Lyndsay Phillips is the captain of content marketing with Smooth Sailing Business Growth, serving entrepreneurs who seek fast-paced business growth but realize they can’t do alone, do it all, and do it well.
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Teamworks – Lyndsay’s small business resource
No BS Ruthless Management of People – Lyndsay’s Top Business Book
Smooth Sailing Business Growth – Lyndsay’s website
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3 Value Bombs
1) Consistency wins on so many levels.
2) Set up your procedures and get systems in place right at the start of your business.
3) Niche down and do what you really love doing.
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(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[01:01] – Lyndsay lives in Ontario, Canada with her family
[01:30] – “Anything is possible when you’re an entrepreneur”
[01:46] – Lyndsay’s expertise is in helping entrepreneurs attract more clients faster with content marketing
[02:19] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: A lot of entrepreneurs get lost in hacks, but what’s really important is consistency. Having that content consistently affects how you proceed
[05:05] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Lyndsay’s business had tremendous growth as she started and her revenue spiked up, but she couldn’t keep up. She was overwhelmed, stressed out, and she realized the systems she put in place didn’t work anymore — it wasn’t scalable. At that time, she found herself sitting on the couch at 10:00 p.m., looking at her computer crying
[07:47] – “You need a team — you can’t do it on your own”
[08:00] – Have clear systems and procedures
[09:00] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Lyndsay’s business was formerly a general VA firm, which provided almost everything to her clients. At one point, Lyndsay just stopped and thought about what she really wanted to do and what she hated to do. She realized what she did well for her business was content marketing, so she niched down that path
[11:03] – “Don’t be afraid to niche down”
[12:17] – Think about what you love doing and do that
[15:24] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Fear”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Suck it up”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I am a control freak”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Teamworks
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – No BS Ruthless Management of People – “it really gave me some perspective ”
[20:18] – Content marketing is a huge strategy to gain clients
[21:14] – Get involved and have conversations with people
Lyndsay Phillips: You betcha baby!
John: Yes! Lyndsay is the captain of content marketing with Smooth Sailing Business Growth, serving entrepreneurs who seek fast-paced business growth but realize they can’t do it alone, do it all, and do it well. Lyndsay, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Lyndsay Phillips: Sure thing. I know, I’ve heard a few of your episodes and people have some good stories. I haven’t traveled the world; I haven’t lived in any exotic countries, or dove out of planes, or anything crazy like that. I live in a small town, a rural community in Ontario, Canada, married with two adorable kids, 8 and 12, and live a pretty simple life. It’s funny because I thought, growing up, or even in young adulthood, that a six-figure business, speaking on stage, being a guest on a podcast show, that it just – who am I? I’m just living in a small town with a couple little kids. But, you know, the truth is, anything is possible when you’re an entrepreneur. And, I’m a firm believer than if I can make that happen, then anyone can do it.
John: So Lyndsay, let’s do this. Before we dive into that story that you do have, what would you say today your area of expertise is? What do you specialize in?
Lyndsay Phillips: Sure. So, we help busy entrepreneurs attract more clients faster with content marketing. So, as you know, blogs, videos, obviously podcasts, social, email marketing. So, in a nutshell, we help strategize, we plan, we create, we publish, optimize, engage with the audience, and really analyze all that content and obviously course-correct when needed. So, yeah, everything content-marketing related.
John: Well, one thing that we don’t know content-related, that as entrepreneurs we probably should, what is that?
Lyndsay Phillips: I think it’s consistency. You know, a lot of entrepreneurs, I feel, get really lost in the weeds. You know, we wear so many hats: sales, worrying about your clients, finances, marketing, there’s so many things that as an entrepreneur you do. I think content marketing and social media; it often goes to the wayside. You know, “I’ll do that when I’ve done this project. I’ll get to it at the end of the week.” And all of a sudden, before you know it, you just haven’t posted that blog; you haven’t shared your social media, on a consistent level. I think a lot of them don’t realize that importance of having that content be really consistent.
I mean, it affects how you’re perceived. I always say this, maybe you’ve done the same thing too, John. If you’re looking for a painter, or someone to fix your computer, and you go to their website, and I always go to their Facebook page as well, and their Facebook page is all promo, or they haven’t even really posted anything on and off for the past couple months. I mean, my gut is like, “Are they even successful? Are they still around? Are they gonna support me if something goes wrong?”
