This month we have Mike Schiemer onboard to share his Entrepreneurial journey with Social Champ! Mike is a Digital Marketing Manager, Social Media Specialist, Lifelong Entrepreneur, Business Blogger, Author & also a Fitness Freak.
Question #1: How did all of it start? Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? What has been your motivation to become one?
Like most entrepreneurs, I started early. As a young kid, I would be making deals at school lunches and recess. I started selling trading cards and collectibles online at age 13. I always loved buying, selling and promoting my services.
As a teen, I got really into fitness and became a certified personal trainer while still in high school. Being an independent personal trainer and fitness manager teaches you a lot about sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship on a budget. During and after college I would market my services primarily with social media, email marketing, and online articles since I didn’t have the money for traditional advertising.
In the process of promoting my personal training and nutritional services, I started my first website and blog Frugal Fitness in 2009. I started becoming an industry influencer with a growing social media following. I worked with some of the biggest names and brands in fitness for years. In the process, I was gaining invaluable information in the new growing fields of influencer marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, SEO, blogger outreach, and PPC. I also started to provide consulting services to other entrepreneurs and small businesses that needed help with digital marketing.
Around 2012 it was evident that I was much more interested in the business side of things as opposed to focusing on the fitness industry. I started working in digital marketing full time, along with continued consulting and business blogging. While I started it in 2009, it wasn’t until 2014 that I really began focusing on building my Bootstrap Business blog, website, and a suite of professional digital marketing services.
I have grown my 2 main websites to 3,000+ blog posts from 500+ authors in 30+ countries and expanded to newer sites Lean Startup Life, Marketing Masterminds, Social Selling Entrepreneur, Recover Reputation, Fat Burning Fitness, and Divine Designs.
Question #2: How was your entrepreneurial journey overall? What was the one thing that changed your perception about having your own business?
My entrepreneurial journey has been a bumpy road with a lot of high notes and low notes. Luckily it has been nearly all top notes over the last 5 years, but before that, it was a mixed bag.
In 2011 and 2012 I dealt with a business partnership that went sour and the loss of a significant revenue stream. It taught me a lot of tough lessons that have made me a better entrepreneur today:
- Be cautious about who you work with.
- Diversify your revenue streams.
- Be consistent with your business in good times and bad.
It was tough rebounding and refocusing after those tough 2 years, but I am smarter because of it.
Question #3: What was your mission at the outset? Who inspired you the most?
My mission has always been about helping people to improve their knowledge and performance on a budget. It used to be with fitness, and now it is primarily with business and marketing.
Most people don’t have a lot of money, so I cater to those trying to get results without massive resources. In general, I have been inspired by the world’s greatest business minds, which I often quote on my website.
Question #4: What’s the motivation behind your book “The $10 Digital Media Startup?” How long did it take you to write?
The $10 Digital Media Startup was a passion project for me that was years in the making. I started it at the beginning of 2015 and finished at the end of 2016. It primarily covers my story of going from near poverty levels of income to a 6-figure salary, starting with only a $10 domain name. Most people don’t have the resources to start a traditional business, get a college/graduate degree, or purchase a franchise. But everyone has the opportunity to start a successful online business or amp up their career with the power of the internet.
This book teaches business beginners and aspiring entrepreneurs to leverage the power of social media marketing, blogging, search engine optimization, email marketing, and e-commerce to build a successful business. One that actually lasts and won’t risk bankrupting you.
Question #5: Mentors are the lifelines for success. Who were, or are, your mentors who helped you reach where you are today?
My dad has always been somewhat of a mentor to me. He was very successful in the corporate world for his 40-year career spanning positions in sales, marketing, management, and real estate. He’s also been a smart investor. He was never really an entrepreneur though, so he wasn’t very supportive of me working outside of a steady corporate job. His intentions have always been good, but he just never had the same entrepreneurial spirit and was worried about the risks I was taking.
When it comes to marketing and entrepreneurship mentors, I often have times looked to the web. I was first inspired by the original fitness YouTubers and bloggers before content marketing became mainstream. Over the last 5 years, I’ve shifted my focus to entrepreneurship and marketing experts like Gary Vaynerchuk, Neil Patel, Grant Cardone, Simon Sinek, Guy Kawasaki, Larry Kim, and other influencers. I consider them, and dozens of others, as my mentors these days.
Question #6: There is a myth that “You lose some people close to you on the journey towards being an entrepreneur.” How much do you agree with this? How do you manage your work-life balance?
I do agree with this strongly. I wish it weren’t the case, but entrepreneurship is about sacrifice and pushing the envelope while trying to maintain some semblance of work-life balance.
Entrepreneurship is not sexy, fun, and adrenaline-pumping the majority of the time like it is sometimes glamorized today. I’ve lost a lot of friends over the years because the 9-5 grind and 40 hour work weeks weren’t enough for me. At times it has even isolated me from family and strained my marriage. I have had to take some small steps back at times when the business has really interfered with the most important people in my life.
Although I still work 60+ hour weeks every week, I try to keep a work-life balance with a few tactics. I always make my family the top priority so I won’t miss any more major events because of work. I try to make some time for my most important friends and at least touch base with them every month.
I’ve cut out nearly all negative or unimportant people from my life because I just don’t have time for them anymore. I also make sure to get in enough exercise, sleep, and healthy food. Being a fitness professional in my past life has helped me to stay more robust in the entrepreneurship game and entrepreneurial journey.
Question #7: There is a common perception that people who have their own businesses don’t get much time for themselves. What do you think of that? Do you love traveling? If yes, what is your favorite place to be & what’s on your list next?
I agree with this statement as well. Again, it’s an unfortunate reality. If you want to be more successful than other people, you have to put in the work and make sacrifices.
I do like traveling from time to time, usually to a beach or a lake. I try and go at least a couple times a year. This upcoming year I plan on revisiting London for business and maybe a little sightseeing if I have time.
Question #8: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and how long it stayed with you? “Whatever you decide to do, be the best at it. Be irreplaceable.”
The best business advice I’ve received was from my dad, and it was something along the lines of this: “Whatever you decide to do, be the best at it. Be irreplaceable.” While it’s not always possible to be “the best,” I have always strived to be one of the best and to be very hard to replace in any of my roles.
Question #9: Being in the marketing field it would be hard to devote time to social media, but it is essential to use these social media platforms for marketing purposes. What do you think about Social Champ, an automation tool that allows you to schedule posts on multiple social platforms? Have you used any tools? Name your favorite tools for internet marketing.
It is essential to use social media consistently and to post the right content to the right platforms. If you don’t, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. That being said, it can be very time-consuming to do it well.
Social Champ is definitely one of my favorite automation tools because it helps me to save time and boost brand awareness. Time is money after all! I also use MailChimp, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Moz, SEMrush, and WordPress all on a daily or weekly basis.
Question #10: As one of the top Social Media Influencer, Digital Marketer, and Social Media Specialist, what is your best advice to give all the new fellows out there?
I advise all new entrepreneurs and marketers to learn as much as possible about the industry. Learn by watching, reading, listening and most importantly by doing! And be ready to put in the work. The business world is getting more competitive every day, so you need to stand out and be consistent.
It was a great pleasure to have Mike Schiemer on board! We would like to thank him for being so humble & generous & for giving us time and sharing his inspiring entrepreneurial journey.