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4 Posts authored by: Rieva Lesonsky

Last January, I was reading Twitter when I came across a hysterically funny thread commenting on actors walking the red carpet for the Golden Globe Awards. The author—Quinn Cummings, was a former child actor (nominated for an Academy Award for her role in The Goodbye Girl).

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Cummings “retired” from acting, wrote several books and “started making jokes” on Twitter, aiming “fora Dorothy Parker/Carrie Fisher tone.” While she “enjoyed making people laugh” Cummings, “missed writing longer stories” which lead her to create a series of threaded tweets, and “put it up with no sense of what might happen.”

 

What happened was she more than doubled her Twitter following, gained more than 430 monthly financial supporters on her Patreon account, and is one of a select group of people who’ve figured out how to make money from Twitter.

 

Rieva Lesonsky: Your Twitter feed is funny, sassy, sarcastic, political and confessional. Hard to pull that off. Is that a reflection of your personality?

 

Quinn Cummings: In real life, I am fairly quiet, very introverted; I think my most noticeable quality is that I’m punctual. When I’m online I am entirely different. I think of my online identity as Court Jester, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. Court Jester says the things I say to myself in private, only written out and carefully designed to make people who abuse their power very angry. It’s an odd thing to say about your own writing, but I admire Court Jester. She’s ballsier than I am. Of course, she would correct me and say she has twice the ovaries.

 

Lesonsky: How did you decide to sell access to your work on Twitter?

 

Cummings: For several years, I posted a blog three times a week detailing my life and my adventures—which were mostly misadventures. It was popular. It got me a book deal. But after about seven years, I realized I was kind of burned out on the blog format and started using Twitter more enthusiastically, building followers based on political humor. I was doing well but realized I missed the longer format. Also, I wanted to write a story that just made people laugh. In November, I created that threaded Tweet about the worst decision I ever made in an office. That thread has been retweeted over 17,000 times.

 

After squeezing my work into tweet-sized bites, I realized there might be a place for longer stories, so I started stitching together a fully fleshed out story every weekday. My only rule: Keep it funny, because people are stressed enough.

 

People seemed to really enjoy it. In one month, my follower count doubled, and I loved having the chance to tell stories again. The only problem was, creating these things wasn’t a quick job. It was cutting into my income-producing work. After two months’ creating five small stories a week, I created a Patreon account, told my readers what I was trying to do, and crossed my fingers.

 

After one day, I was earning enough to cover my health insurance. As a working writer, that felt great.

 

Lesonsky: How does it work?

 

Cummings: When I first considered doing this, I quizzed my Twitter followers about what they would pay for these stories [and] $5 a month was the number I heard most often. The $1 level is for those people who want to kind of leave me a tip. They don’t get the extra story, but it’s a way of supporting me and I am grateful for those supporters as well. When I started, I assumed that would be the more popular level because, hey, 2019. [But], I have more than twice as many $5 supporters as $1 supporters, and I have seen quite a few $1 supporters move up their patronage after the first couple of months.

 

Lesonsky: Are you monetizing your Twitter account or are you using Twitter as a promotional tool for your Patreon account?

 

Cummings: I would say I’m monetizing Twitter. The way to imagine it is that Twitter is the city in which I live. Recently, I have put out a shingle and started a business in the city. People who know me from that neighborhood are supporting me. There are ways to use Patreon to find new supporters and I’m learning the skills, but Patreon is not my original language, Twitter is. I will probably always speak Patreon with an accent

 

Lesonsky: You’re already making money. What’s the future look like?

 

Cummings: I…have no idea. Until January, I would have sworn there was no way to monetize what I was already doing for free. I ran the experiment and am pleased to say I was wrong. Now, what other limiting beliefs need to be tested?

 

When you’re on social media the way I am—which is to say, all the time—you notice things. I’ve noticed human beings need stories. We crave them. Joan Didion said, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

 

In fact, stories may be why we’re alive; some scientists theorized humans developed language to communicate where the food was. All I know is we live in a stressful and lonely digital world, but if the right person comes up and says, “Let me tell you a story,” humans come racing. We love stories, we long for authenticity, we yearn to feel whole, sane, not angry, connected, if only for a few minutes. I want to tell stories and I’ll continue to look for new ways to do it.

 

Check out the stories of other successful entrepreneurs here.

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

What is local search engine optimization (SEO) and why is it so important to small businesses?

 

While SEO optimizes your website so it will rank higher in search results, local SEO ensures your business shows up when people search for companies like yours, specifically in your local area. Local SEO is an important marketing tool for any small business targeting a local customer base.

