Episode 35: Laurie Conrod
Entrepreneur Conundrum Podcast
EC 01 | 4min
About The Guest
Today I’m talking with Laurie Conrod about how she helps businesses scale and grow through attracting ideal clients.
Laurie spent twenty five years in corporate America in I.T. and left the rat race in 2007 to start a consulting business from home so she could spend more time with her family.
She grew her business by networking referrals and tables at events because she didn’t know how online marketing even existed.
By 2012, she knew there had to be a way to leverage the Internet for lead generation and sales. And since then, she has used social media advertising to grow her business.
She founded the Online Entrepreneur Club to teach entrepreneurs the magic she was using to attract ideal clients from the Internet.
This was a major career change after 50 and into a space where most Internet marketers are in their twenties and thirties.
Virginia [00:00:01] Welcome to Entrepreneur Conundrum with Virginia Purnell. Where growing entrepreneurs share how they get visible online.
Virginia [00:00:09] Hi, everyone. Today I’m talking with Laurie Conrod about how she helps businesses scale and grow through attracting ideal clients. Laurie spent twenty five years in corporate America in I.T. and left the rat race in 2007 to start a consulting business from home so she could spend more time with her family. She grew her business by networking referrals and tables at events because she didn’t know how online marketing even existed. By 2012, she knew there had to be a way to leverage the Internet for lead generation and sales. And since then, she has used social media advertising to grow her business. She founded the Online Entrepreneur Club to teach entrepreneurs the magic she was using to attract ideal clients from the Internet. This was a major career change after 50 and into a space where most Internet marketers are in their twenties and thirties. Welcome, Laurie.
Laurie [00:00:58] Thank you. Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.
Virginia [00:01:02] Thanks I’m excited for you to be here today. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and kind of what inspired you to be an entrepreneur do this dream?
Laurie [00:01:14] It never occurred to me to have my own business growing up. I was you know, I was encouraged by my parents to go to college, get a good job with a big company and, you know, do the 40 year thing and retire. And all of that changed in the late 80s. I was I was actually very happy doing that. I worked for a really large insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut. But in the late 80s, all of a sudden, the real estate market dropped out and they started laying people off. And that was pretty much unheard of before then, like totally unheard of. If someone wasn’t doing well in a position, they would just move someone to a different department or a different job. They didn’t fire people. They didn’t lay people off. And so everything changed. And I don’t think any nothing’s ever been the same since I stayed in corporate another. Till 2000 and, you know, I was just done with having new bosses every six months, the direction changing, you didn’t know if you were coming or going. You had to do two people’s jobs because they wouldn’t hire more people. It was just, you know, just went on for a really long time. And so I decided, that’s it. I want to be my own boss. And so in 2007, I decided to leave corporate and start my own consulting firm out of the house. And 2007, I wasn’t even on Facebook. I was too busy raising two kids and worrying about them. And so I just grew my consulting business the traditional way. You know, you just talk to people. You joined networking groups. I think I joined B and I. I did tables at events traditional, you know, getting referrals, things like that. And then right around 2010, I knew I was going to have to start paying for college. And that’s really what woke me up was that I needed to make more money. And a woman approached me about network marketing, which I had never done before, and I didn’t really know anything about it. And I thought I could sell that product because I could still do it on my own schedule, be my own boss. And, you know, there was an opportunity to make exponential money, that kind of thing. So I did that for about a year, year and a half, and they still taught us the same thing, you know, talk to people, show a presentation, you know, belly to belly networking and all that. And by that time, 2011, 2012 rolled around. I had been using social media. I was on Facebook. I was seeing the power of the Internet and how you could reach people just sitting at your laptop rather than chasing people around driving in your car. And and that’s when I decided I made a decision. I said I have to learn how to do this.
