As the country navigates uncertainty and more companies apply work-at-home options for their employees, a new normal unveils. For many people, work-at-home is new territory and requires a shift in mindset. Working from home isn’t a new concept and presents new opportunities for individuals to excel.
Chloe Urquhart, founder of Hart Media, a full-service social media and influencer marketing agency, leveraged a layoff into a profitable company from the comfort of her home. What she thought was going to be a negative experience turned into a positive experience. Within her first month, she signed six clients which included a board-certified Beverly Hills, plastic surgeon, Societygal and branding studio Rantze + Raves. To date, she’s helped influencers with over 100 brand collaborations including Lulus, BB Dakota, Matisse Footwear, Sole Society and Fabletics.
“I was working as an agency growth manager for a marketing agency located in Boston,” she explains. “It was actually a remote position because I live in California. Then I was laid off. Given the knowledge and the experience that I had gained while working for two different large corporate marketing agencies, I decided to put myself out there on social media to see if I could get some consulting clients on the side while I was looking for more fulltime work. I actually didn’t plan to even start my business; it really kind of just happened.”
Urquhart’s background not only includes marketing but business development as well. She used a tactic that she had learned while working at prior marketing agencies. She learned that offering free audits – a thorough look into an individual’s or company’s email marketing and website – would drive business and sign clients through showing them how they could improve their marketing strategies and techniques. When she was laid off she immediately put the free audit tactic into place.
“I was offering complimentary social media audits,” Urquhart comments. “I didn’t have a large following because I had just started out on social media. People were not coming to me organically, so I was reaching out to people that were in my ideal audience space. I sent them quick messages saying, ‘hey, I just took a peek over your social media. I’d love to offer you an audit if you’re interested.’ Then I would present that audit to them and convert them into a client.”
At first, Urquhart didn’t turn anyone away. She needed as many clients as she could sign to survive while offering full service social media services. She focused on strategy, content creation, planning and posting content and managing follower engagement. “In the beginning,” she continues, “I was strictly marketing just to female entrepreneurs. I knew that I wanted to work with females, but again, because I was in the beginning stages, I didn’t have a very niche target audience. I was just strictly working with female entrepreneurs.”
Fast forward to 2020, Urquhart now only focuses on strategy; she develops strategies and teaches her clients how to implement them. “I basically give them the guidance that they need to set them up for success,” she smiles. “All of my strategies are focused on profitability. I create campaign plans and strategies that are centered around growing the overall business from a revenue standpoint, not from a follower or likes or comments standpoint.”
Starting her company, Urquhart shares that her biggest mistake was not focusing on a budget. She hadn’t saved any money while working for another company to invest in her company; before having the time to create a business plan she was forced to take immediate action. “I didn’t have time to raise capital or funding,” Urquhart states. “I had $900 in my account when I started my business and that $900 needed to go towards rent. I didn’t have any money to even start with. In the beginning stages of my business, I wasn’t sure about what percentage of money should come to me verse what percentage should go into business savings verse what percentage should go back into the business. I was just transferring everything to my account and spending it like it was my money.”
As Urquhart navigates her new normal, she focuses on the following steps:
- Research as much as possible. Know your target audience and market. The more you know, the less mistakes you’ll make in the beginning.
- Ask questions. People are willing to extend knowledge and share advice. You don’t know what you don’t know. Asking questions makes you a well-rounded individual.
- Go for it. Don’t overthink a situation. Nothing is ever finalized and will be 100% perfect. You can always adjust and rebrand as you go. The longer you wait there’s a chance you may never start.
“Something that I experienced firsthand with a lot of my clients is that they think that having a large number of followers is the end all, be all,” Urquhart concludes. “I help my clients go through a mindset shift. I don’t focus on followers or vanity metrics. The number of followers you have does not always translate to money in the bank. Followers is like Monopoly money. You could have 100 followers, but every single one of those people is purchasing from you or you can have 100,000 followers and only one person is purchasing from you.”
Photo Source: Anna Christine