Vanessa Cabrera was let go of her corporate job, only to find out she was pregnant with her first child and within the same week became a single parent – what a way to start your own business.
Her passion, hustle and good fortune of finding a great strategic partner gave her the base to rapidly grow.
In this podcast Vanessa shares rich insights into social media which every corporate escapee should pay attention to.
Announcer: Are you a corporate escapee and wasting valuable time attempting to figure challenges out on your own? Well, this podcast is for you. We bring you firsthand experiences of guests going through many of the struggles you face each and every day. We get real with no corporate BS, and now over to your host, Paul Higgins.
Paul: Hello and welcome to corporate escapees, the podcast that takes you behind the scene of people who are successfully running their own businesses, hearing their war stories and motivations for making the jump from a corporate gig. I’m your host, Paul Higgins, and our guest today is someone who after years of working in corporate, met the perfect storm when she first started her new business, she found out she was pregnant and also her partner left her within a week, leaving her as a single mom with a new business. She talks about how she hustled her way through this. It was really inspiring. Also, she gives some really rich insights into email marketing and also social media marketing. So what I’ll do now is hand you over to Vanessa Cabrera, welcome Vanessa Cabrera to the corporate escapees podcast. Brought to you by Build Live Give. So Vanessa, we’re going to get to know lots about you today, but why don’t we start with something your family and friends would know about you that we wouldn’t.
Vanessa: Oh my gosh. Okay. You hit me with a good one. All right. So let me see. I’ll give you the scoop. Something funny that my friends, my close friends and family know about me that maybe others don’t. Is that um, I’m. My last name is Cabrera. So I am Latina, but I oftentimes when I’m in a group of Latinos I oftentimes kind of like pretend not to understand Spanish, just to see if they’re talking smack about me. True Story. Yeah.
Paul: Very funny, very funny. And uh, have you ever had that situation where they were talking about you?
Vanessa: I have, I have busted some. Let’s just be real. Like girls can be catty. Okay. And women, we’re no different. So yes, I have busted some, some people have called them out, some people I didn’t. Um, but yeah, that’s just something like funny I do.
Paul: Yeah look I definitely, when we travel, especially at Italy, my wife’s family’s background is Italian, so she can’t really speak it, but she can certainly understand it. And one day we’ve heard very, very entertaining conversations, especially when it comes to the local prices versus tourist price. It’s like, hang on, I’ve just charged us three times the average.
Vanessa: Yes Exactly, exactly. So you know what I’m talking about. Exactly.
Paul: Brilliant. So what don’t you tell us a little bit about your corporate escapee story?
Vanessa: Yeah. Okay. So I, um, my background has been in marketing. I’ve been in marketing my whole career and as soon as I got out of college I was very blessed to be a marketing and communications manager for a trade association that represented the out of home entertainment industry. So think like Pacman, dartboards, jukeboxes, that kind of thing. Um, and so I loved it, loved every minute of it, and I’ll be honest with you and your audience, it was, I’m second generation to that industry. So my dad totally hooked me up with that job straight out of college. And when I say Pacman paid for my college, it’s true. My father’s owed Pacman for like 30 years, so I loved it, loved every minute of it. Um, I was there for 10 years and was responsible for all their marketing, their website, events. I launched their email marketing program, which is when I graduated from college social media wasn’t a part of what wasn’t even in existence and totally dating myself, but email was launching. So that’s where I really started was with email marketing. And from there I went to, um, after 10 years I loved it, but I needed something different. I needed a challenge and to be honest with you, Paul, I needed to make more money. So the gambling industry came into Chicago, which is where I’m from and let’s just say we call gambling like amusements rich cousin, let’s say slot machines are making much more money than Pacman is, right. So, so I got everything I wish for. I got a challenge. I got a ton more money and be careful what you wish for because I hated every minute of it. I went from loving my job to, you know, having the Sunday night blues to dreading Monday morning, and it was basically because it was a good old boys club. It was a very male-dominated industry. Right. And to be just honest with