Laurie [00:04:17] And I was lucky enough to get an email saying there was an online training coming out to teach you how to attract your ideal clients on the Internet. And that was the beginning of everything. And that’s when I really started. Well, I committed to learning online marketing because I didn’t like prospecting anyway. I felt like I was bugging people and the idea of having interested people come to me was exactly what I wanted. And so that’s what I learned how to do. I you know, I hired coaches to teach me how to do it. It’s not something you can really go to college for, certainly not back then. And so I started selling other people’s stuff, which is called affiliate marketing, kind of I took a I walked away from network marketing. I said that’s, you know, just not my not my thing. So I went did more affiliate marketing, mostly for high ticket, because it’s a lot easier to advertise when you’re selling high ticket items than low ticket items. You have more runway, you know, to do your advertising with. And then once I became successful at that, I started the online entrepreneur club and I started coaching people how to learn how to do the same thing because. It’s you know, it’s the 21st century way of marketing is on the Internet and ordinary entrepreneurs can afford to do it because you can run advertising on a budget, you don’t have to have a huge budget like with TV or radio or print, you know, kind of traditional methods. And is it good to have a good, healthy marketing budget online? Sure it is. But people can be successful with very small budgets also.
Virginia [00:06:15] That’s cool.
Virginia [00:06:16] I think that’s one thing, too, that we need to remember is exactly how much your non-online marketing actually is.
Laurie [00:06:27] How much mine is?
Virginia [00:06:29] No, how much online marketing, like offline, like the traditional sense of marketing, as you mentioned, the radio and the billboard and the TV.
Virginia [00:06:39] I think a lot of people in the online space aren’t aware of how much that costs. And then they’re like like you want me to spend a lot on advertising in here, like, well, actually it’s not that much.
Laurie [00:06:50] Right, right. A good example is I’ve helped a lot of real estate agents and direct mail is kind of a traditional offline marketing method for real estate agents, for other people, too, but. You can you know, a direct mail piece is usually around 50 cents, if you want to send that postcard to a thousand homes, it’ll cost five hundred dollars. But you can get thousands and thousands and thousands of views on Facebook or Instagram for a video for like ten or fifty dollars. And so you can get a lot of visibility, a lot more exposure online than with, you know, traditional marketing methods.
Virginia [00:07:39] Thank you for that example. What do you like most about the work that you do now?
Laurie [00:07:48] I think what really drew me to it is that I can do it from home and work around my schedule and reach and have people reaching out to me, that’s really what drew me to it. And that’s what I like best about it. I don’t like prospecting people. I’m not a huge fan of going to networking events. I find that most people, many people that go to networking events are. They don’t always have the right intentions or the right mindset about just getting to know who people are, to see if they’re a good person to work with, they’re just trying to grab business. And so I, I kind of stay away from that kind of stuff. So I like that you can set up a system online so that you’re building that know, like, and trust. And then when people are ready, they reach out to you.
Laurie [00:08:46] And they’re already warmed up.
Virginia [00:08:49] Takes a lot more of the grunt work off for you.
Laurie [00:08:53] Yeah, because, you know, there’s work involved, you know, when we talk about content marketing and putting out posts on social media and things like that. Is that work? Sure it is. You know, it takes some time to do it and everything, but you need to look at it. People need to look at it like putting deposits in the bank. And it will earn interest over time. When you put a post on YouTube or a video on YouTube or a video on Facebook, and you have to look at it like real estate, it stays there and it can generate leads and generate business for you years from now because it doesn’t go away. It’s out there. I like that.
Virginia [00:09:41] Thinking about it, like thinking about it like that. I never really thought of it like that.
Laurie [00:09:46] Yeah, a lot of it is thinking differently, you know, and that’s just because it’s a new medium. It’s not really new. It’s been around since the late 90s. But like I didn’t discover online until 2012, really for my business. And so it’s only been eight years, you know, that I’ve been doing online marketing and online advertising. And it’s never too late for somebody to start. If they’re new at what they’re doing, they can start today and still be very, very successful. Is it a lot more crowded than it used to be? Yes, but that’s OK. You know, it just means the cream rises to the top and you have to just follow the best practices of giving value so that then people will be attracted to you.
Virginia [00:10:39] That’s one of the mistakes that your clients making, like the common mistake is just not providing enough value. Yes.
