Spending a lot of money on different software that is supposedly going to help you grow your business is usually a costly idea. Why not ask for help from someone like Blaney Teal that has tested them all out and can tell you which ones actually work?
This week's guest on my podcast is the amazing Blaney Teal! She is a proud mother of two and a successful, modern-day “Mompreneur” from Baltimore, MD. She has impacted the lives of countless entrepreneurs and business owners with her vibrant, energetic, and magnetic personality. With over 25 years in the entrepreneurial space, Blaney loves sharing her business tips and experiences with everyone she meets. Blaney started her first business at the age of seven and has never looked back. Her passion for helping entrepreneurs and business owners grow their business is apparent from the 1st time you meet her. Blaney is the Founder of Making Business Connections (MBX), a premier state-wide networking organization that just expanded globally. She is known as the The Frugal Techie Coach and is the Founder of the Next for Success Accelerator Academy. Blaney is passionate about helping business owners implement strategies and systems to shorten the learning curve and save them both time and money which has now evolved into helping entrepreneurs and business owners create unique online summits, conferences, and expos that as fun to host as attend! She is also a contributor to the Amazon Best Seller book: 1 Habit for Entrepreneurs that is also in the Guinness Book of World Records for the LARGEST book on Entrepreneurship and author of the upcoming book “The Lunch Date: Why Skipping Lunch is Hazardous to your Wealth!”
Get Blaney's Frugal Techie Resource Guide right here: https://nextforsuccess.biz/freegift
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Interview with Blaney Teal
RJ Redden: Greetings, grasshoppers. We are back with the Epic Engagement Adventure and today, on this day, I have the epic Blaney Teal for you. Listen, there's a lot of stuff in her bio. Go ahead and read it. Uh, but here's my experience with Blaney. Blaney is a person who much like me, always looking for the next great way to do something with a lot less effort. Also looking constantly for great ways to engage her people. I've invited her on. We're honored to have you, Blaney. How are you today?
Blaney Teal: I am doing absolutely incredible. Thank you so much RJ, for having me. It's so exciting and I'm glad that we kind of do have the same kind of skill level and I guess passion for tech and cool stuff, right?
RJ Redden: Yes. Passion for cool stuff. I just about like, gave you a call when I was shopping at Sumo, uh, Black Friday deals, , uh, and I thought, well, she's probably busy reviewing these on her own anyway. Could you tell the people who you are, where you're from, what do you?
Blaney Teal: Absolutely. So I am from Baltimore, Maryland and I am a mom of two.
Super excited cuz my son's in the military overseas right now. My daughter is about to turn 16, so I don't have any youngins in the house anymore. Um, I'm a truly a, a solopreneur, honestly. I have started, you know, at the age of seven starting my business and now I have two businesses. So who doesn't, you love, uh, the challenge of business. So I run a global networking organization called Making Business Connections, where I help, uh, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs and business owners connect and not just get more business, but have more fun, have more fun networking, but also to grow their network. So when they need something, they have the go-to person, but they also learn business skills and training.
So I love that. I started that in 2017, and of course, it's been a whirlwind with, you know, the pandemic and all. So, you know, we were totally in person. All we did, and now we're hybrid, so we have virtual and in person events and that's just been an, an incredible, um, experience to be able to, again, to create some fun virtual events.
And then if I take that hat off, I'm also the frugal techie business coach. And that's where, you know, RJ and I, we kind of align because my love and my passion is to help, especially solopreneurs implement those tools, systems, and automations in their business, but without breaking their budget. You know, that is, I think is really where I strive.
I vet everything. Like you said, I went through EP Sumo and my, my, my, all my clients are like, what did you get? What'd you get? Can we get it? I'm like, Uhuh until I totally test it out, until I know it's not junk. I am not going to share it with you. I'm sorry. You're gonna have to wait. I only picked up three, by the way, on that, on that Black Friday.
But, um, and, and I did, I vetted them, and again, I don't want my clients to go spend a lot of money. But I also want them to make the right decisions when it comes to the tools and tech that are out there. And then of course I can help 'em shorten the learning curve because if they work with me, then I can make sure that they get stuff implemented.
Cuz so many people, we talk about this, you buy stuff. It sits in your email bookshelf, if you wanna call it that, and you never, ever, ever even open it and you paid for it, or even if you got it for free. So I'm all about implementation, accountability, and making sure that people make good choices when it comes to investing in tech and tools and automation.
So that's pretty much me in a, in a nutshell.
RJ Redden: Beautiful. Oh my gosh. I know. I just, uh, we hit it off right away, everybody, as you knew that we would. Uh, and, uh, you know, I've, I've, I've had the privilege of kind of being in your circle for the last couple three months here. Uh, and it really, you, you just, you, you care so much about your people, you know?
Yeah. I mean, a lot of coaches. You know, uh, oh, uh, you want me to promote this software? Great. I mean, they don't even, you know, care to grab a copy. But you are the person who says, no, no, no. Buck stops here. I'm gonna vet this for you. I'm gonna make sure that it works before I recommend it. I just wanna applaud you for that because not, not that many coaches care in the way that you do.
Blaney Teal: Well, and I think for me, I've been in their shoes, so a lot of these folks are solopreneurs, entrepreneurs trying to do everything themselves, and they only have a limited budget, right? They can't just throw money at the wall and like you said, mud at the wall and hope it sticks. They need to make sure that the money that they're spending makes sense, and sometimes that means ditching a tool that you're using and that you even paid for.
And replacing it with something that's better or you know, it could be a little more expensive or it could even be less expensive, but sometimes you have to make those choices in your business. And I do care. And it's so funny today I've had two of my clients, they're in my academy who have texted me, have you heard of this software?