you, they just treated me not very well. They treated me like a secretary who, you know, a little girl that liked to play on Facebook, never really took me seriously, even though I was hired to be their marketing person, they treated me like a secretary. So I was like getting coffee and it just, there was other bad, bad stories that I won’t even get into, but you could just imagine, you know, in a very male-dominated industry like gambling, like where really all the deals go down. It’s not necessarily always in a boardroom. Right. So I was planning my escape and every night I would go home and I would work on my website and all that because I knew what I knew was valuable. I was, since the association days, people were always asking me, Vanessa, how are you doing this? How are you sending out these emails? How did you grow the Facebook page so quickly? You know, things like that. So I knew in the back of my mind that that’s what I knew was valuable and so I was planning my escape, but unfortunately or fortunately the slot machine that they have for the marketplace was not the right product and I knew that. So I lost my job and about a week later I found out that I was pregnant and about a week after that, I found out that I was going to be a single mom, so my world got turned upside down within three weeks time. And I was like, how did this happen to me? Right. I did everything right, right. I went to school, I studied hard. You know, I, I’m, I’m a good worker. I pay my taxes, like, you know, all this stuff that we’re supposed to do. And here I was, you know, jobless, pregnant and alone. So I don’t know what to tell you, Paul. I just knew in my gut literally and figuratively, that this was gonna work. And so I didn’t even touch my resume, I don’t know what came over me. I’m like, you know, what, if I don’t start my own business now, it’s never gonna happen. So I did. I just put one foot in front of the other and just really worked my ass off for nine months straight. Obviously, I can’t go out party. So I say I stayed home and continue to work on my website and you know, would speak in front of anybody who would listen. And it was just like really hustle and go time. So that’s how I escaped.
Paul: That’s an amazing, amazing story. And, and what was it harder or easier than you expected when you, when you did finally start your own business?
Vanessa: In the beginning, I think it was just, if it was somewhat easy just because I knew what I was doing when it came to marketing per se, right? Like you have to build an audience and you’d have to get your social media channels up and you know, all those things. So I think I was just in such a grind for nine months and I was like, okay, this is how I get clients. So, you know, when it’s fear-based or the fact where I cannot fail, it’s not just about me, it’s now about my son. Um, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be probably that first year. But to be honest with you, Paul, I was such in hustle mode because I couldn’t fail. Um, that it came relatively easy to me. But that was only year one. Okay. And entrepreneurship. And now I’m, I’m proud to say I’m now in year six. I’m coming in and my sixth year, um, and it’s, uh, you know, and I have a thriving consulting business. I have a waiting list of clients wanting to work with me. But if you would’ve told me this six years ago, I’ve been like, you’re crazy. So it was a little easier for that first year. But again, for me specifically it was just because I knew what I had to do and I just kept pushing and grinding. But it wasn’t always easy. Like, I had never worked this hard in my life. Now in your six, it’s really a grind now. I love it because I love what I do, so I’m extremely blessed, but it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work to, to sustain the business.
Paul: Yeah and with you know giving birth, etcetera. How did that transition occur? Did your clients stay with you or did that sort of interrupt the business?
Vanessa: So I was planning ahead. I knew I would take two months off. Um, and to be honest with your audience, your listeners, when I was let go, I was a little saver. So I did have money in the bank. I thought I was always a little saver. Um, so for those who are wanting to escape, this is one piece of advice I would say save every dime you possibly can because you’re going to need it because even though I saved, you know, that money goes quick. So I knew that I was going to take two months off after my son was born. Um, and like I said, I just kept grinding. I mean, there’s pictures of me where I’m like very pregnant and you know, doing a seminar about email marketing back in the day. So it was just about getting, you know, building that list and getting in front of as many people as I could before I became, you know, a mom.
Paul: Great. And what sort of help did you get along the way?
