As my healing arts business began to grow and, in turn, I had more money to reinvest so that I could continue to grow, I knew that I needed to reach more potential clients. I heard an ad on the radio one day talking about a company that could analyze my website and how their service could increase my business. They even offered a free consultation. So I called.
I soon met with a salesman, a rather good one at that, and we discussed the needs of my business and how his company could help. This company is a large corporate conglomerate that in no way understood the needs of my small business, but unfortunately, I saw them as marketing experts. My sales rep put together a marketing plan that totaled about $2,200 per month and required a one-year contract. This should have been my first clue.
The plan was absurd for a business like mine and would have sent me into bankruptcy in just a few months. It was a giant red flag that this guy and his company had no clue about what I needed and were only interested in how much they could make off of me. But I blindly trusted them and moved forward with a plan that was still was a stretch for my budget because my sales rep promised it would yield amazing results.
Within a month, I realized I had made a huge mistake. The products I had been sold were geared toward branding and long-term results. As a small business, I did not have that kind of time. Because I had been sold something that was too expensive for me, I started to panic. I called my sales rep several times, and all he could tell me was that I was in a year-long contract and out of luck.
I begged for another option, explaining that the changes his company had made to my site were actually hurting my site. (They never advised me that I would lose the SEO I had on my old site when switching over to the new.) I told him that I would be out of business and not able to follow through with this if something didn’t change ASAP.
He did, in fact, come back to me with another option, which, of course, was more expensive than the first option that I already could not afford. He said that he didn’t realize I was trying to get new clients right away and that this was a long-term process that took time. This guy clearly did not understand the needs of a small business owner. He was out for commission. Period.
I won’t bore you with the rest of the details but let me just say there was a breach of contract. I frantically had to find other options before my business went under. I received threatening letters from an attorney and collections agencies. And I was harassed for an additional $5k that they said I owed even though they had caused massive damage to my business.
I will take some responsibility in this whole debacle: I should have done more research before agreeing to their plan. But I was busy running my business and seeing clients, and I really wanted to trust that someone could take over the marketing for me so that I could focus on what I do best. After that experience, not only did I feel like an idiot, but I was afraid to work with anyone else.
That was until I found Hummingbird Marketing Services. Like me, Andi Lucas is a woman running a small business. She understands the needs of a small business and that most small businesses are not working with a large marketing budget. She gets it! Andi put together a marketing plan that fit my needs and my budget. She took the time to understand my business and my unique goals as a healing arts practice.
Small business owners: Whether you chose Hummingbird Marketing Services or another firm, I would highly recommend that you consider hiring another small business. Moving forward, I have worked exclusively with small businesses when hiring any type of contractor or consultant. I want to support other small business owners, and I know they are going to understand my needs and, in turn, offer me the right services.
Guest Blogger Laura Richer, CHt, is the founder and owner of Seattle Healing Hypnotherapy, Reiki, and Life Coaching as well as a client of Hummingbird Marketing Services.