Kathy: Good morning. My guests this morning are Sue B Zimmerman and her husband, Roger. It's really great to have you. How are you guys this morning?
Roger: Right? Thank you. Good,
Kathy: wonderful, great. Well, let's start with the W's. Who, what, when, where, tell us who you are, where you guys live, your family constellation, how long you've been married.
Sue: You want to start babe?
Roger: Yes, so I'm Roger Zimmerman. I am a software engineer slash manager now, in the field of, my business does captioning for online video. , I've been sort of in the field of speech processing, natural language processing for my entire career. We are currently located in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Um, usually we are located in downtown Boston, but COVID has, encouraged us to move, to move out here to, uh, our place on the Cape, Cape Cod. Um, what do we have? We have three. Children, but they're all adult
Roger: One of them who's 28 lives in Massachusetts, uh, getting her a master's degree in school psychology.
So that is an overlap with you. And, uh, One who is in Israel, uh, livin the dream. And the other one, her twin sister is living in San Diego, living the living the dream. So I think that sort of covers it,
Sue: living the dream, but working while living the dream. Yes. Yes.
Kathy: Yes. Well, yes. Who did they get that from?
Sue: Yeah. Yeah. We taught them the passion of travel at a very young age and. And how to be fiercely independent. So it's all good.
Kathy: What a gift.
Roger: So I don't think I covered
all of your questions.
Kathy: How long have you guys been married?
Sue: We just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on the Island of Nantucket, where we actually went for one of our honeymoons.
When we got married,
Kathy: one of your honeymoons, you had multiple.
Sue: We did. We took two. We took one with our really good friends. Um,
Roger: we got married right after
Sue: we got married. So we had a really fun, um, celebration with them in Mexico. We went all over Mexico, Mexico city, Oaxac.
Kathy: Oh, how fun.
Roger: Yeah. Interesting.
That the Nantucket honeymoon was right after our wedding. And that was quick. That was like three to five days. Cause we were, we were working a lot. Back then it was just like, okay, quick honeymoon. Let's get back to work.
Kathy: Awesome. And so what, what do you do?
Sue: So, hi everyone. I am passionate about teaching other business owners, how to put their message online specifically using Instagram marketing.
I mostly work with women 40 and older and very passionate about. About really helping people understand that, how to become the go to authority in their niche. And I've been blessed to be working with Kathy for a significant amount of time. And I'm thrilled that I'm here with you and supporting your business.
Kathy: Yeah. Thank you so much for your time for both of you, because, um, I just cannot say enough shout outs to the Instagram expert is her handle on Instagram, right. And how she goes above and beyond. She and her team. And, which, which leads me to a question I've been dying to ask: Roger, what is it really like being the Instagram husband?
Roger: Yeah, it's, it's pretty intense sometimes there, uh, I would not naturally be at all connected to social media platforms at all. I, I get my fill at work with slack and email that's enough communication for me. Yeah. I guess I read blogs a lot. Yeah. But, um, yeah, I would not, I would not even know anything about it and I certainly wouldn't have any experience with somebody being so connected to a community, a virtual community.
Right. So when I watch her. Engaging all the time with her community and realize that, you know, it is a real community and she is really connecting with these people all the time. It's, it's, it's different. It's odd for me. Uh, sometimes I'm like, I cannot believe. That you have such close relationships with people that you've never met in person.
Sue: Wait, let's talk about the time we were in Iceland and we walked into the cafe.
Roger: Oh yeah. And right. You know, we'll be walking around places and somebody will say, Oh, you're Sue B Zimmerman, the Instagram expert. Uh, can I pick your brain?
Sue: Oh, can I do a selfie?
Roger: And you know, it's literally people who, you know, Neither of us has ever met in person.
So, um, and that's, what's odd and it's intense. She's she's like, like she loves her job. She loves being connected with that community. Um, and sometimes I feel a little bit left out, but, uh,
Sue: we worked through it and he has learned how to take the best stylized photos as the husband, he's been taking videos and photos of being whenever I'm dressed up and
Roger: she hands me the iPhone.
No, you're supposed to hold it up high. These
Sue: He's a really good Instagram husband when it comes to taking my photos.