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Basically, to increase customer visits to your location, you need to be doing local SEO.

 

Local SEO is becoming more important because more people now search for businesses, products and services on mobile devices. When a prospect searches via smartphone, Google takes the phone’s location into consideration when displaying search results. That gives businesses using local SEO an edge.

 

Local SEO can offer many benefits, including:

    • Putting your small business on equal footing with your biggest competitors.
    • Reaching the specific target audience you want—nearby prospects.
    • Grabbing prospects at the exact moment they’re looking for what you’re selling.
    • It’s free!

 

Here's how to implement local SEO for your business.

 

Step 1. Claim your business listing on local search directories.

 

Begin with Google My Business; then move on to other directories such as Bing Places for Business, Citysearch, MerchantCircle, Yelp and Superpages. Also add any region-specific or industry-specific directories you can think of, such as Angie’s List. You may find a directory has already created a barebones listing for your business; go ahead and claim it (it’s free).

 

Step 2. Claim and optimize your directory listings.

 

Start with the basic information prospects will use when deciding whether to visit your business—address, phone number, hours of operation and website URL. If you have more than one business location, you will need a separate directory listing for each; this helps improve your search engine rankings.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: Competing with the Giants: How a Small Store Can Thrive

 

It’s critical for your business name, address and phone number (NAP) information to be completely consistent across the various directories.  In other words, if your business is on 42nd Avenue, don’t spell it Av. in one listing, Avenue in another and Ave. in a third. Inconsistent entries confuse search engines and lower your ranking.

 

Once you’ve got the basics covered, go back to the listings and add details to convince customers to patronize your business. This might include photos of your location or products, menus, current promotions or seasonal hours.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Create Irresistible, Thumb-Stopping Facebook Ads

 

Finally, make sure to categorize your listing under the proper type/s of business. (Most search directories allow this.) Proper categorization helps to deliver more accurate search results to users.

 

Step 3. Optimize your website for local search.

 

For even better results, you’ll want to implement local SEO on your website, too. Start by including your business address in the footer of the home page, on the Contact Us page and anywhere else it’s appropriate. Then add location-specific keywords (such as your neighborhood, city, county or state) in your website’s meta tags, title tags, descriptions and content.

 

Step 4. Keep your information up-to-date.

 

To get the most from local SEO, you need to maintain current listings on local search directories. Once a month, review your listings and make sure all the information is still accurate. Update as needed—for example, add recent photos or new specials. (Your webhosting company may be able to handle this for you as an added service, so you don’t have to visit hundreds of local search directories and update them by hand.)

 

Refreshing your content gets search engines’ attention and improves your standing in search results.

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

When you own a business, it can feel like doing the work of 10 people. Particularly at the start, a business owner can be responsible for managing everything from accounting to travel arrangements to making sales calls. Fortunately, today’s business software can make juggling all these tasks a little bit easier.

 

Here are 9 online tools no small business owner should be without.

 

1. Appointment-Plus

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Scheduling appointments is a pain for small business owners with limited staff. Turn the job over to this handy app. It allows customers to schedule their own appointments online and helps you manage them by sending confirmation and reminder messages via email or text. Appointment-Plus integrates with MailChimp, Constant Contact, iContact and more.

 

2. Bank of America Business Advantage 360

Get a 360-degree view of your business finances with the new cash flow management dashboard from Bank of America with no enrollment or cost for business clients who use Bank of America Online and/or Mobile banking, since its fully integrated into your digital experience.  Integrate your account activity to help categorize and track debits and credits, major expenses and key transactions all in one place. You can set cash flow thresholds, and alerts to make proactive adjustments.

 

3. Cloze Business

Manage your inbox, contacts, and relationships all in one app. Cloze automatically pulls from your email, social media, calendar, calls, notes and more, then gathers all the information about each contact in one place. Next time you contact that person, your entire interaction history is at your fingertips. Cloze Business is $13.33/user/month.

 

4. JoinMe

Make web conferencing a breeze with JoinMe. For $20/month you get unlimited audio, video, and screen-share meetings and unlimited time for up to 50 people per meeting. Dial in with VoIP or by phone (you can even give participants a toll-free number to call). Then stream up to 10 webcams and record and store up to 5GB.

There are plenty of other helpful online tools. Please share your favorites with us.

 

5. Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed does more than scan and organize receipts (although if you’re a frequent traveler like me, that’s enough). It also creates expense reports, helps you prepare for tax season, tracks mileage using your phone’s GPS, and scans and organizes business cards to create exportable contact lists. Plans start at $29/month.