And I'm like, yep, don't get it. The other one's like, have you heard of this software? I'm like, you know, that's the same as that, but with a different name and it's three times as much. So you really don't want that. But they're like, they know better now. They, you know, people in my academy, they send me texts going cuz they know I, and I haven't, I don't know everything.
There's a lot of stuff I still don't know that's out there because people white label stuff and they put other names on stuff and they rename stuff. But if I see it like somebody had a demo, I'm like, I looked at the demo and I'm like, I know what that is. I don't care what you call it. It's, it's still hot under the bones.
And I appreciate, and they appreciate me because I want their dollars to go further. And like you said, I'm not just gonna sell them or recommend something to somebody if I don't personally use it, or at least have used it. And I refer it to my clients and my customers. Number two is, if I don't know how to use it, how am I gonna help them implement it?
Right. That's okay. And you're right. People come to me all the time, will you share this out? Will you, will you market this for me? Will you be my affiliate for this? And if I am not, and actually there's one of 'em that my friend recommended and she was like, what about this? I said, Nope. They came to me and asked me to be affiliate.
I did not approve of it. So I said no. So I, I do know what it is cuz I looked at it, I took it for a test drive and I decided against using that platform. It is not. And money aside, the platform itself just stunk. So, so it didn't matter how much it cost, it could be free. I wouldn't have told them to use it.
So yeah, I do care. And you know, like I said, cuz I've been in their shoes and I wish somebody had told me. Stop buying all the shiny objects because it looks cool or it's on sale. Like stop it. I know we do that, but I'm doing it for research, so I'm allowed to.
RJ Redden: Well, so you said you started a business when you were seven. I've not heard this story and I am dying to, what were you, what were you doing at seven?
Blaney Teal: So at, so at seven I used to make crocheted res cuz my grandmother was a knitter and a crochet. And so she taught me how to crochet these Christmas res.
And I would go around school in the neighborhood and literally sell these beautiful little res. And then it evolved to the age nine where I hand painted berets. And this is kind of scary today, so don't. Don't let your kids do what I did . So when I was nine, we used to go to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and my girlfriend and I would paint and braid these little barrets and we would have a board that, you know, that we made displaying all of our wares.
And we would walk blanket to blanket to any family that had a little girl, and we would sell our barrets to them for like a buck piece and we would sell out every day. We'd go home, we make more. The next day we go back to the beach in the morning, and we literally did that every summer for like three years.
Nowadays, as I said, I would never let my nine year old walk the beach by herself. Um, but back then it was a different world. And yeah, so that's how I got started. And then it grew into another, uh, figuring business. I sold wholesale at between 12 and 15 years old. Got into real estate, got into new home sales, started a consignment business for 11 years.
So let's just say I've had lots of different businesses, some successes, some failures, you know what I mean? Not everything's a huge success. Um, but I did sell my consignment business after 11 years, which was actually kind of fun to be able to sell that off to another, uh, young mom that was ready cuz my kids were getting too old to have fun with it.
So yeah, I have a lot of experience. Sales and marketing and, and mainly a lot of do it yourself stuff. I just like to dig in and you know what's really interesting, RJ, is I honestly thought for the longest time until I got a really good business coach that everybody could do what I do. I really thought you could just go Google.
Whatever, and learn it and implement it and boom, you'd have a business. And I, I honestly do know now that uh, we, our skills, these techy, you are just like me, techy and creative. Like we are both techy creative, right? So, you know, I used to do, I had a stamping up business for 14 years where we made cards and scrapbooking, but I also love doing all the funnel building and the the Canva graphics and stuff.
So it's like, it's so weird to do that, right? We're not, but not, I. I love that. You know, a lot of people I work with are very heart centered, so they're, they have no idea, or they're just starting a business and they are great at what they do, whatever they do, but they just don't know how to run a business.
And you have to have both, right? You have to have the business head, and then you have to have your passion head, and you've gotta be able to have both of those to be successful.
RJ Redden: You do. And that's, that's the tough thing because when, you know, my story is I sat on the couch and went, well, if it works for other people, it'll work for me.
Certainly. And I've got, I've got tech nerd knowledge, so this'll be great. And uh, gosh, you know, the, I, I do have some of that knowledge, but it got me into trouble just as much as it saved me. Um, you know, I would just go down these roads and then I started to recognize the patterns, you know. People will say, oh my God, my easy four step system, and, uh, the, and then they make the first step completely impossible for you.
Right. You know? Right. Yeah. Or not even practical. And it's like, okay, what, you know, I mean, this has been a waste of my time. And it's, it's so hard because. Everything looks like it's eligible and it's really not. It doesn't, if it doesn't align with you, your personality, if it doesn't align with, uh, you know, what your plans are, what your marketing stuff is, it's so, it, it can be, uh, it can be difficult.
So I'm, I'm glad that you are the, you are the gateway, you know, for your people. Uh, you are the guide. Do not buy that , buy this instead.
Blaney Teal: Right. But, but think about that. I mean, I think it goes back to my integrity. You know, that's one thing that I was always told that I have is integrity, right? Because I don't want my clients coming back and saying, well, you told me to invest $4,000 in this product over here, and it, it a, wasn't what they needed.
It might have been too complicated for them way above where they are in their business right now. Right? Cause you have to scale. So there are, I. I always share if there's a free option, I tell 'em start with the free option. If there really is one, start with the free option and then as you grow you can then upgrade to the paid option.
Or you can even switch products if you need to. Cuz there's no reason to spend more money than you need to depending on where you are in your business. And not everybody needs every tool out there either. Like depending on where my clients are in their business, they may not even need texting right now. Like I know I didn't get into texting for a long time cuz I didn't need it.
