Leveraging Other People’s Audiences

When it comes to building and growing an online business part of many successful strategies is Leveraging Other People’s Audiences to grow your own online businesses.  Deirdre  Tshien an ex-Banker, serial entrepreneur and cat lady.  Her secret power is turning eCommerce products into irresistibly-contagious offers.

Deirdre  Tshien

Deirdre is the founder of Growth Boss, a leading mentorship program for online business owners wanting to scale to multiple- 6 and 7 figures using the power of tribe-building, funnels, and human connection.  

She is a serial entrepreneur, having founded and led 5 businesses across 3 industries in the last 7 years, and has navigated the entire spectrum of experiences and emotions (the good, the bad, and the ugly) that come with starting, running, and closing businesses.  

With her hands-on experience in successfully growing her businesses to 7 figures, she now coaches online business owners on her secret sauce of using buyer psychology to make their offerings irresistibly-contagious to their customers; creating an end-to-end sales funnel that automatically converts these customers; and then nurture them into a raving salesforce.

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Transcript from

Tim Kubiak 0:03
Have you ever thought of building an online business wondered about scaling it and also incorporating physical locations and all of the things that go with that. Today we’re joined by Deirdre Tshien. She’s the founder of growth boss, a leading mentorship program for online business owners wanting to scale to multiple six and seven figures using the power of tribe building funnels and human connection. She’s a serial entrepreneur, she lives in various places around the world. And today we’re going to talk about her story and a lot of what she’s going through and building her business. So with that, thanks for listening. Welcome to bow ties and business. As always, I’m your host, Tim Kubiak, you can find us aa bowtiesandbusiness on Facebook and Instagram and biz on Twitter. You can find me everywhere as at Tim Kubiak. With that. Deirdre thanks for being here. And welcome to the show.

Deirdre Tshien 0:53
Hi, Tim. Thanks for having me on.

Tim Kubiak 0:57
So one of the things that I found so fascinating when we first started talking was not only are your serial entrepreneur, but you had physical locations. So a lot of people build an online business and say, Oh, yeah, great. I’m going to be a drop shipper this or that. So can we start with that part of your story?

Deirdre Tshien 1:15
Yeah, for sure. Gosh, that’s, um, that was over eight years ago now. Which is insane to think about. I mean, we still have those businesses. So let me back up a little bit in terms of how we got there, if you don’t mind. But so it was at the time of my lifestyle, I actually opened up this business, it was a dessert bar. With my then partner, he’s now my husband. And what had happened was, I was at the time I was in a corporate, you know, has a lot of us are in my corporate job, I was in banking. And I was I realized, even sort of early on in my career, that corporate wasn’t going to be the thing for me, because I was fortunate enough to be working on this really pro program of work that gave me access to, you know, senior executives all the way to the CEO, as well. But I was sitting in these rooms, and I was seeing like, the conversations that were happening, the politics, the back channeling, and I was like, even at that time, I was like, you know what this isn’t, this isn’t kind of a path that I want to go down. I don’t I don’t want to have to become this person,

Tim Kubiak 2:18
though. Because I played that game.

Deirdre Tshien 2:25
And at the same time, so I kind of was in this mindset of Okay, like, I knew that corporate wasn’t going to be the path for me. So but I didn’t really know what was. At the same time, my as I said, my partner, we just moved out of home. And he had sort of found this love of cooking and baking. And specifically, because I love dessert, he was trying to perfect these, this amazing dessert for me that I just loved. And it was actually cool. It was this like molten lava cake, we would just go to this Italian is one Italian restaurant, I remember all the time just to get this dessert. And so he was trying to perfect this desert for me. He was actually studying medicine at the time and was miserable. So he was hating it. And so I think we were both in this like, what, like with the rest of our lives. You know, the they call it the quarter quarter life crisis. And so it kind of stemmed from there really where we were incredibly obviously, I think you have to be to start a business, we were incredibly naive about what it would take, especially a brick and mortar business. But we did it anyway, we with very little savings. We opened up our first store, it was a little you know, a little store, selling desserts, and we kind of wanted to create the type of place that we would want to go with our friends with ourselves like on date nights, things like that. And wow, like we had these I remember when we even before we first opened, we had these big visions of what this thing was going to be. It was obviously gonna be massive. It was obviously it is incredibly great product, like the best desert. And so we were like, we better be ready. We’re gonna get outdoors beaten down, because a lot of people

Tim Kubiak 4:13
just getting to know. Right,

Deirdre Tshien 4:14
exactly. Exactly. You know, where the store is going. Because, as you believe that do not happen.

Tim Kubiak 4:24
And I was wrong.

Deirdre Tshien 4:26
Yeah, you know, for some reason team, the whole build it and they will come concept just doesn’t. It doesn’t work. Well, why. So yes, that was our first foray into business and it was incredibly disappointing to hit, you know, to have reality here and realize that actually, we have to put a bit of work into making to getting the word out there to actually giving ourselves known. And it was, you know, you know, I kind of laugh about it now, but at the time it was incredibly lonely, you know, when we were only doing We’re bleeding money, like we were only doing, you know, $100 a day, $200 a day, and we’re preparing to pay rent, we’re having to pay wages, you know, like, it’s so, you know, when you talk about brick and mortar business like that is kind of the downside with a brick and mortar business is that you’re actually on the hook, you know, for these relatively large expenses. And then there was, there was this moment that actually remember, it was a few months into opening that business. And we were on these one of the rare few date nights that we could actually both take the night off. And we were at my favorite sushi place, Japanese place. And we get a call from one of our team members, or staff members who was working and at the time, because we weren’t that busy. We only had two people on. And he was kind of like, Guys, I don’t have the time right now. But you have to come in like, like, we need your help. And we’re like, oh, my God, what is happening? You know, is they lost power, like, what’s going on? And so we’re like, right, we raced to the car, and like, we hop in and we’re driving to, to the store. And I had to I dropped my my husband off so that I could go find parking. And I still remember to this day, like how the place looked? Because Tim it was packed. I like it was it was

Tim Kubiak 6:21
the first time you really saw it pack?

Deirdre Tshien 6:23
It was Yes. It was like I kind of you know, you have these visions before? Like, wouldn’t it be awesome if we ever got to this point where there would there would actually be a line, you know, people, you know, waiting, waiting outside and to actually see it come to live. I was like, I I don’t know, that was a part of me that I felt like, I didn’t believe that it would happen, maybe. But it was like, it was it was it was beautiful chaos, you know, like when those things were like really chaotic, because our poor staff members were like running back and forth and do all the things and but it was like, from there, it felt like this, we had turned the corner. And it was kind of, you know, then then thinking about the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. And so we were fortunate because I know that a lot of businesses, especially bricks and mortar, brick and mortar businesses, you know, when like, I think the statistics, something like the, like 50% of businesses actually don’t make it past the first 12 months. Yeah. And so, you know, we were, we were quite fortunate that we were able to actually get that kind of momentum going. But it took it took a while. And it took a lot of loneliness, a lot of stress, a lot of you know, trying like trying to figure out what we had to do to actually get it working. But we finally did, and it was amazing. It was amazing. So that was our first business. And since then we’ve grown that business to we grew that business to five locations. dessert bar called chocolate, we also opened a burger restaurant. So we have two locations, both of them in Sydney, by the way.

Unknown Speaker 8:08
There are worse places in the world to own business.

Deirdre Tshien 8:13
Yes, and it’s still already but then we made the move over to New York City, like 18 months ago. And that’s been a wild ride. But yes, since then, and then we’ve kind of diverted our attention to online and I just love the online world because it’s just so it just feels like the opportunities are so limitless. There’s a lot of fun to be had online. But you know, similar to brick, like it’s it’s similar but different problems, right with brick and mortar, like different problems, but it’s all similar. It’s all different. All around the same themes, I would say. You know, you still have such a massive saturation, massive amount of competitors. You know, unfortunately you don’t have unlike a physical presence, you don’t have that just traffic. foot traffic. Right. Exactly. Exactly. So it’s been really it’s been really fun figuring out the the online world as well.

Tim Kubiak 9:10
So in the online world, instead of paying for real estate and utilities, right, are you paying for drop shippers in inventory in a different way? Is that the mix?

Deirdre Tshien 9:21
Um, I think it’s more. So yes, there is it depends on the business model that that you go down. So obviously for some people it is it is an IT IS in an inventory. I would highly recommend that if anyone is just starting out that they don’t invest in inventory as much as possible, until they’ve proven out their model. And but so i think but I think really where it is, is you’re kind of sacrificing the upfront investment in capital, with as I said, the fact that you’re not getting foot traffic so you actually have to invest a lot more time and money in going out and finding traffic and getting it to your store. So that’s kind of the trade off that I would, I would say, is kind of difference.

Tim Kubiak 10:07
How do you build in an online world? And this is something that’s always been curious to me? How do you build loyalty? like you would with a brick and mortar?

Deirdre Tshien 10:18
Yeah, it’s and this is, it’s pretty much the same concept. And this is why I say it’s like different, you know?

Tim Kubiak 10:26
So you’re in your inbox instead of a drive by your shop. Is that

Deirdre Tshien 10:30
Yeah, yes, there’s all different ways. So loyalty to me is really bad. And that’s why my strategy, and you, you kind of pulled it out at the very beginning is a big part of it is human connection. And because we kind of think that, okay, if we’re going to be online, we therefore don’t need to connect with people. And, you know, I’ve talked to a lot of, especially new e commerce entrepreneurs, and they’re like, well, I wanted to do this, because I’m an introvert, and I don’t want to talk to me.

