Digital Chatter Episode #017: Tara Wilder
Eric Sharpe: Hello and welcome everyone to another episode of Digital Chatter. I’m your host, Eric Sharpe. And today I am with the effervescent Tara Wilder, who is the Founder and Online Marketing Strategist of Envivo. Welcome Tara.
Tara Wilder: Thank you so much for having me, my friend. Eric, how are you today?
Eric Sharpe: I’m doing well. So if you couldn’t tell Tara and I are friends. Actually we’ve done some work together and I figured it was about darn time I had her on my show.
Tara Wilder: Yeah, it’s about time.
Eric Sharpe: It’s about darn time. So, Tara, I, you know, I want to start everyone off as usual with, tell us how did you get into business, into owning your own business?
Tara Wilder: I was naive is the short answer. So, let’s see. Where shall I start? So I, when I went to college, I went to college to get a degree in psychology and my intention was to become a graphic.. no not a graphic designer. To go on to get my phd in clinical psychology, become a psychologist. Halfway through I decided, you know, I don’t feel like talking to people all day cause that’s basically what it is. And it was actually a lot more than just that. But I realized that psychology was just not the industry that I wanted to go into. So I decided to just finish that up, finish up that degree, get married to my high school sweetheart. And I tried to find jobs both in psychology and in web design and.. Because web design, I’ve been doing it since I was 12 years old. Really, really like it.
Tara Wilder: So, but I couldn’t find jobs in either area and I was neither under nor overqualified for any of these positions. I had the hardest time finding a job in one of those fields. So I applied to one retail position. I thought it was a sales position. I got hired. Turns out I was a cashier. So I run around saying I was a cashier with a bachelor’s degree and I’m still bitter about it to this day. So I decided to take life into my own hands. I, so I took the job because we were broke newlyweds and needed money. Right.
Eric Sharpe: Yeah. You gotta get the money in the door, right?
Tara Wilder: Yes. Yeah. So I mean, I wasn’t prideful about it. But I tried to move up in the company, didn’t work out very well, so I decided to start a freelance web design company. And so I just put up a website, tarawilder.com I got some business here and there and then a local IT company reached out to me.
Tara Wilder: And basically after we talked a little bit, they offered me what was my dream job at the time. So they were expanding their creative services department and wanted to have somebody who would head up that effort, basically. Like develop the services, get the leads, close the leads, can perform the services and then eventually hire people. And before that, I started getting experience in online marketing as well. And it was like a dream for me. And my dream job almost literally landed in my lap because how they found me was they typed in web designer Daytona beach and they found my website. They reached out to me, we had a conversation and they offered me the job all because of the power of the web.
Eric Sharpe: Wow. That’s awesome. That’s a great story.
Tara Wilder: I love it. I love it so much. And it actually has three lessons. And if I may just share real quick. First of all, I had a web presence that even got found on Google. I should have looked it up, but it’s something like a million or 2 million results or something when you type in web designer Daytona beach. So first of all I showed up. Secondly, they liked what was on my website and so they reached out to me and when we interacted what I showed to them was accurately, I was in alignment with what was on my website. So my website accurately represented who I was and they kept me on until I left the company because I continued to be in alignment with who they thought I was online. So that just says a lot about how it’s important to have a really powerful online presence that gets found and is authentic to who you are and who your brand is.
Eric Sharpe: That’s a perfect lesson. And thank you for sharing that. You know, I can tell you I’ve been battling myself with my own online presence. I mean my own name, you know, back when the web had just started out there was a professor named Eric Sharpe who had published a bunch of books and resources and he was crushing it. He was totally beating me. You know, I think I was still in high school, so I barely had a chance. And you know, little by little, you know, after the years went by, I started to, you know, do interviews and get quoted in articles and quotes on entrepreneur.com and things like that. And you know, now finally my presence is built up. Right. And it’s a good feeling to know that you can be found easily. So what are your, tell me, what is the method you use to like find out what your reputation is like online?
Tara Wilder: Oh, I mean basic, just Google your name basically. I would Google your name, see what comes up. Sometimes it’ll also auto complete too and it’ll say Tara Wilder whatever, you know, you may see like review..
Eric Sharpe: Tara Wilder in horrific accident goes to jail.