It was, my business was super small and I can manually text five people. Now when I have 300 people, it's like okay, there's gotta be some automation going on, right? There's gotta be stuff going on and, and I have so many people in my networking group and the reminders go out the night before and all of that and it's all automated because the old Blaney would've got our cell phone and looked and then you typo phone numbers and you make catch the wrong people.
Right? You text them well, oops, sorry. Okay. Um, yeah. So again, but when somebody comes to me and says, Hey, I need a texting app, it's, well, how many texts are gonna be sending out? How often are you gonna be sending them out? Cause you can just do pay as you go. Then if you just, you know, I mean there's pay as you go text apps where you literally, when you spend 20 bucks and it stays in there until your money's gone versus doing a monthly recurring and you get minutes you're never gonna use, or the amount of texts you're never going to use.
So yeah, just kind of betting their, their situation and to helping them make good decisions again. And also it's not up to me, it's up to them. Right. Ultimately, it's totally up to them to choose what they think is gonna be best. But I do see a lot of people getting swayed. By, you know, Facebook ads popping up constantly selling them.
Right. And I'm always, I love to read the comments on the Facebook ads. Cause those are like, they're hilarious and it's always fun. Like you said, it's not a bait and switch, but it kind of is. Like you said, they make it sound like, well yeah you can make a million bucks, just get this little program or whatever.
And that's not true. Cuz if that was true, everybody would have it and everybody would be making a million bucks. So, so, but I love the, you know, the, and I know that's why my clients Black Friday, all these ads were probably popping in their Facebook feed because they've been researching these different products and now the ads are targeted towards them.
So they are now being, I don't know, just kind of caught up in that thing where, well, you Google this and you're interested in this, so now let's show you all these things that people are running ads that are similar, and that just makes it even worse. And then, you know what happens? Sometimes they make no decision, right?
They're paralyzed and they're like, well, I know what to pick. There's 17 different CRMs. and I'm like, well, here's the three that I would recommend. And you know, again, if you wanna discuss why I recommend these three, depending on where you are, what you need, we can discuss them. If you wanna go buy something else, do it, but just be careful,
Cause there's a lot of people that got sucked into these lifetime, like lifetime things. Oh, pay us $1,500, you have lifetime access to this, to the crm, or whatever it is. And then it, it's really not very good. No. And they really could have used that money a little differently, but they, they listened to some, add some webinar and it happens.
It does. So, like I said, everything I recommend will not break their bank. So even if they invest in it, like, and it doesn't really work out, they're not gonna, they're gonna be like, oh, it's okay. It was just, it was a trial and error. It was, and most of the time they love what I recommend. So it's not even an issue.
But every, and most of the products, some, some of 'em have return policies too, or like, you know, they're month to month. So if you don't like it, just stop paying for it. You know, we're not gonna get you stuck in a long term high end contract where you're gonna really regret any decision that you make.
RJ Redden: Well, uh, it's so important for our entrepreneurs and it's so important to have somebody out there with somebody else's best interests at heart.
Blaney Teal: Well, thank you.
RJ Redden: Um, I, I love what you do as you know. And now the question, uh, that I always ask everybody cuz that's why people listen to this, is what do you do to engage your audience?
Blaney Teal: Well, and that is a really great question. So, because again, it goes in depending on what I'm trying to promote or, or whatever.
But as you know, back, going back to the networking side of things, I love really cool software. Well, going back to software, so like in our virtual networking world, I found different platforms that make virtual events fun. They make them engage. So you recently were on my S B V E event and as you know, I chose that platform.
It's called airme. You guys can Google it. It's out there. Um, and again, like I'm producing for other people on it versus. You have to learn it right and then have to pay it like so a lot of people like to work with me cuz they don't have to do that. But what I loved about Airme is it has many different um, components to it.
And one of them of course is gamification, which I know you love . Yes. So we tried the gamification for the first time and I'm able to, Tell it what to give points for, for showing up life, for going into the booth, for raising your hand, asking questions, doing emojis. During the whole summit, people are engaging and they're watching the leaderboard, right?
And so it was so fun to watch the competitors fall places and move for the first and third. It was really fun to see them engaging. And I think, like, especially for me, I've been on many, many summits and you probably have too. Um, and I've put on a couple different ones on different platforms. So I've seen different things and I've spoken on 'em.
And what I have found is I don't think that when you do a summit and all you do is listen on your cell phone and consume information, speaker after speaker after speaker, that that is very fun, right? I mean, yeah, you hear, you might take some notes if you're not driving, cuz most people listen to that while they're driving.
Um, but you're really not getting the most out of the event. So when you're in a platform like Airme where people where we're encouraging you to engage and we're giving you prizes, like trips and gift certificates for engaging, then people show up. I mean, our attendance was the highest ever live. Yeah, we've done it three times.
We, this is the first time we've had gamification where we rewarded them for showing up live versus just watching the replays. And that was really exciting to see. So again, if you can make it fun, make any kinda games out there, whether it's built into your software. I use another software for our luncheon that we had today.
And again, it has sound effects, it has big emojis, like I'm not talking the little emoji. It has big emojis that pop up when you do them, it's called Butter. Butter. It's in my Frugal Techie resource guide, but it's called Butter, and I absolutely love it because it makes it absolutely fun.
Right. So another, and again, my Frugal Techie Resource Guide. You gotta talk about that because one of the things I'm totally transparent about is I'm an affiliate for a lot of these different products and services. Yeah. Only the ones that I like. So like if you sign up for a Butter using my link, I get 10 bucks.
No big deal. I mean, not, not getting rich off of anybody, but it's a way in why I give away a lot of information for free and why I train. Because I know on the back end you don't have to pay me, Rj, they're gonna pay me, the company's gonna pay me. So I just found another virtual platform. Let's talk about engagement and actually I have a webinar coming up.
