061 - Small Business Marketing For The Win With Tori Barker

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https://www.linkedin.com/in/toribarker/

Show Notes

Josh Tapp 0:00
What's up everybody? Josh Tapp here again, and welcome back to the lucky Titan podcast. So today I have Tori Barker on the mic. And Tori is the founder of creative marketing. The reason I brought Tori on today is because she has a very unique story about how she transitioned out of the corporate marketing environment into a digital marketing and consulting agency. Her story is one of overcoming and really of the true form of networking to be able to scale out of your job into a true rock solid business. So Tori, let's hop right in. All right, sorry. So tell us one thing about yourself that most people don't know.
Tori Barker 0:38
One thing that people most people don't know about me. Well, it's not really related to business. But yeah, I know. Um, I was an exchange student when I was in high school, and I traveled to Finland and I lived there with a host family. And in retrospect, I think that taught me a lot about my Myself and skills that I've taken into my personal life and in my business, being an exchange student at the age of 16. Wow, where did you say you were? Finland,
Josh Tapp 1:11
Finland? Wow. Yeah, that's that's a language and a half right there.
Tori Barker 1:15
I know. I had to, you know, I was in high school at that time too. So I had to attend school, in their language and take tests and learn, you know, all throughout, you know, the semesters in their language while I was you know, trying to learn it myself.
Josh Tapp 1:35
When finished is like one of the hardest languages in the world, isn't it?
Tori Barker 1:38
Yes, yeah.
Josh Tapp 1:40
Yeah, I know Spanish, but there's no way I could learn Finnish. That's that's pretty tough language. So kudos to you on that. That's awesome. Well, sorry. Let's now that we know a little bit about your background, right. That's kind of an icebreaker question. I use that to help our audience relate to you a little bit better. But what what's kind of your background, give us a little bit of how you got where you're at today?
Tori Barker 2:01
Sure. So I own my own marketing company called creative marketing. And I'm new in this business on my own. Because I come from a corporate marketing background. I was in the corporate marketing world for about 15 years, and my previous industries are pretty much real estate related. So I started in commercial real estate, had a big chunk in residential real estate, and then a new construction. And I got to a point last year, in my role as a marketing manager for a new construction division, where I just felt like I had so much more to give and my creativity wasn't being utilized and the ideas that I had just couldn't be put into place in a corporate world. And plus, I felt like there are so many more people that I had the ability to help other than just one company, right and so I did a little soul searching and came to the point where I just decided to go out on my own and took the leap of faith and started my own digital marketing business and consulting. And, you know, I haven't I haven't regretted it, which is good, right? That's step number one, everyone, and I'm just so excited, you know, my business is growing and changing and I'm learning and growing and changing along with it. And so it's an exciting adventure to be on the journey is just be done. And so yeah, that's a little
Josh Tapp 3:28
bit about me, which is awesome. I, I do want to ask you this in particular. So most people, most roasters now, you know, I started off as a marketing agency, but I didn't come in with a marketing background. You I just kind of started and started like, well, I'll figure it out as we get going. Right. Right. So somebody like you has corporate marketing experience. What's kind of the difference between that and working with small businesses?
Tori Barker 3:51
more freedom? Yes, yes. Um, well, you know, in the corporate world, usually there's somebody who's above you Who's calling the shots who is is leading the direction. And then in my position now, when I'm working with a small business owner or an individual company, they look to me for advice. So they are hoping that I have the guidance to give them to be successful in their marketing. And so it puts me more in the leadership role, which I love, you know, being a leader. And so that's, you know, for me the biggest difference and it allows me to think outside the box too, so I'm not limited to only doing you know, direct mail marketing or content type marketing, I can do social media, I can, you know, look into analytics and I can help them with research. So it's almost limitless on the capabilities that I can help them for their business.
Josh Tapp 4:53
Yeah, that's so awesome. Well, and what I really like about your take on it, you know, having both backgrounds now you know, you've worked with small budget As you've worked in the corporate environment, I mean, is the marketing very similar to you? Do you see it kind of be? It can almost translate directly from a larger company to a smaller company?
Tori Barker 5:10
Yeah, I think so. And you know, it's interesting to, from industry to industry. So I came from the real estate, new construction industry. And now I'm working with, you know, those companies and clients as well. But I also have additional industry type clients, like coaches, I'm working with a business coach, I'm working with a photographer, and I'm working with mortgage mortgage industry individuals. And so the marketing tactics can be utilized in all areas, you just kind of tweak it and adjust it to match the consumer that the client is trying to reach. So it's kind of cool to see how you can take those same concepts and, and adjust it to fit the needs of your client, the businesses that you work with.
