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Erin Blaskie, also known as the Bizinatrix, is in a hot, passionate love affair with the Internet. Whether she is leading her team of creative, outsourcing professionals or sharing information via the web, Erin brings to the table her enormous passion for tech, geek and the Internet.
Erin is the brainpower behind BSETC, a creative, professional outsourcing firm, which supports entrepreneurs from around the globe with their Internet marketing and social media endeavors. Erin also recently launched Entrepreneur DIY which provides do-it-yourself tutorials for business owners on a wide range of topics. Lastly, Erin provides on-going coaching, support and mentorship to other virtual assistants via The VA Coach.
BSETC (acronym for Business Services, ETC) is a virtual assistance and creative, professional outsourcing firm. They help entrepreneurs alleviate their to-do lists, systemize their business processes and create more free time in their daily lives. BSETC supports their clients with everything from Internet marketing to social media to web / blog design to graphic design. They have set up their company to be a one-stop shop for online entrepreneurs who need support.
MO: Can you tell us more about your background and how it led you to creating BSETC?
Erin: In my previous life, before I became an entrepreneur, I was a teacher at a private college. While teaching, I realized that I absolutely loved the freedom that came along with the teaching lifestyle. Now, before you try to stop me to tell me that a teacher’s job is NOT free (as they often work in the evenings and on weekends), what I mean by the word “freedom” in a teacher’s role is the flexibility that comes with creating your lesson plans and delivering the content. I loved that I could be creative and try to find new ways to get my classroom excited about the material.
Fast forward a couple years into that gig and I found myself happy but not 100% satisfied. I have a tendency to grow bored of things very quickly and I had all but mastered the art of teaching the Business Administration Diploma Program. I found myself longing for something new. A thought happened to spring into my mind, around the time I was feeling this way, and it took me back to when I was sixteen years old.
When I was sixteen, I had this vision of providing administrative type services to local businesses in my small home town (less than 9,000 people!) I wanted to drive around on my bike and pass out flyers to let the businesses know that we could help them with Word document formatting, light website updates and other small admin jobs. What happened instead is that I got a job at an ice cream factory and when you are sixteen, ice cream trumps office work every day of the week!
Fast forward a few years, back to the time when I was teaching, and the idea had sprung back into my mind. However, instead of thinking local, I took to the Internet. A few Google keyword searches later and I had stumbled onto the virtual assistance industry and from that moment on, I was sold. Two weeks later I had my website up, six months later I quit my full-time job and I haven’t looked back since.
MO: It seems that you’ve acquired the nickname Bizinatrix. Can you tell me how you’ve managed to acquire such a feisty reputation?
Erin: You know, that is a fantastic question. I am going to try to remember exactly where it came from but I do know that it sprung from one of the many exhilarating conversations I had on my live streaming web show called Ask Erin Live. We used to do the show every Friday and we had the same group of people show up week after week to tune in and chat and talk business. Somewhere along the way I was coined the Bizinatrix (probably because I am not afraid to do what it takes to whip someone’s business into shape!) so I decided to make a t-shirt out of it, which I still, have and wear often!
MO: With all of your media and marketing expertise, what made you decide to create an online one stop shop for entrepreneurs? What about entrepreneurship inspired and motivated you enough to make it a business?
Erin: I suppose I always knew in my heart that I wanted to work for myself, be my own boss and have the power to create. Stumbling across the virtual assistance industry was just fate – it aligned perfectly with my skill set. Over time I realized that I just couldn’t handle all of the work myself and I started to become frustrated with having to tell my clients, “No, sorry, we don’t do that.” I am not one to let problems sit – I generally get up and create a solution for them.
The problem with my clients needing way more from us then just regular virtual assistance meant that I needed to bring on team members with varying skill sets, set up the business to be more of a firm and less of a solo practice and really push the business to new heights.
The big draw for me to entrepreneurship was the freedom aspect… oh how I was wrong about that! All kidding aside, it really teaches you a lot about yourself, about others and about life. I consider it the best life classroom that exists.
MO: What’s the difference between passive and regular revenue? How important is it for start-ups to try and establish multiple streams of income?
Erin: Passive revenue is revenue that you set up once and benefit from for a long time to come and regular revenue is the revenue you earn that you trade your time for money for. Essentially, passive income includes things like e-books, audio programs, e-courses, group coaching programs (that are turned into self-study programs) and virtual events whereby the recordings are turned into saleable items. Passive revenue also includes affiliate marketing, website advertising and membership programs.
Start-ups should absolutely attempt to incorporate passive revenue into their business. By setting up multiple streams of income, the entrepreneur / business will benefit from being able to use leverage in their business. Instead of having a very clear earning potential, the business / entrepreneur can now earn more money by offering their knowledge and skill set in a one-to-many format.
MO: You claim to have a hot, passionate love affair with the Internet. How did the affair start and how do you keep the chemistry going?
Erin: This love affair started the day that my dad hooked our home computer up to the Internet. I remember getting online and thinking, “Now what?” but I tapped into Netscape and not long after, I was creating websites for fun. I always had an inclination toward video games and other electronic goodies so the transition to geekdom was fairly natural for me.
In my heart of hearts, I would love to have a career where I got paid to play video games. I suppose keeping a business online and ensuring that the sparks are always flying gets me that much closer to my dream career.
MO: You have a new book coming out on December 1/11 called “From Creation to Customer: How to Successfully Market Your Information Products.” Is there a core message that runs throughout the book? Can you give our readers a tip for free?
Erin: Yes, this e-book is now out and available in our online store! I am so excited about this e-book as it really does demystify the process of marketing information products. A lot of people create their e-book or their e-course or their group coaching program and go, “Now what?” This e-book walks people through that process step-by-step.
Here is the section of the e-book on working your marketing funnel:
LOOK FOR MARKETING FUNNEL GAPS
The first thing you are going to do to begin the process of marketing your information products is look for marketing funnel gaps. Before we get into the marketing funnel gaps however, let us first discuss what the marketing funnel is.
The marketing funnel is the way in which potential customers flow through your various business offerings. The idea is that you create a low barrier to entry (usually a free giveaway of some sort), provide them with on-going valuable information (usually done via a newsletter) and then you gently upsell them into your next offering and the next one and the next one, each offering getting a bit more expensive.
Often times, a business doesn’t have multiple offerings so what happens is that a potential customer comes in via the newsletter opt-in or the free giveaway opt-in and then they are bombarded with “buy me” e-mails in which they are being asked to commit to large programs and expensive services. Unfortunately, consumerism doesn’t work that way.
In Michael Port’s “Book Yourself Solid”, he references the know, like and trust factor as one of the key takeaways of his book. Essentially, the idea boils down to this: make sure that people have the time to get to know you, decide whether or not they like you and whether or not they trust you enough to give you their hard-earned money. Think about that for a moment because it’s truly powerful stuff. If you stumbled across a website on the Internet, knowing nothing about the person behind the other screen, would you willingly dish out thousands of dollars in cash? Not likely. Your potential customers won’t either.
So, before you start creating passive revenue, take stock of your marketing funnel and figure out what it is you need and where you have the biggest gaps in your business. If you are missing a great freebie, start there. If you don’t have a moderately priced next option, create that. Whatever it is, start with the low barrier to entry items as they will give your customers the ability to get to know you, like you and trust you before committing to the bigger ticket items.
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