I just put on the schedule about this platform and it's going to, it's going to get rid of Zoom, like, because why? One, it's free for up to a hundred people. 90 minutes. Why the qualities 10 80? You know, audio and hate to say it, but it, it live streams to five places for free. So just saying, but you talk about engagement, it has built in widgets where if I'm doing a presentation and I wanna pop up a call to action with my logo and a button, they click on it and they actually can take action right in my webinar or my meeting. Yeah. Another thing it does is it has a website popper, and I'm just so excited about this because I've been, I've been beta testing and again, I wouldn't tell anybody about it until I was sure it was gonna be a legitimate contender, right for Zoom. And what was, so like for instance, um, let's say you are doing a summit and you want, you're on a, something like this, and we were using that software, I would be able to pop up the registration form for the summit.
Everybody on their own has the ability to move it, like I'm not moving and scrolling through the website. They are, they click on the popup button. They sign up to get their free ticket while they're in the meeting with the webinar. Yeah. So they're not having to open a tab. It's inside of this window, and so that you talk about engagement.
A friend of mine actually was closing about 70% of their customers using virtual meetings. They changed to this software and now they close 99%. Wow. Because it's engaging. Because you're able to put up call to actions, button bars inside of the meeting or webinar while you're live, and so people have the time to do it.
It's not like, hey, I'll drop the link in the chat. Go ahead and click on that later and sign up like we're gonna do today for my gift. You're gonna drop it. And then if this was on that platform, you would literally pop the little widget up, they'd click on it, and they would then, of course, be able to get the free gift without having to click in the chat. So those are some some ways, and I have one more way I do wanna share with you because in my academy right now, we are training all about engagement and we are talking about viral contests. And I have a little piece of software, I think it's 49 bucks one time. Uh, you may have seen it and if it was on App Sumo, um, I've been using it for a long time.
But you talk about engagement, it helps you go viral because inside of the actual, um, Maker, if that's what you wanna call it. Yeah. Um, you know, you're able to tell them to do activities, to get points to win the prize. Yes. And then I'll give you guys my, my, you know, my golden nugget on that is just make sure that if you're going to do an engagement, like that engagement contest, make sure that your prize is something that your perfect customer wants.
Mm-hmm. tv, you're gonna get everybody, boy, young, old, you know, that are gonna sign up for the free TV or give away a trip to Mexico, everybody's gonna enter. But if you give away a year to my next for Success Accelerated Academy, or I give away a year, or I gave away a lifetime membership to my networking group.
Oh my gosh. So the people entering the contest, are interested in networking or the people that enter my academy contests are interested in working with me and coaching them. Does that make sense?
RJ Redden: Yeah, no, totally. Because like , so many people have approached me over the years about, I mean, I wanna do a contest and I wanna give away this piece of equipment.
Okay, uh, let's explore that for a second. Um, you know what I mean? Like, how many people are gonna a look at that piece of equipment and know exactly what it is? Are those people, your people that you wanna teach things to. You know, I mean, it's, it's always people. People get the heart, get the heart before the course.
Uh, they get the before the horse. I love it. I might use that line in another context. Absolutely. But, uh, but yeah, I mean, it just, I just, it's, it's amazing to me. It's amazing to me, the giveaways, uh, and, and the engagement giveaways especially. I haven't done one in a while. I've been slacking Blaney Teal.
Blaney Teal: Come on, you gotta give one. This is the time. And you know, it's so fun because I was teaching today, that was our academy, uh, topic this month was these virtual contests, whether they want for, you know, a holiday special or, but here's the thing, it's building their email list, right? So the whole idea not only getting viral exposure and you're getting engagement and you're getting people sharing, you know, cuz they like that and they like it, but you're also building your email list.
So that now, and I teach 'em to say, look, you might be giving, let's say I give away, for instance, I give away a, a lifetime membership to my academy, right? That's a priceless gift, but, Obviously only one person's gonna win that. And so then you could take that email list and say, well, guess what? In my book, everybody's a winner, so I'm gonna give you, uh, you know, $20 off the monthly academy dues, you know, forever if, you know, if you click on this link in my email.
So it's a win-win, right? I mean, and you know, if they entered to win a lifetime to the academy or a year to the academy or whatever, you give whatever, I know that they should have some hopes of wanting to be in my network and work with me, you know, and be in my academy. And that's, that's the hardest thing is, you know, make sure that that prize is, is gonna attract, like you said, the right person.
Because I'd rather have a hundred people that are thinking about coaching with me than have 10,000 people wanting to win a a 500 Amazon shopping gift card. Right. Oh my God.
RJ Redden: Oh. Right. Um, absolutely. Uh, well, and, and back to your, back to your events with all of the different, um, with all the different things that you do for engagement.
It, it really impressed me. I mean, there were tons of things to do on your last event. Yeah. People would wander around, talk to booze. I mean, they, so many things, right? Yes. Um, and, and, Were, it wasn't as if you just said it and forget it with the technology, either you and Rich was there. Rich, uh, Bon Schroer.
Bontrager, yeah. I don't know. Uh, but Rich, uh, hi Rich. If you're watching and, uh, the, you, you guys were just hyping it up and, and letting them know you can do this stuff. The, the, the, the most important thing is we all hated lectures in school. Right. We did. I mean, maybe some of the, maybe there are some people out there going, RJ I didn't.
Um, and well then, uh, you know, get ahold of a, you know, your basic summit, because that's what it is. It is a series of lectures. Right. I, I don't want to be involved in that. That is something that I will put in a window maybe, uh, while I'm working. But you're not engaging. You're not engaging because listening, there's just no back and forth.
