Vladimire Calixte rebuilds lives. She’s won multiple awards for her mental health and counseling work through her organization, Life Rebuilding. She’s been featured in major TV, radio, and print outlets. Yet with all her successes and media appearances, the one thing she wishes she had known when she started five years ago was to sign up for Thumbtack from the get-go. Here she shares business advice on making Thumbtack work for you.
How did you get started on Thumbtack?
I joined Thumbtack in January 2015, four years after I opened my practice. In that time, I’ve been hired nearly 150 times through the site. I got started when someone recommended it for my business, and I was immediately taken with how it worked.
Has Thumbtack helped your business?
Oh my goodness, very much so! Currently about 80 percent of my clients come directly from Thumbtack and word-of-mouth referrals from Thumbtack clients.
Thumbtack has also helped expand the motivational speaking component of my business, which has been wonderful.
What’s the most critical element to succeeding on Thumbtack?
Making a personal connection is so important to your success on the site. There are so many quotes going out, but you need to focus on each potential client.
Everybody wants to feel like they are your only client, that YOU really want to work with them. Especially for quotes coming from therapists, it’s important for clients to feel that their therapist really sees and hears them, and that the professional is invested in them.
Along with my quotes, I often send an inspirational quote that speaks to the issue the client is seeking help with. I always start with a Hello directed to the person, and I make sure to use their name. I respond in a way that lets them know I read their request and am not just cutting and pasting a standard reply. People know when you’re not responding specifically to them. I then go on to offer a free phone consultation, as well as directing them to my website and my reviews.
No matter what kind of services you provide, everyone wants to be heard, understood, and feel a connection.
How can newcomers expand their business on Thumbtack?
Make your business profile stand out. Take time to show how your business is different than the other professionals in your field. Take time to attract the clients you want. Pay attention to the reviews, and be sure to provide top service so you get good reviews.
Keep working at it. A lot of times professionals can get discouraged when they’re starting out, but just keep at it.
Do you use the Thumbtack mobile app?
Most definitely. There are only 5 quotes for each person putting out a request, so if it’s the right fit, send a (personalized) quote immediately. I keep the mobile app notifications turned on! The notifications are especially useful with the motivational speaking part of my business, as those requests go really fast and I need to respond quickly.
Any advice for writing great quotes?
Personalize it. As I said before, always address the person by their name and clearly show what you’re going to do to help them. Show you have an answer to their problem and exactly what you’re going to do about their problem. Show how your service stands out. There’s no need to be long-winded, just be succinct.
What was one of your most rewarding Thumbtack jobs?
The nature of counseling is highly confidential, but a recent motivational speaking job really stands out. I connected with Murphy College through Thumbtack. My experience speaking to their students was just magical. The theme was overcoming obstacles, and I was able to share with the students my experiences in life and the obstacles I’ve overcome to reach the places I have. The students were engaged, listening, and inspired. I came away with the feeling that the students understood that if I could overcome obstacles, they could, too.
Any specific advice for other counselors on Thumbtack?
Show how you have personal and professional experience in the area they are seeking help. It’s not always applicable, but it does help create that human connection. For example, many of my clients are seeking relationship counseling. I reach out with a quote explaining my professional qualifications, but I also add that I have been married in a healthy relationship for 12 years.
What other tools do you use to market your business or find customers?
Psychology Today. Prospective clients can search a database of service providers in their area, but there’s no interaction. Until I started on Thumbtack, this was the only marketing tool I used.
For current or prospective Thumbtack professionals, Thumbtack is a great service. Take your time setting up a great profile and take advantage of the opportunity because your business can succeed. I’m living proof.