Hi Guys, I'm here with Another interview, Today My guest is Erin Blaskie, A young Entrepreneur that started her company at the age of 21, I wanted to ask her how she started her company, what inspired her, her involvement in blogging and social media, and also tips on why and how we should all be collaborating online.
Enjoy the interview.
Hey Erin, how you doing? Thanks for sharing some of your time with me on YHP
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
I started my first company in August of 2004. I started this company after I had finished college and was working as an instructor at a private college. While I loved the daily interaction, I had this entrepreneurial spirit and passion inside of me that I couldn’t ignore. The company grew quickly and I was able to quit my job and leap into self-employment full-time.
So how did you get in blogging and social media?
I am an experimenter at heart. Experimenting with new tools, new ideas and geeky gadgets is my life. Blogging has been something I’ve been doing since before the popular platforms came into existence like WordPress and TypePad. I was doing blogging on the first series of journal style websites that hit the market.
As for social media, I registered with Facebook and Twitter when they were both in beta and have been using them ever since. For me, it was never a conscious decision of, “I have to do this for my business” but more a question of, “What is this neat and interesting tool?”
What do you like the most about the internet, blogging and social media?
It’s openness. It shares who we are with the world and creates a new sense of transparency and authenticity. I love also that it’s an open format. You can use these mediums however you wish and really, there are no “wrong” methods of using the tools.
I also love that these mediums promote creativity and expression. Never before did we have such an instantaneous medium for our messages and such open communication. I can post a blog post now and be engaged in a conversation through comments in minutes.
Tell us about BSTEC Your outsourcing company? What do you guys do?
BSETC was started as a virtual assistance firm which provided administrative and Internet marketing support to entrepreneurs. Now, we are a creative, professional outsourcing firm that supports entrepreneurs around the world in the building, growing and management of their online businesses. We do everything from graphic design to web design to administrative support to social media support to in-depth strategy and consultation.
What inspired you to start BSTEC?
I actually had the idea when I was 16 years old. I didn’t want the “regular” summer job so instead, I had this idea that I would pass out flyers to local businesses in which I would offer to do small administrative jobs. Organize offices, type up documents, etc. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out at that time – I was offered a job in an ice cream factory instead and that was much more appealing to my 16-year old self ;)
Fast forward to 21 and the idea popped back into my head but this time it included a website and a global audience as opposed to flyers and my local business sector.
What does your company do different from other companies in the Virtual assistant industry?
I wrote an e-book called, “From Puppet to Puppeteer” which talks about the difference between a firm like ours and other virtual assistance companies. The e-book mostly focuses on engagement. We provide our clients with services that engage and inspire them to create amazing projects and we take the guesswork out of the process. Where other firms may only provide services on an as requested basis, we’re thinking for our clients to guide them through the process of running an online business.
I am currently writing a post on online collaboration and wanted to get your thoughts? Why do you think it is essential in today’s world? What value does it add to one’s work?
I totally agree in the collective as opposed to the individual. There is something much more powerful about collaboration and crowd-sourcing things in today’s marketplace. The power of course lies in the uniqueness in each person’s thought and in their ability to see the project different from his/her colleagues.
We use Basecamp as our method of communicating out as a group to our clients. We brainstorm, banter and create through this medium so we can create best practices and provide the best opportunities for our clients.
What do you think anyone interested in collaborating online should do or start doing?
Get out there and provide value to others. It’s only through providing value that others will see your value and invite you to participate with them. Companies now call on me to provide feedback and get really, really involved in their work because they know that when I love something I’ll get invested and engaged. Engaged collaboration creates a really powerful force.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
I’ve become involved in the processes. Too many entrepreneurs are building and starting new things all of the time without ever honing in and fine tuning what they have. I concentrate as much of my effort on fine tuning what I do now as I do on the new projects. That begins to create a business that you work on instead of a business you work in.
How do you promote/advertise your work, especially for someone trying to start their business and looking to get some presence online, what advices can you give them?
Just get out there in every way you can. Think about all of the different mediums available to us – audio, video, blog, social media, traditional media, joint ventures, etc. and make sure you’re taking advantage of it all.
I like to think of a new business as being stranded in the middle of a corn field that is filled with really, really tall husks of corn. Every time you create a new avenue (ie: setup a blog, setup an account on Twitter, etc.) you are creating a road of visibility to your business. The more you do that, the more opportunities you have to be seen and noticed and therefore hired.
As an entrepreneur, what qualities do you think aspiring entrepreneurs should have to be successful?
Be fearless. Ditch the perfectionism. Be original.
What is your favourite online tool?
If the internet never existed, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be living a life devoted to learning and yoga.
What is the most valuable skill you’ve learnt so far as an entrepreneur?
Thanks for your time Erin