There's no back and forth, but your kinds of events. Oh, I'm at that stuff all the time. I just wanna, you know, I just wanna kind of see what's, uh, see what's happening. Oh, gamification. Let's try this, push this. What does this one do? Like that?
Blaney Teal: Yeah. And also just keeping the variety, like, so I, when I created that event, So originally we had in-person events back in 2019, and I would have that exact event at a hotel, right?
We'd have speakers on the stage, we'd have exhibitor booths around the hall. We'd have lunch, we'd have breaks, we'd have networking, we'd give away door prizes. It was a really fun in person event. And then of course, that went away. So I had to create something that kind of felt like that. There's the lobby, right?
It had the video, and now they just made a change to it. So now when somebody comes on, there's a full screen video that kind of introduces. They made some really cool changes. Um, but you know, like you said, there's a lounge, so if you don't wanna hear the speaker, you don't wanna go to the booth. You can go sit in a lounge and maybe you'll meet me or RJ or somebody.
Right. Um, we did networking one on one. We did the open networking where you just move around. And then, like you said, we had the booth, so if you didn't like the speaker, you could go poke around in the booth. Um, it was, it gave you that same feel of walking into a, a lobby in a hotel, going to a convention, you know, or an event.
And you picking and choosing what you wanted to do. And like you said, you got points for doing stuff. So if you showed up in somebody's booth and you sat at their table and you had a one-on-one video conference, you got points for that. If you went to this speaker website, you got points for that. If you showed up for RJs presentation, you got points for that.
If you gave her emojis, you got points for that. If you rose your, raised your hand or asked a question and she answered it, you got points for that. And so it really made people not be able to multitask in terms of they needed to be present and, and they really, I loved watching the chat and seeing all the engagement.
And like I said, our numbers were way up for the live attendance. A lot of people sign up for summits and know they're only gonna watch the recordings cuz they'd have no intention of showing up. And that is perfectly fine. We, a lot of people buy the recordings perfectly fine, but the fun is in showing up live and engaging.
And think about it, you actually, our type of event that we just had, Rj not only like, usually you just listen to the whatever, you actually got to meet the speakers. You could come on stage with them and talk to them, have screenshots taken with these famous people, right? You could go into the lounge and have a conversation with other attendees.
Which again is really important cuz the other types of summits, you're just listening, you're not engaging with the attendees. And so like, like I said, I'm very passionate about creating experiences for people. All of my networking events are, I use four or five different platforms on purpose. So you don't get fatigued out, you don't get that Zoom fatigue, oh, here we go again.
Like, you're like, wow, what is she gonna have for us today? This is kind of cool. This is fun. Like, and we wanna keep it fun because then they'll keep showing up and they'll keep engaging. That's right. You know, they won't get.
RJ Redden: Well, and you'll get the right people connecting with you afterward. Mm-hmm. , you know, I'm obsessed. I'm obsessed with this idea that I don't, I don't want people, I want the right people. And when people spend a day with you and not, and, and it's. It's not just, oh, you know, I'm gonna open this thing up in my other screen. It's, I'm, I'm in there. I'm asking questions, not just to get points anymore because now I'm really in there.
Right. Um, that's the kind of stuff that businesses are built on. Uh,
Blaney Teal: A whole no, like trust factor changes, you know, and I kept encouraging people to say, Hey, look, come to the stage and talk to OJ Rj, or talk to Forbes or whatever. Like come to the stage because again, now you can ask your question live versus chat, because when you do chat, there's some loss in translation and a lot of times the speaker will have to be, hey, I don't understand your question. Can you reword it? Can you elaborate? Well, if you bring 'em to the stage, we can actually have a conversation and get an answer. And so that I think is priceless when it comes to putting on events is being able to A and, and you know, it's just like a, I think about it, the in-person events.
Do you remember when the mc would come over and be like, Hey, R. Here's the mic. Ask your question and you ask it on the mic to the speaker, and then they answer you back, and then you maybe follow up question and then like you actually have a little conversation. We do the same thing with our events and, and I think that just, there's so much better takeaways versus Here's a question, I read it, you answer it.
Maybe we don't understand it, right?
RJ Redden: Oh, that was so 10 years. Uh, yeah. Uh, well, I'm just, I'm so happy to have you on here today. Uh, you exemplify a lot of the things that I talk about, uh, and, and, and, and in other different, directions completely. Uh, you know, you and I talked, I was, I was like, I don't know if I should do an air beat thing.
And you're like, well, I'm doing one and you should come see how it, see how it is. Yeah. And I'm like, Ooh, uh, what's this now? Um, so it was, it was, it was an amazing event. Everybody get a hold of Blaney Teal I threw a link in the chat there. Would you tell, tell us a little about, a bit about that link Blaney?
Blaney Teal: Absolutely. So, um, I have created what I call the Frugal Techie Resource Guide because constantly I'm getting asked, what do you use for this? What do you use for this? What do you recommend for this? What should I, and I'm talking cameras, lighting, I'm talking all different types of services from emails to texting to some really cool things that you've never heard about.
Um, and so I created a resource guide. Now it's not a pdf. It is a working, living, breathing website, landing page, because I'm constantly adding and removing tech based on when things get outdated or something, I find something better. I don't wanna confuse you and have 10 different types of things on there, so it's totally free.
Um, I ask that, you know, obviously that, uh, you sign up. So that I can follow up with you, make sure you get in there. And in there also is a chance to meet with me. So if you find a piece of tech and you're interested in learning a little more and you're not sure if you wanna get it, there's a link in there to book a call with me so that we can have a conversation around a strategy on maybe is that the right tech for you, for whatever you're looking for.
