By: Laura Rike
I am Laura Rike of Laurarike.com and Simply Pintastic, two businesses that help entrepreneurs and other small business owners harness the power of Pinterest to grow their visibility, email lists, and sales. One arm, Simply Pintastic, is an educational platform with a membership option for those who prefer a do it yourself approach to their marketing, equipped with our best practices. Laurarike.com provides that “done for you” agency approach to marketing, with our team of experienced professionals at the helm of personalized marketing strategies based upon each client’s goals.
I started my education experience in graphic design, but changed my major to marketing two years in, as it felt like a better fit. My degree is in social media/marketing, with a minor in graphic design. I was using the graphic design portion with an in-house position for brick and mortar, but decided to take a risk and enroll in an internship in a marketing role to increase that experience and skillset. It was there that I realized that I could be a virtual assistant and work from home (before the pandemic and mass exodus to remote work and the popularity of digital nomads), and be a work-from-home mother to spend time with my children.
As a virtual assistant, I naturally niched down using my talents as a graphic designer and affinity for Pinterest, which was invite-only at the time (to give you an idea of how long I’ve been at it), and began offering an all-in-one Pinterest marketing service. Though I started working as a virtual assistant with the intention to be able to be more present with my family, I initially was so focused on turning a profit that I was still always working, as pointed out by my son. That was a great wake-up call to focus the niche even further, and only accept clients and work that brought me joy. Now I’m nearly a decade in, and have recently celebrated a year with $250,000 in revenue, and hope to double it this year.
While I adore Pinterest, no industry is without challenges. Usage of Pinterest, and native shopping in Pinterests’ app and website experienced enormous growth during the pandemic, when most of the world was at home following stay-at-home orders and shopping online as opposed to in-person. While many people newer to online shopping fell in love with it and will continue to do so regardless of the state of the world and level of safety returning to brick-and-mortar commerce, Pinterest did report a decrease in users in July of this year, likely due to a return to normal life as more people are vaccinated and COVID-19 cases are decreasing. With fewer users browsing Pinterest, it could lead one to the belief that marketing on the platform would be less impactful and have decreased reach.
I choose not to subscribe to a scarcity mindset, and see that challenge as an opportunity. I believe that the decrease actually results in the casual users spending less time on the app, leaving a larger percentage of active users ready to either engage with our and our clients’ content or even make purchases as a result of our efforts on Pinterest. I also feel that the pandemic has increased the comfort level of many who were previously not shopping online, and has still caused overall growth in terms of online commerce, whether that’s simply beginning the search and research portions of the experience, or following all the way through to the point of purchasing.
In addition to maintaining this mindset of abundance and staying true to a niche (which means learning to say “no” to many things that seem like opportunities), I am happy to offer some business advice that I believe can truly help anyone with entrepreneurial goals.
The first is to remember to invest in your own personal development, as well as professional development. As mentioned, mindset is a huge part of success. Blocking time to work on that, and even hiring a coach to give an outside perspective on it can be incredibly impactful on overall business success, even if it doesn’t show up immediately or directly the way focusing on new products and sales would. Staying on top of trends and changes in social media algorithms is essential, as is learning new business knowledge. While it can be tempting to focus solely on actions that earn direct and immediate income, I felt that I had exponential growth as a result of personal and professional development learning.
Another tip is to prioritize a few needle-moving actions, create a time-blocked schedule that honors them, and stick to it. As a former virtual assistant, I know firsthand how impactful it can be to outsource activities that are outside my personal genius, that I don’t enjoy, or that don’t require my personal touch, and stick to what I love and what needs to be done by me. Once those items (including the aforementioned learning) are identified, blocking time to do them each day and staying disciplined to follow that schedule helps ensure the most important actions are completed every day.
Many times new entrepreneurs are excited by the freedom that not having a set schedule seems to offer and don’t realize how much time is wasted by scrolling or not being focused and even deciding what to do next, leading to work bleeding into personal and family time. This is how burnout occurs, as one will feel like they are “always-on” or working nonstop. Having the discipline to follow a schedule allows the freedom to do what they enjoy without being preoccupied with unfinished to-do list items from their work time. This means you can focus on your family or truly get the rest you need to be at your best when it’s time to focus on your business again.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest using Pinterest as business advice! Two myths about Pinterest are that it is a social media site and that it is an online bulletin board for recipes, crafts, and wedding inspiration. Those ideas couldn’t be further from the truth! It is actually a search engine and can be beneficial to just about every industry. It is superior to newsfeed-based platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that only show whatever has been posted recently, because it allows evergreen content to go viral long after it’s first posted. The lack of newsfeed focus also allows creators to split test different graphics, captions, and formats without irritating their followers by posting duplicate content.
Hopefully, my story, business’ history, and advice can help other entrepreneurs and small business owners, whether they’re new, aspiring, or seasoned professionals. I believe strongly in collaboration over the competition because there’s enough success for everyone, so if you see a way I can help, please don’t hesitate to reach out!