Entrepreneur Spotlight: Reviving a World-Class Leadership Program with SBI!
By Judith Ramsey, action-wheel.com
Tell us about your websites, www.minnesota-visitor.com, www.best-potato-recipes.com and www.action-wheel.com. When and why did you start your sites?
I worked for ten years with an internationally known leadership guru who died in 2001 from ALS. In his will, he left his intellectual property to his two partners; I was one of those. Though he had developed a unique leadership theory, called the Action Wheel, his clients wanted his energetic presence, not others doing his “gigs.” We disbanded. By 2006, I could no longer find any reference to the Action Wheel, or to his work, online. I began to archive all of his training materials and looked for a way to get them noticed.
Though I had little online experience, I started a blog and soon realized that what I really needed was a website. I was, and still am, very “non-techie.” All my searches were for “easy” website building. The whole idea scared me.
In my searching I came across something called The Affiliate Masters Course. It was free, so I downloaded it and printed it all out. I had no idea how this free book would help me get attention for my leadership material however I quickly realized that it was leading me to the “how” about website building.
In 2006, I purchased my first SBI site with the action-wheel domain name. That was the start of getting attention to the business I had “inherited.” I now have four partners and, after long years of working to develop a world-class leadership program, we are making an impact in the leadership world.
The “About Me” page on my site intrigued me. Who I was on my Action Wheel site was only a tiny part of me. There was so much about me, and my state of Minnesota, that I had a passionate desire to share with others. So Visit Minnesota was born in 2007. In whatever spare time I can grab, I love to take my camera, get in my car, and play tourist all around Minnesota.
I eventually began to add some traditional Minnesota recipes to that site. While adding a couple of potato recipes, I began to reminisce about my maternal grandmother who survived the depression years on a small Minnesota farm by finding creative ways to feed her nine children primarily with the potatoes that were one of the few things that grew for them in those years. Though we now live in “the city,” we spent 10 years raising our kids on an organic farm…. and growing bushels of potatoes. All those memories led me to purchase best-potato-recipes in 2008.
What do you enjoy most about being an online business owner?
I like “working for myself.” My husband and I have always been entrepreneurial. He started a flooring business in the early years of our marriage that still continues with our sons at the helm. In the 1970’s I was the owner of a successful art, craft, and yarn store. We were very busy teaching the hippies how to do macramé and make candles. In our back-to-the-land years we sold organic vegetables, fruits, and eggs.
Owning an online business is, in many ways, easier. It has made me realize that what I have to offer can reach people who would never patronize a main street shop or a vegetable stand by the road.
So far, what has been the biggest challenge for you?
Prioritizing is always a challenge for me. I must stay heavily focused on my consulting business yet on any given day would prefer to get in my car and head out to another attraction or festival in Minnesota. Maybe even a potato festival.
I do struggle to keep up with what I want to do on my travel site and my recipe site. The reason is a good one… I am so busy with my “real job” with Action Wheel Leadership. Thanks to SBI!
Why did you choose SBI! to build your website / online business?
In my search for an “easy” website builder I saw quite a few websites that friends had created on “free” web platforms. None of them offered the functionality I instinctively knew I would need for what I wanted to do. I also quickly realized that SBI offered the support I needed to enter this unknown (to me) world of website building. I read some of the posts in the SBI forums and was amazed by the time others took to help those new to website building. It felt like I would gain a whole community, not just a website builder.
With the rise of mobile traffic, what steps have you done to give your visitors the best experience on their smart phones and tablets?
My websites have been around for a while so when the need to “go mobile” became known, I first thought it meant months of work rebuilding them. Fortunately Solo Build It! was ahead of the game and offered a “Mobilize It” option that was little more than the click of a button. My sites now look great on tablets and smart phones.
Has your life changed since you started your sites? Can you describe these changes for us?
In 2001, with the death of my business partner, I was not at all sure what the next step should be for me. My job and my income had gone with his passing. I knew I had something valuable; I had no idea how to share it with the world. When I realized that SBI could give me a way to make those connections, I was back on track to a life purpose and an income.
What one piece of advice would you give someone who is just getting started as an online entrepreneur?
Believe you can do this. I was far from young when I began my first website. I know it’s a cliché but if I can do this so can you.
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Scan the wide variety of solopreneurs who are winning in real niches. Use it to get a feeling for what SBIers do, as well as to generate ideas. What do you know? Turn it into a business.