Dennis Smith is a passionate marketer, content manager and copywriter for small businesses and startups. Smith is an American Expat who is helping clients online from Panama. He loves what he does (isn't it obvious from this photo), and shared his journey with the oGoing team.
1. Can you tell us about you and your business?
I make my living as a freelance copywriter, writer-editor & content manager. I also help startups with business plans and initial ramp up marketing consulting. Finally, I help people develop effective Linkedin profiles. I have been in the writing business for 20+ years including online and 'real copy' projects. I am an American Expat and have lived in Panama for the last 18 years.
2. How is your business doing?
Though sporadic, I am doing better than most in same service fields.
3. What gets you going?
Whether it's articles, business plans or others, you have to be able to access the goals of the client and what their target user wants from them. Then, find a way to successfully merge the two. I really love it when I get a new, interesting and worthy project. In fact I won't take something on if it doesn't match these criteria or if I don't feel I am right for the job. After all, money isn't everything.
4. What are your products or services, and key benefits?
•Copywriting, Writing & Editing
•Online Content Creation & Management
•Panama & Business in Panama
•Business Plans & Development for Small Business & Startups •Social Media & Inbound Internet Marketing
•Linkedin & Linkedin Profiles
I am here to help you say what you really want to say *effectively*.
5. Who are your customers? Can you share a brief success story?
I have had literally hundreds of clients over the years. Some recent representative examples are PanamaSimple and Panama Escape Artist (tourism & Expat articles), The Bulletin (news) Vista Group – Panama (promotional website), Banner Panama Realty (business plan and business development), Arosemena, Noriega & Contreras (legal copy writing), 300Watches (content management) and Jose Goldner (profile on Linkedin). In the past, clients have included Time-Life Japan, The Visitor & Panama Investors Monthly (managing editor) and NHK Television (director-writer), among others. I should include that I have been a C-level executive for two multi million dollar Panama-based businesses that we took from startup. Though I live in Panama, I have customers all over the world.
In terms of a success story, I have become positioned as an expert for investors, businesses, tourists and Expats who are interested in knowing more about Panama and its possibilities. I am proud to be able to be of assistance and to help someone find out what the 'real deal' is as opposed to promotional hype.
6. How do you find new customers? Or customers find you?
I market solely through Social Media and word of mouth. My primary SM tool is Linkedin and I have a group there named BOOM Panama. To a lesser degree I use Pinterest, Slideshare and Google+.
7. What is your biggest challenge? What help do you need to overcome this?
The challenge is finding ongoing clients that are truly dedicated to getting things done – and who will pay at least something up front! To do this I need services like oGoing to help me find targeted and serious leads.
8. What are your 2013 goals? Did you kill them?
See # 7 above. I am satisfied with the outcome this year but hope to do better in 2014. After all, I have a wife, daughter, grandmother and dog to support. As a freelancer this is not always easy.
9. Can you share some tips with our small business community?
In terms of writing, the days of telling how great you are (and using useless adjectives) are over. Today you have to effectively explain to someone how you can help them – in under a minute or so. SM and the Internet have seen to that. In terms of starting a business, the odds are against you. But if you have the dedication required, go for your dream. In terms of relocating to another country as an Expat, don't be afraid. Only you can take control of you life!
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