Tara Wilder: Yeah. Things like that. Obituary.
Eric Sharpe: Obituaries..
Tara Wilder: I mean I really like bootstrapping when I look for, when I do online reputation research. Is just googling your name, looking it up on, also Facebook search as well, LinkedIn search. Just type in your name and your company as well and see what results come up.
Eric Sharpe: Yeah. And the way that actually Google will change some of this stuff. Not to go too far off topic is. You know, if you are in Daytona beach and you search for web designers, Google’s gonna first show you naturally local web designers in Daytona beach. And then little by little they start to kind of spread out and find web designers around Daytona beach area, maybe more Florida based web designers who have stronger web presence. And then after that you’re probably gonna get some national, you know, web design companies that kind of go into the mix because their SEO is that strong. Now if you do type in the word “Daytona Beach web designer”, then you’re telling Google specifically I want a web designer in Daytona beach or the area. Yeah. Yeah. So have you ever tried playing around, with using like quotes and Google or adding the plus or minus symbol, you know, like these boolean searches? Have you ever done any of that?
Tara Wilder: Yes. Yes. I’m a power user of Google, like that. And in Gmail too. I also use it a lot. So the quotations to get the exact phrase. I use the knots basically the dash to say I don’t want this word or this phrase. Site, colon and then the name of the site to only show results from that site.
Eric Sharpe: That’s a good one. Let’s talk about that one if you don’t mind. You know..
Tara Wilder: I love it!
Eric Sharpe: I’ve used that before because someone said there was like a misspelling or something on my website and I was like, well where? And they never responded back, you know, so I went to go look for it. And so tell us how do you do that if you only wanted to search Google on a specific website, how do you do that?
Tara Wilder: It’s super easy. You type in the word site, s-i-t-e colon and then the URL of the site. I typically leave off the www so I just jumped right into envivoweb.com or digitalenvy.co and then it’ll only show you results from that site. And if you want the other way around, you can put a dash at the beginning to say, show me results that do not include this website. So, I use that when I’m like looking for reviews for something and I’m finding a bunch of bias reviews because you know, that company is really good at their SEO and they only want their reviews to show up, right? No, I want to see what other people are saying about your product. So I exclude their website from the results.
Eric Sharpe: That’s a good point. Yeah. Like if you’re looking up a product that’s sold at Macy’s or something like that, and you know, the problem is Macy’s has reviews on certain things, you know, but you don’t want macys.com to show up on the results, you could do that. Yeah.
Tara Wilder: Yeah. And then also another thing too is, and I can’t, I can’t think of an example. But if I’m looking for a variety of results, but there’s just a website that’s really dominating the search and I’m like, what, who, who else has something to say about this? Then I also exclude it too.
Eric Sharpe: Yeah, that’s a great point.
Tara Wilder: I believe those are called search operators, right?
Eric Sharpe: Yes, yes, that’s correct. Yep.
Tara Wilder: If you guys want to know more about these, just type in “Google search operators”. Yeah, quite a ton.
Eric Sharpe: So how did you, how did you learn about this stuff? I mean, what kind of got you interested or passionate about, you know, really getting into web stuff? I mean, why is it such a big deal to you?
Tara Wilder: I think initially when I was 12 years old and I built my first website, it’s cause my cousin did it and he was super cool. So I wanted to be like him. And then of course I was just interested in it as the years went by. When I was a cashier, I also happened to get an internship at a local online marketing company. So that’s where I really developed my initial passion for it. Then I got this job at this IT company and I was really like amazed at how I was so desperate for a job in my relevant field. And then suddenly the dream job landed into my lap because I had an online presence. And then in that job, I’m forever grateful to them. They allowed me to learn so much on the job. So that’s really where I learned a lot of my online marketing.
Tara Wilder: I eventually left and decided to start my own business and that’s where the naivety comes in because I was 24, we didn’t have much saved up. And I was like “I want to start my own business”. And my husband’s like, okay. And we didn’t really understand the ramifications of going from two incomes to one. So, but it’s fine. We lasted, this year it’s, this summer, it’s going to be four years that I’ve been in business, so it ended up okay.
Eric Sharpe: That’s great. Yeah.
