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VD15: How To Pitch To Bloggers

September 17, 2014 | Filed under E-commerce & Fashion Trends

If you can’t see video above, click here: http://youtu.be/lrPdLqCA0LY

Bloggers get thousand of request a day from business owners like you asking to feature their products. Pitching to bloggers can be a very time-consuming and frustrating process. But, we all know that getting your product, or e-commerce business featured in a blog can help increase your website traffic and sales. So how can you pitch to bloggers and grab their attention?

1) Do your homework:
The more followers a blogger has, the harder it will be to catch their attention. You will be competing with bigger brands who have bigger budgets. Therefore, do your research.  Understand who your demographic is and use a tool like Bloglovin to find bloggers with that specific audience .
Next, browse through their blog, read their about section and make sure your product fits nicely within their editorial content.
Start by creating a list of 10 to 20 blogs, you are interested in potentially pitching.

2) Build a relationship:
Follow bloggers that peaked your interest on Twitter or Instagram and interact with them in a non-spammy-way. Retweet their content, comment on their Instagram pics, share their latest blog posts, so they start recognizing your name.
Create a list and stream within your social media dashboards (like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or Sprout Social) to keep track of their activity.

3) Have a story:
Personalize each email you send to each blogger. Do not mass mail your press release out. Instead, inject personality within each of your emails, explain how you got started, and why a collaboration with their blog is a good fit for your brand. I also recommend you create an online Press Release using Online Press Kit 24/ 7

4) Blogger outreach tools:
Finally, consider getting a blogger outreach tool to help with your research. Researching bloggers that fit your needs  and building those relationships take time. You might want to consider testing out different blogger outreach tools that are in the market and see if they are a right fit for you.
Resources:

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EP#17: Monika Kanokova’s guide to Berlin’s Tech Scene

September 16, 2014 | Filed under Podcasts

Monika Kanokova guide to Berlin's Tech Scene

You can also download this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Lately, I have been receiving lot’s of inquiries about the Berlin Tech scene. Berlin has a growing tech scene; attracting entrepreneurs looking for an affordable city where they can bootstrap their company. I lived in Berlin for about four months last year as part of an on-going project. I met a few folks who helped me better understand what Berlin was all about and captured it on this Tumblr blog.

Through the process, I had the pleasure to meet the team at Somewhere, a start-up that helps pair individuals with companies through sharing their work process. Monika Kanokova, community and content strategist at Somewhere, and I bonded. Monika has been in Berlin for two years.

In this podcast, she provides a guide to Berlin’s tech scene from which co-working space you should consider joining to best nachos spot (go check-out White Trash in Prenzlauer Berg.) She introduces us to Somewhere, think LinkedIn meets Pinterest and why they are such a great international community to tab into to find like-minded companies and employees.

She also recommends you download Berlin Start-up Guide, a free e-book with all the information you will need if you plan on moving to Berlin.

Listen to this podcast, to learn:
- What makes Berlin different from other tech hubs
- Why you shouldn’t spend all your nights at Berghain
- How you can be part of the Somewhere community and meet other international entrepreneurs
- Things to watch for when moving to Berlin

Berlin is a city bubbling with innovation. It’s a haven for artists and tech entrepreneurs alike. The city’s cheap cost of living make it easy for anyone to go build their dream start-up. Berlin has become an international hub where English is widely spoken, and the airport provides direct flights to London, New York and San Francisco.
Berlin is one of my favorite cities in Europe. I highly encourage, if you are thinking about it, to go spend some time there. You won’t be disappointed.

Resources:

Did you find this information useful? I would love to get your feedback. Please provide a review on iTunes. It helps me get a better sense of what I can do to better help you.

VD14: Outsourcing Hacks For The Workaholic

September 10, 2014 | Filed under Videos

If you can’t see video above, click here http://youtu.be/aY9b9VZEjJs

As entrepreneurs, it’s all too easy to get burned out. We try to do it all ourselves because we think it will be more efficient than training someone. I have struggled with this numerous times, burning the midnight oil and barely sleeping in the hopes to get it all done. I found throughout the years that my workaholic tendencies decreased my creativity, productivity and my overall well-being.

Outsourcing your workload is key to keeping your sanity. It is easy to feel overwhelmed especially when launching a business.

Here are a few outsourcing hacks:

1) Hire individuals who understand your business and are easy to reach
It’s important to have good work chemistry with whomever you decide to hire. Through the interviewing process spend time learning about the person’s skill set, expertise and hobbies. Spend time getting to know them and assess if they are a good fit for your company. Ask them how they think they could help impact your business, and about their long-term goals, for example.