So, those first impressions, those perceptions, are so huge, right? It affects your credibility, your level of trust, the relationships that you have, and it could make or break an opportunity. I know for me, when I hit that Facebook page and I see a page like that, I’m like, “I’m gonna find somebody else.” I bail and I move on. So, it’s pretty huge.
John: Fire Nation, consistency wins on so many different levels. I mean, everything that Lyndsay just said I don’t wanna echo that, so I’m gonna take a different tact here, which I think is equally important. With consistency, you just get better. You just get better at what you do as well. I mean, people come to me and say, “John, I’m not a good podcast host.” I say, “Well, how many episodes have you done?” “Oh, I haven’t started yet, but I’m nervous to start because I’m not good.” Well, of course you’re not good, how can you be good at something you’ve never done? I mean, go do 2,000 episodes and you’ll be pretty awesome at podcasting.
“John, I’m too scared to do webinars, I can’t do webinars.” “Well, how many have you done?” “Oh, I tried one.” Well, I’ve done 300 live webinars and I’m still improving every single one. So, Fire Nation, consistency wins for all of those reasons Lyndsay just shared, and then also because you simply get better at that thing that you’re doing consistently. That is just a fact.
Now, for you Lyndsay, you’ve had ups and downs in your entrepreneurial journey. I want you to take us to the worst entrepreneurial moment that you have experienced to date. Take us there, tell us that story.
Lyndsay Phillips: You bet. I mean, every business has its ups and down, right? And I know you’ve told this story before, where you’re starting out and things are not always peachy keen. Everyone’s got their own story and their own journey. It’s not all about freedom and wealth every day.
But, the biggest challenge that I had, was actually when I had an absolute flood of new business. I know that seems really weird, because you’re like, “What’s the problem? Who doesn’t want a flood of new business?” But, my business grew so fast. I mean, my revenue was spiking but I couldn’t keep up. I was freaking out. I was overwhelmed. I was stressed out. I had to grow my team from six to nine in a hurry. I realized that all of my systems and procedures that I had in place, that they weren’t working anymore. They weren’t scalable. I had to train all these new team members and manage the workflow, and I had to get that down pat pretty quickly. It was a huge lesson for me to force myself to look at my business in a different way, one where it was easier for me to not kill myself and burn the candles at both ends; But also, scale my business so that I could increase my revenue at a nice rate.
John: So, Lyndsay, that’s not a worst moment. That’s what’s one would call a difficult –
Lyndsay Phillips: I was stressed! Do you know how many times I cried?
John: Yeah, well, that’s where I’m going with this. That wasn’t your worst moment, that was a difficult transition. So, get vulnerable, take me to that point that you did stress out, that you were crying. What was that moment in time Lyndsay? Take us there.
Lyndsay Phillips: It was probably me, sitting on my couch at 10:00 at night, and my husband looking at me like, “You’re on the computer again?” And just – you know that feeling when you have so many things you need to do and you don’t know where to start, you just feel absolutely stuck? You know, feeling like things are slipping through the cracks or slipping through your fingers? I’m a control freak, so for me not to have control over a situation, I just panic inside.
Yeah, working to the bone at nighttime and dreaming, and sleeping, and eating work, wondering how I’m gonna get it all done. It’s not the kind of stress I wanna have again.
John: So, what was the biggest takeaway from that moment? Sitting on the couch, crying into your laptop as your husband’s like, “What the heck are you doing, Lyndsay?” What was the lesson learned that allowed you to get out of that funk, that our listeners, Fire Nation, who have, and will experience something like this, because this is a part of life, What can we take away?
Lyndsay Phillips: You need a team; you can’t just do it on your own. I relied on my team members to step up and be empowered on some of the projects that they were working on. But, the kicker for me, was having really clear systems and procedures so that you can scale your business. It’s time-consuming and it’s a pain-in-the-neck to do. But, it’s the short term pain for the long term gain. So that, when work does increase, or you do get that extra flood, boom. You’re set.
If you hire someone new on to take on extra projects, you’ve already got that system in place. You’ve already got those procedures. You’ve already got a smooth system to pave that way. It just, it made me do that in a hurry.