Unknown Speaker 11:01
And unfortunately,

Deirdre Tshien 11:04
you’re gonna find that if you have a business, you’re going to have to talk to people, and you’re going to end not just talk to people, but connect with people. And more and more, that is actually what’s going to become your differentiator online, is that actual human connection? So that and that is really how you build loyalty. So if I kind of, do want me to kind of go into that in a

Tim Kubiak 11:25
little bit, that would be awesome. Yeah. Because I want to learn I’m selfish, right?

Deirdre Tshien 11:31
Yeah, yes. So I’m basically this, this loyalty to, to your brand and to your product. That is also loyalty to you, and who you are. And I think if you can hit almost all of those points, that’s when you really build true loyalty. And so that’s why I tell all my clients and people in my community that you have to show up for your audience, you have to, you have to, you have to actually connect with them. Because while you know they might come to you because of your product, they might initially come to you because of your product. And actually my mentor and old mentor of mine told me this, they actually stay with you because of the relationship. And that’s true whether or not it’s brick and mortar, that’s true, whether or not you’re offering a service, that’s true, whether or not you’re offering a product, like whatever business you’re in, this is always going to be the case because at the end of the day, we’re human. And humans are like, we are built, we we are wired, we’re hardwired to want relationships, even if we think that we don’t, even if we think that way. So how that plays out in the online space is obviously you want to be adding value to your audience and to your customers, because they will people only really buy and then keep buying from people or brands that they know, like and trust. And so for them to know like and trust you, you need to be serving them first. And then continue serving them. Whether that looks like it’s from a customer service perspective, whether that looks like you’re providing sort of a quality educational, but I don’t really mean it in the traditional sense of the word. But however, that you can provide more value to them, to get them to the result that they’re after. Whether that’s you solving, helping them solve a problem, or whether that’s you helping them achieve a goal. You want to be providing them value in that journey, you want to be part of that journey, because that’s really how they’re going to become loyal to you. And so I really love human connection to do this. And when I say human connection that could be you know, that could be you showing up live on Instagram, or building a community through Facebook group that could also be being in their inbox. And really showing your personality, because that’s really how people vibe with you. Right? It’s you being authentic to who you are. And, and showing them an insight into, into you. That’s that’s what they’re really buying into. So I don’t know if you had any experiences around this as well, too. But

Tim Kubiak 14:08
so I have a really weird one, right? I I have a company and it’s you never hear me say my company’s name. That I am my own brand. Right. What I do, I’m my own brand. Everything goes into that. Yeah, there’s a website for the company. Yeah, that’s who pays the taxes? Yeah, but it’s sometimes it’s really funny. So I’ll get through a thing and I say, okay, that’s gonna be x hundreds of 1000s of dollars. I’m going to send you the invoice from venture 412. And they’re like, No, no, we’re hiring you. Yeah, yeah. But I need to be able to bill you. Right. Don’t make the check out to Tim make it out to here.

Deirdre Tshien 14:46
And I think that’s the thing I think when we are when we start businesses, because we have these visions, and we have this end goal to be like the next Sephora or the next, you know, like big brand, we immediately think oh, it has to be a brand It has to be this schmick professional thing that because otherwise, how are people going to going to trust us? Right? But actually, when we’re starting out, you know, those are supporting standards for and you know, because like, immediately get to a point. And I think that’s the bit that a lot of us miss when we first start out is that actually people want to know, you, people want to know, the founder, people want to know who they’re buying from. People want to know, the why behind why you created what you created. People want to know how, how you can actually help them. And like as, like, you know, almost from a personal perspective. And so we do kind of have to go through this phase where we are the faces of our brands, we are the person until we get into, you know, and ultimately we all want to get there to you know, mass adoption, within our brand becomes because then we have teams of people, you know, behind us and things like that. And then it is it does become a brand so much, you can still be the face of it. But it becomes more about the brand. And I think it’s like, we missed that step. Because we see where we want to be we want to get to which is awesome. But that’s actually not where we need to start out. So yeah, so yeah, so anyway, I love I love human connection for this, because that’s really the only way that people are gonna buy into you and what you sell. I don’t know if that answered your question. I felt like a really long answer.

Tim Kubiak 16:26
So it did right. And so I think that’s the thing. So my youngest daughter is 22 now, but I watched her and you talk about Instagram, and I’m not at the influencer level. But at people that were building beauty brands and brands that cater to her demographic when she was in her mid teens and later teens. She identified with the founders, and I can’t believe that was unique. So it’s like, here’s what I make. Here’s why make it here’s this, here’s that it wasn’t, I’m buying Chanel, I’m buying our money, I’m buying it. She was buying them. Exactly, exactly their values.

Deirdre Tshien 17:02
Yeah. And that’s why I love human K. So that’s kind of you know, I think that’s the starting point. So for everyone who’s looking to build loyalty online, that’s a starting point. And then obviously, there are other I call them like tactics, and tricks that you can kind of build that started, like, you know, whether it’s do loyalty programs, whether that’s through, I call them like social proof funnels. So like, how do you actually start to gain and gather the social proof, because online, that’s actually that’s incredibly important to again, as a trust factor to get people to trust you and what you’re selling. And I really, really love using Facebook groups, actually, for more and more for plant based businesses, because building that community online, and having them not only talk to you because and that this is where I find Instagram is great, and it’s a great visual platform, but where it lacks is that, you know, you’re kind of pushing things out to people, and you know, they can comment back. And that feels like engagement, but it’s not true engagement. Whereas in a group, not only can they engage with you, but they can engage with each other. And that’s really the, that’s where you start to get the social proof happening. I’ve seen awesome things happen where, like, literally people like this is probably gonna sound bad, but I don’t mean in a bad way. But there was almost like peer pressure happening for being able to buy this product. Because, you know, people in the group were like, Oh, you couldn’t buy it, you get this amazing, you’ve got to try, like, you know, so it wasn’t in a bad way. But like, that’s just what happens when you have when you bring these people together, they end up selling for you, which is amazing.

Tim Kubiak 18:41
My best customers are people that have been brought to me by my other customers. It’s you know, yeah,

Deirdre Tshien 18:46
exactly. So yeah, so I love so you know, definitely it starts with you always online. But then you start to leverage, you know, your loyal customers, your your raving fans, and you start to systemize how that can happen, which is why I call them the social proof funnels, because, you know, it’s it’s really about how do you how do you get that? How do you get that generating, you know, almost organically and evergreen, in a way so, so I really love and then you can start to share that you share that in your email, like your email campaigns, you share that on your other social media platforms, like just everywhere, you know, you can start to actually, you know, promote these these great things that people are saying about you.

Tim Kubiak 19:29
So let’s start before you get to that point. So in your dessert shop to start, it took a walk around that corner, right? Yeah. When you start sharing and building content for an online business. How long does it take to round the corner to you have that first slam night where you got to leave date night?

Deirdre Tshien 19:47
Yeah, so I’m going to carry out Okay, so I’ll talk I’ll talk you through what happened with the chalk pod and then and I’m gonna make a few caveats because this was, you know, seven, eight years ago, right? That this that we We had this kind of happened, the rounding the corner and seeing the amazing chaos that was happening at our store. And why I say, you know, why this is important is because we were at an inflection point of, sort of, at the time, bloggers were a big thing. And it’s not to say that bloggers are still, you know, really popular

Tim Kubiak 20:21
videos killed the blog.

Deirdre Tshien 20:22
Yeah. And, and also, and also Instagram, right, was starting to really make that rise. And so at the time, we kind of we, what we had done was we had leveraged other people’s audiences. So we had bloggers coming in more and more, they were like, we’re actually either transitioning, or they were also exploring Instagram as a channel to reach your audience. So we had people, like, I guess, influences. In today’s language, sort of, you know, posting about us, we had bloggers coming. And that was happening for a while, like, for four months, for a few months. So it wasn’t like any one is gonna make you an instant success. But I think what had happened was, it was building momentum. And because we kept at it, and this is, again, another mistake that I see a lot of people new business owners make is that they try it once. The thing doesn’t work. And it’s like, oh, well, that didn’t work. I you know, I have to go and try the next thing. And it’s like, oh, no, you know, like, like, with everything, and you have to stick with it for a period of time. Because it’s, it’s a it’s always a volume game, right? Anything in sales and marketing is always volume, whether or not you’re it’s volume from a customer perspective, or whether it’s volume from an influencer perspective, right? It’s always gonna be a volume game. But the other thing too, is what happens when you’re leveraging other people’s audiences is that, yeah, they might hear about you from one. But then it’s still like, well, I don’t really know. You know, I don’t really know, like, and trust that, you know, that person that you’re trying to try and tell me to, but if I then hear hear about them from like, this other person, and this other person, this other person, I’m like, like, suddenly, it’s like, they’ve just invaded my feed. I’m like, Okay, I need to start paying attention to this. And that’s the kind of momentum that you start building when you stick with the strategy. And so at that time, that was the strategy that we had used was essentially influencer marketing. So we had bloggers coming in, we had instagramers, that was happening for a few, you know, weeks, a few months. And then I think it was that it was that momentum that was being built that really kind of put us on the map. Now, so that’s it. And the reason why I say a caveat that is because that was when Instagram was kind of just really taking off. So it kind of feels like we were fortunate because we rode that Instagram wave for a bit. Whereas now you look at Instagram, and it is so saturated. It is it is incredibly hard to grow a huge following. Because it’s just too much on there was so much

Unknown Speaker 23:03
about my pictures of flowers intermixed with business, and grown it to me Okay, that’s good to know.