Vanessa: So, uh, my, my email service provider tool, the tool I use to send out my emails is constant contact and so I have been a constant contact customer since 2001. I’m totally dating myself. So I’ve been in email marketing a very long time. Um, and so there was always local seminars about email marketing and social media and I would always go to them on behalf of the association. WelI got very chummy with the speaker and he was the first person I turned to when I lost my job. I’m like, okay, this is what I’m planning to do. And he said, Hey, do you know that there’s a partners program that constant contact has? And I’m like, what? He’s like, you’d be perfect for it. So it just so happens, right, everything happens for a reason. Um, the week I found out I was going to be let go the, within two weeks there was the first constant contact partners conference that was gonna be held in Boston. So I booked my ticket. It was the first plane business plane ticket I ever bought with my own money since that. Before then it was always, you know, my, my company paid for it. So I was like, Whoa, that’s a big wake up call. I’m like, oh my gosh, I can’t expense this. Right. So I went there and I’d say that was a huge help because they then helped me get some speaking gigs. Um, obviously I was telling constant contact that would, that’s like the call to action at the end of the seminars. But to be honest with you, Paul, it’s happened so organically because I was doing that anyways. Like I said, back from the association days when I first got our first email campaign where no one saw that had seen something like that before, like our board of directors and our members called me and was like, what is this? So, so I was already doing that. There are like, what, what is this? Oh, it’s constant contact and I would just tell them what I was doing and how I did it. That’s pretty much the monster help and I really got that really helped me in the beginning with partnering. Yeah, partnering with constant contact.
Paul: Excellent. And we’ll move now into the build section. So when someone says to you today, Vanessa, what do you do? How do you answer that?
Vanessa: So, um, my go-to answer is I’m an online marketing consultant and I help small business owners, particularly women entrepreneurs. That kind of happened organically too, and it’s probably because of my story and the style that I teach, but I helped them put together an online marketing plan. I see so many small businesses, solopreneurs and things like that on social media, but they’re just posting, just to post. There’s no real strategy on how to use these tools that are literally at our fingertips on how to sell, basically sell their products, sell their services. So that’s, um, that’s what I do.
Paul: Great. And what do you know about coming up with social media plans that a few others don’t?
Vanessa: No, I think when I run into with all the clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with is that they, there’s, there’s so many options out there with social media that it gets overwhelming, right? It gets overwhelming for them and there’s no plan. So I just like to really simplify marketing because it can be so overly complicated and if you just pick one or two social media platforms to focus on and master those because one of the things I’ve seen is that everyone’s on every single social media platform on the planet, right? Like I have a strategy session with clients and I’m like, okay, tell me, you know where you live online. And so they’re like, okay. So we have a Facebook page, we have a Facebook group, we have a LinkedIn profile, we have a LinkedIn business page where on twitter we have a YouTube channel and we are now on Instagram. Okay. How many of those can you sufficiently run effectively and putting out killer content? You can’t. There’s no. Unless you have a team. And I’m talking about like you know, small business owners that they’re doing their own marketing. There’s just no way. Right? So my first advice would be just to focus on one or two social media platforms that A, your target market is hanging out and B, that you actually enjoy. I think that’s like a big myth that people think they have to be on twitter. Well if you hate twitter, right? And you know, then you have to be on there. Your audience is going to know they can smell the BS when someone doesn’t like what they’re doing. So I would say just to one or two social media channels, master those. And what I mean by master is that you actually bring in money with that you have a system that is actually bringing you clients and customers and then move onto another one.
Paul: Look it’s a great point. And I think, um, know let’s use me as an example. So, you know, corporate escapees just like you is my key target audience and know that they’re probably in all channels like you said, but um, if you were advising me which channels I should focus on, which, which are the key social media channels you would recommend?
Vanessa: So my first question would be would be, what is your target audience?
Paul: My target audience is probably slightly more male than female, but between 40 and 50 and you know, uh, either have left like you because of, you know, we’ll let go. Um, because of something though, there was maybe a redundancy involved or they’ve just had enough and they want to spend more time with their family. So similar to you spend more time with your family and really being in control. Uh, so that’s. Yeah. So they’ve all had a corporate background and now they’re effectively running their own business.
Vanessa: Yeah. So I would say just based off of that, that I, if I were you, I would stick to Linkedin, um, because when people are looking for an escape or looking for new jobs or things like that, they generally tend to go to LinkedIn if they’re corporate backgrounds. And I’ve met several people who have seen my story and connected with me on LinkedIn. So I would focus on LinkedIn. For you, Paul, and then as well as your podcast.
