Grow a business by going LIVE - 7 things I learned
If you want to grow a business one thing is clear: You have to be willing to put yourself out there. I realized that if I want to help thousands of small businesses grow, survive, and thrive with my 5 Business Questions, I would have to be more accessible and let more people get to know me.
I’m not a millennial (clearly) so I haven’t been broadcasting every aspect of my life out into the world since I was 10. Up until 2 month ago, my Facebook Profile was still super locked down with only a few aspects of my life or values expressed. And then, I made a decision to change things up.
But this was very uncomfortable at first. People I’ve dated and ex-employers would all have access to see my life – where I’m living, what I’m doing, what I look like. Yikes. I had to do a big ‘Woosahh’ to overcome this discomfort. But beyond that, I would have to overcome the learning curve as well!
Skip to today… Now I have a weekly live show, Happy Businessing with Suz, where I give small business advice to help people start a business the right way - now LIVE streaming to FB Groups with 550,000 members! I help them learn from other business owners how to grow a business, and even teach them my 5 Business Questions, a framework for scaling up with a strong foundation.
But there has been a lot of trial and error… Here are the top 7 things I’ve learned so far!
1. Get over yourself and just do it already!
I’ve been running corporate meetings and leading culture-building facilitation for over a decade. But the thought of going live in a Facebook Group of fellow business owners terrified me. I’m fortunate that a member of a FB Group encouraged me to go live and that she was so supportive and even offered to go live with me. (Thank you, Jennie Wright!) But I still wasn’t able to do it. I had to do it on my own terms.
I created a fake FB Group that was set to private and with only me in it, and played around with the direct Live from Facebook tool. I was able to experience the delay, see what all was in frame, see what looked ok or what looked bad, and tweak it!
Then, I was ready.
I went live in my small business owners’ group Happy Businessing - Small Business Big Dreams and managed to stay on for about 2 minutes. Heart racing, face flushed, facial muscles tight… but damnit, I did it!
Then, I doubled down and practiced in my fake group on how to use Zoom for my lives because I had a vision of having a show with guests that I would be interviewing. I practiced and learned that tool until I was comfortable and went live briefly in some of my groups and slowly became more comfortable.
2. Upgrade your game with good lighting
I’m in Tokyo and there are lots of sunny days and despite having a big window and doing all of my lives mid-day, I still struggle to get good, even lighting. I started with some small LED lights but they just weren’t strong enough. I decided that if I’m going to do something, I want it to look as good as possible, so I upgraded.
I bought professional lighting and I’m so glad I did. I’m still learning where to aim them and need to add more, but for now, I have these Neewer LED lights that I’m pretty happy with!
3. Use a good camera to create a higher quality video
Many people just use their computer webcams or their phones, but mine didn't look good. I realized; Hey, I have this awesome Canon EOS SL2… I wonder if I can use that to get a higher quality recording?
I did some research and found out about the Elgato CamLink 4K which converts your digital camera to a webcam! When it showed up, it was amazing. This was literally the easiest thing I’ve ever done. You just plug it with an HDMI cable, adjust some settings, and you’re off! (Be careful! I recently realized that I should’ve been using an HDMI cable of less than 2 meters in length to ensure quality so a shorter cable is now on its way!)
4. Hardwire your internet service instead of connecting over WiFi
I actually put this off for a long time until a guest had to run off from the show prematurely because she was using too much wifi in her household causing issues for her husband’s job! I ordered a basic Cat 6 cable and yes, it runs through the whole apartment because we can’t do a real installation, but I think it helps quite a bit!
Don’t forget to recommend to your guests that they do the same! (And, have everyone close extra browser tabs that are open, and turn the sound off for their notifications, etc.)
5. Stream into multiple places at the same time!
Lately, since Covid-19, I’ve been quite a homebody and it’s quite notable if I take the time to do my hair and makeup. It takes about 45 minutes to create professional-level hair and makeup for the show (if I start with wet hair, add 20 minutes). On top of that, I have to re-arrange my office a bit because during the week I have our quarantine puppy, Ruth Bader Skywalker, set up on my sofa. Doggy bed, food, water, pee pad tray, toys, treats, leashes, you name it, all sprawled out all week long!