Deirdre Tshien 23:12
Yeah, I just see, I just see photos of like kittens and puppies now.

Unknown Speaker 23:17
I’ll pull up the sales thing. And then the next thing you have is Oh, look, my flowers blow me.

Deirdre Tshien 23:24
Um, and so, um,

Unknown Speaker 23:27
okay, yeah.

Tim Kubiak 23:31
So you wrote the Instagram way? Right?

Deirdre Tshien 23:34
Yes. And now we’re talking about today, influencer marketing can 100% still work. But it’s going to be finding way like a way your audience is. And then and B again, the time might look different. So it’s not going to be a matter of like a few weeks. It might be longer than that. But it also might be about exploring other platforms not to say that you have to be on there. So for example, I’m not saying you have to be on my talk.

Unknown Speaker 24:02
But if yes,

Deirdre Tshien 24:07
oh, I reckon you could totally do like a bow tie tutorial. Like I really, I reckon that’d be cool.

Tim Kubiak 24:11
Yeah, you know, I’m considering twitch as a sideline right now. Right? Yeah.

Deirdre Tshien 24:17
So as long as like, you know, your audience is on there. Because that’s gonna be one thing, right? Like, I know that tik tok is a slightly younger demographic, but even in saying that they are, they are becoming older. And there are more people in the older demographics be getting on there as well. But, yeah, it’s kind of like exploring all these other different platforms that you can leverage not to say that you have to be on there, but again, that you can leverage people who are already on there and their audiences to help you get the word out there. And so that’s one like I would say, that’s one strategies kind of like how do you leverage other people’s audiences and it’s a you know, it’s it’s one that I think wouldn’t will never go away. I think the different platforms will change. But you know, the concept of leveraging people’s audiences will never go away. Because that’s really how even in the back in the day when newspapers were a thing? Yeah. Right, that was that was, again, getting put into a newspaper was just a form of leveraging people’s already, like leveraging that audience. So it really it’s going to be, you know, to, you know, the ends of the earth, like, it’s always going to be a really, really cool strategy, I think that everyone has to have in place. It just, it’s just the mediums will change. Sorry, were

Tim Kubiak 25:34
you gonna ask? You just gave me a thought I’ve never had before, which isn’t that uncommon. So I was just thinking about it, as you’re talking about, you know, whether was writing Instagram or tik tok, and, you know, there was vines in there, and YouTube and everything else. It’s really not much different that in this country used to have four major or three major television networks, and then you got a fourth, and then you had your local UHF. And now you have cable and streaming and everything else where your audience has gotten narrowed for you, these platforms may be doing that same thing, just in a different realm. Is that

Deirdre Tshien 26:10
really? Yeah, yeah, that totally makes sense. And yeah, and, and not only not only that, but I think it’s like, in the same way that I mean, it’s kind of different because obviously, these these, Kate, these networks probably don’t have like algorithms, like, also changing all the time, but but what they do have is they have other things that change, right? They have like, maybe not viewership, but like maybe areas that they get, they get shown in or whatever, like, so there’s always things changing, which is kind of similar to again, these platforms as well, there’s always these things changing, that you kind of have to keep tabs on and always like, change with them or like, move with them, you have to be fluid in that way. Because I kind of get asked as well, like, all will, you know, I have, you know, hundreds or even 1000s of followers on my Facebook page, you know why? You know, but it still just doesn’t seem to do anything. And the reason why is because when you look at what Facebook’s strategy is, you kind of have to go with that. And the strategy, exactly. It’s all about the money. It’s all about the money. And the only way that you’re going to be able to get any of your post shown from your Facebook page is if you pay for it, you pay for it to get shown. But what this is, and this is a reason what another reason why I really like groups is because their strategy has moved into building communities. Like they’re very upfront about that. They have ads running about it, right? Yeah,

Tim Kubiak 27:37
yeah. Yeah,

Deirdre Tshien 27:39
exactly. And so you kind of want to be able to not fight against because that’s, that’s, you know, you’re gonna lose by trying to fight against it, you just need to be able to go go with it, is, you know, go with the tide where they’re trying to get you. And so that’s why I really like groups, because again, it’s another that they’re trying to get people, more people into groups. And so if you want your post to be shown, if you want, you know, more people to see what you have to say, then hey, that’s the strategy. So go do that. So yeah, so that’s kind of anyway, like, sort of went off topic there. But all good. Yeah. So um, so yeah. So to answer your very, very original question, is it going to take months?

Tim Kubiak 28:27
How do you get to that breakthrough moment, right? Yeah,

Deirdre Tshien 28:29
yeah, it’s kind of gonna be a mix of all of these things. So I actually have actually have what I call like the traffic pyramid. And this kind of like 14 years to it. So the first is like pretty much what everyone is at least doing, which is what I call like, passive, organic marketing. And that’s kind of like you have an Instagram feed, or an Instagram page, maybe a Facebook page, and you just post things. And again, people think that by the act of posting, they’re going to suddenly get traffic. And that’s kind of me going, we’ve opened our brick and mortar shop, we’ve open the doors, and we’re suddenly going to get traffic. And people who know by now that that’s not how it works. Because what you’re doing is you’re being very passive, right? You’re just kind of putting things out there, and you’re just waiting for people to hopefully stumble across you. And that just doesn’t work. So then you kind of get going to the second tier, which is leveraging other people’s audiences. So that’s kind of what I spoke about, which is okay, how do you start to, again, like leverage other people to help you get the word out there. And then you have the third here, and this is really what I call active organic outreach. Okay, active organic marketing, which is all about outreach. And this is incredibly painful and incredibly daunting for a lot of people. But this is kind of like me, being at my dessert bar, literally going out to people. I like coming, like walking on my store and being like, Hey, I have a sample of a brownie here. Would you like to try it? Right? Like, you know, and we’ll have to, we’ll have to do this. But we, for some reason, when we’re online, we think, Oh, well, no, we don’t have to actually talk to anyone.

Tim Kubiak 30:17
Because we’ve been sold the lie that the algorithm will love us if we build good content, and everyone will show up.

Deirdre Tshien 30:23
Yeah. And that’s just not true. That’s just not true. And so and so this is a big part of like, what I like part of strategy as well is like, actually go out and find some of your audience. And the reason why this is important is yes, you can get sales off it totally. But also, because then when you’re scaling to the now the top of my pyramid of my traffic pyramid, which is where you’re starting to scale with ads, you if you do not understand who your audience is, you know, what their interests are, what their behaviors are, what are the things that they like, what you know, what are their goals, what all of that stuff, if you do not know that you are going to be spending a lot of money, trying to find that through ads. And so if you don’t want to be wasting a lot of money trying to find you know, your audience through ads, then you’re going to have to do a bit of groundwork to actually get that information. And then off the back of that you can scale it through ads. So that’s kind of my traffic pyramid, 40 years to it, passive, organic marketing, leveraging other people’s audiences, active organic marketing, and then scaling with ads. You’ve got to hit a point before you start spending on ads. Is that a fair view? What was that you got to

Tim Kubiak 31:36
you have to have those some of those other things in place? Unless you’ve got endless cash to burn? Right? Totally for you pumping it into ads?

Deirdre Tshien 31:44
Yes, unless you have unless you’re fortunate enough to have you know, 1000s and 1000s of dollars to me, you know, essentially wasting trying to find your audience, then yeah, you have to have the rest of it in place. And the reason why I kind of say that how the pyramid works is that it ideally you want all you want all of those tears working for you. Because that’s really how you’re going to have, you’re going to be building out your robust traffic system, to actually get people to your store or to convert into whatever it is you wherever you want them to get to. So yeah, so I know, that was, again, another roundabout way of answering your question, I can’t actually put you know, it’s going to take months, okay. Because really, it’s going to take the amount of time it takes for you to actually start implementing each of those tiers, and putting the time and effort into doing to make those work. But yeah, so but that’s kind of my strategy in a nutshell, in a pyramid

Tim Kubiak 32:40
nutshell, around how to actually start to source your traffic that you want that you want to get in, it actually aligns with your point earlier, which was don’t do something once and then try to do something else, there’s got to be some consistency, right?

Deirdre Tshien 32:58
Yes, you have to have your foundation. And, you know, and I kind of, I’m also at pains to say, even though bottom T is you know, that passive, we’re getting marketing, and you know, it could be on any platform, so it could be on Instagram, it could be on Facebook, it could be on tik tok, and, or YouTube or wherever, I’m also pleased to say like, Don’t try to be everywhere at once. Because, again, this is where dabbling comes in, which is at that point of like, Oh, well, if something’s not working, I’ll go on to the next thing on to the next on to the next thing, you have to be consistent at one in in at least one place, build your muscle memory there. And then once you build your muscle memory, then you can add on to that, and then add on to that. And then and then add on to that. Because I think that’s also a really important thing that I just wanted to point out. Because, again, it’s daunting. There are a lot of platforms that we could all be on, and I don’t I definitely don’t recommend that it be on every platform. Because it’s, it’s so yeah, it’s it’s, it’s unmanageable. It is Yeah, it’s totally unmanageable. But you want to have that foundation in place, because ultimately, people are going to go to those places to see if you’re credible, or your real business. Who are you, you know, if you want to work with influencers, they’re going to look at, you’re going to want to go to your social media and be like, I want to see who this person is about. So you have to have this foundation in place for any of the other parts of the pyramid to work. And so they all do stack and you do want to be able to be traversing all of them to be able to get have a robust marketing system, a marketing machine working for you.