Tara Wilder: Yeah. So a lot of it was just learning on the job. And um, even now I like to say that I get my- I got my degree in marketing from the University of Google because you can learn anything online, you could learn anything. And it’s incredible. So I’d say that’s..
Eric Sharpe: You’re a great testament. You’re a great testament to all of that, Tara. It’s, you know, you didn’t go to college and studied for four years on how to become a web designer and it had a be super techie. You literally taught it to yourself because you are passionate about it. Just stick with it. And ultimately you solve a lot of problems for people.
Tara Wilder: Yeah. And I have a lot of fun doing it too. So yeah, I’m a, I mean like there’s so many resources out there. There’s Youtube, there are specific sites for the things that you want to learn. There is like Udemy, Khan Academy, Skillshare. You can learn anything you want to. It’s, it’s incredible. So yeah, I could, I could go on a tangent about that all day.
Eric Sharpe: Yeah. I mean, you’re exactly right. There’s been a ton of resources as of recent. I mean, you know, Youtube was one of the original resources for how-to, do-it-yourself stuff. But eventually people started getting frustrated by having to literally go through a bunch of like crappy videos on Youtube that people made that didn’t get exactly what they needed. Or, or we’re looking for in terms of the right educational piece or pieces. So, I think, you know, ender Khan Academy, Teachable, Thinkific, Udemy, you know, all these online training companies that, you know. And you and I are actually working on a project, on this right now for a client is, you know, setting up a training library, training resource where people can pay money and learn something. It’s kinda like, you know, screw going into thousands and thousands of dollars of debt in college when you can, you know, pay a couple thousand dollars and get a robust education on your own time, even while you work. Yeah.
Tara Wilder: Yeah, absolutely.
Eric Sharpe: What do you think about that?
Tara Wilder: There’s something to be said about getting a college degrees sometimes just having that qualification of I have a bachelor’s degree, will open a lot of doors for you unfortunately. Like the college degrees, or the four year degree is now the new high school diploma. So there’s something to be said about that. However, you can create opportunities for yourself. You can start your own business or you can get education from these websites, right? And then create a product or something that speaks to your credibility and your authority. So employers or potential clients or whatever, they’re like, oh, she doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree, but it doesn’t matter because look at this amazing thing she created. That’s relevant obviously. So..
Eric Sharpe: Especially in the creative world though, you have a portfolio to show, which is really nice. I think that’s a big differentiator for artists is you can come out of high school with a great portfolio and immediately get a job. You know, you don’t need that degree, that formal training in college, you know, the secondary training per se. If you have a good portfolio. You know, if you’re something kind of, if you’re an engineer, or if you do more techie stuff, you have to be able to show off what you do. And sometimes that’s difficult as a computer engineer because you know, you say, well, I work on this area of code for this project. I didn’t do the whole thing, but I did this one area and you know I’m a good problem solver. Right. It’s like it’s hard to visually show that to someone, especially in an interview or you know when you’re trying to get a consulting gig.
Tara Wilder: Yeah. Well that’s where testimonials and case studies would come in. I feel like.
Eric Sharpe: Yeah. So tell me more. I mean it, I mean do you feel like that’s necessary to run a business? Do you need testimonials and case studies?
Tara Wilder: I don’t like making sweeping statements by saying everybody needs this or needs that. I think it’s a highly wasted opportunity if you don’t have testimonials because we all want social proof. We want to make.. When people want to work with you, it’s there’s a risk involved, you know, like they’re going off of your word of saying, yes, I will deliver this product or service to you. So when you have a testimonial or a case study of somebody else saying, Hey, yeah, I did work with Eric and he was awesome and these are the results I got. People will be more likely and more comfortable, actually more comfortable with trusting you with their money, time, information, all of that. So I think you’d have..
Eric Sharpe: That’s why the corporate world works so well is because they have systemized the results. Right? So the results in most cases in the corporate world may not be as good as an individual consultant or as a smaller team, but there’s a greater risk going with the team because there’s not as many proven repeatable results. Right.
Tara Wilder: I think so. I think so. I mean, you can systematize like that in your own business as well. Even if you’re not a large corporate business, you just have to be really intentional about it. I see a lot of entrepreneurs who just go about and have their services and I mean, performe their services, they do their sales, whatever, but they’re not grabbing that really crucial piece, which is the testimonial from their clients. What was your experience with me like? You know, so I think you can do it. It just, it needs to be really intentional.
