From ZERO to Thousands—how I grew a small business on a limited budget
Starting a business isn’t easy. Nicole, a new entrepreneur, was about to launch her gardening business and needed a logo, brochures and business cards. Of course, there was a catch. “I don’t have much of a budget,” she said. Despite warning bells in my head, I said yes and we agreed on a small budget.
Patience & Prayer
She filled out my creative brief and I followed-up with some tough questions. Despite the shoestring budget and lack of market research, I was determined to write compelling content. Next, I whipped out my felt pens and designed a logo. I called a friend and negotiated a deal on printing. Working quickly and efficiently, I managed to create a great logo, brochure and business card in record time. Phew!
The files were ready to go to print, when Nicole… changed her mind. She didn’t like the istock photos she herself chose a few days earlier. “Can I pick something different?” Gulp. I wanted to throw up my hands, but I politely and calmly decided to forge ahead. We found some new photos and with a little tweaking, the files were finally ready to go to print. The project was complete
I didn’t hear from Nicole for a few months. I wondered if all my hard work had gone to waste. Was her business a success? Suddenly, I got this e-mail:
The last brochures you created for me worked out really well. Just so you know, for every 10 brochures delivered, I received 2 calls, and each call has resulted in business for me. One client that called me from a delivered brochure ended up spending about $8,000 in garden services. Is that not great ROI or what?
Anyway, I’d like to ask your help in creating a fall brochure for my business. Please let me know if you are available.
Nicole Bourquin, Girl in the Garden
The next time around, Nicole didn’t argue about my regular rates. She understood the value of my business and best of all, she trusted me. With a 20% response rate on the brochures, her gardening business had grown from zero to thousands in a few short months.
How Powerful Words Saved a Life!
I’m passionate about my community. One day, I decided to visit the local newspaper office. I introduced myself as a professional copywriter and explained my desire to write articles. The editor wasn’t in, but the publisher encouraged me to drop off my portfolio.
Excited, I immediately laser printed copies of previous articles I’d written and bought a fancy folder. Confident, I returned the next day to drop off my portfolio.
A couple weeks later, the editor called me in for an interview. The interview went very well and he hired me on the spot for some freelance work. I was thrilled.
The assignments poured in. From recipes and festivals to environmental topics and opinion pieces, the work was fun and challenging. However, I didn’t expect my articles to create big waves. After all, I wasn’t writing for the New York Times.
However, one article made a big impact. The assignment began with a simple phone interview. I called Ernest, a man who started a business to help seniors deal with day-to-day life. He explained the emotional challenges seniors deal with, as well as the physical ones. I worked hard to communicate Ernest’s message, passion and desire to help.
After the piece appeared in the newspaper, Ernest called me. “Thank you for writing the article!” he said. “Do you know what just happened?” I didn’t have a clue.
Ernest explained that a woman, on the verge of committing suicide, read the article and immediately called him. The words in the article comforted her. She connected to the article and repeated to him, “That’s exactly how I feel. That’s it!” After reading the article, she didn’t feel alone anymore.
With counseling experience, Ernest was able to keep her calm and go over to help. I couldn’t believe it! We’ve all heard about the power of words, but this really hit me. My words compelled her to call for help. Wow! I couldn’t ask for a more rewarding reaction. I will never underestimate the local paper or the power of words again.
How I Helped a Woman Fulfill her Dream!
My sister-in-law, Janice needed to raise $2,000 in order to participate in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer. Janice’s grandmother passed away of breast cancer and she wanted to walk in her memory. Every day, Janice worked hard training her body. She made pretty, pink bracelets to sell. Conscientious and motivated, Janice did everything she knew how to prepare for the important 60 kilometer walk.
She asked every person she knew, but still didn’t have enough money. “What am I going to do?” Janice wondered. With only a month left, she had to raise at least
Light Bulb Moment
There was no way I would stand by and let someone who’d worked this hard give up now. “We’ll do it!” I said. She looked at me with a hopeful and puzzled expression. I was determined to help. My idea? I wanted to put on an improv show. I called up my theatre friends that day.
Next, I called the local theatre and negotiated a special rate. Instead of $1000 for the theatre, I got it for $200. My friends and I started brainstorming fun ideas for the show. Fueled by energy and passion, we printed posters, rack cards and sent out press releases. The tickets started selling like crazy. Soon, we sold out!
The Breast Improv Show Ever!
The day of the show was exhilarating. Wearing bright pink shirts, legwarmers and sweat bands, we had the audience laughing and crying in their seats. At the end of the night, we raised over $1000 for Janice to add to her donation. It was more than enough! We didn’t just raise money that day. We raised awareness and spirits. Most importantly, I gave Janice the chance to walk for her grandmother. Now, that’s a meaningful memory.
To connect with me, please visit my Contact page. If you want to talk to me today, call me directly at 604-992-1937.