Consumers are hungry for accessibility, and they don’t want to be a number anymore. This is exciting for me as a content creator because I teach my clients how to address this need in their online courses and programs. It’s all about engaging and giving a sense of connection.
Jessica Terzakis is a content creator and co-owner of Terzakis & Associates. She helps entrepreneurs break out of the “wishing they had an online course” cycle by creating it with them or for them. Having a master’s degree in education and having worked as a high-school English teacher, she now helps overwhelmed and frustrated entrepreneurs better communicate their brilliance and stand out from other online course creators.
Where did the idea for Terzakis & Associates come from?
Terzakis & Associates is a small business advising firm that was founded in 2014. My mother and business partner, Susan, decided after 20 years of being a small business banking advisor as well as a consultant for other companies, it was time to set out and do this on her own.
I joined the company in 2016 after leaving a public school teaching position. After seeing my mom work with her clients, I saw a lot of opportunity to show business owners how to provide value to the market space through teaching.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day includes a lot of correspondence with clients, networking, and actively connecting with strategic partners. I also spend a lot of time on the phone reaching out to leads and having sales conversations. I start each day with a list of priorities of what has to get accomplished, and I time block accordingly. This strategy has removed a lot of emotion out of my day and gets me into action mode.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When an idea comes to mind, I love collaborating and talking it out with someone. I think in a linear fashion, so I outline the idea starting with the goal/outcome—what is the purpose of this idea and where will this idea take the business? From there, I connect with someone to talk it out–whether it’s my mom or another business peer. There’s a lot of value in collaborating with others as you flesh out an idea.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Consumers are hungry for accessibility, and they don’t want to be a number anymore. I hear this a lot on my sales calls—that people want to be seen.
This is exciting for me as a content creator because I teach my clients how to address this needs in their online courses and programs. It’s all about engaging and giving a sense of connection.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I started using a timer when I’m working on projects. Before that, I was spent a lot of time multi-tasking and dragging out work that could’ve been completed in a shorter amount of time. Using the timer on my phone, I give myself a specific time frame to complete a project and close everything else down so I can focus.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To not be so hard on myself. Perfectionism and “beating yourself up” when something doesn’t going exactly as planned isn’t productive or helpful.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You can’t “DIY” your business. I meet a lot of entrepreneurs that want to do this and figure it all out on their own using free resources they download from the Internet or free sessions that they can sign up for at a convention. The truth is if you want to advance your business, you have to invest with professionals that can expertly guide you.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
When I first joined the business, I learned a valuable lesson from my mother: engage in money generating activities. Time is a valuable asset for everyone. So as a business owner, you have to know where your time is being invested and if that time is profitable.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
We recently started sponsoring and speaking at larger business events and conventions. One of our goals was to expand beyond our local market, and this has helped us do exactly that. By sponsoring and speaking, we’ve networked with business peers and met dozens of leads. The best part is that there is an in-person connection at the events where you can create like, know, and trust with potential clients.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
At the beginning, I focused a lot of my messaging on what was important to me from a content creation perspective. I would talk a lot about instructional design and theory—concepts that just aren’t valuable or important to my clients. At first it was difficult to understand why I wasn’t closing sales or connecting with prospects, but I ended up interviewing a lot of people in my target market to figure out what their pain points are and how I can be a solution so that my messaging would land better.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I love the idea of a subscription box featuring New England made products (maple syrup, salt water taffy, and other artisan goods specific to this region). New England is a huge tourist draw during all four seasons, and I think the region’s essence can be brought to and enjoyed from anyone’s home.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently spent $100 on my hair; I’m willing to invest in this because appearances do matter.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use Google Drive for just about everything. I have organized my folders—for internal work, client work, projects, and other things that I’m working on. This system takes the guesswork out of where a document is and removes time wasted searching for something.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
My mother and I have our own business coach, and she talked a lot about Coach Wooden’s “Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization.” It taught me to appreciate the importance of the fundamentals in business.
What is your favorite quote?
I’m a former English teacher, so I love this one from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
- Be judicious with your time. Engage in money generating activities, time block your schedule, and even keep track of how much time you spend answering emails and working on projects. When you avoid multi-tasking and use your time more wisely, you will be more efficient.
- Imperfect action is better than no action. There is no such thing as perfection, and it’s better to put something out there and learn from your mistakes to move forward, than stay stuck tweaking a website, or working on a presentation for months.
- In order to grow your business, you have to be willing to invest in it. Invest in a business coach, invest in speaking and sponsoring opportunities, and invest with professionals that are experts in their fields that can support your business.
Jessica Terzakis on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100017471222123
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.