Follow up Interview with Lesley Dewar over one year later – A Born Entrepreneur and “Retired” Financial Planner Launches Yet Another Business: http://storiesmynanatells.com
by Andrew R. Spriegel
December 5, 2010
It is hard to believe but it is almost 2011! In June of 2009, I did a story on Lesley Dewar a retired financial planner and so much more. At that time Leslie Lesley launched “Stories My Nana Tells” as a new online publishing service for parents and grandparents of 7 year old to 12 year old children.
Here is a follow up interview with Leslie to see how things are progressing:
When I first retired and had a great party, I was interviewed by Andrew Spriegel, a friend on LinkedIn. He wrote a great blog post and now, after nearly eighteen months, has come back to see how we are progressing with our new venture Stories My Nana Tells
Andrew Spriegel: Is your business progressing as well as you had expected (ups and downs)?
Lesley Dewar: The business is going about as expected, but was slow to get started for reasons that will become clear.
Andrew Spriegel: What have been the Ups and Downs?
Downs: I had a frozen shoulder (left arm, am left handed) and could not touch a keyboard for almost five months in mid 2010 – so, I could not write my stories. I was in unbelievable pain, that totally prevented me from driving or working for weeks on end.
I had my arm in a sling for three months, tried hypnotherapy; acupuncture; steroid shot; it took ten months to regain full movement of my hand, arm and shoulder.
Followed by recurrent hernia that required surgery (bigger than expected) which kept me laid up for another two months. I was on crutches for a while. So, we are about twelve months behind on the business plan.
1. Ups: Built a following of 10,000+ on twitter while I was laid up – could tweet with one finger on right hand – spent hundreds of hours on line while not able to do anything else. My iPhone and Twitter saved my sanity, I am sure.
2. Ups: Found a great friend in Mike Haydon (http://twitter.com/mikehaydon ) who is also on LinkedIn. He supported me through all the pain, frustration and learning, until we could actually build the website and start putting up my stories.
3. Ups: Wrote an eBook entitled Networking To A Plan for which Peter Taliangis has written a recommendation and Mike Haydon did the webpage. The eBook has been downloaded many times through the internet. It is so popular we had to give it its own domain.
4: Ups: Have set up the website for my new business Stories My Nana Tells at Stories My Nana Tells and we have excellent feedback on the stories.
5: Ups: Have a dedicated Facebook URL for Stories My Nana Tells and we got that up and running in less than three days. It was a very quick process to get its own URL and that led to me writing the next book. Facebook Page: Stories My Nana Tells
6: Ups: The delay in getting the business online gave us time to change our business model and lengthen the expected client life (family as opposed to individual child) from 2.8 yrs to 4.2 yrs).
7: Ups: Have just written a new eBook on Facebook that has been submitted to them for vetting – because we have included a wide range of screen shots of my own pages. It has already been reviewed and received some good recommendations.
8: Ups: Have presented my first two speeches as a public speaker, after joining the National Speakers Association of Australia. Both were very well received and I have had some enquiries from interstate, too. Blogged about one at Surviving Death By Power Point
9: Ups: Fantastic LinkedIn Networking meetings, that have strengthened my brand and given me access to great resources. Particularly those organized by Peter Taliangis and Derek Ford
10: Ups: Have shot off on a couple of trips in Australia, to an art exhibition, to Darwin and to see Lake Eyre in flood, that have given me great material for writing my stories.
11: Ups: I am now writing for the new ABC Technology website once a month, as the “Silver Surfer” – lots of fun and good exposure. Love writing short techie articles with helpful hints for people to learn how to get more out of the web. This is one ABC Silver Surfer
12: Ups: I am alive and very well. Every day above the ground is a good day and I have a great network both on line and in the social world.
Andrew Spriegel: What have been your successes and failures so far?
Successes: Getting started on public speaking; launching the Stories My Nana Tells website, getting a dedicated Facebook business URL and writing two books. Getting excellent feedback on the stories I have written already; building a good online reputation; doing story reading in libraries; working with environmental groups on social issues; setting up a networking group on Ning called No Tall Poppies ( No Tall Poppies Network ) and continuing to write for a quality local Perth magazine.
Failures: None that come easily to mind, except that I probably don’t get enough sleep. The website was launched to meet a deadline and we need to fine tune it – didn’t have time to do much A/B testing. I don’t really regard that as a failure – Mike Haydon and I did awesome work in ten days to have the site ready to go.
Andrew Spriegel: What have been Lessons learned?
Lesley Dewar: Be prepared for critics who fail to see or appreciate the time, effort and work done behind the scenes when success looks to have been achieved too easily. Don’t let online comments derail you from your purpose. The sign-up page on the website needs a more “streamlined” approach – more in line with traditional website landing pages and Mike Haydon will be doing that for us in the next week or so.
Andrew Spriegel: Would you do it again?
Lesley Dewar: In a flash.
Andrew Spriegel: Please tell me about your grandchildren.
Lesley Dewar: Mine are all grown up, so I mostly talk to other people’s grandkids. Have had a few ask me (on line) to be “their nana”. We are a great blended family though and I will see them all at Christmas and over the Holidays. I have several great Grandchildren and have attended a couple of 21st birthday parties for grandchildren – so, I am an “older” Nana.
Andrew Spriegel: Do you have any other points of interest for my blog’s readership?
Lesley Dewar: If you intend to use online distribution for your product or service, make it your business to understand your medium. Know how it works, how to get the best advantage out of it. Have good resources (people and systems) to help your business grow. Follow sound business practices (opt-in mailing lists, no spam, quiet demeanour online, interact, support others, network well). Strongly recommend using LinkedIn groups online and offline. Be consistent in your business behaviour and patterns. Have a sound business profile, with different interests and activities. Share your knowledge. Learn the rules and obey them. Generally speaking, be a good corporate citizen.
Andrew, it is terrific to hear from you again. Try me again in six months. We will be knocking them dead!
If you would like to read the original story, you can link to it here What A Party!