There are a plethora of recruiting sites out there, my favorites include:
- Odesk
- 99Designs
- Virtual Staff Finder
- LinkedIn

2) Break down tasks
Start by creating a to do list for yourself. Determine which tasks are the most time-consuming and then break them down.
For example, I have created scripts throughout the years that break down my digital marketing tasks into the steps required to upload blog posts, YouTube videos and podcasts.
My staff can just easily follow the step-by-steps I create for each task.

Use an app like Sweetprocess to help produce these lists.

3) Set realistic timelines
Every week set deadlines for each specific deliverable.
You should include review and revision times within each schedule you create. It does sound like a lot of extra work but breaking down your workload into manageable tasks will help you set realistic expectations.

Great project management tools include:
- Trello
- Basecamp
- Asana

Conclusion: I struggle with over-achiever syndrome and can spend countless hours in front of my computer. It might sound OCD, but I have to set daily reminders to take breaks. In this case, my friend had to remind me to enjoy the beach.

Any other outsourcing hacks you would like to share? What works for you? And what do you struggle with most when outsourcing your work?

EP#16: Banago shares lessons on empowering a community

September 9, 2014 | Filed under Podcasts

BANAGO_luna_podcast_

You can also download this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Consumerism is changing. I can’t say this enough. Brands and consumers are becoming more conscious about the long term impacts they make.  Sustainability is on everyone’s mind.  It’s also become easier for brands to touch the lives of individuals in need through organizations like Kiva or Change.org. Caring is sexy.

In this podcast, Renee Patron, founder and creative director at Banago shares how her business shifted to more efficiently empower artisan communities in the Phillippines after the 2013 Typhoon. Banago was an established brand selling their products in high-end retails stores in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, etc… But in November 2013, the Typhoon destroyed the homes of villagers and the entire production network of Banago. Renee had to rebuild from the ground up. Having experienced the catastrophic after effects of the Typhoon herself, she became driven to empower the Banago community.

Renee Patron shares how she was able to rebuild her brand and more. She also discusses how she was able to help the community by tapping into their traditional craft. You will learn how the Banago craft has been handed down from generation to generation and how Renee was able to translate the designs for a western audience.

In this podcast, you will learn:
- How to deal with set-backs and move forward
- How to positively help a community
- How to work with International vendors

Conclusion: Banago’s story is truly inspirational. If you want advice on empowering a community around you, listen to this podcast. Banago is currently raising funds to help them recover from last year’s damages. I encourage you check-out their Kickstarter - every donation comes with a Banago product. Help Banago make a come back after being knocked down by the biggest typhoon in history.

Getting Started With International Shipping

September 4, 2014 | Filed under Must Have Business Tools

international-shipping | img via http://www.gratisography.com/

When you’re a small business looking to expand, international shipping can be a huge roadblock. You know that your customers want speedy delivery, but with all of the different rates, taxes, and duties, it can get really complicated. There is a lot to consider, but I’m here to help you my friend.

UPS has this handy tool that allows you to see a list of regulations for each country. Step one is to check this tool and make sure your product is allowed in the country, and find out the associated taxes and fees. Next you’ll want to weigh your item to get an idea of what the full shipping cost would be. You can find additional information and resources on USPS, UPS, DHL and FedEx sites.

Once you determine the cost of shipping you will want to decide if you will pass that on to the customer or not. One option many retailers choose is to include the shipping cost in the item price and provide customers “free shipping.” It does something to people psychologically to know the shipping is free. It encourages them to press the buy button. You will also need to decide how you will handle return shipping, as many customers check this before purchasing.

If shipping overseas just isn’t an option, you can suggest to your customers that they sign up for a packaging forwarding service. Package forwarding is a service that helps customers that are outside of the US buy items from companies that don’t deliver internationally. It does this by creating a US-based shipping address that goes to a warehouse. They can consolidate all of their purchases at the warehouse and have them sent back to their home country. This won’t cost you any extra, and it will be cheaper for your customers in the long run, however it will cost your customers extra time to have their packages shipped. There are many package forwarding services like Bongo International, MyUs.com, US Global Mail, Border Linx, and Ship2me.

If you’re planning on shipping large quantities overseas you may be ready to hire a fulfillment company. These platforms are meant to help e-commerce sites manage their shipping. There are different options available which allow you to keep your merchandise in a physical location and have your orders fulfilled from there. You should consider these options as your business grows.