Paul: Great. Well, I’m glad you said that because I, uh, definitely because, you know, I had a facebook group, I had Instagram, I was the classic where I had everything. There’s so many people listening right now are probably thinking, Oh gee, I’m like that as well to spread too thin. And they doubled down on LinkedIn. And I think with LinkedIn where you can also retweet, I think, you know, you don’t have to that, that’s quite easy. So look, that’s great advice. And I really, you know, I know so many times in our community when people do double down, they get such a better improvement of being spread too thin. And, you know, other than being spread too thin, what are some of the other classic, um, mistakes that you see people make on social media?
Vanessa: Well, I’d say using social media, you know, again, just to keep it simple is that, you know, it’s phenomenal that we have all our social media channels. However, really what we want to use social media for is lead generating. That’s it when you, when it comes down to it. Okay. And so, um, when you’re first getting started or even if it’s your third or fourth year in business is my advice is that you have to have an audience to sell to, right? I mean, I know it sounds, but like people get so focused on, you know, the numbers and the followers and you know, all of that where there needs to be some sort of system in place where they’re continuing to grow their audience and their email list at the same time. So they actually have someone to sell stuff to you. I can’t tell you how many times I have these phenomenal entrepreneurs and you know, they get a little bit disappointed because, you know, they only had about 10 people registered for the Webinar or whatnot. And then I asked them, okay, how big is your email list? And they say maybe 40 or 50, and then I’m like, okay, well how are we generating more people into that list? And they’re like, well, I’m not. And so I’m like, okay, well let’s just do the math. Right. So I would say like just a commonality is to use social media as a way to generate leads and by leads I mean to grow your email list at the same time.
Paul: Yeah great. And we’ve got so many people and probably the people listening right now and say, look, you know, I’ve got really good connections based in LinkedIn, but I don’t particularly own that and I have, I haven’t converted that into my list. So what are some of the key tips you’ve got for getting people from LinkedIn into your list?
Vanessa: Yeah. So nowadays it’s all about content and providing real value to people to connect them with your expertise. Right? So you need to have some sort of opt-in, opt-in, Freebie or you know, a giveaway in exchange for their email address. Right. So you no longer can say join our newsletter, right? Just click here to join our newsletter. This is 2018. Okay. So you have to give them some sort of value in exchange for their email address. So that’s it. Like a guide or a video tutorial or you know, whatever the case may be that you’re an expert in. And then once you create that often right, that guide and set up your email automation, right, set up that welcome funnel. Then you’d have to put it out in the universe. Right. I’ve had so many clients where they have all this, but I’m like, well how many times do you post about it? And I’m like, oh well I posted about a couple months ago. Okay, well you’ve had new followers since then. So I’d say like post about your options and your freebies on a regular basis on LinkedIn, you know.
Paul: Yeah. And just on the opt-in, is there any particular format that’s working better on LinkedIn at the moment than others? Like, you know, is it video, is it a pdf, is for infographic? What’s, what are you sort of seeing trending in your clients?
Vanessa: Yeah. So the, I think the format, you know, you kind of have to test to know your audience on what format they like to get content from you, you know, different strokes for different folks. So, um, but one of the things that’s really easy to do and, and people love to get because it’s really quick like the opt-in to me should be in what I teach often actually do a whole webinar about this, but often she’d be like a snackable treat, right? That you’re helping them with one problem. Okay. One problem that you can help them with. So, um, so for example, I did a guide last year for Facebook lives and I did a checklist like what to do before, during and after your live streams to prepare them. So checklists really simple to do. They’re really easy to create and they’re snackable, meaning like your audience can literally, you know, just kind of review it. And it won’t take very long because our attention span is tiny, right? And move on. So I would say, I don’t know if there’s a particular format that does better than the other, just as long as you’re opt-in, your Freebie, your guide is banging. I mean like don’t have usher opt-in because I’ve had other clients that say, Oh yeah, I can just use a guide that I did last year or a couple of years ago. Your content is what’s going to separate you from everybody else. So my advice is that when you create an opt-in and say someone comes back and say, wow, Vanessa, I would’ve paid for that information. You got yourself killer opt-in. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a Webinar or a checklist or a guide. So long as that, that content is phenomenal and really helped them. That’s what’s gonna separate you.
Paul: And your ideal clients. Who Do you love working with?