Laurie [00:10:48] Yeah, I can say it all day long, but it’s actually is a small percentage of people that will actually do it. They’ll find other ways to be busy or, you know, they’ll put a post on their page once and then not do anything again for weeks. You have to be consistent. And it’s a really, really actually simple Formula One, really simple formula for getting a lot of visibility online and growing a reputation and growing an audience. And exposure is to just do a decent piece of content once a week and then run ads to that content so that thousands and thousands of people can see it and then come up with another new piece of content a week later. You know, you don’t you do not have to post three to five times a day like they used to always tell us in the beginning of, you know, when I got on social media, oh, you have to post three, three to five times a day, you know, to stay. Well, everything has changed now because now there’s really no organic reach, very, very little on Facebook and Instagram. Probably the only place you get good organic reach anymore is LinkedIn, but it’s pay to play on most social platforms. Now, if you want people to see your content, you have to run ads so that they will push your content out to the audience that you want to see it. And that’s OK, because you can still create good content and run ads for a small budget on a consistent basis. And within 90 days, people will know who you are if not less. You know, it kind of depends. But if you especially if you’re in a local area, if you’re a brick and mortar entrepreneur or a real estate agent, and you’re really only worried about, you know, the people in a 20 mile radius of you or even ten mile radius of you, you can be in their news feed consistently with a small budget and get a lot of visibility.
Virginia [00:13:04] So, true.
Virginia [00:13:06] So who are your ideal clients?
Laurie [00:13:11] My ideal client is one is an entrepreneur who actually understands how important marketing is and that they need to have a consistent, committed marketing budget to reach their goals. That’s the biggest mistake that I see that entrepreneurs make, is they do not understand how important marketing is. Marketing is everything, because if people cannot find you or see you, they cannot buy from you. And my mentor used to say, what did he say it was? Without leads, you have a dream, but with leads, you have a path to success. And so if you’re not getting that exposure, if you’re not getting leads, if you’re not having people interested in what you have, you don’t have a business. You just have a dream. And so many entrepreneurs say, well, I don’t have the money for that. I had one guy I talked to as he was opening a new restaurant. So he spent. Oodles of money on pots and pans and rent and, you know, ovens and all that kind of stuff, and he had left no budget for marketing. And so how are you going to grow a restaurant if you can’t get your message out there that you’re there and that I mean it doesn’t make sense. And so the value of your marketing budget is like gold and it should be looked at as if it’s you know, you have to have a car. So you have a car payment. If you’re an entrepreneur, you have to have a marketing budget.
Laurie [00:15:03] And you have to have a marketing payment.
Virginia [00:15:05] That doesn’t work, like if you build it or open it, they will come.
Laurie [00:15:10] Exactly, yeah. Mm hmm.
Virginia [00:15:13] How do your ideal clients find you like career? You do that once a week posting and run ads to it that way.
Laurie [00:15:23] Over the in the beginning, I used to do much more than I do now. And so I’ll just confess on that. I don’t I don’t do as much social media marketing because the model that I have used. When I really started in 13 and 14 was doing webinars and so I run ads and I run ads to a free training, depending on who my target market is, a free training for that target market. And then at the end of the webinar and at the end of the training, I either invite people to fill out an application to work with me or I sell something specific, like one of my trainings. So it’s always been Facebook ad or Instagram at some kind of ad to a webinar to take the next step. And that’s how I’ve built my business is on webinars. And the reason I do it that way is because my mentor said, you know, it’s going to be the it’s good. It’s the fastest way to let people get to know I can trust you. You know, there’s other ways to attract people than webinars. You know, you could offer an ebook or a PDF or a check or checklist or something. And those are those work also. But when someone registers for a webinar, they usually give a real email address, not a fake one. And people do show up. They are very interested. And so that’s been my primary source of attracting my ideal customers is going to the effort actually of, you know, giving that free training because it shows people.
