How This Student Is On Her Way To Make $100K In Just One Year

Published: October 29th, 2022
Claire Ficek
Founder, Altar'd Socials
Altar'd Socials
from Maple Plain, MN, USA
started November 2020
Discover what tools Claire recommends to grow your business!
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Discover what books Claire recommends to grow your business!
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi there! My name is Claire Ficek, and I am the CEO + founder of Altar’d Socials. We are a social media management company that works with small businesses to elevate their brand presence on social media. My team consists of young and creative women who are passionate about helping YOUR business succeed with the amazing tool of social media.

Altar’d Socials specializes in full-time social media management which includes content creation, engagement, hashtag research, SEO + blog writing, email marketing, and more. Pretty much anything to do with digital marketing, we’ve got you covered! The company grew dramatically within the first year of being in business. We had 10+ clients, and a team of 5 women working, and on our way to making $100,000 in 12 months. This ridiculous growth showed us that there was a market for this type of social media management for women-owned companies.

Along with our one-on-one services, we also provide different online courses you can choose from. These courses are a perfect way to get started on social media if you aren’t quite ready to commit to full-time social media management.

Being young is my strong suit when it comes to running a social media management company. I grew up using these platforms almost every day, so I naturally understand the importance of social media as well as what people on the apps are looking for.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Most people say you need to wait until you have time to start a business, but I completely disagree. I started this business when I was just 18 years old in the midst of 2020. I was in the middle of my senior year of high school and preparing to leave for the University of Mississippi the next fall.

Both of my parents run their own companies, so you could say entrepreneurship runs in my blood. My mom owns a repurposed, vintage home decor store, and my dad owns a rental management company. Since I was able to understand it, I had been running both of their social media marketing and answering any questions they had about technology. They have both been my go-to’s with running this business, and I could not be more grateful for their support.

One night after I got off of my job as a Marketing Intern at a chiropractic office in Wayzata, MN, my dad said “Claire, why don’t you just start your gig doing this online marketing for other companies, not just one?” I thought he was crazy at first since up until this point I was convinced I would NEVER own my own company. Seeing how many ups and downs my parents had in their businesses, how unpredictable running a business can be, and the fact that you don’t have a stable income terrified me.

After talking with my dad about the possibility of starting my own business, I felt confident in taking those next steps. That night, I built a very basic business plan, and a website, and started “Social By Claire” on Instagram and Facebook. I’m not kidding, in 24 hours I had 3 clients ready to use my services. I was instantly reassured that there was a market for my knowledge in this area, and I needed to believe in myself.

Social media is a long-term game, and to grow organically and the right way with quality followers, you have to be in it for the long haul.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

When I first started my business, I wanted to work with anyone that would work with me. I didn’t have a niche market until well over a year into starting. My original target market was middle-aged moms looking for advice on their social media for their side gig. I soon realized that this was not who I should be focusing on working with since they aren’t really in need of my expertise.

About a year into business, I started working with a financial wealth management company based in Minnesota. This industry was completely out of my comfort zone and I did not know how I was going to do social media marketing to appeal to retirees. But, after lots of research and prep work, Altar’d Socials has grown all of its platforms tremendously, and this company soon became our niche target market.

We love working with CEOs that already understand the importance of social media, but don’t know how to stay relevant strategically on these saturated platforms.

Starting out, I charged $250/month for full social media management (no matter how many hours of work it took me), and $500 for website creation. I know what you’re thinking, this is SO CHEAP. Well, I was suffering from this thing called “imposter syndrome”. I was 18, trying to sell my services to people much older than me, and I had never done some of these things before.

When starting my business, my parents both advised me to register as an LLC so that I was official in the eyes of the government. I went through both the Minnesota Department of Business and the National Department of Business to register Social By Claire as an LLC (recently we have changed its name to Altar’d Socials, but not officially in the eyes of the government).

Describe the process of launching the business.

Starting the business was one of my favorite parts of the whole startup process. I found so much excitement in the hustling and problem-solving. My first website was no design smoke show…but I was proud of it! It was simple and filled with pinks and a young-looking design to appeal to those middle-aged moms I was marketing to. The first few clients found me by word-of-mouth…(they were friends of my parents. I told you having two entrepreneurs as parents would work in my favor!)


Starting an online business is one of the easier businesses to start since there’s not much overhead needed. All that was required of me was a website subscription (including the domain name), a scheduling platform, and a subscription to a content planner. Other than that, my time was the only resource being used to work on the business.

The biggest lesson I learned when starting out is that your business WILL change identities. Sometimes it’s not a dramatic change, and other times it’s a drastic change from your original business plan. AND THAT’S OKAY!!! As an entrepreneur and business owner, you have to be flexible and understanding when your first idea might not be the result.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Altar’d Socials has been a roller coaster of growth and decline, but with a steady increase in both sales and visibility to our target audience. When your business is seeming to be stagnant, find something else to offer your customers. My team has worked on producing a Social Media Masterclass, free Canva templates, and other free resources our audience can learn from us without working with us.

Another way we’ve learned to reach more people is to work with your current clients + connections to receive referrals from them. Your clients and connections already trust you and your services, so they will be the best resource to use to gain more clients like them. This method has worked tremendously since 90% of our clients are from word-of-mouth marketing. We can rely on this referral method by building trusting relationships with our clients, so they are excited to share our services with their friends. This way, we’re not generally asking for referrals, rather it happens naturally.

