Today I’m hosting Natalie Vijlbrief for the first ever Business Chat and I’m so excited about it: we are discussing the reasons why marketing feels like a daunting job, and how you can actually switch your mindset about it, especially when you’re an introvert online entrepreneur.

 

Alessia: I’m so glad to be here with Natalie today and before we get started with the interview and learn more about Natalie and her entrepreneurial journey, I’m going to introduce her. Natalie is the owner and founder of Digitalie, she helps creative business owners and coaches by making their marketing more fun and her technological and marketing background gives her a pretty unique perspective on the online marketing world and, and its possibilities without wanting her clients to do it all by themselves.  I’m I’m so happy that you accepted to be here with me in this very first interview I’m hosting so I’m really over the moon.

Natalie: Happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

Alessia: Yes, it will be so much fun. I’m so curious to learn more about your journey.  And my first question for you is how did you start your business?  How did you come up with the idea of being an entrepreneur?

Natalie: Oh, um, well I’m a fourth generation entrepreneur, so my dad, my granddad and his father were all entrepreneurs. So I think it’s in my blood and there was no way I couldn’t do this. And so during my years at college and university, I already had a company with my ex-boyfriend. Well, of course, that didn’t work out, but then when I started to work at the university, so I graduated and then I started to work as a marketer. There I also got a lot of questions from people and so I kind of fell into starting my own company already. I knew that I wanted it someday when I’m older and just because they asked me questions and had some small assignments I already started and then it just grew from there. So I’ve been in business for seven and a half years now.

Alessia: What do you do specifically now?

Natalie: I help them with their online marketing and so that means that we can work on their marketing plan because they don’t know what they want to achieve and how they’re going to achieve it.  Then it doesn’t only work on execution. So I help with strategy, too, but I also believe in helping the execution because, um, I don’t want to be the person who gives you a plan and says, well, good luck with it and bye, I want to help afterwards, how do you do that and how can we make it as easy as possible and to make it fun because I believe people think that marketing isn’t fun, it’s a job that needs to happen and it’s hard and it isn’t. It doesn’t have to be hard.

Alessia: Well I, I totally agree on this last point that marketing always feels like something really challenging, hard and a really complicated to handle.  And I think it’s great that there are people like you who wants to make this daunting thing much easier because like also for me it feels like something that I have to do and it feels just so heavy and it is such a big relief to know that there are people like you who can really make it much easier and, and fun. Literally Fun. Also for like me, who kind of hate marketing

Natalie: And I think is the reason people started hating it is that they feel like they have to do it and there’s a lot of pressure on it and you feel like you have to do it all. That is not true. There are people out there who make you believe you have to be everywhere, you need to do everything and then it becomes big and heavy and difficult and you don’t know where to start and so then the fun has gone.

Alessia: I think something else that at least for me makes it much more challenging is the fact that I’m an introvert so it feels really uncomfortable to go out there and show to the world what I’m doing because for me it feels almost as if I’m showing off.

Natalie: Well, I’ll tell you a secret. I’m an introvert. I have the hardest time networking at events and so for me, social media makes it easier and I’ve seen that that happens a lot for introverts because you can do it when you want to and you can do it in a way that feels authentic, and I’m more about the relationship building then the showing off because I think that’s the thing that’s the hardest. If you think about it as being, of service for the person you’re helping, for your ideal client, then it’s not about showing off or showing up, it’s just making sure the daily know you can help them.

Alessia: This is something that  I heard a lot when you make the switch in your mindset that you’re not pushing your content or yourself because you just want to be visible, but genuinely because you want to help your ideal client. It makes such a big difference. Something so simple, but it’s this mindset switch that changed completely the perspective of the marketing.

Natalie: Exactly. And I think if then you don’t show up and you don’t show that you can help, then you’re not helping your client and so you’re doing them a disservice instead of yourself. So it’s not about you anymore. It’s about helping the other and I think that makes it easier to make sure that people know that you’re around there.

Alessia: Great. And now I have another question for you is: so far, what is the project or the work you’re most proud of?  Have you haven’t had a client that maybe you helped them with their marketing and they got really great results or something that is really close to your heart?

Natalie: Wow, that’s a really difficult question. There are so many things that I like doing and I like, there is one client and when she started she had all these ideas but it wasn’t a real plan yet. There wasn’t a way of going to package it and there wasn’t a way of how she was going to price it. And so we did like the whole Shebang. So we really started from scratch and say, OK, this is the idea, how do we make that into a viable business?   We took a lot of time to figure that out and to make it perfect during which we already did stuff like experiments and then work on it and expand it. And yeah, it was really cool to see that get launched and see her get results.

Alessia: Yes, great! And I forgot to mention one thing, is that  Natalie is based in the Netherlands, but I guess you have clients pretty much all around the world.

Natalie: Yes. I am. Most of my clients are in Europe, but they’re definitely not in here.

Alessia: It’s a, it’s such an amazing thing that nowadays we can run our own businesses from home, but literally being so connected with people and work with clients all over the world it’s fantastic.

Natalie: Yeah, I agree. I think it’s amazing. There are people everywhere and I really love that I have a lot of people who came from another country but are now in a different country. It’s like you, you are in Finland right now and you are not Finnish. I have a lot of clients like that. So. Yeah. And I think that that’s so lovely about online worlds that it becomes so much easier.

Alessia: Oh I totally agree with it. And what is the biggest and most important lesson you’ve learned so far in your experience?

Natalie: I think we hear a lot “you need to work in your zone of genius, just do to things that you’re really good at”. But I think it’s also really important to not just do the things you’re good, at but also that you like: there’s also a lot of jobs in online marketing that I’m still good at, but I don’t like them as much and every time I started doing that kind of job because clients ask for it, it never really works out for. It never felt really good and I didn’t get enthusiastic and energetic from it. And so I think for me the biggest lesson was learning to stick only with what I know and what I love as well.

