Red lipstick and a dress collection (larger than all other portions of her wardrobe) are Amee Cantagallo’s trademark. The founder of Real Advice Gal, a reincarnation of her initial venture Madame Deals, Amee has spent considerable effort to develop her passion project into a formidable organization.
The initial motivation Cantagallo held was to be able to shop and do whatever she wanted without answering to her husband’s frugality. He is a Regional Sales Manager for an electronic sales company and is responsible for the East coast, an important fact for later reference.
Amee monetized the company immediately and began the site as a coupon blog, known as Madame Deals, then quickly transitioned to teaching others the art of couponing.
Education is really important to me and it is one of the reasons I started this site; to educate people on how to manage the money that they have and make that money pay for the things they want it to pay for.
As their reach evolved, so did the brand and focus. Madame Deals began reforming under the name: Real Advice Gal. The diversification and brand expansion efforts have resulted in a growing audience that has reached more than 200,000 unique visits per month. The purpose has grown as well. Realizing the responsibility that is attached to possessing such a large reach, Amee augmented her goals to include inspiring others to be their best and live their best lives. The site now touches the topics of fashion, fitness, and health in addition to couponing and boast a support staff of specialized writers.
As a business owner, Cantagallo closely monitors KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), notably Google analytics, to determine which pieces of content perform the best and works to identify the associated consumer needs that high-performing content speaks to. Analytics are reviewed both monthly and annually. From the information harvested and assessed, Amee is able to better satisfy demand by directing her team to create targeted information and develop content that is congruent with what has performed well in the past.
Cantagallo offers the following insight,
You need to look at statistics and be aware of what’s happening. Feed reader what they’re looking for.
This formula very clearly works. The blog is now, officially, a full time job for Amee and provides a generous full time income which nearly doubles that of her husband’s, the Regional Sales Manager. In fact, over the last 2 month period, Cantagallo’s revenue increased by 75% simply through direct marketing to clients and leveraging her high-impact model. It would be an understatement to say her company is doing well.
I think you always find your best solutions when you’re at your worst moment.
After experiencing substantial growth in her company, and reaping the much-deserved rewards of her hard work, Cantagallo had the unfortunate experience of a website hack. When faced with this obstacle, she had to do what she knew worked. She assessed the data available to her. She accounted for both the items around which she had knowledge as well as items about which she did not. The facts, she trusted, would lead her to make the most appropriate and beneficial decision. Cantagallo outlines her thought process:
I currently have a web developer that I pay between 40 and 75 dollars an hour to fix problems on my site, and we got hacked. I looked at what this hack could cost to get the site back up and running. I considered the two options. I could have a service for a couple hundred dollars that would protect my site on-going and not have to deal with this again. Or, I could pay someone to fix it and pray and hope it doesn’t happen again. I am a person that believes in insurance and if this is your business, you should pay to ensure your investment. What Sucuri charges is so minimal compared to the damages my site could incur without their protection.
The decision was made. And the next step was to analyze and review the outcome. How much revenue was lost in the downtime? How many clients lost? How did the issue impact her brand? The answers to those questions were respectively: Nearly none, none, and it didn’t. The primary reason for those positive outcomes was simply that the situation was well managed, resulting in minimal downtime.
I don’t believe I lost very much revenue in the downtime. I would say it was only a couple hours. NOT a couple of days...I know people who have had their sites down for days and honestly I would go crazy if that were to happen to me.
After experiencing a hack, however, the stressors are real. Amee recalls both the devastation when she learned of the hack as well as the peace found in a quick and effective resolution.
I think the initial shock, finding out your site is gone and having no idea what to do. You call your host, which you pay several hundred dollars a month for, and they inform you that you need to get a service that deals with hacking because there’s only so much the host can do. They can identify but they really can’t do anything in terms of “fixing” the site because they’re not allowed to alter the site in any way. Sucuri provides that service without me having to hire someone else and “hope” they can do the job. I’ve had my site completely gone and completely brought back up by you guys.
Another noteworthy point/focus is Conatagallo’s holistic perspective in maintaining stability in her business. Her thoughts during the time were centered around the idea that it was not only her income that needs protection, but also her team’s income. She states:
I do not want to put them in a position where they can’t afford things for their family.
When asked about her post-purchase assessment of the product, Amee exclaimed:
I absolutely love it! I get reports from them all the time letting me know my site is safe and that is really important to me because this is my business, it is my livelihood. This is what has pre-paid college tuition for three children!
Websites have a variety of goals and objectives for their respective owners or businesses. There is a common theme, however, that each site holds a particular value to its owner. Because the goals and objectives of a site vary so greatly, the associated value can only truly be measured with respect to those variables. Amee Cantagallo maintains a clear vision for her site, its purpose and the corresponding value. Her deep understanding of that business has lead her to make measurably positive decisions on behalf of her company. It seems, therefore, that the Real Advice Gal has a wealth of qualified advice which can be taken to the bank (literally).