Tim Kubiak 34:38
Yeah, and you know, what, one of the things I watch, as I work with founders is I work with even established companies is

Unknown Speaker 34:47
people who are closer to their customer and understand that customers wants to do so much better. Yeah.

Tim Kubiak 34:54
Right. People who work in their own echo chamber and say, I’m going to build this and it’s going to be great. And the world needs it. Sometimes they’re the richest guys. Right. But most of us aren’t Ilan musk.

Deirdre Tshien 35:06
Yes. He was exactly what came to mind when you said that.

Tim Kubiak 35:12
But, you know, he looked at it. And yeah, when you have his money, you can do that. And you can make a market. But for the most part, and I’m not downplaying innovation, right, I made my living in tech for nearly three decades. But at the end of the day, there has to be a reason to have the people want what you’re making, or what you’re selling.

Deirdre Tshien 35:31
Yes, 100%. And, and that’s why I always recommend, like, as much as possible, don’t invest in inventory. So one of my other, I’ll tell you another story. So when we moved to New York, actually, I moved with my, my husband, my cat, and my co founder. And the business that my co founder, and I were actually working on was a fashion tech business. And, you know, in our minds, it was like, Oh, this is gonna be awesome. We’re totally solving a problem that people have. And, but we also knew that, you know, it, because of my experience, I’ve built it and they will come doesn’t necessarily work all the time, that we shouldn’t just be building it. Because, you know, more often than not, they probably won’t come. Yeah. And so what we actually did was, rather than investing the money upfront to get this thing developed, because it was a technology business, so it was going to take a lot of you

Tim Kubiak 36:22
know, to get to get the minimum viable product. Right.

Deirdre Tshien 36:25
Exactly. We actually hit the pavement, and at the time we were targeting college students or and or sort of younger, corporate, like a younger professionals.

Tim Kubiak 36:39
So you know, first job second job, I have a unique kind of

Deirdre Tshien 36:41
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So you know, so over here in New York, and so we went to like Columbia, we went to NYU went to, you know, Wall Street. And we actually had conversations. And again, this is, you know, this comes back to even though it wasn’t on, we weren’t having them online, but we’re having them, you know, back when,

Tim Kubiak 36:59
obviously, conversations when you’re allowed to

Deirdre Tshien 37:02
Yeah, actual conversations with people to try to work out if this was a problem that was big enough for us to end would they actually buy into a solution that we were thinking. And what we actually when we went through that process, what we realized was even though the problem was a problem, the solutions that they already had, like the way that they already kind of duck tapings, a solution together they actually already happy with. And so for us, we actually failed that business, like deliberately failed that business because it wasn’t going to be worth our time and money investing in it. So and this is why I say to anyone thinking of starting a business is like, to your point, like you have to go out and you have to talk to your customer, you have to know if you’re actually if you have what they want. Because otherwise you’re going to be spending, like wasting a lot of time and money, either developing something or investing in inventory or something and you don’t want that. You don’t want to be doing that. I’m gonna be assuming, unless you’re you’re an Elan musk.

Tim Kubiak 38:08
Yeah, he there are a lot of people with spare bedrooms or not spare bedrooms filled with inventory they couldn’t sell.

Deirdre Tshien 38:16
Exactly, exactly. And so that’s why I’m a big, big fan of test the market first, like even if it’s just taking pre orders, or something like without you having to actually get the inventory yet. Test the market first. And then if you can see that there is demand, then awesome go, then you can go all in. But really, that that whole product market fit is so key. That is actually the whole the reason why pretty much any business that fails fails is because at least in the early stages, because of that not finding that product market fit.

Tim Kubiak 38:54
Yeah, it’s it’s interesting, because you look at sometimes I’ll see people go down market just thinking they’re going to buy business. Right? And unless you have buying power, I watch people get wiped out with that. And then not just online, by the way, right? So if you’ve got X, you know, I ran a business once where we had $35 million in inventory. So if I wanted to hedge a half a million on something that I thought was gonna get discontinued, because then I could have it in when other business I couldn’t actually put the price up. It was b2b, but I could just sit on it. And when the supply dried out, say, yeah, I’ll do I’ll sell it to you know, regular price, but I want the rest of the order too. You can do that. But when you’re starting out, you can’t play that game.

Deirdre Tshien 39:41
100% Yeah, it’s um, it’s a very dangerous game to play and, and I think that’s it. That’s important thing, right? It’s like and this comes back to, you know, almost my starting point, which is, have a vision as to where you want to be and you know, we all want to be Elon Musk. Ideally, maybe that’s kind of our thing. But we but just realize that that’s not where even he started. Right? That’s not where we can start, we can’t start investing into your point in 35 million in imagery to hang around, like, we just can’t do that. So we do have to really be intentional with what activities we actually do. And the decisions that we make early on, because they can not to sound dramatic about it, but they can kind of be make or break for your business very early on when you have very limited resources to put into it.

Tim Kubiak 40:33
Yeah. One of the analogies I always think of is it’s like the band that got famous overnight, the plague empty bars for 10 years. Right? Nobody remembers that. You know, they’re an overnight success. Yeah, they’ve done 1000 shows and had 1200 people show up prior to this.

Deirdre Tshien 40:50
Totally, totally. That’s Yeah, we all have to remember that. We’ll have to be okay with that. Yeah, because, you know, we can very easily get seduced by this whole entrepreneurship thing. But it’s really unsexy is really really unsexy going down this road. So what,

Tim Kubiak 41:08
let’s bring it to close. But let’s end on that if you’ve not run your own business, and you’re leaving the corporate world, or you’re an early stage in life, and you’re like, I don’t want to work for the man. Right. And I want to do my own thing. tell people what they’re really getting into by starting a company.

Unknown Speaker 41:26
I don’t want to scare people.

Tim Kubiak 41:28
I think honesty is brilliant.

Deirdre Tshien 41:32
Yeah, look, it is. How do I encapsulate this to a few words. It’s like, it is the, you feel all of the polarizing emotions that you can. So on the one hand, it is so incredibly lonely. And like, especially when you’re in that down, which you are going to, like at some point, you’re going to feel that down, and you’re, it’s going to be lonely. But then on the other hand, when you finally get a win, when you finally get an op then it’s like the most exhilarating. It’s like, it’s literally like being on a roller coaster. And I think that’s the thing, like if you know, for people going into business, I think you just have to be okay with going through these ups and downs and cycling through the good, the bad, the emotions, like all of that. It’s, it’s, it’s almost like I would have like, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I also know that it’s not for everyone. I also Yeah, it’s you know, it’s it’s definitely not for anyone, it’s not for the faint hearted.

Tim Kubiak 42:39
Not right. I described it as the highs keep getting higher. And if you’re doing your job, right, the lows aren’t as deep into the valley.

Deirdre Tshien 42:51
Yeah, cuz it’s a true like, as you get bigger, you just upgrade your problems, right, like your problems will never go away. You’re just getting better, bigger new options.

Tim Kubiak 43:01
Yeah, yeah. You know, and the one thing I found I built a lot of businesses for other people as I always loved them when there was no longer a victory lap. When I had big wins. And it didn’t feel good anymore. I was out. I knew it’s time to go.

Deirdre Tshien 43:16
Yeah, totally. Totally. So yeah, so I yeah, it’s it’s a it’s a hard one to because I love entrepreneurship. But I also know the type of what it takes to, to get through it to be resilient. And it’s a lot, it does take a lot. So that’s the thing, that’s what I would probably just try to make everyone aware of, but at the same time, it’s kind of like, it’s hard to theoretically wrap your head around that. You kind of have to go through it.

Unknown Speaker 43:48
It’s one of those things, right. Like,

Tim Kubiak 43:50
there’s a lot more people out there that do it. And people actually realize, yeah,

Unknown Speaker 43:55
yeah, totally. So

Unknown Speaker 43:57
where can people find you? What can they find on your site? all that kind of good stuff.

Deirdre Tshien 44:01
Yeah. Awesome. So I actually do this, if I haven’t scared you off from from giant, giant trying entrepreneurship. I actually hold a three day free three day call to convert a challenge for e commerce business owners. Essentially, how to find your audience, how to hook them in how to convert them. And so I’m actually running one in a couple weeks time, but I run one pretty much every month so you can sign up for that at WWW dot the growth plus.com slash challenge. I’d love to see you there. And also, if you just want to get a little bit more of insight into my dangerous mind, then I do also have my own podcast called the making it podcast, which I believe Tim you’re gonna be you’re gonna come on as well.

Tim Kubiak 44:48
been very gracious. And we’re gonna have you on Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, come

Deirdre Tshien 44:53
check. Check us out there.

Tim Kubiak 44:55
Okay, I gotta ask, do you have a Facebook group? They should look at it.