Eric Sharpe: I completely agree. And, you know, and I’ll use burgers as an example. I mean, when you get a Burger King, you expect the same burger all the time. It’s a meatless burger at this point, right? Uh, but it’s been system
Tara Wilder: Not in a vegetarian way.
Eric Sharpe: I know. It’s been systemized. You know, you’re to get more or less the same exact style burger every time with lettuce, pickles, mayo or whatever. You go to uncle Bob’s burgers or a local burger joint, you know, the Burger is not going to look the same every time and you’re going to get something with a little bit more character, slightly different. And some people like that and other people don’t. Other people want that systemized. They want to buy that whopper every time, they like those expected results. So I agree with you. Yes, small businesses can totally do that. And we should for some of our things, you know, we should totally systemize and have, you know, standard operating procedures. That’s very important. Even if your standard operating procedure for something is just like a list of 10 things drawn out, you know, it doesn’t have to be some like 20 page document.
Tara Wilder: Yeah. Yeah. And they actually really saved me this year or this past year. I went through like a really big growth spurt in my business and I have no idea how I would have survived it if I didn’t have standard operating procedures. And it’s something as, it could be as simple as like what you do when you get a new client. Well I have to create a label for them in Gmail. I have to create a folder for them, like just a list of things. So you don’t have to like, remember- go through that mental effort to try to remember what are all the things I need to do. And then sometimes things fall through the cracks. It puts more stress on you and more stress on them. It’s just a mess. So I love SOP’s, I love them.
Eric Sharpe: And I mean, I have found one of the best ways to get those done is just to have someone interview you about, you know, hey Eric, Tara, when you get a new client, what’s, what’s the first step? You know, do you create a folder on your computer with the client’s name? Do you, you know, send an invoice? Like how does it work? You know? And so tell me about your experience with that. When you’re gonna revamp your business. Tell me, first of all, tell me why you revamped your business.
Tara Wilder: Oh, well, I was.. So, it was actually around this time last year, so it was spring of 2018. When I was kind of just re-eval- or evaluating everything in my business, I wasn’t, I didn’t have that fire in me anymore. And I was wondering what is it that’s kind of missing for me? And I realized that I really, really enjoy the implementation side of doing marketing and tech for people. I still love the strategy, but I really, really liked the implementation side. And so I decided let’s just add, kind of revamp our services. So we’re offering those services as well, which we were before, but there was just a different emphasis on it. And then I realized that I need to have a new business model, essentially. ‘Cause I need, I now need team and I need a system for that team to help me carry out all these services.
Tara Wilder: I had a new vision for my business longterm. So, and then with all of this, I realized my messaging had to change with my business too. And I’m like, Hey, while we’re doing all this, let’s do a visual brand revamp as well. So I just decided to do all of that. And then the biggest thing was, I realized the name was now inaccurate. So, it was about four months after I decided to start, or after I started revamping my business, when I relaunched with a new visual brand new messaging, everything. And my business before was called Envivo Creative. And what it had turned into was something where “creative” wasn’t really accurate anymore. Because we do provide creative services like web design, but we’re not a creative agency. You know, we’re an online marketing agency. And so the word creative just wasn’t really a clickable, you know what I mean?
Eric Sharpe: Yeah, no, I totally get that. Right. And it’s interesting you came up with that after the fact, right? So you go through the, you know, butterfly goes through a transformation and then all of a sudden you call it something different. It goes from a caterpillar to a butterfly, you know. Same thing for your business it seems like.
Tara Wilder: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, when I think about the beginning, I don’t think creative was the best word either, but that’s a really, actually, now that I think about it, it’s a really good lesson and just get started. Even if it’s not totally right. You know, like I survived with the wrong name for like three years. I made money, I’m still in business, everything’s fine. So I don’t think you should wait until everything is absolutely perfect because it’ll never be perfect. And you may not even realize it’s not perfect until you get started.
Eric Sharpe: Sure. I mean, actions speak louder than words. You know, your company name could be poopy diaper creative, and at least people will be interested in what the heck you do. You know.
