share a promotion or sale, or ask them to do something, you're sure to be speaking to an engaged bunch of listeners!
7. YES we have podcasts you can download that can help you! Here is one you can access right now!
- WEBINAR: #SocialTuneUp: Straight Talk About Facebook Ads With From a Social Media Marketing Pro, Nathan Kirk
- PODCAST: Using Twitter and Other Social Media to Boost Your PR Success
- WEBINAR: #SocialTuneUp: Pinterest Best Practices to Get Pinned and Re-Pinned and Followed