I Can't Not Do This: Naomi Dunford
May 13, 2008 by Akemi Gaines
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:
- Learn from books and seminars – these professional teachers do have something valuable to offer.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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^_^
If you like this article, you might enjoy my eBook on spiritual entrepreneurship. Click here for free, immediate download