Alessia: Yeah. This is a good one. I, I totally agree with you on this. Especially I think when we are solo entrepreneurs, we kind of have to wear all the hats so we need to be the CEO, the secretary, the bookkeeper, the social media market or the marketing person: anything. We really need or at least we have the perception and feeling that we have to handle it all. But the reality is that that’s not the truth. Of course. I mean when someone is starting out, you may not have the budget or the resources to hire someone, but then at some point if you want to grow and scale your business, you really need to focus on what you are really good at and what you enjoy and then just delegate what you can’t handle because you either don’t know how to do it or you’re simply don’t enjoy.  And if you don’t enjoy doing something then possibly the result wouldn’t really be optimal.

Natalie: Yeah, and I think the same goes for services or products you offer, so it’s not just what you do in your own business, but if clients want you to do something and you don’t love it and you still sort doing it, you don’t get the same results for yourself or for the client. And I think that’s not something we never want: you want to help your client the best way you can. And that means sometimes saying, no, that’s not me, that’s not what I do, but I can refer you to someone else.

Alessia: Sometimes it feels quite difficult to say no, especially when you’re starting out. At least I used to feel really guilty saying no to a prospective client because maybe I wasn’t really into that project or that work.  And I had to say no can be authentic and to be honest.  But the guilt inside my heart was like “why did you do it?” .That would have been more money coming in. It would have been experience coming in as well. But then when you realize that the truth is that most likely the result won’t be really great because you simply don’t enjoy doing that, I

Natalie: It can be quite challenging at the beginning. Yeah, I agree. And it always is. And I think the shorter you’re in business, the harder it is to say no, and the longer you’re in business, the easier it becomes because you see what happens when you do say no to the wrong clients to get the right ones.

Alessia: Great. And this is this is THE question: how does the next level for you?  So what is the next big thing you would like to see happening in your business?

Natalie: Well actually at the moment I’ve just started working on my first online course and so the ideas that I’m going to deliver this online course, and more of them and it’s something I’m really excited about, but it’s also very scary and exciting and terrific.

Alessia: Yeah, it’s kind of a big, big project when you’re planning an online course because there are a lot of things you need to consider. I mean, not only the content itself but all the other things around, like the hosting platform payments and automation and the marketing of course.

Natalie: Yes, exactly. So, especially for the first course there’s so much more coming at you than just how do I deliver the course, or what do I put into the course. It’s also about how do you deliver it and where and it’s really exciting and it’s definitely a next level that I’ve been wanting to do for a while.

Alessia: So it is working a bit more towards passive income then.

Natalie: Yes. For me, it’s more about helping people that don’t have the budget to work with me one on one. I’ve had a lot of people ask me, “Oh, I want to know more about this” or I want to know more about that”, but they are just starting out and they don’t have the budget for a one on one yet, which is very understandable. But I do want to help them and so this way I can help those people and I can help more people. And in an easy way and give all my knowledge in a course.

Alessia: I think you’ve teased us already a bit, so can you tease us a bit more and give us a hint about what the course will be?

Natalie: Yeah, of course, I’m making a course about a content planning and creation and so I will tell you how to come up with content and also how to come up with a schedule that works that I’ve used for clients and then how to create the content as well.

Alessia: That’s great. It sounds really, really great and something that is definitely needed.  OK, this is one of my favourite questions and it is: what is your favourite resource or book? If you could choose only one resource or a book that made an impact on you as a business owner, the person you are today, what would it be?

Natalie: Well there has been of course a lot. But I think the thing that really stretched me and helps me grow, and it still does, is that I’m in a membership group from Jo Bendle and it’s called Wildly Successful Society. And it’s about learning how to be successful and officially it’s a productivity group, so it’s about how do you set goals and achieve them, and work your to-do list better, but it is so much more than that. She helps you with the mindset a lot and we were just talking about the mindset, how important is that you believe that the right clients who will come and the right people will buy your thing. And about the beliefs around visibility as well for us and it’s also a really good group of people, so we support each other and we help each other. I think that for me has been the biggest resource, definitely the last two years and really helped me grow a lot.

Alessia: Having a support or a network of like-minded entrepreneurs who make it much easier.  The daily life an online entrepreneur sometimes feels a bit lonely: you can work from home or go to a co-working space, but I noticed that when you have a network or a support group, even if it’s online, it makes a huge difference.

Natalie: Yes it does.  And I think especially if you can work together sometimes. Sometimes we’re in a zoom room with a few of the other ladies, so we can talk to each other and we can help each other out if we get stuck. And then we’re really been productive because we are saying “this is what I’m going to do right now”, and then you ask half an hour later, “did you do that?”  And so you get pushed to actually make those jumps and grow.

Alessia: Before we close, I have one last question for you and it’s where can people find you?

Natalie: Of course I have a website, digitalie.eu. I have a facebook page, instagram. I’ve also other channels, but I don’t use those, those, these are the easiest way to reach me and there’s always email if you have any question, natalie@digitalie.eu

Alessia: So thank you so much, Natalie, for being here with me today. It was really interesting to learn about your entrepreneurial journey and all the ups and downs and experiences and learn also about the behind the scenes of running an online business because that somehow feels kind of neglected so we only see the outside,  thank you so much for being here with me and I will see you soon.  Bye-Bye.

Natalie: Thank you.

  Learn from the experts: Natalie is a marketing expert and she's going to share with us how she makes marketing fun and easy even if you're an introvert online entrepreneur.

Alessia is a Tech Expert and rescues online coaches from tech disasters so they can easily grow, scale and automate their businesses.
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