For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off.
At Like A Voss Social Media, we’re highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Deborah Coviello, Owner of Illumination Partners, and is “The Drop in CEO”.
When hiring a consultant, Deborah Coviello knows that your primary goal will always be a resolution to a problem. As the Drop in CEO Deborah provides her clients with 20+ years worth of experience and strategy in Quality and Operational Excellence roles. She uses that knowledge in addition to her 15 years in the Flavors and Fragrance industry to identify, assess, and solve the issues that are preventing your business growth. Deborah also understands that people are the heart of your business. In order to deliver on her promise of offering you “peace of mind, ” she focuses on utilizing the talents of your team and elevating them to new levels of performance, setting them up to better serve your organization. When she isn’t transforming businesses from within, Deborah is the host of the Drop in CEO podcast and avid curler. Deborah continues to give back to the ASQ community through mentorship, sharing the practical application of the Human Development & Learning body of knowledge to everyday situations. ]
Our CEO Mandi interviewed Deborah about her secret to success in business and in life. We also got some awesome insights into what they think makes social media such an effective tool in business.
A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur
1: How long have you been in business?
2: What made you decide to break away from the 9-5 and start Illumination Partners?
Truth: I never tell people, but the backstory was I was asked to leave, but I gracefully transitioned out of the business and had the gift of time to think about what was next. I was burnt out and did not want to go back to a 9-5 and realized I had been an entrepreneur for so long, it was time to trust myself and start my own business.
3: What do you love most about being a female entrepreneur?
Flexibility, creative freedom, limitless opportunities, finding my voice in podcasting, trusting the networking engine to be a magical machine to find my ideal clients, being a model for other female leaders, and respected by my male peers. I never felt a glass ceiling. Instead, I moved from house to house creating my career. I am now the one that has built the house with the table that I sit at. I reject the notion that we need more “women” at the table… we as women build the businesses to set the table for talented people from all walks of life to create great work.
4: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur?
I may be the odd one, but I never felt my challenges were female-driven. Now that I’ve started my own business, male colleagues are coming to me and I find they have the same confidence and mindset issues as I (as a female) had. I actually realized that there were NO Females from my industry in my niche business and doing podcasting & social media, so the hardest thing to overcome was “loneliness” There was no one to model what I was doing so I had to learn everything myself and now I find females/males look up to me and ask me how did I do it?
5: What is something you did not foresee when you decided to start your business?
(laughing to myself!) I didn’t have a network and had to create one before I could create my assets (website, business card, offers). I also didn’t know what selling was, but then realized it was building Know, Like & Trust. So I leveraged social media, video, and my voice to push my brand out there. I also didn’t know who were valuable people to network with so I wasted a lot of time in the beginning. However, with experimentation, I’ve now learned quickly which are valuable connections to network with. Big learning curve on all these topics.
6: What is one thing about working in the coaching industry that people would be surprised to learn?
Well – Coaching is only part of what I do. I do solve business issues and help put programs in place, but along the way, I coach my clients within projects. However, I have also started coaching for stuck mid/late-career professionals. My heart however is with the people I mentor (for free) who are highly talented, but the business failed to teach them essential/soft skills. I focus a lot of my work to elevate these professionals (currently more women than men) and I’ve seen amazing results. It’s almost like a forgotten demographic. Businesses spend so much time in hiring executive coaches for D & C Suite executives, that I think it would be less expensive and a better ROI to invest in the future leaders before they become the one that gets frustrated and gets away.
And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!
7: Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why?
Linkedin because my thought leaders and potential clients are in that space watching my content.
8: What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?
It has infinite reach, doesn’t cost anything except my time, and reward is seen when you invest the time, consistency, and quality of content. After you build trust, the ability to engage and convert with the ideal client becomes apparent. But you need to give it time. Not 1-3 months, but more like 9-12 months.
9: How has social media impacted your business?
Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool? The combination of Podcasting, posting & engaging the content to social media, and using email marketing to draw people back to the Podcast, and Social media has been strong for recognition. I also enriched it with doing Live events posted to both Linkedin and Facebook. It creates a lot of brand recognition and trust. When people engage with me outside of social media – they already know me, they’re excited to meet me and we can quickly go to deeper conversation and collaboration.
10: What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?
Get over yourself and push the button (video) or start writing something! You won’t know your impact unless you try and experiment. Be professional, and be real. Don’t fret over the hair or lighting or grammar so much, but focus on being brave. People will wish they were more like you.
A Little More About Deborah
I’ve been married to Dan for 32 years and was a young bride at 23. I have 3 amazing children Danny (29) and is married to Camile and has a cat Oliver and is working on his 3rd degree. David who is 25 and is in the military (no pets, but has a lot of tattoos). Did I mention he speaks Spanish, Arabic, and Hebrew? Sarah is 18 and is a freshman in a 5-year architecture program and is my backing bud. I’m an avid curler (yes I throw stones and sweep) and won a Silver Medal in 2017 at Arena Nationals (my 1 minute of fame!). I love to read, cook, walk, bake, and a good movie. Oh, before I forget, we have an amazing dog called Reagan!
Deborah’s Social Media Links + Contact Information
Drop in CEO Podcast: https://omny.fm/shows/drop-in-ceo
Phone: 973 570 8005
Know Any Voss Babes?
Do you know a female entrepreneur who loves social media as much as we do? Contact us today – we’d love to tell her story!