If not, I can make some suggestions. And so that's my gift to all of you guys that are, that are watching, that are here, uh, watching this. I just want to, uh, to reach out and get to know and like each other, right? Do do a connection call with.
RJ Redden: Do it. Do it. Because if you love me, you're gonna love Blaney. Come on.
Uh, you know, uh, and, uh, I just wanna thank you. Thank you, thank you for coming on. But also thank you for being that person. For entrepreneurs out there in the universe. They need you. Uh, they need you. I to do what you're doing is, uh, it's, it's amazing. It's an awfully wonderful service to offer and, uh, I just wanna, just wanted to give you my shout out for that because there are not that many, so many people I see, you know, like they're, they're getting billions of views on Facebook or whatever for their for their recommendations. And, uh, they're not using the stuff that they're recommending and I know it. No. And it makes me mad.
Blaney Teal: Agreed. You know? Exactly. They're an influencer. They're asked to promote something, they can make some money on the backend, and I can always tell when somebody really doesn't use it.
Um, I actually saw a speaker one time who was telling people to use something and he was, he was live, and I could tell you by the way he talked about it, that he's never even opened up the software. That's right. And I was like, he was, he was a fake. He was a fake. I'm like, don't tell people to go buy this if you are not currently.
Even if you can't use it, you gotta investigate it. You gotta understand it. You gotta, like I said, that's why I make sure that pretty much everything I recommend in the guide I am currently using. I think the only thing is, I think I did update my, um, My microphone to a little, a higher end one than the one I recommend.
But the one I recommend is fantastic, and I gave it to my daughter for all of her gaming, and she loves it. So the one I recommend, it's, it's a, you know, like I said, not to break your budget, but since I livestream all the time, I did go ahead and upgrade to a little bit higher microphone. But other than that, like I did use that one and I gave it to my daughter, there's something wrong with it.
So if you're not looking for something high end, it's a great microphone.
RJ Redden: Uh, we do have a question here. Sharon's asking how do I find the Zoom? I think that, uh, she might be talking about the, uh, the Zoom product you were talking about.
Blaney Teal: Um, it's in the guide. It's in the guide. It's a Google techie resource guide, and it is in there. I am actually, I mean, I don't know, I know this is gonna be out there for a while, but definitely reach out to me. Um, I do have some webinars around that, giving demonstrations around that, a Zoom alternative, um, because it's something you just gotta see and play with. And like I said, if you haven't seen it yet, Rj, you've got to, I, I will make sure you get the link. I'm doing a webinar actually next week, so I'll make sure you get it.
RJ Redden: I'll, I'll be there.
Blaney Teal: I'll be, I had a hundred people at my last one. Trust me. They were all like blown. So, um, I love blowing people away, finding things. I look at it like, you know, Kleenex and tissues, right? You got the people putting all that money behind the brand name of Kleenex, and then there's just plain old tissues.
Like there's the food line brand, right? And there's so many products out there that don't have the big budgets, like, you know, Kleenex to be able to put ads on Facebook and TV and billboards. And it's funny, now I'm seeing more and more, um, software commercials now even on TV for things, and it's like, oh wow.
Interesting that they're, they are running ads, um, but there's a lot of stuff out there that is just as good or better than the name brand.
RJ Redden: Oh yes there is. Yep. Uh, holy moly.
Blaney Teal: You just have to be in our world to find it. Like you have to be like us, where we kind of get in there and di dig deep and we find cool stuff and then we, like I said, if it, if it's valid and it works, then I'm gonna share it with my, you know, with my clients and make sure that they use it.
But implementation is everything. So , you know, even if RJ says this is the best thing since sliced bread, it probably is. But you gotta take the time to set it up and put it into your business and get it going. And then once you do, you can set it and forget it usually. But you know, I have a lot of people that get a little intimidated with the setup.
They get started and they just, they just don't get it implemented into their business, whatever that is, whatever system or automation that is. But once you do it, you're like, oh. You know, it's amazing. Like, you know what's so funny talking about engagement. I'm gonna throw a little nugget out there to you guys.
So, in my, um, in my resource guide, I, I don't know about you, but one of my nemesis was always wishing people happy birthday on Facebook. I hated getting up in the morning to manually send a picture and a text, and then you go on vacation for four days or a week and then you're like, oh my God. All those people didn't get birthday wishes.
They hate me now. Right. Yeah. And that was a big, that was a big nemesis for me. I, I, I wanted to be able to do something fun. So in my resource guide is a little piece of tech. That I've been using for like five years. So it's still around and it's $39 a year. So you could not hire your BA to, to post your social media, you know, uh, birthday wishes.
But it's really clever, Rj, and if you haven't seen it, it's the coolest thing. You can do 10 different photos. So whether they're. Bit mos, which is what I do. I do. Happy birthday, Bitmojis. You could literally though take a picture of you with a, a birthday hat on and a birthday cake, you know, and some streamers, and you could do a, a background, you know, a virtual background, take some pictures, but you create 10 pictures.
And I'm saying, the reason I'm saying this, my engagement went through the roof when I started doing this. So this is very, uh, important for those of you talking about how to get engagement up. So it also allows you to do 10 custom, uh, sentences, like, you know, whatever you're gonna post. So you can use emojis, you can have their name in it.
And so I'm gonna tell you my tip. This is the nugget right here, you guys. So for a while I would have, you know, Rj, hope you have a wonderful day, or you. Blaney, um, hope, make it a great day, happy birthday. And I, I'd have those. Well, about, I don't know, a year ago I had epiphany and so I decided to edit my 10.
