No Business Left Behind: Barb Rasko
Tell us about your business:
My name is Barb Rasko, and I am a professional marketer, writer, event planner, freelancer.
I attract clients to me who are most in need of having their story told. When I tell their story, whether through the written word, social media, their website, or in-person with their customers, I always focus on what it is they do for the customer that gives that customer a huge benefit.
So my emphasis as a marketer is on the “what’s in it for my customer?,” “what’s in it for my client?,” and “what’s in it for the person I am trying to help get additional visibility for their target audience?”
In the business, I am known as the get-it-done marketing gal because for my customers that’s what I do. I let the business owner work with their customers and build their business, and I take care of the critical marketing that they may not have the skills for or the time for (or the interest in).
My marketing company is called Impact!byBarb. I have had this company for about 18 years and during that time I’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies, Iowa Public Television, GMAC Real Estate at the corporate level, and as an entrepreneur I’ve also started a magazine called Make Mine Wine, which was instrumental for my Iowa Wine and Grape Growing customers who were able to build the business.
For the last seven years, I’ve placed my effort in the industry of the Chamber of Commerce. I was the director at the Chamber in Carlisle for 4.5 years and I have been assisting at the Indianola Chamber of Commerce for the last two years.
Finally, in the last 12 years, my entrepreneurial spirit has led me into the relationship marketing / direct sales industry where I help my customers look better, feel better, and make more money.
My goal is always to attract people who are looking for solutions, whether it be in business, in any type of health/beauty/wellness, or just being their best self in any way.
Why is your target audience?
Everyone in the world is looking for some sort of solution. I work with small businesses, I work with individuals, I work with other people who are trying to start businesses, and I also work with people who just lost hope for their life/situation and they need something new.
I am a creative idea-person and I find that rather than putting a target on someone’s back, I present a message and the people most interested in that respond to that. I believe in attracting my customer rather than hunting my customer.
I make sure that I am in places where my customers find me. Maybe folks are laying in bed at night worrying about something, not knowing where to find the solution? My antenna is always up, I listen to conversations, I watch what people post. I find that if you’re out there and do more listening than talking, you’re going to find your customers.
My approach may seem a little backward, but it’s about listening and being in groups of people where conversations are taking place.
What have been the great impacts of COVID-19 on your business?
Covid-19 has changed my business in three ways.
- For the last two years, while working at the Indianola Chamber of Commerce, I’ve been required to work specific hours and to work in a windowless office. That doesn’t suit the sense of who I am, the freedom I need, and the way that I focus on my assignments in an environment that has a lot of interruptions. During COVID-19, I worked from home for two months and I thought, “oh yeah, this is what I’m missing!” I gave my notice and August 3rd was my last day at the Chamber. I am moving forward with my Impact!byBarb marketing business and my direct sales business. That’s a pretty major change that is truly a result of COVID-19!
- For my entire life, relationships have been important to me. I’ve focused on people and that’s not only from my heart but also in the business world – if you care about people, they feel that. I was struck by how many people were lonely working from home during COVID, as well as fearful, depressed, and really lost. Their job defined them very much, and not having that in their everyday life or being able to go out and do things was very difficult for many people. So I’ve stepped up the effort I made on a daily/weekly bases reaching out to people, encouraging them, helping them laugh, helping them find something good in their situation, reminding them about food and family. I sent texts, cards, small gifts. I’ve made afghans and sent them to people who really needed comfort. I set up Zoom reunions – from the heart and also from the business side. This is what I call “giving before you get,” and I know from years of experience that the positive energy I send out to the world brings good things back to me.
- I always keep my antenna up. It keeps me informed about what’s going on in the world, how people are acting and responding. People were very upset that they couldn’t get their haircut, their nails done, and that they couldn’t go to the gym. And my direct sales business is about health and wellness. That got me thinking about how to pivot my message for that particular group. People have a lot of discretionary income because of these restrictions and were bored sitting at home. If they weren’t working, they were scrolling that Facebook! I switched in my message talking about self-care and pampering yourself. All the things that could help them reduce stress, and feeling better about themselves and more confident were things that I had solutions for. I switched that message up, and am currently changing it a little more because our products are all-natural, pure, patented, incredible technology. While you’re taking care of yourself be sure you’re not also putting worse chemicals in your body. Which, again, goes in with the wellness. That has been a real switch in how I’ve been approaching my messaging.
