Regan-Janell Hales discovered Thumbtack while staffing a holiday event at her nine-to-five marketing job. When she decided to re-enter the world of personal training a few years later, she turned to Thumbtack once again. Nine months after joining, Regan-Janell was in the position to quit her job and pursue a career in wellness full-time. As a marketer turned business owner, Regan-Janell knows a lot about how to grow your customer base on Thumbtack. We caught up with her to get the skinny on what matters most when it comes to expanding your business on Thumbtack.
How did you get started on Thumbtack?
I used Thumbtack to find vendors for events I was helping to plan, and I realized how effective it was for getting your name out there. When I decided that I was ready to return to training and nutrition, I started by growing my client base on Thumbtack.
How has Thumbtack helped your business grow?
I’m a very cautious person. I was only going to walk away from the stability of my nine-to-five job if I knew that I could break even as a sole proprietor. But within less than a year I had saved enough to comfortably transition to working as personal trainer and nutritionist full-time. Breaking even was only possible because my client base was big enough, and that’s in large part thanks to Thumbtack.
What do you suggest for people just getting started on Thumbtack?
Knowing what you want to spend always comes first. Also, you should decide what you’re worth and then stick to it. In the beginning I spent a lot of time comparing myself to other professionals whose services were sort of like mine, and I ended up costing myself a lot of money and business. Remember that your services are different than other people’s and remain confident in that. You’ll want to short yourself. Don’t.
As someone who worked in marketing do you have any special Thumbtack strategies?
First of all, be reasonable: you’ll send a lot of quotes and not all of them will be the job for you. You have to be fast about responding to requests but also really smart about what you quote on. When I first started, I was really loose about quoting, and with time I learned more about the kind of clients that I really wanted. I’m based in Atlanta and I would quote on jobs in Roswell. Of course, that didn’t make a lot of sense.
Most of my clients now are middle-aged women, and they’re the most constant and loyal of the people that I train. They’re also a lot of fun to work with.
Do you use the Thumbtack mobile app?
Ten times out of ten, I’m looking at requests and sending quotes from my phone. When I first started, I was a mobile service and had to be checking everything on the go. Eventually it made more sense for me to cut down on the overhead and time costs of travelling and to train in a private space. But even now, I still use the mobile app.
What goes into the perfect quote?
When I started I had three different quotes: one for fitness services, one for nutrition services, and one that was for both. Then I realized that nine times out of ten people were looking for the same thing and that was all three services together. The truth is, fitness and nutrition should always be a package deal. You can’t really have one without the other.
Now I offer all of my services together upfront and clients can pick and choose what they need most. I change my quotes in minor ways so that it makes sense to the specific request, but I keep it short. I sell my program, I’m clear about my services, and I provide a phone number and email so that we can set up a free one-on-one consultation right away.
My profile picture is always an image of me. I have a unisex name and sometimes people misunderstand and think that they’re looking for a male trainer. I make that clear off the bat, without reading.
Any tips or secrets when it comes to asking for reviews?
My most committed clients tend to be middle-aged, and aren’t spending a lot of time on social media sites. Thumbtack has really helped me to reach these women, but they don’t tend to be the people who will reach out and write reviews.
So instead I ask them to leave me a couple of comments either on our private Facebook group or over email. Sometimes they’ll even text me their feedback. Then I use those reviews as testimonials on my website. I have to reach my clients where they are.
What other marketing tools do you use?
I also use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter a bit. I receive the most clients from Thumbtack by far. Instagram is really tough because it’s so oversaturated. It’s really easy to get lost with all the other personal trainers on the site. On Instagram it’s all about what people can see, and if you’re not a celebrity, you can lose out. If people have a lot of likes and a lot of great pictures they might have a ton of followers. But there’s no promise that that trainer is actually licensed or experienced. When credentials and experience mean less than likes and follows, it’s easy for important metrics to fall away.
How can people expand their business on Thumbtack?
Update your images and videos regularly, complete the Thumbtack Q&A, and continue to refine what your profile says about you. A lot of these are things that I need to work on more too! But they’re what I think have helped me most in garnering responses. Especially as you become more established, you will have more to share, whether that’s testimonials or before-and-afters.
I recommend people to Thumbtack to grow their business all the time. My cousin is a videographer, and for months I ranted and raved about how he needed to get on Thumbtack. Last June I finally got him to agree to sign up on Thumbtack and he’s been able to elevate his business to the next level. He’s turning people away now because he has too many customers.
Do you have a favorite Thumbtack story?
I have a lot because I love my Thumbtack clients so much. A lot of them still train with me, actually, which is sort of amazing. I’ve changed my programming and the way that I charge for packages since I started with a lot of my Thumbtack clients, but they stuck it out with me. I have about six or seven rockstar clients that are from Thumbtack, and they’re all very funny, wonderful women that I feel lucky to work with.
One of those women told me that she came across my profile after seeing quotes from a lot of male trainers. At the time, she wasn’t sure whether she would be comfortable training with a man and she asked me what I thought. I was honest and told her about my program, but I also told her that she should consider the other options and do what was best for her. She told me that she chose me because of my honesty. Because she didn’t feel like I was just selling her. That’s maybe the biggest compliment I could get because integrity really matters to me. We were best friends from the start and we still train together today.
Do you have any tips that Thumbtack customers should keep in mind when hiring a pro?
I think about this a lot as a trainer. The number one thing they should be looking for is experience. Can they answer your questions? Are they transparent? Have they been doing this for a while? In personal training you should be keeping an eye out for credentials. Then there are things you can’t learn in a book. Does it feel right? Are you comfortable? Do their goals align with your own?
Is there anything that Thumbtack has helped you to be the first to do?
I’ve definitely gone against the nine-to-five grain in my immediate family. I’m the first small business owner and the first to work in nutrition and health and wellness—that was not the family I came from. It’s a joke in my family: whose child are you? It definitely keeps everyone on their toes and thinking about being healthier, even in small ways.
My grandparents recently started walking every day. They have an old 1990’s treadmill in their back room and they spent a half hour marching away on it every day. They’re so proud when they tell me about it and it makes me really happy to see.