  • Shipstation helps you streamline your shipping. It integrates with most e-commerce platforms out there. It automates shipping and provides Endicia and Shipping 1 accounts, which help manage high shipping volumes.
  • Shipwire sets you up with a warehouse in different countries. This warehouse processes and ships the orders within the country you’re selling to. It also enables you to make your product available to other e-commerce stores. Orders can be shipped directly from whichever warehouse they have access to and you can make this possible by just merging their shipping platform to yours.

International shipping doesn’t have to be a showstopper for your business. With a little research you can get set up to ship all over the world and become a #GlobalInfluencer.

VD13: Business Tools To Use While Traveling & Working

September 3, 2014 | Filed under E-commerce & Fashion Trends

If you can’t see video above, click here http://youtu.be/s55iuGynZl8

Staying organized can be challenging when you are always on the go.
I have developed a system throughout the years to help me stay organized and efficiently work with my team wherever I am.

In this video, I share some essential business tools to use while traveling.

1) Have a travel planner
I love TripIt, download the app today. It automatically saves travel reservation emails within the app, so you never have to look through your phone for flight information, hotel reservations, maps, etc… You no longer need to create itineraries; TripIt does it for you.

2) Forget paper receipts
When traveling it’s easy to accumulate paper receipts. When you have to save every receipt for your travel expenses, the next thing you know you are bringing back more receipts than souvenirs. Well now, you can easily scan all your receipts with your phone with Shoeboxed and it integrates with Quickbooks.

3) Go on the cloud
I don’t save anything on my computer these days. Why? Because I’ve had too many bad experiences with losing important files, needing files on the go, you name it. Dropbox is my favorite cloud server. The beauty is that if you keep on referring your friends you can easily get 100 Gigs.
Dropbox also has an iPhone app. You can access your files while on the go, for those times when you are not in front of your computer, and desperately need to share files with other team members.

4) Stay connected anywhere around the world
Be reachable from anywhere around the world by getting a toll-free number that is forwarded to your local phone. You can either use Grasshopper or Skype. And finally, make scheduling appointments a breeze by using Bookfresh or Join.Me

Conclusion: These business tools will help you a great deal while traveling. They will enable you to be available on the go so you can squeeze in some sight seeing. What’s the point otherwise, right?!

EP#15: Gleam Talks Growth Hacks

September 2, 2014 | Filed under Podcasts

Gleam.io_luna_podcast_

You can also download this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Growing your customer base requires delicate planning and strategic thinking. It takes trial and error to lock down the right formula for your business. Most importantly, you must set  concrete goals to be able to measure the success or failure of all your promotional campaigns.

Online competitions are a great growth hack. They enable your brand to engage with your audience while incentivizing them to spread the word.

In this podcast, Stuart McKeown, co-founder of Gleam discusses growth hacks and strategies to get you more qualified customers via competitions. Gleam is an online tool designed to help increase user engagement via competitions, rewards programs or feedback forms.

You can launch a competition through Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook by encouraging users to submit photos or sharing hashtags, for example. There are many recipes to launching a competition.

Ideally, before you start, you should have an audience in place. You can get started with just 500 to 1,000 followers and grow from there.

In this podcast, Stuart provides recommendations on how you can start a competition and more.

You will learn:
- The benefits of running a contest
- Tactics to efficiently run a contest
- At what stage you should run a contest
- How you can get 2,000 orders with a successful contest

Conclusion: Still not convinced? I suggest you read Gleam.io case study on how they helped Beardbrand reach their sales goals. Beardbrand already had an audience but needed some growth hacks advice.  They partnered up with Gleam.io to create a contest during No-Shave November, Movember. They gave away eight beard oils valued at $560 to one lucky customer and drastically grew their sales. A great read if you would like some ideas on how to run your next contest.

Join other #GlobalInfluencers for exclusive tips on creating an international business

 

VD12: How To Go From Idea To Business

August 27, 2014 | Filed under E-commerce & Fashion Trends

 

If you can’t see video above, click here: http://youtu.be/onmrFn9US-o

Do you remember the rush of adrenaline you felt last night as you told your friends about your latest idea? Your friends applauded you while you patted yourself on the back. You woke feeling invigorated ready to take on the world. So what is next from there?

Materializing your idea into a tangible business requires some planning. In today’s video, I will provide guidance on how you can go from idea to business.

Research, planning, and execution are essential to building a successful business. Here is how you can get started:

1) Write a business plan:
It sounds cliche, but it’s necessary. A business plan will help you clearly identify potential opportunities and think about every angle of your potential business.
Use an app like Liveplan.com to help you write your business plan.
By answering a series of questions, Liveplan will help you draft a comprehensive business plan, while helping you think about every facet of your business.