Roger: My father was an outstanding amateur photographer. Yeah. He took me into the dark room a little when I was younger. And so I kind of understand it, but I've never done it to this extent.
Kathy: It's intense. It's
Sue: intense. It's intense. And, and one thing I want to mention to all your listeners is that I've always had my own business and he's always been supportive of my businesses, but this one is in the public eye constantly, globally. And so it's very different. Yeah. I've built communities from all my other businesses, but this is just more intense, like you said.
Kathy: Yeah. Well, I want to hear a little bit about how you evolved Sue. When did you realize you were an entrepreneur?
Sue: When I was 13.
Kathy: Really. And what was that?
Sue: Because I started a little business when I was really young. I loved what money did for me, which was buy things. My parents weren't willing to buy.
So I'm a crafter and an artist at heart. And I was hand painting barrettes, which are clips that you put in your hair. And I sold them at recess when I wasn't supposed to be. I am a rule breaker as well. He'll attest to that. And I, I put them on ribbons. I pulled them out of my backpack and I sold them, I think for $3 a pair, which is actually pretty impressive.
And, and I did well, and I liked that. I loved the whole exchange of money for value money for an, you know, and again, I was able to understand that if you have money, you can buy things that you want.
Kathy: Awesome. Yeah. And Roger, do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?
Roger: Um, not really. I do not have, yeah. My, you know, I've had positions in a few different companies, but I was never the founder.
I do not have a good sense for what other people want to buy. Right. So this is one of the big opposite things about yes. Okay. Sue, really, she really understands putting herself in other people's shoes and understands what they are interested in, in purchasing and trading for. I don't. So I depend on. Um, my judgment of the people who have founded companies.
So I've been at three startups. Now, this is my third startup, you know, one of the first employees. So I'm a risk taker in that, in that respect, you know, I've taken a huge salary cuts to keep companies going and, you know, to help keep companies going and stuff, but. It was never completely my skin in the game.
Um, so I depend on, on my evaluation of other people's character, business acumen, um, understanding of markets in order to, you know, sort of hitch onto their wagon. That's different.
Kathy: Okay. But it sounds like you have, um, let's say an understanding or a little more risk appetite then some people. You know, some people do, they just want the security gave me the nine to five,
Sue: We always like flexibility.
Roger: That's part of it, but part, but for me, Hey, you know, I think there is an understanding of risk and reward, right? I mean, and, and also fun. Right? I mean, like, you know, that, I've one of my, one of my companies, one of my startups was bought by a very large company. Um, and I like immediately knew that that was not right.
For me, it was just not as fun. I couldn't, we couldn't move as fast. You had to fill out a form to go to the bathroom kind of thing. It was just, it was just really just not my style. I like to, um, think about something to do, make a decision and do it. And I need, I need an environment where that's place, so I'm willing to trade off some stability.
For that, that value of my, of my work. I mean, I think both of us just want, you know, the main thing we want to do about work is love it. Life is too short from my perspective to not love your work,
Kathy: that true. And Mark and I talked to a lot of young couples who, who talk about wanting to start a business, or they have lots of ideas and they don't know where to start with it because they think, well, if I do this, it's, it has to be forever.
But nothing's forever. Right Sue? You've, you've evolved. Tell us, yeah. Tell us, take us through just a brief overview of your different businesses up until you started teaching Instagram.
Sue: Yeah, that would take probably the whole rest of the interview. So I'll kind of quick. Yeah. So I, yeah, I'll give you guys the highlights. So I graduated from Simmons college in Boston with a degree in nutrition that I never really use professionally. And I ended up moving to Virginia Beach with my college roommate, which was exciting at the time. And because I had this passion yeah. Of painting, as you heard me say about the barrettes, I was hand painting clothing and was able to turn that into a real business.
When I say real business, it was on a pushcart while I was waitressing to pay the bills, but it was a business that. That started taking off and seeing some success. And because
Roger: I got to insert here, I invested $500 in that business at the beginning to buy a bunch of t shirts..
Kathy: True partnership,
Yeah. We weren't married, were getting married at the time. Um, so that was, um, my first business and the hand painted clothing, turned into silkscreen boxer shorts, and I was able to grow that to a million dollar business at age 22 with a partner. And so that confidence of following passion and. Doing what you love leading to that success gave me the foundation of all the other businesses that follow around the mindset aspect that a lot of people don't have with the confidence of doing what they want.
