Offerer of Business and Marketing Insight, Nicole Royer has spent the past decade and a half helping hundreds of new and growing businesses find success in their business and marketing strategies.
1)How did you get started working from home?
I got started working from home shortly after my son was born. I had my own business for a few years, and previously worked out of a spare office at a local company. When I returned to work, it just made sense to run my business from home.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
I fell into marketing and business consulting when I was finishing college. I was working in architecture as a marketing and project assistant, when a pair of local business owners and investors approached me about helping manage some risky investments they made. They wanted to me to analyze their business practices and offer solutions. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but the analysis and advice allowed the businesses to go from red to black and increase their profits by $1.5 million in just a year. It was a lot of fun for me, so I stuck with it. I never would have considered consulting and creating business strategies as a career without that experience.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
In order to get started, I read everything I could get my hands on, and talked to every business owner who would give me time. When I moved my office into my home, I set up in an unused corner of my dining room. I set up a desk, a computer, a printer, and a filing cabinet – no frills – but found it easier to spread across the dining room table most days.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
Connections and referrals were the way I got my first client. I talked to everyone, toured every business I could, and asked to observe employees working in order to gain a better understanding of how different companies function. I also dug in deep to learn sales. Then I asked my contacts for any leads of any businesses that needed help with strategy, and I got two clients right away. Those two clients sustained my entire company for the first 6 years.
5) How do you market your business?
I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn marketing my business. It’s my main go-to for reaching out to potential clients, and connecting to interesting businesses. Besides that, I do a lot of local networking and outreach, manage different social media platforms, write a lot of blog posts and guest articles, and run as many events (both online and in-person) as I can.
6) What does your usual day look like?
My usual day typically starts with a lot of coffee and checking in to my Evernote account. My entire company, as well as all of my client work, programs, courses, and notes are stored there, and my entire staff and clients use the program to communicate with each other. Since my staff is entirely remote, I start most days with a daily or weekly recap and some motivation. Then I check and reply to email (and forward anything important into Evernote), and then I take time for doing some brainstorming or creative work.. Creating something (even if it’s not business-related) first thing in the day really sets the tone for creating solutions. Each person in my company has time in their schedule for creativity each day. I typically dive into business development and networking after, then tackle client project work. I typically take a mid-morning break and get as far away as my desk as possible (taking a walk around the block when it’s nice enough outside), then work on writing articles and blog posts, creating resources and courses for my clients, and making phone calls. I try as often as possible to get away from my desk for lunch, and try to eat something that isn’t fast food (but it still happens sometimes). After lunch, I balance client meetings and more business development. I’ll typically check my email one more time for the day around mid-afternoon, and clear out anything that’s completed. At the end of the day, I make sure my next day is planned so that I’m ready to get started the next morning.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
My biggest failure came from not continuing enough outreach after I started getting clients. I was lucky enough to have sustainable clients right away, but that lack of reaching out meant that when the economy tanked and those project dried up, I had no leads or prospects. Now, I try to keep my pole in many ponds – I reach out to as many people as I can and try to schedule projects ahead of time in order to create a sustainable business. I’ve built a strong enough network that I don’t have to dig around for projects or take projects that aren’t the best fit for my team.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
The best advice for working from home is to understand your energy. If you are more focused in the morning, then do your most important work at that time. If you know you have a mid-afternoon lull, then use that for filing, checking and responding to email, or doing work that’s a little more low-level. If you hit max productivity on Tuesday, then you don’t want to schedule client calls that day, you want to do work that adds to your bottom line instead. Managing and fitting working to fit your energy helps you to stay productive and reduces burn out.
Website: Start-Up with Nicole
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LinkedIn: Nicole Royer
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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