The reason why you want 10 variations is because it pulls from one. That way everybody doesn't get the exact same picture in exact same thing, right? So you want it to look more random, especially if you have five friends and they all got the exact same thing. They'd be like, that's automated. But if you're random, they're gonna think you're doing it.
But here's the change. Here's the nugget, guys. If you're listening, I added this one sentence that made my engagement go through the roof. I added this sentence. I said, do you have anything fun planned for your birthday? So happy birthday. Make it a great day. Hope you have a wonderful one. You know, blah, blah, blah.
Do you have anything fun planned? I think that's all I said. That was the last sentence of every one of those things. I cannot tell you everybody. Almost everybody will click like or love on that. Because number one, it's taking up this much room on their wall, not this much with the word, right? Yeah. So it's the big picture that, so number one, they're seeing it.
Number two is, I would say 75% of them tell me what they're doing for their birthday. Yeah. And so the engagement. Now, of course, guess what happens now? They're liking loving, and they're commenting on my post. So when I post something else, guess who's gonna see it? They. The algorithm's gonna be like, oh, she likes your stuff.
I think I'm gonna show her more of Blaney stuff. And then lastly, as a bonus, they might have been like, I don't know who Blaney is, but this is cool. I'm gonna, I forget her cause she's friends, but who knows who she is. They're gonna click on me, they're gonna go look at me. And then you know, they're going to, to learn a little bit more about who I am as a person, and then usually what I will do is, you know, I'll keep the message going and depending on who they are, if I think they're a good candidate to invite to an MBX lunch virtual in person, I will then private message them, cuz now I'm on their radar. Yeah, so you talk about getting engagement up and then of course, being able to automate it and get engagement up is like the best of both worlds.
So that is one nugget right there for engagement. If you wanna do something as simple as that, where you'd, and again, I never, I go on vacation for 10 days. I was in Cancun Coel for 10 days, all my birthday wishes went out, and I didn't have to get up early and do them, or feel guilty that I didn't do 'em.
RJ Redden: Yeah. Nice. Uh, well, Sharon here, uh, said, asks, if you've ever used app sumo?
Blaney Teal: Really? Yeah. Did we just have that conversation at the beginning?
RJ Redden: I think Sharon dropped on here at the end, so.
Blaney Teal: Okay. So here's my take on app Sumo again. And I know RJ you will agree with me. I actually have a couple of products, like the viral contest is an app Sumo product.
Yeah. And when I tell my clients one, I only give 'em a direct link to the product. Um, because I tell 'em you're going into like the shiny object, um, hell, I don't know what we really wanna call it. Yeah. Shiny object hell. But you're really going into scary territory on App Sumo. So I will say this for the most part, um, there's good stuff and bad stuff on App Sumo.
You need to know how to test it. Cuz I have refunded a lot of stuff on there cuz I know what I'm looking for. Um, and then again, I only, I will not tell my clients about an App Sumo product until I have used it, vetted it and totally know it works. Um, so like, there are a couple of products on there that are totally priceless.
I mean, I, and so, by the way, air Meat's one of them, I bought air meat on there two years ago on Black Friday because I owned a networking group. And somebody said to me, you really should check out this air meat thing. And I'm like, Ugh. Another piece of software. And it was a couple hundred dollars at the time, which was a little bit bigger investment than 47 bucks or 69 bucks, but it was lifetime access for like $500 or something.
And this was two years ago. I bought it because I have a networking group. I knew I'd be doing my conferences and my networking and my webinars, and so I bought it. I did not open it until last November. When I tested it, and of course now they have a different business pricing model and I'm so glad I, I do not have to pay for air meat because I own it out.
Right. It was definitely a good decision that I made. Because now, like I said, I can do some, I'm doing a couple summits for the LGBTQ community. I'm doing one for, um, this, uh, church and hospital. I'm doing a bunch of their events, the holistic Chamber of Commerce. I've done events for them and I don't have to charge them for air meat.
So they're really just paying for my time and my expertise to host an event on there again, and I don't think it's on there anymore. So again, those are kind of things that you need to kind of, but you have to make that decision. Um, one of the things I will tell is be careful because. If you're not gonna use it right away, I wouldn't get it.
Meaning you have that little window of trying it out and so you don't jump in there and try it out. You're just gonna be stuck with throwing money in the toilet. The other thing is a lot of products, newer versions or alternatives come out. Eventually. So if you buy it and you sit on like I did for air meat and let's say it went under, I would've definitely lost my money.
Yeah. Um, in this case it's done well and improved very, very well. So it was a good investment. But there's been other software where I bought it. I used it for a couple of months, and then something better came out. And I'm like, oh, but I, so I teach my clients like, unless you're really ready to, to get in the trenches and put it into use, I don't care how much money you're saving, it's not worth it.
So that's why I said it's really in that shiny object territory. But, um, again, yes, app sumo is great. Um, but there's also, you're getting things typically when they're not polished. So you're gonna have more bugs, you're gonna have more problems. Um, you're gonna have, you know, just other stuff that, you know, it may be a little frustrating for you at times if you're not really techy, cuz you gotta put up with the tech bugs.
Um, I'm trying, I was trying to think of another one that I bought. Well, there's one that I missed. I didn't even know it was on there. I use it now and I'm paying $47 a month for the tool and I love it. And I went to see if there was a lifetime option somewhere on Googling, and I found it was on App Sumo about three years ago for $47 lifetime.
And now I'm paying $47 a month, which is typically the business model of App Sumo. So if you do get it, lifetime. Great. Um, actually my podcast Service Bcast, I got on there and again, I got a lifetime access to it, and now it's a monthly version and I, I haven't even started my podcast. So I'm glad I got it.
