By Adrien Julious
When you walk into Panera Bread, smell the freshly baked bread, have your sights delighted by sleek counters brimming with pastries, and hear the numerous amounts of people who seem to frequent every Panera Bread location; at first you may assume that Panera is just your typical lunch place. With this assumption you would be half right.
There is a new breed of entrepreneurs who utilize the comfy booths with enough space to spread their work out and the complimentary Wi-Fi to replace their typical office suites. After all, “Numerous new businesses fail because they have to worry about affording real estate.” This tid bit of advice comes from one of those entrepreneurs, a social media manager Courtney Nestler.
After receiving her Bachelors degree in Public Relations at the University of Florida, Courtney tried her hand at working for a company which didn’t soothe her entrepreneurial spirit. She says that being forced to work 12-16 hour days in an office with little reward.
Courtney starts each day in front of her computer in her home office. There she scans the news and social media sites to see what’s trending. “The ability to capitalize on current events is crucial. Some of the biggest Social Media breaks came by someone getting wind of the right situation at the right time.” From there are meetings with clients from Monday through Wednesday; never during traffic, usually at Panera. “The world is my office; I can manage social media from anywhere.” She says looking at me with her deep blue eyes.
On Thursdays and Fridays she spends her day in her home office with her puppy at her feet, planning and managing her client’s accounts. “When I first started working from home it drove her crazy. She didn’t know what to do with me being home. She was so used to me being gone all of the time, so I put her bed in the office and she helps me get my work done.” From her office she schedules posts for Social Media Accounts using Hootsuite and prepares email campaigns with the assistance of Mail Chimp.
Focus. Strategy. Flexibility.
Those are the three words that Courtney says that she lives by. Those three words and the fact that she genuinely cares about her clients has led her pretty quickly to immense success. So much so that after only two years she has begun to turn down new clients for her business Bright Light Solutions. “It’s all about quality of life. In the beginning I was working everyday, I was constantly attached to my phone. Now my husband loves it because I can actually put the phone down sometimes.” She says all of this as she fiddles with her phone. She is an entrepreneur and by trade they are good at multitasking.
“The first month was tough. I didn’t know where my next check was coming from.” She says as she sits back in the chair readjusting her girth, she is seven months pregnant. “I was working pretty much all day everyday. I managed social media in every room of my house and when I wasn’t home building I was out trying to drum up business I found BNI, joined, and by month two it was smooth sailing.” BNI, Business Networking International is the world’s largest business networking, referrals and word of mouth marketing organization.
Courtney acknowledges that her results are not the typical results of any new business much less a social media management company but she says that with hard work her success can be mirrored.
Any other advice for future social media managers? “Don’t wing it. Be very specific with everything; your time, your clients, and your target market.”
In the end it’s all about quality of life. Take care of every client better than you would want to be taken care of and you’ll be able to turn down clients and work your life the way that you want to.
Happening at SPC
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