Enjoy growing and learning. The process should be as thrilling as your arrival to what you’ve been working on…. Might not be on your timeline, but stay the course and it will happen.
Ghada Vanderpool is the Founder and Lead Strategist of Hot Spring Social, a Full scale Digital Marketing Agency specialising in helping tourism operators who are fed up of relying on third party websites and paying commissions in order to secure bookings.
She is a Canadian Expat who has called New Zealand home in large part since 1999, except for a brief stint back in her hometown of Montreal and 3 years in New York city. A Bachelor of Education graduate of McGill University, her expertise in Social Media Marketing is self-taught over 20 years having run an app and website development agency, as well as freelanced and worked both agency and client side in New York and New Zealand for the likes of Ford USA, Playtex Baby, MTV USA, Linden Leaves, and KiwiRail.
An avid traveler, her most recent adventures saw her, her husband and 3 children aged 18 months to 11 years travel to Montreal, California, Florida, and Japan over 5 weeks. Believing we are all children of the earth, she is very interested in responsible tourism and is conscious of working with Destination Marketers and Tourism Operators who have the same values.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Before starting Hot Spring Social, my last job as a Digital Marketer was for a National Tourism Operator in New Zealand. From my time in that role, working alongside other Tourism Operators and Destination Marketers, I found they were generally stretched trying to do everything in the business. Digital Marketing campaigns like Facebook and Instagram ads, Messenger Bots and influencer campaigns were often not developed to their full potential due to a lack of resource. I saw the opportunity to establish myself as a Marketing Partner specific to those in the Travel and Tourism space. Our services help operators generate direct bookings instead of relying on third party websites and oftentimes paying high commissions in the process.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I typically structure my day in time blocks. No two days are the same, but each day has its core “to do-s” that I complete at all costs. So, if I wake up and one of my kids is sick, or heaven forbid I’m sick, then I can refer to my list of must-dos and attempt to knock them off quickly so that I can divert my time to what may not have been part of the plan for the day, but needs to be attended to.
Apart from those activities that move my business forward, I also make sure to take at least 15 minutes for reading (or listening to audiobooks) around business, entrepreneurship and mindset, as well as to write in my gratitude journal. Most recently I have also re-introduced meditation, affirmations and regular exercise back into my day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
This is always a pen and paper exercise. I will go through and write out all my thoughts, and look at reorganising them into mindmaps.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Attraction Marketing. It’s a bit sad that we needed a trend to remind marketers to be human first and marketers second. But what we are seeing is that the people who are authentic and genuine in sharing their life through the highs and lows are doing a better job at pulling people in. The hard sell never really worked, but with the continued growth of social selling – the hard sell really repels on social media, while attraction marketing pulls people in.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
It’s natural for everyone’s brain to wander, even if you are working on something you enjoy. I recently read about keeping a distraction list next to you at all times when you work. So the idea is that even as you are time blocked in to work on something, if you write your ‘distraction’ down as soon as it enters your brain, you will have at least given it attention without breaking focus. Conversely if you just keep thinking about the distraction you are more likely to break focus, clutter your brain and not be as effective with your time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Enjoy growing and learning. The process should be as thrilling as your arrival to what you’ve been working on. If you have a big vision, it’ll all fall into place. Might not be on your timeline, but stay the course and it will happen.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Being your own boss is not for everyone. In a society where multiple streams of income is encouraged as a safety net, not everyone is cut out to carve their own path. The hours are long and YOU are your greatest resource, so you have to ask yourself if you’re ready to put in the sweat equity upfront to reap whatever rewards it is you’re after – time freedom, legacy, etc
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Provide value. Whatever your calling is, it’s important to show up and share value as there is always someone who needs to hear your knowledge.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Investing in mentors has been a huge help in growing my business. If you find someone that you align with that can provide you with guidance, this is gold. Getting to tap into someone else’s experiences and knowledge will save you the headaches that they had to go through.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I ran an agency with my husband for 7 years designing websites and other online apps. We eventually decided to shut it down, as we’d both grown into areas of the business that weren’t our zones of genius. So rather than letting this zap our passion, we both decided to take different routes that were better aligned to areas of digital marketing and digital programming that lit us up. We both came out of the experience more skilled.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Here’s a good idea for WAHM (Work at Home Mothers) or anyone looking to make decent money helping other business part-time…become a Pinterest Manager. A relatively underutilized traffic source with 250 million users, it is growing faster than Twitter or Snapchat. It won’t take much tech knowledge or capital to get up to speed on how to use the platform and leverage it for your clients. The clever website is a search engine to be reckoned with, and with 175 billion pins growing everyday, people need help with understanding how to stand out.
If you dedicate a week to getting clued up on how it works (YouTube, blogs and Udemy are your friend), then set up a landing page offering a free getting started with Pinterest cheatsheet to gain email addresses and drive traffic to this with Facebook ads and of course…Pinterest. You can also look for clients in popular VA groups, business groups and on Upworks.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A manicure/pedicure for me and manicure for my 7 year old daughter. In a house with 3 kids, and 2 working parents it’s inevitable that we all talk over each other or fight each other or vie for each other’s undivided attention. It was so nice to be able to have an uninterrupted conversation with her for over an hour. And nice for her to experience a massage chair in the porcess and to be thoroughly spoiled by the women working there.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Trello is my go-to online software for organising everything both in my professional and personal life. I start boards and store ideas for everything from blog posts, to design ideas for landing pages and itinerary ideas for upcoming trips. It’s great because I can quickly add something to a board from my mobile phone.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend you read High Performance Habits from Brendon Bourchard. Brendon lays out 6 habits that he says we’re not all born with, but that anyone can develop in order to become high performing in all areas of their lives. I like his holistic approach to creating sustainable success and overall happiness in life. You can attack the book a chapter at a time and he gives clear action steps to keep you on track. The book is an easy read that I refer to time and again. Make sure to follow him on Instagram for even more inspiration.
What is your favorite quote?
“Visible is Memorable” – a sure way to increase the likelihood of your big goals and dreams of coming true is to write them down. I write affirmations on the mirror in my bathroom and big goals on cue cards all around my house. If you can see it, and say it aloud this makes it memorable.
- Use a distraction list to keep your brain focused on the task at hand. If you write your distraction, flash of inspiration or idea down as soon as it enters your brain, you will have at least given it attention without breaking focus. You can go back to the list when you have time to look over it.
- Enjoy growing and learning, it’s all part of the entrepreneurial journey. Let your big vision drive you and divorce yourself from timelines. Just know that if you stay the course, it will happen.
- Being your own boss is not for everyone. The hours are long and YOU are your greatest resource, so you have to ask yourself if you’re ready to put in the sweat equity upfront to reap whatever rewards it is you’re after in the long run – time freedom, legacy, etc
- Whatever your calling is, it’s important to show up and share value as there is always someone who needs to hear your knowledge.
- If you are interested in performing at a high level, Brendon Burchard’s book High Performance Habits is an easy to read blueprint at achieving happiness and success in all areas of life.