I Can't Not Do This: Naomi Dunford

May 13, 2008 by  

(Photo by Leefotos)

Real people. Real business. Real advice.

I love this interview series because I myself learn so much ! There are three major venue of learning, and we need to do all three:

  1. Learn from books and seminars – these professional teachers do have something valuable to offer.
  2. Learn from peers. If you want to have a small business that is tightly tied to who you are, other small business owners who have built such businesses may have valuable advice that the big office business consultants may not know or have forgotten.
  3. Learn from firsthand experiences. Apply what you learned from books, blogs, peers, to your real business, use all your wits to do even better, and learn from your failures and successes.

This interview series covers #2. I pick entrepreneurs who have built profitable businesses that resonate with who they are. If you are working for a corporate job, dreaming to have your own business, check them out. They are not that different from you – and they made it.

Today’s guest is Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz. IttyBiz is filled with practical and insightful marketing ideas that you don’t want to miss. I love how she describes complicated issues in her signature down-to-earth way.


1. Tell us a bit about your business and why you started it.

I’m a micro-business marketing coach. This means I play marketing and PR department for companies with fewer than five employees. In my business I wear two hats — I plan marketing campaigns for businesses
and blogs, and I do copywriting for people who know what they’re supposed to be doing but can’t sell their way out of a wet paper bag.

I started this business for two reasons. One, I can’t not do marketing and copy. It’s all I think about. It’s pathetic, really. Two, the service wasn’t being provided by anybody else. Most small business marketing firms charge at least a thousand bucks to start, and it takes a long time for a microbiz or a freelancer to recoup those costs. Iwanted to help the little guys who were being ignored by everyone else.

2. What were the three biggest challenges when you were starting off as a new entrepreneur?

One, growth came far, far faster than I was ready for. The small business books all tell you that 4 out of 5 businesses fail and to make contingency plans and blah blah blah. They don’t tell you that when you
succeed, it’ll probably happen overnight and you’ll drown. Plan for that.

Two, I didn’t have an office with a door and I couldn’t turn work off. I was working till three in the morning and then opening my laptop before I was even dressed again the next day. I didn’t separate and it caused

Three, I didn’t segment my day. When you work online, there are so many things to do. Network. Fix your site. Respond to comments. Market yourself. Write guest posts. It was really overwhelming.

3. And how did you work through these challenges?

I fixed the first problem by convincing my husband to quit school and work for me. He was unhappy and in the wrong program, so it was the right time for him. He’s taken over administration, which has freed me
up tremendously.

I fixed the second problem by getting an offsite office. I don’t go much, but when I really need to knuckle down, it helps a lot. We live in a two-bedroom apartment, so this might not be an issue for people with houses and basements and doors, but for us, the office was a necessity.

I’m still working on the third problem. It’s a work in progress. I’m trying to prechunk my day into little pieces, but it’s taking time.

4. What is the best part of being an entrepreneur for you?

The time freedom. I get to play with my kid. I get to watch The Price Is Right every morning. I can have sex with my husband in the middle of the day. I can take naps whenever I want them.

5. Any advice for people who dream to have their own business and yet find it hard to make the leap?

Make the leap before you’re totally ready. I read in a magazine once that you should never be 100% ready to have kids. If you think you’re 100% ready, you’re missing something. I think the same thing applies to business. If you wait until you’re 100% ready, you’ll be dead before you launch. Be 80% ready. Do the best you can and just go for it.

If you wait too long, you lose your fire. If you lose your fire, your business will suck. If your business sucks, you’ll have to go back to your boring corporate job and prove your old boss right. You don’t want that, do you? Jump and the net will appear.

My Takeaway
First, I must tell you: Naomi Dunford is a real sweetheart. I swear! She started her business to help small guys. When I contacted her for this interview, I wasn’t sure if a busy person like her would do this for my three-month-old blog, and she was so graceful in accepting it.

Her growth problem is interesting. I’ve heard bigger companies face this – like an unknown company hits the market with great new product, and can’t fill the orders in time, forcing them to expand with little plan, which can be disastrous — but didn’t really think of its possibility for mini businesses. Be prepared!