Vanessa: Um, I mean, like I’ve, I worked with a lot of Solopreneurs. I work with a lot of women entrepreneurs, a lot of consultants, a lot of coaches. Um, I do have some male clients too. I don’t discriminate guys. It’s just, like I said, it just happened kind of organically as I, as I started to speak more and more, I’m in front of people. The women entrepreneur just naturally gravitated towards me. Maybe because I’m a single mom, maybe because you know, I had enough balls to jump and they’re just saying how I did it. I don’t, you know, I, I think that’s the connection, the human connection with other women entrepreneurs have to me that, you know, if I can do it, you know, having lost my job newly pregnant completely alone and I did it anyways, then anybody can do it.
Paul: And you know, you’ve had, like you said, an amazing journey over the six years. What is the future? You know, what’s, what’s your prediction for the next three years?
Vanessa: Oh Gosh, I’d be a rockstar. Right? And I can retire and in Bali I’ll come visit you in Australia. That’s so. No, so I’m, I’m a professional speaker. I’m proud to say now that I actually get paid to speak where back in the day I drove two hours to speak to like two people when I was about six months pregnant. So I did the grind, um, so I would like to do like just more speaking gigs, I’m land more national conferences because, you know, this is the virtual world and obviously you and I love it, right. Um, but you know, every once in a while I like to hang out with the three-dimensional people and that human interaction which will never be replaced. Um, so I say maybe from three years from now that you know, I land some bigger stages, maybe social media marketing world. I have my eye on that and I’m just travelling the world, you know, I’ll go to Australia, Paul.
Paul: We got great conferences here.
Vanessa: I’m sure.
Paul: I’m writing down a couple of names right now then will talk to them. Let’s get you down here.
Vanessa: Awesome. Love it.
Paul: And as far as you know, improving the profitability of your business, what are some key things you’ve done to improve the profitability over the six years?
Vanessa: Oh my gosh. Okay. So one of the things I learned early on was as an entrepreneur is that you have to have multiple streams of income coming in. I know that’s kind of seems like one on one, but this is the stuff you learned, right, and during your entrepreneurial journey. So I started off with email marketing because that’s what I knew best and then I started, you know, doing people’s email campaigns and becoming their email marketing manager for those who didn’t have the time to do it, but it was like a step above a virtual assistant. No offence, virtual assistants. I loved them. I would not be where I am without virtual assistants, but they have had an email, um, expert to their emails, but that wasn’t enough. So you have to have multiple streams of income. So, you know, I created different ways for people to work with me right now, you know, paid to be a speaker in paid for one on one clients where, you know, I have VIP sessions with individual clients one on one. I have a group consulting program for those who can’t afford, right. The one on one attention and I get it. I just launched an Instagram membership. It’s called the Instagram incubator. Um, so where all we do is talk strategies on how to work Instagram and like just Instagram one on one for businesses who have no clue how to use it and things like that. So that, where I’d say I’ve learned is just creating different ways on how to help different entrepreneurs and marketers, like different strokes for different folks and in ways that they can afford it.
Paul: And as far as you know, the key trends obviously I think there’s been a bit of a trend from Facebook to LinkedIn and certainly for B2B. Now seeing that the organic reach that you get on LinkedIn risks as Facebook is, is exceptional. But what are you seeing as some of the key trends in the social platforms you they stable at the moment or is you know, there’s about to be another major change?
Vanessa: Yeah, I think all eyes from just from my own experience as well is that, you know, I think we’ve all seen and felt that, you know, engagement is down when it comes to facebook business pages, right? I mean, this earlier this year, actually, January of this year, at the beginning, I can’t break 2018 is over, but in January remember Zuckerberg himself said, right, he dropped a bomb saying that they weren’t going to push out a lot of content from business pages and publishers because he was listening to his customers and his customers which is you and I saying we didn’t want to see ads. We didn’t want, you know, all the stuff in front of us. We go on Facebook to stalk our exes, we go on facebook to socialize, right? So I’ve definitely seen engagement down from my facebook business page and I think as we all know, Facebook has become a pay to play platform. So meaning you have to boost your own content, your own posts for your own followers to see it on your Facebook business page. So I think a lot of people, that’s why people are turning to Instagram because Instagram engagement is so much higher than Facebook right now. And I think all eyes are on Instagram stories. I mean, that feature is a tremendously powerful feature. Um, that businesses are really, really taking advantage of. So I would say for anyone who’s interested in Instagram to obviously get familiar with the basics, but um, I think my prediction for 2019 is that all eyes are going to be more on Instagram stories rather than just posting to Instagram.
