Small Business Interview: Natalie Greagor, Strategist Cafe
Natalie Greagor founded Strategist Cafe, an online resource for creative entrepreneurs to grow their businesses via digital workbooks, guides, and e-courses. She calls herself an "infopreneur" (information + entrepreneur) and is passionate about helping creatives become stellar business owners, with a focus on passive income. Natalie provides information as well as one-on-one help for creative entrepreneurs, and has found success in the model she uses. She's here to tell us more about her business, what inspired her to start it, and her expert advice for business owners!
"Build tough skin and don’t give up too easily. There will be failures. Embrace them. Be patient with yourself and the process"
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what services / products do you offer?
My name is Natalie Greagor. I am the creator, designer, and writer for Strategist Café. I offer creative entrepreneurs digital workbooks, guides, and e-courses to help them get noticed and paid. All of my products focus on DIY brand design, content marketing, or passive income strategies. I also offer 90-minute single and monthly packaged Skype strategy sessions for business owners who need clarity and action plans.
Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
I wouldn’t say I choose my line of business. My line of business chose me. Several classmates, coworkers, and old clients (I used to be a hairstylist) would come to me for business advice because I ran my own hair business. I didn’t have the money to invest in other professional services so I taught myself a lot about business, branding, and marketing.
Do you have any special training?
I don’t have official training in my niche. I do have over 10 years of experience in the hair industry as well as a college education in forensic accounting (accounting + law).
What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishments as a business owner are impacting the lives of clients and students who invest in my online school or 1:1 services. I also impact those who engage with my free content on my blog and social media accounts.
How soon after you started did you start seeing profits? Or when do you project to begin earning a profit?
I saw a true profit about the third month in business outside of my expenses. My total monthly expenses were less than $45 when I started. All of my products were positioned to earn passive income. I also gain 2 clients within the third month of starting my business.
How did you decide how to price your services? How did you determine what your services were worth?
Products: I have different types of products; physical and digital. For my digital products, I decided to keep a practical pricing strategy for those who can’t afford my services or online courses. Those prices typically range from $13 - $47
For physical products: I considered the time it took me to design the products, plus all expenses. I also researched what others in my niche were selling at to make sure I wasn’t in over my head with my pricing. My prices are also practical here as all are under $30.
Services: I decided that I wanted to start prices at a level that would attract serious business owners. The price points I currently have weed out people who aren’t serious about their brand. I determined what my services are worth once I realized the type of clients I attracted (this could be an inquiry or past clients). I also considered the responses I've received after a Skype session and email recap. I’ve noticed that clients who pay a higher or premium price take tasks and projects more seriously than those who invest in lower priced products. I wanted a higher caliber of clients, so I positioned my price point to reflect these factors.
What mistake(s), if any, have you made with your business? What have some of your biggest challenges been? What did you learn from the experience and how did you bounce back?
My biggest mistake was waiting to show my face and avoiding physical presence with my audience. I’ve been camera shy for the first 3 quarters of my business. I saw a big shift in my business once I started live Periscopes, posting more pictures of myself and utilizing live snaps on Instagram and Snapchat. What did I learn from the experience? I’ve learned to show my face. I’ve learned to get in my audience’s face!
What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful business?
There are 5 important areas businesses should focus on for success:
- Research. So many people skip research. They waste time and money because of this. Often times, they have to start over.
- Scaling income. Business should know where the money will come. Marketing is only effective if there is a reason or goal in place. Having a plan in place to earn at different price points will help business owners earn more consistently. Earning more consistently allows the business to invest back into the business or save for slow peaks or seasons.
- Updated processes & systems. A business needs organization. It’s like oxygen. Lack of structure and organization can hurt any area of business whether it’s finances, marketing or the customer experience.
- Task distribution. A business owner that knows how to determine which projects to take on in-house or outsource is a business that is in the position for success. Many business owners must learn when to outsource weaknesses and use its strengths. The end goal is to have more time to focus on clients and building relationships to increase profit.
- Consistency. Many businesses fail because they are consistent in one or more areas. A business must be consistent on and offline, wherever their presence is.
Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
In addition to the tips above, here are 3 start-up tips:
- If you want to launch your business, do a thorough analysis of how you want others to view your brand. That’s your intended brand image; what you want others to see, think and feel about your brand. Make a plan to get your brand in the image you see for it.
- Show your authentic personality in your content. This will create a voice for your brand. It must be cohesive across the digital space (social media, blog, email marketing, etc.).
- Build tough skin and don’t give up too easily. There will be failures. Embrace them. Be patient with yourself and the process. Take the necessary steps to get things done right the first time. Feel sad or disappointed about failures, but don’t stay there. Keep going.
Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
Keep your expenses to a minimum. Don’t invest in everything you see online or others using. Do research to determine if any investments or expenses are adding to your bottom line. Also, record everything! Keep all receipts. If your transaction count is low, use a simple Excel spreadsheet to track your activity. If you have a larger transaction count, find automation tools such as xero.com, wave.com or Quickbooks to help you record your business transactions. Generate monthly reports from your payment systems to keep your finances on track for tax season. Lastly, dedicate a day at the end of the month or the beginning of each month to organize.
How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
I don’t balance. I’ve accepted that one will suffer while I am working on the other. I need to be fully present in both work and life to live happily. When I am with family, I am not working on my business. There are always things to be done but that’s not my focal point at the time. The same goes for business. When I dedicate time to my business, I make sure my family is straight then zone in. If I were to say I balance anything, that’d be my answer. Wherever I am or what I’m doing at the time is my balance.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself educating the world through online courses, workshops, and masterclasses. I see myself in the planning stages of building a physical modern styled coffee/business cafe for creative entrepreneurs. I will also travel the world with my family enjoying the perks of passive income.
Please share a fun fact about yourself!
Fun fact: I am a freelance bridal hairstylist in my city on the weekends most of the time. I style formal hair and makeup on-location for brides-to-be for engagement photoshoots, bridal showers, bridal photoshoots and on their wedding day.
Thanks Natalie for taking some time to tell us about your entrepreneurial journey!