John: Short term pain for long term gain, Fire Nation. Look at the big picture. It’s a marathon that we’re on, not a sprint. Make it happen. Now Lyndsay, I’m not gonna let you off the hook with this next one if you get vague and broad on me, take us to one of the greatest ideas that you’ve had to date. Take us to that “Aha” moment specifically; tell us about that moment and how you turned it into success.
Lyndsay Phillips: Yeah, I mean, funnily enough, it was kinda around that time that I was getting that flood of new business. Now, I don’t know if you realize this or not, but my business used to be called Smooth Sailing Online Support, and I was kinda like a general VA firm. We did a lot of different things for clients, you know, customer service, admin, and obviously content marketing. I stopped and thought about what I’d like to do, and what I hated to do.
I was just hating all that admin stuff, doing quotes, customer support, I just was not loving it. And I’m like, “Well, why did I go into business in the first place? It’s not to do things that I don’t like, or work with clients that I don’t enjoy.” I kinda just took a step back and kinda realized what I was doing really well for my clients. I was doing really great things with content-marketing. They were getting greater conversions and more leads. And I don’t know, I just had this epiphany, that that is what I love to do. I was really full-on jazzed about it all. And I’m like, “Well, why am I doing all this stuff that I hate?” And someone even said to me, “Well, why don’t you just change it?” And I’m like, “Why don’t I?”
I was really afraid of niching down. I’m sure other businesses have gone through the same thing. You feel like you’re turning your business – turning clients, turning money away, if you take away some of the services that you’re offering. It was kind of a scary decision, but yeah, I just changed it so I’m obviously Smooth Sailing Business Growth, we changed it to a premier content-marketing agency instead. Honestly, as soon as I did that, and made that shift A) I was much happier to start with, and it was just so much easier for me to scale my business and it’s just – doors opened and I did get a flood of new clients because of it. So, don’t be afraid to niche down.
John: Fire Nation, there’s just a lot of things that are going off in my head about this. 1) When you first start off, you may have to be a yes-man or a yes-women to a lot of things because hey, you’re just trying to figure yourself out. You’re trying to find your place in the world. You’re trying to see what opportunities are out there. What might be behind that door, sometimes you just have to find out.
But, you also have to be realizing, you need to be evolving with that mentality. You have to learn, as you go forward, you start to find some level of success, you need to make sure that what you’re doing is a hell yes, or it’s a no. Because the problem is this, Fire Nation, everybody can be good at stuff. So, Lyndsay was probably good at a lot of things, but what was she great at? That’s where she was gonna thrive. She’s gonna be great at something that she enjoys doing.
So, Fire Nation, stop – you know when you’re in school trying to make that D into a C, because nobody cares about the C anyways, that’s average. Make your B+ into an A, or an A+. That’s where you’re gonna win as an entrepreneur, when you’re an A+. And your A+, in whatever it is you do, that one thing, you will win. You need to be great.
So, that’s my big takeaway Lyndsay, what do you wanna make sure Fire Nation gets from your story?
Lyndsay Phillips: Just to think about what it is that you love doing. I mean, especially being an entrepreneur, you have control over your path, your destiny, if you will. If you feel stuck doing the things that you don’t really wanna do because you feel like you have to, that to me is a mindset. You can totally flip that on a dime and do what you want. If you’re passionate enough about it, and you excel at that, then you will make it and success will follow. I totally believe that.
John: Fire Nation, Lyndsay’s been dropping value bombs. More coming in the Lightning Round when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Lyndsay, are you ready to rock the Lightning Round?
Lyndsay Phillips: Oh, for sure. Bring it on.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Lyndsay Phillips: Oh, I would say, and I know I am not alone in this, fear. I had two small kids, I was working two part-time jobs, making a whopping $14 an hour I might add, doing VA work in the side, and I saw potential. I loved doing that stuff on the side, and the VA work, and I was really pumped about the online world and social media.
But it was like, to give up a job that you have with a possibility when you’ve got two small kids to raise, I mean, that’s a scary thing. I continued to do all three jobs, and yeah, I totally remember burning the candles at both ends, and finally had to drive the boat, or walk off the plank, or you know, suck it up. But, I had to make that leap of faith. I quit the job and just sunk my teeth into it, did more networking, and just grew it organically, and have not looked back.