 

6. Toggl

Whether you’re a solo-preneur or have a staff, every entrepreneur can benefit from this free app. Just push a button on your device or computer to start tracking your time. It helps you track billable hours, create more accurate invoices, and pinpoint time wasters. Toggl syncs across all devices so you can start on one and stop on another. It also integrates with popular apps such as Asana, Basecamp, and Trello.

 

7. Trello

This project management app’s boards, lists, and cards make it intuitively easy to use. Create a board to track an overarching project, then add cards and lists to break down the associated tasks. You can add comments, file attachments, labels, due dates and more to cards; checklists and due dates ensure no one misses a deadline. Trello works on devices from iPhones to smartwatches and Kindle tablets, ensuring you and your team can use it on the go. The Business Class plan ($9.99/user/month) lets you connect Trello to Salesforce, Slack, GitHub, Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, Mailchimp and other popular business apps for even more functionality.

 

8. Tripit Pro

This app ($49/year) has everything you need to stay calm, cool and collected no matter where business takes you. Tripit Pro gathers all your travel information in one place and syncs it across all your devices. Share your itinerary with others, track reward points, get alerts for flight schedules and delays, and find new flights if your plans change. 

 

9. Zoho Social

This collaborative social media management platform is ideal for businesses that actively market on social channels. Zoho Social allows you to manage multiple social networks, schedule unlimited posts and monitor keywords—all from one single dashboard. It’s easy to learn what customers are saying about you, making social listening a snap.  Beyond these features, Zoho provides robust analytics and offers customized, real-time reports about your results including how far your content reaches and the amount of engagement it earns. There are three plans available to small businesses, including a free plan that offers the option to try before you buy more advanced features.

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.pngThe nation’s more than 80 million millennials – ranging from age 19 to 37 – are projected to spend more than baby boomers this year. Whether they’re consumers shopping for clothing or B2B buyers researching the best SaaS provider, your website is a critical factor in determining whether they buy from you or your competition.

 

Here are six warning signs your website might be driving millennial customers away.

 

1. It’s not mobile-first. It’s no secret millennials basically live on their smartphones. One-fourth look at their phones more than 100 times a day; half look at their phones more than 50 times a day. Overall, 25 percent of millennial consumers spend a whopping five hours a day on their phones, while 50 percent spend at least three hours scrolling and tapping. Takeaway: Your website needs to be not just mobile-friendly, but mobile first.

 

2. It takes too long. Millennials are efficient—they want to get in and out of your website as quickly as possible and accomplish their goals. Your job: Don’t put anything in their way that slows them down. That includes mobile pop-ups, too many layers of navigation or too many options. Ideally, they should be able to get where they want to go within one to three clicks. Include plenty of white space so buttons and links are easy to click on a smartphone. Takeaway: Make sure your site loads quickly—anything longer than two seconds is likely to drive millennials away.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT RIEVA LESONSKY

 

3. It’s inconsistent. Whether they’re using your mobile website, your desktop website or your mobile app, millennials expect a consistent look and feel throughout all channels. This generation expects to transition from one device to another without a hitch. In addition to consistent content and design, they want information they save or share on one device to be available on another, so they don’t have to reload a shopping cart or re-download a white paper when they switch from smartphone to desktop.


51914482_s.jpg4. It offers limited customer service. Millennials are used to customizing their experiences, so it’s no wonder more than three-fourths (77 percent) of them expect a wide variety of options for communicating with customer service representatives. While baby boomers may be content to pick up the phone and call you, 40 percent of millennials would prefer all customer service issues to be handled online. To keep this age group happy, your website should offer customer service by phone, email, chat or text. Don’t forget about FAQs; if you sell a complex product or service, consider adding a customer forum or knowledge base to the mix.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: WHY LOCAL SEO MATTERS MORE THAN EVER (AND 4 STEPS TO SUCCESS)

 

5. It doesn’t have enough information. Millennials may be efficient, but that doesn’t mean they’re content with getting minimal data. They carefully research every purchase, and if your website doesn't have the key information they want to decide, they’ll go elsewhere. To balance this need for data with millennials’ desire for simplicity, keep your design simple, but include links they can click through for additional product photos, videos, spec sheets, comparisons, white papers and more.


6. It’s siloed from social. Millennials rarely make purchasing decisions without finding out what others think, whether that’s their friends in the next cubicle or influencers on Instagram. Your website should be intimately tied to your company’s social media presence so millennial customers can see what others are saying about you and get input on their potential purchases. Link your social media presence to your website, and vice versa, to engage millennial customers with your business.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN,The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America,its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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