Want to be on this interview series? Know someone who has an interesting business that is so Him or Her? Please let me know^_^

Thanks to Jeff for including this post in his review, to Patrick for including in Carnival of Careers.

If you like this article, you might enjoy my eBook on spiritual entrepreneurship. Click here for free, immediate download

Do you find this blog inspiring?

Please check About page to learn more about this blog and the author, Akemi Gaines.


27 Responses to “I Can't Not Do This: Naomi Dunford”

  1. Do You Know What I Do? | Yes to Me on May 13th, 2008 6:57 am

    [...] I interviewed Naomi for my Interview With Successful Entrepreneurs series. Will post it soon, so stay tuned!  > It’s here. [...]

  2. Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom on May 13th, 2008 8:10 am

    Akemi – your blog is great. And I am forever grateful to you for pointing me to Naomi’s site in your last post. Very exciting to read through your interview with her today. Thank you for this!

    Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdoms last blog post..Are You A Bonsai Tree?

  3. akemi on May 13th, 2008 8:57 am

    Thank you. Naomi is great, isn’t she? Just don’t be scared with her way of talking. She has really great ideas about marketing!

  4. Wendi Kelly on May 13th, 2008 2:56 pm

    Hi I came to read because I am a huge Naomi fan. I read her site every day and think she is wonderful.
    I am glad I cam because I really enjoyed what I found here!

    I’ll be back!
    Nice to have seen what you do here!

    Wendi Kellys last blog post..Balancing Balloons

  5. Sandra on May 13th, 2008 3:50 pm

    I love your blog! I love reading about successful people. i think I spend more time reading about how to be successful than actually implementing strategies to help me become successful. That’s why I’m hiring Naomi-she’ll kick my behind into gear. I know it!

    You have a new fan.


  6. akemi on May 13th, 2008 3:59 pm

    Thank you for finding me! Comment like yours really light up my day.
    Haha. . . I will learn from Naomi how to kick ass so that my coaching clients can get into the gear!

  7. Laura on May 13th, 2008 4:28 pm

    Saved this quote:
    “If you wait too long, you lose your fire. If you lose your fire, your business will suck. If your business sucks, you’ll have to go back to your boring corporate job and prove your old boss right.”

    Love it!

  8. Anthony Lawrence on May 13th, 2008 4:36 pm

    I’m glad you interviewed Naomi. I came here because Naomi posted it on Twitter, and I’ve added you to my reader and look forward to future interviews (and will go back to read previous posts, of course)

    Anthony Lawrences last blog post..Sales Calls for Tech folk by Anthony Lawrence

  9. Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Map on May 13th, 2008 5:34 pm

    Hello Akemi, thanks for sharing this interview. I enjoy reading about other people’s successes too. Featuring entrepreneurs in a blog such as yours, is inspiring!

    Have an Awesome Week,

  10. Loraleigh Vance on May 13th, 2008 6:21 pm

    I too came here because I’m an avid follower of Naomi’s blog. Thanks for putting together such a great interview.
    I got to learn more about Naomi and what she does.
    I also got the invaluable advice of “leap before you look.” I like that one. Thanks!

    Loraleigh Vances last blog post..Feeding Frenzy

  11. akemi on May 13th, 2008 6:28 pm

    Yeah, that’s a good one, isn’t it! I think Naomi is a genius in making analogies. Businesses are really like babies for the entrepreneurs.
    Interesting blog you have. A bit too technical for myself, but I’m so sure lots of people find it useful.
    Thank you for your continued support!

  12. Chris Cade | Spiritual Stories & Parables on May 13th, 2008 7:46 pm

    I really enjoyed this post and it resonated with me deeply, since I am now making that transition from high paid corporate wage slave to internet spirituality entrepreneur.

    The part that resonated with me most was being 80% ready… not 100% ready. I know that day is coming, and I suspect it’ll be simultaneously a surprise and a complete non-surprise when it does.

  13. Selene M. Bowlby on May 14th, 2008 5:53 am

    Akemi, what a great interview with Naomi! VERY inspirational to say the least. I love Naomi – I’ve hired her twice already, LOL. She’s great at what she does, and I’m always inspired and motivated after talking to her. :)

    Selene M. Bowlbys last blog post..Case Study: The Kilpatrick Company

  14. akemi on May 14th, 2008 6:54 am

    Good for you. This blog is for people like you. Hang around, and let us know how you are doing.
    Thank you. I checked your blog and it’s beautiful. Talk to you later.