And so I've had many businesses after that. The highlight ones are, I was on QVC with my scrapbooking business and actually got, we were on twice. Cause it was so well received back in the day, I think like over what, 12 years now, scrapbooking. Um, and that was fun. And then I had a store here on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and it at the store, which I had for seven years I really did use a lot of, uh, social selling strategies. Off season I was teaching social media in our hometown, Wellesley, Massachusetts, to women, to moms that wanted to understand how to keep their kids safe. And some of them were small business owners. So I really followed all the social trends before most people, women my age did. And I understood how to market using social media and was able to apply a lot of those skills to my store here on Cape Cod. And then my twins were on their phone on Instagram. I had no idea what it was. We were on vacation in Belize and they were scrolling and, and I didn't know what that motion was and what it was.
And they told me, and I'm like, okay, I think I need to get on Instagram because teenagers set the next social trends. Yeah. And I did. And then I started using it store and was so successful with the tactics and strategies that I used with geolocation and hashtags that my sales increased so much so that I light bulbs went off for me, that I needed to teach other people how to have that.
Same kind of success. And so I went off to a conference in California that I knew nothing about online marketing, online selling. It was so foreign to me, but I knew that it was interesting where you could sell information and help other people have the kind of success that you are having. And so that was the first part of my journey in this space, which has now been eight years.
This like this month.
Kathy: Congratulations. And you've gone from. Really a solopreneur at that point,
Sue: right. I've gone from a solopreneur. Morgan, um, who managed my store here Cape Cod became my partner. And recently my CEO, we now have a team of 12, four full time employees and we just hired a copywriter and we're growing a thriving online business.
And. Helping thousands of people understand how to put themselves out there on Instagram to create awareness around their business, their brand, their movement, their philanthropy, their product, or their service, and there's opportunities to strategically do this in a way that is fun and exciting and easy.
Kathy: And that online space is, it's really crowded right now. Um, you've been in it eight years. You said. How long did it take you before you felt like you had some momentum and how did you share wins? I know you're very big on, you know, sharing wins. How did you share those with Roger as he sees you scrolling all the time?
You know, it's hard to make
Sue: a, uh, to answer the first part of the question right out of the gate. I was feeling success because I was one of the only ones teaching Instagram, it was a new platform, a new tool. And I quickly got interviewed on podcasts, which is great. You can get your, your voice into many people's ears and then was asked to speak on stage because of the content that I shared and the value that I gave.
And from one conference. I then was asked to speak on many others. So my momentum happened very quickly in this online space. And
Roger: let, let, let me insert one thing,
Roger: That. Yeah. The there's like kind of spiritual success and sort of fulfillment right from the beginning. And Sue does not put up with not being, getting that kind of feedback for a very long time.
Um, financially it was, it was, it was fine at the beginning. It was probably a little, it was, it was breakeven for awhile. It was break even for awhile, but you know, that isn't the only metric by which she was judging her success there. It took a while to get to be a really profitable engine. Right.
Sue: Well, the very first year we did six figures.
And so, yeah, so.
Roger: That's revenue. Right.
Sue: But profit and revenue, but we were all, we were never in the black,
Roger: you were never in the red, you never,
Kathy: the red!
Roger: because break even was. But, but, but you know, if you, you know, I'm a numbers guy and, uh, I was totally supportive. You know, I, I would have, I would have been fine.
We would have talked about it if it was, if there was a huge downside investment that had to happen, but that never happened.
Sue: Right. And Roger really started getting impressed with this business because he'd seen me have what so many businesses like, okay, she's busy off doing the thing that she loves making.
Money, you know, it was fine, but not until we really, I would say the last two years, he's on our he's on our executive board.
Kathy: Okay, fantastic.
Sue: Yeah. So it's really, you know, it's a thriving business that continues to grow year after year and it has to do with getting more and more exposure and. Building trust with people like you, that then want to amplify your message and the results that you can get.
So our biggest success is when our clients have success, because they really amplify the momentum of growth in our business.
Kathy: Yeah. What is, uh, something challenging you have faced since starting in this online space?
