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Insights - Oct 26, 2017

Spotlight: Erin Blaskie, L-SPARK

This digital marketing expert shares social media insights

Tell us about yourself and your passion for the small business community.

I’ve been in the small business space since 2004 – the year I started my first company, a virtual assistance business called Business Services, ETC (I wasn’t very good at branding back then…) For the past thirteen years, I’ve spent every waking moment immersed in tech, startups and small business. For me, this space of creation is the best place to be. Seeing an idea come to life, grow wings and soar is one of my most favourite things to experience.

Over the past two years, I’ve been fortunate to work with some incredible organizations who also focus on the business and tech community, which has only deepened my love for this space. With the Kanata North Business Association, I spent my time interviewing people in the tech community and sharing their stories. With L-SPARK, a SaaS accelerator based in Kanata North, I told stories of founders and interviewed thought leaders for our Voice of the North publication.

Telling the stories of others, specifically in the tech and business space, allows me to continue to be inspired every single day.

What is the most rewarding part about being an entrepreneur? What keeps you passionate and driven to succeed?

The most rewarding part about being an entrepreneur is being able to share your ideas, insight and excitement with other people. I love waking up every day and being able to do great work that has meaning. Whether I’m helping a client make sense of the digital space so he/she can generate more revenue or I’m crafting up a story that will help to inspire a student to someday become an entrepreneur, I find myself reveling in pure joy.

In terms of what keeps me passionate and driven… I think it all boils down to people. I love being helpful. I love being able to make something happen for someone that looked impossible at the onset. I love being a role model for my beautiful, six-year old daughter. I’ve been able to help family and friends build businesses of their own, I’ve created million dollar businesses for my small business clients and I’ve found myself working with incredible people who inspire and humble me daily.

I’ve always said that being an entrepreneur is the best way to learn more about yourself and the world. The experiences, the relationship building, the problem-solving… it all lends itself so well to the art of self-discovery.

If you’re willing to stay curious and open, entrepreneurship can be extremely rewarding.

We know digital marketing can be a true key to success to developing and continuing to grow a business. For you, what are some key social media platforms or tools you suggest for small business owners?

There are a handful of tools that I use religiously but before I share what those are, let me start by saying – start simply. In today’s busy digital landscape, it’s easy to get caught up with the latest tool or the software with the most bells and whistles but sometimes all you need is the right tool to get a specific job done. So, if you find yourself getting distracted by the tremendous number of options, remember that you can also choose to go very, very basic.

That said, the tools that I use daily are:

  • MailChimp – I have clients on ConvertKit, Infusionsoft, etc. but for me and my 10K person list, I prefer to stick to MailChimp to send out my e-mail newsletters. It’s simple, it does exactly what I need and it’s so incredibly frictionless that I don’t get hung up on the tech when trying to communicate out my message.
  • Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – those are my top three platforms with LinkedIn quickly become a strong contender for a third-place tie. The thing to remember is that being immersed in digital marketing doesn’t mean grabbing an account on every platform. The real success is figuring out where you need to be and doubling down on that.
  • MeetEdgar – I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this tool. It’s an automated scheduling tool for social media that reuses your best updates to auto-populate your accounts on a schedule that you set. While you may be running for the hills with terms like automated and auto-populate, this tool has helped me to stay engaged with my audience even when I have to put my head down and get to work.

To close, I also love simple Google Doc spreadsheets. I use them to track everything and for me, a simple spreadsheet does the trick. I use it to track followers, the success of shared posts, etc. so that I don’t have to login to yet another fancy tool with too many options – I can simply get what I need and keep my finger on the pulse of the business.

What advice do you have for aspiring and prospering business owners when it comes to taking their business to the next level?

Try everything and don’t be afraid to take risks. The one thing I wish I had learned far earlier was that you won’t know if you don’t try. You need to be able to trust your gut, jump on a whim and trust that you’ll land softly even if you don’t land in the same spot that you thought you might.

The journey of entrepreneurship and business ownership can be grueling, lonely, stress-inducing and filled with fear if you let it but if you work on changing your mindset, you can see those things as positives. Lessons to be learned, for example, or opportunities to solve problems and grow your resilience.

I’d love to see more people take this road and see where they end up. Most of the fun is in traveling without a clear-cut destination.


Click here to RSVP to the upcoming Small Business Centre event with Erin Blaskie!

Save your seat at the FREE Orleans Rogers Small Business Centre event, and meet Erin Blaskie and other entrepreneurs in your community!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Rogers Small Business Centre (Cumberland Store)
1675 10th Line Rd
Orleans, ON - K1E 3P6

RSVP here.