Deirdre Tshien 44:58
Yes, yes. So myself. Facebook group is called e commerce growth secrets with direction. So, e commerce growth secrets. Yep, definitely find me there. It’s awesome. I do free training every week and audits live audits as well, every week. So a ton of value, and we have a ton of fun. So yeah, please come join me.

Tim Kubiak 45:20
I will join you. So thank you so much for taking time. Thanks so much for sharing openly about your own journey as a business owner.

Deirdre Tshien 45:29
So welcome. Thanks so much for having me on Tim.

Tim Kubiak 0:03
Have you ever thought of building an online business wondered about scaling it and also incorporating physical locations and all of the things that go with that. Today we’re joined by Deirdre Tshien. She’s the founder of growth boss, a leading mentorship program for online business owners wanting to scale to multiple six and seven figures using the power of tribe building funnels and human connection. She’s a serial entrepreneur, she lives in various places around the world. And today we’re going to talk about her story and a lot of what she’s going through and building her business. So with that, thanks for listening. Welcome to bow ties and business. As always, I’m your host, Tim Kubiak, you can find us aa bowtiesandbusiness on Facebook and Instagram and biz on Twitter. You can find me everywhere as at Tim Kubiak. With that. Deirdre thanks for being here. And welcome to the show.

Deirdre Tshien 0:53
Hi, Tim. Thanks for having me on.

Tim Kubiak 0:57
So one of the things that I found so fascinating when we first started talking was not only are your serial entrepreneur, but you had physical locations. So a lot of people build an online business and say, Oh, yeah, great. I’m going to be a drop shipper this or that. So can we start with that part of your story?

Deirdre Tshien 1:15
Yeah, for sure. Gosh, that’s, um, that was over eight years ago now. Which is insane to think about. I mean, we still have those businesses. So let me back up a little bit in terms of how we got there, if you don’t mind. But so it was at the time of my lifestyle, I actually opened up this business, it was a dessert bar. With my then partner, he’s now my husband. And what had happened was, I was at the time I was in a corporate, you know, has a lot of us are in my corporate job, I was in banking. And I was I realized, even sort of early on in my career, that corporate wasn’t going to be the thing for me, because I was fortunate enough to be working on this really pro program of work that gave me access to, you know, senior executives all the way to the CEO, as well. But I was sitting in these rooms, and I was seeing like, the conversations that were happening, the politics, the back channeling, and I was like, even at that time, I was like, you know what this isn’t, this isn’t kind of a path that I want to go down. I don’t I don’t want to have to become this person,

Tim Kubiak 2:18
though. Because I played that game.

Deirdre Tshien 2:25
And at the same time, so I kind of was in this mindset of Okay, like, I knew that corporate wasn’t going to be the path for me. So but I didn’t really know what was. At the same time, my as I said, my partner, we just moved out of home. And he had sort of found this love of cooking and baking. And specifically, because I love dessert, he was trying to perfect these, this amazing dessert for me that I just loved. And it was actually cool. It was this like molten lava cake, we would just go to this Italian is one Italian restaurant, I remember all the time just to get this dessert. And so he was trying to perfect this desert for me. He was actually studying medicine at the time and was miserable. So he was hating it. And so I think we were both in this like, what, like with the rest of our lives. You know, the they call it the quarter quarter life crisis. And so it kind of stemmed from there really where we were incredibly obviously, I think you have to be to start a business, we were incredibly naive about what it would take, especially a brick and mortar business. But we did it anyway, we with very little savings. We opened up our first store, it was a little you know, a little store, selling desserts, and we kind of wanted to create the type of place that we would want to go with our friends with ourselves like on date nights, things like that. And wow, like we had these I remember when we even before we first opened, we had these big visions of what this thing was going to be. It was obviously gonna be massive. It was obviously it is incredibly great product, like the best desert. And so we were like, we better be ready. We’re gonna get outdoors beaten down, because a lot of people

Tim Kubiak 4:13
just getting to know. Right,

Deirdre Tshien 4:14
exactly. Exactly. You know, where the store is going. Because, as you believe that do not happen.

Tim Kubiak 4:24
And I was wrong.

Deirdre Tshien 4:26
Yeah, you know, for some reason team, the whole build it and they will come concept just doesn’t. It doesn’t work. Well, why. So yes, that was our first foray into business and it was incredibly disappointing to hit, you know, to have reality here and realize that actually, we have to put a bit of work into making to getting the word out there to actually giving ourselves known. And it was, you know, you know, I kind of laugh about it now, but at the time it was incredibly lonely, you know, when we were only doing We’re bleeding money, like we were only doing, you know, $100 a day, $200 a day, and we’re preparing to pay rent, we’re having to pay wages, you know, like, it’s so, you know, when you talk about brick and mortar business like that is kind of the downside with a brick and mortar business is that you’re actually on the hook, you know, for these relatively large expenses. And then there was, there was this moment that actually remember, it was a few months into opening that business. And we were on these one of the rare few date nights that we could actually both take the night off. And we were at my favorite sushi place, Japanese place. And we get a call from one of our team members, or staff members who was working and at the time, because we weren’t that busy. We only had two people on. And he was kind of like, Guys, I don’t have the time right now. But you have to come in like, like, we need your help. And we’re like, oh, my God, what is happening? You know, is they lost power, like, what’s going on? And so we’re like, right, we raced to the car, and like, we hop in and we’re driving to, to the store. And I had to I dropped my my husband off so that I could go find parking. And I still remember to this day, like how the place looked? Because Tim it was packed. I like it was it was

Tim Kubiak 6:21
the first time you really saw it pack?

Deirdre Tshien 6:23
It was Yes. It was like I kind of you know, you have these visions before? Like, wouldn’t it be awesome if we ever got to this point where there would there would actually be a line, you know, people, you know, waiting, waiting outside and to actually see it come to live. I was like, I I don’t know, that was a part of me that I felt like, I didn’t believe that it would happen, maybe. But it was like, it was it was it was beautiful chaos, you know, like when those things were like really chaotic, because our poor staff members were like running back and forth and do all the things and but it was like, from there, it felt like this, we had turned the corner. And it was kind of, you know, then then thinking about the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. And so we were fortunate because I know that a lot of businesses, especially bricks and mortar, brick and mortar businesses, you know, when like, I think the statistics, something like the, like 50% of businesses actually don’t make it past the first 12 months. Yeah. And so, you know, we were, we were quite fortunate that we were able to actually get that kind of momentum going. But it took it took a while. And it took a lot of loneliness, a lot of stress, a lot of you know, trying like trying to figure out what we had to do to actually get it working. But we finally did, and it was amazing. It was amazing. So that was our first business. And since then we’ve grown that business to we grew that business to five locations. dessert bar called chocolate, we also opened a burger restaurant. So we have two locations, both of them in Sydney, by the way.

Unknown Speaker 8:08
There are worse places in the world to own business.

Deirdre Tshien 8:13
Yes, and it’s still already but then we made the move over to New York City, like 18 months ago. And that’s been a wild ride. But yes, since then, and then we’ve kind of diverted our attention to online and I just love the online world because it’s just so it just feels like the opportunities are so limitless. There’s a lot of fun to be had online. But you know, similar to brick, like it’s it’s similar but different problems, right with brick and mortar, like different problems, but it’s all similar. It’s all different. All around the same themes, I would say. You know, you still have such a massive saturation, massive amount of competitors. You know, unfortunately you don’t have unlike a physical presence, you don’t have that just traffic. foot traffic. Right. Exactly. Exactly. So it’s been really it’s been really fun figuring out the the online world as well.

Tim Kubiak 9:10
So in the online world, instead of paying for real estate and utilities, right, are you paying for drop shippers in inventory in a different way? Is that the mix?

Deirdre Tshien 9:21
Um, I think it’s more. So yes, there is it depends on the business model that that you go down. So obviously for some people it is it is an IT IS in an inventory. I would highly recommend that if anyone is just starting out that they don’t invest in inventory as much as possible, until they’ve proven out their model. And but so i think but I think really where it is, is you’re kind of sacrificing the upfront investment in capital, with as I said, the fact that you’re not getting foot traffic so you actually have to invest a lot more time and money in going out and finding traffic and getting it to your store. So that’s kind of the trade off that I would, I would say, is kind of difference.

Tim Kubiak 10:07
How do you build in an online world? And this is something that’s always been curious to me? How do you build loyalty? like you would with a brick and mortar?

Deirdre Tshien 10:18
Yeah, it’s and this is, it’s pretty much the same concept. And this is why I say it’s like different, you know?

Tim Kubiak 10:26
So you’re in your inbox instead of a drive by your shop. Is that

Deirdre Tshien 10:30
Yeah, yes, there’s all different ways. So loyalty to me is really bad. And that’s why my strategy, and you, you kind of pulled it out at the very beginning is a big part of it is human connection. And because we kind of think that, okay, if we’re going to be online, we therefore don’t need to connect with people. And, you know, I’ve talked to a lot of, especially new e commerce entrepreneurs, and they’re like, well, I wanted to do this, because I’m an introvert, and I don’t want to talk to me.

Unknown Speaker 11:01
And unfortunately,

Deirdre Tshien 11:04
you’re gonna find that if you have a business, you’re going to have to talk to people, and you’re going to end not just talk to people, but connect with people. And more and more, that is actually what’s going to become your differentiator online, is that actual human connection? So that and that is really how you build loyalty. So if I kind of, do want me to kind of go into that in a

Tim Kubiak 11:25
little bit, that would be awesome. Yeah. Because I want to learn I’m selfish, right?

