Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and CEO of Petite2Queen. Building on her 30 year successes and experiences as Vice President of Business Development and COO of direct consumer technology start-ups, Lynn transitioned to executive consulting providing strategic expertise for the development and management of client programs. With this real-world background, Lynn brings marketing, sales, business development, and operations management cross-sector experience to Petite2Queen.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I want the next generation of women to shatter the glass ceiling and grind it into dust. Petite2Queen is my way of helping women do just that: achieving more in their careers and balance in their lives by sharing what I learned from my ongoing journey.
My co-founder, Kristina M. Olson, was motivated by the same desire to pay it forward. To make a real difference in the success of young women. By sharing our experiences and knowledge, being the virtual mentors, we will help women achieve these objectives.
Tell us about your business.
Petite2Queen is a community of inspiration for women. Our passion is to provide virtual mentoring programs for life, work, and in sales so women can achieve more, faster. Petite2Queen is comprised of women who have been there, done that and women who are in it with you. Our focus is young women who want more out of life and to optimize their career trajectory.
The entire Petite2Queen team is focused on providing insights to navigate situations, challenges, and opportunities that arise in life and business every day. We share our knowledge with our community to acquire transferrable skills and positive outcomes. Every week we deliver compelling podcasts, blog posts, Q&As, a virtual mentoring installment, and augment the ongoing dialogue in our support groups.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Yes! We have a giveaway for the first three chapters of our book, Practical Wisdoms @ Work, when visitors sign up to receive our weekly “This week @ Petite2Queen.” Every week we send an email with the latest blog, podcast, virtual mentoring installment, and advice.
Everyone on the Petite2Queen team has earned a Master’s degree. Tina and I have extensive experience in both the public and private sector.
Where is your business based?
Petite2Queen is 24/7/365 living in the cyber world. Our headquarters are on beautiful Lopez Island in Washington state. Our team members are located up and down the Pacific coast.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
We started by brainstorming the idea over dinner and purchasing the URL. Then we rolled up our sleeves and got started. We began to develop a business plan and started outlining and writing the book. We identified early on that the book would be an integral part of our outreach and a cornerstone of our master business plan.
We fleshed out our three program lines:
- Practical Wisdoms for Life
- Practical Wisdoms @ Work
- Practical Wisdoms in Sales
We also hired an attorney and drafted legal documents, started the trademarking process, and mapped out interdependencies within our business plan going forward.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Outreach through public relations and social media. It all comes down to the master marketing and PR plan. The big thing is to provide great, rich content every week. Our diverse content shares those practical wisdoms for life, at work, and in sales.
The goal is for people to find our content, share it with a friend or colleague, and follow us for more. If even one piece each week has resonance and helps them move forward, that will be impactful.
Another major component has been the release of our book, Practical Wisdoms @ Work, one month after the website launched. It’s another way to reach and connect with our audience.
We’ve aimed to incorporate out-of-the-box content and sometimes unorthodox content. In addition to blogs and online Q&As, we also provide podcasts, webinars, and even music playlists. We offer content on our website, on iTunes and Spotify, on YouTube and Vimeo. We have a broad outreach plan so we can appeal to more of the whole person, inspire them, and help them move forward.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
There has been a significant learning curve for everything related to podcasting and independent book publishing. There’s also been a learning curve in creating an advanced back-end system on the website, especially with the gated membership functionality we plan to use for specialized content.
As a small startup with only five team members, it has also been a challenge to manage the sizable workload.
How did you overcome these challenges?
The most important thing is to simply dig in and start learning! We attended a book conference on independent publishing, joined local author organizations, read informative books and articles, and watched tutorials, all in an effort to better understand the book publishing industry.
Some of us dove into learning PHP and CSS for the website development. There’s been a learning curve, but we just dug in and educated ourselves on these skills and knowledges we needed.
We’ve never allowed a mistake or decision to limit us. Sometimes we have to step back, analyze the business choices we’ve made, modify our path and pivot. We are proactive in moving forward, even if that means changing course.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
This is perfect as we just discussed this on a recent podcast!
It’s about our passion for bigger vision, our commitment to making a difference, and our drive to make a solid business doing what we love. We made the choice to build positivity into the fabric of our company. You can’t get a positive outcome if you behave negatively. It’s a mindset. We need passion that fuels our drive to meet goals and objectives.
When challenges occur, just take step back, breathe deep, and then address it.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We provide rich content every week in variety of formats – blog posts, Q&As, podcasts, webinars, music playlists, interviews, practical resources, and our book. Our content is platform agnostic can be digested in whichever format our audience prefers. Our forum engages for our community to discuss the content we’ve shared and other topics that they find meaningful.
At the end of the day, it’s about people finding a voice they connect with. Each member of our team has a voice, and we each develop content that our audience can read, listen to, or watch. We are building a relationship and a robust repertoire.
We are filling a critical gap in this type of education – how to excel in your career and in day-to-day life. Our content is a resource that can help women navigate their path forward.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Growing our audience. We’ve been reorganizing the time we spend each day and each week to prioritize audience growth. It’s our #1 objective.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Go for it, and don’t let fear hold you back! Don’t be afraid to learn something new, or alter course, or change your mind. Don’t be afraid to pivot. Even if you’ve already done a ton of work, be fearless about finding the right path for your business, even if it’s a different path that you have been on.
Identify the resources available to you. I didn’t take full advantage of this until about 18 months after we started Petite2Queen. I found some resources early on, and it was invaluable, but looking back I could identified and leveraged additional resources. There are numerous organizations and foundations that can help, so you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.
It’s helpful to go through the exercise of hiring a business coach. They can help you see the bigger picture. Be prepared to pivot and learn something new. It may be vital to the success of your business.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
First and foremost is my Mac. Everything is seamlessly connected – my laptop, my phone, everything has my work available. It’s a part of my life, and it makes my life easier.
Another major one is Google Docs. We keep a lot of information on the drive, and it allows us to see real-time edits, work on documents at the same time as other team members, and self-help rather than asking unnecessary questions. It has truly streamlined our task management.
Finally, the local business organizations and business coach have been a tremendous resource. I’m part of TiE, the WBE, and other terrific groups. Attending events and networking has allowed me to make connections and receive referrals for new resources. The people I’ve met and knowledge I’ve gained has been invaluable to Petite2Queen.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I’m currently reading a book by Jeff Walker called “Launch”. I’ll admit that I do have mixed feelings about this book. It offers great core content that sticks, if you can get past the over the top style. Nonetheless, the content is solid, and it offers valuable skills and tools. Based on this book, I’m looking into how to grow our list and add squeeze pages to our site.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
We’re learning how best to build our list and promote our book as independent publishers. We plan to do book bundles and book funnels. There are massive amounts of self-help tools available to book publishers on Amazon, iBook, and Kobo.
We’re updating our website to accommodate these changes in our business model. Right now, I’m digging into squeeze pages: how to execute them, where to place them, A/B testing, and more.
In order to help us as a team, we hired a business coach to help refine our vision so we can utilize out time more effectively. That has been a tremendously helpful process.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Our goals are to grow our audience, participate and get book reviews, market our book, and develop compelling, inspiring business related webinars.
To reach these goals, we are focusing on to making connections that are mutually beneficial. We’ve been refining our message to our audience, making changes to the website, and putting effort into massive outreach.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Twitter @petite2queen Authors @LynnMWhitbeck, @KristinaMOlson
Facebook @petite2queen Authors @LynnMWhitbeckAuthor, @KristinaMOlsonAuthor, @RachelHWhitbeckAuthor
LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company-beta/18200058, www.linkedin.com/in/lynnwhitbeck
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