Align with your zone of genius. Do more of where you shine and show up your best regardless of whether that’s the ‘in’ or ‘right’ thing to do.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Meera Kothand. Meera is a certified email marketing strategist, educator, speaker and 3X Amazon best-selling author of The One Hour Content Plan, But I’m not an expert and Your First 100. Meera is also the founder of MeeraKothand.com, an award-winning website listed as the Top 100 sites for solopreneurs in 2017 and 2018. She has been featured on a variety of websites including Marketing Profs, YFS, Addicted 2 Success, etc. A native of Singapore, Meera transitioned out of a thriving corporate career as an accidental entrepreneur when her daughter was born and hasn’t looked back. Meera offers strategic, savvy advice for anyone looking to up their social media game and establishes their own expertise. Meera can be found at: http://meerakothand.com.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Some people say they always knew they wanted to be an entrepreneur. Well, that wasn’t me. No one in my family is an entrepreneur. Going to college, getting a degree, and getting a job was the norm. So I had plenty of self-doubts when I started my business at sub-zero in 2016.
I fell into it almost by accident because a health scare forced me to stay home. I was inspired to start a blog because of my love for everything marketing — email marketing in particular. No one knew I existed. I was not part of any mastermind groups nor did I have friends in the business. But this was a blessing in disguise because I didn’t come in with predefined notions of what I should be doing or what was right and wrong. I followed my instincts and the rest, as they say, is history.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’ve made a ton of mistakes. Sending the wrong email to the wrong audience segment, mixing up client time zones and tech errors. You may wish the ground would just swallow you up if you end up doing something wrong, but the feeling always passes. You’re always better and more confident the next time you show up. Always push yourself through the resistance you feel before trying anything new.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The comment I always get from clients and readers is, “I feel like you were here in the room having coffee with me as I was reading your email”
My clients or audience feel like they know me. And before I start working on anything — a piece of content or an offer — I always ask what’s my tilt in this? How is this going to be different from what’s out there?
These are the 2 things that have helped me the most in standing out. I strive to add my own voice to the existing literature out there.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I always have an exciting book idea that’s marinating in my head or in my notebook. I believe that access to good information shouldn’t always be stuck behind a $1000 paywall and I bring that across in each of my amazon books.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
That ‘tipping point” for me would be when I started to get comfortable in my own skin and enjoy the selling process. I was terrified of selling. I was afraid of coming across as sleazy or salesy. But selling doesn’t have to be that way at all if you understand your ideal customer, the core message behind your offers as well as the type of selling you’re comfortable with. And once you get comfortable with the selling process and enjoy it, that energy comes across to your ideal buyer as well. This is what I encourage all of my clients and students to do. Start observing the way others are selling. What are you comfortable with and what are you not? Then see how you can take that and tweak it to your own style.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Define your own version of success. In business and online marketing, we all have a predefined idea of what success is. And it often looks like huge office spaces and teams of 10. But that version of success doesn’t have to be your version of success. Be very clear about what success means to you to avoid burnout.
Most people are chasing internet money. There’s nothing wrong with money or wanting to earn a good living or wanting to monetize your business, but when you see every buyer or subscriber as a single sale or a single transaction, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to build an addictive business. Spend time on building relationships with your audience and buyers. With social media being saturated with ads and more people starting to use ad blockers, people will start to turn to reputed brands and content they trust. The brands that stand out and thrive are the ones that take a genuine interest in their audience.
How do you define “Marketing”? Can you explain what you mean?
Marketing is an ongoing relationship where you help someone consistently say yes to you. You help them choose YOU over someone else because of the way you or your brand makes them feel…because of the value you provide. That’s what good marketing should strive to do. People buy from a brand because of the way it makes them feel and the meanings attached to it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I was inspired by the ideas shared by Jeff Goins of goinswriter.com. His was the first ever blog I read and it made me embrace my zone of genius and steer me into launching my own blog.
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners?
This would be hands down any email marketing tool.
What are your “5 Non-Intuitive Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses”?
1. Strive for minimum viable
You don’t need more to make a good living.
I built my business on minimum viable. You don’t need to stack multiple funnels or have an entire library of content when you’re starting out. Focus on getting started and getting your work out there.
2. Work on staying top of mind
As marketers, we’re increasingly engaging with a far more aware and mature audience.
The buying process has never been messier and it’s incredibly difficult to predict when someone will buy from you. The businesses that win today are those that continue to stay top of mind
3. Have patience
It’s no longer about the quick bucks, likes or about wanting massive reach.
Those will not build a brand that people care about. A business that gets people addicted to its products and services and keeps them coming back to buy more is one that’s endlessly patient about strategy over quick tactics.
4. Align with your zone of genius
Do more of where you shine and show up your best regardless of whether that’s the ‘in’ or ‘right’ thing to do.
I ignored the stats that told me I should be doing more video — so I doubled down on my blog and email list.
I defied the advice that I should be doing premium courses — so I went ahead to self-publish my first $2.99 book and now self-publishing is a full-time income by itself.
Always craft a business model that’s aligned with your zone of genius.
5. Content in NEVER the end game.
Content is always a means to an end. You need to create content with specific goals in mind. That goal could be to sell your products and services, to establish thought leadership or to inspire and empower. Each goal has to lead back to this larger vision of what you want your business to do for you. It’s not about creating more content but intentional content pieces that serve your business.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would inspire a movement to encourage more people to fund female small businesses, especially in developing countries because women really are an untapped economic force and hold the keys to uplifting not just their families but the community as a whole.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
It’s a quote by Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter: “Timing, perseverance and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” Most of the businesses that seem to have come out of nowhere have actually been hard at work for years. This quote is a constant reminder to me that building a business is a marathon, not a sprint.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you for all of these great insights!