Sue: The constant pull to what it takes to nurture relationships online. And it really, it really is a constant, uh, pull, but the rewards are amazing because I will tell you with our pro coaching program, which I know that you were a part of, we now have a wait list.
And we've raised our prices. And when I get on a discovery call, we've already qualified someone from an application. My conversion rate, meaning people signing up to join the program is I would say eight out of 10 people sign up on the call. So it's because they, they know. That they, they they've trust me because of the results that other people get getting.
Like I just said, and I'm so confident with what we can do as a team to help someone with the pain points that they have. And, and it's exciting. So that's been really a major growth aspect, my involvement with this business, the ease of selling a program that's thousands and thousands of dollars to someone that wants to Uplevel.
Kathy: Yeah. And you have several programs. You have ready set gram. How far into the business did you come out with that product?
Sue: Right away. So that was, yeah, right away. Morgan and I created that bootcamp. It was called Insta results right out of the gate, having an online course teaching Instagram, and it's evolved to Ready Set Gram, which is our signature course that we update every year because Instagram makes changes. But that is our evergreen sales machine, as they say, where we're driving ads to that training, to that course and having amazing success on a daily basis.
Kathy: Okay. Uh, as I talk with different couples, entrepreneur couples. And somebody asked me recently, what is an entrepreneur couple? Well it's where one or both are entrepreneurs.
Clearly, Roger, you have a great understanding and I get the sense that y'all are very much a team in this. How much do you talk about business at home or are there some ways that you set boundaries?
Roger: Yeah, we talk about it all the time. I, you know, you know, I think Sue and I really philosophically agree that there, that one's work is, is part of one's life.
Really? It is, it is, it is, you know, having a separation to us feels kind of artificial. Um, so, you know, and you know, I guess it comes from having work that we love and making sure that we have work that we love. But yeah, we talk about it at dinner every night, you know, the COVID situation. That's interesting.
I used to be at the office all day. Yeah. Um, huh. So right now, you know, over the past three months we closed, we closed our physical office on March 15th. So yeah, more than three months now I've been. Working in the same space where she has always worked. She's always worked at home. Um, and you know, there's a little bit of a dance with making sure we're not interrupting each other there's calls and stuff.
Yeah. Luckily, yeah. The weather has been nice so we can, we can go outside, but, um, so I see more detail about what she's doing every day. And she, to me, I mean thisis kind of a really interesting opportunity.
Sue: He had no idea I had so many interviews every day.
Roger: So, you know, we always, we always made time, you know, at dinner or wherever when we were sitting down to ask each other how things were going at work and to get into the common areas.
Sue: It's more intimate
Roger: But this is just like, we'd have much more of a sense of what's going on. And we can like talk about really the things that happened that day. So, and we love to do it.
Kathy: Yeah. Yeah. It's a reminder that you better choose wisely. This whole quarantine thing
Sue: like Roger said, I really believe that your work is an extension of yourself and your core values.
And what makes you, what brings you the most joy? And there's a lot of people that don't have the kind of luxuries that Roger and I have when it comes to really loving our work and the contributions that we make to the world. Right. And we feel good about it.
Kathy: Sue I know that you're very, very growth oriented. Where do you turn for resources when you want to grow personally or professionally?
Sue: Yeah. So interesting question, my team and I just did this week, a learning week where we learn from others in the industry who we admire and respect. And so we were all assigned certain audio lessons from trafficking, conversion, digital marketer, and we literally took the week off to learn.
It was like going to a conference and I really enjoyed it. I, we, we let our audience know that we were doing that. And a lot of people sent wonderful comments about how great that was for growth purposes. And we I'm constantly listening to podcasts. I get a lot of inspiration from, from podcasts, not necessarily.
Just in this industry, but just listening to other people who have success mindset and just making an impact and really trying to change the world in creative ways, I get super excited about watching any innovation that's made our lives easier are just more convenient. Like I am a big person around consumer products that just have changed my life and, and make me happy.
So. I, I just see constantly challenging myself, Morgan, on my team, my CEO, who is, you know, only 28 pushes me because her brain is like in a space of systems, automation processes. And so I've learned a lot how to really work smarter and not harder from the way that her brain works. And so I think for me, one of my greatest joys is.
