In 2008, Renee Shupe tired of the corporate grind and launched her first business, Redhead Business Solutions. In this business, she started assisting clients with a wide variety of business needs. But over the years, she saw a real need to help her clients maintain and keep their websites secure, so Geek in Your Pocket was born!
Find out how pivoting business models into website maintenance and security was the key to success for this small business owner.
You’ve been working from home since 2008, tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
In 2008, my husband and I had just bought a house. He had made the transition to running his own Fly Fishing Training Business (he also discovered being an entrepreneur wasn’t for him). I was jealous. At the time, I was commuting an hour + each way to work, for a job that I didn’t enjoy.
Here’s the reality, I’ve never been someone who does well with structure. I was craving freedom, independence, and the choice to make my own decisions.
I’d learned about virtual assistants a few years prior, and was trying to figure out how to launch my own business. I also learned I’m not a side hustle kind of gal; it needed to be all or nothing.
So in the fall of 2008, I launched Redhead Business Solutions.
How has your online business evolved over the years?
In the beginning, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I just knew that I loved the process!
I was offering general administrative assistance mostly to small local businesses, but all I’d really done was trade one boss for a bunch of bosses. Yes, I was making money. Yes, I had the freedom (kind of).
What I quickly discovered was, my clients needed tech support for their email marketing, websites, and so on.
I started focusing on offering technical assistance to my clients to help them create an online presence with their email and websites.
Again, I loved the process, and I thrived doing this. I knew WordPress, and my favorite part of the process was tinkering and tweaking my clients’ websites.
I also discovered that I wasn’t a fan of working on a client’s email marketing. Nor was I fan of creating a website from scratch. The task of designing a website started to bore me.
All of this evolution and change happened over the first eight to nine years. Then in late 2017, I launched what is now known as Geek in Your Pocket, a WordPress maintenance and security service for non-techie website owners.
I’ve found a business model that works for me, my personality. I help my clients EVERY single day by giving them peace of mind that they don’t have to worry about their website being hacked or anything else.
What types of marketing strategies have worked best for you?
I’m an introvert through and through, so I love the online business model because it allows me to market in a way that works well for my personality.
I’ve found that email marketing and networking online have the best returns on investments (ROIs) for me. I participate in several Facebook groups online and some memberships that help me grow as a business owner and allow me to connect and create partnerships.
Everything I do, I look to invite visitors to sign up to get some awesome training from me, and then I share about EVERYTHING to my email list because the truth is my business life and my personal life are the same.
How do you diversify your income streams?
Ohhhhh, such a great question. My Geek in Your Pocket service is a monthly service, so my clients pay me every month to have me maintain their websites. I add to that a few key products related to my services and affiliate marketing.
What has been the key to your success and longevity?
My ability to adapt and change. I’ve tried several different products and services related to supporting clients, and many never really went anywhere. So taking a look at what worked and what didn’t and then adapting where necessary.
In the last few years, I’ve really come into my own. I know my worth, so I’ve stopped listening to everyone. I have a few mentors that I admire. I listen to their lessons and then either ignore or adapt it to my situation.
What has been your biggest struggle as an online entrepreneur?
In the beginning, I really thought I had to say yes to anything that showed up on my virtual business doorstep. This put me into some really crappy working relationships, and I really didn’t support or treat those clients very well because I didn’t like what I was doing in terms of the project and tasks.
The key lesson for me was to really, truly listen to your intuition and gut; it’s always right.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
You’d think being a technically minded person who loves all of the latest gadgets that I be using something online. Staying true to my nature of having to do it my way, I use a combination of online and analog tools to manage everything.
I use Google Calendar, Google Keep, and Google Tasks to manage my calendar, quick online notes, and some tasks. I then mix in a hybrid Bullet Journal/Happy Planner to manage all my regular tasks and ongoing projects.
I encourage folks to find a system that works just for them, no matter what that is, and just look at improving that rather than trying to jump from one task management system to another because none of them will give you 100% of what you need.
Anything else you’d like to add?
There’s a reason why you started your business, or you’re considering launching a business, so keep that reason top of mind in everything you do.
Whatever you’re thinking about, just do it, you’ll appreciate yourself for taking the leap.
Thanks to Renee Shupe for sharing her business success story!
Originally published January 27, 2014. Content updated November 14, 2019.