The 12 Days of Christmas – The Great Holiday Networking Extravaganza, hosted by Jill Hart and Diana Ennen, is an unprecedented opportunity to learn from some of the best entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, and small businesses who share tips for success and secrets to how to have a profitable business. Daily interviews go behind the scenes to share not only success tips but also how these entrepreneurs are reaching goal after goal.
INTERVIEW with RUTH MARTIN
Ruth Martin is the owner of Maplewood Virtual Assistance (aka MaplewoodVA), Maplewood Virtual Assistance an online business support services firm specializing in online business and project management (OBM), marketing and writing services, and executive level business support. Ruth brings 20+ years of business management and marketing experience to each project she touches.
Tell us a little about your business?
Season’s Greetings, Jill and Diana. Thanks for hosting me in this 12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza. It’s so nice getting together with you both. Now, about me and what I do…throughout my professional career, I have always been the ‘go-to’ person due largely in part to my keen attention to detail and organizational skills plus my way of being able to grasp a situation quickly, assess it, and formulate results driven action plans. With my 20+ years of marketing and business management experience it’s been a natural development to offer my expertise in these areas as well as writing services in my virtual assistant business – Maplewood Virtual Assistance. It’s been a winning combination that works and a decision I’ve never regretted pursuing. MaplewoodVA is entering its 14th year serving small businesses across the US and Canada.
What are some of your top tips for success?
I’ll give you my top three: 1) always exhibit confidence and believe in your products and services because it will show; 2) know who you are marketing to and why (here’s a hint: it’s about them and their needs, not you and yours); and 3) get to know people and then get to know even more people – networking with a diverse group is key. Never be the best kept secret when it comes to others knowing about your business and its offerings.
Can you share with us two of the top ways you market?
Being an online support business my most effective marketing methods are blogging for both my own business and as a guest blogger plus using social media. Ladies, I’d like to add in one important way because it’s been a door-opener for referrals – becoming an active contributing member of industry forums. Forums are excellent places to meet colleagues and make some lasting friendships.
Are you planning any special holiday promotions?
I am not but I do have a fabulous freebie to share with the readers – keeping reading to discover my gift. I have a seasonal business at UWriteSanta.com that keeps me busy during the holiday time as an official Santa Helper writing letters from Santa. Several years ago MaplewoodVA slowed down from mid-November through the end of the year as several clients took extended holiday vacations and I minded each business in their absence. I craved something more during this time of year so created U Write Santa. It keeps me busy and fulfilled while I mind client’s businesses and they enjoy some well deserved family time or focus on their last quarter business planning for the coming year.
What goals do you have for the new year?
I firmly believe in maintaining skills and continual learning. I typically seek out courses or skills training to add in my business. I like to add in something for fun – a personal interest, something to add depth to what I know, and something that is outside what I typically do to expose me to a new area.
How do you normally obtain those goals?
With goals in skill enhancement and learning I subscribe to many lists for those who teach and offer courses or certifications. Keeping aware of what’s being offered and who is the recognized expert are my secrets to staying on top of tech advancements.
How do you make your business unique & profitable?
Oh my, Jill and Diana, you both know me…the uniqueness comes from infusing much of my personality into all I do and touch. I can’t help it. I love to smile and be joyful. Plus, if there’s a maple leaf out there, well, it needs added to my marketing materials or referenced somewhere in my marketing lingo. I’m often thanking Facebook friends for adding a bit of maple into their newsfeed.
My profitability comes from a background of over 20 years in marketing and business management. I am comfortable in running a business from my years of overseeing the non-profit organization that I was a director of prior to beginning my business. I understand the commitment and mindset needed to be an owner verses an employee. I am used to making projections and putting the pieces in place to reach and surpass those goals for both myself and my clients. I know how to produce outcomes and make the magic happen. I have pretty lofty standards for both my projects and my clients. My clients are assured that their projects are handled with as much care I treat my own Maple projects. I have their back, always.
Any additional tips…come on give us a few secrets to your success!
Always be appreciative of your clients – past, present, and future – and freely express this. Without them you have no business.
Have any comical stories you’d like to share about your time in business?
After so many years in business I have several a-funny-thing-happened-to-me-on-the-way-to-the-office stories and this is one of my favorites. I once received an email marked urgent from a colleague who was vacationing. She saw some maple leaf mementos and sent me a picture with a note saying she saw these and immediately thought of MaplewoodVA. Then she bought them and mailed them to me because I had to have them. I chuckled when the unexpected package arrived with a note that she couldn’t sleep until she bought them. She actually went back a day or two later to get them for me. Several friends have mailed maple leaf items or Santa Claus Christmas ornaments because of UWriteSanta to me. It’s fun to be memorable especially when the cooler seasons arrive.
I used to work next door to a small diner that served the best BBQ and had a cartoon pig as their logo. That owner received gifts of pigs in all shapes and sizes. He proudly displayed them in the restaurant. I used to tease him about his unusual collection and now I have lovingly graduated to being gifted maple leaf mementos. It’s such a sweet compliment that I cherish.
Tell us a little about your holidays and how you spend them. We love to get to know the people behind the business, so please do share.
One of our favorite traditions is riding about the community neighborhoods to see the light displays while listening to holiday music on the radio. I look forward to doing this throughout the whole month of December.
We usually have extended family celebrations over several days with Christmas Day being just for our family. It’s hard to bring everyone together on a single day and unfair (and exhausting) to have to travel all day visiting.
Before we part today I want to wish you and your families a joyous holiday season filled with many blessings. I appreciate sharing the interview desk with you today. I look forward to having your readers receive their marketing goodie from MaplewoodVA. It’s like getting a little extra, a little early in their Christmas stocking. Merry Christmas, my friends.
Tell us about your free download.
Have you forgotten how to market? Or, maybe never really learned from the start? If you’re nodding your head then you must listen to Ruth Martin’s marketing audio recording. Head over to her page and sign up for the free audio – Have You Forgotten How to Market. Remember, as Ruth always says, “Your customers will drive your marketing presence, and in turn, your marketing frequency will drive your customers (to you).”
For the last day of our 12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza we are giving away exclusive access to Diana Ennen’s PR Success Class. Enter below for your chance to win!