One of the challenges startups often face is finding time to establish a robust online presence that fully represents their business, value proposition and scope of services. Understandably, preliminary efforts are concentrated more on the service offerings themselves but even if a company offers products and services that are in high demand, if nobody can find the company, it won’t be able to make a sale.
I recently connected with the owner of Geek Mom Media, Julie Jimenez, who formed a company specifically to help startups navigate the technology required to create their online homes,’ doing the geek stuff’ so they don’t have to. Building a business is challenging enough without having to dedicate resources to marketing when operating on a shoestring budget.
Julie, you have an extensive background in Information Technology, with an impressive and diversified resume. What made you decide to leave a successful career and delve into the world of entrepreneurship?
It wasn’t a planned career move. In 2012, my daughter who lived in California was poisoned, using her malfunctioning 1940’s oven, by carbon monoxide. After several months of major health issues, I tried to transfer from Texas to California so I could help her. My aging mother, who also lives with me, had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, another reason I needed to be closer to family. I continued to work remotely in CA for a about 6 months, but a transfer never materialized so I ended up taking early retirement and started looking at things I could do from home to supplement my income.
The number of aspiring entrepreneurs is rapidly growing and everyone is looking or a way to click with their online target audience(s). How can Geek Mom Media help?
I have a lot of experience in designing websites, either from scratch or on various website builder platforms, including blogs like WordPress and Tumblr. I can help new startups get on-line reasonably fast with a professional presence, then can train them to maintain their own site or sub-contract to do it for them at reasonable cost.
What are your top three tips for people looking to establish an online presence?
Start with something simple, that can easily be updated or maintained themselves if cost is an issue. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional – there is a steep learning curve with even the easiest website builder programs available. Your time is valuable, spend it doing what you know how to do. Look for a company that can offer you solutions to need, time & budget constraints, someone that will take the time to understand what your needs are and provide guidance and options to help you get where you desire to be.
What is your favorite part about running your own business?
The ability to schedule my work around the needs of my family and personal life.
Did you have any big aha! moments as you launched Geek Mom Media?
Yes! Over the past several years, since retiring in 2013, I have tried a couple of different things. In the end, the most fun and success I’ve had has been doing what I love and knew how to do well already.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Be willing to stretch outside your comfort zone. Set goals for yourself; daily, monthly, annually and have a overall 5 year plan. Believe in your own abilities and have the patience or fortitude to stick with it. I love this quote – “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.” Napoleon Hill.
What have been some of your failures since launching Geek Mom Media, and what have you learned from them?
Incorrect branding: I initially started out with another name and website url. It didn’t fly at all. It really didn’t describe the essence of who I am. Geek Mom Media fits who I am as a individual much better.
I also did not have a set of cohesive long term goals, so like a GPS without a address programmed, I had no idea where I was going and when if ever I would actually arrive. It wasn’t until I had a plan and destination that I started seeing progress.
As a momtrepreneur, what advice can you offer other moms who are trying to launch a brand-new business?
First of all believe in yourself, you’re a mom, one of the most valuable individuals on earth! Include your family in your planning, brainstorm with them & friends to ensure you are on the correct path and embarking on the right journey. Create some form of business plan, that will help you understand the costs of everything involved, from baby-sitters to inventory. Then research the various products, companies or ideas you are considering to determine which resonates most with your values. In the end, if what you want to do is not you, does not fit within your lifestyle or your belief system it’s the wrong vehicle to get you where you want to go. Don’t be afraid to take the time to do it right the first time, if you don’t have time now you may never find or have time later, to do it again.
If you had the chance to begin your career again, what would you do differently?
Start planning for retirement immediately. I had a retirement plan, allbeit not a good one. The challenges I’ve met, the past several years, have mostly depleted any savings outside of my normal retirement benefits. Have multiple streams of income where possible, find a opportunity you can get involved with in some way, that will give you residual income, then don’t give up to quickly.
What motivates you?
My faith in God and the knowledge that whatever happens in my life, He is always in control. No matter how low I may feel, I always have something I can offer someone else to make a difference in their life. I can always find something I love doing to keep going the next mile.
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