The long: I am a freelance digital marketing strategist. Some of my most exciting projects lately have been social media consulting for brands with a lot of creative freedom!
This month, I’m excited because my business partner of many years and I have decided to combine my social media and digital marketing background with his graphic design and website development background to create a digital agency, Grapefruit. Our future website will live at madebygrapefruit.com
How did you get such great clients?
My client list has grown from personal relationships + referrals from current clients. Speaking opportunities and simple dinners out with the right people go a long way!
What gave you the urge to take the plunge with your business partner?
After a while of being “freelance” you kind of, grow up a bit? People start to ask you the name of your agency and I think there was a piece of credibility that I was looking to fill. Partnering with Mike is so rewarding because I really appreciate his aesthetic and I know what he can bring to my current clients and our future clients.
What are the cons of starting an agency vs freelance?
Business wise - I am still pretty clueless! We have our meeting with our business advisor next week to gain more insight, so I guess I’ll be able to answer better than. But, one negative that I’ve had with it is the settling factor and growing. With freelance I’ve constantly been traveling, working remotely from all over the world. With the new agency it will definitely be more buckling down from the office and growing a team. Managing employee’s is not a strength of mine, so that’s a bit scary! I’m working on it though by reading a ton and attending different workshops and speaking engagements.
Give us a specific example of how you do your job like a BOSS.
The short: Positivity, enthusiasm and a good attitude can go a long way! I work every single day but really love to travel - I always have to stay inspired to create quality content.
Have you seen the Neil Gaiman graduation speech? He said, to be good freelancer, you only have to be 2 of these 3 things: (1) on time (2) good at what you do or (3) easy to get along with. Seems like you’re all three! All star!
Yes! I love this speech. I would definitely say my big weakness is actually being on time. I’m constantly trying to fit a lot in and it causes me to physically be tardy - that’s not only embarrassing but it gives people the impression you do not value their time. It’s something I’m focusing a lot on this year!
For other people in your field, what do they usually lack? Perhaps, you were in that position once, what did you do to get ahead? Stand out?
Digital Marketers are sometimes one sided. You often find yourself with someone who only wants to focus on coming up with amazing content, but if you don’t know how to circulate it and no one is seeing it, what’s the point? But then again you have someone who is amazing at distribution and SEO but lack the ability to curate great content. I think understanding the clients voice, their mission and their product is the most important part and often times it is overlooked.
We’ve seen jobs begin to silo in the web design world. You’ll have a back-end developer, front-end developer, designer, ux designer and project manager on one team to execute projects.
Do you see this happening in Digital Marketing? In the event you begin expanding Grapefruit, do you see yourself hiring specific roles or autonomous all-stars?
Definitely! I think I’ve tried to do the autonomous all-star route but it’s not actually that successful. I’ve seen success with freelancing out something smaller with a clear direction.
If you have multiple jobs and/or skills, which one do you wish you could do more often?
I wish I had more time to art direct photoshoots, meet more people (build friendships and collaborations), document my travels, and teach digital marketing classes!
What is frustrating you right now?
Growing my team. I would love to have 2-3 part-timers or ultimately one badass assistant.
More than anything, I'm looking for: honesty, passion, a good attitude and the desire to learn. Email me! I love hearing from people whether they are interested in working as a part of our team or simply looking to connect!
If you could hire someone for $20/hour, what would you have them do to make your day easier?
Client proposals and reaching out to potential clients, Community outreach, content writing, assisting at photoshoots, attending events...my list goes on :)
What are all the tools (digital or physical) you use on a regular basis?
iPhone, iMac, MacBook Pro, my Sony camera, GoogleDocs, iCal, SproutSocial.com, Asana.com, harvestapp.com, all social networks, my Anthropologie notebook, lists lists and more lists, Google Alerts, Pinterest, Simply Measured, Twitrland - my digital tools list goes on for a while.
How do you use Asana.com?
I use it personally to keep track of every activity that I have to get done! I will not sleep with mail in my inbox! So, each day everything becomes an action item. I added deadline dates and it syncs with my Google cal - providing popups of notifications. With my clients, I can invite them to join Asana so if they want to assign a task to me, they can do it without an email even. With my team, I am constantly assigning tasks out with deadlines as well.
What are you working on right now?
Besides my current client list I am getting ready to launch our new digital agency, Grapefruit. I am also traveling to Thailand in February to begin research for a new hat line. Our goal is to employ women in need, source our products from Thailand.
Oh wow, hat line! What are your favorite hat brands of the now?
Maison Michel, Saint Laurent, Janessa Leone, Etro, Marni, Eric Javits, Nick Fouquet (babe), Clyde, Acne, Ryan Roch
What kind of opportunities/projects are you looking for right now?
I would love to continue to grow my digital business with a client in the medical field, wine and spirits, fashion, hospitality and tourism.
Describe your ideal client.
My favorite clients are fun! I love working with family owned businesses too.
Describe a client you would rather not have. What are your deal breakers?
I really have a hard time when clients have expectations that are unrealistic with their budgets. This one is painful.
A deal breaker for me is when a client is unresponsive and does not respect your time. I had an experience this year where I had to chase a client down to get content approved each month but by the time they did it was often too late to post things. I realize now how much time I wasted on it and it was not fulfilling
We totally agree! Content turnaround in digital marketing is crazy fast. What do you to make sure the client will respect your deadlines?
Staying ahead of the game! The more time you have to complete a project with your client, the more likely they will adhere to your deadlines. Once they understand that my work is not going to be successful without their assistance and approvals, things (usually) run smoothly.
What is your hourly rate, retainer, or salary range?
My retainers vary based on the project! I like to sign at least 6 month contracts with clients and budget myself enough to have 2-3 people work on account with me depending on their needs.
How should someone approach you about working with you?
Text, email, call is fine! A simple introduction with what they do and how they would like to work together is great!
This member profile was updated February 2015.