Tara Wilder: Dad-Preneur I love poopy diapers, what you came up with.
Eric Sharpe: So, yeah. So tell me, Tara, tell me about a time that, speaking of poopy diapers, tell me about a time that was really shitty in your business. That was just like, you know, a time where you just kind of messed stuff up and you kind of pulled yourself up, clean yourself off, dusted yourself off, and kept moving.
Tara Wilder: Okay. Okay. So this is what that moment was. Oh, it was a period in time. So I got back in alignment with my business. And it’s interesting what happens in the universe when you’re in full alignment with what you’re doing. The universe rewards you in a way. Right? So I started getting a flood of leads and clients and it was awesome. Right? Cause I started making a lot of money and a lot of impact, but my business grew way too quickly. It grew too quickly. I didn’t have the foundational pieces that I needed to sustain a business that big or that size basically.
Eric Sharpe: What were some of those pieces that you were missing?
Tara Wilder: Team, definitely. When you hire somebody to help you with something, it takes a little while for you to onboard them and train them. It’s not going to be immediate. And if you don’t have those training materials or that procedure in place, then it takes time to set that all up, you know?
Eric Sharpe: Yeah. Sorry. And for anyone who does the chicken and the egg with that, it’s like. Well some people are like, well I need the business first before I hire them because otherwise I don’t have any money versus if you hire them after the fact, it sounds like we’re going to listen to what, right. You know, you’re going to tell us right now what happens if you hire them after the fact. Yeah.
Tara Wilder: Now here’s the thing with that, so it, it hurt a lot for me to hire people after the fact, but I think it’s because I had a huge surge of business. So if you just have, if your business is like steadily growing and you hire somebody along the way where yeah, you could have benefited from hiring them sooner, then, um, I think it’ll be fine. It’s not ideal, but it’s fine. But if you’re in a surge, then you really need to hire people and you need to stick to it too. So what happened with me is I hired a couple of people to work with me, but obviously this work would be done faster if I just did it myself. So I never took the time to like actually spend time to set out those, um, those training materials the standard operating procedures actually training them. I didn’t set aside that time. Instead I was like, oh, it’ll be faster if I just do it, you know? So that led to a pretty painful lesson, which we’ll get to in a second. But I just wanted to answer your question there.
Eric Sharpe: So basically you were on a sprint, you know, you’re planning for a sprint, you finish the sprint and you are, you know, your gas, you’re kind of beat up and tired. When in reality, when you own a business, it’s a marathon. I mean, it’s like, you might be done with mile eight, and you’re like, wow, great race. And it’s like, no, no. If you’re a, you’re a third of the way done, you gotta keep going.
Tara Wilder: Yeah, absolutely.
Eric Sharpe: Gotta keep running. And that’s sometimes scary after you just push yourself for months on end hustling, hustling, hustling, you know? Yeah.
Tara Wilder: Yeah. And you know, going back to your comment about the chicken or the egg. I think, if you’re not at the level where you can afford to hire somebody, now is the perfect time for you to start outlining your procedures, who you think should be the first person you hire. Start creating that process for them and for training them. So that way when you hire somebody, you’re already a few steps ahead and it won’t take as long to onboard them.
Eric Sharpe: Yeah, that’s very smart. And I actually, I plan on having some process people on some of the next chats that I do, some of the next Digital Chatters. So hopefully we’ll get some of those people in. But, do you know any process people? That you work with or do you do that more internally with your team?
Tara Wilder: I do it intern- I have somebody that I can send over to you if she’s still doing it. I think she is. But I do it internally. It’s just a matter of like pay. So you said, one way to write down your processes is have somebody interview you, which is a great idea. The way that I do it and recommend it to my clients. ‘Cause now I’m telling everyone to create SOP‘s ’cause it’s so fun. Is just every time you do a recurring task write down, or project or whatever, write down what all the steps where. My SOP’s are constantly changing because I’m like, Oh yeah, I forgot that I do this every time I onboard a client. I don’t know why that’s my example right now. But um, so..
Eric Sharpe: Just some sort of template, like a Google doc or something somewhere, and you have your standard operating procedure. Which might start out with three items. Like literally just start it with three items and go, you know, here’s what happens. Sent client invoice, collect money, start a new folder with client name.