Josh Tapp 5:57
Yeah, that's a really good point. I was just Reading a book called marketing 4.0. Have you read that one by Joe? It was interesting, as well as books where you're like, It's so high level and intellectual that you're like, this is kind of annoying. Yeah, it wasn't a good storyteller but, but he talked about that a lot. You know about that. really understanding who your ideal customer is and how it translates it doesn't matter how large your company is. Because, you know, as a marketer, yeah, we've been doing it for five years now and watching kind of the different niches it's still kind of funny to look at companies like Doritos or Apple. Yeah, yeah. But they're not marketing anything like we are. But what's really interesting is they have had to change their content strategy to match all of us smaller marketers and smaller businesses, because we're eating up the attention of everybody. Yeah,
Tori Barker 6:43
absolutely. Well, and it's fun to see you know how technology evolves too, because that affects marketing as well. And, and, and video being so prominent and podcasting being so prominent in the marketing platform. And so it's cool to you know, be out on my own because I can You know, I can move along with the trends and I can evolve as technology and marketing and everything evolves and, you know, continue to educate myself while I, you know, provide more of a service for my clients to keep up with that trend and growth.
Josh Tapp 7:16
Yeah. Which is so awesome. Well, so for you. I mean, I have to ask you this in particular, because you took the leap, right? You took that leap? What, how did you initially start getting clients? Was it just manual outreach? or How did you do it?
Tori Barker 7:30
So it's kind of interesting, because when I was at my corporate job, I had a few real estate agents that I've worked with previously who asked if I could do some freelance work for them. Because I had done freelance before when I was in the residential arena. And with the home builder, I wasn't allowed to do freelance work. So I had been turning down these people for you know, about two years. And then my mindset had changed and I was in the mindset of, you know, looking Looking for something to fulfill my, you know, creative mind? Yeah. And and these people started reaching out to me and it was like one person and another person. And then I had like five people who were like, Hey, can you help me with marketing? And I started to think, you know, what if these people are reaching out to me, I'm not even marketing quote unquote, myself, right. You know, so if I did start to market myself, I can only imagine how many people I could get. Yeah. So, um, you know, kind of ran the numbers and talk to some financial advisors to figure out, you know, because I have a family of a young, two young boys and, and I've got financial responsibilities. So I couldn't just go, you know, jump out there, right. But yeah, so, you know, people started reaching out to me and then I responded back and said, You know what, I have something in the works. So hang on, and I'll get back to you, and then it just kind of grew from there.
Josh Tapp 8:57
Wow, that is awesome. That's an easy start for you. Having the business come to you? No brainer there, in my opinion. Okay, can I give you my money? And you're like, you know, maybe, maybe maybe
Tori Barker 9:09
I'll think about it.
Josh Tapp 9:11
So awesome. Yeah, it's it's kind of interesting because I've talked with quite a few different marketers. It's really interesting to see how everybody has done it differently. You know, for us, we started with friends and family businesses, you know, in my case, business owners, my brother do some business owners, right, hey, let's partner up and get a couple businesses on how have you been able to combat you know, now that you've probably almost tapped that network? Maybe you haven't? How have you been able to start transitioning into marketing yourself now?
Tori Barker 9:39
Yeah, so I don't feel like my network has been tapped yet which is good, good. I feel like there's some people that are still trickling in, you know, it's kind of like, you know, as I market myself to get more familiar with me, and my business, what I'm doing on a business level, they know me on the personal level. Of course, but now they're like, hey, Tori is doing all this cool stuff I should, you know, reach out to her. So I still have that network, which is really cool. But I've been also leveraging my social media connections. And LinkedIn has been a big one for me here recently because of just the the capability of the network and being connected with a number of professional individuals and business owners there. So building connections through social media has been huge. And then podcasting. So I do my own podcast, and it's my passion podcast, and I co host with a dear friend of mine, Kyle Thompson, who's a business coach and a speaker, and our podcast is called One more thing. And so we the theme of our podcast is transformation and following your passion, so that lends itself to open up the opportunity to meet new people. And so that's been a indirect marketing platform. For me to meet new people and introduce myself and my business to them as well. And then, you know, just straight marketing advertising, you know, just just utilizing the platforms that I have to market myself just kind of having my hand in each pot to to find the clients and introduce myself and get a relationship started.
Josh Tapp 11:22
Yeah, which I love the direction you're going with that. I mean, that's everything we stand for here. It's true networking you know, like it's it'll never die first off you go Yeah, all networking is dead. It's like, Well, yeah, if you go to like the Chamber of Commerce to shake hands all the time, of course, you're not going to succeed very high by translate those skills online to a platform like LinkedIn. I mean, for us, changed our business. And we finally started putting emphasis on LinkedIn. Yeah, clients that direction, because the network is so incredible there. Mm. There's so
Tori Barker 11:53
much that you the opportunity is huge there. There's, I mean, people nationwide, you know, worldwide that you can connect with They're all in the same business mindset as you because that's technically what the platform is. It's a business networking. And it's just all digital. And so it's kind of cool to, to think about ways to increase that interaction and connections through that social platform. And then you know, get them to learn who you are connect with you on other more social Facebook type platforms, so they learn who you are, because I I truly believe that people work with you because they know you like you and trust you. And so if I can build that relationship with them, then I feel like you know, it's more it's easier to get to them as a client because they know me and they like me and hopefully will trust me. Yeah.
