BlogHer Entrepreneurs Is Not Just for Other People: An Interview with Michelle Magoffin

BlogHer Original Post

Today I am pleased to bring you another interview for BlogHer Entrepreneurs '13, taking place next week in Silicon Valley. If you're unsure about attending, doubting your ticket purchase or dealing with pre-conference jitters, you definitely need to take time and read the amazingly inspiring words shared with me by Michelle Magoffin. She attended BlogHer Entrepreneurs in 2011 and 2012 and it changed the course of her career. In addition to being inspired by her work, you need to read all the way through her interview to check out a great deal she has for conference attendees!

But heed this warning: Her words may make you want to take that Big Idea you've been considering for awhile now and actually do something with it. Read on with caution!

Michelle Magoffin

How did you make that decision to branch out on your own after 13 years of working for other Internet companies?

I had never considered myself to be entrepreneurial. When I went to the first BlogHer Entrepreneurs conference, it wasn't called that. I went as an "intrapreneur," someone who wants to innovate from within their company. But, hearing all the stories of the women onstage and at the conference who had succeeded on their own, or who were just getting started, was so inspiring. I realized that the reason I hadn't considered being an entrepreneur before was out of fear of the unknown, and I simply needed an education about that world. When I went to the second BlogHer Entrepreneurs conference, last year, I finally got the push and the help I needed to take the last step. I went out on my own three months later. I never would have done that if I hadn't attended those two conferences.

With your experience in social media, how might up-and-coming entrepreneurs best utilize social media to promote themselves and their big idea?

Social media isn't about promotion, it's about relationships. Think about the conversations you have with the people you know, or people you've just met. You learn a bit about each other, and you talk about a lot of things, not just your business and your product. Do exactly that on social media. Be a real person. Talk about everything you are doing. Ask for help if you need it. Share relevant in your industry, or of interest to your core audience. When you have a relationship with someone, one in which you provide value, that person will be more interested in hearing your message, and helping you to spread it to their networks.

Do you have a mentoring experience that sticks out in your mind, either as the mentor or the mentee? Would you care to briefly share about it?

There's a woman I've known since almost the start of my Internet career. She was the GM of the business unit I worked for. We only worked together for a few years, but she has continued to be an advocate and a mentor to me as I've grown in my career, especially now that I have a bootstrapped startup.

The two mentors I had at BlogHer Entrepreneurs were invaluable to me. I really appreciate the care that Elisa and her team put into the matching process. My goals were different each time I attended, and I got exactly what I needed at the time from those mentors. It was so helpful to get a fresh perspective from a seasoned professional who doesn't know me. The validation and guidance I received each time sent farther along the path to founding my own company -- a path I wasn't even sure I was on. I can't wait to see who I am matched with this year.

Let us know what's new or coming up in your professional life. I know our attendees would love to get to you you on a personal level too!

I'm a mother, and a wife, and a CEO, and Southern California girl to the core. Somehow I have managed to keep everything together and running smoothly (usually). When it comes to that, it's about letting go. Dirty dishes can pile up a little longer, and so can the laundry. Also, I stay up really late. That, I can't help, but I don't mind because I am building something really cool.

My startup, Sprawl3, makes custom mobile apps accessible (affordable!) for small businesses. We create white label mobile apps for specific markets (like wine bars, microbreweries, salons, accounting firms, etc.) and then customize them with the branding and information of each of our business customers. The cost to the small business owner is a fraction of what they would pay for full custom app development, and its cheaper than running a Groupon.

I still consult through my digital strategy agency, Bossy Interactive. For attendees of BlogHer Entrepreneurs, I'm offering a super rate for a digital strategy audit. Entrepreneurs are bootstrappers and DIYers, and this service gives great, specific advice about how to use online marketing to help achieve their business goals. I know they can't afford to keep me on retainer to implement their strategy, but for $300 they're going to get the basis of that strategy and a real plan for implementation.

If you'd like to connect with Michelle, you can follow her personal Twitter account.

Inspired? Encouraged? Starting to see that the Big Idea you have is within your reach? Go ahead and register for BlogHer Entrepreneurs '13. We'd love to help make your dream into a reality.

 

Family/Moms & Events Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land.

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