I received a tweet form one of my Twitter friends asking for advice on how to help her social media business make money. Here are some of my thoughts.

Here are two screen shots that I received from Jenn @1awesome_mama. She wanted to know how I got started and how I am growing my business so it is making money:

Twitter question regarding business

Jenn further tweeted this post:

Twitter answer to question posted by Jeff Brown

I have been pondering Jenn’s question for a week now. I even met with my business coach to discuss this very question. But let’s start at the beginning of Jenn’s questions.

My business began form a SEB (Self Employment Benefits) program. For about 1 year, I received a variety of business training. From accounting, legal, marketing, and everything a business should know when starting out.

When I first started out, I had to make the right connections to influential people and businesses. I was already connected with my Regional Development Agency, CoRDA; since they were running the program. It was here that I started making the right connections for business.

I became an AWENS (Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia) instructor and was introduced to Workplace Education in Nova Scotia. I just became a certified trainer with AWENS after 3 years of training with them. Workplace Education connected me with the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

As a workplace educator, I began to connect and work with many types of businesses. It was here that much of my social media training occurred. The more I taught, the more recognition I received for my work. Alpha Computer began to be a buzz word in Nova Scotia business.

When I joined my local Chamber of Commerce, I met Alan Johnson. He eventually recommended me to the Nova Scotia Business Journal, where I was recognized as one of the top ten business start ups in Nova Scotia. This was good for business. The following year, I was nominated for the RBC Small Business of the Year Award and I received an award as a finalist (top 3).

My hard work with business was getting me a good name out in the business world. I even met a woman who said she hated me (she was joking of course). She told me that she was sick of hearing my name mentioned 2 to 3 times a day for the last three weeks. I was generating great buzz.

My web site and blogs has been great for generating business. I often get people telling me that they looked at my web site and called me because of how it looked and the content. Along with the help from my social media activities, my web site and blog ranked first page Google in Nova Scotia. Type “social media training Halifax”, “social media training Dartmouth” or “socail media training Nova Scotia” and see the results. Being first page on Google helped me get business.

I have tried ads in the Paper, on radio and other avenues. They have not produced much business for me. My social media has brought me more business. I believe that at the end of every social media connection, there should be a face to face meeting. When I get face to face with people, I am great at getting business.

My social media presence has provided me opportunities to speak as well. I always generate business when I speak. People see that I make social media understandable for them. I help them get the “Why” of social media.

I am an outgoing type of person and I chat with everyone. I always try to make their day better because they have bumped in to me. Remember the old saying…”People like to do business with people they like”. I realized that if I stayed in my office and waited for the phone to ring, I would be wasting my time. I go out, and expect opportunity to happen.

As a teacher/trainer, I help people and businesses see what others cannot show them. That’s my gift. I have ideas just drop into my head that can be applied to business situations.

This brings me to Jenn’s final comment about doing free work. I have been guilty of doing this more than I should as well. My business coach called me a “Prostitute” and then I got it. She made me commit to doing no free work for 6 months. After that, once I have built my business up further, I can help some with pro bono work.

When you do a lot of work for free, you prostitute yourself and devalue yourself and your business. One answer to a question is OK at times, but the free stuff has to stop if you want to be considered as a real business. This can be a painful process to abandon, but it is needed.

You also have to set a fee that works for you and the customer. Some people will not be able to afford you. Some business opportunities, you will have to bite your tongue and walk away. After all, you have studied hard, trained long hours and that is worth something.

I hope this answers Jenn’s questions and helps you understand your business better if you are struggling. I want you to do well and represent social media in a professional business manner. I am in your corner, wishing you great success.