Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Amanda Shepherd, the owner and lead mentor at the Social Media Manager Society. Aside from social media consulting to businesses in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries, I created a program to teach other women how to run successful social media businesses so they can have the time and financial freedom they’ve always wanted!
I quit my 9-5 and in one year made almost $100,000 working an average of four hours per day - and still growing!
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I spent the last decade of my career as a social media manager, in the agency, in-house, and freelance settings. I really created a name for myself in my niche and people were always coming to me for social media advice. I absolutely LOVED teaching people and for a long time, wondering how I could combine my passions for teaching and social media into one career.
Fast forward to fall 2019 - I was at a crossroads. The agency I was working for was moving in a different direction and I was literally moving back home. I had a decision to make - stay at the agency under different circumstances, find a new job in my new home, or finally take the plunge and start my own business.
I chose the latter and it was the best decision I ever made! I was immediately able to gain clients using internal systems I created and literally built my own business from the ground up. In one year, I made almost $100,000 and put all my systems inside the Social Media Manager Society, so other aspiring social media managers could take everything I learned and implement it themselves!
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
My main product is my program - the Social Media Manager Society. I spent a lot of time doing market research to truly determine who my target audience was. I had 1-1 interview with my ideal students, learned what spoke to them, learning about their hopes, goals, and dreams, and created a program specifically tailored to them.
The program has gone through a few iterations since the beginning and is STILL changing, but so is social media! The program is meant to grow with the students inside of it. They truly make the program what it is!
The program is designed to help you start your social media management business from scratch in less than 30 days, using my method called the Client Magnet System. We go through how to get you set in the right badass business owner mindset, the best places to find your first clients, how to go through the pitching process, and ultimately, how to wow that potential client so much that they work with you! The program also highlights how to properly manage certain social media platforms (specifically Facebook and Instagram at the moment) and we are constantly adding more classes and social media platforms.
Additionally, along with the lessons, there is a members-only Facebook group, where members ask questions, share client leads, celebrate wins, and so much more. We have monthly hot-seat calls where you get one-on-one time with me and monthly happy hour calls, where we all get together and chat about... whatever we want!
I have made it a point to have this membership feel like more than just a membership - I want women to never feel like they’re alone as they are building their businesses and navigating through the always-changing social media world. I’ve been a team-of-one my entire career and I don’t want others to feel like that!
Describe the process of launching the business.
I launched my program by asking people in Facebook groups whether or not they wanted to be a part of my beta program! I built it as I went with those first ladies, and they’re still in the program today. I used the money that my beta students paid me to then start advertising the program on social media. Because of this, I didn’t need to take out ANY business loans! I just used the beta money, and additional money from my consulting, to advertise and grow the program.
I originally targeted “women in marketing” type groups, as well as female entrepreneur groups. I was a member of all three groups before launching my business and it was through these groups that I learned what was really missing for women looking to start and grow their social media management businesses - a trusted mentor who can show them how to do it so they didn’t need to Google and YouTube and listen to podcasts and read blogs and piece it all together themselves.
These were women who felt like they could be a successful business owner, and successful social media manager, but didn’t know where to start. They may have had a couple of clients fall into their laps, and they learned they loved what they were doing, but had no idea how to go beyond what they already had. They didn’t know what to search for, they didn’t know who to trust, and they were overwhelmed. It was easier to stay where they were instead of branching out.
I knew I could help these women. I knew I could help them start and grow their businesses, hone in on their talent and skills, help them ensure they were charging enough, and ultimately, help them achieve the freedom they really craved that comes with being your own boss. Those ladies were my inspiration and who I continue to attract with the program.
I would say I certainly lucked out on this front. As I said, I spent A LOT of time doing market research beforehand, so I knew exactly how to speak to my audience. Launching wasn’t that difficult and I had a lot of interest! We are now at almost 30 students and growing weekly!
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Since launch, I’ve tried a few different tactics, and continue to grow. My main source of traffic has been free training that acts as a teaser to my program, but also leaves whoever watches it with some valuable takeaways, even if they decide not to join the Social Media Manager Society.
I’m currently in the process of testing whether or not a static sales page works better than a webinar. I’m also currently in the process of testing which social media platforms bring in the most ROI when it comes to ads!
Almost all of my promotion thus far has been in Facebook groups and organic Instagram interest. I spend a lot of time giving advice on Instagram to potential students and speaking up in groups where my students frequent. It’s been slow growth but it’s been worth it!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’ve only been in business for a year and already almost made 6 figures. I still have a lot to learn and a lot of growth to go, but it’s been exciting knowing that I can reach 6 figures without spending a lot of my own money.
My plans for this next year are to test out different advertising methods and lead generation methods to determine the best way to attract students. So far, it’s just me, myself, and I run this, and I’d like to get to a point where I can hire a VA or two to help me out! It’s not a big business, but I’m enjoying what I’m doing!
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
JUST. DO. IT. That’s honestly the biggest thing I learned. I sat on this idea for a LONG time because I was too scared to actually do it. Now I’m just kicking myself in the rear end wishing that I did it sooner. So if you’re reading this, and you have a business idea in mind, but you’re too scared to pursue it, I want you to take action RIGHT NOW. I promise you, it’s going to be so worth it!
Oh, and get a separate business bank account when you do. It’ll make things so much easier for you.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I couldn’t do what I do without Kajabi. It’s a great website and program hosting platform. Asana is also my lifesaver and I LOVE it. I use The Content Planner to plan out my social media content and record small wins, which I swear by. I use Traject Socialto schedule all my content (yay for cost-effectiveness!).
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Anything and everything by Jen Sincero. She speaks my language.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
JUST START! Take one step at a time. If you’re not ready to jump into the entrepreneurial pool, just dip your feet in by filing for your sole proprietorship or LLC, choosing a business name, and opening a separate bank account. That’s a start. Then, create social media pages and claim your website. That’s your next step. Once you keep doing those small things, you’ll get more and more excited about it and get ready to DO IT!
The only difference between you and the entrepreneur you aspire to be, as that they got started.
You never know where you can be once you start.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Social Media Manager Society has provided an update on their business!
8 months ago, we followed up with Social Media Manager Society to see how they've been doing since we published this article.
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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