Paul: Brilliant, And what’s the key that you get new clients?
Vanessa: Speaking. Yeah, I’d say the seminars I do and the webinars that I’ve been doing. So, you know, they’re both online and offline stages. Um, so that’s the key way I’ve been able to land clients is through my seminars that I do in person and also the webinars that I do online.
Paul: Great. And it seems like you did do the hard yards, so you said you started with audiences or two and they’ll probably one of them was your family members, right through to where you are now. Um, any, any tips based on your journey that you can give someone that’s just at the start of trying to get a speaking gig?
Vanessa: Yeah. So, um, take any gig that you can. Okay. This is where I started from, so we, I can only give advice based on where I started from. So, in the beginning, I took any gig that I could. Reach out to your nearest chambers, you know, find out where your target audience cares, but like, you know, reach. I reached out to chambers, I reached out to women organizations and I would say, hey, I would, I would speak for free. I have an hour seminar, you know, email marketing or I have an hour seminar on how to grow your list or something like that. So I would say buckle down and just hustle and speak for free and speak to as many people as you possibly can. And then my other advice on becoming a speaker is to be nice. Okay. And so this is something that I’m teaching my toddler, but it’s 100 percent true. You will not believe the amount of other speaking gigs I got just because I was nice. Meaning like I gave them my presentation way early. I promoted the hell out of their event. I, um, you know, then when I hit the stage as it was my child to go to work, so I presented the best way I could. Um, I stayed and answered questions. I stayed and helped event producer clean up, you know, so she was all by herself. It was 8:00 at night. Everyone had gone and then she was alone cleaning up her event and I stayed and helped her and she was amazed while she had another event the following year we’ll guess who she called, you know what I’m saying? So there’s just so many speakers out there in my opinion, Paul, and I’m just going to be honest that like their ego is insane. They just go speak, don’t answer any questions and leave. And that to me is just an ass move. So I would just say to really stand out is to just help the event producer as much as you possibly can because it’s a really big job that they, it is a, it’s a lot of work to put an event together and they’re doing it and they’re literally giving you a stage for you to speak on. The very least that you can do is just help them in any way possible that you can. And I guarantee you, if you do that, word of mouth will spread.
Paul: And you mentioned before, about Virtual Assistants. Just tell me a little bit about your team. Who helps and supports you?
Vanessa: Oh my gosh. Okay. So I have to give a shout out to Jessica. Jessica. I have four different VAs. They’re not full time too, so I don’t think I’m fancy because I have four. I use them for different times for different things. Um, but right now Jessica is my VA and she is my right-hand woman in my Instagram membership. So you know, anyone that has a question and it’s like a techie question. She goes in and answers it right away because she knows instagram, like the back of her hand and she posts all of my Instagram posts for me and things like that. That’s one VA use. I’ll use another VA here locally. Um, because sometimes when I do these speaking events and I don’t have the attendees, right, you need the attendee list to grow your emails to grow your email lists. Sometimes they like give me a stack of business cards. Well, I have another, a VA that, you know, I give her the stack of business cards. She got enters them into my list, sends out, you know, all my followup emails, books, all my strategy sessions with them. She calls them on the phone and says, Hey, what did you think about Vanessa’s seminar? You know, did you want to book a strategy session with her? And things like that. So, um, I also have a phenomenal bookkeeper. She’s not a VA, but you know, she does my books. And so yeah, you need help. As you get bigger, you get, you’re definitely going to need help to free up time for you to just focus on your content and selling.
Paul: Great. And you know, as I said. What are some of the biggest challenges you face today for your business?