Laurie [00:17:11] I know what I’m talking about and that I’ve gotten results. I’ve helped other people get results. And so you build that trust in a very short period of time. But there’s lots of good ways, you know, there’s lots of good ways to attract fragile clients and there’s different ways that work for everyone. Yeah, I mean, some people are good at doing webinars and other people aren’t. You know, maybe other people are good at doing podcasts, you know, and interviewing people. And that’s another great way to attract ideal clients. Right. And so some of it is just the entrepreneur’s desire and what they like to do and what they’re good at. You know, if someone I’ve known, people who just do YouTube videos constantly and attract their ideal clients that way, you know, they don’t do webinars, they just do YouTube videos. So, you know, other people blog and they attract their clients that way. It just it just depends. Like, I don’t like to write. I can talk all day, but I don’t like to write. So I’m not a blogger.
Virginia [00:18:25] So I’m just going to switch gears on it for a little bit here. What goals are you looking to achieve over the next one?
Laurie [00:18:33] I’ve actually been involved in some not I don’t know what’s involved is the right word, but I discovered some software a couple of years ago that helps people manage their stock portfolios by managing the risk of their stock portfolio and avoiding all of the hidden and not so hidden fees that most investors are paying that they don’t realize that they’re paying. And so there’s an opportunity for me to affiliate market that software product. And so I might be focusing on that. There’s I’m also probably going to be investing in the company because I think they’re going to have a massive impact on the, you know, the financial world for the ordinary investor and, you know, ordinary investor, anybody who’s got at least ten thousand dollars to invest up to, you know, millions, everybody’s different. But that is kind of an exciting thing for me to get involved in because I feel like I can really help people change and improve their returns on what they’re investing. A lot of people don’t realize that mutual funds have massive hidden fees and that a lot of and so many people are in mutual funds. There’s different there’s a new paradigm, a new model using A.I. and algorithms that helps manage that risk. And so that you end up making more money over time.
Laurie [00:20:27] Like, for example, when the market dropped out in March because of covid, my portfolio only lost three percent when the market lost thirty three percent. And it’s because the algorithm got me into cash, sold the stocks got me into cash, the market dived, and then when it goes on its way back up, you have the opportunity to get back in if you want to. So it’s very cool and exciting. And it’s been around several years now. And so I think I’m going to be focusing on that a bit. I still have my you know, my clients that want to increase their businesses and by learning online marketing and implementing online marketing.
Laurie [00:21:15] But that’s kind of a new fun thing that I’m going to focus on.
Virginia [00:21:18] Would that goal and focus on your business at all.
Laurie [00:21:22] No, it’ll just be something I do. In addition.
Virginia [00:21:25] Do you think there’s any roadblocks that you have that might be stopping you moving forward that way… With that goal. With the stock market aspect?
Laurie [00:21:36] No, there’s not really any roadblocks. There’s just educating myself enough so that I can put on a coherent webinar or whichever way I decide to do it to get the message out so that it makes sense to people. I mean, that’s always the homework that any entrepreneur has to do, even if it’s there, if it’s their own product. We have to make sure that we’re addressing the pain points and the problems so that we can show what the solution is and that the solution is a good one.
Virginia [00:22:10] Yes, we really have to know who. Another pain point. Mm hmm. Yeah. What’s your best advice?
Laurie [00:22:19] I think the best advice I’ve ever received is what I mentioned earlier. If you have to focus on getting leads for your business, so many people get stuck in, you know, figuring out a logo or in a header image on your Facebook page or what am I going to call my business and all these things. What’s more important is just getting leads, getting leads so that you can make sales and you actually have a real business. So focusing on lead generation, focusing on lead generation and not skimping on your marketing budget. Best advice for me, right?
Virginia [00:23:05] It’s great advice, what’s the best advice you’ve ever given or do they kind of tie in together?
Laurie [00:23:13] They really do tie in together. There’s a really great quote. I don’t have it in front of me, but I say it all the time. It was in a Forbes article in 2016 about what the 10 things that make entrepreneurs fail. And that was one of them, you know, skimping on the marketing budget. When the money gets tight, it doesn’t matter how much you polish your shiny object that you sell or make it look good or whatever. If you skimp on your marketing, people can’t buy because they don’t know that you’re there, you know, you’re just invisible. And so making sure that you make yourself visible. And if and if you want to go to the effort to to, you know, complete actions that will give you that visibility that don’t cost advertising dollars, that’s fine. But you’ve got to get it out there. And the mistake is thinking that, you know, time costs money whether you use your time or you take money and put it into advertising. Your time costs money, too. And so that’s a really important factor also that if you’re going to go out and network all day long, you know, eight hours a day, five days a week, that that costs you money to do that. It costs you money to build your business slower than faster because the opportunity cost of the income that you did not make is something that people don’t take into account either. If I can grow my business with a marketing budget in three months rather than just pounding the pavement for six to nine months, you’re going to be ahead because you made the investment in the advertising.