Tara Wilder: Yeah.
Eric Sharpe: That could be the three steps you start with. And then from that point you move forward in the next three steps, three steps, three steps. And even categorize them too. I mean, you know. Yeah.
Tara Wilder: Yeah, absolutely. It’ll grow with you. Just start being conscious about it. What I would do is outline, all the things that you could delegate to somebody that you do on a regular basis and then start just tracking the things that you do. And making a list and then doing screen videos too of you doing the thing, so that way you don’t have to train them. You just show them the video. Hey, this is how I cleaned up that transcript or uploaded that blog or whatever.
Eric Sharpe: What do you mean by that? Can you describe that in depth a little bit more?
Tara Wilder: Yeah, so we’re all- if you have a computer you’re capable of, basically recording what you’re doing on your screen. So I have a Mac and I use Quicktime and basically after a few clicks of a button, it’s recording my screen and it can record you through your microphone as well. So start the recording and then go through and do the thing that you want to create a training about and explain what you’re doing while you’re doing it. Does that make sense? And then, and the recording and then you have a training. It may not be the cleanest thing in the world, but if they understand what it is that you’re trying to do, then you just saved yourself a lot of time by not needing to do it live. Not needing to do it every single time somebody new comes on board.
Eric Sharpe: Yeah. For example, if I had to tell a client how to update a plugin on their landing page or something. It’s like I can just show them what I’m doing. It’s like, Hey, I’ll do it for you this time, but here’s what I did so that you know how to do it in the future.
Tara Wilder: Yeah. And the beauty of that too is they have the recording to go back to if they don’t remember how to do it.
Eric Sharpe: Yeah. That’s very smart. Great, great advice. Great Advice.
Tara Wilder: I learned that the hard way, but it’s fine. That’s fine. We’re here. We’re alive. We learned a lot of good lessons.
Eric Sharpe: So Tara, tell me, you know, what advice would you give yourself 5, 10 years ago? You know, kind of before you started out, what would you tell yourself now knowing all that you know now?
Tara Wilder: Don’t be so heartbroken. I was so, so heartbroken that things weren’t going the way that I needed it to or thought I needed it to. Because life is so, so unpredictable and you really have no idea what’s about to come your way. Like I have no.. Now I’m telling you this, not old or young Tara this. But I hadn’-, I have no connection to the Greek culture, Greek world, religion, nothing. But there was a point in my life where I became an organist for a Greek Orthodox church because they were looking for an organist and I’m an organ player. And I did. And that’s like my favorite example of you have no idea where your life is going to lead you to. So I would just say don’t be so heartbroken because it’ll always work out and it may not work out in the way that you think it will, but it still did work out.
Eric Sharpe: Ok. That’s great advice. That’s perfect. So Tara you know, how can people interact with you? How can they play with you? Where can they find your stuff?
Tara Wilder: I love connecting with people. So please come play with me. My website is envivoweb.com. That’s E-N-V-I-V-O web.com. And I’m sure Eric will have the link somewhere. And then, I’m on Instagram as well. My user name is, IamTaraWilder. Pretty easy to remember. And then you can find me on Facebook under my name too. And I love connecting with people. So please come, come join me at me- Let me know that you found me through Digital Chatter and we’ll have a conversation. I’d love to learn more about what it is that you do and how you serve the world as well.
Eric Sharpe: Awesome. Thank you. And do you have a Freebie for anyone out there? Can they snag something from you?
Tara Wilder: Yeah, totally. So like Eric said, I’m an online marketing strategist. What I love talking about and teaching about is, how to create captivating content, basically content that engages your ideal client. Because that’s how we build relationships is through connection and engagement. So I have the captivating content toolkit, which will teach you exactly how to create social media content, email content that compels people to take action. Whether that’s liking, commenting, clicking, sharing, whatever, some sort of action. And if you want to get that, you go to envivoweb.com/toolkit. Nice and easy.
Eric Sharpe: Perfect. Thank you, Tara. Appreciate having you on.
Tara Wilder: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on. I really enjoyed this conversation. I just loved chatting with you. Thank you so much.
Eric Sharpe: All right. Bye. Bye.
Tara Wilder: Bye.