Then I have to adjust my lights, test the angle and focus on my camera to ensure after a dozen zoom meetings I haven’t messed it up. As you can see, the preparation day of the show is a bit involved.
But that’s not all…
I also have to vet my guests previously, research their businesses, set up a meeting to get to know them and prepare for the show, write up the show outline, follow up and set reminders, create posts in Canva (affiliate link) and promote the show in advance. A lot goes into Happy Businessing with Suz. And I'm trying to grow a business too with limited time on my hands. So I stream live in multiple places at one time, and only go through all of this preparation ONCE.
To stream in multiple places at once, you can do it a couple different ways:
- You can go live using Facebook Live and then set up watch parties in multiple groups.
- You can use Zoom or BeLive or OBS (if you have guests) and do the same thing.
- I prefer to use StreamYard and stream live into multiple places at a time, including Facebook Groups and Pages, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more.
StreamYard has subscription tiers to choose from. For instance you can stream into 3 places at one time for $25/mo or like my plan, stream into 8 destinations with Full HD for $50/mo. Plus I love StreamYard because you can add branding and overlays to bring more professionalism to it!
The only downside to StreamYard is that you have to be made an “admin” to be able to stream into groups and some FB Groups are uncomfortable making members admins. But, when I encounter that, I just stream to that one group as a watch party. I would prefer to stream right into the group, but setting up one watch party in one group while I stream to 5 other places LIVE is workable for me!
Another thing to keep in mind is that more and more groups are on to the power of Live engagement within their groups and they are charging for it. I pay a substantial amount to go live in some of the larger groups but since I don’t spend much on marketing, I consider my show Happy Businessing a key marketing activity for ProfitLogics and justify the expense accordingly.
6. Chop up your content to be used in other social media applications
A while back Gary Vee (Vaynerchuk) did a free education on how he efficiently creates content – check out his video on how to create 64 pieces of content in one day. So, once you have your shows done, be sure to download them and edit the footage for other platforms.
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Then, I'll break the show up into small bites of education, advice, or quick valuable tidbits and post those to TikTok, Reels, and other places! I’ve been working on this currently and I’m super excited to try out Instagram’s Reels.
7. Vet & prepare your guests
- Have a back up plan
- I've had 2 guests flake on me DAY OF THE SHOW. Not fun... So I learned the hard way that I always have to have a back up show outline ready to go. Yes, this is a lot of work, but it's necessary.
- Spend time with the guest preparing a show outline, testing technology, and helping them understand the flow.
- I received amazing feedback from a guest: "Here are the things I really appreciated... we had a great show prep meeting where you kept us on track, you gave me clear and concise directions so I knew what was going to happen during the show, we were relaxed and it felt like a natural business conversation. Yahoo!
- Have your guests sign a media consent form
- I recently decided to add a consent form to my guest vetting process. Since you never know where things might go, I think it’s always a good idea to specify the terms of the show and the content. I got mine from the same company I used for my legal bundle Plug And Law.
Over to you!
If you want to grow a business, going Live is an excellent way to engage with your audience in an authentic, meaningful way. I encourage all of you to give it a shot and grow your concept from there! When I first went live I never imagined I would turn it into a branded weekly show that is now streaming to groups with 550,000 members.
Use your Live to educate and garner interest for your offerings, but I’d say keep the salesy crap to a minimum. People want to hear from you and get to know you, not be sold to all the time! And if you want to try it out and think you’re a good fit for Happy Businessing, be sure to sign up and we’ll reach out to you soon!
If you want a small business community to test out your lives and get into the groove, you are welcome to join my Facebook Groups with a smaller audience of small business owners and talk to me about it! The first one is Happy Businessing - Small Business Big Dreams where you connect with fellow entrepreneurs, and the second one is Advertise & Promote Free (English, B2B only) by Happy Businessing which is for advertising and promotion.
And don’t forget to HAVE FUN! Because as I always say, your business doesn’t make you happy, you’re doing it wrong!
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