  15. Jennifer on May 14th, 2008 12:25 pm

    Akemi, I think it’s great that you show us how entrepreneurs make it through these interviews. Since my office is at home, I totally understand where Naomi is coming from with her second biggest challenge. It takes a lot of discipline when you have your own business like that. It can very easily run into all areas of your life and that is very detrimental to them all.

    I really like her advice of not being 100% ready to start a business or having kids. Overplanning has been a weakness of mine in the past and something I have worked to over come. Some planning is good, but if that is all you do then you will never “do” anything.

    Jennifers last blog post..Help!! I’m in Too Deep and I Need Out!

  16. Links for Super-Charged Living - May 17, 2008 | My Super-Charged Life on May 17th, 2008 4:05 am

    [...] Entrepreneurial Spirit    How to Make Money Without a Job and Why You ShouldInterview With Successful Entrepreneurs, Part 7 Naomi Dunford [...]

  17. akemi on May 17th, 2008 6:17 am

    Exactly! Over planning can be a way to excuse ourselves from taking action. It is not just others but ourselves who can manipulate our best intention. I’m glad you noticed that.

  18. speedy on May 21st, 2008 2:25 pm

    Naomi mentioned that some people have problems when the business grows too fast. What did Naomi do when this happened to her? And who does she recommend that her clients turn to if it should happen to them?

  19. akemi on May 21st, 2008 3:40 pm


    Well, I was talking with Naomi the other day, and here is what I think she would say to your questions — hope this helps and of course you can go to her blog and ask the same questions. . .

    I think she just took the challenge to herself. Maybe by cutting down her sleep time. It’s not a great way to manage it, so she had an advice for me for the same potential challenge — plan to grow step by step. If at all possible, don’t let the explosive growth happen. It may sound strange to intentionally go for slow growth rather than big rockstar growth, but I could tell she was talking from experience.

  20. The Best Birthday Present I Got For Myself | Yes to Me on May 22nd, 2008 12:55 pm

    [...] you need to learn more about the trade? There are three ways of learning. Which ones are you doing [...]

  21. Selene M. Bowlby | Web Designer + Front-End Web Developer » Blog Archive » Taking The Plunge… I Am FREE! on June 13th, 2008 12:01 pm

    [...] some more stuff in the works! Anyway, a few weeks ago, I read an amazing interview titled “I Can’t Not Do This” – All I could say is WOW! It’s like she was talking right to [...]

  22. Carnival of Careers #3 on June 16th, 2008 3:40 am

    [...] Gaines from Yes to Me presents Interview With Successful Entrepreneurs, Part 7 Naomi Dunford. Sometimes learning by example is the best way to [...]

  23. Successful Entrepreneurs on July 19th, 2008 9:03 am

    [...] I Can’t Not Do This: Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz [...]

  24. Yes to Me Month Three & Four Review | Yes to Me on August 26th, 2008 8:59 am

    [...] people really like this series. Special thanks to Kim & Jason, Susanna, Skip & Yasmine, Naomi, and Tony. I’ve created Hall of Fame page so that visitors can review the interviews [...]

  25. Anna Conlan ~ Healing and Insight on October 31st, 2008 12:09 pm

    Great interview! I really like what Naomi points out about being in control of your time – I still get a thrill out of being in control of what I do during my work-day, even if it’s just choosing to get up half an hour later or have lunch when I want!!

  26. 25 Things you Can learn from Naomi Dunford | Blogging Tips From Jade Craven on August 16th, 2009 11:57 pm

    [...] talked about this in an interview on Yes To Me. I read in a magazine once that you should never be 100% ready to have kids. If you think you’re [...]

  27. James and Harry - Interview With Successful Entrepreneurs Part 10 | Yes to Me on November 18th, 2009 5:44 pm

    [...] and Skip & Yasmine, who started off as a solo entrepreneur and college intern. Further, Monica, Naomi, and Laura each have their partners in business. Is two better than one to succeed as [...]