I have had wonderful success over years – some failures, or course – but a lot of success in my life. And, I’ve found that success leaves clues. If you’re not paying attention to those clues, you can never go to the next level.
It’s easy to miss the clues unless you’ve learned to be honest with yourself, to dig deep and see “what am I not good at and what do I need to get better at?” and make the intention to always be improving on the next steps you need to take your business/personal life to the next level.
In this area, the #1 thing for me is that it’s more important for you to work harder on yourself than your business. To become the best you can be, you need to put that time in.
Stay optimistic, have an abundance mindset, and have an accountability partner. This is important to me because it’s easy to sluff it off or not take steps every day.
You reap what you sow. I don’t think people understand how true the laws of nature are and they don’t bend. For me that includes learning how to set the vibration of the energy that I send out to be the same vibration as the things that I’m trying to attract so that it is natural for those things to gravitate to me.
What 1 or 2 actions have you’ve taken to make a difference, how is it working?
Facebook Live was not translating into sales. I recently learned how to do Facebook Parties, sharing slides and photos. Now, I’m getting sales and identifying what people are interested in.
What I will learn next is how to use Instagram as a business platform. Through this platform, I’ll attract people I do not know through targeted hashtags.
People are online. They are not going to be in stores.
Secondly, I learned I was not very good at follow up.
- I took one year of training with neuro tools and that was lifechanging for me.
- I stay in an abundance mindset.
- I took the Think and Grow Rich Mastermind.
- Finally, I’ve mastered what I call the “secret” of this – when you are living the 13 principles every day as effortlessly as brushing your teeth, you can have whatever you want.
I keep a big red “easy” button near me. During stressful times, I hit that “easy” button, and for me, that activates everything I need to know about that situation and puts me in the “hey I got this” mindset. Instead of feeling times of being stressed or overwhelmed, hit the easy button! My brain knows, “you’re on!” to listen to the right things and respond appropriately.
What have you done along the way that you’ve learned and how can other business owners learn from your experience?
Your business starts with you. Every business needs an action plan and business plan reviewed yearly. Every business needs to focus on its business, not busy-ness. There’s a difference between busy and productive.
What I love about working from home is that I can set goals and priorities for each day and I can get them done. People in business get off track from what needs to be accomplished to make their business run. I don’t think you can overestimate the importance of connections. Be the person who has the solutions they need.
The first thing you should do is to be incredibly clear about what you have to offer. If you don’t know what you truly offer them, you’ll just throw things at the wall to see what will stick.
If you don’t like talking to people – you shouldn’t be in business! Stay connected with the world, business opportunities and a purpose.
Don’t be a hunter, be an attractor. The world has changed and people have a million choices. Don’t think someone will just walk in and buy from you. Use social media like Instagram to build business relationships online.
Hit the refresh button and stop doing business like you’ve always done it. Think about why you’re really in business, what benefit do you really provide to someone who wants to do business with you, and then think about “where are those people?”
You can find a group for anything of interest to you or where your target market may be by putting that particular interest in Facebook.
Any contact information, special offers or final thoughts?
If anyone knows of someone who’d like to jump-start their business with a fresh approach and a new way of thinking about who their customers are and how to get those customers, email me at BarbraRasko@msn.com.
I have a long, proven track record in this, and I get great satisfaction helping people who are discouraged and unsure what to do with their business get a fresh start.
A note about side gigs: for a long time people thought if you work in the corporate world you’re safe. That’s your future and your retirement. It’s not true, and hasn’t been true for a long time. The number of people who get a side gig is huge. If you are in a situation that you’ve lost your job, that is always the way to have real income. The direct sales industry is huge – we’re still talking people-to-people.