Is learning from everyone on my team. Cause we all lean into our strengths and our skills and, and celebrate each others with respect. And so I'm always able to stay in my zone of genius and do what I'm best at. And everyone else supports the things that I need. So I know that that was a long winded answer, but
Kathy: no, that was great.
How did you decide when you needed to hire that first person?
Sue: Everything for our business has come organically through connections and people that we know or have met either at meetups that I've done or people in our lives. So it's been really easy for us to find the peace in our business. That's a struggle.
For example, I'll use this. We write fine copy. Uh, I have a content strategists who writes emails and Morgan edits, and we've got an English major on our team, but no one loves writing email copy. And so we just hired someone to do projects for us that will take the pain away from those that struggle with it so they can focus more on what they're great at.
And I'm big into getting results that way, because when you think about your value. And the dollar amount of your hourly rate. And if someone can do something, that's going to take you away from what you're really good at and performing at you're better off hiring out. If it's going to really help scale the business.
Kathy: Yeah. What are three words that you would use to describe each other?
Roger: Alright, I'll go first. Um, passionate, creative, and. I don't want to say fun, loving it's it's it's deeper than that. It's like it's positive. Passionate creative and positive
Sue: alliterations I love that kind of two of them.
Kathy: I would add Energizer bunny
Sue: for Rog it would be brilliant. He's the most brilliant mind I know. Supportive and loving, like really loving and, um, Yeah. And we have our moments. People don't think it's all unicorn and rainbows over there.
Roger: Absolutely. There's definitely definitely work to be done.
But you just celebrated 30 years. So you've done something to keep the fun and friendship and intimacy and in your marriage. And like you said, it's not perfect. There are no perfect marriages. I kind of beat that drum all the time. Uh, but what, what are some things that you guys have done over the years, um, to keep the fun friendship and intimacy in your marriage?
Sue: I'll, I'll start honey. Um, we always have a plan of where we're traveling next. That's exciting. Uh, we plan our vacations and just where we want to go to explore the world. That that keeps things really.
Roger: Exciting. Yeah.
Sue: Like just like, where are we going next? Where is that? And I, um, I love that we have such respect for each other's individual happiness.
Like Roger is a great musician. You know, he loves, he loves to play guitar. I love to paint rocks and shells, and we give each other the space to be in our own space, I think is really important. So we come together for the fun things that we like to do together, whether it's biking or kayaking or walking, or dining, or going to a concert or, you know, a symphony, but at the same time, we're very different.
Like, Hmm. Like I love shopping. He tolerates it. Um, but you know, any, you know, he, uh, some things he's limited to doing, like he doesn't rollerblade. He doesn't like, you know, we go skiing together. So we, we, we find the common things that bring us both joy and we do those together. And then we give each other space for the things that each other needs to have that create.
Roger: Yeah. I think we're both at heart individualists, right. And individuals, right. We are. And we recognize that individuals are, you know, there is some boundary around every single human being that just, you cannot, you can't. Meld through that you have to sort of stay, stay the individuals, but you can work to find the commonalities.
I mean, you mentioned symphonies. You know, Sue, would Sue be going to the Boston symphony orchestra, if not for me? I don't think so.
Sue: I don't either.
Roger: I don't think so. But she gets value out of it.
Sue: I love getting dressed up for
Kathy: taking the picture,
Sue: going out to dinner.
Roger: Um, and yeah, last time we were at symphony before COVID it was pretty cool.
We were. We had really great seats and Pinchas Zukerman, a world, famous violinist was playing, um, conducting and playing and Sue took a photo of him and sent it to Richard Rich.
Sue: One of my pro clients
Roger: he's in the Philadelphia orchestra. And, um, his response was like, Oh, Pinky, what a great artist. I can't wait to get together with him again.
And I read that meld of the, you know, that moment. It was like such a classic moment of us melding our interests. And I saw, you know, the power of social media there just made it,
Roger: it was just a great moment. And those things happen. If you let them happen, then if you try to find those commonalities, uh, those things can happen.
But yeah, space space too. And just. Just just finding, finding those moments to, to be separate are, is super important. You would drive each other nuts. I think if we,
yeah, yeah. Let
Sue: We love each other now.
