Every once in awhile, I meet a blogger whose personality hits me like a warm summer morning. That feeling when the sun comes up but it’s not too hot outside – it’s refreshing.
Agatha from HeyAgatha.com is that person. And you wouldn’t expect that type of glowing personality from someone who used to work in the accounting profession. (I can say that because I am currently in the accounting profession). 🙂 Everyone has a unique voice though, and this is something that Agatha believes can really shine through the use of video.
In this interview, we not only discuss Agatha’s background and how she got to be where she is today, but we also dig into the power of video blogging and becoming a video blogging rockstar (or “vlogstar”). It’s something a lot of people overlook, but something that could really be a valuable tool for growing your business.
Check out the interview and learn more about becoming a “vlogstar.”
Agatha, as I’ve told you already, I love the personality that you put into your writing at HeyAgatha.com, and you’ve put a very positive spin on “being uncool,” which I like a lot. You write a lot about entrepreneurship and personal finance, among other topics, and I see that you speak publicly and are currently writing a book as well. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey. Where did your career begin, and how has it evolved to the point where you’re at today?
I graduated college with a BBA in Accounting and then went to work for the worldwide firm Deloitte & Touche. After one year there, I knew Corporate America was not for me. So I left and went to work at LAX airport as a security screener. Yes, this was quite a departure from accounting, but after not feeling a fit at Deloitte, I was very confused and lost about what to do with myself. I just wanted to take a job that had nothing to do with my field of study; kind of a way to reset and re-asses what I wanted to do with my life.
After a year at LAX, I left and started finding requests for part time accountants and bookkeepers on Craigslist. I applied for them and that’s how I started my business. No business plan, no capital. I just went and did it. After 5 pretty good years, I started going to business networking events and then built it to 6 figures within 3 months. And it continued on like that for 6 more years until I sold it in December 2013.
I always knew accounting was not for me but I was too scared stiff to leave it. So the past 4 years, I tried my hand at a side gig with blogs and various models of online businesses but none took off. I knew that spending most of my time still doing accounting was preventing me from taking my big leap and really doing what I’ve always wanted to do.
So I decided to sell my practice. I was so ready to move on and do other things and now that is exactly what I am doing. I run my video blog and HeyAgathaTV show, where I tell bloggers & entrepreneurs how to use awesome videos to promote themselves. I am working to turn my HeyAgathaTV show into a paid gig, both through online monetization and through traditional media.
I am doing consulting for bloggers and entrepreneurs to help them find their unique video style and create a plan on maximizing their reach from it. And sometime next year I plan on finishing my book, “Sweaty Armpit Girl,” and releasing it.
So, all in all, it has been a windy, topsy turvy journey, but I am happy to report that I am finally at the place where I’ve always wanted to be: doing things I love and happily inspiring other people to do what they love.
What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far with your blog/business?
The thing that lights me up the most is when I meet people and they start singing one of my rap songs. See, in every HeyAgathaTV episode, I answer a reader question and then sing a rap song that I wrote to support my answer. I do the rap songs because they are really fun for me and also because I know it helps people easily remember what I talked about. So when people in my day to day life see me, and start singing a HeyAgathaTV rap song, that makes me super happy.
Yes, all the other stuff is good. It’s lovely to make money and get attention for doing what I love. But what fills me up the most is knowing that my readers connect to what I am doing and remember it…and then use it to help improve their businesses and, in turn, their lives.
I’m sure there was a time when things weren’t running so smoothly with your business… what’s been your biggest challenge along the way, and how have you overcome it?
I overcome challenges all the time, even still. Every time I want to get to my next level in business, I have to face down my mental and emotional goblins.
Right now my biggest fears are around pitching the HeyAgathaTV show to L.A. news shows and reality show producers. I love my format and my online show and I have a group of loyal followers that love what I do. So pitching it to the general media is scary, because they might hate what I do and think I suck or am a silly nilly. But I just have to accept that and not take it personally, and also stay on my course of strong belief in it.
