The Solopreneur’s Toolkit: Internet Entrepreneur
The go-to resources that make life and work better
Sheila Kay is an internet entrepreneur currently residing in beautiful, sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She specializes in the print-on-demand e-commerce space, and started Motherland Candle Company. The unifying theme in her wavy path has been freedom! Freedom of time, money, life choices and the pursuit of goals and dreams. Outside of work, she derives her energy from spending time with her close-knit community of world-traveling friends, exploring the beautiful area she lives in, or just relaxing at home.
The go-to resources that make life and work better.
Favorite tools for…
For connecting, I would have to say it’s actually Zoom, and also WhatsApp. I’m on both of them all day, every day. I think everybody knows to reach out to me on WhatsApp. I have a global network and everybody’s on it. I’ve also incorporated Whatsapp into my coaching business, for clients to reach out when they have questions.
QuickBooks has served me well for years. And so far I haven’t been audited or having to pay an extraordinary amount of taxes yet. So fingers crossed 🤞
I love the app Loom because I do a ton of videos, and Loom makes it easy for me. I can do it on my computer and on my phone as well. And it’s free.
But number one, for me, is the Groove app. Without the Groove app, I wouldn’t have created my candle line and a whole bunch of other things, too. The Groove app has been a godsend to me.
Mental health and unplugging:
My neighborhood. When I need self care, I get out. I live in a beautiful sunny place here in Mexico, so I walk. My own two feet are the tools that I use for that. I just walk my neighborhood and get air. I’ll walk to the beach, go get some tacos, whatever. Just being outside of my house is my number one mental health tool, especially since I work from home.
Learning and Inspiration:
The books that have changed how you’ve approached your work and opened your eyes to something new:
My top three books: Tim Ferris’s The Four Hour Workweek, which came out in 2007, is what actually got me on this path of living around the world and making money online and having the dream life that I have. If it wasn’t for that book defining that process, I wouldn’t be here. So that’s number one.
Number two is Think and Grow Rich, by Napolean Hill, which was really helpful for my mindset.
And number three is a book called Psycho-Cybernetics, by Dr. Maxwell Malts. Those last two are on mindset because it’s my brain and my mindset that keeps me successful. Without a successful mindset, nothing else really works. So I focus and invest a lot on that.
What’s been your best hire in terms of function?
I was resistant to hiring people for a very long time because I was very much an ‘I’ll just do it myself’ kind of person. But I finally hired a team to make my own books that I publish. I publish hundreds of books per year on Amazon KDP (low content books ie. planners, journals, activity books, coloring books, log books). So I hired a team to actually make those books for me instead of me doing it. Now I have teams that do the graphic arts and the interiors and whatnot as well.
I’ve actually just started offering a ‘done for you’ service for my students that are taking my course to do their books for them as well, and people responded to that really, really well.
So hiring a team to do the books was number one. And now that I’ve got them trained, I’m actually going to hire some people to help me out with my e-commerce business, too. Some more virtual assistants and designers to do my graphics for me as well. Hiring people finally, after all these years of being a solopreneur has been the best thing I’ve ever done.
It’s also great because it allows me to support other people’s families, which is important to me as well. And it gives me time to chill or do things I want to do since everything is being done. And once those books are up, those are virtual assets and make money, you know, all into perpetuity. So it’s like the most no-brainer thing to do. I can’t believe it took me so long to actually do it.
How much time and energy do you spend on promotion for your business or career and what has been your most effective channel?
I don’t spend as much time on this as I should, actually. I kept myself a secret for a very long time, but my most productive channel now is Instagram. I’m on Instagram almost every day with my Instagram stories. I provide a lot of value. People are kind of interested in my life because my life is kind of cool, so I post all kinds of little stuff.
And also I do really well from a business standpoint on Instagram as well. I can promote my products and my ‘done for yous’ and pull out nice chunks of money, just from a couple of well-executed strategic Instagram stories. I love Instagram for that reason. And I’m very late to that party, but, I love it because it lets me keep up with my friends and I use it for business as well.
Follow me on Instagram! Thesheilakay1
Do you have a plan or strategy before you post?
I wish I was that strategic. I’m not. Like literally before we started this, I did a cute little video that’s showing how I’m going to be a guest on podcast today. So that’s going to be an Instagram story because it’s something interesting that is happening in my life. And then I’ll circle back around and I’ll talk about how I manifested being on podcasts this year. And I had two that I’ve done today. So that allows people to see the power of manifesting.
It also talks to the success that I have in my life and people are really inspired by that. They want to know how to do that as well. So when I open up coaching spots to people, how to do what I do, people are like, well, God, I’ve seen Sheila do all these great things and live in these great homes for all these years, clearly she’s doing something well and something right and I want to now invest in learning how to do that.
So I do more storytelling and just sharing so that people are inspired, but it’s also planting seeds. And when I am promoting something specifically, I think, what do I want the end result to be in six stories? So 6 x 30 seconds. The key to it for me is crafting a whole story arc that works really, really well.
One last point. People want to know, like, and trust us. Right? And so many people have this fear of being on camera. But you’re doing yourself and your people that want to follow you a disservice. So kind of get over yourself if you’re afraid to be on camera. Instagram has filters. Trust me. I don’t look like this every day, but I do with the use of filters and you can use filters on Instagram lives as well. So that’s just a pro tip for the ladies out there.
