We interviewed Susan Bradley, of The Social Sales Girls, about her new project, as she attempts to take a new business from $0 to $50k. Best of all, she’s sharing the whole process!
What’s your name, your background and what business do you run?
My name is Susan Bradley. I’m an accidental Entrepreneur.
I started my first company after losing my job unexpectedly. I decided that I would take control of my career, and bet on myself rather than looking for another job.
My first company was a manufacturing and sales business that was an instant hit and reached $1m in sales by year 2. The business changed over the years, and I sold it in 2010.
After I sold my first company, I became involved with Wee Squeak (a fun shoe brand for kids), and actually purchased the company in 2014.
I didn’t come up with the idea, I’m a marketer and strategist at heart, and so buying the business met my needs.
Is there anything in your past that led to opening the business?
I knew what was possible based on my first experience as a business owner. I also saw an opportunity to create a new kind of business, where I could work from anywhere, and still have a great income.
When I sold Wee Squeak, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to show people first hand, how to build from the ground up. My new project, where I’ll be documenting the path to generating $50k in revenue from nothing will be shared at thesocialsalesgirls.com
It will be raw and real, but I think it will be inspiring too.
I expect I’ll have some uphill battles, a few disasters, and maybe even feel like giving up. But, I want people to know that it’s all normal, and that if you’re consistent and focused on making progress, even in baby steps, the outcome is worth the effort.
“if you’re consistent and focused on making progress, even in baby steps, the outcome is worth the effort”
What was the process of designing, manufacturing and bringing your first product or service to market?
I inherited a couple of suppliers from the previous owner, so I was able to build a good relationship with one. We did have a few hiccups, but as a whole, the process was smooth.
This time I’m building from the ground up. Even though I’ve ordered many times from China, this is a brand new product. I’ve decided to bring in the Experts. We’re working with Nathan Resnik at Sourcify, so that we don’t waste time sorting through Alibaba.
Describe the process of launching the business and any issues you had at the beginning
We haven’t launched the new project yet! Before we do much, we are setting up a test to prove the concept. Before I get heavily invested, I want to know that we have a viable product.
Once we prove the concept, we’ll go full tilt on building a big, engaged audience. I’ll be sharing the process. We won’t launch without an audience, but when we have one, I’ll create our launch plan.
At the moment, I’m focused on lead generation and email marketing. This time, we’ll add in some influencers, and something fun and new – an app that I’ve recently discovered and love because it will let us really engage with our customers.
What strategies or marketing channels do you most rely on?
At Wee Squeak we used Facebook and Instagram heavily.
We used events to get our audience engaged, and built a big email list. Our events and mini email campaigns brought us predictable sales whenever we launched them.
We also had a system set up that was passive. We used lead generation and email funnels. That brought us reliable sales every day of the week.
Lastly, we built a network of micro influencers. The network really grew awareness for the Brand and filled our funnels with solid leads.
What platform, tools or software do you use for your business?
- I love Shopify.
- Klaviyo is simply the best Email Service Provider for ecommerce.
- Justuno is great for popups. It simply converts better than most.
- We use Message Mate for onsite texting and SMS marketing
- Bold works really well for product upsells.
- We use Storetasker for tech tasks. I won’t waste time trying to learn tasks I’ll never do often enough to master. They’re fast, affordable, and really good.
(Editor – if you’re looking for more great Ecommerce resources, then check this out)
What does the next 12 months look like for your business, and for yourself, professionally?
Well, I hope to reach the $50K mark with the new store! Personally, I will be thrilled if I’m able to show people how I do it in a way that’s authentic and repeatable.
I’m been very fortunate, and I’ve been able to pay myself for more than 25 years.
When our kids were young, I was able to be there for class trips and medical appointments, and still get paid. Now I still work from home, but have the freedom to work from a beautiful beach for several months each year.
I would be thrilled to know I’ve helped others get this kind of life too.
What have you learned through this process that you didn’t know or think was important beforehand?
That marketing is more important than product. Everyone gets caught up in the excitement of creating products. Without a plan to get your products in front of people, your business is dead. No matter how amazing your product is.
“marketing is more important than product…without a plan to get your products in front of people, your business is dead. No matter how amazing your product is”
What did you wish you knew before starting?
That profit trumps sales. Don’t count on sales volume to solve cash flow or lack of profits. In many cases, higher sales volume will make it worse.
What resources would you recommend for others looking to start a business?
I like the Shopify Masters podcast.
Honestly? I think you can’t beat our training at The Social Sales Girls.
We’ve created a success path that our Members can follow step by step. It’s been so successful because they get the right training at the right time. The lessons are in order, so you’re working on layering strategies that compound your success, and you track and measure your progress.
Members work their way through Traffic Bootcamp, Conversion School, and Marketing Mastery. By the time they’re done, they are ready for our Reliable Revenue program where they build their own system of marketing events and sales funnels.
Along the way, each Member is fully supported by our team, and all the other people in our Community who are working on the same things.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other entrepreneurs looking to start their own ecommerce business?
Get a plan. Get proof of concept before you invest. Build an audience. Be authentic.
Do less than you think you should, but be incredibly consistent.
Where can we go to learn more about you and your business?
Visit us at thesocialsalesgirls.com