Everytime I send or do a pitch I am scared. It doesn’t go away. It just gets easier to confidently and proudly stand behind what I am doing, so I stop caring what the person I am pitching to thinks of me.
I’ve realized that I am a person who is committed to continually growing and expanding in my life and business, so the challenges will always be there. And I will always overcome them because I am very committed to myself, my message, my audience, and living the kind of life I love.
I understand that you’re really into video blogging online (a self-proclaimed “vlogstar” in fact!), and I think this is an area that a lot of bloggers and internet entrepreneurs overlook. How do you think video can enhance a person’s business (or marketing of that business) compared to other, more traditional online methods?
According to the Online Publisher’s Association, people are 64% more likely to buy something after watching a video…and it makes sense. People get a feel for you, a feel for your product or service, and so they are more likely to purchase whatever you are selling.
I did not sell any affiliate products on my blog until I started doing video. Then all of a sudden, the first month I recommended a product in a video, I made $180 in 10 minutes. I know $180 doesn’t sound like a lot, but given that I had spent about 3 years doing zero dollars in affiliate sales I was quite impressed with this upsurge.
I also get consulting client requests from people who see and love my videos. I am able to much more easily sell my video branding & strategy sessions to people who have never met me and simply love my videos…and want to learn how to do it for themselves.
And my last video got re-tweeted to 35,000 people. Can you imagine how many conferences or business networking events I’d have to attend to reach 35,000 people?
Video is powerful.
In my eyes, if you are not doing video for your blog or business, you are failing to take advantage of an enormous selling and promotional tool. I’m not saying you have to do video, I just know that my blog and consulting business did not start taking off until I started doing it.
I did a video on my blog about this: http://www.heyagatha.com/unleashing-your-vlogstar-can-rock-your-business/
Sticking with the video blogging theme… I’ll be honest, I’m afraid to put myself in front of a video camera and press record. Not because I’m scary-looking or anything, but because there’s this underlying fear that people won’t like it, or that it’ll just be a waste of time. It’s much easier to hide behind your writing, and writing is obviously still effective. What advice would you have for someone like me (because I’m positive I’m not alone in feeling this way)?
Start experimenting with video to find your voice and your unique “shtick.” Having a shtick in every video keeps your videos consistent and can make them a lot more engaging. My shtick is rapping, but yours does not have to be so “out there.”
So just start doing it. It took me 3 years of personal experimentation with video to find my unique style, but that could have been much faster if I did a 30 day video project, where you do a video a day for 30 days.
I highly recommend doing that if you are just starting out with video. It will help you find your voice real fast!
No one has to see these videos. They can be just for you. But the more you do it, the more you will find your unique rhythm and you’ll find what feels good and fun for you. And that is what will resonate with your audience. The amazing authentic you!
Another thing you can do is work with me to find your video brand, your shtick, and develop a strategy to really maximize and profit from it. It took me about 3 years of experimenting to get to my “vlogstar” video brand so I save my clients lots of time and energy. You can email email@example.com to get info on the vlogstar brand consulting services I provide.
Looking generally at becoming an entrepreneur: If you had to take your best advice or inspirational thought and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
If you love growing, evolving, and facing your fears, become an entrepreneur. It will stretch you like crazy. [Click here to tweet this]
What are your favorite online resources – ones that you can’t live without?
I love Amazon Associates for affiliate products because they sell everything under the sun. If I want to recommend a product I love I can usually find it on Amazon. I love bit.ly for link shortening because it tracks clicks for you.
And I love Click to Tweet because it makes sharing content so easy for my readers.
And last but not least, where can people find you online?
Right now I have limited spots available for video branding & strategy sessions and you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Thanks for your time today, Agatha!
What did you think about this interview with Agatha? Have you done much with videos yet on your blog? Leave a comment below!
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