If you could give yourself a piece of advice on the day you started, what would it be?
I would say, going back to the day I started with internet marketing, which was back in 2007.
I invested quite a bit of money to fly across the country from LA to Florida to learn from one of the best in the business. And I took all these really great notes, but I was so green that I didn’t know what I didn’t know; that the gap was really huge. So I had the notes but I didn’t take any action on it because I was just scared to. I looked at those same notes two years later when I knew what I was doing, and I realized that I had the blueprint in my hand, literally verbatim the whole entire time.
And so I would’ve told myself to have trusted myself more, to just start. And to keep going and to keep going and to not let my fears or my need for perfection stop me because that prevented me from how I could have, you know, seven figures really quickly, had I have done what I really learned in that particular event. And also I would have gone even further with coaching with that coach that I worked with as well, because I had the money to do it. I was just afraid to do it.
So the two things are: Trust myself and know that I invested in the right thing. And take action.
Now I invest in coaching for anything I want to do that’s new. I hire a coach. Like I’m doing something new on my internet business now, I’m with a certain kind of e-commerce, I’m paying this one coach $6,000, because he’s amazing at what he does and we’re going to do a 90 day sprint.
And I know that that investment is going to pay off in multiples in literally a week of working with him. So I always say, don’t try to figure it out. Somebody has done it before you — just invest in learning how to do things. So that’s what I would tell myself.
Do you have a mentor?
Mentors are important and I actually have two of them.
I have one of them in my real estate investing life. And I have one in my internet marketing life as well. My mentors are both men and they’re both, you know, eight figure mentors at this particular point in time. I can pick up the phone and call them and say, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’
I had a marketing mentor. He did a live event in Las Vegas in December, and he called me up and asked me to be on stage to present with him about print-on-demand e-commerce. That was my first time being on a stage with such an opportunity, and I crushed it. I mean, I killed that stuff. It was amazing. And it opened up so much opportunity on the backend. Like the podcast I just did. It changed my life!
It was great to have him extending that opportunity to me. He’s someone who I respect, and he respects me as well. And that wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t a friend and a mentor, but also going back to investing in yourself and investing in training.
He’s my mentor because I invested years ago back in 2012 to go to one of his events and make sure that I was known to him. It all kind of comes full circle in investing the time and getting out there and meeting people and then maintaining relationships and doing the work and having success so that you’re able to be invited onto big stages, and opportunities can open up for you based upon what people observe you doing.
So yes, I definitely have mentors, and I am a mentor as well, it’s a great thing to be.
How did you find your mentors?
For me, mostly it is informal. My real estate mentor was formal since I paid them years ago, but I just continued to do the work and I continue to show up. And coincidentally, one of my goals I set for myself this year was that I wanted to be invited on podcasts, but also that I wanted to be invited to speak on stage like I did last year.
And so within like a week of each other one mentor invited me to be on his stage and then my real estate investor mentor invited me to be on his stage. So I’m actually going to be in Vegas again in June speaking on his stage. That was a goal that I set for myself a long time ago. I think that’s just from me again showing up in doing the work.
For example, my mentor and I reconnected through Clubhouse app. He did a marketing room on Clubhouse back in January with all of his marketing friends. I saw it and and, I was like, oh my gosh, I’ll be on there too. So I jumped on and he invited me up to be on stage as one of his friends. A lady asked a question about something about e-commerce and so I said, well, I can answer that. I gave her all this great information about print-on-demand and how it could help her and just really just added value to her life for free. My mentor saw and was like, I didn’t know you knew that, we should do a course together. And I was like, oh my gosh. Yes.
So I guess the point I want to make with that is: show up and give. Help people. Be in the places where the people you want to mentor you are. In your industry, whatever industry you want to be in, there are top experts in that space. You can support them. If they have an event, get on a plane, pay the $5,000 or whatever it cost to be the room with them. But not just in the room, be up front.
I used a ton of strategy with my mentor back in 2012. When I went to his event, I’m the only black woman in there. So I used that strategy. But if you can’t use that, I strolled my pretty little self up to the front and sat in VIP. I didn’t know it was extra money. I just knew that I wanted to be in front and I wanted to get his attention because I set a goal that I wanted to just meet him, just to say hello. I want to be in his presence. And then from there he made an offer to work with him and his partner.
So I made that significant investment because I knew that it would get me into an even smaller room with him, for me to be able to have him know me. A lot of times you got to make investments, you got to pick a best place to put your face in the place.
But if you can’t do that, then find out what your mentor might need. You know, call them up, hit them up on LinkedIn. People are very accessible and say, “Hey so-and-so, I’ve been following what you do. I really admire you. You’re known in the industry, I read all your work . You know, I would love to get into the space. But is there anything I can help you with?” What are you doing to help them first? Like I added value on my mentor’s stage to somebody and he was like, oh, whoa.
You don’t just go to somebody and say, Hey, will you mentor me for free? Like don’t do that. People do that to me all the time. And I’m like, no.
So that is kind of my long answer, but hopefully one of value. Just make investments to put your face in the place or find out how you can help the person that you want to mentor you.
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