Deirdre Tshien 11:31
Yeah, yes. So I’m basically this, this loyalty to, to your brand and to your product. That is also loyalty to you, and who you are. And I think if you can hit almost all of those points, that’s when you really build true loyalty. And so that’s why I tell all my clients and people in my community that you have to show up for your audience, you have to, you have to, you have to actually connect with them. Because while you know they might come to you because of your product, they might initially come to you because of your product. And actually my mentor and old mentor of mine told me this, they actually stay with you because of the relationship. And that’s true whether or not it’s brick and mortar, that’s true, whether or not you’re offering a service, that’s true, whether or not you’re offering a product, like whatever business you’re in, this is always going to be the case because at the end of the day, we’re human. And humans are like, we are built, we we are wired, we’re hardwired to want relationships, even if we think that we don’t, even if we think that way. So how that plays out in the online space is obviously you want to be adding value to your audience and to your customers, because they will people only really buy and then keep buying from people or brands that they know, like and trust. And so for them to know like and trust you, you need to be serving them first. And then continue serving them. Whether that looks like it’s from a customer service perspective, whether that looks like you’re providing sort of a quality educational, but I don’t really mean it in the traditional sense of the word. But however, that you can provide more value to them, to get them to the result that they’re after. Whether that’s you solving, helping them solve a problem, or whether that’s you helping them achieve a goal. You want to be providing them value in that journey, you want to be part of that journey, because that’s really how they’re going to become loyal to you. And so I really love human connection to do this. And when I say human connection that could be you know, that could be you showing up live on Instagram, or building a community through Facebook group that could also be being in their inbox. And really showing your personality, because that’s really how people vibe with you. Right? It’s you being authentic to who you are. And, and showing them an insight into, into you. That’s that’s what they’re really buying into. So I don’t know if you had any experiences around this as well, too. But

Tim Kubiak 14:08
so I have a really weird one, right? I I have a company and it’s you never hear me say my company’s name. That I am my own brand. Right. What I do, I’m my own brand. Everything goes into that. Yeah, there’s a website for the company. Yeah, that’s who pays the taxes? Yeah, but it’s sometimes it’s really funny. So I’ll get through a thing and I say, okay, that’s gonna be x hundreds of 1000s of dollars. I’m going to send you the invoice from venture 412. And they’re like, No, no, we’re hiring you. Yeah, yeah. But I need to be able to bill you. Right. Don’t make the check out to Tim make it out to here.

Deirdre Tshien 14:46
And I think that’s the thing I think when we are when we start businesses, because we have these visions, and we have this end goal to be like the next Sephora or the next, you know, like big brand, we immediately think oh, it has to be a brand It has to be this schmick professional thing that because otherwise, how are people going to going to trust us? Right? But actually, when we’re starting out, you know, those are supporting standards for and you know, because like, immediately get to a point. And I think that’s the bit that a lot of us miss when we first start out is that actually people want to know, you, people want to know, the founder, people want to know who they’re buying from. People want to know, the why behind why you created what you created. People want to know how, how you can actually help them. And like as, like, you know, almost from a personal perspective. And so we do kind of have to go through this phase where we are the faces of our brands, we are the person until we get into, you know, and ultimately we all want to get there to you know, mass adoption, within our brand becomes because then we have teams of people, you know, behind us and things like that. And then it is it does become a brand so much, you can still be the face of it. But it becomes more about the brand. And I think it’s like, we missed that step. Because we see where we want to be we want to get to which is awesome. But that’s actually not where we need to start out. So yeah, so yeah, so anyway, I love I love human connection for this, because that’s really the only way that people are gonna buy into you and what you sell. I don’t know if that answered your question. I felt like a really long answer.

Tim Kubiak 16:26
So it did right. And so I think that’s the thing. So my youngest daughter is 22 now, but I watched her and you talk about Instagram, and I’m not at the influencer level. But at people that were building beauty brands and brands that cater to her demographic when she was in her mid teens and later teens. She identified with the founders, and I can’t believe that was unique. So it’s like, here’s what I make. Here’s why make it here’s this, here’s that it wasn’t, I’m buying Chanel, I’m buying our money, I’m buying it. She was buying them. Exactly, exactly their values.

Deirdre Tshien 17:02
Yeah. And that’s why I love human K. So that’s kind of you know, I think that’s the starting point. So for everyone who’s looking to build loyalty online, that’s a starting point. And then obviously, there are other I call them like tactics, and tricks that you can kind of build that started, like, you know, whether it’s do loyalty programs, whether that’s through, I call them like social proof funnels. So like, how do you actually start to gain and gather the social proof, because online, that’s actually that’s incredibly important to again, as a trust factor to get people to trust you and what you’re selling. And I really, really love using Facebook groups, actually, for more and more for plant based businesses, because building that community online, and having them not only talk to you because and that this is where I find Instagram is great, and it’s a great visual platform, but where it lacks is that, you know, you’re kind of pushing things out to people, and you know, they can comment back. And that feels like engagement, but it’s not true engagement. Whereas in a group, not only can they engage with you, but they can engage with each other. And that’s really the, that’s where you start to get the social proof happening. I’ve seen awesome things happen where, like, literally people like this is probably gonna sound bad, but I don’t mean in a bad way. But there was almost like peer pressure happening for being able to buy this product. Because, you know, people in the group were like, Oh, you couldn’t buy it, you get this amazing, you’ve got to try, like, you know, so it wasn’t in a bad way. But like, that’s just what happens when you have when you bring these people together, they end up selling for you, which is amazing.

Tim Kubiak 18:41
My best customers are people that have been brought to me by my other customers. It’s you know, yeah,

Deirdre Tshien 18:46
exactly. So yeah, so I love so you know, definitely it starts with you always online. But then you start to leverage, you know, your loyal customers, your your raving fans, and you start to systemize how that can happen, which is why I call them the social proof funnels, because, you know, it’s it’s really about how do you how do you get that? How do you get that generating, you know, almost organically and evergreen, in a way so, so I really love and then you can start to share that you share that in your email, like your email campaigns, you share that on your other social media platforms, like just everywhere, you know, you can start to actually, you know, promote these these great things that people are saying about you.

Tim Kubiak 19:29
So let’s start before you get to that point. So in your dessert shop to start, it took a walk around that corner, right? Yeah. When you start sharing and building content for an online business. How long does it take to round the corner to you have that first slam night where you got to leave date night?

Deirdre Tshien 19:47
Yeah, so I’m going to carry out Okay, so I’ll talk I’ll talk you through what happened with the chalk pod and then and I’m gonna make a few caveats because this was, you know, seven, eight years ago, right? That this that we We had this kind of happened, the rounding the corner and seeing the amazing chaos that was happening at our store. And why I say, you know, why this is important is because we were at an inflection point of, sort of, at the time, bloggers were a big thing. And it’s not to say that bloggers are still, you know, really popular

Tim Kubiak 20:21
videos killed the blog.

Deirdre Tshien 20:22
Yeah. And, and also, and also Instagram, right, was starting to really make that rise. And so at the time, we kind of we, what we had done was we had leveraged other people’s audiences. So we had bloggers coming in more and more, they were like, we’re actually either transitioning, or they were also exploring Instagram as a channel to reach your audience. So we had people, like, I guess, influences. In today’s language, sort of, you know, posting about us, we had bloggers coming. And that was happening for a while, like, for four months, for a few months. So it wasn’t like any one is gonna make you an instant success. But I think what had happened was, it was building momentum. And because we kept at it, and this is, again, another mistake that I see a lot of people new business owners make is that they try it once. The thing doesn’t work. And it’s like, oh, well, that didn’t work. I you know, I have to go and try the next thing. And it’s like, oh, no, you know, like, like, with everything, and you have to stick with it for a period of time. Because it’s, it’s a it’s always a volume game, right? Anything in sales and marketing is always volume, whether or not you’re it’s volume from a customer perspective, or whether it’s volume from an influencer perspective, right? It’s always gonna be a volume game. But the other thing too, is what happens when you’re leveraging other people’s audiences is that, yeah, they might hear about you from one. But then it’s still like, well, I don’t really know. You know, I don’t really know, like, and trust that, you know, that person that you’re trying to try and tell me to, but if I then hear hear about them from like, this other person, and this other person, this other person, I’m like, like, suddenly, it’s like, they’ve just invaded my feed. I’m like, Okay, I need to start paying attention to this. And that’s the kind of momentum that you start building when you stick with the strategy. And so at that time, that was the strategy that we had used was essentially influencer marketing. So we had bloggers coming in, we had instagramers, that was happening for a few, you know, weeks, a few months. And then I think it was that it was that momentum that was being built that really kind of put us on the map. Now, so that’s it. And the reason why I say a caveat that is because that was when Instagram was kind of just really taking off. So it kind of feels like we were fortunate because we rode that Instagram wave for a bit. Whereas now you look at Instagram, and it is so saturated. It is it is incredibly hard to grow a huge following. Because it’s just too much on there was so much

Unknown Speaker 23:03
about my pictures of flowers intermixed with business, and grown it to me Okay, that’s good to know.

Deirdre Tshien 23:12
Yeah, I just see, I just see photos of like kittens and puppies now.