Now, actually, my husband is in my business with me and we have a team of 10. I surpassed my six-figure goal, and I love what I do. I love my staff, I love my clients, a lot of them are like friends to me. Sometimes, you just have to push that fear aside and just dive in.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Lyndsay Phillips: I would say, to suck it up. [Laughing] Which sounds horrible – I was having a profit seed on a boat with a mastermind group of mine, and I remember sitting there on the boat, and I was breaking down, and I was stressed out, that was during that time period where I was stressed about being overwhelmed. My coach pretty much said to me, “You have to suck it up, this is what you’ve been waiting for.” And it’s like, tough love, but it’s true. I had to buck it up, but I had to figure out how to create those better systems to scale more easily and allow my team to thrive and support me. But, sometimes you do kinda have to suck it up.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Lyndsay Phillips: I don’t know if it’s a good habit or a bad habit, but I am a control freak. You know, some people may wanna strangle me, including my husband, I’m sure –
John: Well, if it contributes to your success, then it’s probably a good habit, Lyndsay.
Lyndsay Phillips: There you go. In my personal life, it’s not so great, but when it comes to work, yeah. I mean, it’s funny, some of my clients call me Project Ninja, they call me the Taskmaster because I keep them on task. But honestly, I mean, managing a ton of different businesses, team members, projects, my own business, I have to be organized. It’s in my DNA.
John: Recommend one internet resource.
Lyndsay Phillips: God, there are so many. I’m such a tool-nerd, John. I love all online tools, tricks, I’m kind of, a little, obsessed. But, I would say the tool that I could not function without is Teamwork’s project management tools. I don’t know if a lot of people realize, but it’s actually got a Teamwork’s chat function in there, which is kinda like Slack, but between writers, designers, account managers, and podcast editors, it’s the only way that I can keep my procedures, my systems, in place. A lot of them are templated, it keeps us all accountable, and it keeps projects all on track. I would lose my mind if I didn’t have that.
John: Recommend one book, and share why.
Lyndsay Phillips: God, there’s so many books that I’ve read and so many books that are on my desk that are a nice hefty pile that I still need to read. But, one of them that sticks out in my mind is Dan Kennedy’s No BS Ruthless Management of People. So, it’s all about growing a team, working with other team members, and same with even working with clients. It just, especially during that crazy time, it really gave me some perspective and helped me to gain control over the situations, lead more effectively, you know – I always look to improve as well, right? Ensure that my team is happier, and motivated, it just creates that win-win. I mean, all of his books are awesome, but that one was really good.
John: Well, Lyndsay, I want to end Today on Fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance, sharing the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Lyndsay Phillips: For sure. So, to me content marketing is such a huge strategy to track new clients, create that trust, boost your expert status, build relationships with people, and I really think that it’s that relationships part that builds businesses more than anything. So, when you’re doing your blogs, or when you’re doing your videos, or podcast show, or your social media, don’t be afraid to inject your personality and your humor.
I mean, if you’re on my wall you’ll see lots of cats and Minions, and I let people know what I’m all about. Don’t be afraid to be you and authentic, you don’t have to be perfect and professional all the time. I definitely recommend getting involved with Facebook groups, direct messaging people, commenting on posts, just having conversations. It’s through that content and those relationships, and your consistency with all of that, that you can’t help but succeed.
John: And how can we find you?
Lyndsay Phillips: For sure. I would love it if people would find me at smoothbusinessgrowth.com. And, of course, I do have a great gift for your audience; it is my Social Media Roadmap. Again, because clients and entrepreneurs out there really have a hard time getting consistent with their social media content, this action template will help you be more consistent with your social media, less overwhelmed and more online exposure, which is what all what we want.
John: And where’s that at?
Lyndsay Phillips: That is at smoothbusinessgrowth.com/fire
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you’ve been hanging out with LP and JLD today. So, keep up the heat. Head over to EoFire.com, type Lyndsay, that’s L-Y-N-D-S-A-Y, in the search bar. Her show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz, timestamps, links galore. Of course, head directly to smoothbusinessgrowth.com/fire, because Lyndsay has an amazing gift waiting for you.
Lyndsay, I want to say thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Lyndsay Phillips: Thanks so much, John.
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