I knew I was gonna have a podcast though it was safe and I really liked the features that it had. So yeah, I mean, that's the long answer. I'm sorry. That's a long answer, but just be careful. Like I said, I usually buy the app Sumo stuff. I test it and then I'll tell my clients to go get it if it's a good deal, because I don't want them wasting their time and energy or money.
Yeah. Testing out something that is not that great.
RJ Redden: Well, and I, there are times too when I'm, uh, doing that, and by the way, uh, app Sumo does give you a 60 day refund window. And again, I do agree with Blaney. If you buy it, but you don't think you might have time to try it out or implement it within the next 60 days, don't buy it.
Yeah, don't buy it. Cause you know, I mean, uh, but, uh, but sometimes I'm on there and I'm like, oh, uh, that's a service that I would love to open up to my clients. Um, and, uh, and then I buy what they call white label version, which is where you can, uh, take somebody else's software and put it under your own banner.
Yep. I have some video creation software that my clients use that is, uh, it's white labeled. However many videos they wanna make. So, uh, so that there's a lot of possibilities, uh, but a lot of shiny objects and so, you know, uh, you know, peruse it will peruse. With caution. Proceed with caution.
Blaney Teal: Exactly. Um, we can definitely get sucked in there, I'll tell you cuz you know. And I do, I read every review, I read every question. Yeah. Like, I mean, I don't just pull the, even like the, the things on Black Friday, I put through 'em in my cart. I thought I want it. I went back and reread 'em all one more time, and I've activated all three already and I'm already playing with them because I need to make sure that if they're not gonna do what I need them to do, that I'm gonna refund.
Yeah, and there was one, I bought some interactive video software through there cause I thought that'd be really cool, but it had to be hosted on a website and this and that. It wasn't, it wasn't like the software, I'm talking about the meeting software where you literally just click a button and it's there.
This is a video software that interactive buttons and it needed to be hosted on the website. And this, I'm like, no, that's just too much for me right now. Like, I don't, I don't have a place, I don't put what, I don't put videos anywhere. Like, so anyway, I, I refunded that one. I was like, okay, I tried it, I played with it.
It wasn't going to be for me. Yeah, but I don't refund many. Only if they don't deliver what I really need them to do. Like I thought it was something and it didn't do something else. Yeah. So, but it is fun. It is fun and there's a lot of stuff on there. Like I said, there's a lot of competing products, so you have to kind of, they do the same thing.
You have to decide which one you don't need both. So that kind of stuff.
RJ Redden: Yeah. Well that was a lot about app Sumo, everybody. Uh, I'm so glad, uh, cuz I, I just, I love that stuff. Um. I just love it. I love the exploration. I love that part because I know my clients do not wanna do it. They don't wanna do that. I wanna kick the thing and make sure I full stacked something.
Full stack is when you buy several codes and get all of the, you know, uh, bells and whistles. I full stack something and then, uh, tried it. Uh, and refunded the whole thing, uh, because I had read the thing wrong. You know what I mean? So, uh, it happens. There's proceed with caution there. Everybody, uh, by the way, her link is on the screen there.
I know that when I, when I chat the link out, it only goes to YouTube and not LinkedIn. So, uh, get, you know, type that into your browser, please. Mm-hmm. , uh, and then you will get, uh, you'll get Blaney's secret sauce. A software she recommends. This is huge. This is an updated live list. Yes, it's huge. Get it that.
Blaney Teal: And that is the key. So it's like, it's not a one and done. I don't want you guys throwing this in your vault, like book market putting. And I actually do send out reminder emails every couple of months being, Hey, have you gotten in and seen what's new? Sometimes if I add something I'll send out an email saying, Hey, I just added a new resource for you.
So again, I stay with you through the process. Changes happen. Like you said, tech changes and you know, for a while, you know, people use X and then all of a sudden somebody comes around and builds a, a better, you know, a better boat, whatever you wanna call it. builds a better, one better version of something.
RJ Redden: Beautiful. All right, my friend. Well, we have talked away 48 minutes, uh, as I knew that we would. Uh, and uh, and yeah, I wanna thank you for coming. Thank you for all the pearls, uh, that you, uh, pearls of wisdom that you gave us today, cuz there were a lot of them. Uh, and yeah, gosh. Get a hold. Jump on and let link because you will, you'll find some things that you didn't know you needed.
You'll find some things you've been looking for for a long time, and most of all, what you will find is Blaney Teal, everybody, and you know she's a joy because you've been watching. So, uh, alright, I'm gonna, I'm gonna wrap it up for the day and, uh, thanks for coming and everybody out there in LinkedIn land and in YouTube land and in podcast land, thank you for coming and I will see you in a bot.
Blaney Teal is a proud mother of two and successful, modern-day “Mompreneur” from Baltimore, MD. She has impacted the lives of countless entrepreneurs and business owners with her vibrant, energetic, and magnetic personality. With over 25 years in the entrepreneurial space, Blaney loves sharing her business tips and experiences with everyone she meets.
Blaney started her first business at the age of seven and has never looked back. Her passion for helping entrepreneurs and business owners grow their business is apparent from the 1st time you meet her.
Blaney is the Founder of Making Business Connections (MBX), a premier state-wide networking organization that just expanded globally. She is know as the The Frugal Techie Coach and is the Founder of the Next for Success Accelerator Academy. Blaney is passionate about helping business owners implement strategies and systems to shorten the learning curve and save them both time and money which has now evolved into helping entrepreneurs and business owners create unique online summits, conferences and expos that as as fun to host as attend!
She is also a contributor to the Amazon Best Seller book: 1 Habit for Entrepreneurs that is also in the Guiness Book of World Records for the LARGEST book on Entrepreneurship and author the upcoming book “The Lunch Date: Why Skipping Lunch is Hazardous to you Wealth!”