We have to practice what we preach. Social media is a big focus of ours in our marketing strategy. Instagram Reels are the top way we have grown our social media platforms dramatically. For 2 weeks straight this summer, we posted one Reel a day, all with trending sounds. After those fourteen days, we started to post Reels every other day, and then less frequently. Now, no matter when we post a Reel, these are the kinds of results we get!


A service we always recommend to our clients is SEO + blog work. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which refers to the ranking that Google gives your domain. If you are ranking high for certain keywords, your website will show up on the first page of Google (which is a really good thing!).

The main way you get to rank on Google is to consistently post content on your website, like blogs. Altar’d Socials posts a weekly blog full of free information for our audience on different topics that are being searched for in our industry. Posting a weekly blog has increased our website viewership by over 250%, reaching an average of 1,200 people with our resources. It’s very valuable to create educational content for your audience to read!

A consistent problem we’ve had in our industry is keeping clients we’re working with for longer than 3 months. When working with small businesses, we understand that the budget is tight, and you can’t invest too much into something you can’t see immediate returns on. Social media is a long-term game, and to grow organically and the right way with quality followers, you have to be in it for the long haul.

For these clients that cannot afford to continue after 3 months, we start working with them on a smaller scale such as through bi-weekly coaching, referring them to the masterclass, and our email marketing. Either way, we make sure they know that we are ALWAYS here for them no matter what questions or needs they have. Since we value creating genuine relationships with our clients, they trust us to help with all digital marketing needs they have. For that reason, more than 70% of the businesses we work with are businesses we’ve worked with previously.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

On the Altar’d Socials team, 2 women work with me and handle all of the day-to-day operations. They are paid based on the hours they put in, and based on a percentage of whatever client they’re working with. Each client is charged differently depending on what services they need and how large their company is. Typically, we charge between $600-$3,000 per month for social media marketing, the higher end being more marketing management tasks and the lower end being basic content creation.

My dream with this business is to open an office and have multiple women working with me every day so that we can collaborate and be creative with each other! I love being able to work with people I admire, so I want to fill my team with people who are more creative, more go-getters, and overall good people. I know that Altar’d Socials can get there, and we are taking all of the steps necessary to grow exponentially!

The company grew dramatically within the first year of being in business. We had 10+ clients, and a team of 5 women working, and on our way to making $100,000 in 12 months. This ridiculous growth showed us that there was a market for this type of social media management for women-owned companies.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The first hard lesson I had to learn was to always, always, ALWAYS have a contract/agreement with your clients. Some small business owners are particular about their money, and sometimes it turns into a “we don’t need to pay you” situation if they’re not seeing the results they had hoped for. Have a basic agreement typed up that you can change the specifics for each client, then send it their way before they ever pay you.

The second thing I learned is to APPLY YOURSELF! I was recently interviewed on the Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast with John Lee Dumas. Now, I know what you might be thinking: “how in the world did she get on that podcast?!” Well, to tell you the truth, I reached out to Entrepreneurs on Fire on a whim when I was frustrated about the growth in my business.

One night, I was up late trying to figure out my next move within the business, and I started emailing podcasts one by one to see if they’d have me on as a guest. JLD was the first (and only) person to respond, saying he would love for me to be a guest speaker on his podcast and talk about all things social media. I was SO nervous, but I knew that putting myself out there like this was going to drastically show in the business. And it did!

The next few weeks after the podcast aired were full of social media strategy sessions being scheduled, new clients contacting us, and new followers on social media. The moral of the story, is to put yourself out there!

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use tons of online tools that help us run an efficient and professional business while helping our clients grow dramatically. The two most common tools that our team uses are Canva and

Canva, if you haven’t heard of it already, is a design tool that provides millions of templates for both creatives and non-creatives to utilize when creating ANYTHING marketing! We use this for proposals we send clients, the content we create, email designs, and so much more. If you’re not already using Canva, you need to get on it! is our CRM headquarters to keep all clients and team members on the same page. We house our to-do lists, meeting agendas, content calendars, and anything else we need for both team members and clients to see.

We also utilize, Slack, Squarespace, Teachable, Calendly, Flodesk, and Google Drive! All of these tools make the business run smoothly and efficiently, but we didn’t start out this way. It has taken us YEARS to find the platforms we love and that represent our brand best, and I don’t doubt that we will continue to make changes in the years to come.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Truly my FAVORITE podcast to listen to is Goal Digger by Jenna Jutcher. Jenna is amazing at being inspiring but also real when it comes to life and business. All of her episodes have something new about being an entrepreneur, and I have taken lots of tips from her to grow the business into what it is today! I highly recommend taking a listen to her podcast channel, or getting her latest book!

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

My advice to an entrepreneur who wants to get started is: JUST DO IT! The scariest part of starting a business is just that; starting. Once you get your ideas on paper, people will rally around to support you and your dreams. But what good is having a purpose here on Earth if you’re not using it? Never be afraid of failure, because that will only fail. Make wise decisions within the business, ESPECIALLY with your money. Someone else is always going to be looking up to you, so chances are you’re doing better than you think you are!

My second piece of advice would be to find a business coach. My coach, Brian Stewart, is my best friend’s dad and a business professor at North Central University in Minneapolis, MN. He has pushed me through both the highs and the lows in the business world, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. Coaches could be anyone who has started a business before and knows how to encourage while also giving criticism when it’s needed. Brian is perfect at this, which is why I go to him before making most of my business decisions.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!