Back in the 90’s, Lynn Terry quit her job to start her first business at the ripe old age of 23.
Her husband was out of work and they had four children between them with only her paycheck for survival. According to Lynn, “We had no savings, no credit, nothing. It was a huge risk, yes — but the business did six figures in the first full year and we had a whole new lifestyle!”
For many business owners, this is the first recession you’ve ever endured so it’s hard to believe there were other times when people struggled this hard to find jobs and start businesses. But Lynn is proof that if you set goals, have loads of passion and determination, and take action, you can be successful.
Lynn hasn’t rested on her laurels. Once she achieved success, she was “on a mission” to help every other family and parent she possibly could. The internet was just gaining popularity at that time which opened up the perfect opportunity for her to easily help other people set up a business and create their own work-at-home lifestyle.
She started by offering computer training and teaching people how to use computers and the Internet; then she created a Web development company, creating Web sites and marketing plans. And as the market got more savvy, she started publishing do-it-yourself tips.
That publication — Self-Starters Weekly Tips — has been around since 2000. She ultimately closed her Web development business so she could devote her time to helping other “self-starters” start and grow their own online business. Plus Lynn has her own set of Web sites and various online businesses that are very profitable, which is where she earns her income and how she stays on top of the changing industry.
So how does she market an “internet only” business and achieve such success? Lynn says, “I market my business through SEO, or search engine optimization — meaning my web pages rank well in the major search engines for specific search phrases. That way people can easily find me, or find my information, at the exact time they are interested in a topic and searching for it.”
According to Lynn there’s a lot of misinformation out there about SEO and about how to get your Web pages to rank well in Google. She uses the model outlined in the free SEO Fast Start guide by Dan Thies, plus social media sites like Facebook and Twitter (follow @lynnterry) to meet new people and share industry news and business tips.
Even with the recession, Lynn continues to see increased sales. Since her first year in business, her income has consistently increased. She says, “This year has seen a more dramatic increase as I published additional free information with even more exposure in the major search engines. The more information I publish, and the more in tune I am with the industry changes and with my market, the more visitors I attract. Social media has allowed me to ‘listen’ and hear the issues, get a feel for what they really want, and has put me in a position to deliver exactly that.”
So what does Lynn suggest you do to help your business through the recession?
- Be online. Don’t just have a website, but BE online. Be available, be the go-to person in your niche, publish the exact information your target market is searching for on the internet. If you think you already have that covered – take it 10 steps further.
- Change with your customers.The internet has changed business, and specifically what our customers expect. They want you to meet them on their terms. And if you don’t – they’ll go to someone who will.
- Listen. Offer your target market exactly what they are searching for, and have an open line of communication. People are no longer loyal to brands, they are loyal to people and experiences.
I’ll add to that: Join a masterminds group. It is priceless to have colleagues you trust to bounce your ideas off of. You can find out about Lynn’s masterminds group here.
The Small Business Success Series is focused on small businesses who are winning the war against the recession. Submit your own success story. Details here.