2) Pick a business model:
Determine, which type of business model fits best with your idea. You will need to monetize your idea otherwise you will not have a business.

There are three types of business models you can pick from:

1) Service – provide a service in exchange for a fee, either through a project fee model or commission based.

2) Membership – ask your audience to pay a fee to access content or a specific feature. Think of it as leasing your services versus asking your clients for a flat fee.

3) Affiliate marketing / Advertising:
With affiliate marketing / advertising business models, you earn money based on your business referrals and overall audience. You earn a commission based on how many leads you generate. If you choose to pick this form of monetization, you should take into consideration that you will need a lot of traffic. You need to ensure you have a substantial audience. You will need to first grow your audience before being able to monetize from this model .

ShareSale, Amazon Associates and ClickBank are affiliate programs you can sign-up for.

Conclusion: Think about every facet of your potential business. Planning will help with the execution of your idea.

If you want more tips on traveling, business and reaching a global audience, subscribe to my youtube channel to receive my videos right into your mailbox every week. 

EP#14: Storefront shares pop-up store best practices and more

August 26, 2014 | Filed under Podcasts

 

STOREFRONT_luna_podcast_

You can also download this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Today’s financial climate and the accrued access to off-the-shelf e-commerce technologies, has made leasing a retail store obsolete for many businesses. As more businesses move strictly online, competing for customers’ attention is becoming increasingly difficult. Creating astute marketing efforts which include pop-up events to interact in Real Life with customers, is indispensable.
E-commerce stores like Warby Parker, Bonobos and others have dabbled with this Hybrid Retail model (selling primarily online with occasional pop-up stores in key markets) and have been quite successful with it — read more on my previous blog post.

I have been following for about a year, The Storefront, a start-up who democratized the pop-up retail experience. Through their online platform, they provide short-term pop-up retail rentals to companies. Their platform has been compared as “the Airbnb of retail.”

No doubt – there is great value in hosting a pop-up event and giving potential customers access to your products – so they can feel, touch and try on your products. However, many small online businesses often dismiss the power of real life marketing. Until recently, orchestrating a pop-up event required logistical prowess. Between negotiating with landlords, having liability insurance, finding an available space of your liking, and organizing an event; throwing a pop-up event was no walk in the park.

In this podcast, I interview, Tristan Pollock, co-founder of Storefront, to discuss pop-up store best practices, ideas on how to design your next event and more. With Storefront, you can now create meaningful experiences for your customers. A pop-up event is not only valuable for you to get real time feedback about your product, but for your customer to be able to get in direct contact with your brand.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Pop-up store best practices
  • How to plan a pop-up event
  • Ingredients needed to run a successful pop-up event
  • Stories from other online retailers who created pop-up events
  • Recommendations on how to continue the conversation after the event
  • Appropriate time to launch a pop-up event and more.

Have you ever organized a pop-up event? What was the outcome?
Share your personal stories. I would love to hear from you.

Sign-up and join other #GlobalInfluencers for exclusive tips on creating an international business

VD11: Get Inspired To Create Fun Marketing Content

August 20, 2014 | Filed under Videos

If you can’t see video above, click here: http://youtu.be/ZoAUFUDgC_Y

You know that feeling when you hit a major creative roadblock, incapable of coming up with new ideas. Well, that was me last week. Everything I came up with was lame. So I had to face the harsh reality that it’s time to take “MOI” to the museum.

To stand out from your competition, you need stellar marketing content to sell your product or you will fall into a marketing black hole.

In this video, you will find a few tips to help you get inspired again:

1) Brainstorm
Brainstorm and get those creative juices flowing again. Browse through photography and images on sites like WeHeartIt and Inspiration Grid.

2) Expand your content bank
Sharing the same type of content every month will get stale. Create a list of potential content you could share sporadically. Do not be afraid to push the envelope – perhaps share every other week a music playlist, a tutorial or traveling tips. I love to use Evernote to jot down ideas as they come to me.

3) Curate Content
To stay fresh, make sure to sprinkle in curated content within your editorial calendar. Review what is going in the news and comment on topics that relate to your brand. Leverage tools like Scoop.it or EverPost as they will help you find best content for you by crawling the web for specific keywords.

Conclusion: Remember to have fun and let your passion shine. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when managing your business. That’s why stepping away from your computer to recharge your creative batteries is essential for the health of your business.

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