Josh Tapp 12:44
Well, you know, it's really interesting. I mean, about your story in general is, especially in the marketing world. Now, we have this thing everybody talks about, you know, that the cobblers children have no shoes, right? Because it's so hard to market a marketing agency and people discredit that but once you become a marketing agency, it's super After market your, your business when you're like, I can do any other business. I just can't do mine. Yeah. For you, you know, I think the way you've been able to combat that, like you're saying is really focusing more on core networking and really doing true b2b marketing, which is, yeah,
Tori Barker 13:14
networking. Yeah. And just, you know, kind of doing it in different fashions, like having the podcast, that's not completely it's not, it's not specifically directed to my business, but it incorporates my business. And so it opens me up to new people, and then just, you know, still talking to people staying connected and, you know, trying to set aside time in my own business, you know, for my own business, while I also do business for my clients, it's a balancing act, you know, it's, it's like, you know, someone's would say, you know, oh, can you can you do this type of marketing and I'm like, Yeah, I can do anything. What do you want, you know, right. So it's the same for my business, I can market my business. However, I want to have enough time to do all these things.
Josh Tapp 14:05
That's when you have to start hiring VA s. That's why I really love that I do want to ask, and how do you tell our listeners? There's a lot of people who listen to podcasts like ours, and they're saying, you know, I want to take the leap. We're just saying, just take the leap. Right? Everybody says, You know, I would so people that just take the leap. So yeah, how do you how have you prepared to take that leap? Because you talked about you went to a financial advisor and everything, yeah, what did you do to prepare for that?
Tori Barker 14:35
So I am not a risk taker, and by nature, so taking a leap was was something that was calculated for me. So I did research. And I talked to my financial advisor and tested the waters with potential clients, those people who had reached out to me and wanted to make sure that my business would be successful honestly. And that I can make it work. Because if I, you know, if I put my mind to something, I'm not going to fail, you know, I'm going to figure it out. You know, I may not know the answer right now, but I will figure the answer out, and, you know, make it work. So the biggest thing that I did was research, I researched my competitors. I wanted to see who else was doing marketing in my area, who else had a marketing company, what types of clients they had, so I did a lot of research to see who I was going up against what I had to compete with, and then, you know, talking to my financial advisor, so I knew financially, how do I position myself to take care of my family, pay for my business, and then you know, have a little money for myself. And, you know, and then the support of my family was huge, too. So talk to my family about you know, my idea and they were all on board. Of course, they were like are you sure about this? And, you know, they knew me and my determination and my drive and so they, you know, support me 100%. So having that support was another huge asset. You know, for those days where you are struggling and you can lean on your family, and they can remind you why you started this journey,
Josh Tapp 16:18
right? That is important that the support network. Yeah, you almost feel like an addict. Sometimes you're like, I just need five people around me to help me.
Unknown Speaker 16:27
Happy right.
Josh Tapp 16:31
That's so fun. Well, I do want to kind of add to what you're saying, you know, a lot of a lot of what people run into when they're looking to take that leap, like you're saying is that some people are erratic, you know, they just they just jump out and do business. But I listened to a guy once. He actually came on our show. His name's Josh Stein lane. Huge influencer on LinkedIn, everything, but he has a theory that you shouldn't ever just take the leap without making a calculated risk and and what he talks About is, first save up three to six months of expenses in your life with a little bit of extra money so you can put it into business and quit your job. And then try a business if it hasn't taken off in six months, which in the online space, right is all online, right? You can go back and get another job. Everybody thinks it's going to be this ridiculously hard thing. Just go back and get another job. Save another three to six months of expenses up try again. We live in a world where it's so easy to launch a business there been and make it successful quickly that whole five years until profitable thing is gone. Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah, we were profitable after the first three months when we when we started ours.
Tori Barker 17:37
Right. Yeah. And then it just grows from there. How do you want to grow your business and, and evolve with the industries and clients and marketing world?
Josh Tapp 17:48
Yeah. Yeah. Tori, thank you so much for coming on and sharing that with us sharing your experience of how you transition. I know that was probably not exactly what you're expecting. I was really liked. I liked that aspect of your story. Because, I mean, we talked about making your own luck, right and the preparation that it requires, because I don't believe in making your own in having luck. It's about putting yourself into that environment where you can win. And you've done that for yourself. That's why you've been able to succeed so far is, you know, just have clients come to you and ask you to take their money is a huge deal. You did. When you did it through networking, that's, that's just Yeah, you're supporting every point I stand for. So thanks for coming on the show.
Tori Barker 18:29
I appreciate it. It's great to talk with you.
Josh Tapp 18:31
Yeah, well, and before we sign off, where is one place that people can connect with you,
Tori Barker 18:37
I would love to connect with anyone who's interested on my LinkedIn profile. So you can connect with me, Tori Barker on LinkedIn. And I'd love to, you know, start networking with you and just
Josh Tapp 18:51
she's a great connection to have so sorry, I'll add links to that in the description as well as well as to your podcast so people can go check that It's and again thank you
Tori Barker 19:01
for coming on our show. Thank you.
Josh Tapp 19:04
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