Vanessa: The biggest challenges I face today. Um, I mean it’s always, you know, a financial goals. I always have financial goals and reaching them. I would say that’s a challenge, but, you know, sometimes you just don’t always reach those. And let’s see, financial challenges. I’m not quite sure. I’m like, I’m pretty good where I’m at. I’ll be honest with you. It’s been a good year, you know, I mean like besides like maybe not getting, um, you know, the 10k stages that I want because I’ve submitted myself and they said no, not this year, maybe next year. So stuff like that, that’s, that’s a challenge. Um, I guess maybe just like in general, and I think everybody can kind of attest to this, is just to stand out from all the noise that’s out there. You know, that gets into my head too, but I, I, as I tell a lot of my clients where they’re like, well, you know, I did a whole facebook live about this in my group and I, it was called Facebook envy, right? Where you look at somebody else and they’re like, well how did she grow her group? So asked her how did she land that speaking Gig or why didn’t you know all that and I call it facebook envy and I struggled with that too. So, um, but you just have to like put your, you know, your blinders on and just focus on your work and don’t worry about what other people are doing.
Paul: Excellent. Well look, before we go onto the next section, I’d like to mention our YouTube channel called Build Live Give. You get tips to help corporate escapees just like Vanessa to rapidly grow your business. So if you would like to subscribe, just go to build, live, give and please, if you love the content and you get value, share it with other corporate escapees as well. So we can all have a great lifestyle and also financial freedom. So the next section is the live section. So tell us about a couple of daily habits that help you be successful. Vanessa.
Vanessa: Okay. Um, one of the things I start my day as because I used to like just rush and hurry and start my day and you know, I have to drop off my son and you know, I have a consult and all that. Now I’ve learned to breathe as soon as I get up and like just lay with my son where we just cuddle in like we talked. That’s a big, big start to my day. Um, and that’s a regular that I’ve been doing for the past four months and it’s helped me tremendously because I’m like, why the hell am I busting my ass so much if I’m just rushing through these little moments? So that’s why I love to kickbox I’m an avid kickboxer so I’m actually working out is super important to me. It’s just a way to like, you know, get rid of the beer, I’m a beer chick, work off the beer, work off the stress and like the clutter. Um, so that’s definitely important in my life. If it’s not on my calendar, Paul, it’s not gonna happen, so it’s just always on there, you know, Tuesday night kickbox class. Um, so that’s a regular. Um, I do. And then one thing that really works for me is just really managing my time. Well, it took a while for me to, to figure that out, but there’s so many people say, Vanessa, how are you able to put out so much content or you know, you’re everywhere. Well, it’s just because I’ve learned to manage my time, so my calendar I live and die by. If it’s not on my calendar, it’s not gonna happen. So I’d say those, those three things are really funny.
Paul: Great. And do you use the scheduling tool for your calendar?
Vanessa: Yes. You talked about on Linkedin, of course. Yeah, I use acuity.
Paul: Yeah. Great!
Vanessa: Love it!
Paul: Brilliant. And the next section is the give section. So what’s a cause or a charity that you’re passionate about? Why?
Vanessa: Yeah. So, um, I had been giving, um, I’ve always donated to St. Jude for many. Oh my God, for many, many years now. Um, and it’d be honest, it’s just because my mother has, she supported it for so long and you know, it’s completely devastating when you talk about, you know, kids who have cancer, um, and so it’s just very near and dear. And so the fact that St Jude is an incredible organization that takes care of families and more importantly takes care of these kids who beyond me, medical attention beyond the love and support in the family, don’t have to worry about this financially. All they have to do is love and support their children and help them get through these unimaginable treatments. I can’t even imagine my son going through something like this. Um, so, uh, so yeah, so my mom has always been to St. Jude and she’s all in love with the charity, so I have to.
Paul: Well, look, the last section is the action section and I’ll just ask you some questions and get some rapid-fire responses. So the first one is, what are your top three productivity tips?
