Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Erika Moe, Owner of EM Social Media Management & Consulting, located in Irvine, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a social media independent contractor focused on small businesses that need accessible and effective help in their social media and digital marketing. I try to find both the most valuable and cheaper ways to improve your marketing via social media and support your time and energy by taking over this sometimes confusing and stressful part of your business. I also provide free resources and create as much value as possible by consulting and teaching you how to do your own social media.
Tell us about yourself
My journey started years before I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I was always fascinated with Shark Tank though I never thought that I would be someone like them. I fell into social media marketing by chance, I took an internship with a small business dietitian company, and I actually ended up loving the small business social media marketing more than I ever liked patient care or dietetics. As I continued honing my skills and learning, I realized that many small businesses could use help with their digital marketing, whether it is managing it completely or just giving them tips that can help them along the way.
After going through 4 months of intensive eating disorder therapy and realizing that I had let my eating disorder obsession overtake my creativity for the past ten years, I knew I needed to find a way to allow it back into my life. This is what motivates me every day: after college, it is likely I will spend 40 hours or more per week on whatever career path I choose, so I want to make sure I am working towards something I love and can do until the day I die. Using my long-forgotten creative mind to support other small businesses that are also fighting to make a living with their passions sounds like a pretty good gig to me, and that end goal is what I am going for.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
For me, my biggest accomplishment thus far is deciding that I want to take on the challenge of independent contracting and multiple part-time jobs to make my dream come true. If I had taken a 50 hr/week sales job, I would have had no time or energy to contribute to what I wanted, and that is something that took me 22 years to truly realize.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
There are two things that I personally have had the hardest time dealing with. As a business owner or independent contractor, there is a good chance you are going to get a lot of people saying "no" to your services or ideas... it is very difficult not to take it personally every time because this is something that I created myself, and I am presenting to the world. Learning to deal with (and still learning to cope with) the fact that many people say "no" is one of the hardest things, especially when you are starting off.
The second hardest thing is burnout and learning to take a break. As a people-pleaser and value-bringer, I will work tirelessly for little pay to make something perfect, but that can lead to extreme burnout and dejection. I have had to slowly learn how to take time for myself to recover my energy, and then I can, in turn, perform that much better for those that I am serving. In summary, the two hardest things that come with working on your own and being an entrepreneur are others rejecting your ideas and working so hard for so little reward that you cause energy burnout.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Try it. You never know until you try. Even if it is not perfect, just try. Make that reel, reach out to that person you have always wanted to work with, and shoot your shot. You literally never know what might come from that opportunity you are giving yourself.
- Jump over that hill of anxiety and do it. I have to tell myself every time I go into a client meeting, every time I go into an interview, that the anxious brain telling me to run away is not going to help me change my situation or make my life better right then. Perfectionism can be the enemy of progress, so just jump over those anxious thoughts, save them for later, and push yourself over the cliff into the interview or whatever scary situation you need to face. Try this a few times, and I promise you will be super proud of yourself.
- Perseverance is key, but it is not the same as tireless work. Don't give up on the little habits and things that you have put in place to get you to where you want to go, but don't forget that perseverance and burnout are often mixed up— perseverance can also look like taking a step back, going to bed early, and taking a weekend off to set yourself up for better success in the future. Perseverance is continuing to send out emails even though you have gotten 12, 24, and 100 "NOs" on your ideas, but it is also understanding that those emotions you feel will demand to be felt one way or another, so let them be felt, take some time, and then continue persevering forward.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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