Meet Lisa Balthaser from Fleur de Lisa Solutions. I connected with her a few months ago through our involvement with The Fempreneur Collective. She will be guest blogging for The Fempreneur Collective’s blog. I enjoyed chatting to her on a Zoom call and had to find out more about her and her business, so I asked if I could feature her on this blog. She’s lovely and I admire her tenacity.
Q: Briefly tell us about your business journey. (What helped you decide to start your own business? What did you do before working for yourself?)
A: Before I started my business, I spent 20 years in banking and finance. After 20 years, I needed a change of pace and got a position in logistics for a glass manufacturer. I was only there a year when the recession hit here in the United States. I made it through another year there after the recession before I was laid off – one of the millions who lost their jobs between 2008-2009.
After applying for over 2000 jobs in 2 years, I finally secured a position with a local dentist as her office manager – not even close to anything I had ever done before. After about a year, she wanted to sell her business and sought out someone who had years of dental office experience to make her business more marketable. So, I was back out looking again. Thankfully, when I worked for her, she had me working on her website and Facebook page, which reignited my spark for marketing, which is what my degree is in.
So, I spent the next 6 months networking, building my business while I was also looking for full-time work. Since the economy really did not improve much for folks like me who were basically kicked out of the job market, I didn’t find full-time work but instead started my business after my unemployment ran out. I knew this was the right business for me because when I was networking I kept meeting people who needed my help. There were so many middle-aged and older Americans who were kicked out of the job market and really had no idea how to use social media and manoeuvre through new technology. I knew I could help them, so that is what I set out to do and I started my business.
Q: What was the process you followed when starting to set up your brand?
A: I actually struggled with a business name and branding at first. Like so many Americans who were trying to find their way in this new economy, I was never taught how to run my own business, name it, brand it, or even how to figure out who to help or that I needed to know who my ideal client was.
The first year or so was a lot of trial and error, mostly error because I just didn’t know. My business name, “Fleur de Lisa Solutions”, was secured over dinner with a friend I recruited to help me figure this out. I liked it. It was a play on the fleur de lis flower, which is usually associated with prestige and my own name, Lisa.
I did not want to use a fleur de lis as my logo, mostly because I wanted to use some of my favourite flowers in my marketing and that was not one of them. My original logo was a red dahlia, which is one of my favourite flowers. From the start, I had trouble finding a graphic designer who saw my vision of what I wanted it to look like. I ended up settling on my logo and it never really resonated with me. I also originally chose a black background for my website, which ended up being a huge mistake.
After about 18 months, I realised the many mistakes I made in my branding and sought out better branding. Being an entrepreneur is a lot of trial and error, and most entrepreneurs are learning as they go. I am no different!
Q: How do you manage your branding and make sure everything you do (from business cards, to packaging, to branding collateral) keeps in line with your brand?
A: My brand has changed as my skills were honed and I figured out who I truly wanted to work with and who my ideal clients are. I have since changed my branding to colours more appealing to my ideal clients and far more feminine than my original branding. I made the change gradually, and I am still moving toward what I envision as my final brand. Moving away from a black website with a bright red flower to a white background with purple and pink primary brand colours was a bit challenging, but I decided the best way was to do it gradually because of the drastic change.
Now, my branding is in-line with who I choose to serve. I use some templates in my posting strategy to keep my colour theme consistent throughout my social media platforms. I am currently building a new website that will enable me to better serve more people.
Q: How do you manage your social media commitments?
A; Since I manage other people’s social media accounts, I like to streamline things for both myself and my clients. Some of my posting strategies involve using templates. For my own social media, I have a template for every day of the week. While I don’t necessarily use all the templates each week, I do use certain ones weekly. I can write the templates and schedule them ahead of time to ensure I have content that adds value each day.
Q: How do you motivate yourself to keep going when your inner critic’s voice gets a bit too loud?
A: Like many entrepreneurs, I question myself regularly, as well as doubt myself regularly. I try to stay focused and to keep in mind that one can always be the expert to anyone who knows less than they do. It took me a long time to understand this since I tend to want to have ALL the information before I do something. I have learned that it is better to do than not do. There is no such thing as perfect, and entrepreneurs are ALWAYS learning!
I read a lot of motivational quotes and inspirational readings, as well as my Bible to keep my spirits up and keep my mindset in check.
Q: What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned since you started your business?
A: Where do I begin? There are so many! As mentioned before, my branding was an 18-month lesson. Sadly, some of the lessons were extremely painful. I spent a lot of time building up relationships with local entrepreneurs, only to be deceived by a few of them. As a trusting Christian business owner, I guess I would like to think that most people are like me – honest. Well, they are not. And I think that is sad. It was a hard lesson for me because I adored and trusted some of the very people who deceived me.
I also learned that you need money to make money and anyone who says you don’t is lying. Sure, you can make some money without money, but you cannot scale a business to make REAL money without having some money to do it.
One of the lessons I learned that I now teach clients is that you need to know who your ideal clients are, who you want to work with and get to know them intimately. You CANNOT serve everyone – even if your product or service can be potentially used by anyone. Without knowing who you are marketing to, you reach NO ONE. And this is the truth. And the thing about this that is counterintuitive to most is that the more defined and niched this is, the BETTER! Yes, better. So, how is marketing to fewer people better? Because you will RESONATE with the ones that are SUPPOSED to find you! Yes, less is more in this case!
You can find Lisa on her Facebook page, Fleur de Lisa Solutions. Her website is under construction at the moment.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.