This week’s WonderWoman is Shane Shirley-Smith, President of Environmental Booty. Shane believes that our future largely depends on our knowledge and actions. For this reason she created Environmental Booty, the green online community dedicated to helping society make conscious choices today that will change our health and the health of our world tomorrow.
Here’s how she did it…
How did you decide to create Evironmental Booty? Was there a “lightbulb” moment?
EnvironmentalBooty.com was created because I wanted a way to help people learn to live healthier lives and create a healthier world. My goal was to give people Eco-information, products to green their lives and a way to gather and share information about going green, caring for our earth and each other. I created my blog to spread the message of healthy choices through Eco-conscience consumerism and looking out for our planet. A few months after I started the blog, my daughter took part in a play about pirates at school. As she practiced her songs at home and told me what she was learning about pirate booty, the name Environmental Booty just popped into my head. I thought it would be a cute play on words to provide Environmental Booty for people as a way to green their lives. Environmental Booty is about protecting the treasure that exists in yourself, other people and our planet.
How did you get the community started?
The Environmental Booty site is a social networking community for people and businesses traveling the path to green. It was an integral part of the concept behind Environmental Booty to have a place where people could come together, make their commitment to treasure self, people and planet and network with other green minded individuals, bloggers and business owners. The only way to do this was through creating an online community. I did some research online and, as I did not have a lot of capital to invest in creating my own community platform, I created the Environmental Booty Community using the free Ning platform. Initially I invited a few friends, sent out a few Tweets, promoted EB on my blog, main site and our Environmental Health-Wellness-Beauty Facebook Group and now we are getting new members every day. My goal was to create a site that belongs not to me but to the EB Members and I think I have accomplished that.
There’s the great Margret Meade quote about nothing ever changing until communities come together to change them. How has that influenced you in your work at Environmental Booty?
The quote is, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I live every single day with that as my guiding principle. It truly doesn’t take a large group of people to create change. Just look at the work of Erin Brokovich and you will see that if you have people who desire to create positive change, they can move mountains. My goal each day is to reach at least one person with the message to think about the choices they make in relation to how it impacts their health, and the health of our environment. I feel if I can do that, then the people I affect will affect change in those they meet. It truly is about disseminating information when trying to affect change. The more information people have, and the more they share with others, the more positive change can be created.
Your community is run on servers that are 130% green, how is that accomplished? Do you think green servers will eventually become the norm with education on the subject?
The main EnvironmentalBooty.com site is hosted by HostGator which has servers which are 130% wind powered. They are not just neutralizing their environmental impact, they’re reversing it. HostGator accomplishes this by purchasing certified renewable energy credits representing 130% of the electricity used to both power and cool every last one of their shared and reseller servers. In real terms this is the equivalent of removing 444 cars from the road for a year, powering 321 homes with clean energy for a year, saving 5,654 barrels of oil, or protecting 551 acres of forest for a year. I am no soothsayer and cannot say if all servers will someday be green. I do hope that companies will have a desire to do all they can to lessen their impact on our environment.
What is a typical day like for you Shane?
Let me just say that every single day is full of putting out fires in both my personal and professional life. Isn’t that how all women live each day? I have 3 daughters (4, 10 and 13), a sweet little Chi-Poo and a very demanding husband so I have days which start before the sun comes up and ends just as the next day begins. Every morning I always try to get in a workout, get myself together, turn on the computer and get the girls going. On a good day I make a hot meal for the girls and on a bad day they have OJ and organic pop tarts! Then I get my 3 girls to three different schools within a half hour and get to work. I spend the day meeting with clients (I provide Social Network Marketing Consulting) over the phone, writing blog posts, doing research on green trends, working with suppliers for my Environmental Booty OpenSky Shop, updating my websites and networking on various sites. Once I get the kids home from school, it’s time for homework, dinner, baths, prayers, bedtime for kids, more work and laundry! It is exhausting as every mom knows.
What are the most effective ways you have promoted and marketed Environmental Booty? What’s your best marketing tip?
The most effective ways I have found to promote EB has been through word of “mouth” via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Our EB Members do a great job of spreading the word on their sites and networks as well. As far as offering my “best” marketing tip, that is a tough one. Each business is different and the road to success is different for all. I think if I had to give my best piece of advice for online marketing it would be to get involved in the conversation and be genuine in your interactions with others. Don’t just join networks like LinkedIn, never show up to interact and complain that you are not getting anything out of it. Join groups, make connections, have a desire to help others without asking for anything in return and be consistent. If you blog, post 3-5 days a week. If you Tweet, offer valuable information each day or every other day. If you have a Facebook account, check out what others are doing and comment.
What advice would you give someone else looking to create an online community based on a cause?
That’s simple…don’t get discouraged, provide updated content, get to know the needs of your members and protect your members by blocking spammers immediately without guilt.
What goals do you have for Environmental Booty this year?
My main goals this year are to grow our membership, find ways to promote the green message to our younger generations, provide green suppliers with a platform to showcase their products and continue to spread the word about green living products we offer in our Environmental Booty OpenSky Shop.
What have you learned on your business journey that you’d like to share with other business owners?
Don’t let your passion to grow your business interfere with your life.