Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Pauline Wiles, Owner of Pauline Wiles LLC, located in Redwood City, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I provide website design and related marketing tools for authors, coaches, and thought leaders. My audience wants to build their authority and impact a high-quality, strategic website as a cornerstone of their efforts as well as done-for-you website design services.
I'm increasingly interested in how to support those on a lower budget and people who are excited to build and manage their websites themselves. So I now offer both do-it-yourself and done-with-you options.
Currently, all of my services use Squarespace as the underlying platform. It's the best combination I've found of looking great, being reasonably easy to use, and getting found for SEO with no headaches from security or installing updates.
Tell us about yourself
Like many entrepreneurs, I've had a wide variety of "day jobs," and the common threads in mine were marketing, tech, and entrepreneurship. About ten years ago, for fun, I wrote and published a series of light-hearted novels. In doing so, I became connected with the author community. I realized that while I loved building and updating my own website, most other authors dreaded that side of things and really needed help.
So although I haven't officially stopped writing, the reality is, I absolutely love website design, and I have strong empathy for what my clients need. It's not uncommon for me to serve as their cheerleader and mindset coach while we work on their website and marketing plan.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'm proud that the websites I've designed have been the catalyst for my clients and their important messages to get noticed. I've heard from clients who've landed exciting new jobs and who have been invited to speak to influential institutions or on big stages because they now have a professional and credible online presence. For example, some of their subject matter includes issues like mental health, bias, and discrimination, so this is important work that the world needs to see.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
For me, the number one challenge is that I enjoy my work so much that I find it really hard to step away and take time off. I absolutely love this intersection of design, marketing, and tech, and I always have multiple ideas for a new program or resource that I could create. So making sure I unplug and look after both my body and mind is a challenge.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find the intersection of what you love, what you're good at, and what people will actually pay for. You need these three things in place to have a viable and sustainable business.
- A side hustle is a wonderful way of testing both your passion and the market. There's advice out there that suggests you're not serious if you don't go "all in." I disagree. Nonetheless, don't run yourself into the ground by burning the midnight oil on your new venture!
- Don't compare your beginning to someone who's been in business for years. Entrepreneurship is rarely easy, and while some people get lucky quickly, for most of us, it's going to be a marathon, not a sprint. And be aware that some high-growth tactics that worked five years ago are increasingly difficult to mimic. Especially if your business is online, that world changes fast.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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