I do a LOT of networking both online and offline. Maryn Williams was one of the very first people I had the pleasure of connecting with back when I first launched my business. She has seen me evolve from young, driven entry-level employee to young, driven entrepreneur. We’ve had many dialogues over the last few years about business, life and, in general, making a difference in the world. I always walk away with a new, refreshed perspective after speaking with Maryn. She enjoys serving others and has a variety of fun personalities, which you will discover in our interview today. I’m thrilled to introduce you to…Maryn Williams!
Maryn, tell us how you discovered your passion for what you do.
I was in corporate America for many years climbing that ladder of never ending carrots and knew something had to change. My husband had a marketing consulting company and we recognized that marketing was going online. We bought into an organization in 2004 that provided us with ongoing and top notch training, systems and a global network of resources and providers. My passion is to Simplify the Internet for others and help businesses find the right tools and solutions to be remarkable!
My passion kicked in when social media entered the scene! I never liked the “push” style of advertising and am not a social butterfly but I do love the authenticity inherent in the successful use of social media. I enjoy working with clients to understand their customers, how the client approaches situations and finding their strategic social voice.
What services or products do you offer?
Our company is called WSI WebSense and we offer all things digital – site, search, social and mobile. We are unique in that we are not selling any one product or a specific area of expertise like many agencies but instead we find comprehensive solutions to the business needs of our clients by taking a strategic approach. We develop websites, provide search engine optimization and paid advertising, develop and manage social media profiles and local presence, build mobile websites and apps as well as email marketing and analytic support.
Who is your target customer?
Our ideal customers understand the power of digital communications and are looking for a partner in developing their digital presence. We have worked with a diversity of clients from large engineering firms and health care communities to local retail outlets and restaurants, to industrial products distributors and home improvement providers and have found solutions that work for each!
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I don’t! I can work 24/7 and since my office is in my home, I often do. But I can also take time out in the middle of the day to have a cup of coffee, water the plants or pick up the grandkids. I love the flexibility of working around my life as opposed to living around my work.
Do you have employees / an assistant / intern program?
My husband and I are partners so we work together. As far as delegating, my absolute best talent is delegation so I have no problem letting go! We outsource some work to our remote/virtual partners and contract some work with local professionals. We are also currently seeking a part time sales person.
What has been your best method for generating new business?
Word of mouth, online and offline, continues to be our best method of generating new business.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you’ve had to make because of your business?
It took a while for our business to generate enough income to support us both and so there are some financial sacrifices that were made. However, these pale in comparison to the sacrifices in the name of “My Corporate Job”.
What is your favorite thing about being self-employed?
The flexibility and ability to seek new options when I have a “hunch”.
If you could go back and give yourself one tip from day one of the business, what would it be?
Believe in myself and invest more up front.
Are you involved with any community outreach / non-profit organizations? If so, tell us about it/them and why you got involved.
I am a member of CABLE, a non-profit organization that connects women and opportunity. It is a great network of professional women who help to balance my perspective and inspire me to do better. I am a member of Church of the Advent Episcopal and I volunteer for Luke 14:12 who serve the homeless. Most of the homeless are mentally ill and I feel that this is the least I can do to help those who are unable to help themselves.
Where do you go for inspiration? (Person, website, location, book, etc…)
There are many websites and books that inspire me but my best soul building exercises are being still in nature and my monthly Dining Diva groups. I am continually inspired by Marty Nord who is so graciously embracing her illness, I am inspired by Allison Christian who moved to Paris and became a Chef de la Patisserie, I am inspired by my daughter who gives her whole self to efforts she believes in, by Leigh Williams whose creativity amazes me, Beth Tanner and Stephanie Bleecher whose words are “like butter”, by you who charged off on your own at such a young age. People are so incredible, it is easy to be inspired!
What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?
There are too many to count but lately I find I am trying to prioritize. My next thing to do is to get my bum knees replaced and then maybe I can think about going and doing more.
What gets you excited about the future of your business?
The past. Look at the changes and progress made in the past eight years. It is amazing! We have just scratched the surface of the potential that the connected web provides us. I am looking forward to moving beyond how to use the tools (ie Facebook, Twitter, Ebay) and into what we are going to DO differently, what behaviors will change, what new business models will evolve and what new opportunities will arise.
What activities make you lose track of time?
Words with Friends, Pinterest and other shiny new apps – thanks to Krista Dial 🙂
(I don’t know what you’re talking about! 😉 ~Krista)
What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world?
I am not really interested in changing the world, I would just like to enjoy it more and argue about it less. I think that every problem we face has a solution in our world and if we listened more, searched further and argued less, we would find it.
What are you working on now that excites you?
I have started a new blog for my alter ego “The Dalai-Nana”. As a Blooming Baby Boomer I recognize that most of us who were not born into the internet age struggle with the details, the language and the complexity of this new world and are in fact digital immigrants. My goal as the “Digital Sage for Grandparents” is to help guide others through the maze of information and technology and create simple solutions to make life as grandparents more connected, inspired, productive and fun!
How can we connect with you?
Well now you have hit on my split personality! It depends whether you are asking about me personally, my business or my alter ego. LOL I have a few profiles!
WSI WebSense can be found via these channels…
You can connect with me personally via these channels…
Discover DALAI-NANA via these channels…
What a FUN interview today, Maryn! I hope you will follow Maryn’s many profiles. Make sure you tell her I sent you! 🙂
As I continue to interview these incredibly inspiring entrepreneurs, I’m curious if you’re noticing the same patterns I’m noticing. Their biggest business growth has been fueled by word-of-mouth. They’ve all made small, temporary sacrifices in regards to lifestyle or income, but agree that the rewards have been far worth more than the risk.
It’s clear that the business world is changing, friends. If you have the desire to be self-employed, start considering your options TODAY. Don’t wait until tomorrow…because tomorrow never comes. The world needs your passion, energy and desire to make a difference. Not sure where to start? Let’s have a conversation. Until next week…I hope you have a fabulously inspiring weekend!