Unknown Speaker 23:17
I’ll pull up the sales thing. And then the next thing you have is Oh, look, my flowers blow me.

Deirdre Tshien 23:24
Um, and so, um,

Unknown Speaker 23:27
okay, yeah.

Tim Kubiak 23:31
So you wrote the Instagram way? Right?

Deirdre Tshien 23:34
Yes. And now we’re talking about today, influencer marketing can 100% still work. But it’s going to be finding way like a way your audience is. And then and B again, the time might look different. So it’s not going to be a matter of like a few weeks. It might be longer than that. But it also might be about exploring other platforms not to say that you have to be on there. So for example, I’m not saying you have to be on my talk.

Unknown Speaker 24:02
But if yes,

Deirdre Tshien 24:07
oh, I reckon you could totally do like a bow tie tutorial. Like I really, I reckon that’d be cool.

Tim Kubiak 24:11
Yeah, you know, I’m considering twitch as a sideline right now. Right? Yeah.

Deirdre Tshien 24:17
So as long as like, you know, your audience is on there. Because that’s gonna be one thing, right? Like, I know that tik tok is a slightly younger demographic, but even in saying that they are, they are becoming older. And there are more people in the older demographics be getting on there as well. But, yeah, it’s kind of like exploring all these other different platforms that you can leverage not to say that you have to be on there, but again, that you can leverage people who are already on there and their audiences to help you get the word out there. And so that’s one like I would say, that’s one strategies kind of like how do you leverage other people’s audiences and it’s a you know, it’s it’s one that I think wouldn’t will never go away. I think the different platforms will change. But you know, the concept of leveraging people’s audiences will never go away. Because that’s really how even in the back in the day when newspapers were a thing? Yeah. Right, that was that was, again, getting put into a newspaper was just a form of leveraging people’s already, like leveraging that audience. So it really it’s going to be, you know, to, you know, the ends of the earth, like, it’s always going to be a really, really cool strategy, I think that everyone has to have in place. It just, it’s just the mediums will change. Sorry, were

Tim Kubiak 25:34
you gonna ask? You just gave me a thought I’ve never had before, which isn’t that uncommon. So I was just thinking about it, as you’re talking about, you know, whether was writing Instagram or tik tok, and, you know, there was vines in there, and YouTube and everything else. It’s really not much different that in this country used to have four major or three major television networks, and then you got a fourth, and then you had your local UHF. And now you have cable and streaming and everything else where your audience has gotten narrowed for you, these platforms may be doing that same thing, just in a different realm. Is that

Deirdre Tshien 26:10
really? Yeah, yeah, that totally makes sense. And yeah, and, and not only not only that, but I think it’s like, in the same way that I mean, it’s kind of different because obviously, these these, Kate, these networks probably don’t have like algorithms, like, also changing all the time, but but what they do have is they have other things that change, right? They have like, maybe not viewership, but like maybe areas that they get, they get shown in or whatever, like, so there’s always things changing, which is kind of similar to again, these platforms as well, there’s always these things changing, that you kind of have to keep tabs on and always like, change with them or like, move with them, you have to be fluid in that way. Because I kind of get asked as well, like, all will, you know, I have, you know, hundreds or even 1000s of followers on my Facebook page, you know why? You know, but it still just doesn’t seem to do anything. And the reason why is because when you look at what Facebook’s strategy is, you kind of have to go with that. And the strategy, exactly. It’s all about the money. It’s all about the money. And the only way that you’re going to be able to get any of your post shown from your Facebook page is if you pay for it, you pay for it to get shown. But what this is, and this is a reason what another reason why I really like groups is because their strategy has moved into building communities. Like they’re very upfront about that. They have ads running about it, right? Yeah,

Tim Kubiak 27:37
yeah. Yeah,

Deirdre Tshien 27:39
exactly. And so you kind of want to be able to not fight against because that’s, that’s, you know, you’re gonna lose by trying to fight against it, you just need to be able to go go with it, is, you know, go with the tide where they’re trying to get you. And so that’s why I really like groups, because again, it’s another that they’re trying to get people, more people into groups. And so if you want your post to be shown, if you want, you know, more people to see what you have to say, then hey, that’s the strategy. So go do that. So yeah, so that’s kind of anyway, like, sort of went off topic there. But all good. Yeah. So um, so yeah. So to answer your very, very original question, is it going to take months?

Tim Kubiak 28:27
How do you get to that breakthrough moment, right? Yeah,

Deirdre Tshien 28:29
yeah, it’s kind of gonna be a mix of all of these things. So I actually have actually have what I call like the traffic pyramid. And this kind of like 14 years to it. So the first is like pretty much what everyone is at least doing, which is what I call like, passive, organic marketing. And that’s kind of like you have an Instagram feed, or an Instagram page, maybe a Facebook page, and you just post things. And again, people think that by the act of posting, they’re going to suddenly get traffic. And that’s kind of me going, we’ve opened our brick and mortar shop, we’ve open the doors, and we’re suddenly going to get traffic. And people who know by now that that’s not how it works. Because what you’re doing is you’re being very passive, right? You’re just kind of putting things out there, and you’re just waiting for people to hopefully stumble across you. And that just doesn’t work. So then you kind of get going to the second tier, which is leveraging other people’s audiences. So that’s kind of what I spoke about, which is okay, how do you start to, again, like leverage other people to help you get the word out there. And then you have the third here, and this is really what I call active organic outreach. Okay, active organic marketing, which is all about outreach. And this is incredibly painful and incredibly daunting for a lot of people. But this is kind of like me, being at my dessert bar, literally going out to people. I like coming, like walking on my store and being like, Hey, I have a sample of a brownie here. Would you like to try it? Right? Like, you know, and we’ll have to, we’ll have to do this. But we, for some reason, when we’re online, we think, Oh, well, no, we don’t have to actually talk to anyone.

Tim Kubiak 30:17
Because we’ve been sold the lie that the algorithm will love us if we build good content, and everyone will show up.

Deirdre Tshien 30:23
Yeah. And that’s just not true. That’s just not true. And so and so this is a big part of like, what I like part of strategy as well is like, actually go out and find some of your audience. And the reason why this is important is yes, you can get sales off it totally. But also, because then when you’re scaling to the now the top of my pyramid of my traffic pyramid, which is where you’re starting to scale with ads, you if you do not understand who your audience is, you know, what their interests are, what their behaviors are, what are the things that they like, what you know, what are their goals, what all of that stuff, if you do not know that you are going to be spending a lot of money, trying to find that through ads. And so if you don’t want to be wasting a lot of money trying to find you know, your audience through ads, then you’re going to have to do a bit of groundwork to actually get that information. And then off the back of that you can scale it through ads. So that’s kind of my traffic pyramid, 40 years to it, passive, organic marketing, leveraging other people’s audiences, active organic marketing, and then scaling with ads. You’ve got to hit a point before you start spending on ads. Is that a fair view? What was that you got to

Tim Kubiak 31:36
you have to have those some of those other things in place? Unless you’ve got endless cash to burn? Right? Totally for you pumping it into ads?

Deirdre Tshien 31:44
Yes, unless you have unless you’re fortunate enough to have you know, 1000s and 1000s of dollars to me, you know, essentially wasting trying to find your audience, then yeah, you have to have the rest of it in place. And the reason why I kind of say that how the pyramid works is that it ideally you want all you want all of those tears working for you. Because that’s really how you’re going to have, you’re going to be building out your robust traffic system, to actually get people to your store or to convert into whatever it is you wherever you want them to get to. So yeah, so I know, that was, again, another roundabout way of answering your question, I can’t actually put you know, it’s going to take months, okay. Because really, it’s going to take the amount of time it takes for you to actually start implementing each of those tiers, and putting the time and effort into doing to make those work. But yeah, so but that’s kind of my strategy in a nutshell, in a pyramid

Tim Kubiak 32:40
nutshell, around how to actually start to source your traffic that you want that you want to get in, it actually aligns with your point earlier, which was don’t do something once and then try to do something else, there’s got to be some consistency, right?

Deirdre Tshien 32:58
Yes, you have to have your foundation. And, you know, and I kind of, I’m also at pains to say, even though bottom T is you know, that passive, we’re getting marketing, and you know, it could be on any platform, so it could be on Instagram, it could be on Facebook, it could be on tik tok, and, or YouTube or wherever, I’m also pleased to say like, Don’t try to be everywhere at once. Because, again, this is where dabbling comes in, which is at that point of like, Oh, well, if something’s not working, I’ll go on to the next thing on to the next on to the next thing, you have to be consistent at one in in at least one place, build your muscle memory there. And then once you build your muscle memory, then you can add on to that, and then add on to that. And then and then add on to that. Because I think that’s also a really important thing that I just wanted to point out. Because, again, it’s daunting. There are a lot of platforms that we could all be on, and I don’t I definitely don’t recommend that it be on every platform. Because it’s, it’s so yeah, it’s it’s, it’s unmanageable. It is Yeah, it’s totally unmanageable. But you want to have that foundation in place, because ultimately, people are going to go to those places to see if you’re credible, or your real business. Who are you, you know, if you want to work with influencers, they’re going to look at, you’re going to want to go to your social media and be like, I want to see who this person is about. So you have to have this foundation in place for any of the other parts of the pyramid to work. And so they all do stack and you do want to be able to be traversing all of them to be able to get have a robust marketing system, a marketing machine working for you.

