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Can I tell you something personal? I had a rough 2015. My husband was laid off after working at his job for 12 years in January and then after falling ill, my grandfather passed away in May. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I got laid off the week after my grandfather died. Even though I was still grieving, both of us were now unemployed and I needed to act fast, for the sake of my family.
I changed my Linkedin title to “seeking new opportunity” and as desperate as it sounds, I did have several companies contact me with job opportunities. There was one in particular that caught my eye; a social media startup company out of Washington. It was a virtual job where I thought I could work from home and get paid a decent salary. Unfortunately, I spent the next five weeks working extremely hard, just to find out the owner of the business was a scam artist. He hired me with no intention of paying me, and so, this time, I was back to square one...and I never did get paid for my work.
The next week I spent moping around the house in my PJs and spending all day in front of the TV - anything was better than my reality. I had no idea where I was going to go from here, or what we were going to do. And then my husband helped me realized something that snapped me out of my funk:
I had worked for five weeks for a company and I knew all the ins and outs of social media! I could start my own social media business and help other small businesses be successful! And of course, reminded me that I also wasn’t a scam artist and that I could use this opportunity in disguise to help motivate me to NEVER let someone else control my life, my job, or tell me ever again what I am worth! He was right - this was my chance to dream big and build something better than I could ever have imagined.
I decided to name my business after my daughter, who is a self-proclaimed strawberry lover - she goes crazy for them! I have been in business now for about a year and I have accomplished things that never thought I could do when I first started. My slogan here at Strawberry Social is Handpicked Social Media, but as a woman business owner, I also feel that it is a part of my calling to empower other women to follow their own dreams and build their own amazing businesses, and I love that with Strawberry Social that I can be an integral part of that journey for small businesses everywhere. The coolest thing is that we literally have clients from all over the world!
So when a high-performance coach contacted me recently to do an interview for a series that helps other women grow their businesses, I was highly interested.
In the past, I’ve done other interviews for podcasts, video series, and even the local radio show, so thankfully I wasn’t very nervous about the process this time around after she approached me. We scheduled a call and she asked me a few questions about myself and my business, and we ran through how the call would go once we were “rolling.” Luckily, for this interview, I would get the questions in advance so I could be prepared. This is helpful in making sure the call is a more relaxed and natural conversation rather than uptight and scripted.
She then went on to explain that each guest would do social media posts and email their list several times. She went on to say that for the show records they would need to know how big our email list is, and then she dropped the bomb…
She said our email list needed to have 5,000 subscribers to even get on the interview series.
When I replied that we had just started our list not even four months ago and that our numbers were nowhere near that high, she said, “I’m so sorry but it’s a requirement to have at least 5,000 subscribers on your list to participate.”
She ended the call by telling me to contact her once my list was at 5,000 or more and then I could be featured. I hung up the phone and just sat there for a minute thinking “did this really just happen? I was turned down due to my list size?” I felt like I just wasted a huge portion of my time, and that she should have told me this up front.
Of course, I turned to social media on my personal Facebook page to express my thoughts about how silly this was. I was blown away from the support of so many women who had similar experiences.
I wrote this blog to get the point across that it is not always about the number of subscribers but about the engagement of the followers, the quality of the group and the reputation of the business. We had that lady fooled - she saw our awesome branding and our consistency on social media and she thought we had a banging list because of it!
In conclusion, while it is important to be building a list as a business owner, remember to stay true to yourself and don’t get sucked into the idea of growing a huge list overnight. Grow your following organically with people who want to be there and who love what you - you won’t regret it!
Erin Thompson, Founder and Creator of Strawberry Social