Vanessa: Top three productivity tips. Okay. Um, I would day block. Okay. So, uh, that’s how I get so much done is that instead of like time blocking, where from like nine to 11, I’m going to work on this and the 11 to 12, I actually day block. So like say on Mondays I scheduled no consults. It’s specifically just my creative days. Okay. So that’s one way I am able to be so creative and so productive is through day blocking. Um, the other thing is scheduling tools like we talked about on your LinkedIn post that has saved me a monster time. You know, you no longer have to email someone and say, when are you available? Right. I can meet Monday and then that is gone, right. Um, and then the third, uh, productivity is to outsource. Oh yeah. Outsource anything that you don’t want to do, you don’t want me doing your books. So that was the first thing. Okay. I am not whatever they want. I’m not right brain. I’m left brain, I’m more creative and you don’t want me to do numbers. And so that was the first thing I did was hire a bookkeeper and a tax guy because yeah, no, that is not my forte. So outsource.
Paul: Great. And what are some favorite apps or software that you use to run your business?
Vanessa: Um, obviously constant contact for my emails and my autoresponders. I love lead pages. I’ve been using lead pages forever. Um, so I don’t have to be, you know, a web designer. They, the templates they have making it look very, very professional. So I love lead pages. And then what’s an Oh um, my webinar tool for sure. Um, Webinarninja. Have used for webinars this year, which is actually probably the number one way I grew my email list this year. So webinar tool.
Paul: Brilliant. Then what, what are some podcasts or books that you love and why?
Vanessa: Well, one of my favorite podcasts is Amy Porterfield, so I’ve been listening to her since day one. She actually is the one that pushed me, to be honest with you, to start my own business when I was planning my escape at the end of my nine to five Gig, I would, um, I, I think she’s was, hers was the first Webinar I actually took and was like, I could do this. I could teach this. I think so, yeah. So I’m, I’m a big fan of, but Amy Porterfield’s podcast.
Paul: Brilliant. So what’s some parting advice you’d love to leave people listening now?
Vanessa: You know, I would just say, you know, if you’re planning on escaping again, save every dime that you can for sure now. And I mean like, you know, live like you would live like a broke entrepreneur. Okay. Like it’s worth it. So I would say save every dime that you can. And I know it’s scary. The Lord knows, I know it’s scary. Um, but life is just too damn short not to love what you do and you know, regret is going to be a son of a b****. Just, you know, picture yourself at like 80 or 90 where, you know, it’s kind of just too late to think about starting that Gig or I wish I would have quit my job back then because I was just so miserable. And if and when you are miserable in your life, I think about it. We spend the majority of our life at our job doing, you know, are working and so to be in a miserable job that has got to affect your health, that has got to affect your family and I just, and I know it’s, you know, maybe it’s the pay or the insurance, you know, that you need or things like that. But I really believe that we all have something very, very unique to offer every single person and you just don’t know where it’ll take you after you jump. So like I said, if I can certainly do it, uh, I think anybody can do.
Paul: Oh, that’s great advice. And it was such a lovely interview, Vanessa, like you’ve given so much value. I’ve once again, filled my page of notes. So we’ll have all the comments, all the links, etcetera in the show notes, and also Vanessa has been very kind to give us a brilliant gift as well. So if you go to Vanessa-Cabrera and I’ll put that in the show notes, dot com forward slash top 10 ways. There’s a brilliant, um, gift that Vanessa’s given on why is it you can grow your audience and you know, what I love about you, Vanessa, is that you’ve got lots of practical experience and obviously started in email marketing, then you’ve made the shift into social. But I also love what was on your website where you’ve got, you know, um, first you help people understand it. Second, you help people make it easy to implement. The third thing is you get results and I just liked the fact that you are making it simple in a world where social media can be so complex, but brilliant having you on the show today and thanks for coming.
Vanessa: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, Paul. This is awesome.
Paul: All right, brilliant. Thanks, Vanessa. Bye.
Paul: That was a really wonderful interview with Vanessa. My top three take outs are, first one is the power of Instagram stories, so in 2019, it’s where it’s at and what I love that she said off camera that you can actually do both personal and business with Instagram stories. The second is to always be nice and professional, which helps you get additional gigs, so if you’re a speaker or that for anything for that matter, people will always bring back the people that are professional and nice. Leave your ego at the door and the last one is around checklists to get people from your LinkedIn connections onto your email list. So they’re my top three takeouts. I’d love to hear yours. So why don’t you email me at Paul@buildlivegive.com where I’d love to get your insights from this podcast. Also, if you love this podcast and you know other corporate escapees, please share it with them. Thank you.
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