Roger: Yeah, there was one other piece which I can't neglect is, is we had a very. You know, we saw eye to eye on raising our children, right.
That can be a huge, huge source of conflict for it, any parents. And if you don't, if you don't really see eye to eye on that and work to you can run into trouble. So, you know, we were like, you know, we are raising independent people, we need to let them fail. We need to let them make mistakes. We need to even let them get, you know, mildly physically hurt.
Right? Like we were not, the parents hovering over the kids at the, at the playground.
Kathy: How bad are you bleeding? It's okay.
Roger: So, you know, if you don't have, I think having some, you know, some sort of absolutes about commonality, that's one area to, to be really in line. Yeah.
Kathy: Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. I want to ask a closing question.
Um, what would you say to someone who is just starting in the online business world in terms of what does their spouse or partner need to hear and just what they need to think about going into that space?
Sue: Well, I think that the minute you put your business online, you become exposed and vulnerable to a lot.
So sometimes it's positive for me, it's been mostly positive, but there's a lot of haters out there or people that are jealous that leave comments, these are strangers on the internet, right? And judge you about how you look or how you sound, and you have to have really thick skin, which I do. So if you are super sensitive about how people portray who you are, and you're not confident enough to take it, you're probably not meant for this space because it's the worldwide web. I am, I am globally recognized, but you could scale it down and do it with just a focus of your local environment. If you were just a little scared and most people are scared initially because of the judgment that goes into it. There's a lot of judgment when you have a personal brand and put yourself out there.
But I think the rewards are so much greater because now more than ever. Ever, you have to have an online business, if you want to scale, in my opinion, unless you're a company like Roger's, which is completely different. Um, you know, some tech companies that just word of mouth and reputation gets the next customer versus, you know, creating a movement or a community around you or business is, is the space that I'm in more.
And I just think. You have to talk about it. People are not going to know what to do or what they need to do unless you are directive. And you talk about it with passion and purpose and intention on what results they can get if they do it. So that's the kind of coach I am. That's the kind of business that we have.
And it's exciting because there's always more, there's always more ways that we can put ourselves out there creatively and in a different light than a lot of other people. And I love that challenge. So for me, yeah, I love never doing things more than… I like change. I like I get bored. So I love the variety of what happens online and the new software and the new tools and the new option opportunities to connect with people.
Kathy: it's always changing. Isn't
Roger: I can't add anything to that cause I don't know what it takes to succeed on online, but I would say most people should trust what Sue says. Cause she's actually succeeded online. She
Kathy: is the expert, right?
Sue: Great answer. You're going to be my date tonight.
Kathy: There you go. Have a great weekend.
Listen, I want to honor your time and thank you so much for taking this little bit. I think it's gonna be a great benefit to people that will listen. And, um, thanks again, Sue, for all that you've
Sue: done. I have, I have a little call to action cause you know me, um, .
Sue: So if, if any of you are on Instagram, if you've enjoyed this, come on over and say hi at the Instagram expert right here.
And let me know your biggest takeaway. And if you have any questions about putting yourself on Instagram or online for your business, I'm happy to help and assist you any way I can.
Roger: What about Marriage advice
Sue: and Roger, you can connect with on LinkedIn. That is the only place. Yeah. If you're looking for a job, if you code,
Roger: If you're looking for the captions, look up 3Play Media
Kathy: Roger, you said, what about marriage takeaways? That's a great one.
Roger: Um, I would say, you know, that we, we, we covered it, you know, kind of the, the space is important. The commonalities are important. Finding the balance between those. Um,
Sue: and doing different things,
Roger: things, you know, some, I'm sure there's some couples that can do and can do overlapping things or even be in the same business.
That's not us. I'm just talking about
Sue: different things in life.
Roger: Oh, different things in life, yes. Yeah. Sort of, yeah. I don't want it to sound like we're always working. We do love our jobs, you know, we definitely, we definitely let loose.
Kathy: You guys work hard and play hard. I see.
Sue: Yeah, that's the answer. That's the ticket.
Kathy: That's my philosophy as well.
Thank you guys so much. Um, have a great day.
Roger: You too.
Sue: Bye bye.