Tim Kubiak 34:38
Yeah, and you know, what, one of the things I watch, as I work with founders is I work with even established companies is

Unknown Speaker 34:47
people who are closer to their customer and understand that customers wants to do so much better. Yeah.

Tim Kubiak 34:54
Right. People who work in their own echo chamber and say, I’m going to build this and it’s going to be great. And the world needs it. Sometimes they’re the richest guys. Right. But most of us aren’t Ilan musk.

Deirdre Tshien 35:06
Yes. He was exactly what came to mind when you said that.

Tim Kubiak 35:12
But, you know, he looked at it. And yeah, when you have his money, you can do that. And you can make a market. But for the most part, and I’m not downplaying innovation, right, I made my living in tech for nearly three decades. But at the end of the day, there has to be a reason to have the people want what you’re making, or what you’re selling.

Deirdre Tshien 35:31
Yes, 100%. And, and that’s why I always recommend, like, as much as possible, don’t invest in inventory. So one of my other, I’ll tell you another story. So when we moved to New York, actually, I moved with my, my husband, my cat, and my co founder. And the business that my co founder, and I were actually working on was a fashion tech business. And, you know, in our minds, it was like, Oh, this is gonna be awesome. We’re totally solving a problem that people have. And, but we also knew that, you know, it, because of my experience, I’ve built it and they will come doesn’t necessarily work all the time, that we shouldn’t just be building it. Because, you know, more often than not, they probably won’t come. Yeah. And so what we actually did was, rather than investing the money upfront to get this thing developed, because it was a technology business, so it was going to take a lot of you

Tim Kubiak 36:22
know, to get to get the minimum viable product. Right.

Deirdre Tshien 36:25
Exactly. We actually hit the pavement, and at the time we were targeting college students or and or sort of younger, corporate, like a younger professionals.

Tim Kubiak 36:39
So you know, first job second job, I have a unique kind of

Deirdre Tshien 36:41
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So you know, so over here in New York, and so we went to like Columbia, we went to NYU went to, you know, Wall Street. And we actually had conversations. And again, this is, you know, this comes back to even though it wasn’t on, we weren’t having them online, but we’re having them, you know, back when,

Tim Kubiak 36:59
obviously, conversations when you’re allowed to

Deirdre Tshien 37:02
Yeah, actual conversations with people to try to work out if this was a problem that was big enough for us to end would they actually buy into a solution that we were thinking. And what we actually when we went through that process, what we realized was even though the problem was a problem, the solutions that they already had, like the way that they already kind of duck tapings, a solution together they actually already happy with. And so for us, we actually failed that business, like deliberately failed that business because it wasn’t going to be worth our time and money investing in it. So and this is why I say to anyone thinking of starting a business is like, to your point, like you have to go out and you have to talk to your customer, you have to know if you’re actually if you have what they want. Because otherwise you’re going to be spending, like wasting a lot of time and money, either developing something or investing in inventory or something and you don’t want that. You don’t want to be doing that. I’m gonna be assuming, unless you’re you’re an Elan musk.

Tim Kubiak 38:08
Yeah, he there are a lot of people with spare bedrooms or not spare bedrooms filled with inventory they couldn’t sell.

Deirdre Tshien 38:16
Exactly, exactly. And so that’s why I’m a big, big fan of test the market first, like even if it’s just taking pre orders, or something like without you having to actually get the inventory yet. Test the market first. And then if you can see that there is demand, then awesome go, then you can go all in. But really, that that whole product market fit is so key. That is actually the whole the reason why pretty much any business that fails fails is because at least in the early stages, because of that not finding that product market fit.

Tim Kubiak 38:54
Yeah, it’s it’s interesting, because you look at sometimes I’ll see people go down market just thinking they’re going to buy business. Right? And unless you have buying power, I watch people get wiped out with that. And then not just online, by the way, right? So if you’ve got X, you know, I ran a business once where we had $35 million in inventory. So if I wanted to hedge a half a million on something that I thought was gonna get discontinued, because then I could have it in when other business I couldn’t actually put the price up. It was b2b, but I could just sit on it. And when the supply dried out, say, yeah, I’ll do I’ll sell it to you know, regular price, but I want the rest of the order too. You can do that. But when you’re starting out, you can’t play that game.

Deirdre Tshien 39:41
100% Yeah, it’s um, it’s a very dangerous game to play and, and I think that’s it. That’s important thing, right? It’s like and this comes back to, you know, almost my starting point, which is, have a vision as to where you want to be and you know, we all want to be Elon Musk. Ideally, maybe that’s kind of our thing. But we but just realize that that’s not where even he started. Right? That’s not where we can start, we can’t start investing into your point in 35 million in imagery to hang around, like, we just can’t do that. So we do have to really be intentional with what activities we actually do. And the decisions that we make early on, because they can not to sound dramatic about it, but they can kind of be make or break for your business very early on when you have very limited resources to put into it.

Tim Kubiak 40:33
Yeah. One of the analogies I always think of is it’s like the band that got famous overnight, the plague empty bars for 10 years. Right? Nobody remembers that. You know, they’re an overnight success. Yeah, they’ve done 1000 shows and had 1200 people show up prior to this.

Deirdre Tshien 40:50
Totally, totally. That’s Yeah, we all have to remember that. We’ll have to be okay with that. Yeah, because, you know, we can very easily get seduced by this whole entrepreneurship thing. But it’s really unsexy is really really unsexy going down this road. So what,

Tim Kubiak 41:08
let’s bring it to close. But let’s end on that if you’ve not run your own business, and you’re leaving the corporate world, or you’re an early stage in life, and you’re like, I don’t want to work for the man. Right. And I want to do my own thing. tell people what they’re really getting into by starting a company.

Unknown Speaker 41:26
I don’t want to scare people.

Tim Kubiak 41:28
I think honesty is brilliant.

Deirdre Tshien 41:32
Yeah, look, it is. How do I encapsulate this to a few words. It’s like, it is the, you feel all of the polarizing emotions that you can. So on the one hand, it is so incredibly lonely. And like, especially when you’re in that down, which you are going to, like at some point, you’re going to feel that down, and you’re, it’s going to be lonely. But then on the other hand, when you finally get a win, when you finally get an op then it’s like the most exhilarating. It’s like, it’s literally like being on a roller coaster. And I think that’s the thing, like if you know, for people going into business, I think you just have to be okay with going through these ups and downs and cycling through the good, the bad, the emotions, like all of that. It’s, it’s, it’s almost like I would have like, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I also know that it’s not for everyone. I also Yeah, it’s you know, it’s it’s definitely not for anyone, it’s not for the faint hearted.

Tim Kubiak 42:39
Not right. I described it as the highs keep getting higher. And if you’re doing your job, right, the lows aren’t as deep into the valley.

Deirdre Tshien 42:51
Yeah, cuz it’s a true like, as you get bigger, you just upgrade your problems, right, like your problems will never go away. You’re just getting better, bigger new options.

Tim Kubiak 43:01
Yeah, yeah. You know, and the one thing I found I built a lot of businesses for other people as I always loved them when there was no longer a victory lap. When I had big wins. And it didn’t feel good anymore. I was out. I knew it’s time to go.

Deirdre Tshien 43:16
Yeah, totally. Totally. So yeah, so I yeah, it’s it’s a it’s a hard one to because I love entrepreneurship. But I also know the type of what it takes to, to get through it to be resilient. And it’s a lot, it does take a lot. So that’s the thing, that’s what I would probably just try to make everyone aware of, but at the same time, it’s kind of like, it’s hard to theoretically wrap your head around that. You kind of have to go through it.

Unknown Speaker 43:48
It’s one of those things, right. Like,

Tim Kubiak 43:50
there’s a lot more people out there that do it. And people actually realize, yeah,

Unknown Speaker 43:55
yeah, totally. So

Unknown Speaker 43:57
where can people find you? What can they find on your site? all that kind of good stuff.

Deirdre Tshien 44:01
Yeah. Awesome. So I actually do this, if I haven’t scared you off from from giant, giant trying entrepreneurship. I actually hold a three day free three day call to convert a challenge for e commerce business owners. Essentially, how to find your audience, how to hook them in how to convert them. And so I’m actually running one in a couple weeks time, but I run one pretty much every month so you can sign up for that at WWW dot the growth plus.com slash challenge. I’d love to see you there. And also, if you just want to get a little bit more of insight into my dangerous mind, then I do also have my own podcast called the making it podcast, which I believe Tim you’re gonna be you’re gonna come on as well.

Tim Kubiak 44:48
been very gracious. And we’re gonna have you on Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, come

Deirdre Tshien 44:53
check. Check us out there.

Tim Kubiak 44:55
Okay, I gotta ask, do you have a Facebook group? They should look at it.

Deirdre Tshien 44:58
Yes, yes. So myself. Facebook group is called e commerce growth secrets with direction. So, e commerce growth secrets. Yep, definitely find me there. It’s awesome. I do free training every week and audits live audits as well, every week. So a ton of value, and we have a ton of fun. So yeah, please come join me.

Tim Kubiak 45:20
I will join you. So thank you so much for taking time. Thanks so much for sharing openly about your own journey as a business owner.

Deirdre Tshien 45:29
So welcome. Thanks so much for having me on Tim.

Looking to go beyond Leveraging other People’s Audiences? Here’s a few other episodes focused on building your own online store, business and Brand

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