Evernote Certified Consultants are independent business owners endorsed by Evernote. They specialize in digital productivity workflows for businesses and individuals. Today, the Evernote Community team talks to Stacey Harmon, Principal of Harmon Enterprises and Evernote Certified Consultant, about what it takes to turn your passion into a business.
Evernote: You’ve developed a thriving network in Austin. How did you begin, and get you to the point you are at now?
Stacey: When I moved to Austin in 2013, I was very aware of how strong the Evernote community already was here. At the time, I was an Evernote Ambassador (now an Evernote Certified Consultant), and there were three other Evernote Ambassadors in Austin. I reached out to them. It was great to geek out with people who were as excited about Evernote as I was. I’m also lucky that one of the Evernote offices is in Austin. I connected with the people there as soon as I got to Austin. I was also interested in bringing together and growing the Evernote Austin user community. After hosting a couple of happy hour events at the Evernote Austin office, I found Meetup.com. This channel that helped me build a community of 150 passionate Evernote customers, and we’re still growing.
Not only have I met enthusiastic people in the area who care about organization and productivity, but I also met fellow Evernote enthusiast and Community Leader Kristi Willis, who became my co-author of our book, Untethered with Evernote. Being able to interact with other people in the Evernote Community has been a huge help at times when I need to talk through challenges or ask questions. We like to bounce ideas off each other and collect inspiration from shared experiences. It’s a great help to be able to network with peers.
Evernote: Do you have any strategies for others who’d like to grow the Evernote Community?
Stacey: Start by networking in your area. It’s helpful to getting together to talk, present, or collaborate.
If you’re online, try out different platforms to grow your Evernote network. I had gone through a couple of avenues before I found meetup.com. Once I found the right platform, it was much easier to boost my local visibility and create exciting opportunities for the local Evernote community.
Also, reach out to other groups or individuals who share your similar interests. Offer to do a presentation on how Evernote is an asset to their niche or interest. And, make use of the access you have as an Evernote Certified Consultant to the Evernote team. While planning training for a large client, the Evernote team was great in helping me collect all the information that I needed.
Evernote: What strategies can you offer to others who are trying to grow their professional community?
Stacey: As an Evernote Certified Consultant, I’m endorsed by Evernote. This endorsement is great both visually on my website and in proposals for potential new clients. Being recognized by Evernote provides an advantage and presents new business opportunities that I might not otherwise have. And, being an Evernote Certified Consultant gives prospects, clients, and the public confidence that I’m fluent in Evernote.
Evernote: What would you say are the top tips for success as an Evernote Certified Consultant?
Stacey: First, it’s important to decide what your consulting business is going after—new Evernote customers or existing Evernote ones. Depending on which you go with, the work can be very different. With new customers, I focus mostly on training. With existing customers, I focus more on workflow consulting and elevation of Evernote skills. Knowing who your customer base is impacts your marketing, proposal generation, and the work you do.
Next, put as much effort as you can into creating great content. The more great content you put out there, the more likely it is to be discovered and shared by new customers, clients, and partners. Video is great too. I’d say that 70 percent of my bookings come from people who have never even spoken or emailed me—they have only seen my videos. Video has become an outstanding way for me to articulate my perspective and people feel like they know me before they ever hire me.
Finally, answer the phone. I come from a real estate background, and one of the key things I learned is that the agent who sells the house is often the first one with whom the prospect speaks with
Evernote: What advice do you have for new Evernote Certified Consultants?
Stacey: Track your time. Before I started being meticulous about clocking, I gave away so much time. FreshBooks is an essential tool that allows me to do that and it integrates seamlessly with my billing.
Also, make sure you have a testimonial strategy. Set expectations up front with customers about seeking recommendations so you can build upon your successes. And, don’t be shy about asking those who compliment your content online or via email if you can use it as a testimonial. If you have a prepared strategy about getting these comments onto LinkedIn and on your website, it helps to reap financial rewards from all the time and energy that you’ve spent giving away content.
Are you a consultant and want to become an Evernote Certified Consultant? Learn how you can apply.
See more from Stacey Harmon on her website, and follow her on Twitter @staceyharmon