Virginia [00:25:00] I like how you worded it that way and like, you know, like make us think about it in that regard.
Laurie [00:25:07] Yeah, thanks, I think that was from Zig Ziggler, I got that he you can look it up. He talks about the difference between price and cost. You know, when people talk to me about how much it’s going to cost them to work with me, you know, as a coaching client or, you know, with the prices, his example was, well, you can buy a used bike and the cost is going to be, you know, less than half of a new one. But if over time, you know, three months later your bike is broken, you need to buy new tires, you need to buy a new chain, you know, and all that. And you find out you ended up it ended up costing you twice as much as if you had bought the new bike. So people need to really be aware of penny pinching the wrong things. You know, we learned so much from people like Zig and and other, you know, very successful people. You just follow their breadcrumbs, follow their clues
Virginia [00:26:08] I like what you said there. I, I think I need to start implementing that when I talk to prospective clients and stuff.
Laurie [00:26:16] Yes, because they need to address the cost of not working with you, you know, if they don’t make a decision to get the help they need, what’s it going to cost to do it themselves and be out there floundering on their own? I also equate I always equate it to like, you know, if my plumbing breaks, I don’t try to fix it myself. I have somebody who is an expert, fix it or help me fix it. I’m not going to try to do it on my own if I don’t have the skills.
Virginia [00:26:49] You’re not going to get anything that you would like to say that I haven’t.
Laurie [00:26:55] Oh, there was one other topic that we didn’t talk about. The I just want to throw out there for everyone, and that is monetizing your expertize. You know, marketing is one skill that you should at least have a good understanding of as an entrepreneur. And today, even if you hire someone to do your online marketing for you, you should have a good understanding of how social media advertising works and why it works and how it works so that you can hire people that will do a good job so that marketing is really important. But another thing that entrepreneurs can do is money, you know, package up their skills and sell them. And so you got to learn the marketing first so that you know how to market anything, because once you know online marketing, you can market anything does it could be a physical product, a digital product, whatever. You know, your local pizza restaurant, if you own a restaurant, anybody can package up and some expertize that they have and digitize it and sell it. And I just want to encourage people listening that you can do that. I don’t care what your occupation is. You’ve got a skill that other people will pay for if they don’t know how to do what you know how to do for.
Virginia [00:28:20] And I appreciate your being on here with us today.
Laurie [00:28:23] Yeah, thanks for having me.
Virginia [00:28:26] How can people find out more about you and what you do?
Laurie [00:28:29] My website is Laurie Conrod Dotcom, and I’m sure the spelling will be, you know, somewhere around this podcast. And the last…Laurie Conrod Dotcom. And my company is Freedom Digital Marketing Inc. So I have Freedom Digital Marketing Inc.com also and you’ll find me on Facebook and Instagram. Like I said before, in the beginning of my career, I spent more time putting content on social media. I don’t as much as I used to, but that doesn’t mean I’m not active because I’m out there. I do my webinars and that’s usually how I connect with people mostly. So you’ll find me on the Internet.
Virginia [00:29:17] Thank you so much for joining us today.
Laurie [00:29:20] Thank you.
Virginia [00:29:23] Have a great day.
Laurie [00:29:24] You, too.
Virginia [00:29:33] Thank you so much for joining us today. Be sure to subscribe and leave some, leave through a review and I’ll catch you on the next episode.
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Virginia lives in Northern Alberta on a small farm with her husband and three children.
Virginia is a master funnel builder having been certified as an FG Society Master Marketer, Funnelytics, and ClickFunnels Certified Partner.
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